Seeking Out Me

Unemployment Freedom Feels like Retirement

Gosh, I have not posted here in a very long while. Why? Well, I’ve been busy. I’ve been busy tweeting, blogging on other networks, finishing up my book, doing research for my next book, working on a documentary, freelance writing, running a nonprofit, helping other nonprofits with social media and looking for a job. I’m doing lunches, dinners, coffees and I’m now working out so I’m no longer getting fat from all of that social networking. In fact, I’ve lost 5 pounds with my new regimen. Woohoo!

Well, I’m happy to report that I have 3 job irons in the fire and they are very very hot. I am confident that I will be working very soon. All 3 are very cool companies, but all very different, each one touching one  of my inner passions. I realized a few months ago that landing a job is important, but landing a job that is enjoyable is even more important to me. I’d much rather hold out for the right gig, rather than just take a job just to get paid.

I have finished my experimental blog on 99 Days on FarmVille. And I’m amazed at how popular it was (22,000 hits and still going). Just insane. You can read my last blog post which was my assessment of the game and some recommendations for Mark Pincus and his Zynga team. I am glad that is over because the game and the blog were a huge time suck.

My time off has been extremely rewarding. It almost feels like retirement. I’ve been able to work out more, eat healthier, be less stressed because I am no longer making a 75 minute commute each way every day and get back in touch with so many people, it’s been great. Oh, and my house is super organized. I’ve also discovered a new passion for “dates” the fruit. They truly are nature’s candy.

Could I get used to being unemployed? Probably not. I like to keep busy which is why I’m dabbling in a bunch of things right now that are my passions. It is so rewarding to work with people that are aligned with your same goals and interests.

But as I get closer to finding a job, I realize that my time off is about to come to an end. So I better go schedule some pampering for myself. Some last cathartic indulgence. 😉

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Some articles and blogs I have written in case you missed them:
Foursquare: A have for criminals – a MUST read for all of you suckers on 4Square
Matruism, KFC’s new mantra – more pink washing
Work-life balance programs, social responsibility or competitive edge?
My favorite pop song from back in the day: Escape (Pina Colada song)
The Race is On: The Tortoise and the Hare – my rant on people who are always in such a freakin’ hurry.
How to transition to a different career – I was inspired after rewriting someone’s resume and realized people don’t know how to do this well
Conflict can have a positive outcome

Cheers,
Tracy

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Day 164 – When it rains, it pours

Posted in contest, job search, life, San Francisco, unemployed, Writer by Tracy on May 10, 2010

When it rains, it pours and it is literally pouring not only rain here, but opportunities for me as well. A few, both freelance and regular, job interviews in the pipeline this week and next, but I’m not going to get too excited just yet. What will be, shall be.

I know it’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been busy. Amazing how time flies when you are not employed. I gave my first webinar last week to 18 nonprofits and it went really well. I did the first one for free. A few things that need to be polished, but otherwise, I’m pretty satisfied with it and the feedback was positive overall. I’m now even more stoked about presenting at the Center for Nonprofit Success’s seminar on Social Media: Tips and tools for using social media to build support for your mission.

Still keeping busy with writing for the Examiner, RedRoom and some freelance gigs. Had our 4th documentary meeting and it’s coming together. It will really come together if we get accepted for the Pepsi Refresh Project grant.

And I have to share this book that I am reading right now, because it is so damn funny. I think I am especially enjoying it because I love food. It’s called Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, by Jenni Ferrari-Adler. It’s a compilation of essays from authors who confess their own stories of what they eat while dining alone (in or out). It is not only hilarious, but it includes a few recipes too. With each story they intertwine little one liners that will have you laughing out loud. From one chick’s recollection of Halloween being  like a “Beggar’s Banquet” to another guy’s curious question of why the Jews didn’t think they were persecuted enough to still be eating brisket and gifelte fish in modern times.It’s available on Amazon.

And now, in keeping with my latest tradition, I am off to the gym to get a workout in. I’m only eating fruit, vegetables and protein. No bread, no pasta, limited rice, no cake, no cookies, no ice cream (and you know I’ve been known to eat right out of the half gallon container of Breyers).Why the madness? My clothes were starting to feel uncomfortable again. Plus, all of this research for the documentary has got me eating my way to a  healthier life.

Later in the week, I hope to enlighten you all to cooking with coconut oil. A friend just introduced me to it last week and it was phenomenal and apparently there are health benefits too. A win-win.

Ciao for now.

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Day 151 – Naked Lunch

Posted in job search, Living in the moment, Lunch, San Francisco, unemployed by Tracy on April 27, 2010

Okay, so today I was a little silly when I posted in my Facebook status that I “just had Naked Lunch with my hubby” and told them to read about it at FoodieFool.com. But, in all of this free time, I sometimes need to amuse myself.

