RSS

Hang in there, life does get better!

I started a blog a few years ago, after I found myself suddenly laid off from a nice job I had for 10 years, at a large St. Louis law firm.  I was blind-sided by this, and unprepared for a job search.  I was in shock for the longest time, but then got angry and sad and eventually quite depressed.  It was a lot to go through.  I was over 40, a single home-owner and wanted to keep my house and car that I was paying on.

So I searched.  Searched for jobs, searched for information, searched for tips and tricks, and comfort. Searched for any avenue that would give me answers, hope and even the slightest bit of peace.  And I soul-searched.

I went to every marketing get-together that had to do with job hunting, from workshops to regular seminars and meet-up groups.  I was desperate to get my life back in order.

What is really funny now, years later, is that in 2008, the year before my layoff, I was miserable with my job!  So miserable that I literally woke up each morning wishing I hadn’t.  I was wishing for God to take my life from me, as I couldn’t stand the misery any more.

My life was terribly unbalanced.  I had put almost all my energy into that job.  At home, I barely got things done. Doing the minimum: laundry, dishes and getting the garbage out.  Cleaning the bathroom every so many weeks when I couldn’t stand it any longer.  Friday nights I was so exhausted I frequently fell asleep on the couch by 7 o’clock.  Weekends were for more sleep, to make up for all the sleepless hours that my anxiety kept me up from.  That was it.  I barely had a social life.  I didn’t have the energy.

At work, I had taken a newly created position in a different department.  It had sounded like a golden opportunity.  I was an IT person performing a newly created IT job in the Accounting department, supporting Accounting applications that I did not know at all.  I reported to the CFO.   What could possibly go wrong?

The position was created due to office politics and boy did it get political.  I don’t even want to go into the details as I don’t want to relive it at all, but that is in huge part that reason for my misery.  This new position began in mid-2006.  By early 2008 I had had enough.

So, in desperation, I reached out to a counselor friend who lives in California and she invited me out.  Out I went!  In July of 2008.  I had not only a very nice and relaxing time, but it was really a spiritual awakening for me.

The rest of the year seemed to calm down, and I hung in there.  The holidays came and went, and a new year began (2009).  In January 2009, my position changed again and I was learning some new things and it seemed promising … until out of the blue … my layoff occurred.  It was mid-March.

Panic.  Super-dooper anxiety.  Craziness.  But …. I gave it time.  And I had hope.   (What is there, if there is no hope?)

In August 2009, at a seminar for professional unemployed folks, I met my husband!   I sure didn’t see it either upon first meeting.  I also met some new friends there.

In October 2009, I was contacted by our local CBS news station for an upcoming segment they were doing on the difficulties of finding a job for women over 40, and my interview was on TV at the 10pm broadcast!  I was picked because someone I had met at one of the networking functions I attended recommended me.  Wow.  That was a first.  And pretty exciting!

Then in December 2009, after going on to Dr. Oz’s website to check something I had seen on his program earlier that day, and then answering some questions on a particular subject (sleep apnea) on one of his webpages, the producers contacted me.  It turned out they had me and my fiancé on their show!  Due to the show, we both have been checked for, and both have, sleep apnea, and now we both have very nice C-PAP units to help us sleep at night!  The show aired in February 2010.

But wait!  There’s more!

My future husband and I (who I used to call my “sleep alligator”, as a pun for his sleep apnea) flew to New York, taped the Dr. Oz show and flew home a few days later.  Then went to the Christmas party held at that weekly seminar place we met at (called The Go! Network).  At that party, there were some reporters and photographers from our local newspaper, the St. Louis Post Dispatch, there to do a story on this fantastic venue.  One of the photographers was taking our picture from across the room unbeknownst to us and came over to get our consent to publish it.  She found out we had met there, and were now engaged.  Guess what happened?  They published a side-story about us next to their main story about The Go! Network!  And it was published on 01/01/2010, on the FRONT PAGE of the BUSINESS section!  OMG!

That was amazing to me.  I still smile ear to ear over that.  A lot of people read the paper here, and especially the Business section.  Old friends contacted us after reading that article.  My husband’s brother’s boss, an old friend I used to baby-sit for in the ’80s, and others , and it was wonderful.

At this point we had not set a wedding date, as we were both still unemployed.  But good things were coming our way.  Mr fiancé got a job a few hours away so he had to move.  I stayed at my home still looking for work here, and also in his new city.  Nothing was happening for me.

