Taking Chance

Watched a movie I’ve been wanting to see for awhile last night:

Taking Chance is the remarkable true story of one soldier’s death and a nation’s reverence and gratitude towards its war dead. After hearing of the heroic death of a young marine in Iraq, veteran officer Lt. Colonel Michael Strobl (played by Kevin Bacon) volunteers to escort the remains of Lance Corporal Chance Phelps back to his hometown in Wyoming. Now, on a trip across America’s heartland, Strobl will find himself on an unexpectedly emotional sojourn into the soul of a country mourning not only Phelps, but all of country’s fallen heroes.

If you can, please rent it. You won’t be sorry. A story, in my opinion, we all must hear and see.

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Me and Phil’s Shadow

I was thinking last night how anymore my days seem to be the same day over and over. I know we all have this, what with work and family responsibilities, but sometimes it’s even more than a rut or routine. It’s really like the movie with Bill Murray, “Groundhog Day”.

Each day I get up and have some coffee and breakfast, then usually hit the job search online. I make any calls I need to make about jobs and usually am texting friends and my husband in between. Then I tackle any computer or household projects and get on the dreadmill at the last possible moment before my husband comes home from work. Then it’s dinner, wash dishes and TV.

The most repeated part of my day of late has been the job search and the 0 leads. It’s the same thing every day as I go through each website and it’s very disheartening.

Then of course we’ve had the continuous loop of snowfall here in Pennsylvania. We’re all familiar with the calendar date (I certainly wouldn’t call it a holiday) of Groundhog Day where Punxsutawney Phil determines the fate of our weather as we move towards Spring. I find it no coincidence that Phil is a Pennsylvanian and am convinced his prediction speaks directly to us in the Keystone State. And as you may know, this year he saw his shadow meaning six more weeks of Hell, I mean winter, to endure. I pray this doesn’t extend to my futile job search of late.

He’s adorable but he’s getting on my nerves.

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Heavy Sigh

I was going to call this blog entry “Sigh” but I had to upgrade. For several reasons.

First of all, it’s snowing again here. The forecast was originally 12″-18″ but now it’s been downgraded to 6″-10″. In this case, I’m not sure that size even matters. It’s snowing again, just as the snow had begun to melt from the blizzard a few weeks ago.

The second reason to sigh is the job search. Or lack thereof. There are still no job leads. I did my “long” search today and came up with nothing.

There have been some crazy twists of fate in my life and career that I really don’t allow myself to think about because if I do, I’ll go crazy. But I’m going to share them with you now.

I worked at a company for 12 years. I worked hard, got promoted throughout my tenure there and then I was put into a position I did not want or enjoy. I realized by doing Meeting & Event Planning at this company that this is what I wanted to do as my career. I can’t tell you how great it is to finally know what you want to be when you grow up — even if you’re already grown up!

I knew I would have to leave this company after a dozen years to pursue Meeting & Event Planning. I was fortunate enough to land a job doing exactly what I wanted and so much more. I loved it! But 16 months after I started, the entire company was shut down. And you know the rest. I now spend my days searching and shoveling.

If only snowflakes were job leads . . .

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You’re Going To Hollywood!

I was watching American Idol last night and thinking about all the people who audition for the show each season. They say the number is somewhere around 100,000 each year, for one coveted spot, to be named this year’s American Idol.

Wouldn’t it be great if they could do job interviews like that? Employers say that they are completely inundated with resumes when they post a job due to the large number of people currently unemployed. Because of this, many resumes are never even seen just because there are so many coming in. I’m not saying a job opening would yield 100,000 applicants, but go with me here.

You know how on Idol in each city they hold tens of thousands of people in an arena or stadium until it’s time for them to audition? Why can’t employers do that?

Talent scouts and producers, in this case Human Resources Recruiters, would screen the big crowds in groups. Then the executive producers, in our example middle-management and associates, would audition a smaller group.

Next, a select group of 20 or so people would be judged by Simon, Kara, Randy and the guest judge. In this case the Hiring Manager and a Vice President or two. You would have a few minutes to tell them about yourself and to give them the 2-minute story of your professional experience. Maybe you have a portfolio to show them. Might I suggest a quick PowerPoint presentation?

They would then decide if you’d get a Golden Ticket. If awarded the yellow piece of paper, you would come back and America would vote for the right person for the job.