Yesterday, an author friend of mine did a blog post on telling someone you love them before you get cancer. In her blog post she posted a video from days before the 1906 earthquake. It was a silent film found on YouTube where people were just going about their business as if tomorrow was yet another day. The motivation behind her post was a segment she had seen on 60 Minutes that said that San Francisco’s next big quake was coming soon and they just hoped that the Bay Bridge reconstruction would be done in time before that happened. Scary and yet thought provoking.

Then a couple hours later, my phone rang. I thought it was my best friend whom I’ve known since the 9th grade, but instead it was her husband. He called to tell me that she was in the hospital. Something was wrong with her liver, but they didn’t know what it was. They ruled out cancer and hepatitis, but still no answer, just more testing.

All of this made me remember that back when I lost my mother, I already knew that life was short, but how short, I didn’t quite realize until then. Every once in a while, I get reminded again of how short life really is. All of this brought to mind a lyric from one of my favorite Fiona Apple songs, Criminal, “But I keep living this day like the next will never come,” which is why I went to Naked Lunch today. I decided that I can be worried about finding a job and spend all day looking for one on the computer. Or, I can enjoy my time off and when the right opportunity presents itself, I will welcome it, because I will have been well rested.

I started my day with a mani-pedi that I had scheduled for 10am – not too early, but early enough to give me a jump start on the day and get out of the house. Then I met my husband for lunch at Naked Lunch where I indulged in a decadent foie gras torchon sandwich. (You should read the review on FoodieFool).

Now, I’m hanging out and I’m going to read on my chaise lounge looking out on my beautiful view of the city. But I only have an hour because I’m going to Bikram Yoga this afternoon. So, I gotta run. But for now, my advice is to live in the moment, because you just never know. Oh, and if you’re religious, say a little prayer for my friend Heidi!

Day 147 – Lady who lunches

Posted in job search, life, Lost, Lunch, Project Management, San Francisco, unemployed, Writer by Tracy on April 23, 2010

Okay, seriously. I have previously stated that all I do is “lunch” with people to network to see if they can help me find a job. And while I love eating, this whole unemployment thing is making me fat! Yesterday I went to lunch with a former boss, he’s awesome. It was great. The food was delicious and the conversation was stimulating. He knew of an opportunity that he thought I would be good for so we’ll see.  When I told him that I had registered with The Ladders and with M Squared consulting, he found that interesting and said that most people don’t go about finding a job that way these days. Most people do what I am doing now, which is go to lunch and get jobs through people they know. Makes me want to totally re-think that whole MFA program thing, I tell ya.

Well, lunch was yummy and informative and I felt like I had a food baby in my belly. At the end of the day, my husband calls and says that I could convince him to go to the gym if I met him there. Hmm, although I didn’t feel like going, and had no plans to go, I decided it couldn’t hurt me. After all, I did have a food baby to work off.

Today I knew I was meeting a friend for a long overdue lunch at 1pm, so I had plans to either go to bikram yoga or the gym in the morning. That way it feels more justifiable eating a fabulous lunch at a place like Waterbar and drinking cocktails. I wasn’t one hundred percent sure that the lunch was going to involve cocktails but was fairly certain. When my friend wound up being twenty minutes late due to her job, I wound up ordering myself a glass of Sauvignon blanc (which I decided is way better than Chardonnay, but that’s just my opinion). When she arrived at 1:20 it turned into many glasses of champagne and splitting appetizers, entrees and dessert. The bill was steep. Over one hundred dollars and I’m unemployed – yikes!

Before I went to lunch my husband forwarded me a job he saw posted for a social media blogger/editor position at a gaming company. Well, if that isn’t right up my alley. However, the position clearly stated that the career level was “student’. So I applied anyway, because I decided that I would love to work for half of my value if it meant doing something that I loved, and I love blogging and social media. So I applied. I don’t know if I’ll even get a call or a response, but hell, what have I got to lose….um, nothing.

Day 146 – Contest, documentary and a lady who lunches

Posted in Consulting, contest, job search, Lost, Lunch, San Francisco, Writer by Tracy on April 21, 2010

Today, on the agenda is lunch with a former boss. I definitely feel like a lady who lunches and I need to start working out more often or I’m going to become a blimp with all of these lunches. For a person who is unemployed, I certainly eat well. Tomorrow I have yet another lunch, but it’s more of a social lunch rather than a networking lunch and will probably involve a cocktail or two. And on Friday, I am taking myself to lunch to eat at Naked Lunch – a new lunch place that is screaming my name when I heard the words ‘foie gras sandwich!’ Look for the review on FoodieFool.com late Friday.

