Thursday, May 21, 2009

Are Things Looking Up?

Was just speaking with a friend and saying that things seemed to be looking up a bit, and she answered not in her industry. Oh well, but I do think it also has to do with perception and whether one has a positive outlook or not. We had just had a half hour conversation on whether to worry or not. I was the one saying I figure out if I can do anything about it or not and only worry if there is room to do something. Obviously my friend didn’t agree, but that’s OK.

As to my positive outlook, in the last couple of weeks practically everyone I know has gotten interviews, including myself. I actually had a response to one of the applications I sent in on-line. Go figure, sure shocked me. When the guy called to set up the interview, I was confused as to what he wanted. Thought he might be a telemarketer. Just goes to show how few calls like that I’ve received in the last couple of months. I have to say, having been doing this for over a year; the last few months have been the absolute worst for getting interviews. It started to make me think all kinds of negative things, a long the lines of “what’s wrong with me”. It just goes to show, that it can get to any of us at times, even Miss Pollyanna here.

At my Friday networking group we were talking about those dreaded milestones that unfortunately are part of the process. So, this weekend, when I was feeling a definite lack of energy, I started to think about what milestone I might be facing. That was the “Ah Hah” moment for me. My Cobra benefits are running out this summer. Now a friend mentioned that due to the stimulus package, there may be an 18 month extension. I wasn’t able to find anything to definitive on-line yesterday, but today I’m going to call my Cobra provider and see what they say. I’ll definitely report back here what ever I find out. If any of you out there knows anymore, I would really appreciate it if you would put it in the comment section on this blog. Last week I renegotiated my car insurance premium and this week it’s Cobra and the whole cable/internet/phone thing that also is going up and needs to be negotiated. Hey, it’s gives me something to do, while I’m trying to find a job. Really cool feeling when you do negotiate a good deal as well. If I can’t get the extension on Cobra, I’m really going to have to drag my head out of the sand and find a new Health Insurance policy. You know things are pretty sad, when I envy people who are old enough for Medicare. Hey, here’s a piece of good news! It looks like, for those of us who live in New York, we’re going to get another 13 weeks extension of our Unemployment benefits. I’m not really sure if that falls into the “things are looking up” category or not, but hey I’ll take any news of getting money as good news.

Want to hear something funny? I started writing this on Monday, but thought it was way too negative. Therefore, I put off posting until today since my mood definitely matches the weather in it sunnyness. (Is that a word?). When I went back to edit what I’d written on Monday, I wondered what I was worried about. See, all about perception isn’t it? Meanwhile, not only have I already applied for twelve jobs this week, I found another seven this morning that I’m going to apply to right after I finish posting this. Just checked my list and the last time I found that many jobs to apply for was the first week in January. Maybe things really are looking up. They very well may be. In addition, a recruiter called me Tuesday. Now it was only for a contractor position, but what a cool job it was, making use of my project management skills and my French. We’ll see, but hopefully it’s just the promise of good things to come.

Before I forget, I did check with company that manages my Cobra and as far as I can tell, there is no extension in months we are able to be under that program. Sorry folks. Now I’ll start pursuing other avenues and will report back what I find out.

Here are a few suggestions for all of you out there. If you are looking for networking meetings go to a website Key in unemployed or other interests and your zip and it will pull up a bunch of meetings in your area. It’s pretty cool. I used it to see what was around me before I started my own networking group. Did you know that you can get forty business cards printed free, on the spot, at Staples? That’s right, but I’m not sure how long it will last. I know you can get free business cares from Vista Print, but if you are running to a meeting and have forgotten your cards, you can drop into a Staples and get some printed. How cool is that? Finally, here is something amusing. If you go to you can order wristbands to promote yourself. You know the whole Lance Armstrong thing except for yourself. What the heck no? How about that study in the UK that says during the recession more women are splurging in retail therapy. Woo Hoo!

Well in the words of Elmer Fud or Raskally Rabit, “That’s all folks”. Oh except, that for the first time in months I was actually day dreaming again on the treadmill. Things are getting better. It really will be OK. Honestly, it will be just fine. Get out there and enjoy the sunshine. Hey maybe we can all go to the zoo!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Heads Up People!

I don’t think it’s just me. There is a sense of positive feeling in the air. And, no, it’s not the cherry blossoms. I think we’d all have to agree, as pretty as they are, we are all affected one way or the other by tree pollen. I’m going out of town, but I had to post this. For the past week or so, all I’ve heard is that more people are calling or more opportunities seem to be presenting themselves. Mind you this could just be Spring or something, but it you live in the North East as I do, then that can so not be the case. We’ve just had five days of solid rainy dreary weather, that could clearly only make the Grinch happy. Even the people in my various networking meetings who I wouldn’t describe as positive Pollyanna’s like moi, have been saying this. Over the past two weeks I’ve hear the same line from quite a few different people. These people are all in different industries, no not just health care and education. Their specialties range from IT to marketing, to advertising and so on. They are all saying with a pinch of disbelief, that they are getting calls for interviews. Believe me, I am one of the biggest skeptics out there and don’t believe a thing I read in the papers. So, why the head’s up?

I know I’ve talked about this before. This is the time we've all been waiting for. This is the time when you should be sprucing up your resume and networking like mad. Where you are and what you’re doing somewhat depends on how long you’ve been out of work. We’re all in different phases. For instance, me, I’ve been out for a long time. I was at the beginning of the way. I tell you, for those of you who are like me, depending on your circumstances, this was not a good thing. My experience was that I got tons of interviews and very close to landing a ton of jobs. But, just when they were ready to make me an offer, blam…they’d lay people off and close off the open requisitions. For myself, I haven’t been that unhappy. I have to tell you that most of these jobs I really didn’t want anyway and was kind of hoping they didn’t make me an offer. That being said, I do want to go back to work. I don’t want to be self employed like a lot of you out there. Here’s where my plan be seems to be helping.

My plan B is made up of several parts: 1. A job search support group. 2. Consulting for a private consulting group on a 1099 basis. 3. Volunteering in a campaign for a candidate that lives in my building. 4. Belonging to another organization and starting up another kind of support group. All these things keep me very busy and yes, I do keep applying for jobs and reaching out to network. As a matter of fact, these various activities lead me to network more than I usually would. More than that though, they lend me the opportunity to interact with people and to gain a sense of self worth that would generally be part of what I got from my job. Now when employers ask me what I’ve been doing “all this time” (you all know what I mean), I have something to say. In addition, I have something to update my resume with, that may put me towards the top of the pile.

The reason I am writing this, is not to toot my own horn. God no! This is the time, in marketing parlance, to position yourself well. You and I are the product. We need to get a sense of the market place and work on our “creatives’ read resume, to best sell ourselves into the jobs we want. We need to start working on it NOW! We all want to be ahead of the curve. I believe it is happening. It may be happening slowly, but if what happened was a result of a crisis of confidence, then now is a time to take advantage of a surplus of hope/positivism. You know, that’s all it takes for CEO’s to say “hey we’ve got to start hiring.”

I know this is brief. I’m going on a short trip, but I wanted to make this point because it is so important.

