Thursday, December 30, 2010

I'm a Stress-aholic...

There are people who do something too much. There are those who drink, the ones who gamble, others who shop, but me, I stress. I remember in the 9th grade on the first day of school they said we were going to have finals, yeah those things at the end of the school year, I was sick for the next two days. When I finally returned to school I was even more stressed out because I missed assigning seats, getting books, and two days of work, all because at the end of the year I was going to have to take tests.
My parents recognized I had a problem and forced me to take a class to learn how to deal with my anxiety. I was there with middle aged adults whom I assume had chosen to be there. With my normal teenage angst I half listened, half blamed my parents, and hoped they didn’t spend money on the class because it basically was the instructor reading us the packet. Did it help? Sure it did! I then channeled my stress from migraines to stomach issues. When someone would point out that it was stress I just seemed to channel my stress to something new, my latest trick is itching, which I seriously need to focus back to the tummy so I lose a few pounds to fit in my pants thank you very much yummy holiday foods and candies.
I wish I knew how my stress worked, or why I can never relax. I always have something to blame for my new stress. I did work in the extremely fast paced world of cars. I did play sports growing up, and tried as hard as I could in school. I went back to college as an adult so had the stress of school and planning a wedding. Then I had the stress of being unemployed with constant interviews and the judgments. Now I’m employed, at a wonderful place where my boss will freely drop anything to answer even the smallest question I may have, and yet I am still stressed out.
It then occurred to me tonight as I was washing my face. I looked up into the mirror as the water dripped off my face as it does in commercials, and realized I am a Stress-aholic. Anyone who knows me well is reading this they aren’t surprised, they are probably shocked I ever figured it out. Most people don’t realize on their own they have a problem. My husband will say to me as I am yelling the rules of the road to some person that can’t hear me because, well I’m in my car and they are driving away, “they can’t hear you, what good is that going to do,” and reminds me that it’s not healthy what I am doing. But I would argue it’s better “out” than leaving it in, using the example of a rollercoaster and how if you scream when you get off you don’t have to throw up…yeah it’s totally the same.
So as I looked in the mirror stressing out about my new job beginning and trying to figure out in my head when I get my first holiday for a break, it hit me. There is nothing difficult about my new job. I had gone in for 7 days and I can confidently say that I am more than 90% with all of the computer aspects of the daily job. Yes new things will come up, but I’m smart! Why am I trying to freak myself out?! Then I began to think about how nice everyone is, calm the environment is, and how willing my boss is to include me in every aspect of the organization so I can learn! So why am I still stressed out as I am writing this? Because I am a Stress-aholic, and I don’t know how to live and function without stress in my life.
People say that my blog has helped them, and I want you to know, it helps me more. Because of the blog I literally have to evaluate myself, like I am conducting this great social science experiment. Without blogging I have felt lost, and honestly it has caused me stress-I know shocking! But the blog has relieved my stress in so many more ways. So, I’m not saying everyone should blog, because not everyone wants people to know the torrid details of their interviews, or driving habits, but I suggest a journal. Chart what you are doing to help with your job search, or if you have a job, or you are a stay at home parent and you feel stressed, write. When I was 19 I would go for runs at 1 am if the stress became too much, most people can’t do that, myself included or my pants would fit. So I have found writing to be a great relief. It doesn’t have to be for you, but do what is, because stress holds us back, and well since it’s time for resolutions why not make one this year…I will make a conscious decision to try and live as stress free a life as I can by not adding unnecessary stress to my daily life. Hold me to it and make a resolution for yourself!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Getting schooled

It’s been a while since I have posted anything. I’m on a part time basis through the holidays because I need to get so much done, and I am lucky they are being flexible with me. The last week I have already learned so much. Mostly it isn’t just the responsibilities I have, but that my boss will include me in every meeting so that I can learn everything there is to know, because he knows I want to.
But I said there was so much more I wanted to tell you all before this blog had to change or alter since I am no longer going to be unemployed! I wanted to talk about education and why it is something that you should think about. When I decided to go back to school the economy was pretty stable, or so most of us thought. Housing prices were through the roof, and then BAM one month in, the economy collapsed and I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that in two years when I graduated, “things would be better.”
When May came and went, and I realized that the job front was not looking so good, I looked back at what I did and began to wonder if I made a mistake. Was going to school a bad decision on my part? Or was closing my eyes and taking for granted that everything would be better my mistake?  Either way as I struggled with my choice of major, my choice of school, and my choice to leave my job during school, I sat on the couch and began to wonder what I had done to my life.
Now, this all sounds like I would scream “DON’T do it! School is bad!” But that is not the case at all. Because without school I never would be on my way to doing something that I’m actually excited to see where it goes. Sure I loved working in the car business, but ironically I felt stuck. I felt like if I “only had my golden ticket (that’s what I called a college degree) then I would be anything I wanted.” I had been approached to apply for corporate jobs twice by reps of brands I had worked for, and when I said I didn’t have a degree, I was automatically not qualified anymore. All of a sudden I wouldn’t do, when just 15 minutes ago you were telling me how perfect I would be?!
You are never too old, too broke, too smart, or too “out of practice,” to go back to school. If you are thinking about it, check it out. Think of it as another job you are applying for, you don’t HAVE to take it if you don’t want to. Think of it as fulfilling a dream. Don’t assume you will have time later when you do have time today. My plan if I hadn’t gotten a job for the spring semester was going to be to audit a class or two. If you don’t know what that means, it’s when you go to class for a small fee, and get to sit there and learn. You don’t have to take the test or write the papers if you don’t want to, you don’t get credits towards a degree for it. But if you are considering school, why not do a baby step? I just love to learn, so my thought was, take classes I hadn’t taken while in my undergraduate because I hadn’t had the time.
If you are reading this and thinking, “school, ugh, I’m so over school!” Then don’t worry about it. BUT, if you are thinking, “it’s always been in the back of my mind,” then don’t think, check it out. Unemployed, employed, here is the thing, if you don’t go and try, then you will never know. At 28 I stopped my course of my career, asked my future husband to support my decision, went back to school and fulfilled a dream of mine. I had no direction, my plan because to me, “Graduate” seemed like enough. During school I made Dean’s List every semester as a sign to him of how much I appreciated his supporting me, but also to show how serious I was about this.
Last night as we planned our new budget with a “working Joanna again in the house,” we stared at the debt and for the first time got excited to see it could go away in our spreadsheet of “how to pay the debt down,” as we tried to decide who to pay what amount first. You don’t have to go to one of the most expensive schools in the country to create debt. But you can never give up on yourself and if that means getting a Bachelors degree, your Masters, maybe a certification, then do what you need to do to not only show yourself you can do it, but to say, “hey I will never stop learning,” because you can teach this old dog a few new tricks, and for me I feel my BA did just that. I’m a college graduate, I have an entry level job, and if it wasn’t for taking a chance, I never would have made it here to be writing this to you. So think of it this way, what do you want? No one is going to hand you a degree, you do have to work for it, and those of you who are reading this and are back in school, congrats on doing the hardest part and good luck on finals!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Blog #46

