Thursday, December 31, 2009

So close I can taste it...

This past year has changed me. I can honestly say I've gotten tougher, though it's not like a was a light-weight to begin with. I feel like a rock that's been made into granite.

Last year this time, I had no idea what was in store for me in 2009. I thought I would get closer to my goals and closer to who I thought I wanted to be. It could not have taken me further away from where I thought I was going. In a way, it provided me with new goals and shook me to my core. 2009 told me I wasn't as strong as I thought I was. It told me not to believe everything I see and all that people tell me. It took away another innocence veil and fed my inner skeptic even more.

Family issues coupled with the loss of my job flung me out into the outer reaches of space. I wasn't who I thought I was, since the two main dictators of identity were throwing me up after a night of hard drinking. I'm not one to dwell or live in the past, but I definitely had to make it through both of those before I could move on. I'm still not past the family issue, but I am working on it.

Friends I thought would be there for me tossed me out as well. Roads they were forced to take became the "best routes" and the "way to go". My path became overgrown and inconsequential.

For stretches of time, there was no one to depend on. No office mates to lunch with, no family to rely on, no friends to download to. All I had was myself.

I remember quite vividly the exact moment in my pre-teen life that I realized that we all die alone. No matter when or where or with whom, we must all go on to where ever it is alone. That first panic attack was a doozy. I had always been surrounded by family, friends, people, animals. To envision walking the lonely path to the other side was unbearable. I was young and naive. Now I feel old and jaded. But resilient. No one would walk through life with me - why would they want to walk to my death with me?

So tonight when the clock hits midnight, instead of reveling in the memories and planning future goals, I won't be expecting anything of 2010. I have a feeling I won't be alone.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Updated NetworthIQ

Today's NetworthIQ update is the official last update with all of my credit cards unpaid. Tomorrow (read: next month), the numbers will begin to look differently.

They will begin to be real.

Like a band-aid...

I woke up this morning and didn't want to go through it anymore. I didn't want to search for credit cards and past bills and remember to log-in and pay the minimum amount. I didn't want to log my progress in a notebook or put reminders for bills due on my calendar online. I wanted it done. I wanted them gone. In the past two months, I've received more "shut down your account or risk having an inflated apr" notices. Some, from my longest held credit cards. I felt like saying, "I thought you were my friends."

You arrived in the mail when I was at college and didn't get any other snail mail. You had fancy forms to fill out that made me feel like an adult. You lured me in and now, on the cusp of my seeming adulthood, you want to banish me from your record. Or sear me with a high apr. I'm not your piece of meat to play with. I understand your ways. I realize by me paying minimums and not really spending anymore, I'm not adding to your bottom line. I'm not making any one of your fat cat's parachutes a little more golden.

So I took them all and like a band-aid, ripped them all off. "Paid in full" is what will come to my little mailbox now. I have switched the roles. I have the leverage now. I will not use you anymore for my silly happiness. I will restrict myself to the bare essentials and enjoy myself by doing so. Your crutch is useless to me now. I don't even know where all of my cards are right now. True, this is not incredibly responsible, but in a way, it is. Instead of freezing them in a block of ice, I've taken to "losing them" around my house (really hiding them) so I cannot access them. When I do run into them, it's usually not during an online spending spree urge or trip to the mall.

Just in time for credit companies to make millions on others who overspent for the holidays, I will be rich with the free time and worry-free mentality that paying them all off has granted me.

There is no better late Christmas present.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I'm becoming my parents...

Nothing like saying that phrase to get you all depressed right before the holidays.

I literally have no need for doctors anymore. I used to chide my parents for not getting annual check-ups and making an appointment at the first sign of any malady. Nowadays, it's me who puts off calling the doctor. I have literally had something wrong with me for 3 months (and counting!). If I had insurance, it would have been dealt with. Since I do not, I have procrastinated. Which leads me to believe that my parents had something correct in their assessment of doctors.

In the past year, I have mentioned certain symptoms to my primary care physician who either shrugged them off or told me I was a hypochondriac. And while I will not dispute the latter, I was not acting so much so like a hypochondriac in his presence for him to assume that. A second opinion, you say? Yes, that would have been good. But I didn't. Partly because I was so married to my job at the time, that I couldn't think of taking whole hours away to attend appointments.

I guess only time will tell if I break down and finally go to the doctor. I really don't want to. At least now I finally understand where my parents are coming from with their judgment.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Old Maid

I don't know where I am going. I know where I've been. I've lost focus in my life and feel like I'm just putting in time. I actually feel stranger now with a job than I did when I was unemployed. Other people around me have gotten married and are having babies. Some haven't, and their lives break my heart. Mainly because I feel they are spinning, just like me.

