Thursday, November 5, 2015

Life is like a....

Box of Chocolates...You never know what you are going to get?

Book...each day is a new page?

2015 has been a challenge of maybe epic proportions.  I really am learning that life really is what you make of it.  Some days are going to be bad, some are good, some are eh, but each day is a blessing.  When you put your mind to it, you really can do anything you want to.

I have gone from the unemployed life of having a great schedule to the land of insaneness.  I have lived in the world of insaneness since August 3rd.  Probably about the time you stopped hearing from me on here.

On August 3rd, I started as a temp for The Boon Group (TBG) as a proposal writer.  In other words, a fancy term for putting together all the insurance proposals together for the sales reps, working with the insurance carriers in the process.  The following week, I started classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6-10 pm and every other Saturday from 9:30 to 4:30 pm.  The classes I am taking is for PMP/SQL Certifications.  By the time it is over the first of March, the goal is to have my certification in both.  THE GOAL.  If anything, PMP is the big one as that will be the game changer for me.  Once that certification is in place, my base salary will be no lower than $85k.  It's not about the money but the ability to recover from 9 months of not having a "real" job.

Things at TBG are going well.  At the first of September the asked me to be full time.  Of course, HR stopped the bus party and said sorry, you have to work 800 hours first before we can hire you full time.  #sucksballs  I really do not think what I do everyday is something that I would want to do long term.  BUT, it does help cover the bills and I really think it would be a good company to work for.  Now it would be a matter if they had that job there for me.

What I have learned since April 15th is that I have an amazing family, a wonderful group of close friends here in Austin and when it comes to can stretch a dollar pretty far.

I really do not think I could have gotten through the past 6 plus months without my immediate family, Unicorn, Grace and ATM.  They have all been a wealth of support and really been there to pick me up on the bad days.  Of course, let's not sugar coat it, Unicorn still gives me a kick in the pants when I need to get over it and move on. 

I think that ATM has really been the surprise of the group.  It's really nice to have him back in my life.  We both have gone through some serious stress points this fall but I know that he is there for me every day.  Obviously I do not know what the future holds for us but I know that we will always be friends and he does bring a lot of positive to my life.

I think probably the hardiest thing for me these days is just balancing the budget.  If you know me, you know me how well I like to know where my money is going and making sure that I am going in the right direction.  Well, obviously working at TBG, I was making more money that unemployment but way less than what I made at Xplode.  I couldn't figure out why I wasn't getting ahead and why my savings continued to dwindle away.  Once I found the error in my spreadsheet, it hit close to the heart and well there was that moment of panic.

After it is all said and done with and the bills are paid for the month, I have exactly $140 left to feed myself and the pups.  Now keep in mind, that is assuming there is no holidays, I don't get sick or any other situation where I have to take time off without pay.  Of course, I also have the high maintenance dog that is allergic to everything and requires a $65 bag of food every other month but Finn's is only $35 and his last 2 1/2 months.  Ouch.   But, now that I know what the problem is and what I am up truly isn't so bad.  Now don't get me wrong, I really am looking forward to the day where my lunch is not 1/2 PBJ sandwich, 1 cup of carrots, an apple and 1 oz of chips....and yes, I do measure that all out every Sunday when I prep my meals for the week; but you have to do what you have to do.  So, yes the dogs might be eating better than me. 

Ultimately, as they say....this too shall pass.  But I have definitely learned the importance of that 9 month emergency savings fund, family, life saving friends and knowing exactly where every penny goes....just don't judge the highlights and that I am is desperate need of time with the Hairdresser.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Some days, you just need a reset.  It might be for a day, it might be for two days.

I emailed my job coach this morning as I had just been feeling like I was close to shut down mode.  I have not been feeling like doing my homework for her the past few days.  Searching the job posts was not something I looked forward to.  Hearing no on the job front was even worse and I dreaded going to my home office to "work".  Then the crinkle in my Nebraska trip seemed to be like a straw in the camels back and shut down mode was there.

Her advise was simple, 'take a break!  Not forever, just a day or two where you don't even open emails'.  Read a book, do something for you, do something fun, enjoy yourself.

Anyone that knows me knows that for too long, I worked too many hours and probably had too many jobs.  I think probably since the day I went into College I had at least two jobs.  There was always softball and school work.  But there was also the part time jobs during the school year, even in season.  After college, if I wasn't at work, I was off coaching a team somewhere.  Then there was the four plus years of 60 hour weeks working 7 days a week at two jobs.  So, to some degree it has been nice not to work.  BUT on the other hand, NOT having to work is absolutely killing me.