In the last almost 3 months now, many of you have been reading about my interviews, revelations, and struggles dealing with being unemployed and searching for employment status. Part of me wondered if I would be writing this blog forever at the rate I was going! If being unemployed was just going to be something that happened and continued until finally one day I just didn’t apply for jobs anymore and went for plan B…whatever plan B was I’m not sure, I haven’t gotten that far.
I got a job offer. I was offered a job to work with a national nonprofit at their headquarters. As I had mentioned earlier I had been interviewing there for almost 2 months! And even though I didn’t get the original position, they offered me the opportunity to interview for another position. It is a true, “get your foot in the door position,” the kind that most people don’t stay in for too long because it gives you the basic tools to move out in the world, or up in the organization.
Of course I accepted, and it’s been a pretty great day. I made many phone calls and sent out texts, it took all of my will power to not post something on facebook because I wanted to “save” my joy for the blog.  Part of me is really excited, I did it! I got a job! Part of me is scared, it’s been 2 years since I’ve last worked, and about 7 months since I graduated from college. This is something I have never done, this is one of those opportunity jobs that people turn down because they don’t like the pay, or they believe they deserve better than to start out on the bottom…lucky for me, I’m not one of those people. I’m the kind of people who goes back to college when they are 28 and has to sit next to 18 year olds in intro to Sociology class.
Part of me knew the day would come where I was going to be part of the “employed” again, but honestly part of me didn’t want to be. I enjoy writing this blog. I enjoy all of the strangers who read it and get hope because they know they aren’t alone. Maybe they don’t all agree with everything I’m saying, maybe they think I’m full of “it” read once and never come back. But writing this blog gave me something to look forward to every other day, and to all of you who read because you wanted to know how my journey would end, thank you.
I look at it like this. Everything I wrote here was something I experienced, and there is so much more I would love to say. I will still be technically unemployed until January 2011, so I would love to continue to write and inspire those of you are still looking or those of you who are close with someone who is struggling through unemployment. If people follow my blog and want me to continue, I will. I feel a deep amount of empathy and although I will not be able to relate as I had in the past, that doesn’t mean I will ever forget. Of course I will need to change the name to my blog, but as I said that depends on you, the reader.
Shows get canceled after they “jump the shark” but somehow Friends stayed on for many years after Rachel and Ross got together, then broke up, then got back together…well you get my point did I reach my peak? I hope getting a job isn’t my “jumping the shark” moment of blogging, and I can continue to write. But I leave that in your hands. At least be prepared for about 3 more weeks of advice, inspiration, and things that you might not have thought about or considered for your future, because just like a senior who has finished their finals and knows they are graduating in 2 weeks, they haven’t graduated yet, and I’m taking advantage of the time I have left.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Never say never

For the last two months I have been interviewing for a position at a nonprofit organization. About two weeks ago I was told I did not get the position. Was I upset, sure, after all this was something I really wanted. Lucky for me there was a “but” with that “no,” something that I’m not used to. The “but” was that they had another opening as well.
For most of my interviewing it has been me against at least 6 people for each job. I can’t tell you how many times I have been told “we had an overwhelming response,” in the last 10 months. I always smile and shake my head in agreement because I know that there are plenty of people looking for a job. You can see in the interviewer’s eyes this excitement because they know they can have the best, and you better bring it. Now with those pesky “overqualified” people applying for jobs that 5 years ago they wouldn’t have dreamt of applying for because after all, everyone needs to get their foot in the door, the competition isn’t just 6 people like me, its 6 people ranging from like me to amazing.
So it was no surprise that I didn’t get the position, the surprise was when they asked if I would consider interviewing for a non-management position. Here is how I looked at it. Yes I would be sitting 15 feet from the person who got the first job I had interviewed for, but wait if I actually get this job I would be sitting at a desk in the room I wanted to be in!
Two steps back for a moment, they asked me from the interviews I had already had with them, if I wanted to interview for a different position. There is a lesson to be learned here! Yes in the end there was someone more qualified for the original position, but they saw potential enough in me from my personality and my dedication to the field that they thought to ask me to keep going.
When you are interviewing for a position you never know. We assume if we don’t get that job then we are forgotten. But that really isn’t the case at all. Sure I would say that most of the time we are forgotten as soon as we leave, but this was the second time I was told, “we had to go with this other person,” and there was another position brought up. This was the first time though, that the other position happens to currently be open, not in 6 months.
I think it has something to do with the fact that when I interview, I’m not just interviewing for the job. I feel like I am interviewing for the organization. I try to see where I will fit in. I do a lot of research on organization, if people have ever posted bad reviews about working there, and I try to get a feel for the people who are interviewing me. Sure, you do need to know the job and you should be as qualified for the position as possible, but most places are not going to hire you if your personality doesn’t match with the office dynamic. 
So there I was, sitting in yet another interview with the same organization, sitting with the people that I could prospectively be working with, all because my pride didn’t turn the opportunity to interview down. I have read many blogs where people talk about how they weren’t offered enough money, or a “decent title” so they would pass on the offer. WOW, an offer and you pass? Why not take the job, prove yourself and move up within the company? Before I decided to move forward with the process of interviewing for the new position, we talked about the potential for my future. If they had said to me, “this is the job,” I would have had to think hard about it. But, they said, “we don’t see you in this position for more than a year or two.” See that sounds frightening to most, but to me it sounded like growth. Maybe it won’t be there, but they offered me building blocks for a career in the nonprofit sector. So of course I interviewed again, to be continued…

Friday, December 3, 2010

People matter

If there is something that you must learn about being unemployed, it’s that being bitter about it is not going to get you further. Sure it may motivate you to push harder with your search, but ultimately learning to accept unemployment as something that is happening to you, instead of what you are, is important to staying centered. It doesn’t hurt to surround yourself with supportive people.
When I began my job search, I was crushed, to the point of not moving off the couch for days, because I didn’t get “the” job. I felt like this was why I went to college. This was the job I wanted when I began school. It had to be the one! I blamed myself and couldn’t understand what I did wrong. Did they not like me? Did I fail the test they make all prospective employees take? I was crushed as most young people are when their first love rejects them, (spoiler alert: do NOT read this next part if you still believe in the Easter Bunny) or they find out that there is no bunny that jumps around leaving baskets of candy for every boy and girl (I told you not to read that part, if you are upset it’s your own fault, also consult your parents).
It was probably a week later that one of my friends was talking about how they were going to “sell out” and take a job for a company that didn’t stand for what they believed, but it paid well. She was going back and forth, not knowing if she should stop the job as she had originally planned, since she was hired as a temp, or continue through the summer to possibly a permanent position because the money was good, and after all she was lucky to have a job when so many people (such as this girl right here) were struggling to find work. I could see that she was just as tormented as me.
She then said something to the effect of how she hoped I didn’t sell out and followed my heart to do what I wanted, which was to help others. It was then I stopped mourning the loss of the corporate job that I had thought I wanted, and decided it was time to focus on what I really wanted. Here I was looking at her like she was so lucky to be in a situation of deciding to stay or go, doing something she did not want to do, but was good at it, and she was looking at me like, “go get your dream don’t sell out!”
I always say I have the best friends. I’m lucky. They aren’t the friends that say they want to help but never do. They are the friends that saw job listings and sent them to me. They are the friends that never leave me out of anything. They are the friends that want to create traditions. The friends that came to my graduation, bridal shower, bachelorette party, and wedding, stopping in the room before the ceremony to give me a drink and a hug.
You will have days when you feel alone even with the best of friends by your side. You will feel like they have no idea what you are going through, and chances are they don’t. Why would you want them to know the struggle and pain of unemployment?! But, they are the friends that when you say you don’t have the money to spend say, “let’s all meet at my house and do potluck.” People always say how optimistic I am about my “situation” and to them I say this, it’s all about the company you keep and perspective you keep on life. I have friends who believe in me more than I believe in myself. I also have my best friend of a husband who won’t let me give up even if I wanted too! I’m very lucky. I know there are a lot of people out there who get a lot of negative feedback because people assume you did this to yourself. Tune it out. You will beat the odds, I believe in you.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas is coming