Let’s pump up our resumes. Start working the phones. Let’s keep feeding treats to that positive wolf. Enjoy your weak. IT WILL HAPPEN! We will all soon be back to work and whining about how little free time we have to enjoy.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Self Employed, W2 Contractor, 1099 Consultant vs. Employee

In the last few weeks I’ve been doing a lot of thinking around Plan B and career choices. I thought it might be a good idea to share those thoughts in this weeks post. In the past, and I’m talking about three years ago, I thought consultant was simply a term for someone who couldn’t find a full time job with a company. Now, mainly over the past year, I’ve come to realize that it might indeed be a well thought out choice. Let’s think about this.

Actually most of my friends are consultants now. Originally they may have gone that path as a means to land a full time job with an employer, but I think they’ve come to enjoy being their own boss. As most of you know, when you agree to work for an employer you not only agree to do the job assigned to you, but to also follow their rules, and work within their culture and belief system. Sometimes this is a good thing, and if it is a good match, oftentimes it is a good thing for a long time. I know one of my previous employers had this culture where you were encouraged to always speak up and definitely to call out if you saw a foul taking place. However, also within that culture, it was very difficult to get ahead, especially after a certain age. I flourished there for years and did get ahead until I hit that age barrier. Then I switched to the next employer. The culture there was very different. You were not encouraged to speak out, ever, which was very difficult for me. On the other hand, one was given tremendous freedom to do whatever you thought would be good for the business. So I flourished there too. Until, the culture changed. I am so sure that a lot of you reading this have gone through something similar. I stayed at the last company for a long time after it changed. There is a lot of comfort in being paid well, not having to do much for it, and have all the other support benefits like insurance. So, I’m not saying that going to work for an employer is a bad thing, not at all. What I am saying is why I am starting to think about the whole self employed thing.

A friend of mine told me he really wants to be a 1099. Of course at first I was thinking what the fudge is that? I believe what it represents is this surge in people wanting to be their own boss. To work out of your home, in your own time, according to your values is not such a bad thing. Being a 1099 consultant means that basically you bill for your services. It also means you can have a whole bunch of clients you are working with and the fees that you receive aren’t shared with any one you don’t want to. The 1099 refers to the tax statement you receive from your clients so you can pay income tax on these fees. As to the W2 contractor, that’s a little different I believe. Besides the fact that they actually give you a paycheck (hence the W2), you are actually employed by someone, just not getting other benefits and I guess it’s usually for a specified contracted term. You’re still your own boss to a great degree. I guess if your getting paid mainly by commission, it’s really only different from the 1099 because of tax status. Ultimately, if you have a service to offer and like a lot of freedom, and aren’t tied so much to the security of that check coming in whether you do much or not, then you might want to think about doing this type of thing. It can range from contacting old clients and partners to do work for them, to contacting an agency like Adecco or Olsten Temps to contract out your services. A lot of people are doing this quite successfully. Plus, there is the added benefit of keeping your skills up to date and adding something current to your resume, so that when you do find that job you’ve been looking for, you’re ready to go.

Now tell you something else I’ve run across recently. Oh please, I know some of you are going to think “where has she been?” That being said, it just caught my eye, thoughts or imagination recently. Reading different job adds for Business Development jobs I had come across the terminology, “hunter”. Now being somewhat analytical, I could kind of figure it out. Then I read about or heard a recruiter refer to a hunter vs. a farmer. OK, I guess that the difference between business development and account management. Business development goes out and cold calls and creates relationship and closes sales and account management nurtures those relationships and grows the business. Pretty good huh? Well, Monday a friend said something to me that really nailed it for me. She was talking about how in the investment world, or part of it, nowadays it’s all commission based with no base salary. She looked at me and said, “You know. You eat what you kill.” Oh my God! The concept finally landed. Then yesterday, I was speaking to a recruiter for a W2 contractor job. As she described the position and how it would be compensated, I knew it was a mighty hunter job. Privately thinking, I’d rather live out of my car, or as one of my friends calls it; my four door apartment. So I said to her, I’m not going to waste your time. I am much more of a farmer and would not do well in this position but I know and respect and actually and am in awe of people that do this well. It’s true. There are those of you out there who get a charge out of going out there and nailing the sale and want to be compensated for doing just that. Me, I’d rather eat what I grow.

On that note, I hope you all have found this somewhat helpful. It just brings out the fact that even though there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot out there right now, there are other options. It’s all about knowing that there are other options and keep exploring them. You just never know where they’ll lead.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

OK So I Took Some Time Off

Some of you may have noticed, but I haven’t posted anything to this blog for a couple of weeks. I had just hit that wall we all run into at different times in our own internal timeline expectations. You know what I’m talking about? This internal clock that just keeps ticking through the times when you thought you’d be back to work long before this time ever hit. Anyway, so I took some time, a couple days at least, just for me. I didn’t do anything, eat anything, or talk to anyone, unless I really felt like it. I’m telling you, it really did wonders for my new occupation campaign. But on that note, aren’t there days when you’d really like to have that first drink at 2:00, the heck with tea and cookies. I was starting to think today was one of those days, and then I managed to fix my kitchen light. I have those long florescent light bulbs in my kitchen and I changed one the other day. Well it’s been flickering for days; sometimes dim and other times real bright. I was at the point of asking my super to come up and look at it, but not only am I feeling too cheap for that, I also felt it was kind of like one of those jokes. You know what I mean, how many whatever’s does it take to change a light bulb? Well I went to Target and bought new bulbs, came home and tried again and voila, everything is fine. Ahhhh, the little victories. Anyway, I do digress don’t I?

It may have appeared before in this blog how I am always amazed that people think I am handling things so well. But, you know, yesterday I “got” it. Finally, I gave myself credit for surviving relatively sane. However, before I get to that, you all need to believe that people are looking at you the very same way. We are all surviving. When you are home alone with your PC/Mac you may not feel that way, but it is all part of the process. Of course it also helps if you can appreciate, like I do, that it wasn’t always so happy times while working and at least now when you get frustrated, you can retire with tea and cookies to your comfy place to read a book, watch TV or whatever it is that makes you happy. That’s how I either keep my spirits up, or drag them up when they get really down.

You know, I started this posting yesterday, but realized I was having a real writers block. One of my original intentions for writing this blog was to recognize the humor, because there usually is always something to laugh about in every situation. Well in the last couple of months there didn’t seem to be anything to laugh about. Now, this all a perception mind you. I for one, can find something to laugh about in pretty much anything. Speaking of which, a friend of mine told me the best story about the day he was laid off as we drove home. I really wish he would share the story in comments. That was the hardest I’ve laughed in a very long time. And darlin, I wasn’t laughing at you, but more laughing with you at the irony of things that happen in our lives. I could so relate and I think you know that. This was an instance of good sympathetic influence. However, that being said, we all need to keep an eye on who is influencing us and in what way.

One of the ways we do survive or thrive in the process is to recognize and deal with appropriately, those negative influences that come and go through our lives and times. We can all succeed at focusing on the positive and diminishing the negative, but if there are people who we let close to us and who are really negative, this can have a very bad impact to our confidence, our hopes and ultimately to our future success. I’m not talking about the give and take of support in our various networks of friends and family. I’m talking about that person who always sends you or calls you with negative stories, never positive ones. The person who when you reach out to and say your in some need of support, says, no you're never that way, that you are always positive, and then changes the subject to talk about their problems. Listen to your own inner feelings. Do you think “uck” when you read one of the emails or feel that way after you get off the phone? Do you dread when you hear from them? Well it may be kind of cold of me, but in order to survive, we may need to distance ourselves from these vampires that suck the positive energy right out of you.

