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Beth was there.

Jan. 15th, 2014

05:39 pm - Right

Just to give you an idea of how I'm feeling today, here's the cover letter I want to send with all  my applications.

Hi, I'm an experienced merchandising professional, and would like you to consider me for your open position as Whatever at Whatever your company name is.

I don't know why I'm writing this.  You're not going to read this.  And if by chance you do have the time to read this, that's pretty amazing, but it doesn't really matter, because you're going to hire your colleague, your friend, or your colleague's friend anyway.  You're just reading this to pretend you're making a concerted effort to find the best person.  Now that you've read this--and who knows, even put a list of people together to interview--you can show "Look!  I put forth the effort to find someone, and, surprise!, the person I already know is the best fit!"

So, I hope you consider me, anyway, in the odd chance no one you personally know is looking for work--or is so remotely unqualified that you couldn't find even the slightest reason to convince your boss and colleagues that they'd be the perfect fit.

Thank you for your time.



Jan. 3rd, 2014

10:47 pm - Happy New Year...

Bring on 2014!  2013 pretty much sucked, and while I can't even say that 2014 will be better or even equal--it could be worse--I can at least confidently say that I can close the book on 2013.  In fact, there are events on the horizon that foreshadow a pretty bad 2014.  But I'm going to try to make it the best I can.

I should probably put "Stop procrastinating" on here, because it's been an hour since I wrote the first paragraph, and it's not because I'm a slow typist.

Before my New Year's Resolutions, let me start with a couple of housekeeping notes.  I am telling people that my resolution this year is to get a boyfriend.  A study found people who shared their resolutions were less likely to keep them.  Just talking about them gave them the endorphin high as if they had achieved them, leaving them less motivated to actually do so, since they already gained part of the reward.  As I have no intention of dating anyone this year, it's a safe resolution to tell people.

The second part is that the mistakes people make while making goals are as follows: making too many goals (better to start small and focus on one goal at a time), setting huge goals (better to break the goal into many mini tasks), and dreaming about the outcome (similar to the previous paragraph, it's better to focus on the process rather than the goal).  Yet, the same article--and no, I didn't cite my source so I don't know where it came from, listed the seven categories we should have goals in, and said we should have two or three in each category.  I'm no mathematician or logician, but this seems a clear example of the first mistake.  But, I'm going to do it.  Seven categories, two or three goals in each.  And some will be grandiose, because I am a grandiose person.  Or something.

1. Lose 25 pounds.  I need to lose a lot more than 25 pounds, but I never do well with weight loss, so let's start here.
2. Average 5,000 steps/day.  Sure, it would be great to go for the recommended 10,000 steps, but I've lived with myself.  I have a shot of getting 5,000.  Maybe.  I mean, today was a fairly typical day, and I'm at 3,000 right now.  The curse of a small house is that I never have to walk more than ten steps to get anywhere.  (Plus, if I understand the literature on my pedometer correctly, it won't measure steps until it registers four seconds of moving.  In four seconds, I'm probably where I need to be in my house.)
*3. Stretch every night before bed.  I'm naturally flexible, but I don't stretch as often as I should.  I wonder if it will help some of my back and neck problems to stretch more.

*1. Apply for one new job/week, until employment situation improves.
2. Set work goals daily.

1. Pay of my Home Depot Credit Card.  I paid for my gutters, soffit, and facia on a 0% for two years.  That will expire in September, so I need to make a plan to get it paid off by September.
2. Get a zero-based budget in place.  That's just a fancy way of saying account for every cent before I spend it.

*1. Read one non-fiction book per month.
2. Study/learn java script.  It's been something I've been wanting to do for years--literally--so maybe this year I should take the time.  If I start and realize I hate it, I may quit, but I need to work on learning an equivalent skill.

*1. Read every morning. I'm good at doing it before bed, because I'm a night person, but I'd like to read a bit in the morning to start my day off right.
*2. Keep a gratitude journal by writing every night three things I'm thankful for.

1. Keep the kitchen clean.  My family is me.  I'm going to take care of me by taking care of where I live.
2. Keep the living room clean.  At least keep up with the entryway.

*1. Sew skirts.  I have a lot of fabric to sew some skirts.  Maybe I should, I don't know, consider actually sewing them?
2. Sew shirts. Um, yeah.  I have not worked a lot with sewing knits, but recently I bought some fabric to make myself some shirts.  I need to actually focus a bit and steel my nerves and sit down and sew them.
3. Read one fiction book per month.  I like to read.  But I rarely put aside time to do it.  This will require me taking a book with me more often so I'm always prepared for those quiet moments.

There we go.  Asterisks imply my first focus.  Because, after all, if I tried to focus on all of these goals at once, I'd give up in frustration.  Just working a little bit at a time here...

Nov. 12th, 2013

04:49 pm - Understanding...

I'm still unemployed.  It sucks.  Don't get me wrong, I like having free time to do things at home, but it sucks because I also like to pay bills.  It also costs money to do things, so I can't do as much as I want.

In the Job Networking Group I attend regularly, someone mentioned that the nice part about hanging out with unemployed people is that they understand.  People who haven't been unemployed don't understand why you don't just go out and get a job.  People who have been unemployed understand that you can be sending out resumes, talking to your professional network, and still not quite get anything.  I've applied for jobs where they've hired someone internally--there's nothing you can do about that.  I've applied for jobs I'm overqualified for, and they don't want to hire me because they absolutely know I won't be there for too long.