By April of 2010, we set a date.  The wedding would take place on 10/10/2010, a Sunday.  I liked the date, and I just have a thing for numbers, and cool dates, so that was it!

I spent the new few months looking for work and also planning my wedding down to every last detail.  And setting up a wedding website.  Loving every minute of it.

Got married unemployed (“unemployed and fabulous” as one friend said), had a stay-cation honeymoon here at the St. Louis homestead, then hubby traveled back to his city for work, and they let him go on Monday morning.  Sounds terrible, and it a way it was, but it was truly a blessing in disguise.  I did not like the city he was working in.  To me it was the equivalent of Mayberry, and we were the outsiders.  And I didn’t want to sell my house for that.  So, no more issues with what to do!  We were staying in St. Louis where both of our families are and where we were raised.  Amen.

In early 2011 I secured a contract job and hubby found part-time work at the Anheuser-Busch brewery that frequently needed more hours and the pay was good.  So things were better.

Also in early 2011, NPR (National Public Radio) did a story following six folks in the St. Louis area who were looking for work.  The story line was “The Road Back To Work”.  We were chosen for that too.  This was all on radio and not too many segments aired over the year, but it was still cool, nonetheless.

http://www.npr.org/series/133088535/st-louis-the-road-back-to-work

Eventually we both left the jobs we started with in 2011, had at least one in-between that and where we are now, but now … both of us are full-time permanent employees at good companies and are both doing quite well at them!  I just got a promotion too!

I couldn’t be happier.  This is a dream.  Is it perfect?  No!  But perfect for us – Yes.  Hubby has a 2-hour daily commute with a job that requires a lot of O.T., and he is salaried.  But he is employed, full-time and permanent.  And he loves his job!  So it is a very good thing.

My job … I started as a Contractor for 6 months.  But then I was hired right after the 6 months and it’s only gone up from there.

I write all of this, baring my soul to you dear readers, to give you hope and see an example of an ordinary women with a very ordinary life have miracles happen to her.  And it can happen to YOU TOO!   I am no different than any of you reading this.

Was there any special tricks for all these good things to come pouring into my life?  Well, I would like to think so.  I am a strong believer in a higher power that I choose to call God.  I strongly believe in prayer to God, and I also believe in being grateful for the things I do have.  In fact I think this is so important that I believe when we are in a state of gratitude, we are as close to God as we can humanly get.

Here are some things that helped me when I soul-searched:

  • Dr. Wayne Dyer (watching his programs on my local PBS station).
  • The Secret (movie and book)
  • Joel Osteen (awesome pastor on television).
  • A journal dedicated to things I was grateful for which I wrote in each day.
  • The Go! Network (the former seminar I met my hubby at, in St. Louis).
  • Friends!!
  • Searching the Internet on various spiritual subjects.
  • The Meditation Garden in Encinitas, CA.
  • My cat Pandora (she just makes me happy all the time).

I want to leave you with great encouragement that no matter where you are at in life, things will get better.  Just believe it!  And keep believing it.  Get yourself in a state of gratitude – doing whatever it takes (well, legally).  Then count all your blessings.

Take care and know you are loved, friends.  As you are!!

The Meditation Garden, Encinitas, CA.

The Meditation Garden, Encinitas, CA.

Coi fish pond in The Meditation Garden, Encinitas, CA.

Coi fish pond in The Meditation Garden, Encinitas, CA.

The ocean view from The Meditation Garden, Encinitas, CA.

The ocean view from The Meditation Garden, Encinitas, CA.

The Meditation Garden, Encinitas, CA.

The Meditation Garden, Encinitas, CA.

Pandora snuggles in a plant.

Pandora snuggles in a plant.

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

St. Louis region records best month for job growth in 12 years : Stltoday

The beautiful Saint Louis skyline.

Hello Friends!  It is almost December of 2012 and the world is going to go on despite the Mayan calendar.  My husband is still looking for full-time work, but there is a lot to be thankful for in St. Louis.

The job market this entire year has been better than the previous 3 years, and here is a local story with some good news.

St. Louis region records best month for job growth in 12 years : Stltoday.

As you all know, the economy has a long way to go and everyone is feeling the pinch, but still please keep the faith, and keep your thoughts positive and happy.

Happy Holidays everyone!

 

 

Things keep getting better and better!