And, on a more positive note, the job boards may be thin and interviews even thinner, but people are using this difficult time to follow their dreams. That’s one heck of a segue isn’t it. Yesterday, at one of my network meetings, it struck me that a lot of us in a normal market would have simply moved on to another job, similar to the one we left when we were laid off. Because it is so darn difficult to get a job, we have to be more creative. There are only so many creative ways of searching for a job that you can come up with but, once you start thinking about what you would love to do, then the creativity can really kick in. In normal times, family members, friends etc. might respond with “stop wasting your time”. Now, since what you have most of is time, this type of creativity is encouraged and it can work. This colleague of mine was an IT maven and is now pursuing his dream in cooking and broadcasting and managing his daughter’s career. I am just in awe. Another person I met though another networking meeting, is pursuing her dream to make quilts as a business. Personally, I am spending some of my free time volunteering for my neighbor’s political campaign. I don’t know if it will lead anywhere, but I’ve always wanted to get involved in politics so we’ll see where it goes. I do believe these things can be a path that leads to another. More importantly, I think we all need to recognize that this awful recession may be an opportunity for us to explore things that for some reason we would never have given ourselves permission to pursue in the past.

To end, I’d like to add these links that I found on to articles we have an interest in:

Generation B, They Feel Your Losses

Stupid Interview Questions

You know, now that I have that negative influence out of my life, I am starting to find things to laugh about again. Isn’t that grand? I’ll leave it at that and perhaps next week I’ll be able to share some with you. The one I’m thinking about, you really had to be there to appreciate it.

Keep feeding the positive wolf and keep those hungry negative wolves at bay.

Monday, April 6, 2009

You Take Your Successes Wherever You Can Find Them

Don’t know about the rest of you, but there’s been a slew of “you know what” kind of days and weeks lately. I was IM’ing a friend earlier and I was whining about not having anything good or positive to say. So, I took my own advice and went for a walk. Do you know that I ran into this guy that I’ve been trying to contact, in the crosswalk of all places! Mind you I want to do some volunteer work for him, but you never know where that may lead. After that, I decided to indulge myself. Heh heh. Nah, nothing big. Just bought myself a trashy novel and a magazine. I have always believed, for as long as I can remember, that it’s a good idea to reward oneself when something good happens. It tends to get you focused on what you might consider something good. Most of you probably know by now, and if you don’t I’m sorry to put a damper on things, but it is very difficult to volunteer these days. Volunteering is a great way to network. It gets you out and about talking to people, meeting and making new friends. Plus you’re doing something for a cause, so you get some good karma points as well. For myself I have sent in applications to volunteer for the botanical gardens and the Friends of the Library. I’m having as much success with them as I have with the gazillion applications I’ve sent out in the last couple months. Therefore, when I ran into the candidate and he was pleased that I wanted to volunteer, I claimed that as my success for the day. That and the fact that I’ve lost 26 lbs since I’ve been out of work makes me feel very successful indeed today.

I want to bring something up and I’m not sure how this is going to land with most of you. Several of my friends have found jobs in the last couple weeks. The reason I mention the fact of how it might affect people is because I know I faced this news with the same ambivalence I had with news of huge layoffs. You know what I mean? With the layoffs, one can say hey there’s a reason I can’t find a job, but at the same time it’s really scary because you don’t know how you are ever going to find a job. However, when people start getting jobs, you start to wonder what’s wrong with you, even though, at the same time, you are really happy for them and would love to share in the excitement, but just have a little problem with it. Am I just projecting or does anyone else feel that way? No really, I am truly glad for my friends and am looking to learn from them what they did differently from me and from what I’ve done so I can improve my search. Just so you all know I believe they got their jobs through networking! That’s right folks; everyone I’ve known who has landed a job in the last six months got it through networking. Why do you think I’m out there volunteering and oh yeah, I’m joining Toastmasters too. The reason I am emphasizing all this is because in this current job market, it may be easy to apply for jobs on-line, but it’s not working. If there’s anyone out there who has a different take on this, I would love to hear it. So here are the different things I’ve done in the last few weeks to improve my outreach: 1. Volunteer, 2. Join a club, 3. Start a group of my own. Oh and finally, I have also reached out to a contact in for an information interview that may lead to something. Finding a job is really a lot of work. It is! It’s also hard. You have to constantly come up with new ways to approach it. But please stick with it. There are people finding jobs, and good jobs at that. We will all go back to work and probably look back on these times as “the good old days”.

Hopefully, this information is of help to you all. I am really not saying anything new, but I think, I myself, need to revisit the basics from time to time. Oh another idea that a colleague brought up at lunch, was having a task list. If you are really and truly looking for something to say you’ve accomplished something, have a task list every day. I have one and do it religiously. Mind you, control is a key factor, both in having the list, and in drafting the list. You need to keep it to an amount of items that you can reasonably accomplish that day and still leave you time to get out and about and make contacts. Whenever you are facing a huge project, and finding a job in this market is certainly a huge project, it is always a good idea to break it down into tasks. Looking towards the future can be daunting, therefore if you can just start breaking it down, you allow yourself to build momentum, find new directions to go in, and to give yourself a reason for a pat on the back.

There now that I’ve finished my blog, I can check off the final item on my list. Isn’t that great? Woo Hoo! I know I’m being silly, but it’s raining outside and I think it’s a very good thing to be silly at the end of the day if it makes you smile. I’m feeding the positive wolf with all my heart.

Good luck every body. Please feel free to comment. I would love to hear from you.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

In Pursuit of Plan B

Today is Sunday as you’ve probably already figured out. Can I tell you how busy I’ve been and how I wasn’t able to get through my “to do” list. For me that’s a real first, especially for a Sunday when my “to do” list is usually somewhat abbreviated. I believe it has a lot to do with my pursuit of my Plan B. Later I will go into a little more detail as to what Plan B for me actually entails. For now, I would like to define it as something that is different from what you actually thought you’d be doing. Or, how about, something that gets you thinking and moving, that is constantly evolving towards putting you in the job you love and deserve? How’s that?

Well that’s what it represents to me. People have asked me what it is that I want to accomplish. Typically we all think of leading to job making X amount of dollars. In this economy/environment I believe it is a challenge just to talk to people to see how you might fit in or grow something. If I might digress for a moment, I applied for a job with a major bank today. It took me two hours to complete the application. This is me, ya’ll, the woman who can fill out applications in 10 seconds flat. Part of the application was to take an aptitude test which included many of those dreaded word problems. You know what I’m talking about; if Suzy was running x miles per hour and Johnny was running Y, when would they crash into each other? But this was more in the lending business. Anyway, on top of that, I received a questionnaire from another company I applied to asking me to document a marketing plan I had put in place. This, mind you, was only one of seven questions in the questionnaire. I’m telling you this to point out how darn hard it is getting. Have you tried to volunteer lately? There are waiting lists with most organizations, at least in my part of the country. Therefore, I’ve included in my Plan B as a reason for me to talk to people. Plus, my plan B is something I believe in.