We're all spinning in some no-man's-land without anything holding us down and still nothing really happening for us.

I passed on a lot of typical personal milestones... serious relationships, lots of friends, marriage, babies, etc. since I've been so focused on getting things done (education, job, etc.). I've had friends but have kept them at a distance. I've had boyfriends and have squeezed them so tightly with my emotional needs (since I don't rely on lots of friends) that their heads have popped off and they left, headless down an alley. Or acted like jerks and then left.

I've seen friends get married and have babies and then have the world. Or at least act like it. I'm not sure I want that. I haven't so far. I've had boyfriends talk of marriage, break up with me and then marry the next one to come along. I say I dodged a bullet. And crafted a perfectly good candidate for marriage for a total stranger. But then why am I so envious of their lives?

I've had boyfriends waste my time. Lie to me. Keep secrets that I found out anyways (and once didn't let on for years). Only to have it come back and bite me when our relationship was so far gone that I realize I should have let him go when I found out.

People say you'll meet the man you'll marry and just know it. I guess I haven't. And I'm not getting any younger. I was always so focused on school and then later a career to worry about settling down or timing my decisions to find and marry a man. I fear that my time put into myself hasn't really amounted to much. Sound harsh? Perhaps that's why I have no friends.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A lot of work

So this new position has me more busy than my last. I'm not complaining - I am happy I have a job. I'm just not used to the intense amount of work. The long hours I used to have were rewarded in some ways. This company does not offer as many perks. But it does pay. And it is rewarding in other ways, besides a paycheck.

You'd think after months of having nothing to do, I'd be happy to have things to get done. And I am. However, I feel like I'm neglecting me a bit. I don't have time to work out, hang out or sometimes just relax. My bank account is whole now, next it's time for my personal life to be whole.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happily Employed

For anyone out there (Bueller? Bueller?) I have not died or dropped off the face of the earth.

I got a job!

And it's been great and wonderful and busy and invigorating. I have responsibilities and deadlines and tasks and co-workers. Wonderful co-workers. Not perfect, but much much better than the last.

I have an income now, but I am wary of spending any pennies. I've read that our generation will more than likely keep its frugal spending habits, even after this economic situation rebalances. That may make someone sad or upset, but it makes me happy. I feel that's what I'm doing now: not overdoing it. In a good way.

However, there are days and nights when I harken back to those endless days of unemployment. Sort of how kids dream about the summer that flew by too fast when they're back to the grind of school. I knew I would miss it, but I did enjoy it while it lasted.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Doubly Bad News

Bad News #1: I didn't get an offer from my last round of interviews. It was slightly confusing, since [I feel] I fit the job description to a tee. Guess not. Perhaps it was an inside deal where someone was already favored. Regardless, the interviews went extremely well and I'm more prepared for the next ones. [crossing fingers that there will be next ones]

Bad News #2: is being bought out by Intuit. Story here. The consensus is that they will start charging for the services since Intuit only went gratis since Mint came on the scene. Not good for my pocketbook and not good for my financial planning. I LOVE Mint. It works well with planning financial goals, seeing them achieved, as well as tracking down specific amounts and dates for purchases when I can't find receipts. Really bumming me out right now, Intuit. [adding them to my "list"]

Here's some good news to counter the bad: I was under the impression that I had missed deadlines [for everything] including Cobra, 401(k) disbursement, etc. Not so. The worrying ended today when I finally got through to said people via phone. Also good news to know for the future: I need to file my mail once it comes in, since my ill-knowledge of deadlines and due dates is directly related to that.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Debt Update (or not)

I currently have enough cash to pay off my credit cards, however I still haven't found a job. Part of me really wishes I would have paid them off like ripping off a band-aid back when I was still employed. I haven't been charging much of anything. It's just really hard to let go of all that cash in the bank without even a slight promise of having anywhere near what I was making at my last position.

I've thought about stair-stepping them and paying one off each month/2-weeks. Same thing, just drawn out. Or maybe that would be torture.

Meanwhile, all the credit card companies are enjoying my interest payments. I need to just make the decision and go with it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Can I just work?

I had another interview today. It was in my industry and I was a perfect fit for both the job and the company. I didn't get as nervous about this one and I feel it could not have gone better. I'm glad I'm getting used to these silly charades we have to endure in order to be hired. I just want a job. I literally felt like telling my interviewer that. "Can I just work? I need to work again." Really not into giving employers the desperate plea just yet. Maybe next week.

Unfortunately all the stress of my morning has led to a headache-ridden afternoon. Yum.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mental Blocks

I've been working on mental blocks, recently. Those pesky annoyances that I only have with myself. Invisible to others, they keep me from completing a task or taking a risk. No one can see them - why should I care?

