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

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 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 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 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 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.