OK so what’s my plan B? All I’ll tell you is that in alignment with creating this blog and posting to it each week, I want to continue to help other unemployed people out there. I am especially concerned with those individuals that are not getting help from outplacement firms and/or who are living alone and are at risk. There are a lot of people out there who are at risk, because if you don’t get out and talk to people or reach out in some way, you may get caught up in your own internal soundtrack, which not be a comedy or action flick. What I’m trying to do is to set up a support group/networking group in my home town, so that people can get together and go over job search strategies, trends, stress busting methods, and just laugh a little. It’s not as easy as you might think. Now this is good for me, because it has gotten my creative juices flowing and I’m talking to more and more people. Before I forget, this wonderful woman at my local library suggested two websites to look for local meetings; and I haven’t been to craigslist but I did go to meetup. Just type in unemployed in topic or interest and your zip code and voila, it will bring up the meetings close to you. What’s funny is there is a lot of truth to it being harder to give something away than to sell it.

So far, I’ve received lots of good advice and I’ve met some interesting people. I continue to move forward. Everyday, through this Plan, brings up other things I haven’t thought of which I continue to pursue. Then that leads to something else, which leads to something else. Who know’s where I’ll end up? All I know is that the search or journey is leading me to a lot more places than sitting in front of my computer for hours ever has. I finally “get” what networking is all about. It is a journey that keeps your mind active and your options open. By the way, I do continue to search for jobs every day, and so should you. Just think about adding a little something else to the day OK?

Once again, continue to feed the positive wolf and let’s give a big hoorah for the extra dollars in our unemployment checks. I know the people in my state have a smile on their faces today. Yes, the deposits went in on Friday! Check your account!

Good bye for now and lot’s of luck in your search.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

We All Need Something to Believe In..

Having just come from the gym I was thinking about this a lot. It’s a line on Dixie Chicks, “Taking the Long Road” CD, called “Easy Silence”. The words that stick in my mind are “…anger plays on every station, answers only bring more questions, I need something to believe in …breathing sanctuary”. You really should listen to the whole song. It is more of a quiet prayer than anything else. I know, believe me I’m not listening to this as I run, but more on the machine for the waist line. However, these are times when we all do need something to believe in. I know some of you out there have very strong beliefs that will do you in good stead during these hard times, but for others that the words hope and faith do go together. You hope that things will get better, but you have to have faith that they will to actually engender a change. This is part of the reason why I will end my piece with Feed the Positive Wolf. This is also the reason I feed the birds. By the way this is a particular good time of year to feed the birds. They are so appreciative. But when I feed the birds, I say to what ever entity I believe in, “as I feed your creatures, please take care of mine”. Then I name a few friends or family members that could use some help. Hey, you gotta believe that putting positive energy out there is a really good thing.

I actually had a networking meeting last Monday. I know, I finally did it..Hoo Rah! It wasn’t all that positive since the environment that I’m looking to work in, big surprise, isn’t doing that well. However the one thought that remains with me has to do with what she said about how her company was managing talent acquisition. Not that they are actually acquiring at this time mind you. But, what she said that resonated, was that from the CEO on down, they were concerned about when the uptick comes, how are they going to be able to fill those positions. What if the economy picks up as quickly as it went down? These people evidently believe that is a real strong possibility. How are they going to be able to hire and train all the people they are going to need? See, here is where faith comes in. I believe, just as we were all filled with shock and awe at the way the economy crashed, it will come back in just as ungainly manner. We need to be focusing on what will position us to be in the forefront of that hiring binge. Mind you everyone, please do stop your job hunt. You need to spend at least two hours a day, in follow up, sending applications, calling contacts etc. but with of the rest of the day think about other things that you are really interested in to follow up on.

Another thing my friend told me, which I’ve heard from other people, was to look for something I really cared about and volunteer. So, I’m having this conversation with a friend of mine and a few ideas came up. If you like animals and don’t have one of your own, or even if you do, how about volunteering at an animal shelter or looking to get a part time job at the zoo? What the heck huh! Myself, I’ve been thinking about the Botanical Gardens. This is besides Plan B, by the way. It’s a great time of year and for those of us who are apartment dwellers, volunteering or working at a botanical garden gives us a chance to dig in the dirt maybe. Please if any of you have other ideas, please add them in the comment sections. I would love to hear them.

Along with gardening, Spring is a great time for cleaning right? This is a fabulous time to clean some of the clutter out of your life. A friend of mine called me on Friday and told me she felt that my books were starting to sprout up again. You have to understand, I have a lot of books. Last count I believe it was somewhere in the range of 1,500 books, and that was after I donated a couple thousand to various libraries. She was right, I looked around my office, aka my spare bedroom, and saw they were starting to clutter up the bookcases, all every which way. The reason I’m writing about this is because, for me, books are a way to fending off change or possible decisions or new things. Like the Simon and Garfunkle song “..I have books and poetry to protect me..”. The same holds true for other things in ones home or office. This is especially true for those of us that have been sitting in front of the computer dealing with all kinds of fears and anger and frustration. We need to banish that stuff out of our lives so that we can have open space to receive new things or ideas. Here’s a great like that gives some practical advice on how to start this process: What I was also thinking was that I have pictures of when I was at work, when it wasn’t a good time. I’m going to look for those and get rid of them. Another good source for clutter clearing is Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui. It’s really easy reading.

Finally, I’ll end with a couple other reading selections that you may be interested in. First of all Wayne Dyer is a great author for inspiration. His earlier books were more down to earth and funny, but "Manifest Your Destiny" is great too. The other book that I have found very helpful, especially when I meditate is "Creative Visualization" by Shakti Gawain. I think I’ll leave it at that. I’ll call around to the various shelters and stuff this week and let you know what I find out. I’m hoping that I’ll have some leads for you by next week.

Have a happy successful week and please, Feed the Positive Wolf.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Folks I Think It May Be Time For Plan B

I’ve been thinking all week that maybe the time has come to fall back to Plan B. Now, over the past year of so I’ve had a lot of plan B’s. For those of you who may not have heard of this, Plan A is usually pursuing a job pretty much like the one you got laid off from. It may be a little different or perhaps in a different industry, but pretty much same job, different floor, building, company… Plan B however, is a whole different kettle of fish. At least in my mind it is. Let me tell you something about my Plan B’s. When I was first laid off, I had absolutely no desire ever to do that kind of work again. I had this list of three things to pursue. Yup, posted it right up there on the fridge, along with the magnets and new year’s resolutions. The three on my list were; work on a presidential campaign, open an aromatherapy, lotions and potions shop, and go to cooking school and become a chef. Wow, I was ready! Unfortunately, the economy wasn’t. Well, I did work on the Hilary for President Campaign. I quickly found out that for someone who wasn’t too keen on office politics, woo boy, stay away from the big time players! The second had been my dream for oh maybe the last ten years. I did all my reading and contacted the small business association and then I thought about it. Fortunately, I put that one to bed as well. Good thinking no? Who in this economy is going to spend money on specialized lotions, when we’re all out there cutting coupons and going with the bargain brand? Finally I contacted cooking schools and got their brochures. Do you know how much it costs to go to cooking school? More than it cost me to get my MBA! I know that was a while ago, but anyway. Then I started thinking about the horrible hours that chefs keep, all on their feet with crazy people (if what I read is correct, don’t mean to offend anyone if they’re a chef), so decided to put that one away too. Then, after three months, I went back to Plan A. Heavy sigh….