That’s right, it’s December 1st, and in a few short weeks Christmas will be here! This year it’s pretty exciting, because last year we didn’t have a Christmas. I know there are so many families that this year they will be having the year that we had last, when they will do without and try to make sure they take care of those with what gifts they can give, because they feel they must for fear of letting them down.
We knew there was no money for presents. Money was really tight so we forewent the awkwardness and promised not to do much of anything for each other so we could take care of who we really wanted to. To make matters worse, we didn’t even decorate. The house looked just like any other day, which probably helped us not feel as though we missed out on as much. It’s hard because my husband and I began dating just after Thanksgiving time, so for us, last year was even harder because of all the celebrations we couldn’t have. That meant, a sad anniversary, a more depressing birthday for my husband who already has it tough enough being born just days before Christmas, and then a quiet day on the 25th.
I felt terrible. It was depressing, and sad, but I just couldn’t wait for Christmas to be over. We did it to ourselves, stressing about the expenses and not enjoying the spirit of the season without the worry of the bill. The only saving grace was that we did a secret Santa with our family and when I was asked what he wanted I got to tell them to get him what I would have wanted to if I could have. So when he got to open his present I felt happy to know he got something he really wanted.
The same went for me. I actually had tears in my eyes, because I knew if my then fiancĂ© could have given me that gift he would have. I felt so lucky to have family that would do that for us, even if they didn’t know they were. I’m sure no one knew how much we were struggling at the time, and that we didn’t do anything for Christmas on our own. We have this way of just going with things and trying to make the best of it. I always say when it gets really rough, “these are the times we will look back at and remember as the best, our closest times.”
So this year as we are decorating our little apartment, getting gifts for all of our friends and family, it feels like a relief. Are we in that much of a better place than last year? Well, not exactly, obviously as the blog is titled, I am still unemployed! The student loan bills are rolling and they aren’t too pretty. But this year we aren’t saving for a wedding, and we need a Christmas in this house, so if that means we pay the minimums, so be it! Isn’t that the American way, buy now and get the bill next month?! Of course I’m a bargain hunter, and I have become obsessed with trying to get things people actually want or need. If you are going to spend your money on something, don’t be wasteful, right?! Except for my sister, I refuse to buy her things she actually needs, because she is like me, she needs splurge items and who better to get them than me?
So if you are one of my friends or my family and you are reading this, know I took a lot of time and effort in everything I bought. If you don’t like it, tell me, I want to get you something better. Seriously! And if you are one of the many unemployed who isn’t celebrating a holiday this year because of the expense know this, it’s not all about the gifts. I believe that we had a rough holiday last year because we let ourselves be upset by it. We loved the time we spent together, but we should have decorated, not tried to get “over” the holiday. I wish I had bought us a nice dinner to celebrate, or just one special gift that said, “it’s our “hard” year but things will get better,” so when we looked at it we knew that we survived a rough patch.
This year there will be a tree, and under it presents, and most will leave as they end up in the arms of my nieces and nephew, friends, parents, and our siblings. But this year some will stay. And when it’s Christmas morning I get to see the look on his face when he opens my gifts, from me…sure he ultimately paid for it, but like I said, baby steps. Next year it will be all from me, and I know just what I’m going to get him then!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Slow down

There are days that we all dread, days we look forward to, and days we take for granted. I think there comes a point for most of us, that we take for granted that there will be a tomorrow. I myself try to appreciate every day but at the same time, I constantly plan for the future. But what if today truly was your last day, would you be happy with how you spent it, what you said, who you smiled at?
But Joanna, I have to go to work and pay my bills you say?! Of course, I understand that we can’t all run off to Hawaii and live a life of relaxing on the beach, if you are even into that sort of thing, but it isn’t always about that. Sometimes it’s just about, did you talk to everyone you wanted to? Tell everyone you wanted to that you love them? Did you spend way too much time at work, dreading every second of it, wishing you were somewhere else, only to come home and not be able to appreciate any other part of your day? Well, I would say you are taking the day for granted.
I’m not a “live your life to the fullest” expert, but I do try to make sure I live my life without regrets. Are there things I put off, sure we all do! But there are simple things I make sure I do because let’s be honest, you never really know. And to me it’s the simple things that life is all about.
For example make sure if you want to call someone you do it. That saying, “don’t put off what you can do today,” well that’s for a reason. If someone pops into my head out of nowhere, I feel like maybe it’s for a reason, so I text, e-mail or call if I can. I do simple things like try to take my time as much as I can. I think I learned that from my family who when we were younger and we walked in a group, we walked so slowly. I would watch as everyone passed us and wonder why my parents didn’t walk faster. Now as an adult I sometimes pull on my husband’s arm and say, “hey slow down,” and I have pretty long legs so I could keep up, but why not slow down? Little does he know I’m looking at everything, not just what I’m going to spend his money on, but taking in more than most probably realize but someone spent the time to put those little details around, I want to see them.
But I will admit, I have terrible road rage. There are times I get so angry that the saying, “don’t lay an egg,” comes to mind. Later when I am out of the car I say, “next time I’m going to stay calm, it isn’t worth getting so upset” and it usually lasts until someone does something stupid with their car and puts me in harm’s way, then I’m back to releasing all of my anger at someone who doesn’t even know because now they are in front of me, or won’t even look back over at me because they know they swerved into my lane and now are afraid to get the wrath of a New Jersey driver.
My point, no one is perfect. Everyone is in a rush at some point. Sure, it’s hard because we live in a scheduled world, and when children get involved the schedule just gets more insane, and life just passes faster and faster so you feel like you have to catch up somehow. But when I look outside and now all the leaves are gone, I don’t say, “where did they all go?!,” because I was watching as they turned from green to yellows, oranges and reds, and this isn’t something I did because I was at home, this is something I make sure I do every year. I also hunt for the first blooms on the trees, hold my husband’s hand when I am near him, tell my mother I love her when we hang up the phone, play with my nieces and nephews anytime I can, and take my time any time I can because I know there will be a rush coming again.
Enjoy what time you have, say hello, say goodbye, do not think to yourself “next time” think to yourself “this is my time” because to truly live shouldn’t be for vacations or holidays, it should somehow be in everyday.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Black Friday

So when I woke up on Black Friday, it hit me like a ton of bricks, I forgot to call and cancel the interview with that guy! Since my husband was home I asked him what he thought I should do. “Well,” he began, “you said you would go, I think you have to live by your word.” Although I knew he was right, I begrudgingly agreed as I decided on which suit to wear.
Since it was an insane shopping day, I left extra early because of the traffic I had predicted, and of course not knowing exactly where I was going even though I drove right by the place for 3and a half years every day. As luck would have it, this means I got there 30 minutes early. Instead of holding my breath and waiting outside, I decided, to heck with it, and went in. Since it’s a retail business it was filled with all the sales people hoping to make sales, and customers looking for a great holiday deal, it was a mess. I introduced myself at the reception desk, and was asked to wait. That would be the first of many times I waited. Finally my “heavy breathing” friend came out to introduce himself, made me fill out an application and left. He didn’t return for 20 minutes and when he did seemed surprised when I told him I had indeed finished the one page document. When he asked me for my driver’s license I declined, asking if would be okay to do that later on (I would also like to add I did not provide my social security number and never give away things like that unless I am actually hired, you too should protect your privacy who knows what they will do with it when you leave).
He took me to his office and had me sit, but not in front of him as in most interviews, but off to the side at the conference table while he sat at his desk. Awkwardly he checked things off on the application as if we were talking about it, but we weren’t. Instead he asked me about my transportation, and if I had any restrictions. Then after a few more checks he said, “you look good to me! Let me go get the General Manager.” I sat there in slight shock since he didn’t ask me any “actual” questions, but okay let’s just imagine he is the bouncer, I told myself. He removed me from his office and directs me to sit in the center of the sales floor, and leaves. When he returns he tells me to follow him, and takes me to a waiting room telling me to now wait there. At this point I had been waiting a total of 30 minutes and was going on to the 4th place of waiting. I was to wait for another 15 minutes for when the General Manager came to meet me, and at least there was a television.
She introduced herself then took me into an office, not her own, and closed the door. We went over my qualifications, and she seems very interested. She asks me about my education, my life, and then we go deeper into my work history. Since I am very confident in what I have done in the past, the interview seems to flow well and my confidence is brimming over with impeccable answers and no inappropriate giggling. We seemed to get along, have a lot to talk about, and things were going well, I was pleased with myself!
Then out of nowhere her tone changes and she says, “well we don’t have any openings right now, but when I saw that you had previous experience I just had to meet you.” It was at this point that I was shocked, and relieved. But as we said our goodbyes my anger began to rise. That guy had me come in on a holiday when they didn’t even have a job opening, are you kidding me?! I specifically said, we could do this next week but no…he said Friday of a holiday weekend!
As soon as I got in my car I called my husband and began the conversation with, “you are never going to believe this one!” He asked me why I hadn’t told her off for wasting my time, especially on a holiday. Now 1) I can’t tell anyone off who is in a position of authority, I’m not a teenager anymore, it’s just not in me and 2) she didn’t set up the interview, HE did, THAT guy! So on my way home all I could think was, how much I hated when people had no respect for my time. Just because they are at work and have to be there, does not mean I have to come there and entertain them! I understand there are many people who want to meet me. Maybe it’s because of my resume, or maybe because of a letter I sent to their establishment, but I’m thinking I might need to start sending out bills for my time, because the only way I’m getting this dressed up is if there is an actual job, or there better be a nice meal at the end from now on!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Don't pick up the phone

