Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Back in the Saddle

Hey! I'm back! I must admit that I have intentionally refrained from blogging these past few months because I basically did not want to bore you to tears as our life is the same--only worse, though I never thought that that could be possible. My husband is still unemployed (it will be a year come Halloween...talk about scary!) and we are still circling the drain trying to figure out how to get him noticed by potential employers and to finally end this seemingly never-ending journey of joblessness. Which brings me to why I am back to blogging today. I read an online article from a reputable source with one of those catchy "Top Something or Other" ways to improve your chances of being noticed and getting hired. Never one to turn down the chance to find a better way to help my husband in his search, I figured I might learn something new. Wrong! Oh, so wrong. Instead, I spent the better part of ten minutes venting to my poor dog, Phoebe, who had done nothing more than walk over to me to find out why I was making such a fuss. So, for your reading pleasure (and for an attempt at a cathartic vent on my part), I give you the author's top three things my husband and all those in quest of that elusive job should be doing to 'get noticed.'

1. Make contact by telephone. OMG I LOVE this one. Hey, author, have you checked out the new online system of applying for a job? Are you aware that things have changed dramatically since 1972 when you looked in the newspaper for job listings and actually called a real person to apply? There are no phone numbers to call anymore on job listings, heck, you are lucky...and I mean you hit pay dirt...if there is even an email contact anymore. Most of the gazzilion listings I have come across in recent weeks offer only the online application--with lovely little red asterisks near those items you cannot skip (hmm, what day did I graduate high school???) nor can you move forward if you do not answer. Since I am aware that at least one of my bosses has died, I am certain that the same is probably true for husband as he is so much older than I am (wink, wink). So much for providing those phone numbers.

2. Utilize social media. Honestly? This is a new, hot tip from the author? My husband and I must really be 'cutting edge' thinkers to have been over-dosing on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and my myriad blogs in order to get him noticed and to best leverage any networking opportunities all these months.

3. Leave an electronic calling card behind. Okay, so this is definitely my personal favorite and it simply underscores just how out of touch the author is with the subject of her article. At first, I thought that the author meant to leave this USB, chock full of your personal information and yet another copy of you resume after your interview--which I find curious enough given that I cannot imagine any interviewer bothering to look at this USB in the first place. Add that to the fact that the information is redundant as you have already submitted a resume online (probably) already, handed one to an administrative person and handed one to the interviewer. BUT, no, I was mistaken. After re-reading the passage, I discovered that the author meant that you should go to a company of your choosing where you would like to work and leave this little gift to be passed along to the hiring manger. Oh sure! This is practical. I am certain approximately less than 1% of those USB's make it any further than the circular file each and every day.

Yes, I am ranting and it may seem funny, but it is anything but to me. I am trying desperately to help my husband find a job...not a hand out, but a place to work where he can start to feel like his old self again. I honestly don't know what the issue is and why he has not found something yet as he has literally tried everything (and then did that again and again). The author of this article is just so simplistic, so simply out of touch with the reality of the unemployed--her topic, whether chosen or assigned is irrelevant--that it bugs me, really gets under my skin. I would have loved to have read some interesting ideas about making a candidate stand out form the crowd. That would have been useful. I suppose, in the long run, reading this article was useful for me as it gave me a laugh and I could really use more of those these days. The worst part though is that the author got paid and all I got was the laugh.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Holy Golf Balls!

Last night, my son had a lacrosse game. Nothing new there except that once we were at the field, we received a weather notification about a severe thunderstorm heading our way. Again, living where we do, this was not extraordinary news either. For the past 7 years (as of today), I have grappled with why people would choose to live here for many reasons, none the least of which is the extreme weather. Trust me, as soon as people discover I am from NY--my accent, it seems, gives me away every time--they cannot wait to bombard me with the reasons why they could never live in such a 'big, bad city.' But, I digress. So, we are at the field and my son is playing one heck of a game, when we hear a few rumbles of thunder. Long story short, the game gets called (did you know that goals made in such a game are not counted toward a player's stats? WTH) and we head for our cars. I am heading toward home with my son and daughter, while my husband has our other two boys in his car, when a few drops of water start falling on my newly washed car.  As if that is not bad enough for this neurotic car owner, the very next moment we hear what sounds like gun shots but in reality are golf ball sized hail cracking against my windshield and bouncing off my hood. Not only could I not see two feet in front of the car, but my daughter was having a panic attack in the back seat, my son was doing an amazing job of trying to calm her down and I was trying to hold myself together knowing that my not-yet-year old car was definitely getting damaged by this hail on steroids. Yes, I was also terrified that we are on the road during this crazy storm. I have never experienced anything like it before--the noise was deafening inside the car and there was no escaping it, no shelter at all. Being the fanatic about my car as I am (wash it more than once a week, no eating or drinking in it, clean the windows more than once a day...yep, a tad crazy), I was heartbroken to assess the damage this morning.

