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!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The interview...

As I was walking up the sidewalk, closing the buttons to my suit jacket, I took one more deep breath and opened the door to yet another interview. There was a woman at the reception desk and I introduced myself to her. She asked for my resume, which I handed her, and then she told me talk a seat. As I sat in the small waiting room I noticed there was someone already interviewing, another woman waiting before me, and within a few minutes another woman walked in the door. I could not help but notice how excited the woman sounded to be meeting the woman at the front desk and thinking to myself, “someone is trying a little too hard.” But then 5 minutes later another woman walked in and did the exact same thing, handshake and all…maybe it was me who was wrong about how excited you should be?
As the four of us sat there I tried to focus on the television, but could not help but notice I was the only one in a suit. Everyone was wearing black of some sort, and only the last woman to walk in was wearing a bright pattern shirt that screamed 1987. I realized I was judging everyone on their appearance and if this was a model cast call I would probably get the job, unless you needed to be in your 40’s or 50’s, but it wasn’t. The first woman left her interview and I then noticed, okay I’m not the only one in a suit as she left the building and the next woman was called in. The doctor obviously knew this one, because the greeting was that of an old friend, and at that moment I wanted so badly to pull out my cell phone and text, “why am I here?!” It took all my restraint to not, for fear someone would tattle on me.
I noticed that each interview was taking about 15 minutes as the second woman was leaving,  and then I hear my name, it was my turn. I politely walked in, shook his hand and took my seat. I was confident, but slightly reserved, I swear a suit makes me the lady I should always be. He informally began to ask me a few questions about my education, asking me what I went to school for. I should have realized at that point he never read my resume, because it’s on the third line, but I answered politely. We went through all of the informalities of an interview, and 5 minutes in, things became awkward for me.
“Listen, I appreciate your abilities, but I’m really looking for someone with –insert medical profession here- experience,” he said. Normally I would back down and agree, but I was annoyed. So I replied politely, “I don’t want to argue with you, but I think you might be wrong to judge me based on my lack of this kind of experience. I never knew any job I did, but I am determined and always have excelled faster than anyone would have imagined.” He then took my resume and said, “no, see, I’m moving your resume over here,” as he dramatically moves the resume into a paper folder, “because I think maybe you would be better suited for another opening we might be having in 6 or so months, as a receptionist.” First I want to say there is nothing wrong with being a receptionist. I thought that this interview was for that job to be perfectly honest, but found out that it was really the Office Manager position. Once I knew that, I knew that if I did get hired there in 6 months, the room for growth was not going to be good if they just hired a new Office Manager.
I left that night with a 6 minute interview and an answer of no. I went home, and was offended and hurt, I read all up on the organization and knew he was only a few years older than me, and a doctor of a practice because his father has begun the practice many years prior, trust me I wanted to mention that but held my tongue. So I decided to do something that I feel has helped me a lot lately, I wrote about it…but not in a blog, in an e-mail. I sent him an e-mail about how I think he rushed to judgment based on a small fact. That I was young, ambitious, and sure he could hire someone with experience and they may be good in the short run, but if he wanted to think for the long run, then he should consider me. It was a bold move, but at this point, what do I have to lose?
My point is, be bold, and fight for what you think is right. Sometimes people can think that things only work one way, and the truth is that some of the best people in the world at things were the underdog at one point. Obviously the current Office Manager saw potential in me, that is why she called me in for the interview in the first place! Who knows if I made a huge no-no (it’s a no-no I’m just not sure if it’s huge or not), I do know this, I’m going to tell it how it is. I deserve that job, because in the long run I would rock it! And, if I didn’t try, then I would always wonder, what if? Now I don’t have to wonder. And if he doesn’t respond then I know I’m better off without him.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Interview or date?

