Seeking Out Me

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.

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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 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 111

Posted in Uncategorized by Tracy on March 19, 2010

Well, today I was actually showered and out of the house by 9am! Thanks to having to take my hubby to the doctor. I even got the car washed. Then I made an awesome beet and goat cheese salad, had a nibble of it but then had to save room because I was having lunch with my friend Shanan in the Marina. (review at Foodie Fool on Planet Cafe).

I think the coolest thing about Shanan is that she such a free spirit. I love that she’s always so true to herself in every way. We were talking today about cancer and why the U.S. has a higher level of cancer than any other country in the world. (See our theory at my Plusorminusthirty blog). And now I have so much to research. I told her about this documentary on food that I just saw called Food Inc and she said that I need to watch another documentary called The Future of Food which I can watch free on Hulu. Why is it that we are so unaware of where our food comes from and unconscious of what we put in our  bodies with all that we know? I just submitted an article to the NYTimes and the SF Chronicle and hope that they pick it up. If not, it’ll be on my main blog for Monday and I’ll add a link here too.

Day 89

Posted in Uncategorized by Tracy on February 20, 2010

Today was super productive. First off, I actually got out of my pajamas and got a shower. I also had an article published on Divine Caroline which made me happy.

As far as the job hunt, I had a phone interview with one company early this morning. Have a follow up call with them on Monday, another phone interview with a hiring manager for another company and on Tuesday another phone interview. Three shots to get in the front door. We’ll see how it goes. By Tuesday, I will have had my 10th phone interview.

Today in my phone interview she mentioned that she was concerned that I might get bored. Bored? I can’t imagine being any more bored than I am right now. The writing and the blogging keeps me busy, but I want some interaction other than with fake farm animals on FarmVille.

This weekend’s agenda: Relaxation

Day 79

Posted in Uncategorized by Tracy on February 10, 2010

Just got back from a cancer conference. It was incredibly successful from what I hear but I only participated for an hour on the first day and an hour on the second day. Why? Because I was recovering from food poisoning. It was awful. To tell the truth, I’m still not 100% but nursing myself back to life slowly.

This weekend I have the SF Writer’s Conference that I am very much looking forward to going to. I will steer clear of any seafood for sure! I might get lucky and some agent might like my pitch and want to publish my book. Or it just might be a learning experience. In whichever case, I am planning on learning a lot and enjoying myself.

Just applied for a job at a banking company through a friend. I believe I am more than qualified to do the job, but we’ll see how it goes. So far, I have yet to get in for a face to face interview anywhere because I am overqualified or I am missing a niche skill. But I am confident and hopeful that the right position will come along at the right time. Keeping it positive.

Looking forward to next Monday night where I get to go to dinner with some people from my last company. That should be a lot of fun!

Day #63

Posted in Uncategorized by Tracy on January 25, 2010

Lucky me! Today I had the privilege of a mandatory meeting down at the EDD (Employment Development Department).

I got a letter about 10 days ago that said that it was mandatory that I attend the Career Link Service Workshop or my benefits would be halted.

I was prepared to stand in a long line of degenerates who make a living being unemployed and being herded like cattle into a small room and wait for my name to be called for one on one counseling.  Rather, I was  pleasantly surprised. The line was not only short, there were only 12 in the group that was herded and they weren’t degenerates, but rather hardworking professionals like myself who were just unlucky. Among us were UI Designer, an attorney, a consultant for retail financing (hmmm), a sales operations engineer and a few others.

The attorney said that over 57,000 attorneys in the Bay Area have lost their jobs because of companies going belly up.

The representative leading the workshop was very informative, but she loved to talk. Let me say that again, she LOVED to talk. She stated that the workshop lasted about one hour and fifteen minutes. Let me just tell you, she lied.