I have been pursuing Plan A pretty heavily for over a year now. It was working for me for the most part. But lately, I don’t know about the rest of you, but it sure is getting tough out there. Mind you, I am still sending out my applications and setting up networking meetings, but I think it’s time, as they used to say in the 90’s, to think outside the box. Oh, by the way, I had another Plan B, which I kind of liked. It was to set up a used book shop in one of the vacant stores across the street from me. I have a ton of books in my apartment and though I could solve the inventory problem that way. Well the shops have been taken and I didn’t really want to let go of my books, so another Plan B shelved. The reason I’m sharing all this is to get the rest of you thinking. I do actually have a new Plan B. I think however, I’ll keep it to myself until I see how it plays out.

I don’t have any links to pass on this week. It appears that we were all probably pondering our Plan B’s. Please feel free to comment on your Plan B’s. Share it with the rest of us. I really do believe that bouncing ideas and talking gets’ the juices flowing and that we can come up with some terrific stuff to do for the rest of our careers.

Open the windows. Breathe the fresh air. Look at the Spring flowers. Feed the positive wolf and have a great week!

Friday, March 6, 2009

OMG Unemployment..Don’t Do What I Did!

Last week was a pretty tough week for me. It’s probably the reason that I didn’t post anything until Sunday. But amongst all the normal trials and tribulations I made a huge mistake that could have caused me to lose 13 weeks of unemployment insurance payments.

Before I get to that, I do have to say something regarding the comment by anonymous to my posting on Sunday. You know I have it set up so that I have to approve comments before they get posted, so I did decide to post your comment. I figure it’s always good to have another side to the story. However, one thing, I am probably who I am and learned so much from the days when I managed telemarketing. If I could go back to that job, I would do it in a flash. It was my favorite job of all time. My favorite, mainly because the people who worked in the department were so darned positive and upbeat and indestructible. Telemarketers, collectors and sales people in general have a really hard job. This is a job where you get rejected on a hourly, daily, minute by minute basis. So, if you don’t have a way to keeping up your confidence or being positive, you will not succeed. I remember walking through the department. There were about 140 telemarketers on the floor in an open environment, with an aisle down the middle where the teamleaders sat. I was rushing through, as usual worrying about something to do with budget or management; frown on my face. One of my top sellers stopped me right there and said “how do you expect us to keep going to the “yes”, if you are walking through with a frown on your face?” I told her she was absolutely right and from then on not only was I completely conscious of the attitude I was projecting, but I started to really enjoy myself. These are the people who taught me that every time you get a no, you are one no closer to a yes! This really really applies to our job search. When you get rejected, it’s one rejection closer to landing a job. It’s all probabilities. So anonymous, I thank you for your comment and I can appreciate your perspective on Tory’s speech, but please be sensitive to other fields of work. And, Sales guys, telemarketers and collectors (by the way I hear they’re calling you guys debt mitigation specialists now a days..yeesh) I’ve got your back!

Now back to unemployment insurance. By the way, this only pertains to NY. I’m sorry, but that’s where I live, so I’m not sure if the same pertains to other states. Anyway, the week before last I got word that our unemployment had been extended another 13 weeks. Woo Hoo! Kudos to NY DOL, they sent me a letter telling me this and they actually called me and left a message with that information on my machine. So I go ahead and log on, (by the way, my benefits had run out after 46 weeks in January) and hit complete the claim for the week. It appears everything is going smoothly. I print the confirmation page and go about my business. Now I’m checking my bank account on Thursday, no payment. So I check it again on Friday, still no payment. Then I look on the confirmation notice. Under the Claim Complete there is a second bullet, “Important Information”. What it said was “Your benefit year has ended. Please contact the Telephone claims Center at 1-888-209-8124 to verify your continuing eligibility for extended benefits”. Now I read this as darn I wasn’t eligible. (Amazing what a negative defeated attitude will do for you huh?) Thanks to one of my good friends sending me the notice and pushing me, I called them. They told me it was a GLITCH! I fell through the cracks for crying out loud! I really felt it important to impart this story to all of you, just in case some of you are falling through that same crack. Sorry it’s not more entertaining today, but I felt this was too darn important. Now if you want to just shake your head and say “what was she thinking?”, I‘ll take that risk, happily. I’ve pasted in the notice from NYDOL below. Hey we’re supposed to get a raise. I haven’t seen it yet but maybe it’s coming soon. And, maybe I’ll just pick up the phone and check on it next week. Let me know if any of you have seen the raise or if you know anything about it. Here’s the memo:

Filing for Extended Unemployment Insurance Benefits Allowed Until December 31st; $25 Added to Weekly UI Benefits
New York City, NY (February 27, 2009) - State Labor Commissioner M. Patricia Smith, together with Congressman Charles Rangel, Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, today announced that more than one million unemployed New Yorkers statewide will benefit from the provisions for unemployment insurance compensation that are included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). In New York City alone, nearly 400,000 unemployed individuals will benefit from them. The economic impact of the ARRA’s unemployment insurance provisions is estimated to total more than $2.1 billion statewide. The impact in New York City alone is estimated to total $934 million.
Speaking at the Upper Manhattan Workforce 1 Career Center in Harlem, Commissioner Smith outlined how the ARRA unemployment insurance provisions will benefit New Yorkers, by:
• Allowing new claims for extended unemployment benefits to be made through December 31, 2009, with benefits payable through May 31, 2010. (Previously, the deadline for applying for extended benefits was March 31, 2009, and no payments could be made beyond August 2009.) It is estimated that this extension will impact 352,000 people statewide, including 158,000 in New York City. New Yorkers are currently eligible to receive 26 weeks of regular unemployment insurance benefits and 33 weeks of extended benefits.
• Increasing weekly unemployment insurance benefits by $25 through December 31, 2009. The increase applies to individuals who are collecting both regular and extended unemployment insurance benefits. Approximately 900,000 people statewide and 331,000 people in New York City are expected to receive the increase to their regular benefit payments; and approximately 500,000 people statewide and 225,000 in New York City are expected to receive the increase to their extended benefit payments. The additional payments will be made retroactive to the week ending March 1, 2009.
• Suspending the federal income tax on the first $2,400 of unemployment insurance benefits per recipient. This provision is expected to result in an estimated federal tax savings of $215 per beneficiary in 2009.
• Providing $412 million to New York State to replenish the UI Trust Fund, and $29.5 million in administrative funds to help improve claims processing, add staff to field calls and resolve claims, and improve the Shared Work program.
“The federal stimulus bill will provide critical assistance to unemployed New Yorkers at a time when they need it most,” said Commissioner Smith. “To everyone who is struggling to find re-employment at this difficult time, the message is ‘help is on the way.’ Our leaders in Washington have responded to the needs of working families to help them get through this unprecedented economic crisis.”
“I urge all New Yorkers who are out of work through no fault of their own to make sure they file for unemployment compensation,” Commissioner Smith continued. “I also urge them to visit their local One-Stop Career Center to register for re-employment assistance. The federal stimulus bill also includes funds for worker training, which will become available to states very soon. It is important for workers to remain in contact with their local One-Stop so that they may take advantage of appropriate training opportunities that become available.”
“This is not just about giving hope and a helping hand to those who have been knocked down by this economic crisis, but also laying the groundwork for future success,” said Congressman Rangel. “By extending benefits, increasing access to healthcare and providing funding for job training and preparation programs, we are providing residents with the kind of support and resources they need to not just find temporary work but a job that will last.”
Individuals are encouraged to check the Department of Labor’s web site at for current information regarding unemployment insurance, including extended benefits, eligibility rules and instructions on how to apply.