The other afternoon, as it seemed my options weren’t looking so good with the holiday season approaching for job hunting, with the job searching coming to a festive halt, I received a phone call I was not expecting. I should have realized when the caller Id showed that it was “unknown” there was something fishy. As I pick up the call, a booming voice demanded to speak with Joanna Kent, and lucky for them I was she!
Part of me thought, maybe I should have just taken a message for “her,” but I decided I had to know who was demanding I come to the phone. It was for a job I must have applied to months ago, because when he said where he was calling from I didn’t even remember applying there. I figured I would be able to go back into my e-mails and find all the details of what I had applied for so I went along with the conversation. “When can you come in for an interview? I’m busy Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, how about Friday,” he boomed through the phone to which I politely said, “well it is a holiday, so if you wanted we could meet next week.”
Without hesitation he said, “it’s not a holiday for me.” At that point I should have politely declined after all it WAS a holiday for me! Sensing this is not someone I want to work with I should have said “no thank you,” but instead I agreed to 3:00 on Friday without even thinking that we wouldn’t even be in the state, since we would be spending Thanksgiving with my husband’s family. I called my husband to tell him about the awkward conversation and interview time, and how I didn’t even know what the job was! When my e-mails search didn’t pan out as I had hoped, he urged me to just call him back and ask. I hesitated, but my husband didn’t realize the way I had already been spoken to, with little to no compassion, I was scared I would “get in trouble” as small children do when they stick their hand where they have been told 20 times “don’t touch that,” and BAM, the wrath of a parent would come out for not knowing better.
I agreed, and called back. “Hi, it’s Joanna Kent I just spoke with you a few moments ago, and I thought I could look back at my e-mails and see but I couldn’t find anything. I’m sorry what job am I interviewing for?” I could hear him breathing heavy and literally making huffing sounds as he replied, “I have to check your resume.” Confused I said, “oh no, I just want to know what position,” to which he replied even louder, “I need your resume.” I could hear papers shuffling and his deep annoyed breathing, and finally he says, “YOU wrote office personnel.” Now this was my mistake, I should have just said thank you and hung up, but I didn’t. I asked, “well do you know what the actual position is?” You would have thought I just called him a derogatory name because the way he spoke to me I was actually more scared than before that he was going to slap me the next time he saw me. “I don’t know! That’s what YOU put. Anyway the office manager will be there and she will know more, I don’t know this stuff!”
At that, I thanked him and hung up. I saw my husband on facebook and wrote him the conversation. Later that night when I was trying to readjust our plans so I could manage the interview time, Michael was like, “don’t go on that interview.” There had only been one other time that he had said that, and that was when the company had scam alerts on it. This was a reputable place of business that had called me in! But it made me so relieved he said it. I legitimately was scared that I would get the job and have to work for someone who talked to me like that just to set up an interview. How would he talk to me as an employee? And worse, he had no idea what I was interviewing for and he runs the place? Then my husband said, “plus I read your blog today and I believed what you said, why would you even want to work there when you really want that other job?” It’s moments like that when I know I’m the luckiest girl in the world. Sure I might be unemployed, but my husband thinks I’m worth more than money…and that’s pretty awesome.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 22, 2010

And the winner is...

There are days when I know exactly what I want to write, then there are days I sit and stare at my computer until motivation strikes or something happens, such as the phone call I received this morning. This was the call I had been waiting, no hoping for, it just wasn’t quite as I had imagined it would be.
As the conversation awkwardly began, by telling me I didn’t get the job, I wasn’t too shocked. I knew it was a hard decision, most of them are. But he continued to say that maybe there was another option for me. I perked up, but it is in cases such as this that maybe some people would be offended. Why? Because the position he mentions to me is considered “less prestigious” and therefore some people may feel as though they are better than that. I think he even hesitated to tell me about it, because he wanted me to be aware of the negative aspects along with the positive.
I found the conversation interesting, and exciting. Of course there was the disappointment from not landing “the job” I had hoped for, but as we were talking the thought occurred to me, I would have applied to either job if I had seen the listing, even quiet possibly the one he was talking to me about because it’s entry level. Sure a great title is exciting, but for me, this isn’t about titles, this isn’t even about getting a “job” it’s about going to work to do something you love, something I am proud of.
So, as I look at the job description that I had already had from my previous interviews, part of me is nervous, I mean this is not going to be one of those positions where creative thinking leads my day. But, it’s a gateway to opportunities. Someone once told me many years ago, that you will never get paid enough in money, but knowledge is priceless, so the more you take from every experience the richer you will be, and no matter what happens, no one can take that knowledge away from you. Basically things, can be taken back, money can be lost to the ever enchanting stock market, but what you learn is yours so take advantage or the real loss is yours. I have found that true in every job I have done so far and made it my business to master what I could as fast as I could, so I could be in a position to learn more.
So here I am, presented with an opportunity. This is not to say I have the job, because don’t worry I was reminded I did not! This is to say, I could interview for this position, I could put myself out there. Sure there are many down sides, as in sitting 15 feet from the person who got the original job I interviewed for. But that is only a down side if I choose to look at it that way. My thoughts are, if I were to get this other position, and they did get that position, then they have a lot to teach me who knows I might teach them something! Even more, we are both there to work as a team towards the better good for the organization and all of the people that it helps, which means for me I would be at my goal, maybe not on a professional title level, but I would be one of the lucky people who gets to work in a industry they want to work in!
Sure ultimately a title is something that we work for, and like to see how people react to, but at the same time, at least for me, getting to say that you are a part of something that changes and helps to improve tens of thousands of lives a year, that is pretty amazing no matter what the title. Sure, getting a job is about money, it’s about title, and it’s about fulfillment in some way for each of us. For some people what makes them proud is a large house, nice car, and fancy clothing…but then there are people like me who knew those things were great but wanted to be proud of a finished college education, volunteer work, and even more that I get to do something that actually helps make the world a better place, not that keeps the world at bay to just make my life a better place with material possessions. It looks like I might just be interviewing again…real soon.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Looking around our little apartment, which we have obviously out grown, I can’t help but feel guilty like it’s my entire fault we are still here. Yesterday I received another rejection, and although on the outside I may take them better, on the inside I am crushed. Not because I wanted the job, but because I wanted to help make our situation better.
I look at my husband, and I feel horrible for him. He doesn’t deserve this. When we met he thought I was independent and strong willed, who knew that strong will would bite him in the butt?! He feels like every time I talk about the future it’s a demand of what I want now, and then I feel like he is angry at me for thinking about a future when I should be focused on the present...a present that kind of sucks after another rejection! It’s hard to feel like you are failing the ones you love when they always seem to succeed for you.
Even though my husband would never say that I let him down since he tells me how proud he is of all I accomplished, deep down inside he is overwhelmed with the stress of having to support his little family. I get so upset because I feel like I am defending myself, my actions and I shouldn’t have to do that. But, he shouldn’t have to pay for the college education that I wanted either, so life isn’t fair. It’s a painful circle of events when I look at how hard he “gets” to work, and I am not given that same opportunity.    
Today is one of those days where no matter what I say, I won’t be right. You know that day when you woke up in a pretty decent mood, maybe even sang in the shower, and then BAM out of nowhere a friend is angry because you jokingly said something in front of someone you weren’t supposed to bring up and now there is a rift in the trust? Or one of those days when your boss asks, “when did we start doing it this way,” to something you were taught to do that way a year ago and all along you have been doing it wrong? Or one of those days when you go to take money out of the ATM but your check isn’t going to clear until Tuesday…Tuesday but its Saturday?! I think you get the point, you didn’t see it coming, but it’s here all the same.
I’ve learned that some things are worth fighting, and other things aren’t worth the effort so you just walk away from them. Rejection isn’t something that I fight, it’s something that I question at times, but fight no. I fight for people to understand my position, or I fight for someone to know that I’m more than words on a resume, but I can’t change what people think of me by words alone, and interviews that last but 5-15 minutes there isn’t much hope for an epiphany. But when I see how my husband can’t enjoy anything without thinking of the consequences, such as the time it costs, the money, the effect later, that’s when the rejections weighs on me the hardest.
So what do you do when you feel like giving up? Try harder. Make phone calls, and tweak that resume. It’s okay to take a break if everything is the same out there. Enjoy the holidays as much as you can! And most of all, enjoy the things you have, because later when you look back at this time in your life who knows you might just remember those as the good times.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