And that wasn’t the only lie she told. She said that there were many jobs available at PG&E and no sooner did she say it the girl across from me leaned over and said that she had just gotten laid off from there. Hmmmm…

After you sorted through all of her stories there were a few important and fascinating things to know:

  1. Read everything that the EDD sends you.
  2. Don’t try the dial-in #, it will be nearly impossible to get through the line.  Make an appointment and come into one of the offices.
  3. She lamented about the phone and computer systems archaic technology. She referenced an article in the SF Chronicle where it talks about the antiquated phone and computer system that the EDD runs off of (COBALT!!!). The state has had the money to upgrade the systems ($66M since 2003, but nothing has been done). Hmmmm….
  4. If you insist on using the phone line call on Thursdays.
  5. Definitely upload your resume and work experience in caljobs.gov by this Friday, 12 noon or your checks will stop coming.
  6. Caljobs.gov has a clock on it like the one in LOST. You have to reset it every 60 days (as compared to every 108 minutes). You can do this by updating your resume or performing a job search. If you don’t, an apocalypse won’t happen or anything, but you’ll be deemed inactive by the system and your checks will stop coming.
  7. Network, network, network and grease the wheels of social intercourse
  8. Your best bet for green jobs – Alameda County
  9. Your best bet at getting a job – contract work.
  10. For every job you apply for there are 6 applicants you are competing with. But in the Silicon Valley, that # drops to 2.3.

She said not to waste time with Career Builder, HotJobs or Monster. I told her that HotJobs is how I landed out here 10 years ago. She retorted that is when the market was better. (Another lie. The unemployment rate in SF county is 10.3%, compared to 2000 it was at 5%).

And perhaps the most time saving important thing she told me was that you DO NOT have to list all of the jobs you’ve applied for on the back of your unemployment survey every two weeks unless that box is already checked when you receive it. I was checking it and then filling out the back because it clearly states that if you don’t fill it out correctly in its entirety it will affect your benefits. But as it turns out, those little forms are read with a scanner. No one checks it unless your form gets flagged because it had an unidentifiable mark on it.

Yay! I just got back 30 minutes of my week not having to do that anymore.

At the end she offered up her Job Workshop and that it was only an hour long but as much as it sounded interesting, there was no way it was only going to be an hour with her leading it. I think I’ll stick to LinkedIn and the online job sites.

After that ordeal I came home, applied for 3 more jobs, followed up on an opportunity with a recruiter and tried to take advantage of a “Career Transition Benefit” offered to me by my former company. However, when I called they said that they had no record of me. They were going to have to file a request to get my file. That shouldn’t take longer than a few days or so. Groovy.

I’m up to 55 resumes submitted.

In a blog post by Sue Ludwig on Christine Kane’s blog this hit the nail on the head in terms of all of that “find your passion stuff”

There’s a lot of talk about ‘finding your passion.’  As if it is out there somewhere at the summit of our existence. As if only those with an excess of time and money have the resources to discover their passion while the rest of us live in reality and go to our ‘real jobs’ everyday.

Instead, what if it’s inside of each of us, relatively dormant until we decide to let it rise to the surface, boil, and let off steam? What if it’s really about choosing to live from a place of passion rather than assuming we are stuck with the circumstances we’ve always had?

Read the whole post here.

Until tomorrow…

Day #58

Posted in Uncategorized by Tracy on January 21, 2010

Day #58

Today I was cleaning out a pile of stuff that was long overdue. Yet another useful thing to do with my free time. In the midst of the clutter I found this quote from an old calendar that I found inspirational and relevant to my current journey:

Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. Look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best. Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. Live in the faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you! – Christian D. Larson

That kind of encapsulates how I want to feel.

I entertained myself with counting up how many jobs I’ve applied for to date. So far, I have applied for 43 jobs in the past 58 days. I have spoken to 4 recruiters and have had 6 phone interviews and 2 interviewers said that I would be hearing back from them this week or next week. Looks promising.

