Monthly Archives: April 2009

Sending Mr. Should packing

I hate Mr. Should. He’s the one that says “you should take the first job that comes along” and then applies duct tape to the mouth of other voice inside you that says  “despite the fact that this job might bore you to death or suck out your soul.” Mr. Should plays it safe. He doesn’t take risks. He doesn’t rock the boat. He’s a simple character that likes order and likes linear thinking. He doesn’t have access to his internal guidance system. Mr. Should is a dream-killer who uses fear and guilt to keep you in line.

Now there are times when Mr. Should knows what the hell he’s talking about. For example, I know that I shouldn’t go rob a bank or kill someone. Duh. Those actions are wrong and come with some pretty significant consequences. But when it comes to the job-search, I think Mr. Should should shut the hell up so one can hear the other voice speak. But right now, I can’t hear anything but “should, should, should” and it’s starting to piss me off.

So, despite the fact that my savings is dwindling, I’m about to do something that’s going to make Mr. Should’s skin crawl. Why? Because getting a pink-slip sucked. Searching for a job sucks. Rejection sucks. And it’s time to treat myself to something that doesn’t suck. A vacation. Yes, I am aware of Mr. Shoulds list of consequences, but in my mind the worst thing that could happen is that I blow some money and the best thing that can happen is that the change of scenery might just clear the fog off my windshield so that I can see where I am going. I’m hoping that this reprieve will bring some clarity to my career search and ultimately help me articulate my dream.

For one week, I will not blog and I will not wear house pants. Instead, I will be in shorts on vacation with my muffin top dreaming about the possibilities of my future career. A reminder for all who are unemployed from my friend LadySlipper who so eloquently stated that “you are unemployed, not a convicted felon who’s not allowed to leave the premises.”  Sometimes, you just have to get out, so do it.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Life

Code of conduct for the unemployed

Any good organization has a code of conduct or set of rules outlining the proper practices or responsibilities of an individual or an organization. So, I came up with my own set of rules for Lords and Ladies of Leisure to ensure that we as a team or as individuals live up to the mission of this organization – to force socialization, encourage laughter and support each other as we travel through unemployment land together. Pink-slips unite!

Guiding principles

a)      Find jobs through networking, online, or stalking – whatever technique will drum up the most qualified leads

b)      Apply for these jobs

c)       Wait for employers to call or email you about these jobs

d)      Hopefully interview for jobs

e)      Wait some more

f)        After you’ve grown tired of waiting, plan on doing something you enjoy because if you enjoy looking for a job then you need to find a life outside of job-hunting my friend.

g)      Oh yeah and attend one training a month at the WorkSource unemployment office so that you don’t get “flagged” in the system.  Remember – it counts as one job-search activity despite the fact that you don’t actually leave with any useful information. For fun, you might consider dragging a fellow LOL along for the ride so it’s less painful.

 

Code of conduct for group interaction

a)     Treat fellow Lords and Ladies of Leisure with respect.

b)     Don’t judge someone if they wear house pants or have a muffin top.

c)      Check your anger or negative attitudes at the door.

d)     Don’t be jerk and blame race, religion, creed or gender for your unemployment situation.

e)     Don’t dwell on the past; have a vision for where you see yourself working in the future.

f)       Share ideas, laugh a lot and have fun.

g)     Give back to the community as an individual or a group whenever possible. 

Outfitting the unemployed

a)     Most days should be spent wearing house pants; whatever level (1-5) works with your daily agenda (stick to the house pants guidelines though!).

b)     It’s ok if you own a Snuggie; just don’t wear it outside the house.

c)      Have one interview outfit dry cleaned, pressed and ready to roll.

d)     Hats and Psssssst dry shampoo are quick solutions for bed head or greasy hair.

Behavioral standards

a)     Don’t get out of bed early unless you have to. A “have to” is an activity that might get you a job. If it doesn’t get you a job, then it can wait.

b)     Showering daily is optional, especially if you are still in PJs at 3pm.

c)      Nap often.

d)     Force socialization at least 3 times a week.

e)     Feed and exercise your muffin top.

f)       Exercise your house pants.

g)     Compulsively clean, organize or disinfect your house.

h)     Work on home improvements if you’re handy.

i)       Talking to yourself, your cat, your dog, squirrels is normal – whatever you need to do so you don’t feel alone is fine.

j)       Throw yourself into your hobbies or volunteering.

