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Archive for August, 2009

I had an interesting phone conversation the other day. It started out with the usual pleasantries of “how are you feeling” and then proceeded to my hearing, “It’s awful. There’s not going to be an increase in Social Security this year. The government is giving away so much money and what good does it do to give handouts and where is it going to take us? And this health care thing, that’s not going to be good.”

I’ve heard lots of comments like that before, long before our current situation; and I have to admit that once or twice I’ve probably been judgmental about who gets benefit from governmental funding whether it’s federal, state or local. Based on my own story that many of you have been following, I’m now one of those getting benefit of a governmental program.

I calmly replied, “I’ve been looking for a job for 18 months and have been unemployed for 14. If it were not for the Stimulus, I would have run out of benefits last December and where would I be right now? I am very, very thankful that those funds have been made available. I know how they are affecting my ability to continue. And I am in a much better situation than lots of people.” We didn’t talk too much after that because there was a bit of discomfort on both sides.

I’m not weighing in on whether all of the decisions made or to be made are good ones, but I do know that there are faces attached to additional unemployment benefits, cash for clunkers, and the availability of health care for everyone in this country. Today, one of those faces is mine. And depending on how tomorrow turns out, another face might just be the one you see in the mirror each morning.

Makes it a bit more real, doesn’t it?

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I’m doing much better than my last blog! I do have to share that right in the midst of the emotional overload, I walked into my kitchen, poured pineapple juice over a glass of ice, added a bit of orange juice and a hefty shot of rum – THE VERY FIRST DRINK I HAVE EVER MADE FOR MYSELF. Yes, I know that’s highly unusual for most people; but alcohol has never been high on my list.

As I was walking to the patio, drink in hand, to collapse on the bench, I found myself giggling about the scene I had just been part of – so out of character for me. I’m not sure whether the rum or the laughter made me feel better. But better I was and was on my way to dealing with whatever was befalling me in the moment. Oh, yes, some of it is still much more of a downer than I would like, but that’s OK. I was reminded of those words from one of my favorite philosopher’s, Jimmy Buffett, who said, “If we didn’t laugh, we would go insane.”

To recap: Insurance is going to cover only the inside damage to the house, unfortunately; though it does appear right now that the total cost is less than I thought. (I actually had no idea how much it would cost. I’m just glad it was not double digits!)

I’m seeing a new physical therapist, and I got a cortisone shot in my knee which seems to be helping.

I don’t have a profitable job yet, though I have had a couple of interviews. I am going to be teaching 8 hours a week for the Thompson School at UNH doing Computers in the Workplace. It’s only guaranteed for Fall semester, but I’m very excited. I’ve touched base with 5 students from the Virtual Academy.

We had a wonderful meeting at Seacoast Peers for Careers (the empowerment group I’m facilitating on Wednesday mornings). Not only did we have a presenter from NHWorks who talked about all the agencies that are located at the NHES building in Somersworth but explained the services in resume evaluation, interview skills, and possible training dollars that are available. We had two new folks join us, and we were visited by a reporter from the Portsmouth Herald that I had spoken to when I was called for information for a piece on the Women’s Business Center, of which I am a member. We started a group on LinkedIn. As always, there was laughter while we shared!

I have been toying with a “pay it forward” concept similar to what my friend Christina Van Blake did with interior design plans.  I’m offering one hour of complimentary computer training with the proviso that folks I work with do a charitable act themselves.

I’d especially like to work with those who are new to various aspects of using a computer in either Macintosh or Windows environments.  I had my first student today who laughed when I showed her how to hot key copy/paste (control C, control V). I laughed as well when she told me no one had ever shown her that before.

Who knows where any of this is going? I just know that a day without laughter is worse than a day without sunshine. Thankfully, my laugh quotient is very high, even without the rum.

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The last three weeks have been a conglomeration of personally venturing from my comfort zone with positive results (see previous entry) while at the same time tending to events with unknown (and therefore scary) potential cost. (We have discovered some water damage to our home and await estimates and insurance adjuster decisions as I write this.)

Add to that some physical issues that are not progressing as quickly as I would have hoped, the 16 months of job searching, and day-to-day worries and I’m on emotional overload, tears ever just below the surface.

I know this fragility will pass; it always does, though this time is taking a bit longer than usual. Can any of you reading this relate to where I am in the moment? I think I need a good old-fashioned crying jag to get rid of some of the angst.

Pass the tissues, please.

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Today’s title pretty much sums up the last “official” 13 months of unemployment and nearly 16 months of job searching without success. There have been adventures along the way, especially my CBS experience and the new-found joy gathering with the support group I am facilitating. The bonding that occurs in the small group experience never ceases to amaze me. I have known a few of the people in the group for some time but have never had the opportunity to hear their stories and share their concerns. What an honor and privilege it is to be in covenant and communion with them and with persons I met as a part of this gathering! Yes, covenant and communion are religious words with depth of knowledge and understanding related to my faith base. I truly believe that we have been assembled for this moment in time and I am grateful to be a part of it.

I’ve missed the last two Wednesdays due to a week-long family vacation, though I continued the job search daily, laptop in hand, and ventured again from my comfort zone. Just before we left for our stay at my husband’s cousin’s home on Cape Cod, a friend sent me an article about a support group in Beverly, MA, that was using a book entitled, Ground of Your Own Choosing, by Beverly Ryle. I read some excerpts from the book and found the information confirming of some of my thoughts as well as informative and discovered that the authored lived barely two miles from where we would be vacationing about three days later.

Having grown in my risk taking, I emailed Beverly, told her a bit of my background and asked if I could meet with her to talk about her book and her view on the work search. (Beverly says it’s not about the “job” but about your “work” and that one needs to think like an entrepreneur!)

Lo and behold, my daughter and I got to spend about an hour with the author and left with autographed copies to read and discuss. Continuing on my risk taking, I asked if Beverly would put me in touch with Diane Castro who was mentioned in the article. Diane contacted me and invited me to join her group for lunch and discussion last Thursday afternoon.

Are either of these contacts going to get me jobs? Probably not. But that wasn’t the point. There was something to be shared and learned from the interaction. It was the building of community that was important, sitting and learning about someone else’s story and continuing the journey a bit stronger perhaps. And right now I need all the strength I can get.

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