Hello my Dear Readers,

It is now late September 2012.  Just had my birthday and boy are the years flying by!  I am loving the cool fall weather we are having in St. Louis.  Love having the air conditioner OFF!

In my last post, I was working a new job in downtown St. Louis at a law firm.  A few weeks into that job a Contract Agency Recruiter contacted me about a different job.  That happening is kind of old hat to me since so many recruiters do contact IT folks about working Contract jobs, and 98% of those initial contacts come to nothing and I don’t put much weight in to them.  This time I was the winner!

Six weeks after starting the law firm job I started a new job at the other end of the world (well, St. Charles country) and at the six month mark I converted to a permanent employee!  I am so happy too.  I love this job, the group that I am in, and my boss!  And the company!

It’s been a very long time in coming but it did come, and I am SO HAPPY!!  So far so good too.

If you’ve been through any part of what I’ve been through, I encourage you to hang in there as things WILL improve.

I don’t make the money I used to back in 2009 when I was Laid off, but I have much less stress in my world, my life is now balanced and I love what I do!

I WISH YOU ALL WELL and all the blessings that I have been fortunate enough to receive!  And feel free to write me, or comment on any of my posts.

Happy Fall!

Remember these words of wisdom and truth.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Hello 2012!

Hello Friends.

My last post was in late October and shortly after I wrote my last entry I again found myself out of work, stunned and unsure of what the future holds.

I thought 11-11-11 would be a special day because of the symmetry of numbers in the date … sort of like my wedding date 10-10-10.

For me, it may be a blessing but I’m still waiting for that to be made clear.  I had worked a contract job at a large St. Louis company helping with the conversion to Cisco IP phones and out of the blue I was relieved of my duties.  It happened on a Friday afternoon, 7 months to the day from my start date.  I was told it wasn’t working out and I needed to brush up on my Cisco skills.  My agency heard nothing of this, only that it was budgetary driven.

I was very hurt.  It certainly felt like I was FIRED.  My boss there was a female about my age and she had a big heart but with sharp edges all over.  Frankly, she didn’t need to tell me anything more than what my agency was told.  I feel she got some delight in letting me go and making such a dramatic scene with it.  You know the sort of thing … having your co-workers all go to the cafeteria (except me, making it obvious to them what was happening), then having a box ready, escorting me to my cube and watching me pack up, then escorting me out of the building.

And I didn’t “qualify” for unemployment until at least until January 1st (2012).  Lovely.

So … what to do?   I changed my attitude.  Good riddance to them and hello new opportunities!

My husband and I got through the worst financial month we’ve had in our time together.  Thankfully we even enjoyed Christmas.  Not because of gifts or lack thereof, but just because of the love and generosity the season brings out in people.

On to some good news …

The IT industry in St. Louis has been opening up and I started a new job December 27th (2011).  I’m in my 4th week now and I think it is going very well.  I have taken a pretty big step back career-path wise, and even salary wise, but hey, I’m working, making enough to live on and am relatively happy.  I am working downtown again and I love it!  Always did love downtown (any of you recall that 1960’s song about “Downtown”?).

I am SO glad it is 2012.  Last year was rough indeed and with its ending being so tough financially, I’m more than happy it’s all over.  Oh, forgot to mention that our house was robbed in broad daylight on Dec. 28th!  Luckily the thieves got scared off before they got away with much.

This is going to be a GREAT year!

Now …..

It’s a new year, new opportunities and much more room for great things in my life!  And yours too. 

God bless.

 

Unemployment – Layoffs still happening in St. Louis, Oct 2011.

Happy Fall!

 

Hello friends. It is now officially Autumn 2011. 

A year ago I was getting married … unemployed.  A lot has changed for me since then. 

A few weeks ago the company I am placed at (as a contractor) had a lot of layoffs. In addition the St. Louis Business Journal reported other St. Louis companies laying off just this week.

This saddens me as much as anyone. I have only been at my contract job for 6 months, and I already have a bond with some who lost their job.

If that is one of you, my heart goes out to you, and I certainly feel your pain. But … I want to tell you unequivocally that you are going to be ok.

My words may seem like just pleasantries, but I can tell you from my experience, my husband’s experience, and many laid-off friends I have met along my journey that YOU are going to be OK!

God will take care of you – even the atheist. Life goes on, and wonderful things are in store for you.

It probably seems bleak and the pit of your stomach has a perm-o-knot … but it will get better.