Tonight is the big night…it’s an interview. That’s right, just like a first date with someone that you aren’t quite sure if they are Friday worthy, it’s on a week night and uncomfortable. I’ve compared finding the right job to dating, well I’m about to go on another first date.
Just like any good relationship, it’s all about taking it slow. With internet dating becoming the new norm in our society, it’s almost as if dating has become a job interview that you landed off of, why not compare it the other way around as well? I mean, for a first date most people take time to pick out the perfect outfit, do their hair, make sure they are the best representation of themselves they can be. Already I have laid out my outfit, played with my hair, and decided no to the eye shadow but yes to the mascara!
Ironically my interview is at night, which make this even more like a first date. So all day I get to fantasize about what will be said, how they will look, and if we will have chemistry. That’s right, chemistry is not only for dating. There is this underlying tone to every interview, they want to like you if they have to see you every day. I honestly believe an interview is what a first date should be called anyway, because it’s just a bunch of questions and formalities, and just like an interview most of the time you know after the first one if this is going anywhere,  if you feel something, and recently I’ve been a bit of a one date sort of girl.
What about speed dating? That is like a job fair. And then there is the resume. Well, that’s your facebook, myspace, blog, insert dating website name here, with all of that we know more about people on the first date than we probably want to know. In many cases, people probably have passed up their soul mates because they didn’t look good on paper…in my case that would be a certain dream job, on paper I probably looked like 5 and they thought, “I could totally get a 9, why waste my time with a 5?!”
The irony is, that job searching is like looking for your soul mate via the wanted ads. I know that I’m not interviewing for my soul mate, but I want them to think, “I want her,” obviously in the employment sense of the word! You know, catch their interest on paper, but get them to be “attracted” to you in person.
So I’ve decided it’s time to approach this like a date. I’m going to dress nice, suit of course, do my hair, wear my flats, you never want to be taller than your date as a girl! But I’m going to go one step further, as an experiment of sorts. I’m going to be me. I’m going to be the me that’s not stressed out or bothered, the me that is confident that I’m a pretty smart cookie and can do anything I put my mind to, the same blunt me that got the interview in the first place. I’m going to radiate, “you want this” and they are going to know, “it’s okay, I want this too.”
Now there is always the chance that when you walk in you think, no this is not right. You don’t feel comfortable, you will be thrown off your game. If that happens, be honest! Most of us have walked into a place and gone, no I’m not working here. That’s okay too. So I’m prepared to meet the job of my dreams, or a dud, but either way I’m preparing for the stud, and they better be ready because I’m looking for a second date.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Everyone loves a winner

It seems that there is this American mentality, that being number 1 is all that matters. It happens every Olympics on a national level, but all of the time on lesser scales, such as baseball, football, basketball, hockey, well you get the point. But it’s not only in sports that being the best is important (yeah I’m calling you out Spelling Bee’s), or in America (i.e. the World Cup was insane with country love!). In everything we do, we want to be the best, at least I always thought I had to be the best, not number 1 in the state or anything, but the best I could be.
Sometimes it’s not possible. There always has to be an underdog right? Well, right now, the people who are unemployed are the greatest underdogs of them all. People who know someone who is unemployed is hoping they get a job, or if you don’t know someone personally you are probably hoping the number goes down across the country to help the economic climate. But there aren’t enough trophies in the job world to show how special I am! There is the degree from high school, then from college, then there are certifications to get, possible Master’s degrees, PhD’s, and when it comes down to it even more honors that can make it onto your resume and possibly make you stand out. But what do I do, when people don’t care to look at all of the badges I got as a girl scout?!
I’m feeling my competitive nature beginning to come out of me as my interview gets closer. I am beginning to think, if I don’t get this, I’m going to be a “loser” and then what? See my internal game show contestant is hiding behind the girl who is afraid to lose. You know, the kid whose parent signed them up for t-ball and they then sat in the outfield picking clovers because they don’t want anything to do with that ball or bat. How can you win if all you focus on is the negative possibilities? Do Gold medalist picture they are going to lose? Of course not! So what has happened to me?   
How many times can one person be rejected and still keep going…well ironically ask comedian Kathy Griffin. I decided to read her book (and you should too), and wow, that girl had a terrible time breaking into the “industry” and still today she is making her career off of being on the D-list. She is making a living off of not being number 1. It then hit me, she did what she had to do to succeed. She knew the direction she wanted to go, and it didn’t happen the way she thought, or without lots of struggle, but it happened. She had a dream, and she never gave up, or in to her setbacks. Stick to your guns, stick to your dreams. Is my dream to be a receptionist? Well, not exactly, but if that will help me reach my dreams, than today that is my dream.
So I’m ready for a victory. Even if this job interview doesn’t go well, well that will just make for another interesting blog in the drama of being unemployed. And, if I do get the job, then I will become one of the millions of underemployed, just like Kathy Griffin (disclaimer: if Kathy Griffin or any of her people read this…I bought that book, and watch your shows, the A-list is within your grasps…if you want it that is).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cover letter