At it again

I don’t know about you, but I never fair well with doctors. I want to tell them what my symptoms are but usually part way through they cut me off and for some reason I shut down and go with whatever they say, usually leaving thinking, oh man I guess I can ask next time. I think there is this part of me that can’t help but respect how difficult it is to become a doctor, and after all they are the expert. So I should have realized that interviewing for a doctor would be a very similar situation for me.
In my first interview I was dismissed within 3 minutes, talked over and cut off leaving me confused and slightly annoyed as I left. I collected myself and sent a well worded, and diplomatic e-mail about how I felt the person I interviewed with had been mistaken to judge me just because I never worked at a doctors office. So, I was more than confused when I was asked to come for a second interview. Just like the first, there was a waiting room filled with people there to interview. In my head I said, “note to self, if hired tell them how horrible this is.” I was of course in my suit, and couldn’t help but notice the first woman called in to interview was wearing brown shoes with a black suit…I was horrified at the thought that she might get this job over me. I’m not qualified, but she is going to be a manager and can’t match her shoes to her suit? The other people waiting, one did not have a suit, the other did, but I remembered the buttons because they were unusual, she was wearing the same suit as the first time I saw her. See, people remember that’s why I needed a new suit. Because all of mine were black, so I can wear five black suits, and never wear the same one…anyway these are men interviewing us so they won’t remember, so I’m sure she is in the clear on that one.
The first woman was only in there about 5 minutes I couldn’t help but think, “oh wow, these interviews are like speed dating,” and then I was called in. As I walked into the office I noticed it was now two people to interview me, it was the patriarch of the practice and the same doctors as before. The greetings were very pleasant, “nice to see you again,” said the junior doctor who probably was thinking, “My dad made me call you in,” and “it’s a pleasure to meet you,” says the patriarch. I sit, and the patriarch begins with how he had to meet the girl who wrote such an e-mail. It was at that moment the junior doctor tries to explain he gets “feelings” and he had not dismissed me. He was cut off by the patriarch who then says to me, “now I don’t want you to feel like you did anything wrong by sending this e-mail.” In my head I’m thinking, of course I didn’t do anything wrong, but I just smiled as to thank him.
As he went on, we talked about my education, and finally he says to me, “I just don’t want to spend the time and energy training you, because I feel like you might get bored,” as I strain to understand where he is going he adds, “I think you are a smart girl, and would be bored…why do you want to be a receptionist anyway?” Without hesitation I replied, “I don’t want to be a receptionist. I’m confused what am I even interviewing for. I thought this was an office manager position?” It turns out, they still don’t think I can handle it because I don’t have reception experience at a doctor’s office.
In the end who knows what will happen. We did talk about a few possible options, and after the longest interview they have probably conducted (I think it might have been a full 20 minutes) they said they will call me the end of this week. I have no idea what to expect. Had someone told me they would have had me in for a second interview two weeks ago, I would have said you had a better chance getting the Jersey Shore cast to do an abstinence campaign (oh wait, Mike the “Situation” is in one! Are pigs flying too?). I still hold out hope that I will hear back from the other position I was interviewing for.  Mostly because I want to be a part of something bigger than me, bigger than I could have ever dreamed possible, because I figured if I was made to wait this long to find a job by the “Job Gods,” it must be for a reason.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

So it's Tuesday...

Today is another one of those days…an interview day. But today’s interview has been haunting me since I was called about it just last week. Because this interview, is with a place who told me I, “wasn’t right,” and the interview was over in 5 minutes flat. So you know that saying, “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me,” I’m wondering if I’m going to be shamed tonight.
But, I have to follow my own advice, and I always say to push on because if I don’t, then I will never know. I want to know why I am being called back. Was it my e-mail that told them we all start out new at one point but that doesn’t mean we aren’t qualified? Did they re-look at my resume when they realized I was the only one in a suit? Call my references? So in the words of many “when you look good you feel good,” I got the new suit, I bought some nice heels, and I’m doing my hair. This interview is like when a guy breaks up with you, and then says he was wrong. Well, that’s what I want it to be like at least.
Although there is all of the confusion, it is still an interview, and as much as part of me wants them to say how wrong they were to dismiss me the way they did, I’m still the one “fighting” to show my worth. It’s been great to focus on this other interview because I haven’t been obsessing over the other job I’m waiting to hear back about. Obviously I check my e-mail every hour on the hour, waiting for the possibility that I will be receiving a rejection via the world wide web. When my phone rings my stomach drops until I see the number, which then leads to slight relief and also disappointment when I realize this isn’t a job offer. Wondering if they offered the job to someone else first who they are waiting to hear back from first before they tell me that I did not make the cut.
Disappointments and rejections are what I’m always prepared for with the trends of the last almost 10 months of applying for jobs now, so as usual I am pushing forward on my search instead of standing still waiting to find out, that yet again, I’m taking home the silver metal. But am I ruining my chances by not focusing all of my energies on one offer, that the phone will ring with good news?! I don’t think so. I have to think about the possible, “yes we want you to work with us,” but also just in case, the search continues. I have completed my tests with an agency, but I have not done the step where I send them the jobs that interest me from their database, I guess I am still holding out hope.
But even more, what if the phone did ring with good news? Would I even know how to react? Even writing this my thoughts are dancing with “what ifs”, and how extremely embarrassing this could all turn out, because I will have to tell you about all of the impending rejections, if they become rejections! Every other day I put it out there. The interviews, the lack of interviews, the online applications, the lack of money, lack of control, the judgments, sometimes this blog feels like that dream when you are in your underwear in front of the whole school. Yes, it is me airing the “dirty laundry” of sorts, but I want it to be okay to talk about the fact that this is a struggle for many of us, and that’s okay. Struggles can be really good for you too.
So today we fight another day. I wait for a phone call about the previous set of interviews I went on, I prepare for a second interview tonight, and with everything I do, I know I’m doing it for the ultimate goal of the future. So even when the patches are rough, even when you feel like you have no control over the outcome, if you keep pushing forward, that is control. You are going out and continuing the process because you have the control to do that, never feel helpless because you aren’t.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dressing for success