How I look, how I act; everything I can nitpick, I do. My never-ending dialogue tells me I can't do something before anyone else informs me. Tells me I'm not good enough before I can even try anything. I have learned to turn down the voice inside of me and will work on completely quieting it in the future.

I've been reading See Jane Lead and ran into this gem of a story. I've given up on being judged by pigs.

No one can tell me who I am. Only I know what I have been and what I would like to become.
Only the future holds the truth about what I can achieve.

Putting my mind, heart and soul into anything will make it happen. I must believe to achieve. Failure is not an option.

Not having to answer to anyone is freeing. Liberating. Empowering.

I feel like I've just broken a mold I've been trapped in for too long.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Adventures in Frugal Cooking

I have a lot of mac and cheese in my possession. Don't ask why. It's a story too long to tell.

In trying to use this mac and cheese up, I started boiling some water and dropped the pasta in. I took out the milk, then went searching for my butter tub. I searched high and low and then realized I must have used the last of it during my last big cooking day [too long ago to remember - another thing I thought I'd do more of in my unemployment, become a domestic diva].

So I figured if I mixed this aging organic [bought around 9 months ago when I still had a job] salsa in, I wouldn't miss the butter. I thought of it like how some people put chopped tomatoes or even ketchup on their mac and cheese. I didn't just stop there, though. I went further, adding cumin, chili powder, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Perhaps a few too many of those. It was delightful sitting down with my milky, hold the butter, add the spice and salsa mac and cheese. It was delicious. Until a half hour later, when all of the spice hit my stomach. Now I can't even fathom looking at the rest of the batch left in the pot.

That will teach me to keep my spices in check and always check for butter before I drop any pasta...

Ms. Treated

U.S. News features a wonderful article today on the 5 Ways Companies Mistreat Job Seekers... and I do believe I have experienced each one of these at some point in my short career.

- Having no regard for the candidate's time:
This is such a tip-off of how the relationship will work with your future employer if you are hired. I had one employer ask me a few questions and then drone on and on and on about the firm, the position, the history, etc. I left thinking it went well [and it did because I was offered the job]... but I couldn't help but think it was due to the fact that I was a good listener. I really crave having to prove myself and negotiating for what I think is fair. I guess I left feeling good that the employer enjoyed my company but didn't really know that much about me. Or perhaps the employer had their mind made up even before I came in. Who knows? The employer ended up not knowing that much about me [or taking an interest in me] once I was hired and I still don't consider our work relationship to have been that close.

- Not sharing their timeline:
Frustrating to say the least, this is now one of my many questions at the end of a first interview. I imply that I am very eager to take the position and would like to know where we go from here. The absolute best interviewers will tell you without you having to ask. Again, a really great insight into how your future work relationship will work.

- Refusing to share their salary range, but asking you for yours:
This was the case with my last interview. Even though I researched, I still had no clue where they would land. They inquired as to my last annual salary, and I provided it. I'm really an open person. It's not that I dislike negotiation [it's growing on me]. It's that I don't like lying and the such.

- Misrepresenting the work:
This is by far the worst of all of these. Not only because it's lying [I hate lying!] but also because it's all smoke and mirrors and then you get sucked in and bitter. I've had this happen plenty of times. And while it occurs on the flipside, as well: with potential employees misrepresenting themselves to employers, the employers should know better than to play this game. In this relationship, I see them as the "adult".

- Not notifying candidates that they're no longer under consideration:
As frustrating as not knowing the company's timeline. How can you not send and email, a postcard, even a carrier pigeon? I know, I know, HR managers are busybusy people with busybusy offices and they don't have time. However, I took the time to come in and interview and learn about your firm and the available position. The very least you could do is leave me a message or let me know something.

Friday, July 31, 2009

A New Kind of Loneliness

I'm at that point... every week starts out well. Then at some point, I start talking to the walls. I watch TV and laugh, turning to the side and no one is there. I call my BF way too much.

I fear I need a pet so I don't turn into a crazy lady. But one would give way to two and so forth. And I would become the crazy cat lady (even though dogs are more my style). The truth is I've had pets before and pets are expensive. Like cars, they need servicing or repair at inopportune times. They're also hard to get off your hands, even at free-to-a-good-home prices.

I feel isolated. I feel alone. I feel like a tree that just fell down in a forest. No one's even telling me to get back up.

My friends are all at great points in their lives and I've grown apart from them. Okay, not totally their fault. I guess I have been busy with work so much that I've put my social life on the back burner. Now work has chewed me up and spit me out. And it's awfully hard to go with your tail between your legs back to your friends.