In the art of applying for jobs there is something that I feel that I have begun to master. One of the key elements is the cover letter. My husband might beg to differ, as he quivers every time he reads one I wrote without his input. He will say, “they really will get a sense of your personality in this,” but I can never tell if that is a good thing or a bad thing.
Ironically the more blunt and “human” I make my cover letter, the more positive I feel the response. Of course I have been forbidden to add any jokes to the cover letters, because after all I want these people to think I take this serious. And for clarity, usually I do. But I can’t help myself and I always write a joke, and then delete it for the sake of my marriage.   
There are also many jobs that when you apply for them there is no cover letter involved, just a series of questions that you are prompted to respond to on their website. When I do get to write a cover letter, that is my time to shine. Don’t take for granted that your resume is enough, especially when one of the qualifying factors is personality. I considered head shots, possibly web videos, maybe a juggling act, but for now we are going to stick to the cover letter.
The first time I threw out the conventional cover letter, I was giddy with how creative I was. Michael thought I went temporarily insane, but I knew this was the way to go. I was slightly disappointed that I never heard anything back from my first attempt, but it did not discourage me from trying it again. The next time, I took a different spin, one even more creative…I decided to say exactly what I knew they would think when they looked at my resume, I’m over qualified.
A struggle that I have been dealing with is people telling me to take a job, any job! “Get out of the house,” they will say. But, the truth is companies are savvy, why hire just anyone who might leave if something better comes along? So, why not confront that head on by saying, “don’t judge me by my experience,” and it worked. I got a call and they want to meet with me. Am I going to get the job? Who knows, but I am getting a face to face which in this climate is a victory.
Although don’t worry about the possible rejection, I have a backup plan. Still applying for other jobs while I wait for the interview, and I also applied for Wheel of Fortune, and if that pans out we might take a detour to The Price is Right! Hey you have to aim high! 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Smile or smirk...

What do you do when you realize nothing is working? It’s really easy to want to throw in the towel and even go as far as to imagine that everything is crumbling around you. Even if things are good somehow you probably can find the bad in it. After all you have become something of an expert at rejection so you are pretty sure you can spot it when it’s right in front of your face.
The most ironic thing is my social science background is not what is helping me anymore. It’s that art minor that has been giving me some perspective. When you are an art student they always tell you to step back. When you are close up, you can’t always see if something is leaning to one side, or if the shading might be slightly off. When you are close up, you can’t always see the full picture, and art is not about one part of a piece, it’s about the entire work. So that is how my life is right now, I’m so close up that no matter what I look at, all I see are imperfections, errors, gaps, things that can be improved. I can’t seem to step back and see the full picture.
So what do artists do when they are so consumed with their work that it begins to destroy them? Well, some go insane, cut their ear off, and think it will encourage their love that they are a good decision. While others decide it’s time to start a different painting. It’s said that it took 4 years to “create” the Mona Lisa. One painting 4 years? Research shows that there are layers and layers of Ms.Lisa, until the ultimate “finished” piece we see today in text books, on the internet even in commercials.
We are all “works in progress” some are just a little more “rough” than others. The hardest thing to come to grips with is to pace yourself and step back. If you can’t see the final product in your head, how can you finish what you cannot envision? I’m not sure there are many people that you can ask, “are you where you wanted to be at this point in your life,” that would actually say yes. Of course I wouldn’t ask Oprah or Tyra Banks that though… I’m not saying you can never create your “perfect” picture, what I’m saying is don’t put a date on it. Amazing artwork is not created in a day, it takes time, it takes vision and it takes persistence. Don’t give up, because after all if Leonardo Di Vinci hadn’t created that smirking smile, would people still be talking about this portrait today?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday, Sunday

