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. 😉

Follow me on Twitter @tracysestili
Like me on my Facebook writer page
Subscribe to my SF Examiner Career Coach RSS feed

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

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.

Day 121

Posted in Examiner, FarmVille, life, Project Management by Tracy on March 26, 2010

Today started off great with 90 minutes of Bikram Yoga. Then a quick call with a friend to discuss putting together a documentary. Very exciting!!!! Three of us are meeting next week to kick it off. Did I say, VERY EXCITING!!!! Okay, I’ll try to relax about it.

Heading out to pick up brochures for the nonprofit. Hope to get petitions signed at the Ferry Building tomorrow morning from 9-12 for American Heart, American Lung and American Cancer Society to increase the tobacco sales tax in CA for the first time in 20 years to $1 per pack.

Made brownies and guacamole for my friend’s pity party tonight. She’s stressed out and we’re all going over there for moral support, mexican and of course to drink wine.

Two possible job prospects and a third in the works. I’m excited about all 3 companies so we’ll see how it pans out. All 3 are referrals so hopefully that will at least get my foot in the door.

It’s been a good week for Examiner articles and if you know me well then you probably got a kick out of the article I wrote this week on “Career Limiting Move – Saying the wrong thing at work and how to recover” What can I say except that it was long overdue. If I only I practiced what I preach. LOL!

Life in FarmVille is as boring as ever and I cannot wait to write my synopsis on the whole stupid game. Too bad I can’t post that to the Examiner. Well, maybe I’ll figure out a way. Either way, I’ll post that link here when I write it. But I have about 40 more days, ugh! But last night I checked that blog and it has had over 2000 hits to it. Insane!! I think people really liked my WTF is up with the Foal and the Stallion piece. What can I say except that I crack myself up sometimes.

I don’t feel lost anymore about what I want to do. I feel like I have figured it out. I want to do something creative. I like exercising that part of my brain. It feeds my spirit and maybe that’s why I liked project management so much. It allows me to be creative and solve problems. That’s also probably why I am so energized about doing this documentary with my friends Shanan and Stacey. I definitely want to go back to school for my Masters. But I need to get a job first and then go part-time. And I’m still writing like crazy for many different avenues. Still working on the second book on the nonprofit industry.

Busy, busy, busy, but enjoying myself. Might have something to do with working out again.

Happy Friday!

Day 117

Posted in Examiner, Project Management, Rob Pattinson, unemployed, Writer by Tracy on March 22, 2010

I have the best husband in the world! Last night he sat and suffered through 2+ hours of New Moon on Blu-ray with me. What a saint!

Today I couldn’t sleep so I was up before my husband’s alarm went off. Usually I can’t sleep when I am stressed about something but I can’t think of anything that I’m stressed about right now. I know you might think that I am stressed about not having a job yet, but I’m not really stressed as much as I am frustrated by the process, which has changed drastically since the last time I looked for a job.

So far today, I awoke and in my Inbox I found that I won a writing contest for posting my most embarrassing high school moment, with photo. I didn’t win any cash, but I did win a book and am featured on their blog roll for the week. Yay me! Then I decided to follow up with a company that was stringing me along for the past two weeks only to find a rejection in my Inbox minutes later. That’s twice now that I’ve had to follow up with companies in order for them to reject me. Ironic isn’t it? Then on my way to lunch to meet an old friend I received a phone call to speak at an upcoming nonprofit workshop on social media. I don’t think it will pay but it gets me out there as a public speaker.

After talking to my coach last week I’ve decided to pursue contract work for a while to see how it goes. Maybe I will get lucky and someone will love me and want to hire m full-time. I didn’t really want to deal with the headaches of looking for a job every few months with contract work, but that might be the best option. And I am still entertaining the idea of getting my M.F.A.