When you are unemployed people make assumptions about you. It’s true, we know that we are being judged. Even if you are trying not to formulate any biases, even if you had been in the situation yourself at one time, even if someone close to you is in that same situation right now, somehow we all judge others. Now the good thing about “judgments” per say, is they aren’t all bad. I think there is this automatic negative connotation to the word, but that is not always true.
It hit me while I was watching television, and I was flipping between a show that is fixated on changing the styles of women from a “television disaster” to Hollywood amazing. On it, this woman was having a problem finding employment, so she was introduced to a program that actually helps women with giving them proper business attire, such as suits, and helping them with classes, and workshops. The program is called, “Dress for Success” which helps women of disadvantage to be able to land better jobs, move up within their industries, and so much more.
I have always felt bad for the people on these shows. Most were happy with the way they looked, before being embarrassed, and in some cases made fun of by the hosts for their “lack of taste” as according to the “professionals” of course, so it made me wonder, do I sabotage myself with my fashion sense?
I have talked about wearing the black suit. I’m not a black suit, I’m not a suit person at all! There were so many interviews I walked out watching someone walk in looking exactly like me, little black suit carbon copies. Even worse, there were other interviews where I was the only suit in the room, and I thought, they need to get a suit if they want to get a job! But while shopping for a new suit this weekend, since all I seem to own are black ones, it became clear how hard it really is. A nice suit that fits a woman right is much more difficult than a man’s suit where he can get 2 for 100 bucks and call it a day. We have curves, and some of us don’t have curves, so we can’t always buy the suit that is on sale. Plus, if you want to buy separates, it’s more money. Dressing for success seemed to be an average of $200.00, if you opened a store charge card.
Now I have to think about things like, “how much does this cost,” so my husband kept pushing me to look harder, and I did find something great. But, it was from sheer luck that I am able to wear the same size on the top and the bottom, so I could buy a set. And, the fact that Lord and Taylor is having a huge sale (if you are in need of a suit you really should check it out ladies), plus there are 15% off coupons out there, so you can get a great designer suit for a fraction of the cost! But this isn’t about promoting, it’s about the fact that as unemployed looking good is so much more important than I thought. I laughed off the article about how my hair makes its own impression, but I wear it just like the article said for fear of the impression I’m making. I always wear a suit, although now I have one that isn’t black, I’m not saying get a sequenced suit, but you want to stand out, and sometimes being the only one in a suit does just that.
There are programs out there to help people who can’t afford to buy a suit on their own, so don’t be ashamed to ask for help if you need it. There are also companies that won’t look down at you if you don’t have a suit, so I’m not saying you need one to succeed, it’s just that if you wear one you are saying without words “I take this very seriously,” which means so much more than just that. For all you working folks, the same goes for you. Even if you don’t have to, if you wear a suit, it changes the dynamic at times. My husband never wears a polo shirt in the summer at work, even though he could, because he feels it’s important to dress for the role you want, not the role you have…he’s a smart guy, maybe it’s time I listened to him.
If you want to learn more about Dress for Success, check out this link -

Friday, November 12, 2010

You never know

So a few weeks back I told you about how I went on an interview to a Doctor’s office, and within 3 minutes it was over because I was told I was not “right” for the position. I then told you how I sent an e-mail telling them what they were missing. Then the most common thing happened, I completely put them out of my mind.
Anyone who doesn’t hear back from a place that they feel they were prejudged and mislead, that’s right they mislead me, would put it out of their minds! How so? Why would you live in the past? You cannot change how other people view the world. But how did they mislead me you ask? Well, if they had my resume the whole time, then it was not a shock to them that I did not have doctor’s office experience, so why make me go through this process if I’m not even a candidate? So pretty much I took the time to e-mail them and tell them how wrong they were to judge me, and how it was their loss.
Well, as I stated, I put that place out of my mind, and then I got the oddest call this morning. I pick up the phone and when the woman said where she was calling from I was confused. She said they wanted me to come in for a second interview. I replied, “really?” This probably is not my best response, but I was more than confused! Honestly I was shocked, because I never heard anything back from my e-mail, and figured he would have to admit he was wrong if he called me back. I then proceeded to ask when, and of course agreed.
When I told my husband he was as shocked as me, I think. He assumes a receptionist position must have opened. I assume that the doctors and current office manager talked and realized how wrong he was. I sent my e-mail to a general mailbox, so I knew he would not be the only one to see it. I didn’t do it to be mean, I did it because he obviously didn’t give me his card on the way out and that was all I could find on their website. I thought perfect! His office manager will probably read this and know how he dismissed me.
Yes, part of me was angry and annoyed when I wrote the e-mail, why wouldn’t I be? At that time I felt they wasted my time and told me I wasn’t good enough, when I know that isn’t true, but still I felt that was the message he sent. This time I know what I am walking into. And as my husband reminds me, this guy is sort of a jerk, and not the kind of person who seems to inspire you. But I was strong enough to stand up for myself once, I can surely do it again.
Next week is a big week for me. I find out about the interviews I have been doing the last few weeks with a great organization that makes a difference, I have the excitement of going on a “second date” with a guy that made an idiot of himself on the first one, and I also decided it was time to move forward with getting an agency to represent me. Well, not 100% my choice, with Christmas around the corner there has been some influence on me that temp work might not be the worst option if I get to buy my husband a gift just from me.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How did the interview go…

People always ask me after my latest interview, “how did it go?” I used to dive into all of the tiniest details as to why I felt I was a success, but this has become more than difficult to answer because 1) if it did go well on my side does not mean “they” will agree and 2) because I normally think I could have done better. My latest interviews have been the hardest by far, mostly because my confidence is wavering, and the worst part is, they know it.
I’m very confident that I will be able to do a good job, no ultimately a great job! Passion is not something that everyone has. But for some reason every time I interviewed with this group, I couldn’t seem to relax. Honestly I have never been so giddy, and airheaded sounding. It’s worse that the time I talked with actor and teen heart throb, Jonathan Brandis (yeah the actor from the 90’s who was in such great movies as Ladybugs and the hit series SeaQuest DSV) on the telephone and I literally forgot how to speak! I feel like when I actually could calm down enough to answer one question, the next question would make me even more nervous. It was worse than waiting for Christmas morning sitting in your room knowing there are tons of presents but your parents say, “okay you can’t wake us until 7:00,” and you are 7 years old, and it’s 5:30 am! So as I usually tell those whom ask me for advice, or don’t ask but lucky for them I’m willing to give it to them anyway, I had to take a step back and figure out what is going on.
First, I’m wearing a suit. I am not a suit girl. Can I wear one, yes of course, but do I feel 100% myself, no. So to try and help with my comfort level, and I decided to wear a sweater vest with my suit (yes I know that some fashion disaster show is looking up my address as you read this, so I won’t tell you what shoes I wore), more my style, but still maybe it was the stockings or the skirt, I was not myself. Second, for the life of me I can’t seem to find parking in that area. No matter how early I leave, meters are broken, I get lost, or there aren’t any spots. In this past case, all of the above happened, which started me out frazzled from running 3 blocks to the interview and up a flight of stairs!
Third, once I start to giggle, chances are I can’t stop. It’s like a nervous twitch, which honestly can become annoying after an hour, even to me and I’m the giggler. So why is my confidence at an arm’s length when the last job I interviewed where the gentleman told me I wasn’t an ideal candidate I was strong, passionate, and articulate, really I even used big words to show him how wrong he was, with no nervous giggle.
I really want this job. It is so simple, and aggravating. I am a nervous, giggling, talk too much mess, because when I think about my life with this job in it, it literally makes my eyes well with tears of joy. There are few people that are lucky enough to actually do what they want to do. And I am in the running, the closest I have ever been to my goal, and the only person who is going to stop me from getting this job is me.
I consider myself an optimist, and when I first began to interview I was so excited I thought, “how could I not get this job?!” Now I seem to prepare myself to not get the job, and it shows. I over analyze every word that is spoken to me as a hint of a rejection, and the truth is they picked my resume, they talked to me on the phone, called me in for not one, but two interviews! I read on a website that if you make it to the second interview you should be proud, and I am, but for me, being an overachiever, I realized that isn’t enough for me this time. This isn’t a job, this is a career! This is a dream within reach. I don’t want to just be the runner up or the fall back plan, but the choice is out of my hands. But don’t feel helpless interviewee’s, because we have more control than we realize. Just don’t miss opportunities, and I sure hope I have not missed mine.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Second interview

