Category Archives: Unemployment

May 25th Lesson: If I’m Honest with Myself…

I went to pick up my daughter from her last day of school today. I got there a little early in case school let out slightly sooner since it was the last day.

While waiting for my daughter, I was chatting with one of the other moms. Somehow we got on the topic of me being out of work. She asked if I was looking, and I said yes, and she said the restaurant she works at was hiring hostesses.

I was caught off guard. If I had been taking a drink, I would have choked. In my mind, I’ve been making close to six figures for a couple of years now. I had to fight back the reaction to scoff and roll my eyes.

I thanked her and said I considered getting a side job serving until I can get a new job.

The mom looked at me, taking a step back, and says “You served?” Yes, yes I did. I served at a few different restaurants throughout my summers during college. I made good money. It makes your feet bleed, but pays the bills. I got my hands dirty and put up with mean people’s shit quite a bit before earning my degree and making my way into Corporate America.

And then I said something without thinking (which I need to do more often, because when I think too much, it messes me up). I said “Yea, I was thinking about serving for a little bit and take a break from Corporate America. I can’t stand Corporate America right now.”

In that moment, it all occurred to me that I’ve been preventing myself from getting a job.

Not purposely of course. I’ve been applying to quite a few new ones each week and networking when I can. But I believe this is where the law of attraction comes into play (believe in it or  not – I’ve been skeptical myself). You attract what you are.

I do not think I’m ready to just roll into a new gig at ABC Company and make some great strides in the first 6 months to a year. Nope, sounds awful to me. My motivation to please anyone right now (except for myself and my children) is at zero right now.

So today I learned that I may be my own problem in this weekly wild game of job searching. Possibly, no proof yet, but the gut instinct is there. I think I need to figure out what I want to be when I grow up so I can move forward with this thing called life.

Stifle Me Not

May 16th Lesson: The Rejection is Taking its Toll

It has been 6 months since I discovered my husband’s secrets. That was a big rejection for me. For my own well-being, I had to reject him.

It’s been almost 3 months since I was laid off, being rejected from my own place of employment (that I didn’t care for overall, but needed the paycheck).

It is a regular basis that I get automated emails telling me that I’m rejected (in so many words) from yet another potential place of employment.

It is May. It is nice weather. This is the month every year when I start running, but I’m not feeling well. My body is tired, my sinuses are clogged, my head hurts. My body is rejecting me.

You would think that clearing all of this negative energy from my life would help lift me up, and some days it does, but I am learning that all the rejection is taking its toll on my body, mind, and spirit.

“I will get through it,” says my stubborn brain to all of this rejection.

Stifle Me Not

May 15th Lesson: Quality Time is So Worth It

Today I learned that my daughter likes hanging out with me! Her brother was out with their dad. I picked her up from school and the first thing she said was “What do you want to do with me?”

Huh?

When I’m working I don’t hang out with my kids much. I see them, but I don’t usually have time to play. We spend time together, but not quality time. It’s more like rush rush out the door in the morning, and then in the afternoon it’s pick-up from school, hurry up to get dinner, maybe spend some TV together, but then it’s quickly bath and bed time. And on the weekends, that’s when I catch up on housework and catch my breath from the rat race of the week.

Today, she wanted quality time with mom. Okay then. So we played a little game of Scrabble. I beat her, but she didn’t care. Her mom played a game with her and that’s all she wanted. It was fun. I need to actually spend more play time with my kids. They are cool little humans.

Stifle Me Not

 

May 10th Lesson: Timing is Everything

Today I was in a big funk. I didn’t do anything particularly productive.

Wait, I did fold three loads of laundry. And I did apply to two jobs.

I spent entirely too much time on the cover letter for one. It drained me. Cover letter writing shouldn’t drain me, but it does. When I’ve been a hiring manager in the past, I hate reading the cover letter and go straight to the resume. I was trying to make it not suck. Trying not to suck is tiring. Like “Hey, I don’t suck, here are my skills and experience, but I’m not boring, wait, I have a personality, but not too much that I seem desperate, and oh I like your company, and I’ll fit into your culture, and do you like me enough to call me yet?”