It is also hard because now that it has been two months, life around you still goes on.  The people around you still have jobs and go to work every day.  Their routines haven't changed, just yours.  When you first lose your job, everyone reaches out to you.  They all check up on you, see how you are doing.  Over time that fades.  I don't think that they necessarily have forgotten you, they just get caught up in life and work.  They forget to reach out.  They think that they have filled you in on things or you know schedules but in reality, you do not.  It is like you are in your own little bubble.

However, what I have learned in the past two months is that at the end of the day, work does matter, but not that much.  You have to have the job that you can find balance and harmony at.  A job that you can find happiness in going into the office, doing your job and bringing joy to those you encounter throughout the day.  But, you also need to be able to go home, leave work and make time for those you care about most and the things that bring you happiness.  I learned that lesson the hard way.  A lot of relationships were neglected for job that I loved, for a company who didn't love me back as much.

Just because something is important to you, just because it brings you happiness does not always mean that others are going to see it that way.  People in life will try and steal your thunder.  There are always going to be people, whether intentional or not, that are going to try and steal your joy.  Rise to the occasion and do not give them that pleasure.  It is hard to do but one that is worth doing.  Just because something is a priority to you, does not make it a priority to someone else, EVER.  If you want it bad enough, you will find a way to make it work; you above!

As a child blows the dandelion peddles in the wind...remember every situation is just that, powerless in your life if you do not give it a reaction.

Reboot complete.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

“You have brains in your head....

You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
~Dr. Seuss

Overwhelmed might be the theme right now.  Crazy notion I know.  I mean, I am not working, how can I possibly be THAT busy.  But it is possible and it happens.

What do I want to be when I grow up is the million dollar question right now.  I mean I am 40+ years old.  I have 20+ working years left.  I've been an auditor.  A tech consultant.  A sales person.  Operations Management.  If you look at my books in my office, you would think it is personal finance.  What industry?  Insurance?  Technology?  Manufacturing?  Finance?  What is my niche?  What should my area of focus be?  That is the million dollar question.

At the end of May I hired a firm to help me do just that.  They are going to help me find that right job as well as get all the things done to get that right job.  However, in the mean time, I have learned that Austin is a city of it is not what you know but who you know.  So networking it is.  I was in a networking event last F
riday and they said that we should meet at least one new person a day.  My side that leans towards introvert is already screaming at such a notion.  :)

However, during the past two months, I am doing a lot of self discovery and almost everyone that sees me for the first time in a long time comments that I look refreshed and relaxed.  It further serves my reflection that losing this job was for the best.  Did I imagine still being unemployed two months in, no!  But am I still keeping busy, yes!  Do I think that I will come out a better person in the end than when it happened, ABSOLUTELY!!!

Right now I am in the process of trying to get a grant to go get my PMP (Project Management Program) & SQL Certifications.  These are fancy names for let me oversee your project, run reports while it is going and summarize it when it is done.  A lot of my work over the years has included the project management aspect piece, the certification makes me more marketable.  So, if you would add me to the prayers that grant comes through, that would be much appreciated!

I am still applying for jobs and doing interviews.  Right now things are going slow in that category.  I do not know if it is just Austin or if it is the Market.  I am hopeful that once I get all my homework down with my consulting firm, that I will have more companies that I can start to reach out to in regards to job opportunities.

Of course, on top of all the home work, interviews, applying for jobs, classes, grants, etc, I am trying to still go through the house and purge.  We are having a neighborhood garage sale this weekend (Saturday) so I am trying to get rid of everything that no longer brings me love or joy.  Prime example...that purse that had Amigo's coupons from 2002 in it....clearly that purse no longer brought me joy.  However, now I am stressing myself out because I have not quite finished purging, I still have to tag everything for the sale and I have only two days left in the week to do it.  As Charlie Brown would say...AAugh....

The work outs have been on a temporary break.  Three weeks ago, I found myself crawling on the bathroom floor in horrible pain.  A day and a 1/2 later, Unicorn took me to the urgent care because the pain was back and I just couldn't take it.  Without running the bill up
, based upon the initial tests, they felt I had kidney stones.  So, needless to say, I didn't get much done work search wise or any workouts in that first week as I was hopped up on pain pills and the other medicine they gave me made me sleep on the time.  The following week, I took it easy and this week, I just have been running crazy.

Hopefully things will calm down after the garage sale!  HOPEFULLY!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Life As We Know It

"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." - E.M. Forster

I don't think it is a day that I will ever forget but I think it is a day that I needed to have and that everyone should really go through it once in their lifetime.  It is one of the most humbling days, most trying days you can have.  It is one of those days all you want to do is sit in a ball and cry and ask: Why me? How am I going to manage my finances? How am I going to pay my bills? What did I do to deserve this?  To say I was scared out of my mind, pissed, sad and every emotion in between was an understatement. 