My family is too busy with their own drama to even pay attention to my needs. My mother hands the phone over to whoever else is present when I ask her questions about my career or claims to just not know what to do and sighs a lot. 'Cause that's helpful...

My BF is my saving grace. He's always there, always has been there. Always (I hope) will be there. He's unconditional at a time when my family's love has become conditional for strange and unexplainable reasons. I rely on him far too much and much too often. You could say he's my Romeo.

I need to strike out and create friendships. At a time when I'm feeling my most vulnerable, I must break out and become fearless. When the only thing pumping through my veins is fear.

Protect Yourself, Capital One

Capital One called me yesterday, the same nitwits I wrote about here.

It seems I never enrolled in their glorious panacea called "payment protection program". I stopped this pathetic excuse for a telemarketer dead in his tracks.

Capital One: Now I'm not trying to sell you anything...
ME: (Yeah, right)
CO: This is meant for your protection should you ever... blah blah blah
ME: (Interrupting) Sir, with all due respect, I've already lost my job so I don't even qualify to sign up right now. I've read all about your program apparently too late in the game since I was to sign up before I was notified of my layoff. Thanks but no thanks.
CO: Um, (loooong pause) (I can imagine him scanning his notes for the correct response line) okay, you're correct. Um, well, thank you for providing me that information.

THANK YOU??? WTF? I basically told you about your sorry-excuse-for-a-company's "protection" plan and you thank me? Get real. A nice "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that" or "My condolences" would suffice. Apparently Capital One is intent on calling those lucky people with jobs... and have not adjusted their calling dialogue sheets to reflect the changing times with respect to unemployment.

After hanging up after an awkward pause, I felt all puffed up and empowered. I told him ... except for the fact that he said "for providing me that information" ... Yikes... are they going to put that down on my card record and raise my interest rate or lower my limit? I had put off informing any cards on the likelihood I would be gainfully employed before I had to.

This only gives me more reason to pay off my cards as soon as possible.

Still, some idiot stranger somewhere has information on me that I'd rather him not.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Take your passion and make it happen

Another Monday morning. Everyone off and running at their jobs and me here at home.

I woke up early this morning, made coffee and savored it. I ran out of sugar this weekend so I used Hershey Kisses to sweeten my home brew. They're not sugar, but they'll do.

When I woke up at 6 am, I started watching TV. Flashdance was on. I had never seen this movie before, but as a child of the '80s I've always enjoyed the soundtrack, especially "What a Feeling" ... and now that I've seen the movie, I love the song even more.

So while everyone else is working, I'll be dancing around, imagining myself at 18 again, with my whole life ahead of me and my unemployment far, far away.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Well I received the dreaded thanks-but-no-thanks email from my first interview of the season. Oh well. It was hard to feel rejected since I didn't think the job environment would be a great match for me after the second interview. But as always, it's always feels better to be offered something than to be rejected. I actually felt let down and then just nothing after reading the email. I'll be honest, I cried. A little. It hurts not to be wanted. But I didn't take it personally. It's just that was my first and only interview so far. And who doesn't want people to like/want/need them?

I'm chalking this one up to a great first exercise. It will prepare me for the heavy hitting interviews I'm expecting in the future.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Grit, Spit and Heart

I've been mulling over my credit card debts and calling the companies to lower APRs (which have all raised into mostly double digits in the last month). I want my debts gone. Completely. It will take all of $14k. I have $13k currently in cash. I'm willing to part with $12k to not receive another crazy your-minimum-payment-is-less-than-your-finance-charge credit card bill.

What bugs me the most is that I am smarter than these credit companies. They want me to believe that this APR rate hike is a company-wide objective. They want me to pay more than the minimums each month or raise my rates. I know credit is not the way to go. Unforeseen circumstances got me into this mess. And with my past 3 months of hoarding cash, I've been able to build a pile.

While it's hard to see that pile diminish in a second... it will be harder to pay interest in double digits on my credit cards for the foreseeable future.

I don't have a job yet - that's the scary part. But I know whatever happens, I will have a job and I will be able to support myself. There's just no reason to support the credit card companies as well.

When I told one of the card reps I called that I didn't want to pay off the full balance, since they would probably lower the credit limit or close the account after a few months of inactivity said, "Oh, we never close accounts! Just be sure to use your card every so often." Like hell! I love how they want to dictate my spending habits to me. This card company was profiled in the media for closing accounts earlier this year due to inactivity. Given the choice between a closed account and a double digit interest payment, I'd chose the former.

All of my life, I've negotiated my way out of paying bank fees, checking fees, late fees and overlimit fees. I'm no sucker.