I submitted my first chapter to a new writing group yesterday and already got some good feedback. I’ll need to make changes this week. Posted a blog on social media for the nonprofit and posted 2 Examiner articles on leadership

Day 106

Posted in 80's, embarassing moments, Examiner, FarmVille, life, Red Room, unemployed, Writer by Tracy on March 10, 2010

Yesterday I gave my first chapter of my memoir to my husband to read. Was I crazy? Actually, it wasn’t that bad. But he’s bias and he knows the story well. He did have some good feedback though. I also received some good feedback from my writer friend Amy Lamphere.

Speaking of writing, I am still doing that experimental blog on FarmVille “99 days on FarmVille” and I’ll admit, it’s a time suck. But I only have 27 more ribbons to get and I will be finished with that nonsense. My plan for today is to write an article for either Divine Caroline, Red Room or the Examiner. Red Room’s  article submission is on your most embarrassing moment in high school. So many to pick from, but I did manage to narrow it down. I also want to edit my first chapter of the memoir again and to do a DVD workout. That seems like a lot to do in four hours since I have a fund-raising call at 3pm and have to pick  my husband up at 4pm to go celebrate my niece’s 14th birthday.  Happy Birthday Lia!

Alas, I finally did a workout DVD yesterday. It was called Dance with Julianne by Julianne Hough from “Dancing with the Stars”. I didn’t love it. She’s a good dancer, but not a good teacher.The one I have from Crunch Fitness called Latin Rhythms is way better. Perhaps I’ll do that one today.Exercising and being productive does seem to get me out of a slump when I am in one.

But on Friday, I will definitely get out my slump because I am going to see Point Break Live with friends. What is it? A live performance where the movie is acted out. Comes with ponchos for the big tsunami storm and is not an event for the fair at heart. They even pick someone from the audience to play Keanu Reeves! Cannot wait.

Day 105

Posted in Examiner, life, unemployed, Writer by Tracy on March 9, 2010

I don’t know what it is exactly but I am lacking motivation to do anything these days. I have an entire list of things to do and don’t feel like doing a one. Ever feel that way?

I’ve decided to volunteer one day a week with the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association to get signatures to raise the tax on tobacco products in California for the first time in 20 years. At least that will get me showered, dressed and out of the house for the day.

I published another article on Divine Caroline last night, but I am still behind on the Examiner and editing my memoir. And the nonprofit stuff is piling up, although I did finally just update the website. It’s amazing how much little time you have when you have so much of it to sit around and waste.

I did apply for 4 more jobs today and I heard back from one company who said that I’m still in the running.  Job count is up to 85 resumes.

Last night I looked at schools for M.F.A. programs. I am seriously considering going back for my masters in fine arts.  I’ve always wanted to go back and get my Masters in something, just not an M.B.A. and recently I think that something might be writing. Still toying with the idea.

p.s. I am super happy that James Cameron did not win for Avatar because that would have just given him carte blanche to go spend zillions of dollars on a film so that he would win an award.

Day 104 – Rejection

Posted in Examiner, life, Project Management, unemployed, Writer by Tracy on March 8, 2010

I’ve been radio silent because I was hoping to report back good news from my various job interviews last week. I was hoping that no news was good news. But today after I sent an email to follow up with a company, only then did they tell me that they were not going to move forward with me as a candidate. I wonder how long they would have let me wait if I hadn’t followed up with them? In fact, I wonder how many companies are really good about closing out prospective candidates?  I was also told last week that I was over qualified for a job -yet  again. That seems to be my biggest road block. But how to convey that I want to work hard but with less responsibility is tricky.

I have one more iron in the fire, but that didn’t seem promising. At the end of that interview I asked the person if they thought I was a good fit for the job and they seemed leery about my experience.

I also met with my career coach on Friday that my old company generously paid for. I am not sure how she is going to help me but since it is free, I am willing to suck up any information she can give me.  I am meeting with her weekly for the next few weeks and who knows, at the very least maybe I’ll get some material for my Examiner column.

Speaking of which, I am way behind on writing for the Examiner.

Day 94

Posted in Damages, Examiner, FarmVille, life, Lost, unemployed, Writer by Tracy on February 25, 2010

Interview in person next week and a phone interview, making progress. Got a rejection yesterday but it was really a stretch for me anyway.