2 Comments

Filed under Life, Resources, Slightly amusing

Being “green” on a budget

In honor of Earth Day today, I thought I’d talk a little bit about whether or not it’s possible to practice being “green” when you are unemployed and on a very tight budget. While there are the obvious green techniques that are compatible to the unemployed person’s budget like taking the bus, walking or riding a bike vs. driving your car (gas and emissions), not everything that’s green is the most economical. 

Take for example, toilet paper. My belief is that green T.P. is usually more expensive and often lower quality; lower quality meaning scratchier, less pliable and not “error proof” (I think you know what that means, especially when it comes to #2). But, to be totally honest, I’ve never actually shopped prices on green T.P. and I’ve also never done a full “test drive” if you get my drift. 

As a woman, I go through a lot of T.P. because women don’t normally use the “drip dry” technique that men have the luxury of using. Instead, every single time we go #1, we use 2-3 squares of T.P. (depending on the ply) and therefore go through T.P. much faster than men. So for me to buy more expensive, lower quality T.P. that requires me to use more when I “go” just doesn’t sound economical for someone who’s unemployed and on a budget.

However, today I am going to do two things to try to be “greener” in honor of Earth Day. First, I am going to drip dry once or twice today so as to reduce the amount of waste I am putting into the environment. And I am also going to buy my first pack of green T.P. today because according to a Greenpeace factoid, if every family bought a roll of recycled T.P. just once, Americans could save more than 400,000 trees.

If anyone knows what kind of green or recycled T.P. can stack up to the fluffy stuff that pollutes the environment and kills trees, please drop me a note. I would like to be more responsible, but I don’t think I can afford to be green every time I go pee, however I hope you can prove me wrong and help educate me.

Leave a comment

Filed under Life

Field trip report

This morning I attended my mandatory orientation training at the WorkSource unemployment office on Rainier Ave.  About three or four years ago when I was laid off, I attended the same mandatory training and guess what? It’s the exact same information, only rather than being slightly useful for the job-market as it was back then, now it’s completely useless. Sweet. 

The only new information presented was the tip about using Indeed.com for job-searching online (already got that tip, thanks) and they were handing out vouches for the free training offered by Microsoft (not applicable for me, but thanks).  They didn’t stress the importance of networking – they touched on it – saying that we “should network,” but guess what –  actual networking events (attending a job fair, or doing informational interviews with warm job leads that were uncovered through networking) don’t actually count as “job-search activities.” But, if I attend a WorkSource training that’s useless, that counts. They still think that using the old-school method of applying on-line – dropping your resume into the “black hole” – works best. Totally pathetic, I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised. It was just a bit disappointing and I thought to myself – boy I’d like to work here and whip this hosed up system into shape! Complete waste of time in my opinion and now I get to attend the skills training on the 27th! Yippee!!!!!!

Maybe it was just the Rainier Ave WorkSource, but curious what other people have experienced.

4 Comments

Filed under Economy, Job search tips, Rants, Resources

How much for a piggy toe?

One reader wrote to tell me that the day after he lost his job a member of his family got a toe infection that required a hospital visit. After taking the piggies to the market, they returned home with one piggy down, losing the baby toe to the tune of one hundred twenty thousand dollars (yeah, $120K). Luckily, this guy still had insurance despite not having a job.

For many of us who are now unemployed thanks to the pink-slip, we are faced with some pretty tough questions when it comes to health care.

  • How much can I afford to pay per month?
  • Is it worth the risk to go without insurance? Maybe I should just cover the cost of my four kids at $2K month?
  • What deductible (soon to be debt) seems reasonable in the unfortunate even that I should have to lose my big piggy toe, an arm, a leg, or my spleen?
  • What’s the cost going to be to fix a bleeding ulcer brought about by stress thanks to the pink-slip?
  • And how much would it cost for a spleen? The surface area is much larger than a piggy toe and it seems like a much more invasive surgery with more risk. Hmm..I wonder how they’d price that out and how much plan A or B would cover if this were to happen? 

