Category Archives: employment

Day One of a Next Life

enjoylifeIt rained all day, courtesy of Tropical Storm Emily. A surprise storm that the TV weather wonks did not see coming, despite their constant bragging about using the latest in advanced radar technology.

But a surprise like this is fine. It’s been a good first day of a different kind of life. I ran, had breakfast and got down to the business of working on what I love – writing. I took a break to clean the bathrooms, went out on some errands, had lunch, worked some more and rode my bike on the indoor trainer before dinner.  My life is still as disciplined as it was when I punched a time clock, but now it is ruled by lists on a legal pad and a pair of white boards in my home office.

I have two interviews for part-time work scheduled this week, along with a volunteer gig that I have looked forward to and missed for a long time. I have given up contact with the standard nine-to-five world, but I’ve already gained a measure of calm and purpose. It’s not the same when you don’t leave the house and go to the same job every day. There is some sense of imbalance, a lack of the sure and steady grip on life. But this is part of the process of scaring myself into doing something bigger, different and more challenging. I was very good AT my last job, and I think I left the office in a better place than it was when I started. But I was not very good FOR that job. I was not forced to think or amaze anyone or use any of the skills I’ve learned in life. I thought about taking a holiday, a kind of “gap week,” to regroup first before moving on. But my energy is good and my mind is ready to head out and get to whatever is next.



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Filed under blogging, Careers, charity, employment, freelancing, unemployment

She Called Her Daddy…


How bad is it when an “adult” coworker decides not to face the reality of their adverse job situation and reverts to calling their parental unit to get involved in the issue?

I witnessed this happen at my place of employment. Aside from the words on this digital page, I am at a loss for most others.

When your folks foist you on the working world, it is hoped/assumed/prayed that even if you are not completely ready for all that can happen, you have  the basics mastered. You can write business letters, speak clearly into a phone, understand elementary etiquette rules, address your superiors properly and most important, you can tell the truth whether you are right or wrong, give credit where it is due and display sufficient spine to stand up and sort it out for yourself when things get tough.

I have a coworker who is not even remotely ready for work in the realm of reality. Pouting, cursing, ignoring ringing phones, insisting on time off when none is earned or available, long lunches, leaving early and forgetting to get work done are some of the notable characteristics displayed on a daily basis.

And the shake-your-head-in-wonder moment of the week: when her demand for time off was refused, she called her father to ask him to call the boss on her behalf.

No, just plain oh-no-it-did-not-happen.

Yes, it did.

How does a person lack the common sense in a case like this? Which part of the adult brain just shuts off, and which part moves backwards into childhood, thinking, “I’m telling on you! I’m getting my daddy to fix this right now if you don’t give me what I want!”

I’d love to phone a friend, a parent or someone when life takes a hard left. Mom and Dad are gone, and I think my friends would have me committed if I did to them what this coworker did. I can commiserate with my brothers, of course.  But asking them to step up to the plate because someone picked on their sister?

Note to coworker: grow a set (and a spare set) soon. It is a mean world out there. And your daddy won’t be around forever.





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Filed under Careers, employment, family, Relationships, unemployment

A bread and butter kind of day

You’ve had them, I know.


Calling Dr. Bread and Nurse Butter!

The kind of day where only carbs with a liberal slathering of fats will do.

I’ve had my share of them in the past ten weeks. Some good days and some good job interviews. And some that were not merely forgettable, they were worth walking out on. I mean both the days and the interviews.

But plugging along, working out and planning for what’s next, even if I don’t know exactly what it is, is keeping the brain sane and steady. I’m volunteering this weekend, at the triathlon that started it all for me. It’s a local super sprint, and it’s the one I did last year. The one that scared me the most because it was my first, and lured me into thinking I could keep doing them, because I finished that one. In less than two weeks, triathlon number five takes place, at a venue I know well but never used for competition.

I let myself have some sourdough bread and butter today (OK, “some” is a four-letter word for overdoing it) because I now have to cut back and behave until my own event. I forced myself away from the computer to go outside and kill weeds. I’ve stayed far, far away from the TV pundits and political websites and the outshout-the-other candidate soundbites, though I did go and vote in the state primary.

