Random ramblings, while being a little random

I have two weeks of work left before I am officially “let go” into the big, bad world of unemployment. I also have two weeks + one day until the big move. I kind of feel like I should have a huge countdown clock in my office so that people can see exactly how long I’ll be in the office before disappearing for good.

Oh, speaking about disappearing (yes, I’m going off on a mini tangent) — one of the very odd things about my current job is that when someone quits, is fired or is “let go” it happens very, very quietly (yes, I’m using my Elmer Fudd voice right now).

They don’t announce it to the firm. They don’t plan a going away party or happy hour for employees who have decided to move on. One day you’re in, the next you’re out. Auf Wiedersehen!

If you don’t pay attention, it may take you days, weeks or even months before you realize that someone is gone. In fact, there was this really nice guy named Ron that I didn’t see for a while and found out that he had quit about 3 months before. I’m pretty visible around the office, but I’m still thinking that it might take some people quite a while to realize that I faded out.

Anyways, back on track. For someone who really, really enjoys working, the idea of sitting at home doing nothing is pretty much the type of thing that gives me hives. So, here are the random thoughts that are going through my mind:

  • What the heck am I going to do during the day? Looking for a job on all the online websites take about an hour a day or so, which leaves a LOT of time to do….what? Hmmm, maybe I can turn into SuperWife and make my husband breakfast, pack his lunch and make a delicious homemade dinner each night. Ok, I see this lasting for like a week.
  • Oooh, yay, I finally have time to do all that stuff I’ve been putting off, like: write a book, blog more often, open an etsy store with all kinds of awesome crafty stuff, start a marketing consulting website and launch a new business, exercise, and more!
  • Unemployment benefits seem really, really confusing. They want you to find a job and make money, but if you pick up side work you no longer qualify for the benefits. Or maybe you do qualify for the benefits, but it depends on how much you make that week. But if you don’t claim it they may lock you up in jail for 60 days. Which really doesn’t work for me because I really don’t like people all up in my business and I imagine jail would be a bit annoying.
  • Yay, only 10 working days until I’m out of here forever!
  • Crap, only 10 working days of having a full paycheck. How are we going to survive?
  • I’ve worked nonstop for 12 years without more than a week off at a time. Even though I’ll be out of work and worrying about money, I’m kind of excited to have a couple weeks off. But then I feel guilty about that thought, because it is against my nature to fully depend on someone else to take care of me and bring in the bacon (yummm…bacon).
  • Maybe I can get a part-time job somewhere doing something I like. Let’s Dish sounds fun! But is that going to mess up my unemployment benefits?
  • Oh my gosh, I can totally wear my pajamas EVERY DAY!
  • I’m going to be so lonely, who am I going to talk to during the day while everyone else is working? When my husband lost his job a few years ago he pretty much pounced on me the moment I came home, starved for attention. I don’t want to drive him crazy. I’m going to have to make a lot of lunch dates! But lunch dates without food because I need to save money… Hmmm, make that ‘water’ dates.

So, as you can tell I’m not only a master at multitasking, my brain is also very full at all times. Maybe by letting a little crazy out at a time, I can keep it together for a little bit longer.

In the meantime, I’m still going to spend a bunch of my time looking for a new full-time position. However, I’m also keeping my mind open for consulting or freelancing opportunities. It’s been a dream of mine for a long time to have my own consulting company, so maybe this is just the opportunity I need to see if I can make it work!

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Purging is Fun

My internal countdown clock seems like it is going quicker and quicker. It’s like the days are speeding by and we only have 2 ½ weeks until our big moving day.

I’m a pretty organized person, but it is simply shocking the kind of crap you accumulate in almost a decade of living in the same house. So, I figured that this was the perfect time to attack one of the tasks on my Project Me list: Get Rid of 50 Things that I Don’t Need.

When the contract came in on our house, we had exactly 6 weekends to work with before our moving weekend (October 22 – 23rd). As I previously mentioned in a post, since I’m losing my job we can’t buy a new house to move into at the moment. However, we totally lucked out because my parents have a rental property that is going to be vacant the week before we need to move in to it. Ironically, the rent is exactly the same as our current mortgage and the space is almost identical to what we currently have. We can stay there until I find a new position and then we can resume the search for our dream house.

The one drawback of the rental house is the lack of storage space. The closets are quite tiny and there is no basement or other storage area. In order to live as clutter-free as possible, we decided to pack up only the essentials for the rental house. All off-season stuff and non-essentials will be stored in my parent’s basement until we do our final move.

I’m not a big clutter person anyway, so I used this opportunity to keep from being like that scary lady in the Labyrinth.

Instead of just taking everything in a room, throwing it into boxes and dragging it to the new place, I’ve made things a bit more difficult.