I will work like a dog to pay cash for everything from here on out. I have more grit, spit and heart in me than all of those credit and banking companies combined. And I'm not afraid to show them who's boss over her money.

Plans vs. Reality (groan)

Wow. It's only 5 days short of a month I've been unemployed. And things look a lot different than I thought they would.

Here was my glorious plan:
- Stay on a rigid schedule of working out every day, cooking a lot, going on several interviews a week and networking.
- Blog everyday. Meh.
- Lose weight.
- Organize workspace/house/closet, etc.
- Figure out my debt situation sooner than later.
- Become incredible by the sheer force of my efforts.

I basically planned to inhabit a productive and self-sufficient person's body/life. Not that I am not that person when I am employed. Once I was unemployed, I became someone else.

Here's what has been happening:
- Staying up later and later each night ... sometime until the dawn
- Waking up feeling hungover, though I haven't drunk anything.
- Getting sucked into old tv shows, websites or movies that I've already seen. It seems I'm addicted to the familiar.
- Not working out.
- Not losing weight; actually gaining some since I'm not as active traversing from my bed to the couch or desk everyday.
- Making no sense of my debt situation. Taking the ostrich approach, with my head in the sand. Just a bit.
- No interest in organizing workspace, etc. since its such a huge task and there's always some other fire to put out.
- Becoming less incredible as my unemployment gap grows.

While working, I had visions of lying in the bathtub every night, rewarding my weary soul (and soles!) from the pavement I pounded each day, sipping wine and just feeling accomplished. Instead, I haven't taken a luxurious bath in months. I still haven't redone my pedicure... and I need to, badly. I am cooking everyday. Eating more at home than ever - without an excuse that I forgot to pack a lunch. But I'm eating more and more frequently with bigger portions... my typical downfall.

I need a jump start. I need to change my day-to-day. I need to make my plans a reality.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Out, out, damned perfectionist!

My phone interview went really well. Actually extremely well. I relaxed, prepared, had notes and turned on a bit of charm.

Things over the phone are so much easier - no tugging on my suit jacket, or sweaty palms with hands fidgeting, then seeing the interviewer catch me doing these things and becoming self-conscious and forgetting what I'm saying or even the question asked of me.

I know, I sound like a hack at real-live-in-person interviewing, but I'm not. I'm just super critical and a perfectionist so nothing I do is ever done well enough. Sounds like I lead a productive life, doesn't it?

Working on the perfectionist tendencies; just may get a job in the process. (smirk)

Monday, July 6, 2009

First Phone Interview!

I am proud to say I have my first interview of the season (!!!!) - a phone interview scheduled for this week.

I'm a little stressed, since this is my first ever phone interview. I get so stressed out over regular interviews: what my nails look like, how my hair lays, my clothes, my bag, my shoes. All of that's irrelevant for now. I've gone over the basics: dress professionally, have your resume, examples of your work, etc. laid out in front of you, smile, be well-rested, etc. I am still excited, though.

The firm seems small compared to my previous employers and it's a totally different industry, but the actual job responsibilities are close to what I've done in my past jobs, so I know I can handle it. Plus, rejection over the phone is nothing new with my background in cold-calling from previous volunteer work, so this should be no sweat.

My to-do list:
- research how to discuss my lay-off in positive terms (I've seen TONS of online articles about this... now just need to find them again)
- learn everything I can about the company and industry to market myself better
- determine what salary I'll deem necessary (I have a feeling it may be a lot lower than I'm used to)

Whatever happens, happens. This is probably a good stepping stone to other interviews - ones in my industry that I may feel even more stressed about. A good starter-interview.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cinematic Adventure

My title is with apologies to Dane Cook - I think that's where I've heard it.

Catching some tv today, I saw the end of The Devil Wears Prada. I've never seen this movie and heard mixed reviews when it first came out. I've attempted a read of the book, but I never got around to it with work and all [imagine that? I've been employed since grad school]. In any event, I've decided that once I am officially unemployed [starting Friday at 5 pm... ack!] and once I finally shut off my cable that I will reward myself with watching movies through free or inexpensive means.

I've never been a big movie person - I get bored and listless during especially long movies, since I always have so much to do. But I want to see all these movies people quote from and reference. So I am planning my future cinematic adventures. I want them to be awe-inspiring and career- or work-related.

In no particular order:

- The Devil Wears Prada watched 6/27/09
- Rent
- Working Girl
- 9 to 5
- Confessions of a Shopaholic (okay, not a really serious movie, but I read the book and have a true neeeed to compare!)
- Reality Bites
- Big Lebowski
- Falling Down (If I'm in the mood for drama)
- Office Space (have seen - always a classic to remind me of what I'm not missing)
- His Girl Friday (have seen - even more classic than Office Space)
- Julie & Julia (Can not WAIT to see this! I hope it's as good as all the trailers purport)

Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Someone's Out There!