So, why the earlier digression about people not being able to understand how people could stand to live in NY? Because for me, living here is so much harder than anything I have ever had to deal with back home. Sure, it wasn't all rainbows and good times back there either but golf ball sized hail? Nope! The 'best' part is that the giant hail falls in the summer! Don't even get me started on the winter woes, the impossible road construction, the never ending building of housing developments (all looking exactly the same)--my list is endless.

As I sit here waiting for the refrigerator repairmen to arrive to fix our ice maker (on the 1.5 year old referring, mind you) along with waiting for the roofing contractor to choose a color for our new roof (courtesy a previous storm), I now need to add calling the insurance agent to my 'to do' list for the damage to our cars. Let's not forget helping my husband find that ever-elusive job.

Maybe I handled the storm all wrong last night.  Perhaps I should have jumped out of the car hoping to be knocked on the head by a piece of hail and maybe then I could have woken up to have all this craziness be just a dream (okay, a nightmare). That would be lovely.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

It Just Keeps On Going and Going...

Basically, I am not having fun and before you start thinking that I am in charge of my own destiny and that I should be making my own fun, stop right there.  I can prove that these thoughts are mistaken as I would so not be choosing 'this life' if I were the master of my destiny. Oh, not in the least. Please don't get me wrong, I have amazing children (at least I think so most of the time), a good husband and the fluffy dog I always dreamed of having when I was a child. I am grateful for them each and every day. I have the most selfless and wonderful parents, too. So what's the problem? Life has been handing us lemons for the past 5 years and I have dutifully been making lemonade out of them, however, the lemons won't stop coming and all this lemonade is giving me a sour stomach. My husband calls me his biggest cheerleader but I have been cheering for him to land a job (one that sticks instead of ends 6 or 10 or 12 months later) for so long now, that my pom poms have lost their fluff and luster. I have grown weary of the search and the rejection and all the ego bolstering I need to do because no matter how difficult this is for me, I know it is infinitely more difficult for him. I am mentally exhausted from 'dancing as fast as I can' so as to keep the children's lives happy, busy and fun--a 'faux-normal' so that they do not spend too much time stressed about our seemingly never-ending unemployment. Most importantly, I am beyond sick and tired of saying 'no' to them because we cannot afford to do things.  I feel especially guilty that their childhood has been plagued by our lack of finances and that their memories are colored by this year after year.  

Adding insult to injury and speaking to kicking someone when she is down, we have had no hot water since last night as it seems we have an issue with our newer water heater.  I have been up all night ruminating about the cost of getting it fixed but even more so, agonizing over what we will do if a part needs to be ordered and we will not have hot water for a few days. Could it be worse?  Of course, but it certainly could be a hell of a lot better, too.  Trust me, unless you are a Polar Plunge devotee, an ice cold shower in the morning does nothing to chill an angry mood. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Resume

I debated for a long time about how I wanted to start this post given that despite this being my own personal forum, I still vacillate between the sharing my true thoughts and providing a more watered-down and socially palatable version of my truth.  Since by now (if you have been following along), everyone is well aware of our situation dealing with long-term unemployment--and the fact that I am not in a particular good mood today--I figured I would put my filter aside and tell it like it is for me today.  Unemployment stinks and dealing with it over the course of months and years is truly unbearable.  It permeates each and everything I do each day. While I want to believe that there is more to life than money,  it is important and necessary and not only for the big things like keeping a roof over our heads, but also for the small things, the things others take for granted like getting frozen yogurt for the children or going to the movies or, dare I say it, taking a vacation (a thing we have not done since 2006).  Finding a job is so all-encompassing that we live, eat, sleep (I don't but my husband and the children do) and breathe job search. All day, every day.  So, I have come up with the top three reasons why my husband needs to find a job sooner rather than later...

1. If he asks me to edit his resume one more time, I will most definitely scream.  Not one of those little girly screams, mind you, but a full on, blood curdling scream, the likes of which horror movies are made of.  Talk about 're-arranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.' How many different revisions can one make on a single resume?  I think we are on #255,  but I might be off. It could be higher.  Do I know what is missing from his resume that he is not getting interviews?  Nope, because trust me, if I did, I would have added it already in revision #2.

