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.