Success came today in a strange way: I received a rejection letter in the mail. Yes, it was a success because I have generally not been hearing back from anyone I've submitted resumes and cover letters to in this particular sending season ("season" only because it is temporary in my eyes).

I've honestly been depressed about not hearing anything back save for a scant number of automatic responses and confirmations of emails/resumes sent. I've felt like a statistic.

This was a folded letter, addressed to me, signed with a real pen and mailed in a size 10 envelope. The last time I received one of those was early 2000s. The last mailed rejection notice I received was around 2005 and was a flimsy postcard. I felt so jaded. Like on those old movies and sitcoms in big cities where everyone reads your postcards before delivering them, I felt like "everyone in the building" knew that I had been rejected, even though we live in an anonymous world and only the postman knew if he cared enough to read.

This spurred me on to send out six resumes and cover letters that desperately needed to be sent. It's strange what revitalizes me. It's not so much the cause, but the fact that I feel like I have an ounce of new blood in me.

Any feedback is good feedback in my book.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Last Week

It's here: the last 40 hours of my (hopefully not) last job.

I feel paralyzed by all of the decisions left to be made. When to cut the cable and home phone? When to get a roommate? When to just take any ole hourly position to cover bills and rent?

I'm trying to take things day by day and realize that nothing has to happen all at once. Don't get me wrong: I would do all of these things tomorrow if I knew I would not have a job for the next year. The only thing is, I may find a job in the next week and then I'd have to put up with a roommate, a commitment to another job or a re-installation appointment with the cable company (I know, not the *worst* thing in the world!). I keep thinking about my ancestors and how they lived (and thrived!) through the Great Depression. I just have to have heart and strength like they did.

Wrapping up things at a job is just as depressing as my future prospects. I shouldn't care but I know that once I leave everything that goes (or went) haywire will be chalked up to my existence within the company. I've seen it happen before at this and other firms and it's truly a travesty. "Let's all talk about the person who left as though we never should have hired them!" Especially when it's the person who hired them talking. Some things will never change, though. And the competitive nature with which people seek out information on the employee who left and then trade it like some ancient spice in old Europe. As though it makes them more valuable to be speaking with or cyber-stalking this person through social networking sites. Airing their laundry for the office and speaking about what they would do in any certain situation. While at the same time, they were the badge of honor of still being with said company. As though their staying-on has anything to do with their intelligence, strategy or worth. Despicable, yes. Unavoidable, unfortunately yes. Should I even give this a second thought? NO!!

I need to forget about my current dilemma and hit the ground running. I need to keep driving myself toward future success. That's the only way I will make something for myself - of myself - is to focus on myself and just let everything else just fade away.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Back in the Saddle

So this past week or so I have re-dedicated myself to job searching. FUN, I know! It's become fun again mainly because there are jobs being posted that fit my criteria on all the major sites. This resurgence has invigorated me. I've redone my resumes, written cover letters during lunch and even put off doing my normal lazy activities (read: watch reality tv and eat) to take the opportunity to submit a resume or two.

It's always been that I procrastinate so much while applying to a job opening that it's sometimes gone right when I am ready to apply. I have to have the perfect opening statement to my cover letter. I have to look up and reconnect with references. I have to re-do my resume to make it perfect. All that is out the window now. Thanks to the boyfriend, I am [somewhat] relaxing my standards just to get my information in front of HR's eyes. Good is good enough. Done is good. However you want to put it, I am kicking my perfectionism to the curb. I guess we'll see how this goes.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Life Gets In The Way

I have been laying low recently, hence the no blogging. I actually forgot I had a blog. Strange, I know.

I've been dealing with family issues and a family friend's death. I have experience with much family death, but each loved one's death I experience takes me back to the previous ones. And then I am mourning for them all. All over again. It's an exhausting process and grief is just something you have to go through to get through. This is the time that I yearn for my childhood - the time before any of my relatives passed away.

Death is so definite. One day you're talking and planning and yearning and the next you're not. I'm not goth or obsessed with death. It's been a part of my life for a while now and I am still searching for its meaning. I have listened to "On Death and Dying" twice in my car a few years ago. I'm thinking about putting it back on in heavy rotation.

Losing my job has been a grieving process. Now with these situations lumped on top, it's difficult to take on both every single day. Meetings at work where people gently tiptoe around the fact that I won't be there in a month's time make me feel more dead each day.