Everything in our current house has been reviewed and put into one of the following categories:

  1. Pack away at my parent’s house (off season clothes, books, decorating items, board games, extra furniture, etc.)
  2. Pack away for the rental house (everything we really need to live at the new place, along with our furniture that will fit)
  3. Sell – on craigslist or at a yardsale
  4. Donate to goodwill
  5. Trash

As of this past weekend, we’ve taken 4 truckloads and 1 SUV load of stuff to my parent’s house for storage. Yes, this is stuff that we can currently live without, but will need in our final home. Honestly, it’s still a lot of stuff. So it’s possible that when we finally do unpack it a bunch more stuff will be sold or donated.

Everything left in our house right now is going with us to the rental house. Some of it is boxed up, but most of it is in use for the next couple weeks. We have a bunch of empty boxes standing by for the day stuff gets thrown in and transferred to the new place.

We sold a couch, chair, two bookcases, a futon and a TV on craigslist. A bunch of people got awesome deals on furniture that they needed and we got money to put into our “buying stuff for the new house” fund. (6 items)

We tried to have a yardsale this past Sunday, but due to the weather being cold and rainy it was pretty unsuccessful. According to the rules in our house, anything put out for a yardsale is not allowed back in. I did bend the rules a teeny bit this time and rescued about 5 items. The rest (which filled up the back of my SUV) went straight to Goodwill. (30 items)

At the end of each season, I do what I call my “closet switchover” where pack away everything from the previous season and bring out stuff for the next. This year, when I packed away all my spring/summer stuff and brought out my cooler weather clothes I was brutal when deciding what to get rid of. Two big boxes of clothes were donated to Goodwill from me alone. My husband added another large bag when he went through his own clothes. (30ish items)

So, it looks like we’ve gotten rid of almost 70 items without even counting stuff that went straight to the trashcan. YAY, goal completed!

Not only does it feel wonderful to get rid of clutter we don’t need, it’s always nice to donate to our local Goodwill. The organization channels 84% of their revenues into job training programs that benefit hundreds of thousands of people each year. Also, as an added benefit we can claim tax donations for our contributions.

I’m feeling pretty great now – I completed a “Project Me” task, we gave a ton of stuff to a local nonprofit, we packed up 4 ½ truckloads and moved it out of our house, AND we have some money to buy things for our new place!

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Getting a Fresh Perspective From Your Friends May Be Just What You Need

One of the things that I thought defined me was my work ethic and I really felt that I put 120% of myself into my job. Ok, maybe there is a rainy day or two where I’m just not feeling as full of awesome as usual, but typically I work my butt off. I like doing a good job and I feel like a poser if I just sit back and let other people do the hard work.

So imagine how it felt when I was thrown off that high horse I had built for myself.

I thought I had been successful over the years and had even gotten positive feedback and raises at each of my yearly reviews. But out of the blue, I was informed that my time at the company was limited. A few vague reasons were thrown around, but honestly I’m still not sure why I’m losing my job.

I fell into this dark hole of “I suck” and just felt covered in a film of general ickyness.

Was I actually any good at marketing?
Do I suck as a manager?
Am I a terrible person?
What the hell should I do with my life now?

After moping around for a while, I came to that brilliant conclusion that it’s them, not me. I actually LOVE marketing and I’ve enjoyed working in marketing for the past 12 years. I DO want another job in marketing because I ROCK at it. If I wasn’t good at my job, why would they have kept me around for 6 years? Also, now that they’ve decided to let me go, why do they keep asking me to stay on and do freelance/consulting work?

Apparently, I’m no longer a good fit at my current company. Fine. They’re no longer a good fit for me! I’ve been overworked and haven’t felt appreciated in years. Finally with this kick in the pants, I’m out of here.

So, where does that leave me?

As I spoke about in my last post, I’m looking around for a new opportunity. But great marketing jobs don’t exactly grow on trees. So, in the meantime – what should I do?

And that is where I (finally) come to the point of this post. The best way to learn about yourself is to ask other people what they think you should do. Then, really listen to their answers. It’s possible that they may see talents that you didn’t even realize you had.

One of the things that I’ve really enjoyed over the years is graphic design. I love spending time designing brochures, newsletters,  invitations, etc. In my spare time, I’ve even designed wedding and baby shower invitations for friends. Not once did I think that this was something special about me.

Two of my friends pointed out that I should start selling my custom designs on Etsy (one of my favorite websites EVER which is sure to suck money out of my pocket). This is something that I never even thought about. But now that it was pointed out to me, I realize how easy it would be to set up a shop and design some stuff on the side.

Is it going to support me? Um…no.

However, it will give me something to do while looking for a new job. If I can get enough freelance consulting work, in addition to selling some of my designs online, maybe I’ll end up finding my new passion after all.

So, if you’re stuck in rut, try what I did and ask your friends and colleagues, “What do you think I’m good at?”

Really listen to their answers; they might know you better than you think they do.

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