Sunday, May 31, 2015

Random First Day Thoughts

Originally written on Tuesday, 5/18/15

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- I can't believe I live in New York.

- My key card works. (Pure joy and excitement)

- I have a keycard.

- My company has a directory in the back of the new employee handbook with everything there is to do around the building. The shopping page had um... 30+ stores. I'm in hog heaven!

- At 1:13 p.m. - I need a nap.

- Then next day - I don't have time to blog at work, so this is turning into random first week thoughts.

- I sneezed (#LikeAMug) and no one said bless you. I'm not in the Quaker state anymore. As much as I love the diversity, I do miss my Christian blessings when I sneeze. :(

- Nothing makes you feel important like billing time. I'm like yes, someone is paying for me! Wait.

- I am so tired of wearing clothes. Since it's spring the air is not really regulated right. It's cold sometimes, so the heat is still on. Then we are having all these closed door meetings. I'm about to pass out daily. Usually when this happens I just take off my clothes...

- THEN, speaking of clothes, I told y'all I gained all this weight. My first day, I had on a dress that I love, but it's a 6 and I am not. I had to fidget through all of my meetings because I kept feeling like it was riding up and my thighs were sweating.

- THEN I buy a medium denim dress from Target, which is essentially a denim paper bag and I figure I'm DEFINITELY going to be comfortable in this, but it's belted. And this morning, I had the belt on the third from the last loop. By afternoon, second from last. Now it's 7:18 p.m. and it's on the last loop, holding on for dear life.

- I'm going to go back to the gym... in June.

- I just saw the cleaning lady. I'm already back on my workaholic steez.

- And I'm taking work home tonight, but it's all good.

- Happy to have a gig. I feel good about this place.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Originally written on 5/11/2015

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I just bought a first class* one-way ticket to New York. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I can't believe my life.

*first class, refundable was cheaper than coach since it's only a week before the travel date.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Chobani #BreakYouMake

In honor of the new Chobani Flips, the folks at Chobani reached out to see who in my life may deserve a break. Um, my bestie, Pascale. She's a stay-at-home-mom with a gorgeous, yet rambunctious soon-to-be 3 year old. She's expecting cutie #2 in a couple of months (surprise gender) AND she's moving into a new home in a few weeks. I'm pretty sure she over indexed on life events per season and could use a little break!  

I couldn't think of a person more deserving of a #BreakYouMake.



And nope, Chobani didn't pay me for this post. It's just the best Greek yogurt on the planet, period.

P.S. That's not my bestie in the photo, that's her toddler, LOL! Chobani team, please pick my friend. She deserves it! 

Mind. Blown.

Originally written on 5/6/2015

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One day, hopefully soon, my blog will be in real time. I'm sitting in my homegirl's apartment reading my new lease that I'm supposed to be signing at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow. I have to send my questions to my lawyer, she has to answer my questions and review before that time. It's 12:18 a.m. #MightDontMakeIt

So much about this process is blowing me. I think the thing about getting older and having more experiences, is that I see things for what they are rather than what I want them to be. I love New York, but I'll be damned if it doesn't have some serious drawbacks.

Starting with everyone trying to get over on you all the time, which translates to my lease being 53 pages because they have to explicitly state everything. As I'm reading through this, there are a few things that stop me in my tracks and I wanted to share. Let's see if we can get to 10:

  • My apartment has hardwood floors and the lease says I'm supposed to cover 80% of it with carpet or a rug. Nah, son. 
  • There are so many references to "servants" in my lease. How many New Yorkers have servants? 
  • My building is listed as non-combustible, which after 1968 was changed to fireproof, which means if there's a fire I'm supposed to stay in my home for safety. Yeah, no. 
Ok, only 3 things. Sort of anticlimactic, but I wrote it, so I'm posting it.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Real Talk

Originally written on 4/29/15

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On my birthday 2015, my little brother hits up wanting to know what city and state I'm in, so he can send me stuff for my birthday. I'm like, send me what? How about you send me a Target gift card because I need groceries.

