Archive for January, 2009

Picking Up The Tab

Here’s a tip for those of you who have unemployed friends. Use some judgement when inviting that friend to lunch or dinner. If you invite the friend out to a pricey establishment don’t pressure the friend when they decline the invitation. Better yet, make it clear in advance that you plan on picking up the tab. I’m sure your friend will return the favor once they obtain gainful employment. I have received numerous lunch invitations from former colleagues. In addition to driving almost seventy miles round trip, lunch usually runs $15 to $20. I realize that these lunches are not expensive. However, it is a pricey lunch when one is trying to live on $475 a week. None of my former colleagues, who are still employed with six figure salaries, have picked up the check. Although I have a sizeable emergency fund I don’t want to blow through it. I would rather have a large chunk of my funds still in reserve when I return to work. I can no longer rationalize spending $4,000 a month. I want and need to live more economically. I’ve done a great job of cutting back on spending so far. In fact, I may be able to get by next month solely on my unemployment payments.

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A Missed Anniversary

This morning while shaving I realized that I missed an anniversary. A year ago on January 14th I had my final radiation session. My next CT scan is scheduled for early March. Hopefully, I’ll still be in remission.

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The Interview Class

On Wednesday afternoon I attended a three-hour interview class at the outplacement firm. I was a little disappointed in the class format. The majority of the time was spent in lecture. I was expecting a short lecture and then practice interviews. After the lecture the facilitator had each attendee answer the question, “Tell me about yourself”. This question is an opportunity for the interviewee to describe their strengths, accomplishment and skills. The interviewee also has the option to include some personal interests. The facilitator and the other attendees critiqued each attendee’s answer. I volunteered to be the first attendee to answer the question. Internally I was a nervous wreck. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the feedback was predominately positive. I was told I sounded professional and communicated my strengths while being friendly and warming at the same time. I was told I needed to improve on the segue into personal interests if I was going to include such subjects in my answer. I was stunned to hear what I thought was a mediocre performance at best was actually on target. Most of the others gave above par responses except for one gentleman who seemed to mumble his way through. He was a software programmer who did not have a lot of experience in interactive business environments and his performance reflected his uneasiness in selling himself. Even though the format was disappointing I picked up some useful tips. My next task is to practice answering certain expected interview questions. The bottom line is I have to learn to sell myself. More importantly, I need to land an interview.

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I’m Afraid

I’m becoming increasingly discouraged about job hunting because every time I read a newspaper or listen to the news there are reports on the seemingly endless list of companies that are downsizing. Today I heard that the unemployment rate is expected to rise to 9%. In the face of all of the unsettling news I realize I need to put myself out there but I can’t seem to find the emotional motivation. I’m afraid of the inevitable rejection. It’s highly unlikely that I be offered a job after my first interview. I’m wondering how many interviews I’ll have to endure before I’m offered a position that I think is a win for both sides. I’m afraid I’ll be perceived as too old. I’m not sure how to overcome this fear. I’ll have a lot of younger competition and I still haven’t figured out how to use my age as an advantage. I’m afraid my qualifications will be deemed inadequate because I lack an advanced degree. A number of years ago many of my peers got MBA’s from a notorious diploma mill located in a southwestern state with a campus in Denver. Some of my peers had very poor writing and communication skills yet they now hold MBAs. I’m now wondering if I made a mistake in not getting an MBA. I’m hoping future employers will be able to recognize the difference between a DU (Denver University) MBA and a diploma mill MBA while acknowledging the value of real world experience in lieu of an MBA. I’m afraid of interviewing. I haven’t had a formal job interview since 1989. I’ve been recruited for all the positions I have held since moving to Denver. I never had to interview because my reputation and work ethic were widely known. The hiring managers were the ones who had to convince me to join their team. Now I will have to convince the hiring managers that I am their prime candidate. I’ve taken an inordinate amount of time to polish my resume. I’ve received good feedback on the resume but I’m afraid to send it out. I fear that it will not be up to par in the eyes of future employers. I’m trying to figure out how to overcome my fears. I know I have a lot to offer but I’m having a difficult time keeping a positive attitude knowing the job search will be an arduous task filled with a lot of rejection. If only I could redirect the energy that I’m putting into my daily workout routine towards the job search. I find it easier to spend two hours at the gym instead of two hours marketing myself simply because there’s no rejection at the gym.

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K and I went to see Doubt on Sunday. The actors were great and I thought the film did a great job of portraying life in a Catholic grade school in the early sixties. The young nuns were always the nicest. The older nuns were jaded hateful bitches. The mother superior was the most hateful of all. This is odd considering they were serving a loving and caring god. I was terrorized for eight years in Catholic grade school by the nuns and the intimidating pastor. I learned early on not to question or doubt anything that was taught. Questioning teachings resulted in a note sent to your parents advising them that their child was not a good Catholic. It wasn’t so bad in Catholic high school because there were very few nuns and priests teaching class. Go see this film if you want to know what my grade school experience was like.