2. My children need to feel 'normal' again meaning that they need a dad who goes out to work in the morning and comes home at night and complains about how hard he is working and what he had for lunch and all those good things.  They need to know where they are going to be living and that we can plan to do something fun in the near future and that they do not have to hear we need to 'wait until Daddy gets a job' anymore (because if I say that phrase again, I will scream the same scream I described in #1).

3. Selfishly speaking,  I. Am. Done. I am exhausted from cheerleading and revising that resume.  I have had enough 'transition-speak' to last an entire lifetime and well into the after-life. Networking?  Don't even get me started on that topic because my husband has networked with more people than a politician and still here we sit unemployed.  I don't honestly know how to try harder or what to do differently or what we are doing wrong.  What I do know is that it has gone on for far too long and it has taken my sense of humor and my patience along with it.

I would love to conclude by saying that I am hopeful things will change soon, but since I decided to 'tell it like it is' today, doing so would be a lie.  At this point, the snapshot of my life finds me frustrated, agitated and cranky and the only cure for my ills is for my husband to be employed.  How I wish there was a prescription for that.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Joke Is On Me

April Fools!  I honestly don't get the fun of trying to trick someone into believing something or pulling some other type of prank on this day.  I suppose it might stem from my Type A+ personality that craves control and hates being surprised because that means I would need to be out of control for a moment. Of course in recent years, my distaste for today stems more logically from my distaste for April 6th, which we affectionately refer to in our family as the day of the Boston Debacle.  For those new to this blog, the Reader's Digest version of the events leading up to that day go something like this--husband out of work for two years, gets job allowing us to move back to the east coast (my dream), put house on the market, drive to Boston to have our children test into schools and to look at houses, return home and on April 6th (which just happened to be Good Friday that year) get a call from my husband saying that due to corporate restructuring, he was let go--again.  The grand total of time he had worked for the company was 5 weeks.  Yes, 5 weeks, and, yes, I am still bitter.

I would love to say that the Boston Debacle marked the end of our seemingly never ending bout of unemployment, but I can't which is why I have not been blogging. We have been through two more jobs since then and are currently in the same position we were three years ago--unemployed-- which is the same position we were in two years prior to that.  So what's the deal?  What have we done wrong that we has landed in this uncomfortable and frustrating position so many times?  Lack of effort?  I certainly don't think that is the case as we have networked ourselves to a point where people don't want to talk to us anymore.  We should place our own ad to the tune of  'currently seeking networking friends who will help us land meetings with elusive hiring managers.' Maybe my husband's resume is the issue.  That said, it is in its 569th revision but perhaps that just isn't enough these days.  Lets face it, we cannot change his age, education or background, but since we are willing to work with just about any opportunity that arises including underemployment to relocating, I was hoping that he would be perceived as a 'steal' to anyone who might consider hiring him.

So, there you have it, the reason why I am have off the grid with this blog is because I really have nothing new to say.  Hopefully soon, I will be back to sharing and sometimes even making you laugh, but for now, I have lost my mojo and my sense of humor, too. Apparently, the biggest April Fool's joke is on me.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hello, Anybody There?

I have not written a post since last month and I have to admit that I probably would not be writing one today except that I am out of control cranky and I need to do something with the the 'stuff' in my head or I swear my brain will explode like an over-filled balloon.  If truth be known, I have refrained from writing because I seem to be caught in the unenviable position of loving the writing process to help me put things in perspective and not wanting those things in print because there simply is no good perspective to put them in anyway.  Basically, I just want to run away from myself but try as I might to escape, no matter where I run, I keep showing up, just like a bad penny.  I cannot seem to find a way to turn my brain off even for a few minutes.  I am like a computer with too many tabs open, working overtime trying not to crash.

The long and the short of it is that I am beyond being able to manage this seemingly endless job search any more.  I feel like a two-year old stomping her foot and having the worst tantrum ever (in the existence of life itself).  In the almost 7 years we have lived here, we have been unemployed 4 times and I am sick of it--exhausted from the worry, tired of having to plaster a smile on my face so as to not make the children any more anxious than they are, wiped out from the financial stress but most of all, confused and frustrated as to why we spend month upon month with no interviews in sight.  I know I have regaled you with my husband's networking prowess and his never ending optimism before.  He feels that 'you just don't know who someone you meet might know' and how a job might come from something so simple as a casual introduction.  At this moment in time, I think we have as much chance of winning the Powerball as we do an interview being scheduled--neither is happening.