In Elisabeth Kubler-Ross' five stages of grieving, I believe I'm at depression when it comes to my job. I'm hoping acceptance will come in the next five weeks, but we shall see. I've been here for a while and now I'm depressed on a personal level.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ms. Adulthood Goes to Washington

Check out Ask Mr. Credit Card's article on a new bill. I think Capitol Hill is monitoring my blog and just saw me lean towards paying off all of my cards in order to not pay interest and have them handy later. Reading this WSJ article makes me want to keep hoarding my cash instead!*

* My decision is vacillating each minute. 

Finally out of the red! (well, sort of)

Technically, I am still about $14k in credit card debt, but says my bottom line net worth is a cool $1,300. WOW. I'm chalking this up to a combo meal containing the following:
  • I have been hoarding cash (like a krazy person - yes, krazy with a "k")
  • Greatly reduced spending on my credit cards/spending at all (couponing is now a hobby, it's replaced clothes shopping and mindless eating!)
  • And my 401(k) has been increasing in value with the recent upticks in the market
I should be happy, but I still have all that debt hanging over me.

I've been thinking about taking the (almost) $10k in cash I have and just wiping out the majority of my debt. This scares me because I still haven't had any interviews and don't have any job offers. And I have less than two months to go before I have to jump off the cliff of uncertainty! In a perfect world, I would pay off all of my debt and then go cash-only. However, if I don't have a job(s) lined up for income, then I will end up going back on the credit cards. And if I pay them all off, the card companies may lower my limits or shut down my cards - though I do believe this is better than the alternative: having them jack up the rates while I'm still carrying balances and not having any money to pay them down.

Of all the times in my life, I really wish I had a crystal ball right now. Or at least a Fairy Godmother. I truly can not stand making my own decisions.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

And So It Goes...

I've had a rough week. Meetings that I am normally involved with are not including me. I feel shunned and rejected. My superior originally told me not to tell anyone of my impending doom and now it's all but obvious to the casual observer that my position is being phased out. 

I feel like those computer monitors at my last job that had painfully-jubilant "Y2K Ready!" stickers practically glued onto them years after the non-event. Once flat screens arrived, those dusty old monitors were toast. And I'm feeling burnt already.  I feel betrayed for having this "secret" be so apparent now. Everyone else in my division gets to stay - only I will go. It's tantamount to being picked last for kickball each and every day of grade school. I'm finding it harder and harder every day to drag myself to the office. I'm internalizing (nothing new) and need to "reframe" the situation, as they say. 


Or maybe I'm just bitter because some of my co-workers act blissfully ignorant of the economy and our company's position. While my priorities and decisions have changed radically, theirs seemed to have stayed on course. They still go out for lunches, still chase happiness with money in their fists, still need the newest, best and top-of-the-line items that the Jones' just bought. 

I drove home crying yesterday, feeling stripped of my duties at work and as though I were carrying the weight of the world. I felt sick that a simple job could make me so darn emotional. But I made a few calls, sopped up my tears and realized the more time I spend pitying my current situation, the less time I will have for making it better. 

Even though it's not like me, it's so much easier to have a pity party than to pick myself up by the bootstraps. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Something's Gotta Give

So my expenses have diminished since finding out I'll be laid off. Not dramatically so. But I've definitely been more mindful of my spending. In a normal month, my current expenses are totaling around $2,100, including paying minimums on my credit cards. 

Broken out: 
- Rent: $777
- Utilities: $480 
- Groceries: $300* 
- Shopping: $160 
- Gas: $75 
- Restaurants: $50
- Credit cards: $300

*I know!! I'm only one person!! But I am working on a plan of combining coupons and sales. I promise!

These expenses would change in the following way once I become unemployed: 

- Rent: no real change; could take in roommate though to cut all expenses in half
- Utilities: would cut out lawn service, home phone and cable, leading to a drop of $220/mo. 
- Groceries: going down with time commitment and planning 
- Shopping: decrease; even though I still need clothes, I am looking into more cost-effective means [Goodwill, etc.]
- Gas: would decrease without driving to current job across town
- Restaurants: cooking at home 99.9% of time; no more work lunches out since I forget to pack a brown bag
- Credit cards: no change

Yes, I have grappled with the thought of implementing all of these changes now. But I hold out hope that I will not have to make these radical changes in my life just yet. I feel I can cross that bridge when I get there. While I may just be avoiding the inevitable, I can at least cherish what few months I have left with my familiar ever-employed life. And my cable tv. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


So here's where I stand, financially... 

credit cards - $14k (interest rates ranging from 0% to 12.99%)
student loans - $10k (5.25% interest)

cash - $7k
401k - $14k
car - used, no payments, little trade-in value

net worth: ($3k)

I recently came clean to my boyfriend about my credit and loan situation. That was a huge step in our relationship, but a much needed one. We were spending way too much together and only digging our debt holes bigger. He abhors debt and really hasn't been underwater at all. That made it harder. Though recently he was struggling with money a bit. Which made the coming clean easier. I figured that if he loved me through and through, he would love me with debt. The judgement comes from within, I know. But also from our family's standpoint, it's just not something to have or even share with others. 