When you are unemployed, Sunday’s become the busiest day of the week, it’s find a job day! Isn’t that great? The birds are chirping, the news paper is thick and heavy, and as you leaf through all the nonessential parts, which is most of it, you finally get to the best part, the jobs section.  But the warm ooey gooey center is not as I remember it once being at all…it’s actually pretty gloomy.
Back in the day when you needed a job there was no internet, I know hard to believe, but very true. When I applied for my first job, I literally wasn’t even 16, but told the manager my birthday was in a few weeks and I really wanted to work there. They actually waited for me to turn 16, to work in fast food. How insane is that? I had so much enthusiasm to work that they were willing to wait. Now if you walk in to get an application all the people that are working there already glare at you, like you might be there to take their job. You feel judged, and worse, you are right, you aren’t being paranoid they are judging you!
Even worse than being glared at, is this false sense of kindness. When the person who gives the application is really nice, talks you up, you feel you have a bond…you might possibly be soul mates. Then a few weeks later you call to find the position was filed. But how?! We both loved the same television shows and couldn’t wait for Lil’ Wayne to be released from jail to provide us with new songs to dance to! How could this have happened?!
I used to be so annoyed with celebrities when they wouldn’t stop to sign autographs, or ran over the foot of a paparazzi with their car, until I had to walk in and ask for an application. When you first walk in, no one notices you, you are another invisible customer (disclaimer not in all stores, in some it’s the other way around, they think you are going to spend money when they then realize you are not, then you are invisible). But, the moment you ask for an application everyone sees you. There is nothing you can do to be ignored, after all you are there for “their” job, or so they think, or maybe you are, who knows you didn’t put the “help wanted” sign up.
I won’t lie, in the past year there have been many times I have though, “this person has a job and I don’t?” They have no idea I’m thinking that, but I do. Now it’s the opposite. I ask for an application and they are thinking, “she thinks she can work here?” Sure I sound like I’m over reacting, but for those of you who work, how many times have you judged a person who asked for an application, looking at their physical appearance, the way they spoke, or worse are they a threat to you? That’s right, there is a hierarchy in the office world, but in retail, it’s brutal. If they have headsets and you decide to fill out the application there, you notice people coming from the far corners of the stock room to get a look at you. This isn’t a special animal from another zoo, you are just a person.
There is no right way to ask, there is no right way to fill out an application, and no matter if it was right at one store, it’s wrong at another. Do you dress in jeans because that is the dress code? Always dress nice, never wear jeans, let them tell you to when you get the job! Just don’t dress like a grandmother if you are applying at a trendy teen store, and just be yourself. Sure, I myself haven’t exactly landed me a job yet, but I rather they know now than later and fire me. I think I can’t handle unemployed better than “failed fry cook” for now.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Being desired...