So after doing a whole lot of nothing this morning, 3 loads of laundry, and two job applications, I was just a little over being stuck in this no-job rut. I’ve been trying to make the most of my time “off” by spending quality time with my kids, doing some much-needed yard work, cleaning out weird shit in the house that is long overdue (like the freezer was disgusting, ew).

After I put my son down for his nap, I cried pity party tears of frustration and was overwhelmed by my own unknown future. I just like to just get things done. Too much thinking gets me to over thinking which gets me into trouble. I let myself have my pity party, and then went back to checking various social media sites entirely too much. And in the midst of my despair I saw a new email from a company that I had talked to at the end of April. It was just a phone screen interview with the recruiter, so I knew the next step was either a rejection or a phone call with the hiring manager.

Before opening the email, I braced myself because the first sentence started out with “Sorry…”, but it was the beginning of a quick apology for them taking so long to get back to me. It was a positive email from the recruiter asking about my availability next week for a second phone interview with the hiring manager.

My tears of self-pity instantly vanished and I had a little ray of hope again. I can do this, I just need to hold on a little bit longer. And this is one of the jobs I actually liked and hoped for a call back.

The funny thing about this position is that a similar situation happened in April. I had just gotten a rejection email from another company, I went into pity party mode, and the next thing I knew I was reading an email from this current company asking for a first phone interview.

Today I learned that sometimes timing is everything and you just have to wait. It may not work out, but then again it might. Let’s stay positive for this one. I want this one.

Stifle Me Not

The Whoas of Job Searching

I have been laid off a total of 3 times in my career. Looking for a new job can be tricky. It’s all about who you know. In all of my years in the corporate world, I’ve never gotten a job by applying to a position without already knowing someone at the company. For each job I’ve had over the years, I got in by knowing someone ahead of the interview. I think the exception would be the first job I had out of college. I found that one by attending a job fair at school and chatting with my soon-to-be first employer prior to getting an interview.

It’s been almost two months since I exited the doors of my last employer. I was there for a year. After about 6 months I decided that I did not like it there. When you start a new job, it’s disheartening to realize that you may have made the wrong choice. I liked the work and my team, but the company did not align with my values. I tried to do what I could to advance the team, but the senior leaders were not what I would call leaders at all. They appeared to be more concerned with unhealthy political competition among one other than building up each other and their teams. One day, my manager, the COO of the company, resigned. The next week I was being called me down to visit HR. I had a sigh of relief as I shut the trunk on my boxed up office junk and drove out of the parking lot. I was upset, yes, but not because I loved it there. I was going to miss the paycheck and a few friends that I had made and that was it. It was now clear that I had working for the “wrong team” and that the office politics weren’t in my favor from the start. I probably could have tried harder by compromising my values, but I wasn’t willing to take that route and so it may appeared that my heart wasn’t in it. Another career chapter done. Lesson learned: Do a better job of scoping out the company culture before being hired.

The first time I was laid off I was 23 years old and so very naïve. I didn’t even see it coming. I was a technical writer at a software company that was apparently doing badly. I was too self-absorbed and unaware of the need to pay attention to office politics. My biggest dilemma each day was what to choose for lunch and what should I plan to do with my friends for the upcoming weekend. I did my work, and in between, I discovered this thing called “blogs” online and would catch up on my favorite ones in between my work and emailing with my friend. Needless to say, I was shocked and heartbroken when I showed up in a conference room full of long faces to hear the news that it was my last day. When I had entered the room, I was the young cheery chic that was noisily chatting until the HR Director shut the door and started handing out packets. Soon enough I found out the contents of those packets and was being escorted to my car with my first ever “box”. Lesson learned: Don’t get comfortable, change can unexpectedly arise at any time.

The second time I was laid off was part of a bigger layoff experience. I was working at a regional bank in the home equity department. It was made up of about 400+ employees. I had been there for a little less than 5 years. I was an instructional designer in the training department. I was engaged to be married and my biggest concern each day was probably what my fiancé and I were going to have for dinner each night and whether or not we should take the dog for a walk. We had just bought a house earlier that year. I was 28 and the future was bright. Unlike the last time I was laid off, this time I started noticing some clues a few weeks ahead of time. When the time came, I was the first one to enter the office of the HR contractor that was hired to relay the news. A nice lady pushed a box of tissue my way as she delivered the news. I did not flinch and said okay with a smile. I just got 6 months of severance and had a green light to not work as I planned my wedding and honeymoon in the fall. This was a golden ticket to free time and a new start. Since it was a bigger layoff, there was no “layoff box” but a folder and the whole department got to work cleaning out their cubes and we all had time to mentally process the change. Lesson learned: A seemingly negative experience can be very positive.