Just posted to my FarmVille blog that the rumors about Zynga charging subscription fees is false.

I’ve also been writing a lot for Divine Caroline, here’s my page. Yesterday I posted about my experience with speed dating.

Today I posted a new article at the Examiner.com and just finished baking my friend’s tasty kona banana bread. Now I am going to hunker down to finish the layout of my memoir before shipping it off to the editor. I hope I can finish it before my leadership council meeting tonight.

Oh, and although DAMAGES is the best TV show on television right now, I am also hooked on an old HBO series called The Wire. Just finished season 1 last night. And if I don’t start actually getting answers on LOST, I am going to be pissed! That’s all I will say on that in case you haven’t caught up to real time yet with your DVR.

Day 93

Posted in Certifications, Examiner, FarmVille, life, Project Management, recruiter, unemployed, Writer by Tracy on February 24, 2010

I am starting to really enjoy my time off. Yesterday I had lunch with a friend and former co-worker at one of my favorite dive sushi places in San Carlos. And next week I am going to lunch with another former co-worker and my former mentor.

I have 3 irons in the fire right now with possible job prospects. Two are in the city and one is just outside the city. So let’s keep our fingers crossed. I have finally broken through the “in person” interview barrier and gotten past the phone interview with one company so far.

But one thing came up during my phone interviews that I’d like to touch on. Certifications. I’ve been asked a few times if I have a certification in project management because it doesn’t seem to be listed on my resume. Well, I don’t have one. I have 15 years of project management, product management and partner program management experience. I told one recruiter that I believe that certifications are for people who have no experience in something. I’m not sure how well that went over, but it’s true when you think about it.

At this rate in my career, I would never go back for a certification in anything. If I was going to invest time and energy in education of any kind it would be to get my Masters degree in something, but definitely not an MBA either. I don’t want an MBA because I don’t want a job in finance or business development. I know how a business runs and I’ve even created my own nonprofit which is why I definitely know I don’t want to go back for an MBA.

But as I mentioned before, I am now competing with many people who went back to school or who are going back to school. I’ve been wanting to get my Masters in something for 10 years now. I often think I should have just gone and done it after college. But I didn’t know what I wanted a degree in at that time and I certainly didn’t want to go back to school because I couldn’t wait to get out.

Only recently, right before my lay off,  have I decided that I might want to go and get my M.F.A to help further pursue my writing career. If I ever get published, that will look good on my book jacket cover. But I can’t go back to school while collecting unemployment because that will cut of my benefits, plus I can’t really afford to do that right now. However, taking night classes once I get a job is looking like a possibility in my near future.

Two articles I recently published on Divine Caroline about Social networking 101 and the SF Examiner on emailing in the work place.

And don’t forget to check out my blog with my experiment on FarmVille.

Day 91

Posted in Examiner, life, unemployed, Writer by Tracy on February 22, 2010

Wow! It’s hard to believe that I once wanted a 6 week sabbatical and was going to wait until a manager came back from maternity leave, only to now have 12 weeks off in a row. Who woulda thunk? Not me, but certainly happy about the time off that I’ve had, especially recently.

I have discovered my passion for writing, yet I’ve decided that I don’t want to be a starving journalist. Still contributing articles to Divine Caroline and the SF Examiner. I’ve also decided that I do not want to pursue the nonprofit angle as a permanent career. I enjoy writing freelance and volunteering, but more so as hobbies. I love technology, am a social network glutton and enjoy project and program management. There are definitely opportunities out there for me to put my plethora of experience to good use.

Now, due to my recent bouts with being accident prone, I haven’t been able to work out as much as I’d like, but I am hoping that will change by the end of this week if not sooner.

The job search is continuing to provide fruitful leads. Here are my stats:

Jobs Applied: 77
Phone interviews: 11
Face to face interviews: 0
Rejections: Countless

Today it is sunny out. A day for getting out of one’s pj’s. Until tomorrow…