But, I was also embarrassed.  I did not want anyone to know.  I was ashamed.  I did not want the judgments, the gossip and just the overall hurt that are sometimes felt from individuals unintentional comments and words.

On April 15th, I reported to work a little after 9.  A little later than normal but I had been there until after 7 pm the night before as Runner was traveling for work which makes work life crazy and I had also been in meetings with the boss discussing delivery issues.  At about 9:30 am, the boss came in and asked if I had a minute; I said sure.  Of course, what would play out next, never entered my realm of thinking.  

We entered the conference room and the CFO was sitting there and I jokingly said, "Well, this can't be good."  His response was "No, it is not."  Of course that sent my mind racing of, is this some kind of Performance plan, are we not getting bonuses this year because we hadn't so far, but instead I got, 

"The Company is restructuring and you did not make the cut.  Today is your last day.  Here is your severance package and your separation agreement.  Feel free to have an attorney review the agreement if you feel it is necessary." ~  CFO

Then I was asked if I wanted to clean out my office now or come back later.  That was it.  Short and sweet.  No explanation.  No thank you for busting your ass the past year cleaning up the messes that were left behind by other people we fired.  No thank you for working so many nights and weekends without additional pay.  Of course, my boss being who he was, never said a word during any of it, he let the CFO do all the talking.

Obviously I opted to come back after hours to clean out my office and do it when just a few were left in the building.  It truly is a humbling experience being escorted out of the building.  My parting comments to my boss were: 

"You bust your ass for a company and this is how they repay you.  So very generous of them."

Ultimately there were three of us that were let go in the coming days.  Two of us from operations and the Vice President of Marketing.  I think it is safe to say that not one of us saw it coming.  There had been rumors the company was looking at merging/buying another company and there had been dog and pony shows but ironically I was the one telling people that we just needed to keep doing what we were doing.  We couldn't get our job done in a 40 hour week the way it was, how could they possible get rid of us?  Silly, silly me.

The past month and a half has been a learning experience.  Obviously I kept this on a need to know basis and after about a month in, I am fully at peace with everything.  I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.  I know I have grown from this experience and that I will be better off from it.  I have put my trust and faith in God and so far, he has taken care of me.  

Of course, when I have those moments of weakness, I do have the Unicorn here to bust me in the ass and tell me to get my stuff together.  She kindly gave me one day of mourning on loosing my job.  I was allowed one day of tears and then from there, I needed to be focused and get stuff done.  If I have down days, she kicks me in the ass and pretty much tells me to get over it, the only person I can control and worry about is myself.  She really is a cheerleader in my life.  I am not sure how I was blessed for her to come into my life but very thankful for it.

Now, how unprepared can one be for this you ask?  Oh...I don't know...I had not updated my resume since I took the job in October 2012.  Then there is the fact that in reality my resume really was still dating back to circa 2007 as I knew Runner at the company and being that it was so small, it was just a matter of getting an updated resume in their hands.  This thing had no objective, no results I produced.  Thankfully Unicorn and Grace helped me get that updated as best as possible so I could start sending out applications by the following Monday.  One day to mourn and by business day four of being laid off, I was sending off resumes.

Since then I have been firing off resumes for all kinds of jobs.  I have had referrals from all kinds of sources.  I have been blessed to have a lot of my customers that I worked with in this last role either offer to be a reference, ask for my resume to pass along or even line me up with an interview. The SIL asked if I would at least consider jobs closer to home as I have a niece and nephew that would enjoy seeing their aunt more often, so where I will land is God's will.  Ironically my first phone interview was with a company in Omaha.  Ultimately I did not get it but I thought it was funny since I could never get an interview in Texas when I was trying to move here.

I have had one offer so far.  The job was not the right fit for me and I had to decline, but it was an offer.  The interviews keep coming and at some point, when the time is right, the right job will be offered. 

Of course, I have learned that navigating the unemployment system in Texas is also a treat.  You hear the don't mess with Texas stuff all the time and they pretty much say that all over the place when you log in every two weeks to request your unemployment, note what you have been doing in your search, etc.  Silly me, fearing "don't mess with Texas" told them about the job I declined because it asks if you declined any jobs.  Now keep in mind the "rules" are that after 8 weeks of being unemployed, you have to consider jobs that are 25% less than what you previously made.  Well the job I turned down was far more than the 25% pay cut and since it hadn't  been 8 weeks, it shouldn't be an issue, right?  WRONG.  Apparently I missed the part that I only should report the jobs that I turned down that were "suitable" in nature.  As a result, my unemployment is on hold until further notice until they have time to investigate.  They are unable to give me a timeline of how long this "investigation" could take.