Optimism was never my strong suit as I am much more of a realist.  I tell it like it is--often to my family's chagrin.  While I don't know what tomorrow will bring...uncharacteristically leaving room for a little optimism there,  I do know that today I could just scream.  Perhaps I will as I have heard it might be even more cathartic than writing--though much less socially acceptable I would think.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

So. Freaking. Done!

The last two weeks have not been peachy so I suppose it is not unreasonable for me to be in a bad (understatement!) mood today, but my new 'job' has thrown me over the edge.  I am aggravated, frustrated and emotionally drained from this job and I have not even started it yet. So, dear readers, I give you the top three reasons why if my husband's lack of a job does not land me in an asylum, trying to start my own job definitely will.  Here they are (or no particular order)...

1.   The manual--this is the first job I have ever held that is exclusively online, which is exactly what I wanted, however, what I did not bargain for was the fact that I needed to learn how to navigate the system totally on my own, armed only with their 25 page 'how to get started' manual.  I am pretty computer savvy and heaven knows I am not afraid of words on a page but, holy heck, grab my bottle of Excedrin, this is a labor intensive endeavor.  Adding insult to injury, there are more rules to which the tutors need to adhere than Sr. Mary Richards had about our uniforms in high school...and she was in-tense!  I am afraid that if I ever do this get this program up and running, I will be incarcerated for answering a student's question directly, rather than referring the student 'to the appropriate reference material.'

2.  The email system--I love email.  I think the ability to communicate without bothering a person on the phone is a blessing.  That said, the system only works if the recipient has access, time or the desire to answer in a timely manner, otherwise, waiting for a response is torture.  Adding insult to injury, because this is a completely computer run endeavor, there is no phone number to call for immediate gratification.  Might sound weird, but it is true.

3.  The lack of viable practice material--Sure it is great to have a sample whiteboard (my means of communicating with my students) with lots of fun buttons and colors on it but, with no way to run through a few sample lessons, how am I supposed to know what to do?  Might be nice to be able to get a trial run in before I go live (especially with all the rules and regulations for my responses).

Am I really just that old that this approach to starting a job seems so frustrating and upsetting?  Trust me, the last thing I want or need is to have my hand held, but I feel as though I am totally flying blind and it is disconcerting.  I would love to share my concerns with the project manager and perhaps discuss options on how I can get started, but apparently he does not share my love of email nor he does not want to deal with me today.  Honestly, I don't want to deal with me today either.  I read an inspirational quote this morning that said 'always choose to be postive' and I will do just that.  I am positive that this is not working for me today.  I am so freaking done!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Write or Wrong

I am a magazine junkie, an addict in the true sense of the word.  I have many subscriptions in addition to 'needing' to purchase at least one or two magazines when food shopping or on a trip to Walgreens.  My addiction to fashion magazines started when I was around five years old and my grandpa put my first copy of Glamour magazine in my hot little hands.  He was a commercial photographer and he had just finished a project with Conde Nast, the magazine's publisher.  It was love at first sight and all the subsequent titles that have been added over the years have fulfilled some kind of need from style issues to a longing for celebrity information to my love of houses and interior design.  While my first love is the fashion magazine and I eschew the real tabloids (is anything at all  true in the STAR?), I have been known to poke around in such banal reads such as First and AllYou.  That said, last night I read an article in one such magazine that I annoyed me so much I actually wrote a letter to the editor which is something I have never done before.

The article was about...drum roll, please...finding a job online and while the article included a nice variety of potential positions from which to choose, I feel the writer was missing a major element to her discussion, namely facts or, shall I say, accurate facts.  Now, anyone who has read even a few of my posts knows that I know a little something about unemployment and trying to find a job.  To say that I have become a pseudo-job coach to my husband over the past five years is probably not understating a fact and my ability to navigate and query on job sites is somewhat legendary in these parts (OK, that might be a slight overstatement of the facts but not much) so to read an article stating facts that I could so quickly dispute was really frustrating.  The author claimed to have gotten the information straight off the same job sites I search daily but let me tell you, I would love to be looking through her eyes instead of mine as her salaries were far higher and her list of required experience far shorter for the same types of jobs to which i am applying.  I don't know if her information was outdated or guesstimated but it certainly is not the reality I see when checking the job boards.

So, how did an article like this make it through the editing and fat-checking process and into the magazine in the first place?  Is fact-checking at that magazine merely on the honor system?  The editor asks if the information is true, the writer says yes and BAM, the article gets published?  I hope not, but clearly something fell through the cracks this time.  I will say that it probably bothers me more than the typical reader because I am so embroiled in the whole job search process and have truly become sickened by it so seeing misinformation spread like this is upsetting.  I suppose it bugs me so much because the article makes it all seem so easy but that is not the experience we are having at all.  If I did not know how hard we were trying, reading the article in its simplistic form with its erroneous information would make me feel like such a loser.  How could we not get a job if doing so is as easy as the author states it to be?