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Resume Help

I sent my resume to my sister who has a journalism degree and has been an editor. I wanted her to review my resume and provide comments on items that may need to be reworded. She agreed to look it over. It’s been over a week and she still has not responded. I even sent her a reminder email yesterday in the hopes of getting some kind of response. So I sent my resume to my brother yesterday afternoon. My brother has changed jobs several times and has also been laid off from three companies. He has a lot of experience with job hunting and resume writing. Early this morning my brother sent me some pointers. Although he said I have a perfect “traditional” resume I should also develop a non-traditional resume. He gave me some ideas and sent me a copy of his resume. His resume was very impressive. I was surprised to learn that he was a vice president at the last company he worked for before he started his own business. When I thanked him for his help I told him I thought his resume was very impressive. He responded by saying that he thought my resume was more impressive and it was funny that we had no real understanding of the work each other did. I’m left wondering why my brother who is running a business, dealing with dying in-laws and has two children to look out for has the time to help me but my sister who is not married and only has cats to look after can’t find the time. I can’t help but wonder if my past success has intimidated her and she doesn’t want to see me get back on my feet.

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Not A Match

I looked into the job opportunity that Dana told me about yesterday. The position sounds interesting and challenging but isn’t a job I would like. The job mainly consists of provisioning call recording applications at customer sites. I’ve never been keen on installing systems because my career has mostly consisted of the designing the system. I don’t care to spend endless house in a computer equipment room that is often so cold you could store meat in them. The job also required extensive travel and strong SQL skills. I don’t want to be a road warrior again. I’ve done that and I don’t care to do it again. Besides K is away for three weeks at a time. I would never see him if I had to be away on the weekends. I also don’t have strong SQK (Structured Query Language) skills. In fact, I don’t have any SQL skills. I will continue to monitor the company’s website since Dana told me there would be other job openings in the next few weeks.

I had lunch with Judy, Cindi and Cindi’s new employee Amy. Amy has a friend who is a human resource director at a local tech field related company. She offered to check with her friend to see if they had any openings. Amy thought my skills would be match for this company. I not getting my hopes up but networking is an important part of the job search.

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My Day

Here’s how I spent my day. I was awakened at 6:30 a.m. by the new cat puking on the bed. Before I could toss him out the bedroom door into the courtyard he puked on the carpet. Nothing like cleaning up cat puke the start one’s morning. Apparently he has been feasting on the bamboo pant in the master bath. I went back to bed and slept another hour. After having breakfast and getting dressed I read email and a few blogs while munching on leftover palmiers I made for last night’s potluck. Dana called to see how my job search was progressing and to catch up on recent events. She gave me a lead on a job with her husband’s employer. Suddenly it was 11 a.m. and I was hungry for lunch. I had an early lunch of blue box and a can of tuna (high protein, low fat) while watching Judge Judy and The People’s Court. Sheila called and we chatted for hour. We talked about their wonderful inaugural potluck dinner, Ricardo’s (a dinner guest) wish to be buried in his native Cuba, the neighbors who are preparing to leave for the Peace Corp, the developer who is papering the neighborhood looking for houses to buy, why said developer doesn’t buy one of the four houses currently for sale ($1.9 to 6.8 million), the older single bitch cunt who is now adding a two story addition to her 5,500 square foot house, why she is universally disliked in the neighborhood, Sheila’s life coach and my unemployment status. It was soon 1 p.m. so we ended our call and I headed to the gym. On the way to the gym I stopped at Walgreens to use the Chase ATM to retrieve my unemployment payment. Unfortunately the ATM was broken so I headed to the gym for a leg and shoulder workout followed by cardio. I left the gym at 3:30 p.m. and headed to an another Walgreens that is south of the gym. I retrieved my money and then headed to the credit union to deposit the money into my checking account. I was home by 3:45 p.m. and proceeded to bake Mexican chocolate fudge brownies from a recipe I got at a cooking class I took in San Francisco two years ago. Midway through the recipe I discovered I did not have enough flour so I headed to the grocery store to buy flour. I returned home, finished mixing the brownies and threw them in the oven. I cleaned the kitchen while the brownies baked. The brownies turned out better than expected so I walked two over to Tom and Sheila’s (they are dieting or I would have sent more). I came back home read the Westword (a local weekly newspaper) and checked email. It is now 6:15 and I need to forage the refrigerator for dinner. Tonight I’ll probably watch Lost and Top Chef and then head to bed. Tomorrow I’m meeting Judy and Cindi for lunch and then going to the flower wholesaler to pick out flowers for Mary. I’ll be dropping off  most of the brownie’s at their office to get them out of the house. How will I ever have time to work full time?

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The United Stated has started a promising new era. However, as happy as I am to see a change in the administration I’m still in a personal funk. I’m not sure what to do about it. Perhaps I’ll be better when my man comes home on Friday.

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Inaugural Pot Luck

I’m off to Tom and Sheila’s for an inaugural potluck celebration. I’ll be back on Wednesday.

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