Here's a link from the NY Times that a friend sent me: Enjoy!

Keep the faith guys. We will go back to work. Of that I have no doubt. In the mean time, summer is coming.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Suddenly it Appears We Are Totally “Au Fait”?

My apologies in advance, for my incorrect spelling in French, if that is indeed the case. I’ve only heard it spoken. To be “au fait” is to be in the know or doing something that is cool. The reason I brought this up is that while reading the NY Times this morning. (This being my very favorite thing to do on Sunday mornings, especially happily ensconced in my favorite place.) I noticed that there were several articles in the Style section, for crying out loud, talking about the recession. One article was about how it is affecting New Yorkers in their decisions for school choices; private or public. There was also a piece on the Women for Hire job fair, which I went to last week. Reading the article “About His Deposit…”, by Jan Hoffman was rather interesting. It points out how many people are affected by the recession. Being someone who not only doesn’t have children, but who probably wouldn’t send them to private schools even if I did, I did find it really interesting as to how these people, never mind their kids are being affected. The other article “Generation B: Boomers in a Past Boom Economy” really hit home. Not only am I a Boomer, yes, but actually was at this particular job fair. Here’s the link incase you want to read it: Now mind you, I went to the breakfast before, which didn’t have any food, to hear Tory Johnson speak. Found out later that it wasn’t breakfast after all, but “Coffee with Tory”. For those of you who might have attended the coffee and enjoyed it, I will try to contain myself. But, it won’t be easy.

What I am talking, or some might say ranting, about is the Women for Hire fair, preceded by “Coffee with Tory” for which I, and my best friend, paid $20 to attend. If I had gotten anything, I repeat anything, from this coffee; any words of wisdom or uplifting ideas, I might not be in such a snit. Basically I do not agree with anything Tory was saying. In fact, some of it I found downright insulting to women. I will stop myself before I go too far down that path. There are two things that I really disagree with that I would like to clear up. First, Tory told us that we should be working at finding a job, slogging away, eight hours a day, five days a week. She said that if you want to take time off, that’s what weekends are for. I don’t agree. It is so important for our wellbeing that we remain positive and focused. In order to do so, we need to get out of the house. Maybe it means going to a museum, or taking the kids or grandkids to the park. What ever it means to you personally it is important to do this. Not only will it provide you with an opportunity to meet people and network, but it will keep your mind fresh and active. You’ve gotta get out of the house. You’ll never meet anybody there. Plus, we all will go back to work and we need to use this time as a very special time. The second thing Tory said which really bothered me, was that we women needed to learn to negotiate as it pertains to terms of employment. It really pissed me off that there she was speaking to an audience of professional women (and a few men that she decided to invite at the last minute) and telling us that as women we don’t negotiate. Never mind that this may not be the best time to start asking for more money. Granted we can all ask for something else when offered the job, but if what they offer sounds good, jump on it! Myself, concerned as I am about Cobra running out, will probably ask to make sure that health benefits are effective first day on the job. The worse thing about what she said was that she was telling us that we as women were all poor negotiators. I thought those days were over. Maybe there are many women, and men too that aren’t that good at negotiating for themselves, but you don’t have to reinforce it. We can do it and we are doing it. All of us, men and women both are taking care of ourselves and our own. OK, that’s in on Ms Tory,. Wait, one more thing. Her entire delivery was in this high pitched voice. For those of you who may have like what she said, let me give you a piece of advice. Lower your voice pitch to make the sale. Look at Hiliary and most successful women. Years ago I managed a Telemarketing Department and a Collections Department. For those women who weren’t meeting their quota, many times I asked them to lower their pitch and it worked like a dream. I used it myself. I remember going to a requirements meeting and when it came time for me to question the requirement, I always really lowered my voice. My friend Bob told me I got the attention of every guy in the room. Hey what ever works. My basic concern or queasyness with this "Coffee with Tory" was that at $20 a head, with 650 people in attendence, that works out to $13,000! This is all from people who for the most part are out of work. In addition, I believe they may have paid $1,000 for the room. There's just something a little bit to mercernary about this whole thing. OK folks, I'm moving on.

I have to say, last week was a tough one for me. To my delight, I had so many people stand up and provide me support. We are in this together aren’t we? Not only those of us who are currently unemployed, but also those who are still employed and may not only be fearful of losing their jobs, but also may be suffering through survivors guilt. It’s a really hard time. Here is something a friend sent me last week:

Step Up To Success: The Language of SuccessLuminary Circle Founding Member and former chair of the Los Angeles Board of Directors Liz Dennery Sanders offers Step Up members insight each month into key steps to success.

I had lunch with an old friend the other day and couldn't get a word in edgewise. For almost two hours, I heard about the problems she has with her husband, her friends and her ailing health. I also realized that we had the same conversation a year ago and the year before that. In fact, I can't remember a time when we had an uplifting conversation (I'm not sure I can call it a conversation since she was the one doing all of the talking). It dawned on me that not only had my friend bought into her own sob stories, she was creating real-life versions.
Most of us understand that the actions we take (or don't take) lead to our success or lack thereof. But I wonder how many people actually stop to analyze the words that regularly come out of their mouths. We seem to be a society of such fast talkers that it's hard to believe we are truly that thoughtful about our daily diatribe.

The words that come out of our mouths actually set in motion self-fulfilling prophesies. Our words are the impetus that directs our lives. I think most of us know a Debbie Downer - she's the friend who's always complaining and telling you her sad story or depressing drama. How do you feel around her? Probably not so good, right? What fabulous things are happening in her life? Not too many if any at all. Most likely, Debbie sucks the life right out of you.
People like Debbie are stuck in a scarcity mentality that creates their negative reality. You will often hear things like, "I can't," "I should" or "I'm so upset because..." Not taking personal responsibility and placing blame on external things keeps us stuck and small. Taking full responsibility for everything that happens in our lives keeps us moving forward. Take a look at these small but powerful language shifts that move us from naysayer to confident go-getter: "I can't" to "I choose""I don't want" to "I intend" or "I want""My problem is" to "My opportunity is""I should" to "I would like to" Shifting both our self-talk and the words we utter to others from scarcity to confident, prosperity thinking will have a huge effect on the decisions we make and the actions we take. It will not only affect our own energy, but the energy of those around us.

I am reminded of a wonderful quote from Gandhi:

"Your beliefs become your thoughts.
Your thoughts become your words.
Your words become your actions.
Your actions become your habits.
Your habits become your values.
Your values become your destiny."

Be thoughtful of the words that come out of your mouth. They could become your destiny.