My first two layoff experiences led to bigger and better opportunities. I’m hoping that this 3rd time is a charm that guides me toward something great, but things have changed a bit.

  • The rules for selling yourself on a resume and in an interview have changed. The Millennials are in charge, which isn’t necessarily a negative thing. LinkedIn and other online sites are job searching staples along with staying connected to your network. Recruiters can do quite a bit of research on you before they contact you. Sometimes you can get picked off before you can even land a phone interview. Other times you can snag an interview before a job description hits the job boards.
  • My attitude and outlook have changed. I am older (and, eh um, wiser) and not as eager to please this time. I used to dread the end of an interview where they ask if you have any questions. Now I can’t wait until that part – I feel that I am also interviewing them. If I have skills that can add value to a company, I must also interview them to see if they are a fit for me – it’s a two-way street.

I know I will find the best place for me to dedicate my time and energy 40+ hours a week. I don’t give up easily. I’d like for my next job to be my home away from home. Is that too cheesy and optimistic? Until then, I’m trying to re energize, spend time with my family, and soak in the sunshine of the spring.

Stifle Me Not

Welcome to Stifle Me Not

It’s been a challenging year so far to say the least. It’s not what’s happening, but how you react to it, right? We all have feelings, and there’s a fine line between feeling your feelings and not hurting others as you allow yourself to feel and react. I have been walking that fine line for months now. For 6 months to be exact. I know it’s not going away anytime soon, so I’m starting this blog as an outlet. Writing is therapeutic for me, so I’ll chronicle life stories, challenges and joys, as they come and live life the best way I know how.

My current state of reality can be summed up into 3 main events:  I’m separated from my husband, got laid off from my job, and one of my kids got lice (and then she gave it to me). “Things can always be worse” I like to tell myself. But right now the feelings feel like “This is rock bottom.”

I believe the main thing you need to do with each situation is learn and grow from it. If you don’t do anything with what you’ve learned, then the whole experience, good or bad, is a waste. Easier said than done, right? Right.

I’m trying to take my own advice, so what am I learning these days from these Big 3 Events in my life?

Separation – It sucks. Quite simply, we have agreed to disagree and are working to be the best parents possible. I am navigating the waters by focusing on the positive and handling the negative situations as they come instead of dwelling on the doom and gloom of what could be. The first few months were not pretty. In fact, they were hard and heart-numbing. I’m learning to feel the feelings each day but communicate the facts without letting them collide into a whirlwind of chaos.

Unemployment – Well, this sucks too. I’ve been here before, although I was laid off earlier in my career when I was eager to accept any job that came my way. I now have quite a bit of experience under my belt and actual skills that I’ve worked hard to develop. This time is a little different and more challenging since I have children to support and am about to become a single income household. I cannot accept just any job – I need a secure salary and the next company I work for has to have some distinct values that align with mine. I cannot leave my kids each day going to a place that I dread. I’m learning not to compromise my values for a job and be confident and proud about what I have to offer in my professional life.

Hair Bug Epidemic 2.0 – This one has me hysterical, but I survived this once before so I’m sure I can do it again. I call this “2.0” because Hair Bug Epidemic 1.0 invaded our house early in 2017. I caught it early this time because of what i learned that time. Last time I researched and learned quite a bit about different treatments and prevention methods. What I did not do is continue the prevention methods. My daughter is in third grade with a head of thick hair that is just waiting to welcome the next bug that is in her general vicinity. This time I’ve learned about newer and more effective treatment methods that aren’t so toxic and that I have to continue prevention methods for the rest of my children’s lives – at least through middle school or I’ll have 3.0 in my house in no time. I’ve also learned that it feels gross but is not the end of the world.

I’m calling this blog “Stifle Me Not” because I often feel restricted by different life experiences, but figuring out how to learn from them and grow has been an ongoing theme for me.

I hope you enjoyed this first blog post. I’ve been getting the itch (lol, no pun intended, although that’s pretty funny, go me) to write more often. Stay tuned…

Stifle Me Not