When I first got laid off in March of 2009, what I did was to stay in a state of shock for a pretty long period. I did function, I did get on-line every day, I did talk to family and friends, but I was numb. I could not get rid of the sick feeling in my stomach. Suddenly my normal comfort foods were not comforting, in fact nothing sounded good to eat. Well, occasionally a fried egg sandwich. I would look at my house, car, and all the beautiful things I accumulated and wonder “why?”. Why was I chosen? Why don’t they want to keep me? Aren’t I a good person? Aren’t I worthy? Didn’t I do a good job (to me I did a fantastic one!)?  Was I just earning too much money for them to keep me?

I want to encourage you to feel all your feelings that come. You own them. There is nothing at all wrong with your feelings, no matter what they are.  Even the bad thoughts. 

Did suicide ever come up in my thoughts? Sure it did! My husband’s too. It’s normal. Whenever you are living through any life altering situation which feels like your life is shattered, all kinds of things will go through your head.  By the way, I urge you to not allow the bad thoughts to stay in your head.  If you find that they are, talk with friends and/or seek professional help.

Don’t give up. Your life is NOT over! Only life as you knew it. But … that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is more likely a good thing.

Most people who get laid off, when they think about it, will find that they were not all that happy at their jobs.  Maybe they were over-worked, or overlooked for a promotion, or under-recognized for things, and most probably underpaid for all their time & efforts.  While this may not be your case, I’m sure when you think about it you will be able to find something unpleasant in your most recent work experience.

I bring this up for a point. To let you know that you have just been liberated.  (Liberated!)

I encourage you to think of all the good things in your life, including the good reasons as to why you do not have to go in to your old job.  Keep a journal of them (guys, you too).  It helps you each day to write in this, for two reasons.  One is it brings your thoughts up to a higher level, and two, it is a great reminder to you.

Think happy thoughts!

 

I welcome you contacting me via this blog (or if I’ve given you my personal information), and I am happy to write you back with any questions, comments, thoughts, etc.

 

Hang in there my friend.  It is going to be ok.

 

Tags: , , , ,

Aside

Hello again friends.  I haven’t written in a while because … after 2 years …. I am now employed!  And I LOVE my new job.  I am an IT professional and I am currently contracting for a large company in the greater St. Louis area.  I’ve been here just over two months and I’m so happy.  In October, at my 6 month anniversary, I hope to be hired on permanently (that is the plan!).

Enjoy your summer!

But … I do recall the last two summers and how much of a struggle it is to job hunt when so many working folks are taking vacations.

I want to discuss what my experience has taught me about folks who have not been directly affected by our recession, as when you do get interviews, chances are good that you will be meeting with one or more of them.

I have found that people who did not lose a job, nor have their spouses lost a job, really have no idea what it is like out there when looking for a job – at all.  They may not have any idea what it is like to collect unemployment, ever.   And they likely do not have very good sympathy for you for having to endure this.

My advice is to barely (and rarely) mention your time out of work and what it has been like for you.  Do not reveal any of the particulars either, such as being uninsured, having to borrow money from family or your 401k, or that you are late on all your bills.

You probably know this much during an interview, but I suggest it also if you get hired, no matter how comfortable you feel with your co-workers and superiors.

Remember to always look out for yourself – first.  No one else will.  In doing this you will have the fortitude to help your spouse, children and others.

So once you get hired and your time between jobs is finally over, smile a lot at work, be happy, share the good parts of your life and enjoy your new job.  You can talk about all the “junk” with your spouse, friends and family, or a counselor.

You still need to work out all your “junk” (pent up anger, aggression, sadness, etc.) so you can once again be a very happy person, but work is not the place to do this.  Yes, you will have to put on an act – on some level.  I am not saying to be fake, just be careful.

I hope this makes sense to you.  I want you to share in the joy of life if you are not doing so now.  And I know well what it is like to be in a long-term funk.

Keep up your networking, even after you land.  Nothing is guaranteed and you never know if you’ll be job-hunting again, so remember to always continue to network.

I wish you all much happiness this summer.  Take time to do some fun things besides just job hunting and networking.  Go to the pool.  Garden.  Take a walk in the park with your dog.  Read a book outside.  Listen to the summer bugs.   Breathe in fresh summer air.   And … I hope you are blessed with a great position as I have been!  If not yet, it is only a matter of time.

Keep the faith!

It’s Summer! How’s the job-hunting going?