I have started research on my documentary project with my friends which involves researching the history of the FDA. I’m reading Inside the FDA right now. Fascinating stuff. I’m also gathering research and interview candidates for my next book on the world of nonprofits. If you know of anyone who could add some value to my book on nonprofits, leave a comment to contact me or you can go to my website right now where I am hosting a contest. Tell me about your most disappointing nonprofit experience and you will be entered to win a book and a $25 gift card to the nonprofit of your choice. I am essentially looking for experiences that are good/or bad and expectations that were met/or not met.  Would be great if you can go on record, but if not, I can work around that.

I am also offering a webinar to nonprofits to teach them about social media. I am doing my first one on May 3rd and a second one by request on May 4th. If you know of any nonprofit that is interested, forward them my site. If they mention that they heard about it from this site (Seeking Out Me), I’ll take $20 off the fee for the class offered on May 3rd.

Number of resumes submitted to date: 127

Hoping a consulting gig comes around soon.

p.s. LOST is so disappointing this year. I need ANSWERS!

Day 140 – Consulting, KFC and fave children’s book

Posted in Consulting, job search, KFC, Red Room, Writer by Tracy on April 15, 2010

Happy Thursday! Today is tax day and for most people it’s a stressful day working to the 11th hour trying to get their taxes done. Not for me. My hubby takes care of that, and I am grateful.

After 14 weeks of seeking full-time employment and bumping up against 25 year old recruiters who wouldn’t know experience if it hit them over the head, I decided to go the consultant route for two reasons. First, I am really liking the idea of managing my own time and it bodes well for the work-life balance that I want to maintain. Second, the money is just as good and you don’t ever have to get bored. Today I went down to the M Squared offices and listened to their pitch and signed up. Hopefully, an engagement will come up soon. In the mean time I have submitted 125 resumes through LinkedIn, Career Builder, The Ladders, individual recruiters and now M Squared. Something’s gotta give soon. I feel it.

In the mean time, who is doing the KFC marketing???? I’m not in marketing and never claim to be, BUT, the ad for which they advertise $0.50 from a purchase of a 6 pc bucket of chicken will go towards the Komen Foundation to end breast cancer, nearly made me jump out of my skin. KFC is one of the most unhealthy things you can eat, so while they are ending breast cancer, they’re promoting heart disease from eating that shit. If they want to end breast cancer, then simply make a flat donation to Komen and focus their marketing campaign or healthier living. (I mean, don’t they have a grilled chicken option?)

Yesterday, I did a blog post on RedRoom, which I soon hope to move my blog over to, on a topic they posted about your favorite children’s book. I posted this on my Facebook page (which made me think that I should get a Fan Page, hmmmm) and I got some great responses from Charlotte’s Web to Rumplestiltskin. My favorite of course was The Poky Little Puppy. Here’s a link to that blog post.

Now, I need to figure out how to embed a video into a website and where I am going to squeeze in a workout.

Day 138 – Resume Bologna

Posted in job search, Project Management, recruiter, resume, unemployed by Tracy on April 13, 2010

After a Sunday of bottomless Mimosas, I woke up Monday morning feeling not 100% but still able to function. I joined The Ladders on Friday to see if it can help me in the job search and I also joined a consulting firm. The Ladders offers you a free critique of your resume once you pay to become a member. So I submitted mine and of course, they will re-write your resume for an additional $695 if you want them to or you can try to do it yourself with their feedback.

But the interesting thing was, and here is where I call “bull shit” is that they told me to NOT do something that Lee Hecht Harrison Career Coach center told me to do. So then you gotta wonder, whose right? Are they just trying to sell me a service? I don’t think so because there were some other thoughtful points in the feedback. Hmmm…so, I will edit the parts that I deemed thoughtful and trash the rest. That’s the great thing about feedback – it’s free to give and sometimes free to receive, but you decide on what you want to do with it. I have my last coaching session today at LHH and I am going to send this to her and ask her what she thinks.

One other thing that The Ladders didn’t like was that my resume was bulleted and it looked too “task” oriented. But I have to strongly disagree with this because I’ve read hundreds of resumes and the ones where I can’t easily find what I am looking for (like in bullet points), I trash. I only ever looked at a resume for about 30 seconds and unfortunately that’s the average.

In the mean time, had our second meeting about the documentary yesterday. We spent it mostly modifying our Pepsi Refresh Project grant submission, which I will be asking all of you to vote for once it is accepted.

Today’s a brighter day, literally sunny and I don’t have much on my plate other than to have my last coaching session, look for a job, lung cancer committee call and write/read. Looks like today is going to be a four star day. And did I mention that my husband is making me Trader Joe’s chocolate croissants this morning? Yum! If you haven’t tried them, I highly recommend them! For $3.99 you’ll feel like you just stepped into a Paris cafe.

Day 134 – I’m not 21 anymore….