He's like I was going to send flowers or candy, to which, I IMMEDIATELY reply:

Send flowers. F*ck groceries.

At the end of the day unemployed as I may be, I'm still a girl. And I'm still a Taurus. And Tauruses love beautiful things. And flowers are some of the most beautiful things the good Lord has ever blessed us with.

I'm sure there's a soup kitchen or something I can get food from. There aren't going to be any flowers in a soup kitchen.

And before you all get out of sorts, I'm exaggerating. I'm not to the point where I'm eating at soup kitchens, but I've also never been the type to spend a premium on food in my home. I may eat at a nice restaurant or something, but my fridge is pretty bare on the regular. Now that I've been traveling, I haven't found the time to keep my fridge stocked AND I'm lowkey scared to buy a lot of groceries because I just don't think I'll be living here that much longer. 

Nothing like throwing out a fridge full of food.

Anywho, if I remember, I'll post pics of my birthday flowers. I thank God for brothers!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Bum's Log: 3 Months

Originally written on 4/27/15

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April 27th is a special day. In 2012, it was my last day at the PR agency, I spent almost 8 years at. I didn't even take a week and started my new job on April 30th. Now, three years later, it marks 90 days since I got laid off a new job. (Not the job I left my old agency for... Have you ever had three W2 in the same year? A mess).

It's also the day before my birthday. The last day in a year. It's like New Year's Eve for me. This year, it's not my favorite day. I've definitely been in better places on April 27th the other 30 years of my life, but I'm excited to turn 32 tomorrow and put this year behind me. Which, by the way, was a good year despite my current 90 days of unemployment situation.

Anywho, here's my log:

30: Episodes of the Mindy Project that I've seen since my last bum's log
90: Days I've been unemployed 
90: Jobs I've applied to (hey, look at me averaging 1 job a day. That's way better than my last check in)
54: Number of Tinder matches I have right now (That span Chicago, New Orleans and New York... None in Pittsburgh because racism) 
22: Phone interviews I've had
10: In-Person Interviews I've had  
4: Cities I've visited since that fateful January day
3: Number of times I've been to New York for interviews
1: Number of times I've had to appeal my eligibility to the unemployment office in a "hearing" because their computer system broke and they blamed it on me
0: Number of current Tinder matches I've actually ever met in person 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

An Update (Also, I'm Procrastinating)

Originally written on 4/24/15

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I fired off that writing test very close to noon today. It was supposed to take 3 hours, it took me 9. I don't know if that means, I'm unskilled or a perfectionist or what, but I did it, went back to sleep, then woke up at about 4 p.m. to start my day. I guess I've said the hell with a regular sleep pattern since I don't have a job to be at in the morning.

Now, at 11:42 p.m. after I've gone to happy hour, chatted it up on the phone with a friend, and watched Scandal, I'm embarking on the next writing test for the third PR agency I'm in the final rounds with. I have to be at church at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow to head out to North Carolina with my church fam. Yes, I'm THAT girl who takes bus trips with the church.

And apparently, I don't like nice things since I'm about to stay up all night writing AND I haven't packed or done my hair. But if you have a 7 hour bus ride, you might as well be tired for it.

This next test I'm about to do strictly forbids internet usage. They gave me more than 72 hours to complete it. Fam, it's 2015. I need a job and I have almost 4 days to complete the task. If you think I'm going to let Google and all its search engine power just sit there when it could be the difference between me eating or not eating, you are crazy... deranged. You are a lie and the truth ain't in you. Like, who's going to call me and say: "Hey T, did you use the internet to complete this project?"

That's the kind of thing you put on a writing test if/when I take it in your office on your computer and you give me something with just a word processor and no internet access. And even then, I'm pulling my phone out and going to town.

I'm probably not going to accept the job with this agency off GP for giving me these antiquated instructions, but by the time you read this you'll know where I work already and it will be a moot point.

