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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Marketing Specialist Looking for New Opportunity!

Yup, I’m a Marketing Specialist looking for a new opportunity.

It sounds kind of like a personals ad, doesn’t it? You know, the kind where people like long walks on the beach, going out to dinner and want someone who will make them laugh…

Anyways, back to the point: I’m looking for a new job.

Actually, I’ve been looking for a new position since the beginning of August and it’s been a really frustrating process.

I’ll do the job search of a dozen different websites to come up with maybe two positions that seem like a great fit. Then, I spend an hour or so tweaking my resume and cover letter to highlight my skills that would be specific to that particular job opportunity. Next, I check in with a couple recruiters and LinkedIn to see if anyone has a contact at the hiring company. Then, I shoot off my information and wait.

And wait.

And wait.

I make a follow up call or send a follow up email.

And wait.

And wait.

Do you notice a pattern here?

Oh yeah, then I wait some more.

Maybe, if I’m lucky I’ll receive a generic email stating that they were overwhelmed in resumes and have hired another candidate. Most likely, I’ll just never hear anything back and assume that I didn’t get the job.

I’ve also reached out to my network of amazing business contacts and put the word out there that I’m looking for a position. Some have sent me job postings that they’ve heard about. Others have passed my information through to their friends who work for recruiting companies or who might know about job openings. I found out about one awesome position from a friend of a friend, and actually went in for an interview. Now I’m just waiting to hear if I’m invited back for a second interview.

Hmm…I should be pretty good at waiting by now, right?

Honestly, I’m starting to get a bit worried. Actually, strike that – if I’m being really honest let’s just go ahead and say I’m starting to get FREAKED out. I have friends who were laid off many months ago that are still looking for positions. I only have four more weeks in my current job before I get an itty bitty little severance package, then I get to survive on unemployment until I can find something else.

I’m working to pick up freelance work doing marketing consulting, desktop publishing, event planning or website updates. However, what I’d really like is another full-time job. I actually like working and I LOVE marketing, event planning and graphic design. Feel free to check out my LinkedIn to see my full background.

Here is where the audience participation part kicks in: Is there a better way?

Am I doing something wrong, or do I just need to be patient and resign myself to living on unemployment while I continue to look for a position?

Any suggestions are appreciated! Feel free to leave me a comment on my blog or Facebook page.

As always, if you hear of a position in Columbia/Baltimore/Annapolis area for someone with 10+ years of marketing experience let me know!

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