Posted in Uncategorized by Tracy on April 9, 2010

Oh, today I woke up with a hang over (had fun doing it) and it took a morning nap + 2 eggs + lunch + a whole lot of water to recover. I am not 21 anymore and sometimes my body thinks that it is.

Today I had a nice lunch with family at Barbacco. It was delicious as usual. I know I need to get focused on the documentary stuff and writing, but I’m distracted easily when the weather is nice. It makes me want to be outside and live for today, and worry less about tomorrow.

Today I signed up for HootSuite and it is going to change my social media life for the better. I can actually schedule tweets for every account – that is SO fantastic, I cannot even begin to tell you what a time saver that is. On top of that, they have iPhone app AND can also link to Facebook fan page. S-WEET! or should I say SUITE! LOL.

This weekend I am a golf widow as the Masters are on thru Sunday and that’s all my husband will be watching. Perhaps that will be a good time to get caught up on some things that have drizzled down my “to-do” list.

And a shout out to EW.com for disbanding the rumor that Robert Pattinson might play Kurt Cobain in an upcoming biopic. I’m a Twilight Fan and all but, let’s do Kurt some justice. How about Chris Pine for that role? Speaking of Twilight Fans. Oprah is calling all Twilight Fans. I just entered.

As for the job hunt, I’m still plugging along. Still have 3 irons in the fire. I did talk to a recruiter yesterday and told her that I wasn’t opposed to working outside the city of SF, but if I had my druthers, I’d sacrifice pay for commute any day of the week to have a better work-life balance. She’s going to pitch me to a company in SF for a project manager job. So that’s cool, plus she has my resume and she knows what I want, so nothing could be better than having a recruiter out there pitching you to companies.

I found an interesting site today on business cards that I thought I’d share (I also tweeted about it) The Basics of Business Card Design.

Gotta go and focus. Think I’ll head to the library this weekend to pick up a book for my documentary.

Day 129

Posted in Uncategorized by Tracy on April 4, 2010

Well, the latter part of last week was good. Phone interviews went well and I have interviews lined up for this week. Cross your fingers.

But I gotta air my frustration today about a woman at the check out, on her cell phone with a baby in the Trader Joe’s 9 item or less line and is trying to pay her bill with a credit card. I want to choke her. I want to yell out and make a scene, “Lady, get the hell off  your cell phone and try paying attention to one thing instead of 3 Focus! Focus for just 2 minutes so that the rest of us with ice cream and other perishable foods can get the hell home!

I don’t know why people feel the need to multi-task EVERYTHING in their life. It’s so not necessary and it’s not always efficient. There is a time and place for multi-tasking and when your multi-tasking inconveniences others, NEWSFLASH: It’s not that efficient!

Okay, I’m finished with that rant for now.I think that might make a good article topic for Divine Caroline. I also just read about this short story contest that I might enter. For someone who is unemployed I have a lot on my plate right now. I am working on a documentary with 3 friends, I am finishing a memoir, writing a second non-fiction book, volunteering, running my own nonprofit with two fundraisers coming up and let’s not forget about looking for a job, which is a job in and of itself. Ugh!

And tomorrow is Easter. Just baked two apple pies, baking a choc chip banana loaf and making crab and artichoke dip to bring to my in-laws tomorrow. Where did the day go today? But speaking of Easter, is it me or do others think that the Easter Bunny is a bit creepy looking? I mean, I don’t know what it is, but every Easter Bunny I see at the mall looks like he’s going to star in a slasher movie or something. Not friendly looking at all. Kind of reminds me of Ronald McDonald. I don’t really like clowns, but even if I did, there is nothing friendly about that guy either. He too looks like he just stepped out of a slasher movie.

Ciao for now.

Day 125

Posted in discounts, Examiner, FarmVille, San Francisco, unemployed, Writer by Tracy on March 30, 2010

I cannot BELIEVE that my FarmVille blog has had over 10,000+ hits in just 58 days. I am just beside myself.  It’s unfortunate that it will go away once my experiment is over in 41 days. But it has been quite an experience, nonetheless.

This week on the Examiner, I am writing articles about work-life balance. I have found that this is the most important thing you can do for yourself and definitely what I need and am searching for in my next employer.

By the way, if you subscribe to my Examiner feed, I actually get paid for it. It’s not much, but it helps. I don’t even care if you filter it to trash. Go to one of my articles above and click on this  button

Yesterday was an awesome day because I and 3 friends are working together to do a documentary. This might, in fact, be one of the best projects I have ever worked on simply because everyone is so passionate about the topic and is willing to do their share of the work involved to make it happen. But more about that a little later.

My job search is still the same as it was a few days ago, although I think I’ve applied for about 110 jobs by now, and a few more this morning. I did find a new website yesterday called Restaurant.com where you can get $25 restaurant gift certificates for as low as $2. Quite a bargain!

Need to get ready for a workout and lunch.