It is always a good day when someone calls me to say that they found my resume on a website and they think I would be ideal for “fill in the blank” position. I used to get so excited, 1) they saw my resume and still wanted to talk to me and 2) they think I’m ideal! But as time has gone on I have realized that you shouldn’t get too excited by a compliment.
About a week ago I got a call from a 215 area code. So when I picked up the phone I hesitated a little with my greeting. Of course the person on the other end rambled so fast I barely understood a word they said. Her last sentence is one I hear a lot from recruiter types, “so what time can I schedule you in for an interview and test?” Now, this is exciting right?! To the “virgin” unemployed yes, but not me, I’m a bit of an expert now. First things first, 215, so I ask, “I can’t help but notice your area code is 215, is this position located in Pennsylvania?” To which she reply, “yes, this job is located in South Philadelphia.”
Okay, you would think that I would have hung up at this point, but I’m an open minded girl, after all in the jumble of words that were spewed at me I was told how the company sent my resume to them so I knew they were interested. So I ask, “well, I was wondering what the pay range is, I live in Central New Jersey, and it’s quite a ride for me, so I would need to know more about that. Is that something that you could tell me before I drive all the way down there?” See I am reasonable!
Now, I know it’s taboo to talk money, but I already lost an opportunity because the company decided I would want to look for another job because of the pay they were offering, thanks to the recruiter for telling them how much I used to make, which let me tell you I would have been quite content with their range. All the same, I’m not driving to South Philly a 90+ mile commute one way, without knowing the pay range. The reply, “well I would just think you should be happy to be getting an offer, after all it’s a terrible market out there.” Yes, I’m not exaggerating. Because what I really wanted to say was, “really? It’s bad out there, I hadn’t noticed! Good talk,” then hang up…but I have manners.
I smiled, even though they couldn’t see me, they say you can see a smile through the phone, and politely replied, “yes, you are right. But, I’m not sure I want to drive 4 hours a day for a job that my first 2 paychecks will be going to pay for gas and tolls every month.” To this she decided to look on the map where I lived in location to the actual facility. I politely sat and waited as it took her forever to type both addresses then she replied, “Oh no! This is not worth it!” Internally I smiled because I knew she was eating her words, thanked her, and hung up.
A week later I noticed another 215 number calling, a similar long rant about how this company wanted me and with the question of when will I be coming in. Again, I politely said I lived about 2 hours away and that if this job paid enough I would consider relocation. This time he told actually told me how much it paid, “it’s $12.00 an hour,” he said. I replied, “would you relocate to South Philadelphia for $12.00 an hour?” And now I believe they won’t be calling me back anymore because I think I offended a man who makes about $12.00 an hour living in South Philly.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dealing with the unexpected

I promised myself that every blog I wrote would have at least one joke, be optimistic, be about unemployment, somehow make sure people could relate, and no matter what, I would post every other day. So when I decided to live up to my promise and blog for today, I was scared. What if someone reads this for the first time and I scare them away? What if someone who always reads it decides it’s not worth going back? But I was told, do it anyway so if you don’t like this e-mail me and I will redirect it to her.
In life there are many unexpected things that are thrown our way, and one of those things was thrown at me. Monday night, I had to put my Rusty cat to sleep, because he was terminal with cancer. Literally I found out in the morning his little body was riddled with cancer, and within hours I was forced to decide if we should try to give a blood transfusion and liquids, that would maybe keep him alive for a day or so, while he would be in a hospital away from us and possibly in a lot of pain.
You might think I was a negligent person to find out the day my cat dies that he has cancer, but the truth was I was at the vet more than most people take their animal if it lived to be 20. I would tell them something was wrong, and they would send me away with antibiotics, new eye drops, or in the last case, wanting to pull his teeth just three weeks before his death.
About a year and half ago, we came back from an overnight trip to find Rusty as limp as a ragdoll. We rushed him to the hospital where he stayed for 3 days, undiagnosed. We finally brought him home, and within 2 weeks, he was so ill again that I brought him to my vet this time. They had a diagnosis! We were thrilled, and that began Rusty taking steroids. Our little champion took a pill nearly every day, some days more than one. He always stayed happy, always was fun, he was the “oddest” cat as people would say, because he was more like a dog, but to me he was my baby.
He came when I called him. He slept with me at night. And he loved to eat. He would sit next to me when I was eating dinner and beg until I gave him something. He would sit with me every other day when I wrote this blog. But I knew he was sick, and after the last unsuccessful visit, his drastic weight loss, and his lymph nodes alarmingly swollen, we tried a new vet. Unfortunately we learned that he had been living with cancer since the year and half before. I just didn’t know when we woke up that morning that was going to be his last day.
I could go on forever and talk about so much that was right and wrong. But let me tell you this. Life is short. Yes he was a cat, but to me he was my rock. We had been though 4 boyfriends, 3 moves, college, the wedding, and most importantly we spent every day together.  I feel like being unemployed was a gift in disguise, that I had no idea my days with Rusty had been limited, and now I am so glad we had them. Being unemployed sucks, but it was as if this was all for a reason, it was so I could spend the last few months with my buddy cuddling on the couch, sleeping late together when Michael would leave for work.
This is long, this is sad, but here is the lesson which I always followed and is making this process easier for me, live everyday like it’s your last. Yeah, you might think it’s insane to spend the day at home with your cat if it’s your last day, but for me, all those days were exactly how I would have spent them if they were mine and I sure hope he appreciated all of the days we spend just the two of us. Although I’m pretty sure if he could have spoke he would have said, “it’s time to get a job, you did enough sitting around the house already.”