Also, I met a venture capitalist in Pittsburgh at a fundraiser and he called me about a month ago to help him with a project. When he found out I didn't have a job, he shot my resume far and wide and now I have 5 (count 'em, FIVE) meetings with CEO or President level folks at companies all over Pittsburgh. Clearly, my strongest local connect and it was all because I was a cheerful giver when I had it.

Reap what you sow. Karma. Game recognize Game. Whatever you call it, I'm glad doing what I love to do (give back) has put me in a position with so many options.

Ok, bye.

Monday, May 25, 2015

I Don't Want to Do Anything

Originally written on 4/24/15

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I'm sitting here on my second cup of coffee, pulling an all nighter to get not one, but two writing tests done. Because I am in round three with not one, but three PR agencies in New York. I should be ecstatic. I'm not.

I'm bored out of my mind doing these writing tests. And I can't tell if this is a fear mechanism or if I really don't care for these jobs that I'm actually very skilled at doing.

I'm running down a few lanes in my job search.

1. Corporate PR (for a corporation, has to be a great fit in a good city)
2. PR Firms in New York (It needs to be a VP position or similar and in New York)
3. Sports Marketing, PR, Communications or Community Relations for a professional sports team (it could be in any city, if I respect the team)

I'm not so sure that I want to do #2. I know I want to move to New York. I know I don't want to do agency PR in Chicago. I would consider another agency PR job in Pittsburgh if the fit is right, but the types of things they have me doing on these writing tests is boring me to tears and I think it's a sign that even if I get the job I should turn it down.

HOWEVER, it also occurred to me that I just don't want to work anywhere. I want to be a stay-at-home-American. Somehow, even though, I'm not working for a living, I've managed to take on all of these nonprofit responsibilities and I think I could do a better job at at them if I didn't have to look for a job.

I also like keeping my home clean. That's much easier to do when I don't have to worry about finding a job. I also like relaxing, watching Hulu Plus, not checking email and/or answering phone calls or texts and checking Instagram and Pinterest nonstop. I'm a happier, more jovial person when I can do these things. I'm less irritable and less stressed and...

I'm running out of money.

This is why I originally wanted to be a house wife. It's a lot of work, BUT the reward is greater. Knowing you have a man who appreciates you and knowing you're contributing to someone else's professional success is likely more rewarding than running million dollar accounts for public relations agencies.

Maybe. I'm trippin. I'm procrastinating. I'm tired. I'm bored. I'm single and delusional. Maybe I'll play the lottery tomorrow. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Lessons Learned

Originally written on 4/23/15

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1. Be grateful for EVERYTHING- If I had just been grateful for the head's up that my flight was delayed, I would have gotten up at the same time and took care of some things for 90 minutes at the airport instead of being sluggish and going back to sleep.

2. Never take no for an answer - U.S. Airways wouldn't sell me a ticket originally because the plane had 50 seats and 50 people checked in. Meanwhile there were 4-5 empty seats on the plane when the door was about to close.

3.  ALWAYS have a list - I got a little cocky since this was my third trip in two weeks AND I had car service coming to get me, so I didn't have to stress about being on-time and such. I forgot so many things that ended up costing me um... close to $800 in flights, Uber, the Verizon store and overdraft fees. I have GOT to do better.

4. Let Go and Let God - I had ample opportunity to get on social media and complain. To curse the air to claim Murphy's law and just give up. But I know everything happens for a reason and I also know I don't control ANYTHING except my own actions. I make mistakes (leaving my ID at home to start) and maybe this situation will help me be compassionate to others who make mistakes that affect me in the future.

5. Don't take your day out on other people - Despite being really angry with myself, I still had a delightful conversation with my Uber driver. There was no reason to be mad or mean towards him (or anyone else, even though I REALLY wanted to be) and that conversation made my day better. PLUS we talked about Pittsbugh restaurants and I added a new one to my list.