For me, there’s no question. I know that I can’t go without health insurance – it’s not worth going into financial ruin over the cost of losing a piggy toe. So after I lost my job, I did some initial research on health care options on-line at esurance.com and also reviewed some other alternatives to COBRA (see resources page of my site).  After weighing all the options, I ended up choosing COBRA because it’s finally affordable (at least for the next 9 months) thanks to the continuation coverage assistance package recently passed. While it’s not the cheapest option out there, it’s certainly the option that has the best coverage because I get to keep all my Microsoft health care benefits for about $184 (including dental), paying only 35% of my insurance premium with Uncle Sam picking up the remaining 65% (reimbursing the COBRA plan administrator). Tremendous piece of mind for me and my piggy toes.

Overall, the sign up process was pretty straightforward, but my COBRA plan administrator might be different than yours so if you still haven’t received your package, contact your HR department so they can put you in touch with your COBRA plan administrator.  I got my COBRA packet in the mail about three weeks after my termination which contained all the info I needed to sign up on-line using the unique user ID provided. Some important tidbits about this process:

  • You have to ELECT to enroll in the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) that will give you the 65% discount on your insurance premium. If you don’t enroll, no discount. 
  • You also need to do something with your former health insurance within 60 days of receiving your COBRA packet (don’t quote me on that!). The reader with the piggy toe situations strongly suggests that you don’t let your health insurance lapse otherwise it might be difficult to get insurance after the fact, especially if you have pre-existing conditions. 
  • Not everyone qualifies for the 65% COBRA reimbursement either, so do your research.
  • Payment handling is an outstanding question for me. It’s a little confusing, so I need to call the plan administrator and make sure I understand this process. All I know is they need my first payment within 45 days of signing up with COBRA, otherwise I will lose my COBRA rights under this plan.

Hope this was helpful.

1 Comment

Filed under Diet, Health and Exercise, Health Insurance, Resources

Pink-slipped muffin top holds former employer hostage

Despite my efforts to give my muffin top his seasonal pink-slip last week, he hasn’t left his position above my waistband. In fact, he’s actually doing everything he can to defy Keri Corporations orders to enlist in the mandatory Muffin Top Reduction Program training. Here’s the news story.

As you might recall, Friday CEO and founder of Keri Corporation found three pairs of house pants under her bed with an empty cup of pudding, a situation that was quickly dismissed as “simply an emotional reaction brought on by house pants neglect.” However, new evidence suggests that this activity was just the first phase of a three-pronged approach to destroy Keri Corporation’s plans to force mandatory Muffin Top Reduction Program training.

After the CEO closed up shop on Friday evening, former employee Mr. Muffin Top hijacked the owner’s immune system forcing her into her house pants for the entire weekend. On Easter morning, Mr. Muffin Top then hijacked an Easter basket full of salted almonds and chocolate candy and headed for the home of her former employer. For the next four days,  the immune challenged CEO was held hostage in her own home and force fed chocolate and salted almonds by evil Mr. Muffin Top and her collection of house pants. No one, except her cats, could hear her cries for help as they were being muffled by Hershey’s chocolate bunnies and Cadbury Mini Eggs.

Finally today around 1pm, a neighbor spotted a suspicious looking Muffin Top walking out of the CEO’s house arm in leg with a pair of house pants, so she quickly called the police. Authorities found the CEO alive wearing house pants in a bed covered with Easter candy wrappers, a scene that can only be described as pure gluttony. While there is a ton of evidence of foul play, the CEO isn’t going to press charges against the former employee and is temporarily putting the Muffin Top Reduction Program training on hold.

1 Comment

Filed under Life, Slightly amusing

Flatulent in three languages

Today I am resorting to a post about having gas during a job interview. Yes, this is childish, but my excuse for this post today is that I have a cold and my medicine head is preventing me from writing anything creative. Yesterday this commercial aired on TV while I was sifting through my Easter basket. I laughed because being “flatulent in three languages” was funny and so today I share.

4 Comments

Filed under Life, Slightly amusing