Monday, October 11, 2010


There are times when you know, I am being scammed! And when that happens, you walk away. Like how many times did I have to get burned from infomercials before I realized chances are that dress that wraps 100 ways may be good in theory but people might talk if I wear a red dress every day.  It’s pretty easy when it’s an obvious scam, but in the world of new employment, who knew there were so many companies willing to pretend just to trick you into taking the worst possible job ever?
I understand that there are companies that would like to remain anonymous because they don’t want people showing up everyday harassing them for a job. Maybe they don’t want people that work there to realize they are looking to hire someone…for their job! I can understand that. And don’t worry, I reverse look you up, then Google you to find out if you are a scam…I know who you are! What I can’t understand is how there are places that advertise one job when they are truly hiring for another.
When I was on a phone interview, for a very large financial institution, I nearly feel off my seat with all the odd questions I was being asked. First, when did it become educate to ask, “how much did you make at your old position?” That’s one of the first no-no’s you learn in the world. You never tell anyone how much you make. Yet every job interview has the gall to ask. I was even asked what year I graduated high school…I could see the person doing the math in their head to figure out how old I am. But it’s not only rude, and slightly illegal (age discrimination anyone?), it’s just devastating because I feel like I have to answer these questions. I don’t want to come off as difficult.  
But, back to my original rant…why are they advertising different jobs. If the advertisement said, we are going to make you do A, B and C, then I would have looked and said to myself, okay I can do A and C but I know I can’t do B and then I don’t waste my time or theirs for that matter. But when “B” comes out of nowhere in the middle of the interview, what do you say? I wanted to say, “NO,” when they asked if I thought I could perform that task, but I hesitated. “Are you still there,” she asked me through the phone. “Yes,” I said slowly trying to collect myself, think of what my husband would want me to say I said to myself, and reply, “sorry I was just thinking about what you just asked, of course I could perform that task.”
I don’t lie on my resume. I think it’s taboo. Why should I pretend I went to Oxford or the head cheerleader of The Washington Redskins, I’m not running for the government! I’m applying for a job, and I want to be honest, so why can’t they be honest what the job is? Oh, and stop trying to figure out how old I am, not cool…

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Knock knock...

Ever feel like life is just one big joke and that if you don’t laugh at it you might just break down and cry? Get in line. I’m not talking about the unemployment line, although that seems to be on the increase these days. It seems that I wasn’t alone with feeling like the is no hope out there, being that statistics are showing that this past month more unemployed are giving up on their job search…taking a break are we unemployed?
This is the perfect opportunity for me to swoop in and get a job interview, and that’s just what I have done. With my persistence, and lack of direction at this point, I actually made it past the automated computer software that decides if you are even worth talking to. How you ask? I’m not quite sure, because my charm does not always come through a “rate these in order of importance” type of test. But it’s true, I received an e-mail asking me to schedule a phone interview.
Now months ago I would be fantasizing about what my office would look like, but today is a different story.  I assume if I do get offered a job it will be for way less than I was making previous to going to college, while I will be working twice as hard, if that is even possible. But even worse, I assume I won’t get the job. My original “can’t touch this” domineer is now more of a, “babysitters make more money than this an hour” look of disgust when they tell me the pay. I can’t help myself it seems it is written all over my face. You don’t want me as a poker partner… Regardless, I assume I won’t be offered the job anyway and life will resume with me repeating the process again and again.
So when did my life become a joke? When did I go from having a driving force and career path, to the girl who can’t even get hired at a retail store to work for minimum wage? Well, maybe the joke is on everyone else. Maybe you have to struggle to reach your true potential and some “force” out there decided we had some serious struggling to do in this house. We had to learn the value of money. Honestly I never thought I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills. I always thought I could splurge and I would make more. Now I know that’s not true. You can’t go to the most expensive school in New Jersey just because you want to.
So okay Universe, I learnt my lesson…can I please have a career and job now so I can pay my debts back to society, or is this a push so I move to Finland? Do they make you pay your student loans back if you leave the country?!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A cry for help...or is it?