The second interview is technically the third interview in my case tomorrow. I say this because, with the phone interview and the 1st interview in person, the 2nd in person interview, is the 3rd interview, and its tomorrow.... So you would assume that by the third time I would be more relaxed, you would assume wrong.
This is not my first, “second interview,” so I understand that this does not mean I’m in the clear. For all of the jobs I had ever done in my life, I had never done as much work on interviews as I do now. I could have literally walked in, express interest, and walked out knowing I was starting tomorrow. For the last two jobs I had, there was actually a formal interview, and I would have to wait to hear, in one case I think it was 6 months, possibly more? That was how I knew life was getting more serious.
But now, I need multiple interview appropriate outfits, and still in the end, I may not get the job. It’s true! Since I have graduated, I have been asked to take tests, do phone interviews, do face to face interviews, sometimes with 3 different people in one day. Even the occasional surprise interview, such as, “oh, so and so is here, you should talk with them too,” why not? I love to interview for 3 hours straight with no bathroom break or granola bar in sight.
Even worse than my own interviewing though, is hearing from my friends or family members how they are interviewing people. Such as, “I saw this person and they made me think of you,” and then later I hear how or why they didn’t hire that person. Basically you just told me why I’m not good enough to work at your company, was that a pep talk?! I don’t tend to take it personally anymore, because people are really trying to help, but I do find it hard when people tell me all the reason they didn’t hire someone, because I can now be beyond empathetic towards understanding how hard it really, truly is out there, especially when I feel as though the interview was misjudged.
Before I began this grand search to find a career, I always thought people would be lucky to hire me, I mean after all, that was what my friends and family told me! As the months went on, and the rejections came rolling in, I began to question if that was true anymore. If you have enough people tell you that you need a nose job in Hollywood to get a call back, chances are you are getting the boob job that goes with it! My point is, it’s hard to not try to change. People are always telling me, “say this,” or, “look like that,” and you begin to wonder if it is you. DO NOT! Sure we can all be better people in some way, but if you begin to question yourself, why should the “right” job even hire you? And let me ask you this, are you even applying for the “right” jobs anymore?
Let me make this easy for you. You know the prettiest girl in school, the one who knows she is pretty? Yes, we all hated her (except the guys, they all wanted to date her) because she was so arrogant. Don’t be her! How about the girl that was super pretty and always denied it, just to hear people tell her how pretty she was, don’t be here either, very annoying, and too high maintenance. BUT, you know the girl who was really pretty, didn’t seem like she knew it, and accepted it graciously when she received a compliment? She did know it! She just didn’t rub it in your face, be her! Sure this might be hard for guys to understand, maybe not, change all of the “hers” to “him”, and all the “pretty” to the “most awesome athlete in school”…see it works for all of us!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Every other day I am put in the position to write something new. Try to say something that other people can relate to. My last blog was about being a housewife, and I wanted to clarify on a few points.
First, my husband is wonderful. When I wanted to go back to college, he was proud. When work and school became too much he took on the burden, and told me to focus on school…we were only dating at the time. When I graduated he cheered the loudest. Looking for jobs he has helped me to research, apply, and even gotten people to evaluate my resume. He never demands anything for dinner, because he is just happy I cooked. But best of all, he read my blog, and said my last one made him laugh. He tells me all the time how proud he is of me, even when I think of myself as a let down. He never lets me give up.
The only critique (other than taking out the trash, because yes honey you always do it, just not on my schedule) of the blog, was that I didn’t have a positive message. I didn’t have a response at the time, so I went back and read it, and he was right. Everything I write has a positive spin, and this just ended. I took a moment and felt badly because ironically he told me I should write about being a housewife, to which I focused on my fears. I’m not going to be followed by a TV crew anytime soon, and if I was I think they would say, “Joanna, can you please do something other than typing on your computer, food shopping, and cooking?” To which I think I would tell them TV chefs make a boat load of money and I was giving them this stuff for no extra charge!
Anyway, back to my point, I always add a silver lining because I need to know there is one. With Michael I don’t need to be reminded how lucky I am, because I know it. Sure we have our days when I just want him to move and do something I didn’t have to ask for, but I assume there are many days he wished I wouldn’t ask him a million questions that I surely didn’t need to ask, such as, “do you want a root beer float,” because of course he wants one if I’m making chili!
So ultimately my conflict of interest was, not the blog itself because that is how I feel. I worry that we have migrated into these roles, and he will assume that I should do more of the housework, and I spent hours scrubbing the house and he gets to say, “good job,” and bam that’s all I get?! I want our even back, but we are not there yet, being that I still need to land the job. Although Bravo, now that there is no more Danielle, I hear there is an opening, and not only do I do all of the mentioned above, I also watch TV and go on interviews, don’t you think that would make good TV for all the people at home?!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Housewife of New Jersey

There are some days when it is relaxing to be able to say I’m a housewife, as I take my time in the supermarket dead set on only buying organic (which let me tell you, what a serious time investment and with depressing outcomes in all things cookie). It’s always nice because people look at my husband like he must be doing so well, and it makes me smile to know he can handle the fact that truly I am an unemployed with a disguise. But when we get home it’s hard to remember that as a “housewife” there are duties, and there has began a divide into something I don’t feel should still exist in the year 2010.
So after spending hours cooking and cleaning up as I go, there are usually one or two pots left to wash, and of course whatever we used to eat it in. Months ago my husband would jump up and say, “you cooked I clean,” but now it’s more like a gesture as he hands me his plate to take in the kitchen, since I’m already on my way of course. Then an hour later he will say, “oh I was going to do that,” when all of the dishes are done. I mean, this is my fault. I would say, “no, you worked all day, relax!” But now when I even ask for him to take out the trash he looks at me and says, “right now?” Although to clarify, he never wanted to take out the trash!
Part of me feels like, he pays the bills, he never pushes me or blames me for not working, why not take out the trash myself? Well let me tell you why I will not be taking out the trash today. I vacuum, wash the floors, dust, clean up after the cats, do the shopping, cook the food, clean up the dishes, fold the laundry (which I would like to say we almost always do together, but somehow I get stuck with the “harder” folding), and generally try to keep the apartment in some sort of neat. I’m not taking out the trash! It’s the only thing I ask him to do that is physical labor anymore.
Sure, I ask him to call the landlord when something is broken, can you believe she responds better to him? And yes, I do ask, what are we doing this weekend, when will you be home, what are we doing for thanksgiving, am I really sitting here all day while you work from home on a Saturday?! I can be a bit of a nag, because I get about an hour of his time every day, and it’s never undivided. So recently my husband made a comment about how I was a housewife, and it bothered me. Sure I say it to people all of the time, but it bothered me that he thought of me that way. He assumes I should do all of this, because that is my “job” and I was hurt.
Here I was thinking that he appreciated what I did because we pick up the slack for each other when it is needed. Like when I was in school and had so much work he would vacuum when I was so OCD about getting all my work done that I would focus on the cat hair on the carpet and lose my concentration. I feel as though I have assumed the role of “housewife” to help and pick up the slack because I can. I’m scared that when I get a job he is still going to expect me to clean up and not contribute because he will always be the bread winner. And one of things I prided our relationship on was our equality. I know he will read this, and some will make him winze, some he will say I got all wrong, and other things he might laugh at how dramatic I am, but don’t forget, I was a social science major, I’m always thinking about everything you do more than you know!     