The Background: I would have halved my credit card debt by now and been living on very little cash each week if it weren't for the fact that everyone in the news [read: Suze Orman and other bloggers] is reversing their thoughts on paying down credit. Oh, and it's a grave possibility that I am going to be unemployed soon. I've seen other bloggers call their credit card companies and have temporary six month freezes on interest charges. That's something I am definitely going to look into. I've never been shy about calling up my credit card companies. Now is not the time to be bashful. I learned that from my mom, who would call and ask for late payments and interest payments to be removed off of her cards and would get results. I've also been plotting on how best to use balance transfers if a company doesn't bend to my will. I will have more time once I'm jobless to analyze my plan of attack. For now, those are the numbers. 

Normally, I would want to set goals and plan for my credit to decrease and cash to increase by the end of the year, but I almost don't want to set myself up for failure. Once I have a job secured [working over 90 days], I will take most of my cash and pay down the debt. Then I will plan my numbers for year-end. No use in dawdling with figures with no cash coming in. But then again, I believe procrastination may have gotten me into the financial mess that I am in. And adults don't procrastinate. 


So how will I know when I have reached adulthood? My definition of adulthood is when I have: 

- no debt
- monetary responsibility
- a professional career
- separation in beliefs and needs from my parents
- and someone to share the rest of my life with

Simple enough. I threw that last one in just because everyone I know is either married or getting married and I am allowed to have some schoolgirl dreams invade my plan for adulthood.

There are plenty of step stones toward these goals that I must map out and accomplish before achieving it all.  My hope is that this blog keeps me accountable and provides me with external support along the way. 

Monday, April 27, 2009

Revving the Engine, But There's No Fuel

Knowing I am going to be unemployed is a bit like nausea. Some days, I will forget it's every going to happen [okay, maybe not forget, but I distract myself enough to not notice it]. Other days, it's like staring down the hall of death row. The end is near and my fear is palpable. I can't sleep, don't exercise, and won't clean. All I can do is job search, cook and eat. Oh, and watch reality tv... while I can still afford cable.

This past weekend was a bad slump. I became emotional about everything and couldn't even put my mind at ease to sit down and edit resumes and write cover letters. I got a [much needed] haircut from a new-to-me [also much needed] stylist who got rave reviews. He couldn't style my hair to save his life. I didn't think he would change my entire look, but I went in thinking my mostly unmanageable hair would come out much better and it just didn't happen. My sky-high expectations were not met and I spent a lot of time and money there. I cried as soon I left the salon and most of the rest of the day and was just angry about everything and everyone. Weak, I know. I rolled everything I have been feeling in a newspaper and took it out on him and my hair. Thankfully, he did cut it well. So I styled it my way for work this morning and I think I'm over it. It just really scared me to think that a haircut could get to me so much. I just want a huge change - a new me - to appear and take over so I don't have to go through the rest of my life. Let someone else deal with the rejection and constant worrying. Let some other hack stay up all night for fear of the inevitable, only to have to rise and shine and go through another worthless day at the office.  

Nine weeks of work left. That reminds me of high school. I wish I could go back in time and only have nine weeks to go until the end of school; I would be on the completely opposite end of my feeling spectrum right now. But instead, I have that long until my position is collapsed into other employees and I am all but forgotten as a unique talented individual who added value to the firm.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ten Weeks and Counting...

As of today, I am officially ten weeks away from my permanent vacation. 

Hence the blog. 

Like millions of other people out there, I am starting my blog due to an impending lay-off. And while at first I wanted this blog to be all about my job woes and subsequent employment search, I thought I could encompass the whole lot of issues I am dealing with right now. Mainly that I don't feel like an adult yet, even though I'm in my late 20s. My peers seemingly float through life making (what are to me) huge decisions flawlessly, while I'm the indecisive jellyfish who still hangs out in the wading pool. 

This job loss hit me hard and even though I know there are countless others being affected in similar ways (I am reading all of your blogs!), I can't help but still feel alone. And afraid. Very afraid. Losing a job in this economy is forcing me to grow up and out of my comfort zone. I would really rather just stay in my jammies all day and eat Pop-Tarts.   

I'm Auditioning for Adulthood: I hope I get the part.