Disappointment, rejection, isolation, these are all things that can happen to you on a daily basis if you are one of the millions of unemployed. Since we have no control over who will actually extend an invitation for us to work with them, we begin to focus on what we can control. In many cases, this can lead to a really negative place, like Bravo marathons and Lifetime original movies until 3:00 am.
These are all considered a chain reaction in the context of, disappointment from rejection, rejection then turns inward blaming ourselves, which then leads to isolation because we feel that we are being judged and disappointing those around us. It is easier to stay inside and hide from the cruel world, but honestly the person who is judging you the most is the one who is at home with you, yourself.
Even people who are employed can go through all of these different emotions. I’m not saying that the unemployed are a special breed of self-haters, because there were many times over my life that I would stay up all night and be exhausted the next day at work. But, now that I don’t have to wake up for work at 7:00 in the morning, it’s really easy to watch the entire last season of Project Runway until 5:00 am.
When I had no time my house was cleaner, the food I cooked was much more gourmet and exciting, but most of all I was happier. Being stressed out fueled me to get more done, and now that there is all the time in world it seems like nothing is getting done. Red just isn’t as red, and blues are fading into gray. But do not force yourself to do something you aren’t ready to do. There have been many people trying to rip me out of my comfort cocoon over the last few weeks. It’s okay to hide. It is okay to take a break from feeling judged, even if the truth is you are a harder judge on yourself than Tyra Banks could ever be!
So make a schedule, make a plan. So times are rough, and you don’t have a job. Your broke, feel worthless, and you begin to think that playing the Lottery is a viable choice for your future, although hey, you never know... Take two steps back, and take a break from thinking. Watch too much television, read a book, maybe cry a little, but give yourself a date. That day, wake up early. Sing in the shower. Smile in the mirror at yourself. Do more than you planned. Begin to accomplish things, and dress to impress, impress yourself. After all, that’s the one who is judging you the hardest, unless you are on a reality television show, in which case they are judging you pretty tough too.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. Yet once a week I do the same thing, I look over the Sunday papers and see all of the jobs posted and apply to as many as I can. And it’s true, I get the same result every week, nothing.
But am I crazy? Is it insane to keep trying to apply to jobs with no avail? Or, is it the technique. So, with that in mind, it was time for a change, it’s called temporary employment. I have always been against going through agencies or working seasonal because it doesn’t truly help you. Being a temp just gets your hopes up that they might hire you at the end of the 3 months while the whole time the agency been making money for every hour you worked.
Seasonal work is worse. You are literally the bottom of the food chain. You work the shifts no one wants, the days no one wants, and that means the times when you most want to be with your friends and family. You can’t say no, you must be open, that’s what you said to get the job in the first place! I had been against the idea, because I really didn’t want to be working an insane retail job during the holiday season that was only going to leave me unemployed a week after the New Year.
But today a little reminder came in the mail, a letter about my repayment schedule for those pesky student loans that the government was sweet enough to loan me. Trying to stay calm, I put down the letter with the 4 loans that were entering repayment and within 10 minutes it was time for my insane ritual, this time with a twist, seasonal employment. It’s not an issue of pride to not want that kind of job, it was an issue of convenience. Once I read that letter I realized there is no more room for conveniences.  
So technically yes, I have done the same thing again. Applied for jobs online, sent out resumes and wrote new cover letters, but this time I am waving the white flag. I’m saying I will work the horrible holiday season, if that means I can somehow help make a small buffer for these upcoming windfalls of loan payments. But that doesn’t mean you will be seeing me at a mall near you, because now we wait and see who is crazy enough to hire me for the holiday season. And if any prospective employer were to ever happen to read this, I would be happy to work for your establishment for the holiday season!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Good news. I am finished with the first draft of my book! A very, VERY, rough draft. I say very, because if any one of you has ever read anything that I haven’t revised three times you would think a 10 year old wrote it, and badly for that matter.