Day #57

Posted in Uncategorized by Tracy on January 21, 2010

Day #57

Well, the morning started off ripe. I dropped my husband off at work and on the way home I thought it would be fruitful to deposit a few checks into my nonprofit account as well as pick up a few things for dinner. So convenient that there is a bank within the supermarket. Here’s where the day starts to go awry.

I take off my glasses that I use for driving and place them in my jacket pocket. I deposit the checks and then pick up a few items and head to the check out. From there I head over to the other bank in the complex to inquire about a deposit. All is well. I step one foot outside the complex into the parking garage and reach for my car key and my glasses. But, no glasses! Somewhere in the 2000 square feet I just covered, they fell out of my pocket.

I retrace my steps very carefully, squinting to see if I can spot anything that remotely resembles my glasses. I check at the bank, the lost and found at the supermarket and the other bank. I even check with the janitor in the complex who has a dustpan and broom, but to no avail. No one has spotted or swept them up. I am so frazzled because I use these to drive.

So, angry as all hell at myself, I head to the car. I am certain I can make it the 3 or 4 blocks to my house without my glasses and hopefully not run anyone over in the process.

When I get home, I begin to search for the phone number to my eye doctor. Ordinarily these types of things would be stored in my iPhone. However,  since I used my personal phone for work sometimes, when I received my notice  that I was no longer employed, within hours my phone rebooted itself and I had to restore to factory settings. I lost everything. Except that I was smart enough to download my contacts to an excel spreadsheet prior to this happening, so I had most of my contacts but in a spreadsheet stored on a USB drive. Ugh. There was NO WAY I was going to hand type in every one of those contacts. There were thousands. Forget it. I would wait until I got a new job and do it then.

After doing some searching I finally found the phone number to the eye doctor that I went to 18 months ago. He was empathetic which is what I needed. Unfortunately, the frames would not be covered under my Cobra insurance because new frames were only covered every 2 years. The lenses however, would be covered. But that would be only if I went through my Cobra insurance and would only save me $100 in the end. The insurance process would put new glasses in my hands in mid-to-late next week. Or I could pay cash and get them in 2-3 days. Hmmm, the $100 savings weighed against being a hostage in my own home or to be able to drive again, watch movies or television, or see anything more than 10 feet away seems like a small price to pay for expediency. Screw it, even though I am unemployed, paying cash seems like a more viable option given the circumstances.

I hope this is not a sign of how my week is going to unfold.

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Day #56

Posted in Uncategorized by Tracy on January 21, 2010

Day 56

Even though I have only started my job search about 14 days ago, I have had 5 phone interviews in the past 2 weeks. Now, I know I have a lot of experience and a lot to offer to the next company I choose to work for, but this process is like being thrown out into the dating pool after being married for 20 years. Translation? No one wants to do it.

The phone interview is something I find quite interesting because depending on who you are talking to could mean the world of difference. For example, if talking to the hiring manager, there is assurance that they can make the recommendation to bring you in for a face-to-face interview and if they do decide to bring you in then they must like you. A plus for you. There is also a chance that you could talk to the recruiter for that hiring manager. If they’ve done their due diligence, they’ve already talked to the hiring manager and know what s/he is exactly looking for in a prime candidate. But if they didn’t then you are kind of left out there on your own to figure out how to dazzle them and lead the discussion. Nothing is worse than an interview made up of a bad series of interview questions.

I don’t mind the phone screen as much as I hate talking to people that have zero interviewing or hiring experience. One would think that a company would want to make sure that hiring managers knew the right questions to ask.  You would think that they would invest in some training.

Some questions I’ve received are questions that I would normally reserve for an “in person” interview. Yet, if I didn’t do that much homework on the company, I am going to blow this question. With as many applicants per job out there these days, looks like I really need to step up my game and do my homework.

But today, on day 56, I’m utilizing my new free time to go to the movies. The Oscars will be here before you know it and I like to make sure I’ve seen most of the ones that have been nominated. Makes it fun for watching it on TiVo on awards night.

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