 
1 Comment

Posted by on June 10, 2011 in Unemployment - Tips

 

Tips for the newly unemployed – #2

Hello again friends. I get how hard this time in your life is, and how your motivation waxes and wanes. Some people (unlike myself) are self-motivated,  get up early each day and spend most of the day doing what they should to find a job. If this describes you, then great! You are one of the lucky ones. I am not so lucky.

I get my best energy late in the day, and sometimes in the middle of the night. So that is when I have to go for it.

If that is like you also, I recommend just do what you can when you can. The most important thing is to keep your spirits UP!

My advice is …

(1) Do what you can to keep your spirits up. It is like pulling teeth to make yourself do something you are not ready for. If you get yourself up, then doing what you need to do can be (and will be) pleasurable.

Ways I get my spirits up are …

  • Attend networking meetings. In my city of St. Louis, there are several each week. This not only puts you in with like-minded folks, the topics are helpful and best of all, the networking!  I am not the social butterfly, but I do try to meet at least one person each time I attend an event (don’t forget your business cards!). Try that for yourself too, but if you don’t, it’s ok – don’t beat yourself up, just try to do it the next time. You will get more comfortable at it.  **If you need help in locating these types of events, first contact your local unemployment office.  You do not have to be collecting unemployment to use their services.  They should have several items of interest for you there, if you are in a large city.  If in a smaller city and your office does not have anything of value, call a center that is in your closest large city and ask for their help.  It might be worth it to travel once a week to attend an event.  Also, some churches offer group meeting for folks in this boat, and you do not usually have to be a member, nor believe in their particular faith.  Lastly, talk with friends, employed and unemployed friends.  They may know of some of these things and can lead you in the right direction.
  • Talk with friends who are happy, upbeat and inspiring for you.  This will help you immensely. Do your best to not talk with those who are generally a downer, including family. Remember this time is for and about YOU, and you do not need any help in bringing yourself down. If you do not have happy/upbeat friends, then it is all the more reason to go to networking events and make a new one!
  • Get out of the house.

    Spring is here! Spend time outdoors.

    Just taking a walk down the street can be more refreshing than you would believe. Even sitting in the sunshine on your back porch does wonders. Like gardening?  Do that.  Or go visit public gardens.  But best to get away from home. Take a drive if that is all you are up for … just get yourself out. Each day.

  • Go spend some money. Not a lot … but this helps too. If your money is very tight, go to a Dollar store, or a resale shop. Buy yourself something. It is very therapeutic … gals and guys!
  • Read a book. It’s great to read a book on job hunting, and there are tons out there, but if your goal is to bring yourself up, then read a book for pleasure. It is truly wonderful to lose yourself in a book. You can get one for free at the library … for a couple of weeks. If you are not a reader, I still suggest it, but maybe baby-step it with magazines that interest you. You can also read these at the library if money is tight … and hey, it gets you out of the house!
  • Listen to music! Put on your favorite CD. This works great for me when I’m on the computer doing my job search. It makes it so much nicer for me and I’m sure it will you too. But if you are in the dumps, get away from the computer … and enjoy your music!
  • Invest in your spirituality.  Meaning seek out ways to connect to your source (I call God), and commune, and seek out like minded folks.  That will really uplift you.  Way more than you may think.

(2) Work on perfecting your resume.  This is your key to opening the door to an interview.  I recommend getting lots of help and advice in this step.  You can find TONS of examples on the internet alone, but I also suggest you get reviews from friends, peers, and even someone from your local unemployment office … which by the way they can help you with this if you do not know where to start.

(3) Once complete (and I say that with grains of salt as you will be EVER updating/perfecting it), post your resume to several job boards.  Monster, Career Builder, Dice, and any others that are specific to your field (Google to find, search “job board business” or “job board industrial”, or something similar).  Keep your account current, meaning when you update your resume, remember to log in to your account at these job board sites and update it there too.  That does two things.  One is that you know your latest & greatest resume is out for the world to find, and two, employers who subscribe to the job board(s) can see the date of the last time you logged in to your account.  If it is recent, they know you are actively pursuing employment.  If not recent at all, you likely are not, and if semi-recent (a week to even a month old), you just are not “on it”.  Show them you are hungry!  … in a manner of speaking.

(4) Be ready for some calls about jobs!  Smile when you answer the phone and especially when you talk with someone calling about potential employment.  It will show through your voice.

More tips, thoughts and ideas coming soon!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 14, 2011 in Unemployment - Tips