I had an interview recently and the manager noted that I had been unemployed for five months more or less seemed to think I was being lazy, which is why I was unemployed because I seemed "marketable".  It was a nice compliment, but I did mention that I had been applying, but that I hadn't gotten a lot of offers--and said, honestly, "Frankly, this summer for a couple of months, I wasn't finding anything."  That's when he nodded and said that it was a tough market out there.  I think--hope--that was a reality check for him that it's not a matter of just wanting a job and getting a job.  Sometimes, things are unpleasant.  If I hadn't had a cold and was finding talking very challenging, I would have also brought up that I was laid off at the same time as 600 other people, so I was competing with 600 people with similar job goals and skillsets.  It's not that easy.

At any rate, it's just a reminder that sometimes, what is easy for us--because we have it--isn't easy for anyone else.

And, also, I'm really concerned because I really want that job.  I couldn't get a good read on the hiring manager to know what he thought.  Most of the time I thought he seemed underwhelmed, but then he made positive comments.  I guess I'll find out.

Sep. 19th, 2013

11:22 pm - Decision-making

I'm reading The Complete Idiot's Guide to MBA Basics.  It's a good read, I suppose, but I'm only on chapter 2, so we'll see how it goes.  But there was a little tidbit about decision-making that the author mentioned off-hand could be used in personal life, too.  I'm horrible about making decisions, so here's the steps I need to go through to make them.

  1. Define the Problem.

  2. Gather Information.

  3. Analyze the Information.

  4. Develop Options.

  5. Choose and Use the Best Option.

  6. Monitor the Outcome.

That sounds easy enough, but somewhere around steps 2 and 3 are where I get stuck.  Because there's no black and white right answering screaming from the corner, you have to choose one of the shades of gray.  And frankly, it's hard to figure out what shade of gray to pick.  Just ask anyone who's decided to paint something in their house white.  There are so many options for white, and each one subtly different from the others, that it's hard to decide which one will look the best.  Reality says that all of them will look just fine, but there's a little demon inside that wants to be just right.

Aug. 31st, 2013

05:29 pm - Nevermind.

I always wanted to drive the Alaska Highway--from the US to Alaska, obviously through Canada. However, today I was reading a blog on Tiny Houses (an obsession of mine) and read about someone who actually drove--with their tiny house--the Alaska Highway. She said this:

Driving the Alaska highway was an experience of a lifetime. Really crappy roads carved onto the side of a mountain is the best way to describe it. I am terrified of heights. So it’s something I will avoid for the future. - Victoria Whitcher

Nevermind. If I ever get to Alaska, it will be on a boat or in a plane.

Aug. 3rd, 2013

01:28 am - Fifty-one down, three hundred nine to go

Another mortgage payment has been made. There are 309* to go.

I now own 10.36% of my house (121.52 square feet, so I own my bedroom and my linen closet) and have paid off 8.71% of my loan. I paid $1.07 more** towards my balance than I did last month. My mortgage payment went up again thanks to property insurance soaring like an eagle, so I'm not paying as much extra. Because that's the kind of good news I needed when I'm laid off.

**This is not including any extra paid towards the principle. This is the amount of principle from the regular payment.

In under 26 years, I should own a house!

Jul. 6th, 2013

02:35 am - Fifty down, three hundred to go

Another mortgage payment has been made. There are 310* to go.

I now own 10.19% of my house (119.56 square feet, so I own my bedroom--and a centipede has the nerve to be in there!) and have paid off 8.54% of my loan. I paid $1.07 more** towards my balance than I did last month.

**This is not including any extra paid towards the principle. This is the amount of principle from the regular payment.

In under 26 years, I should own a house!

Jun. 8th, 2013

12:27 am - Fourty-nine down, three hundred eleven to go

Another mortgage payment has been made. There are 311* to go.

I now own 10.02% (WOOHOO! TEN PERCENT!) of my house (117.53 square feet, so I own my sewing room, the linen closet, and the hallway) and have paid off 8.36% of my loan. I paid $1.06 more** towards my balance than I did last month.

**This is not including any extra paid towards the principle. This is the amount of principle from the regular payment.

In under 26 years, I should own a house!

May. 13th, 2013

11:32 pm - Regret

I have a fair number of regrets in life, and many of them are to varying degrees. For example, I kinda regret not getting a math major, but I'm not beating myself up for it. I'll live. I regret not studying harder. I regret goofing off when I could've been working. Anyway...

I'm working a contract job with my former company, which I'd name, but it's probably changed by now. (You guys remember that place. I had the same boss for 12 years, only had two interviews--one for my job, one for my promotion--but the company had 5 or 6 different names and I worked in three different buildings as the company moved twice. My job was odd, too, leading my best friend to simply say "Beth works in an office downtown.") Anyway...

My contract work is VBA programming. I'm working on things you won't find in a book about Word. In fact, my searches online for how to do things have been very limited, because the documentation is simply that sparse. Most of the things I needed to do COULD be done, but it was sifting through the internet, sifting through help pages, and trying things. I really wish I had documented each thing I had done. Because I know it was hard for me to find all this information. It would be great if someone else, coming through the years, who was struggling to do the same things I was doing, would have just one more resource on the internet that they could discover. But, alas, I didn't think of it until today.

Perhaps next week when I really no longer have any work to do. As I face my impending unemployment, maybe I'll blog about that. After all, one of my regrets is my wasted time last time I was unemployed. I did do some house projects, but I wasted a LOT of time I wish I had back. But, hey, no sense having regrets if you can't learn from them!

May. 5th, 2013

01:15 am - Fourty-eight down, three hundred twelve to go

Another mortgage payment has been made. There are 312* to go.

I now own 9.85% of my house (115.51 square feet, so I own my sewing room, and the hallway) and have paid off 8.18% of my loan. I paid $1.06 more** towards my balance than I did last month.

**This is not including any extra paid towards the principle. This is the amount of principle from the regular payment.

In under 26 years, I should own a house! Yep, another year has gone by!

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