©Liz Dennery Sanders 2009
Liz Dennery Sanders wants you to build your buzz and be successful beyond your wildest dreams. As the CEO of Dennery Marks Inc., a brand development and celebrity outreach firm, she founded SheBrand, to help female entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners market themselves, attract more clients and position themselves as experts in their industries. You can reach Liz directly at

Isn’t this great? This is just one example of the great things people send me to post on my blog to help us all out. Never mind, that she gave me the best hug Tuesday when I really needed one. Oh, along those lines there was another article in the NY Times this morning, Preoccupations, “In a Job Hunt, A Good Attitude Beats Bad Times”. I’ll include the link Hopefully you’ll be able to access the article on line. The title says it all. Finally, I will end this with a link to a networking calendar that the same good friend who sent me the article above, also put together. She does this every month! She really is incredible. Here’s the link. I hope you all can access it. I apologize to those of you who don’t live in the NY metro area. I believe if you go to the linked websites you may find the events for areas close to you.

Good luck all of you! Remember always feed the positive wolf!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Maybe it’s Time to Dream….

You know, I’ve said before that to contain fear, it’s best to focus on the hour, the minute or whatever, just to gain back a sense of control. Well, I’ve been thinking this week that maybe I’ve been too focused on the here and now and not daring to dream. I know, this is totally contrary to what I wrote last week. Well hey, maybe some of us are in a different place. Maybe I really need to pull up my socks and get me to another place.

It started out on Monday, when I was talking to a friend and she said that her goal was to find a job by April so that she could go on a good vacation with her friends. My immediate reaction was oh God no! Not that it was a bad goal, but that I immediately focused in on “what if you don’t make the goal?” what then? I’ve been pretty darn disappointed too many times over the past year or so, but hey maybe I need to turn that around and not let it manage me. I’ve been thinking a lot about aspirations.

What do we aspire to? I think about this when I’m running on the tread mill or when I’m meditating; starting to try to formalize the process. Hello? Process Queen here! I am seriously thinking of running the NYC marathon…eeek. Well I did just start running over three miles a day after all. Not saying which year I’ll do it in. The other thing I’ve started back focusing on and formalizing through meditation (whether on my couch or at the gym) is “I am landing the job of my dreams; meaning working with creative intelligent people on challenging exciting projects..” Yup, today even put in there “I am getting an offer next week for the job of my dreams”. What I’m thinking is that this is along the lines of the stretch goal right? If we only think of what we will accomplish today and lose sight of what it is we want, we may end up in the wrong place.

So all I can say is dare to dream. What have you got to lose? It’s free and leads you to places that you want to be in.

Now for some practical advice; yes those job applications out there are ugly but fill them out completely. It’s their game. Please complete the EO information. I hear from someone in HR that they won’t even look at them if you don’t. Networking does work. I actually got a job lead from a friend at a fundraiser the other night. You all probably know by now that I’m not the best networker in the world. If I can do it, most of the rest of you will probably have excellent results. One of my friends suggested the other day to think of networking as an information exchange. That’s for those of us who feel we need to give something to get something. Finally another suggestion I heard, was to respond to articles in the paper or online. It not only gets you thinking but it also gets you involved and who knows what will happen. I would love to sit down and chat with Paul Krugman wouldn’t you? Or, how about corresponding with Bob Hebert or Tom Friedman, wouldn’t that be fun. I guess you all know what I’m going to be doing Sunday.

Enjoy your weekend everyone. Please do take some down time. You need it. Most of all keep dreaming.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Some Pieces of Practical and Spiritual Advice

You know some people may refer to me as the Poster Child for a positive unemployed person. Every time someone says “I admire you for your positive attitude”, I’m thinking they either really mean “are you nuts?”, or “you’ve started in on the wine at noon haven’t you?”, or maybe even “I want some of what you’re taking.” The truth is, I’m always doing things to improve my state of mind. You know; like going to the gym, meditation, positive affirmations and so on. I consider it part of the process of finding the job where I will be happy to end my career. There is something to this.

Something in a conversation yesterday reminded me of why I started thinking this way. Years ago I managed a department of 148 people that the company had decided to outsource. You can imagine how fearful it was to those individuals whose lives were seemingly no longer within their control. Sound familiar? At that time, having weekly and sometimes daily, “one-on-ones” with my teamleaders, I asked them to focus on each week or if necessary, each daily or hourly accomplishment. The reason for this is because if you look out ahead, fear tends to take over, especially if you can’t make yourself see a good future, but if you can focus on what you can accomplish in the here and now, you will be able to actually craft that future to your liking. You know what I’m talking about. Those inner dialogues that go like; “I’m going to lose my apartment”, or “I’m going to have to pull the kids from private school and with this scar them forever?” I think it’s really hard for anyone, maybe not those people that meditate two or three times a day, (but hey what’s with that anyway), to not view the future that way. By focusing my teamleaders in this manner, we were able to prepare our people to move on to other roles or to new careers and to grab back a sense of control.

Folks this is why I have my daily “to do” list. Through the years I’ve found that breaking down future goals into daily or hourly increments really helps. It helps you gain a sense of control of your life. I used this at work, when you’re looking at that annual objective and thinking “no way Jose” am I gonna meet that number. When you break it down to increments of what you have to accomplish each week/month to get to that goal, it becomes very possible. Same goes for the rest of your life. Heck I used it to quit smoking, and breaking up from a poisonous relationship (oh I know you all know what I mean). I used to tell myself originally, if you want a cigarette in an hour you can have one. Then when I got to that hour, would do it again. Gradually worked my way up to if I want one tomorrow I can have one etc. till finally wasn’t thinking about it.

Two reasons for the “to do” list; 1 it allows me to accomplish something every day and 2. it moves me toward my goal. I have a goal of applying for 10 jobs a week and often times I add attending two networking sessions, updating my resume, posting in this blog or just paying bills. It keeps me moving forward and focused. And, you know, I’ve had a heck of a lot of interviews for some really cool jobs. I know I haven’t landed yet, but I firmly believe it’s because I still haven’t found that job that meets my aspirations.

Oh, before I move on, for those of you who are meditating and using positive affirmations, I found this statement in Creative Visualization, by Shakti Gawane;

This, or something Better,
Now manifests for me
In totally satisfying and harmonious ways,
For the highest good of all concerned.

This purpose behind this phrase is so that you put out there that even though you are focused on those goals/affirmations, there may be something better for you or others that hasn’t come into your conscientiousness yet but something you would be open to.

Now for some more practical advice from the people in my Campaign Management Team; some books you might want to read:
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
How to Wow by Sharon Cole Jones
The Big Moo by Seth Godin

Of course it is time once again to update our resumes and re-post on the job boards. Think I’ll be doing mine on Sunday. I think the last time I did it was the beginning of January and I’ve had at least four companies call me unsolicited because of that. Woo Hoo! One more thing, please get yourself some business cards. You can go to and get yourself some free business cards. You know all those networking meetings, or kids sporting events, or parties, or committee meetings you go to, doesn’t hurt to have a business card to hand out when you make those contacts.