6. People/companies deserve a second chance. I wrote a whole post about hating Delta and I DID based on a horrific experience I had with them years back. BUT After missing my flight, I called Delta to make sure I was still on the outbound flight and asked about a refund for the inbound. They gave it to me (#NeverHappens) and now I have essentially a free flight to take wherever I want, which is an awesome silver lining. They have roomier seats than other airlines, cheaper prices on last minute flights and really good Biscotti. While I'm a still bull-headed Taurus, I'm proud of my ability to reconsider what I once thought to be true.

7. Bring Your Own Dough - Even if the company is sponsoring the trip, bring your own money. The $72 I just spent in overdraft fees is money I can never get back. I had been doing so well this year too. I was trying to go a whole year without overdraft fees. You know, act as a responsible, checkbook-balancing adult. Ah well, reset.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Interviewing: A Day In The Life

Originally written on 4/22/15

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Yesterday was the travel day from hell, but I learned so many positive lessons. Today, I'll tell you what happened. Tomorrow I'll share my lessons.

  • My Delta flight was moved to 7:23 a.m. I complained about it and went back to sleep. 
  • Got to the airport at 6:20... but left my I.D. at home in my other purse. 
  • Went back home. 
  • Got back to the airport at 7:42. My flight was gone. Delta booked me on an 11:20 a.m. 
  • My interview was at 10:30. That's a no-go. 
  • The next flight was U.S. Airways leaving at 8:35 a.m. It was booked.
  • I stood by the jet bridge and waited for all the people to get on. 
  • I paid $676.10 + a $35 same-day booking fee to get on that 8:35 a.m. flight in hopes of making it to my interview on time. 
  • The flight was delayed.
  • I get to LaGuardia at 10:20 a.m. 
  • Hop in the car service that was waiting, go to change my shoes. 
  • I left my shoes at home. (I took them out of my purse when I put my ID back INTO my purse) 
  • Have to stop at Nine West during lunch traffic in NYC. 
  • Get to the interview at 11:42 a.m., but cool, calm and collected because I looked good and even an hour and 12 minutes late, I'd be an asset to anyone's team. 
  • Miss my 12 p.m. conference call with another agency I was interviewing with. Can't reschedule because the SVP was on his way out of town. Womp.
  • Got to make a phone call, phone's dead. 
  • Go to Pret to eat breakfast/lunch/dinner because it's 2:30 p.m. by now (yep all that time and I hadn't eaten yet) 
  • Realize I didn't pack my phone charger. MAN COME ON!
  • Bought a new phone charger. 
  • Met my friend at her job to get her house keys. 
  • Made it to her house. Decompressed. 
  • Had a lovely dinner at Streetbird in Harlem where a fellow dolphin is the executive chef. She just happens to be division 033. We produce greatness, in case you didn't know. 
  • Watched the awesomeness that is Married at First Sight (My friend has GOOD cable).

Friday, May 22, 2015

Things I Forgot Before Traveling Today

Originally written on 4/21/15

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- My I.D.
- My phone charger
- My black pumps
- My lip moisturizer. Lipstick is not moisturizing. I'm dry as hell out in here in New York. 

I remembered soap and deodorant though because freshness.

More on this tomorrow.

BECAUSE I'M HAPPY!

I am so happy right now. I was out for my girl's birthday yesterday and everyone was like you have the JuJu... I feel like I'm glowing. So friggin' happy! I'm going to try to write a top 10, but who knows if I'll be able to stop...

10. I LIVE IN NEW YORK! I feel like I live in a movie. Every day I walk to the train in Harlem like "pinch me."

9. I have a new job. Work is work, but NEW work is amazing. I'm happy to be back in the land of the gainfully employed.

8. I get paid at the end of the month. I thought I was going to have to wait until June 15, but nope. Money goals coming back into focus!!!

