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.