Well that’s all for this week folks. I need to get back to the job boards and find that 10th job to apply to in order to meet my quota and check that off the list. Enjoy your week and hey if you want to think in the future to something good, hey summer’s coming!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Very Magical Time…

It occurred to me this morning, while meditating, that this really is a very magical time. I know you are all probably thinking “that’s not parsley in her Jambalaya Stoup is it?” No really, look I’m facing all the same stuff that everyone else out of work does. My unemployment benefits ran out a couple of weeks ago and that’s after the two extensions. I have been going on interviews, true. However, I have continued to pursue all the activities we’ve been talking about. I change my resume and update my profile about once a month. (That reminds me, I guess it’s time to do it again.) I find and apply to at least 10 jobs a week. I attend networking sessions. I go to the gym, and I meditate. Finally, I’m sitting here wondering if I will get the chance to close this deal with this employer or not.

So why do I feel it’s a magical time? It’s sort of like, all rules are off. True the news is abysmal, but other than during the elections, when hasn’t it been that way? The other upside is that if you’re out of work, it’s not you that’s lame, it’s the economy. Heh heh.
Most importantly, this period gives us the opportunity to really pursue what it is that we want. There’s really not the possibility of just going along with the same routine that made you successful for the past ten years. Those days are gone. However if you’re anything like me, you kind of wanted them gone anyway. Dwelling on possibilities and potential for heading in the right direction does a lot more for your job search than anxiety and fear. Believe me I’m an expert on those two categories. Those are pure and simple negative energy producers and they will suck all the positive, hopeful energy right out of you.

Here let me put it this way; years ago I had to take a defensive driving class. (don’t ask, I got a speeding ticket). The one thing I remember from that class, besides the one thousand one counting thing between cars, is that if you go off the road, don’t look at the telephone poles. You know why? Because if you look at the telephone poles, you will hit that on which you are focused. Same goes for negative and positive thoughts. Plus negative thoughts and neurotic behaviors are very, very seductive. They really are. They don’t call that pity a party for nothing. So look it you’re worried about money for good cause, do take stock of you funds and make a budget. Look to calm that worry, if even for a day, but don’t dwell on it. Dwelling on it takes away from the energy you could use to fix the issue. Don’t think about “am I ever going to go back to work?” Instead, focus on today and what you will accomplish that leads to it. You will go back to work, but worrying about it won’t make it happen any faster. Doing something to get there will. Meditation helps here as well. It allows you to really focus not only on outcomes, but more importantly, what feel right to you.

Reward yourself. If you like making “to do” lists do it. Then reward yourself when you get through it. Yesterday, I had three items on my “to do” list; 1. Apply for 5 jobs, 2. Deposit check in bank, and 3. Pay bills (go figure). Once I checked off these items, I allowed myself to go sit in my sunny sun room and read a book. Ah bliss. Simple but affective.

While I was meditating, the thought occurred to me that what other people did, didn’t make me happy or sad. No it was how I viewed things that did that. So I choose to view things as positive. If this job is right for me, it will happen. Period! That goes for my personal life as well. This is why I say this is a magical time. The possibilities are so enormous. Remember, anything goes. The only thing really stopping us from being what we want to be or doing what we want to do is ourselves.

Enjoy your day!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened at my Last Networking Event

Actually a couple of funny things happened at the Financial Services Networking Event, though the thought of something funny happening in those circumstances may be a bit hard to figure. No seriously, first thing I noticed was how many of us have really taken to getting a lot of exercise. For many of the reasons I’ve written about previously all us unemployed folk seemed to have hit the gym. There we all were going over our intro’s and each and everyone of us were talking about how many pounds we’re lifting or how many miles were running. As our friend in Westchester, Martha might say, “It’s a good thing”. We are certainly going to be the most healthy, in shape unemployed folks in a good century I’d say.

The funny thing I noticed, and this was more in a fun in funny, was that we are definitely re-inventing ourselves. One guy said, not so jokingly, that he almost responded to an ad for a French nanny. This guy is in international wealth management, I believe. I guess his language skills could be put to good use. This other woman was looking into being a yoga instructor. Not sure what she did in past life, but I believe she was some high ranking bank exec. Finally and most striking to me, was when I shared that I was finally finding a personal life after so many years, she shared the fact that she too was finding one. Seems like there are so many things we have sublimated all these years in search of that next promotion or landing that next big deal. As I’ve said before, or at least I’ve thought before, this past year has turned out to be the greatest blessing for me. I urge all of you to think about this. Because you know, we will go back to work, really, and we don’t want to look back and see all that time that was wasted on needless worry and fruitless activities. Enjoy the kids, read the books you’ve always wanted to, take that dance class or cooking class…enjoy life.

Back to job hunting. I continue to find jobs to apply for, so companies are still hiring regardless of all the ucky news about layoffs. In fact I was contacted by a company because of my profile on Make sure you update your profile and go get those recommendations. Evidently they really do make a difference and more and more companies are using as a source of potential candidates. Please be careful about what kind of picture you post on your profile. I was just looking at this one profile of a contact of a contact. She has on this strapless top. I just did a double take and then noticed that she’s going back to school and isn’t in the more “serious” fields, but all kidding aside, please be careful

That’s all I have for the week. It’s probably because my mind is more on my personal life at this point. Well hey, better that than worrying about why they haven’t set up that next round of interviews for me right? It does tend to keep one very upbeat and positive you know.

On that note, I wish you all well in your searches and remember smell the frikin roses and feed the birds!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Try your best to ignore all the bad news.

Listen I probably read more papers and websites and listen to more news shows than anyone I know. However, if you are having a really hard time keeping focused and staying hopeful, you probably do really need to turn it off. The reason is, listen to this, I was able to apply for 20 jobs last week and so far this week, I’ve sent out nine applications. On top of that two companies have contacted me and I’ve had a series of interviews. Believe it or not, regardless of all the bad news out there, they are still hiring.

Let me walk you though my quick fire method of “the hunt”.

1. I am registered on all the internet job sites;,,, and probably 20 others. All of them allow you to create searches which they then mail results to you on a daily basis. (You have to set your parameters for that, but you can do it. I know you can.)

2. I get up in the morning and turn my pc on and my TV off at 9:00.

3. I go through all those emails from the search engines. When I identify a job that I’m interested in and that I meet the requirements for, I open it, and it creates a new window. Leave those windows be and continue on through the emails.

4. Once I’m finished going though all the emails, I start on the job apps I have open in the windows. One by one I apply for the jobs:

a. Print copy of job description. (Once you get into the application it will disappear.
b. Complete the job application using appropriate resume and cover letter.
c. Note on spreadsheet including: job title, company, date of app,
d. Write date of application on top of hard copy and file by month.

5. Don’t over think the process. Once you get called you have plenty of time to ask questions of them and of yourselves.

Well there you have it, my tried and true method for “the hunt”. Hey, I’ve probably gotten more interviews than most people in the last year. It’s just an extension of a direct mail campaign we used in my marketing days.

Oh, and by the way, I do fit in time to go to the gym and for tea and cookies at 2:00. Make sure you include things in your day that keep you motivated and positive. I am sorry I haven’t written for a while. It’s not that I’ve been depressed or anything, quite the contrary. I just seem to be so darned busy for someone who isn’t working. What’s weird is that amongst all this terrible news on TV and the papers, I’m feeling quite happy and confident and filled with positive energy. I know some of my friends and family members may be wondering what little pills I may have found, but that’s not it at all.

One more point, keep in touch with friends and family. You don’t have to say much. It can be as simple as instant messaging, but it is so important to both them and to you. Well that’s my final word for the day. Gotta run. Meeting my networking friends for happy hour.