7. I have a new apartment. I'm sitting in my friend's apartment writing this blog post. #FreeWifi The movers won't be at my new place until 1:30 p.m., but I got my keys this morning and it's NICE! It's better than I remembered it in my head. I'm so happy about it!

6. I have new clothes. Listen, I couldn't start a new job with too-tight and/or outdated clothes. In PR, how you look is important. I didn't go ham at the mall or anything, but every time I pick something up, I pop a tag and I'm SO happy about it.

5. I SEE BLACK PEOPLE! Everywhere. At work. In Harlem. On the train. At the bars. ALL! OVER! THE! PLACE! I am not the only Black person in the room anymore ever.

4. I know nothing. Moving to New York will let you know you know nothing about what you thought you knew. I'm like a sponge, soaking up all the education.

3. McDonald's gave me two hashbrowns today when I only ordered one. The responsible thing to do would be to throw one away. But I ate it...

2. I'm overweight [for my size]. I'm happy because I don't care. I don't care because I'm happy. When I get back in the gym, it'll be because I want to be strong to lug my laptop up and down subway stairs in NYC, not because I want a flat stomach. I'm about this flowy shirt, maxi skirt life. I also sometimes feel like more of a woman when I'm at a higher weight. Like I was a child for the first um.. I dunno... 28 years of my life. I'm squishy and I like it! 

1. I'm going to Chicago tonight! Grits and Biscuits tonight, fresh off the plane with 4 Southwest drinks tickets in my purse. Day Party to celebrate all these Gemini birthdays Saturday. Wedding of the Century Sunday and chill time with my sick grandmother on Monday. Doesn't matter where I reside, Chicago is my home and makes my heart happy.

Bonus: I saw um... four Chicagoans last night. Because Chicago is everywhee. And we find each other and we party together in different cities and it feels like home, but better.

I'm so friggin' HAPPY!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

I Hate *Unnamed* Airlines

Originally written on 4/21/15

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I'm leaving for New York this morning for interview number several with one of the five companies I'm interviewing with in New York. They paid for the flight, so I didn't tell them that I would prefer to fly American or Southwest. I'm trying to practice being gracious.

I wake up to a text message saying my flight has moved from 6 a.m. to 7:23 a.m. 1. Thanks for the text, but 2. What the fuck? What if I had a 9 a.m. meeting? Don't they understand people traveling this early are traveling for business.

I know things happen, but I swear things happen MORE on *Unnamed* than on any other airline. I have no patience for people or companies who don't work on their craft. If UPS can master logistics, clearly *Unnamed* can figure out a way to get flights out on time. This is a big part of why I stopped dealing with them in the first place.

Now the car service has to wait downstairs for me for an hour and a half because there's no way I'm leaving at 4:30 a.m. for a flight that doesn't leave until 7:23 a.m.

Shout out to the Pittsburgh airport for being so easy to get through that I can show up an hour before my flight and still make it. #SilverLining

I'm going back to sleep.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tea's Tangents: Unemployement Edition

Originally written on 4/11/15

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1. Procrastination is the devil. I also participate in active procrastination to try to trick myself into thinking that's not what it is. For example, I went to the doctor and had lunch with a former coworker [and took a nap] before I got my day started today. BUT since today is the day before I travel, I probably should have rescheduled both of those appointments and skipped that luxurious nap to fully focus on preparing for these interviews.

2. I thought my flight was leaving at 2:30 and it's actually arriving in New York at 2:30, which means instead of leaving at 12:30 p.m., I now need to leave at about 11 a.m. and the number of things I need to do before now and then is just...

3. Meanwhile, I still sat down to write down my thoughts because I can't Tweet them because I don't want people asking me what I'm doing in New York and I have to say interviewing because I don't have a job. 

4. Trying to pack for a trip when you have given no thought whatsoever to how your weight gain has affected your work clothes, BUT you also cannot buy anything because you are not employed... is the pits. I'm about to be sucking it in for 7 straight days. I'm seriously considering buying maternity pants for my everyday flow. I need a belly pocket too. I just want to be comf-table.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It started with an invitation

Originally written on 3/31/15

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Yesterday, I got a wedding invitation in the mail. It was gorgeous. Classic, traditional, elegant. I couldn't wait to RSVP.