No TV or newspaper tomorrow. Lots of job searching, prepping for a career fair later this week, freelance work and chores around the house. Oh, and no more bread and butter, at

I let myself have some sourdough bread and butter today (OK, “some” is a four-letter word for overdoing it) because I now have to cut back and behave until my own event. I forced myself away from the computer to go outside and kill weeds. I’ve stayed far, far away from the TV pundits and political websites and the outshout-the-other candidate soundbites, though I did go and vote in the state primary.

No TV or newspaper tomorrow. Lots of job searching, prepping for a career fair later this week, freelance work and chores around the house. Oh, and no more bread and butter, at least for now.

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Filed under athletic competition, employment, Exercise, food, freelancing, mental health, Triathlons, unemployment

Four weeks, still sane…so far

It does not seem that long, but it has been four weeks without a job.

I’m still OK, and busy. Sending out applications and resumes every day, working out more often, and spending less and when I do spend, it’s cash and it’s done with care.

I’m not cutting back much on competitions at this point. Three swim meets, a triathlon and a 10K are on the schedule in the next six weeks. I’d like to add a half-marathon to that, if a job offer comes through. Or a 5K, if it doesn’t. It’s all about price at this point.

I’m taking the opportunity to search outside my employment comfort level, and doing more freelance work. The house has never been cleaner (you can walk into our master bedroom closet now and not fear breaking a toe by tripping on wayward shoes, dropped hangars or misplaced backpacks).


The time off has afforded the opportunity to photograph local art.

The Husband would probably like the home office to himself more often, but he has exhibited patience and good humor about it (I bribed him with homemade oatmeal raisin cookies).

In spite of advice to the contrary, I have not changed my habits. I still wake up and go to bed at basically the same time I did when working. I still maintain discipline by dressing as if I am working, and having a to-do list each day, with specific tasks to complete. The temptation to curl up on the couch and watch idiot TV programming is getting stronger, I admit, as is the sense of occasional depressive thoughts, such as the notion that not one single employer is ever going to find me or my talents worthy of money. But in the end, as I said at the beginning, I’m still doing OK and working on getting back to work.


Filed under athletic competition, budget, employment, Exercise, freelancing, inspirations, mental health, unemployment

New Job? Yes! No Compensation…No Thanks

Networking Freelancers

Networking Freelancers (Photo credit: solobasssteve)

I’ve started a serious job search. And while I’m not a veteran at this kind of thing, I’ve done it enough to know that things have changed.

Put it into automotive terms: I’m holding onto the steering wheel, but the car it’s attached to looks a whole lot different.

Early in my working career, we had no social media. No Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or other digital assistance for finding job listings, networking, posting a resume, etc. Networking in the old days involved a telephone, actual paper resumés and a lot of drinking in bars. And when a job was posted (in something called a printed newspaper), you faxed your resumé from your office, someone else’s office or a UPS Store. Now, anyone can find a job posting, email, click, attach resumé and hit Send, without ever leaving the comfort of the couch and bag of Cheetos.

And there’s a phenomenon I’ve noticed recently: the idea of working for no pay, just for the possibility of getting one’s work, usually freelance writing, noticed, on someone’s blog, magazine or other publication, for which they are likely earning money. No compensation…um, no thanks. Whatever it is I plan to do from now on, I’d like to get paid for it. I can work for no pay elsewhere; it’s called being a volunteer.

I’m getting the word out to my network, and won’t have an issue trying out part-time gigs, just to see if they are a good fit. I’m not sad or pained by the end of the old working life. I’ve seen it coming for a long time, and kept up the pretense of life support for far too long. I’m getting the money and insurance details in order, and making sure bills are paid off and there’s a good stock of supplies for us and the cats. The Husband was shocked by all this, but handled it well. He saw it coming, and I think he believes I’ll be around the house more. On the contrary, I plan to be busier than ever, I will install a lock on the home office door, and I will find something that makes me want to get up and get to work every day. Never again do I want to feel like a day of work is a four-letter word. And thanks in advance for your support. Oh, and job leads/ideas are also welcome.