This has been an exciting week as I have started on my adventure to get more publicity for my writing. Although when I try to Google myself or the blog, I still can’t find it, I’m lucky all of you have. You feel like you don’t exist if Google doesn’t represent you! I know that isn’t true, but it seems if you are a regular person with a blog, it takes time for the mysterious world of the internet to truly register you as important enough to be “Googled”. But that is not my only issue with technology.

Twitter. It sounds like it should be easy. But it’s like a whole new language, and I have enough problems with English thank you very much! Attempting to find people I thought would be easier, but the site seems like too much work to the untrained “tweeter” such as myself. I have found that the likes of Chelsea Handler and Kathy Griffin aren’t rushing to “follow” me. But how to find people that would find me interesting, I assumed would be much easier.  I assumed wrong.

I also decided to splurge, or invest depending on if I actually sell my book, on what is considered the “bible” on how to become a published author. Unfortunately in my quest I have already encountered a lot of negative feedback from other wannabe authors who rejection is a part of daily life for them. So instead of focusing on the fact that the chances are extremely slim that I will become a published author, I am looking at the facts.

1) I wrote a book in a month (I checked the date of the file, it’s a month) with only investing a few hours a day, Monday through Friday, and some days only one hour.

2) It makes me laugh, I know what I wrote and I still think it’s funny that’s a good sign!

3) I’m getting more into writing, and investing more energy into it to create a name for myself, I like what I do!

So, now the real work begins. Sure the actual book is pretty much done. But now to edit, clarify, and prepare. I need to work on getting an agent, and hopefully you will all see how a star is born. Or if not, then you know someone who wrote a very funny diary or sorts, that if she ever has children they can’t read until they are 21.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bad day blues

What do you do when you can’t shake that feeling. It’s rainy and gloomy and you can’t help but feel tired, and lackluster, you don’t feel yourself. And before you know it you are being mean for no reason because all you want to do is put your pajamas back on and crawl back into bed hoping tomorrow will be better.
Well, what if tomorrow is the same? That plan backfired! Now you are down two days, and you can’t shake it. You feel as though all you need it some sunlight, that will help! Well, bad news people, winter is coming, and sunlight is running lower and lower.  It’s going into that time of the year that more and more people are depressed. Because yes, the sun really can affect our moods.
So what do you do? What can we do to help get out of this funk? Well first things first. Don’t put on the pajamas and crawl back into bed. Do the opposite. Get away from what you consider to be your comfort. Why? Because we don’t want to feed the monster. Hanging out at home in your pj’s, laying in your bed, watching a Lifetime original movie marathon is not going to help. Neither is that gallon of ice cream so put that back in the freezer!
Wear a smile. Yes, people know when you are fake smiling, it’s obvious. But, if you go look in the mirror and smile at yourself, you might actually begin to feel it. It’s like a pair of jeans fresh out of the dryer. At first they can be too tight, but as you wear them through the day they begin to feel just right. But, if you refuse to wear them in the first place, you will never wear them in, and you will never know how great they can be. Plus, a smile is a never out of season.
We limit ourselves. We say, “no I can’t afford to go out,” when the truth is you don’t have to spend a lot of money to leave the house.  The library is free, parks are free, walking through the mall is free. Just get out of the house and meet up with your friends, or do it alone who knows you might meet a new friend.
Laugh. If you find that you can’t leave the house, then get out of your comfort “funk” zone. Instead of watching a sappy romance movie, or thriller, watch a comedy. Better yet watch a comedian. They are throwing out more jokes per minute than your body can resist. Laughing is this magical thing that no matter how much you fight it, always has this way of changing your mood.
Everyone has a bad day, or two, but don’t let you sabotage yourself. We only get one chance to live this life, don’t waste it, live it.