It’s all about being given a chance.

To vote for me, call 1-800-Sis-Rain.

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As you may be aware, Winter weather has been harsh here and last night we had snow and ice once again. I don’t pretend to be fooled by the calendar flipping to March next week; anything can happen in March in Pennsylvania and it usually does.

All of us in the area, understandably, are eagerly awaiting Spring and nice weather. We have all recovered from the holidays, for the most part, and are more than ready to let the door hit Winter on its way out. Many of my friends are booking their Spring and Summer vacations. My husband and I love to travel but due to my job situation, we have not been on a vacation since 2007. If I were working, we too would be making airline and hotel reservations about now.

I am super busy at home; still working on projects I would never get to if I were employed. And yet, the outside world seems to be moving on without me. I can plan for tomorrow but anything “out there”, passed this week — I just don’t know. I can’t plan on a Summer vacation, a 6-month-out doctor appointment, a color and cut at my hairdresser three months from now (that is if I had to color my hair to cover up, I don’t know, maybe a sprinkle of grey?) until I know where I will be and what I will be doing by then.

I am, with much less grace than Gumby, in limbo.

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My Weakness Is I Have No Weaknesses

If you’ve ever been on a job interview, you know they ask you what your strengths are which is usually a pretty easy question to answer. Of course, you need to focus on your professional strengths first and foremost but it’s also good to throw in a few personal strengths since you, the person, will be doing the job.

Now the weaknesses question — and yes, they usually make it plural — that’s a tough one. You certainly don’t want to act like you are perfect and have none, and yet what weaknesses won’t be twisted around to totally kick you out of the running? “My weakness is I have no weaknesses” is not gonna fly. Not that I know from experience . . .

One of my weaknesses is that I am loyal to a fault. If I have a manager whom I believe in and respect, I go to the ends of the earth for them, shy of illegal or immoral activity. I am the same way with my loved ones and the same way with music or Broadway shows that I like. It’s not intentional but if someone or something floats my boat in a big way, I stick with them.

A few years ago, my husband and I went to a concert and the opening act was a singer-songwriter from the Philadelphia area. I really, really enjoyed this gentleman and continued to think about his music during the headliner’s performance. When we came home, I purchased four of his songs from iTunes.

Since then, we’ve seen him many times in person and I now have all of his CDs. I workout using an iPod and even though I have over 1,000 songs on the iPod, I stray to this gentleman’s music a good part of the time.

We saw him this weekend and I want to share him and his talents with you. His name is Dan May. I could go on and on about his voice, his lyrics and his music in general but I realize that music is a personal taste. So check him out at his myspace page; I’ve included the link below. You don’t have to be a member of myspace to access Dan’s page. Scroll down a bit and you can listen to some of his songs right from his myspace page.

If I were Oprah, Dan’s music would be at the top of my Favorite Things. I would have my elves come down the aisles and give you his CDs. But alas, I am not Oprah. I am Sister Rain, so I invite you to check him out for free on his myspace page. Enjoy!

As for my other weaknesses, I am sure if you keep coming back to my blog they are sure to reveal themselves.

All two of them . . .

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When I began this blog I used a basic template and swore to myself that I would keep things simple. This blog was an outlet for my feelings during this crazy job search and since I love to write, this was a perfect venue.
However, now that a month has gone by, my organizational itches need scratching and this weekend I made some minor additions to the blog to clean it up a bit and make it a little “purtier” and easier on my readers’ eyes.

One problem with this plan. The changes I wanted to make required me to do HTML coding. Now I can run a spreadsheet like nobody’s business, if I do say so myself, but HTML coding, not so much. But I kept at it and was able to make the following changes:

  • Green lines between posts
  • The sidebar items, “About Me” and “Archives” now are separated
  • I’ve added my email address to “About Me”

None of these things are going to rock your world I am sorry to say, but I’m learning some new stuff that, dare I say, could even help me land a job.

But trust me, my “About Me” is NOT going to change from “Meeting & Event Planner” to “HTML Coder” any time soon. Or ever.

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Friday Potpourri

Things have been dark and stormy in my life the last few weeks and if I need a break, I’m guessing the readers of my blog might need one too.