Filed under blogging, employment, freelancing, technology, thought

It’s My Free Time, And I’ll Do What I Want…Maybe

Time Management

Time Management (Photo credit: Intersection Consulting)

No attempted good deed ever goes unpunished in my world.

My schedule is so nuts, I have to plan my free time. Yes, it’s that bad. No, I don’t have kids. Yes, I know those of you who do have it worse. No, I don’t think I can handle hearing just how much worse. I’ve heard the stories; I get it, and I respect you.

I’ve done posts before about the calendars I use and I’ve bemoaned the lack of time to do things I should, like take personal grieving time after my mother died. But recently, a new twist found its way into the scene. I call it the overscheduled-wife-underscheduled-husband syndrome. Maybe you’ve heard of it.

To refresh your collective memory: The Husband (the title I use for my spouse/sometimes better half/the human the cats think is in charge) is retired, and has been for a few years. Monday through Friday, he keeps busy with automotive and house projects, club meetings and whatever household chores I require of him as a tradeoff for continuing to cook his meals. The problem is the weekends. I need to do my stuff. My stuff would be freelance writing, editing and the research that goes with that. I also volunteer when I can fit it in. I do laundry, grocery shop, longer workouts, athletic competitions, paperwork (anything from filing to gathering tax papers to monitoring investments) and household chores that require my personal attention, like cleaning toilets (yes, I’ve asked him to do this. The look he gave me was somewhere between shocked and toxic). The Husband wants to do fun stuff, like shop and go to the beach and car shows. Clearly, he does not have enough to do.

Shop? I hate to shop, unless it’s food-related. There’s something screwy with my girly genetics, and I know it.

The beach? I am at the age where skin preservation is paramount. My sunblock’s SPF is so high, the stuff looks like house paint.

Car shows? Hey, I like nice cars, but only if I can drive it and someone else is buying it for me.

Lately, it’s been about compromise. I give up a few hours on one weekend day, and in return, I usually get the rest to do what I need. I still miss the lazy times when I could sneak in a nap, though. But I’m hopeful. The Husband’s posterior will soon be firmly planted in front of the high-def, watching grown men race fast cars while they avoid immovable objects, like concrete walls. That’s right: NASCAR, Formula 1, IndyCar and all their brethren are heading to our living room. And I’ll get all my weekends back.




Filed under employment, Exercise, food, freelancing, Relationships

Marijuana, Yes, But No Twinkies? Why, Why, Why?

Twinkies (Hostess Twinkies is a trademark of I...

Twinkies (Hostess Twinkies is a trademark of Interstate Bakeries Corporation). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The votes are in (though in some places, like my home state, they are being contested) and the verdict is: two more states legalized medical marijuana (Colorado and Washington).

Given that momentous, if not universally welcome news, imagine this: a world without Twinkies. Or Wonder Bread.

Damn. It’s bad enough that Superstorm Sandy took out the Jersey Shore. Now the striking members of Hostess’ baker’s union want another piece of my childhood?

But that’s how it looks as of this morning. Hostess says they cannot afford a protracted strike, so they will close plants, lay off 18,500 employees and sell their product line.

As if growing older didn’t already have its rough side, like taking longer to heal from injuries and illness, grieving over losing loved ones, watching friends and neighbors lose their jobs and homes to foreclosure and job issues, the Hostess folks have to throw this wrench into the monkey bars.

For the record, I was never a fan of Twinkies, though The Husband likes them. The filling tastes artificially sweet and the cake has the consistency of a dish sponge. But Hostess made other things I liked. I admit to eating more than my share of bologna on Wonder Bread. As for the sweets, there were Ho-Hos, Ring Dings, Devil Dogs (my mother’s favorite) and the best of the best, Funny Bones (chocolate cakes with peanut butter cream inside). My mother used to split the Devil Dogs apart, the way people split Oreos, and eat the plain cake side, then the cream-slathered side. I can still picture her, sitting at the kitchen table in our first house, me on one end of the table and her on the other. It was a small kitchen with ugly wallpaper and no counter space, but right now, the memories fill it to the point of tears.

I just checked to see what was going on with the Hostess website. It’s offline. All I get is an error message.

Note to Hostess: you have no idea how sadly appropriate that is.





Filed under consumer products, Current news, employment, food