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!