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The waiting game

Being unemployed and actively seeking employment is a lot of waiting. You become patient in ways that you never quite thought that you could be. Maybe because you don’t have a choice, while for others, you are driven to the brink of near insanity. Memorizing all of the answers to Trivia Pursuit in hopes that one day you can crush your friends or family being the smartest person in the room, possibly the world as far as they know! Although I haven’t gotten to that point yet, I have gotten to the point of researcher extraordinaire.
We always say, “if only I had the time,” and since I don’t have the money, I have been investing my energies in research I can do with my time. So far I have written a book, developed a blog, began “social networking domination” minus the domination part, read all of the books I had been putting off while I was in school, took day trips to areas I had never been before in search of local and regional art, began book number two, and so many other little things that we never get to do enough of. Every day that I get to sleep in, I consider it a victory for all the others in the world who wish they could sleep in. I want to let them all know, just like a true Olympian, I'm not doing this just for myself, but for all of you too!
Until looking for a job this time in my life, I would only apply to one job at a time. I was always afraid that more than one job would want to hire me, and then I would have to make a choice. Plus I feel it is important to give my undivided attention to said job. Well, with this market, it has been my rule to try to apply to at least one job a day, which was something I was doing for months. This was not my idea, but when I told my husband I was applying and waiting, he explained that having choices was not such a bad idea. I have to admit I have been slacking. Something about how busy I have been with actual interviews has helped to discourse me, but also the fact that I feel like I applied for all of those jobs already.
So here is where the patience comes into play. Just as a fisherman waiting for the catch of the day, at times you need to wait. Take the time to invest your energies in things that you would not have time to do if you were working 40-50 hours a week. But you have no money you say? Who needs money to go for walk and look at the amazing leaves changing? Who needs money to go to the library? Who needs money to sleep in? Sure we all need money for the basic necessities. In some cases more than just the basics, such as the lovely people who provided me with student loans, they are sweet enough to take their payment direct from my account if I wanted, even though I kindly reminded them you needed an income for them to take the money, but they have faith I could find it…how sweet!
Just enjoy that there is a today, and while other people are so busy hating their jobs, hating how they can never sleep past 7:00 am, wishing they could stay in their pj’s all day, I smile at it. When I read on facebook all of the people who complain about their jobs I just smile, sometimes I laugh, but never do I disregard that fact that they get the opportunity to hate their job. I used to read those posts and think to myself, “well I sure wish I had a job to hate,” and wonder how anyone could complain when they were lucky enough to have a job and so many of us out there didn’t! But as time went on I began to think, “I better appreciate the time I have to do what I can, because so many others wish they could have this.” Of course in their dream scenario money still magically appears. So sometimes waiting is good, yes it can be painful, but I enjoy every day for what it is, because you never know when your life could totally change again, and I could join the ranks of worker bee once again.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

10 years

Sure, I would tell you all about my last interview, how I got lost, giggled possibly way too much, or the fact that I actually had two classes with one of the girls that currently works there, but why bore you with all of those details?  Since the question was asked of me, where do I see myself in 10 years, I have been struggling. I wonder if any of you would like to struggle along with me?
It made me realize 1) I’m going to be 10 years older, and I can barely deal with my current age and 2) that I don’t think ahead. It’s true. When I decided to go back to college, all I could focus on was May 15, 2010. When Michael and I set the date for the wedding, I focused on July 31, 2010. But these are exact things, with exact dates. But even worse 3) my initial reaction was mother…not something you might want to blurt out on an interview. Then I began to wonder, why I am so afraid of 10 years from now?
So I am now asking you, what do you see yourself doing 10 years from now? Is the answer hard to come to, or do you know? If you know, then you have something that I myself didn’t when I was first asked, knowing posses…a goal. It seems that this became the answer to my riddle. I have no true career goal because at this moment I have no idea where my career is going. I feel as though I am free falling and waiting to be caught up into something, which then I could run that marathon. But how can you invest yourself into something if there is nothing to grab onto?
It was then that I realized that I am not as directionless as I thought. Although when it comes to if I need a GPS that’s an all together different story! I ultimately know, I want to do good in the world. I’m very open to what good I will do. My theory has always been, focus on one cause at a time. But the truth is, I do have many things I’m passionate about. Currently I have been working to help with patient advocates for pet owners. Since the untimely death of Rusty, I have been working with his original vets who all misdiagnosed him. Because I know that is something I want to focus on, it has been very fulfilling to know that I may possibly be involving myself in a process that can possibly save a pets life. And my goal with this, is to be able to create awareness that the owners are patients too.
So, 10 years from now I want to advocate. Tomorrow I want to advocate, 25 years from now I want to advocate. I want to teach others it’s a good choice for them to as well, and that it can be something as small as speaking up for just one child, elderly person, homeless, even your neighbor, to something large as in helping all of New Jersey’s children get a healthy lunch instead of chicken nuggets and french fries, but actual healthy food to help keep their minds sharp and healthy. My point is, it took me days to answer a question posed in a phone interview. I never stopped thinking about it just because the interview was over.
So the million dollar question is still the same, maybe I will pose it differently, if you didn’t have to work for money, what would you do? Sometimes you will hear something, and it will make you think…that’s not always a bad thing. Go with it! Explore it! Fight yourself until you figure out why it bothers you so much. Then when all is said and done, make it happen.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Second Chances

For as long as I have been struggling to find work, friends and family have been either secure in their positions, promoted, or even gotten new and “better” jobs. And each and every one of them has said to me, “don’t worry everything happens for a reason.” With every new opportunity that came and went, I can always depend on someone being extremely optimistic about how, “the perfect job is out there,” just for me. I just had to find where there was…
So a few days ago a friend sends me a quick little link in an e-mail saying, “it's nearby, it's nonprofit, and it's about hunger! perfect for you!” So I decided to take a look at the job description and the organization's website, and thought, wow this is something I would really be proud to say I do. So I sent my resume, a few brief words, and then added it to this list of places I have applied, thanking my friend for thinking of me.
I am never shy about telling people I’m unemployed. I am not embarrassed to admit it’s a struggle and to keep me in mind if they hear or see anything. Sure there are times I just say “housewife” because I want them to think this is a choice, but most of the time I flat out say, “I’m a recent college graduate, and the market is really tough, I didn’t think it was going to be this hard.” Everyone asks me the same two questions. First, what did I go to school for, and second what am I looking to do. I honestly believe that people want to help find you a job if they can. Don’t be shy! Spread the word, people will remember you, and if something comes up, they will send it your way. You would be surprised at the crazy texts, e-mails, and voicemails I get. And each one appreciated because it means that people want to help me, because they think I’m worth it.
So as luck would have it, I was actually contacted and asked if I would be free for a phone conversation, but also my blog was mentioned…that’s right someone other than my parents actually read this! And the best part was, when we started our conversation he actually said nice things about the blog. I felt nervous because I know that my blog is how I wish I could speak, I was pretty sure I could not live up to the blog, I mean this is a well thought out piece of wordsmith heaven. But I also have this uncomfortable feeling, after all he is going to look and see what I say next. Will I still tell the “readers” about how nervous and giddy I was? How awkward I was with the questions I asked, and it’s true, I did not impress myself at all.
I was so unimpressed that since he was nice enough to say at the end I could e-mail him with anything I might want to add or any questions I had, that I spent the next two hours researching the organization more deeply, and composing an e-mail. Most people aren’t so lucky. Most interviews are with people who literally would have taken and shredded my resume because the sound of that was more entertaining than my answers, and then ignore my e-mail.
But I’m one of the lucky ones, because not only did he take the time to respond to my questions, I was asked to come in for an interview, the next day…today, possibly right now while you are reading this! I say all the time to take risks, because you never know when one will pay off. I promise you I don’t just say things, I live them! I don’t know if I will get the job, but I am getting face time, this is huge. Let’s be honest, in a world where you can send out 50 resumes and hear crickets, getting an opportunity is something you don’t take for granted. Especially if it is something that you are excited about, don’t think that you shouldn’t try because there is no hope. Because if you give up, and expect something to just happen, then you have been watching way too much television, and let me tell you something that’s scripted, it’s not real!