Seeking Out Me

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.

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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 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 114 – An awesome day!

Posted in FarmVille, life, Project Management, San Francisco, Uncategorized, unemployed, Writer by Tracy on March 19, 2010

Today was fantastic because I was productive and social. I love it when those two things come together. I got up bright and early, applied for a couple of jobs and was showered and out of the house before 10am. I picked up a new friend, Laurel and we headed to a new writer’s group in San Mateo to meet our friends Carol and Cheri at Specialty’s Bakery which has some of the best sandwiches, not to mention cookies. Did I mention cookies??

Unlike the disastrous writer’s group I attended a few weeks ago where it ended in flaming emails, this group seems to be a good group of easy going, yet serious writers and they make me laugh. Who could ask for more?

Driving back into the city I noticed the temperature gauge on the dashboard reading eighty degrees! In San Francisco? That’s practically unheard of, but oh so welcomed! Time to shave the legs, put on the skirt and head to the roof top deck and pop open a bottle of ice cold champagne. But before all that, I had to run a few errands. A local cobbler promised he could bring back to life my Athena Alexander’s (and I tell you that I could walk 10 miles in these heels and not get a blister). The dry cleaner promised to have my husband’s shirts back by mid next week and I finished tending my farm in FarmVille for my other blog. So, to the roof I go! And then, meeting up with friends at Tony’s Neopolitano. If you haven’t read my food review on Foodie Fool of this place and you live in San Francisco, you need to read it. For the first time ever in San Francisco history, I think Californian’s are finally getting a taste of what real pizza tastes like (spoken like a true East Coaster).

Ciao for now.

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 99 – hard sell

Posted in Certifications, life, Project Management, unemployed by Tracy on March 3, 2010

I had 2 job interviews this week and overall about a dozen (phone and in person) and the hardest thing I have to do is under sell myself. It’s extremely difficult to play down my experience. All I want to do is be an individual contributor for a change. A  little less responsibility. Be able to go home at 5 or 6 and not be married to my iPhone or CrackBerry. Is that too much to ask for? Apparently it is because if I had a nickel for every time someone told me that I was overqualified, I could retire by now. Everyone is afraid that I’ll be bored. I try to explain that I don’t really get bored and can find processes to improve and things to do. But it’s of no use. And here I just want to scream out “You should hire me because I am a rock star AND I will make you look good! and p.s. I don’t want your management job either so relax.” Perhaps a t-shirt or a new business card that I can just hand them when they hand me theirs. And if I have one more person ask me if I am PMP certified I think I am going to scream. I’ve decided that the next time someone asks me, I need to come up with something clever. Any ideas? Maybe instead of saying I think that certifications are for people that have no experience, perhaps I’ll ask them, “If you had as much experience in project management as I did, would you think it would be worth your time to go back for a (silly) certification?”

I did have one nice person tell me today that although they thought I was overqualified they knew of someone that was hiring for a manager position at a company in the South Bay. But I politely declined. Why? Because that’s a non-starter going back to a 75 minute each way commute if I can help it. I really don’t want to have to do that if at all possible.

I just got back from Cavallo Point (right over the Golden Gate Bridge) for a nice over night stay and then spent the afternoon in Sausalito with my hubby. We had a great time and then we saw our last Oscar nominated film, An Education. It was really good. We also saw Precious the other night and that was good too, but heavy. Made me cry.

Tomorrow, lunch with an old friend and former mentor and getting my hair cut and then happy hour at Iluna Basque as they celebrate their 6th year anniversary with half price appetizers and bottles of wine from 5:30-7:30. Woohoo! And the beauty is that I can actually make it there by 5:30 because I am not working and don’t have that long ass drive. Just yet another reason to keep my job search closer to home.

Until tomorrow.

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.