So here are some miscellaneous thoughts, a virtual Friday potpourri:

  • Is there anybody more fun to watch than Shaun White? Amazing athlete, amazing person.
  • Is there anything better than seeing your country’s athlete on the highest step of the podium while Old Glory is raised and the National Anthem plays? I think not.
  • Whether he’s on the ice or on the dance floor, Apolo Anton Ohno gets my vote EVERY TIME!

The world is a big, beautiful place. The scenery they’ve been showing from the Olympics . . . MAJESTIC!

Leaving Vancouver and back to Pennsylvania:

  • Pitchers and Catchers reported to Spring Training this week; the rest of the players due there next week. Spring has to be around the corner. It just has to!
  • No snow here for four (4) days. See, I told you Spring is on its way!
  • A very good friend’s mother-in-law is having serious surgery this afternoon. Thoughts and prayers go out to her.

    I plan to work on some fine tuning of the blog’s appearance this weekend. It’s been over a month since I started this journey. I thank all of you who have taken the time to join me. I look forward to improving it, in baby steps, and will always appreciate you stopping by.

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Dude Looks Like A Lady

I say that this blog is about the roller coaster ride that is searching for a new job and today I once again reached the top of the hill on that roller coaster and nearly threw up. My hands were sweaty, yet ice cold, and the tears in my eyes weren’t from the wind whipping at that altitude but from wanting to get off the coaster and knowing I couldn’t get off until the ride was over.

I wasn’t really on a roller coaster, of course, but sitting in my home office doing the job search online while waiting on hold with Unemployment. Although I was listening to recorded announcements about unemployment while I was on hold, I swear I heard the clink-clink of the chain of the coaster pulling me up the track to the top of the hill. I waited for over 30 minutes, the whole time sooooooo tempted to hang up the phone. But I knew that since I had finally found the courage to make the call, I had to sit at the top of the hill and wait for it to plummet me down to the bottom. I was strapped in with no way out but to finish it.

Finally, my call was transferred to Dawn. I felt the coaster car lurch forward and we began our quick descent down the hill. I gave her my social security number, my name and address and date of birth. I told her that when I did my claim online the other day it said I was done collecting benefits. Now I was in that state of hang time where your stomach is up in your throat and your bottom is off the seat.

Dawn looked up my information as I held tight to the coaster rail (in this case my phone) and I realized my fingers were as white-knuckled as they were when I rode the Aerosmith Rock ‘N’ Roll Coaster in Walt Disney World.

And then, as my hang time increased, Dawn told me I was eligible for another Tier of Emergency Unemployment. I was in such a panic from the lengthy hang time that I didn’t realize we were at the bottom of the hill until I felt my stomach return to its rightful place in my body. I was still afraid to loosen my grip on the safety bar/phone but felt the tears that had threatened at the top of the hill fall from my eyes in sweet relief.

I had survived yet another plummet to the bottom. I thanked Dawn profusely as my coaster car rolled back to the start/finish area. I am still composing myself an hour later.

Time to go give thanks. And change my underwear . . .

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I am not one of those lucky people who feels endorphins racing through them after exercise. I think when God was giving out endorphins, He skipped me.

I have noticed though, that I get a mental clarity during exercise and it sort of lines things up in my mind that were fuzzy before I started sweating. It’s certainly not a high, but it does clean out the cobwebs.

I just got off the treadmill. On a side note, this is a torture device but imperative during the harsh Pennsylvania winters when one can’t get outside to continue their fitness routine. Although the machine is necessary, it is hated by all. A dear friend coined the phrase “dreadmill”. Need I say more?

But I digress. As I was on the dreadmill, I realized that even though I’ve continued the job search these last few days, I have distanced myself mentally from the struggle. I’ve blocked off, locked up, pushed down and bolted the door where the fear and panic reside that I talked about yesterday.

I realized that I am unconsciously recharging for return to the full-throttle search where I give my everything to it, sometimes at a high cost. Because of that high cost, I realize I have taken a step back and have been subliminally soaking in new inspiration.

I’ve hung my Vision Board up in the spare bedroom where I dreadmill and focus on that as I step through the 40 minutes of torture. I’ve been watching the Olympics and really taking in all the athletes’ stories of training and all that it took to get them to this highest competition.

Tomorrow the break is over. Time to put the fortification to work, to put me back to work.

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