While I can only assume this writer set out to write a nice, simple piece with some helpful job search suggestions, making no guarantees about finding a job after reading her article, I wish she would have checked her facts and accuracy or at least talked to me as I would have set her straight had she asked.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Little Things

For the past few weeks, a few of the bloggers I follow have been featuring posts describing 10 or 20 things about themselves, so I have decided to follow suit since imitation is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery, is it not? So, I give you...

5 Things About Me That You Probably Don't Know, Care About or Hope to Remember (in no particular order)

1.  I never, ever wanted children, ever--It took me almost 8 years of marriage before I would even consider it and then when I finally felt ready, I had a breakdown and told my husband I could not go through with it. He was totally supportive of my feelings but, the joke was on me as I was already pregnant.

2.  Once I had my baby, I wanted 10.  I was so smitten that when we had our second child, I told my husband that I wanted another as our baby was being bought over to the warming table in the delivery room. We have 4 children, but I would definitely have had 5 had we started sooner and if my husband did not want to have me committed for saying so.

3.  At one point during my college years, I really wanted to be a psychologist.  The irony here is that not only did I not become one, but I got recruited on campus to be a buyer for a major department store, landed a position in the male dominated field of electronics and could have seriously used some therapy by the time my tenure there had ended.

4.  I once needed to be escorted to my car after work by a couple of riot police, complete with shields, during a race riot. See #3. Just one of the many reasons why therapy might have been required for my retail experience, but alas, merely one of them.

5.  Our wedding reception was held at Tavern on the Green in NYC, but I did not want it to be.  I really wanted it to be at Maxwell's Plum, the long since closed, poor sister of Tavern on the Green, but in my estimation, the far superior choice for the type of wedding that I had wanted.  Begs the question why was it not held at Maxwell's, no? Because 38 days before my wedding, but after the invitations had been mailed...and when my fiancĂ© was flying to a business meeting and was unreachable...I received a call at work saying that the new chef at Maxwell's refused to do weddings. Yup, you read that correctly.  My assistant grabbed my purse and keys after he heard me screaming on the phone so that I would not drive into the city and do something I might later regret.  Long sorry short, the reception was moved to Tavern on the Green and while it was beautiful, I did have to completely change my vision to accommodate that chef and it irks me to this day.

I could go on, but I suppose if I get some positive from feedback from this post, I will need some material for a Part Two of my list.  Questions and comments are always welcome!

Sunday, January 4, 2015


I had wanted to start off the new year in a better emotional state, but since we are starting this year with the same unemployment stress and financial difficulties as last year (and the year before that and the year before that...see the trend?  note the sarcasm?), I grabbed the bull by the horns, took control and made the only change that was there for the taking.  Yes, folks, I changed the template on my blog.  Now I know what you are thinking.  Radical, right?  How could I possibly have the guts to change the lovely, striped rosy background...my controlling personality love the rigidity of those stripes... to this orange hued, swirly mass of squiggles.  Well, the decision did not come easily for me.  No, I ruminated and pondered the idea for a whole three minutes, conferring with my daughter about this massive change in my life.  I must have perused at least ten different templates contemplating deep questions such as do I really want birds flying across the page or will the raindrops on the window motif be overly depressing for my readers?  Heavy stuff, this blog design.  Is making this change reflective of bigger changes that I would love to see happen during 2015? Heck, yeah!

While I might be making fun of my decision to change my background this afternoon, the choice to do so stems from a feeling of inertia I am experiencing in other aspects of my life.  Last year was filled with some nice highs, but the lows we experienced were significant and threw us back into the unemployed masses with all the stress and worries we used to have, compounded by our needing to 'buck up' and deal with  the issue all over again.  So while other people might be looking at 2015 as a blank slate, I am still seeing the same old writing on the wall (or blog) that I saw last year and the previous year, etc. and seemingly ad infinitum for us (at the very least, it feels that way).

So, here we go again, another year, more challenges and, hopefully, more highs than lows.  If nothing else, my blog got a face lift and maybe that bright and cheery citrus color will equate to a brighter and more cheery tone to my writing with happier news to share. It should be noted that I did not choose the lemon motif for the blog design as I have already had more than enough of those in my life. This year, I would like to take my life off repeat and add a little swirly craziness to it for a welcome change.