Oh the can only laugh and just keep trudging along.  Beating myself up is not going to help the issue and I can only control what I can control.  So, in the meantime, I will keep applying, keep interviewing and keep saying the rosary.  There is an odd connection to the days that I say the rosary to the days that I get emails for job interviews and/or job leads;  coincidence or Divine Intervention?  I think I'll stick to the later and keep saying that rosary.  

And now you know "The Rest of the Story...Good Day." ~ Paul Harvey

Monday, May 4, 2015

Old Fashion

Well any update in the blog world would not be complete with an update in the dating world. 

Of course, since I had not updated anyone in six months since the complete debacle of ATM, I better start with the one that there was initial hope for.  Now keep in mind, I was at the point I was done with dating.  I mean what was the point because I really wasn't meeting anyone of quality substance even though the red flag radar was getting better.

Then Vanilla Horndog reentered the picture.  If you need a refresher on him, just go to the "My Peeps" section.  He and I had remained friends on Facebook and chatted every once in awhile but that was about it.  He had called me out of the blue one day and things were beyond crazy at work and so I never really got around to calling him back in a timely fashion.  Oddly enough, then one day I got a friend request from some guy I did not know but Vanilla Horndog was a mutual friend on Facebook.  Of course, I didn't do anything with it and sat on it until I had time to connect with VH

Well, as irony would have it, VH thought he had the fix for all of these dating problems.  He knew a cool single guy and in his opinion, me being the cool single girl, well he thought we would be a good match.  Of course, this would explain the odd friend request.  Now this guy was an employee of VH's and he thought we might make a good pair.  Now, I was still on the fence, but Unicorn said I HAD to go.  For one, in her opinion, this guy was obviously already vetted by someone that knew me and two, apparently was in a good branch of the military at some point. 

I figured why not.  Well, we made it two dates before I was informed I was old fashioned.  Everything seemed really normal and he appeared to be a really nice guy.  Had his stuff together, had custody of one son and a good relationship with his ex-wife.  Why was I called Old-Fashioned, you ask?  Wait for it....

Yup...I am not interested in dating a functioning POT HEAD.

Yes, that is right, he liked his dope.  Apparently he was high every time we went out.  Apparently he is high all day, every day.  BUT, he rarely drinks.  In his mind, being high all the time is being sober.  Sadly Vanilla Horndog was not aware of this and so I had to explain to him why this was not going to work out.  He felt bad.  No idea what it did to his job but I had to be honest.

I have lived enough to know that I prefer to enjoy most of my days sober and want my partner to be able to enjoy life sober as well. 

So friends, if you are not okay with anyone that can "function" at being addicting to a mind altering substance all day, every too are:


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Where does time go?

WOW!   Six months?  Really doesn't seem that long ago that I was here.

What's even more of a WOW factor is that there are even followers that still come back and troll to see that I have failed, failed to update you on life, failed to even say what's up!  Yes, the the world continues to spin here in Texas, some days way faster than I want, some days in a direction I do not want but....

Oh life. 

I have wrote hundred's of blog posts in my mind over the past six months.  I have wrote even more in the past month.  There is so much on my mind these past few weeks that I would love to share with everyone but I am just not at that place that I am ready to talk about it, YET.  (Never is not health related, no I am not Pregnant and no I am not getting married!)

There is one thing for certain that I know, how life is today, is not how I probably pictured it the day I walked across the stage when I graduated high school.  It probably is not how I pictured it when I left college.  I know that it is not what I imaged it being at the beginning of December, but then again I never imagine January being what it was back in the first of December either.  Surly today as I sit writing this, I never pictured this month being what it was, maybe if ever, in my lifetime.

One thing I do know is that life happens.  No matter how much we plan, no matter how much we think we have it laid out in front of us, life happens and really the only person that knows where we will end up in life is the man upstairs.  What we can do in life is grow from it, learn from it and embrace the challenges that have been laid out in front of us.  God gives us the choice in life.  We can choose to be bitter and angry or we can choose to be positive and seek growth from the challenges He gives us. 

In the end, it's a matter of how do you want to face your maker, do you want to say, I accepted Your challenge and look at the better person you made me...or do you want to say well screw you, you handed me a life of lemons and crap and I am just over it.  The choice is within each of us and I think just writing this post helped me clear out some of my fog from today and made me focus back on what my choice always is.  Of course some love from Momma Bear never hurts either.

So, with that said, I clearly have some catching up to do...about 6 months worth and a lot of insight to share along the way.  I have done a lot of growing, especially in the past few weeks and definitely a lot more to go in the coming months.  If you are following this blog, you will be growing with me.  This will be a personal, spiritual, financial, life growing journey.

Stay tuned...I promise it won't be 6 more months before you hear from me...maybe more like 6 hours.  Until then, remember, your glass is half full or at least has room for a refresher. 

Love ya!