A quick survey of my closet indicated that I'd need to purchase a dress (or maybe even a gown because it's an evening wedding) and I IMMEDIATELY got online. After exhausting myself on RentTheRunway, Ebay, Maggy London, Badgley Mischka and a host of other sites. I decided on two styles of dress that I MAY wear to this wedding.

Then today, I borrowed a friend's car to go to the dentist and found myself on errands, amongst those, taming these brows. Do you know I went in about a month ago and Hanna (brow threader at La Biotique in the Monroeville Mall)... Yes, I know they were shooting in the mall, but seriously, where else am I going to get my brows done in Pittsburgh.

I digress.

A month ago Hanna told me I'd messed up the shape of my brows so bad that she couldn't even clean them up.

I had to go to Sephora, buy some brow powder and fill them in for a month and ACT like I didn't notice the monstrosity on my face. It was real Bert from Sesame Street level horrible.

Back to the story.

So brow place is at the mall, the mall is near DSW. I need shoes to go with this imaginary dress I'm buying. And perhaps shoes will help me pick between the two imaginary dresses I'm buying.

I proceeded to play a game called "If I wasn't unemployed, how many pairs of shoes would I buy today?" The answer was four, maybe five. Maybe three. If I was feeling sensible, but probably not, there wee some great deals: Cole Haan loafers for $60. And there's no tax on shoes or clothes in Pittsburgh. I about cried putting those back in the box.

So I leave out of their unscathed, but I still need some cute flat shoes that are not flip flops for the upcoming bachelorette party that's in New Orleans in less that three weeks (related to the wedding in less that two months).

I get online looking for some shoes that I saw in DSW LAST YEAR and left them there being "responsible" and boy, I'm not doing that anymore. They next time I have a job and want something, I'm buying it.

So thanks to the lovely internet, I track them or their knockoffs down at Bakers and they are $84.99 and I cannot spend $84.99 on anything frivolous when I do not have an income and I am sad. If they were $25.99, I would have been all over that and taken it out of my grocery budget. I'd be all... #MeatlessMondays What?

So now, I'm going to be flip-flopping it up in New Orleans like a peasant without cute, strappy, rhinestoned footwear, but the moment I have an income, I'm buying these shoes. And not even because I want them so bad. It's because I want them NOW and I can't have them. So I will have them later. (I clearly have issues with rejection, denial and the word no in general. I feel like one of those girls on Ricki Lake talmbout "You shunned me in kindergarten, but look at me now." Pray for me.)

UPDATE: Now that I have a job, I really don't want these shoes. I bought some other stuff I wanted though. :-)

Taken For Granted: Employer Costs

Originally written on 4/7/15.

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I just got my water/sewer bill and it is 150% of what it was last month (the last bill I had before I lost my job). What's worst is that this bill I'm looking at includes 2 weeks that I was out of town.

I completely took for granted the fact that I wasn't cooking breakfast and lunch at home and running the dishwasher and the laundry machine daily while I was at work. All my trash. All my dishwashing were paid for by the gig.

Add that to these healthcare costs:

Obamacare is awesome, but my copays are higher because I picked a midrange plan vs. an expensive plan that cost about as much as COBRA.

Then add that to the fact that I no longer have a tax-sheltered fund to pay for prescriptions and doctors visits. I paid out of pocket to go to the dentist chief. I was like we're not doing X-rays until I'm an employee again. Eff that. Scrub me white, then I'm out of here!

So yeah, the next time I have a job, I will be thanking God line by line for all of these things that I never quite considered as "costs" or "low cost" because I always had them.

After I get a job and sing grateful at church, it's going to have a new meaning.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Get Humble

Originally written on 4/4/15.

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I went out for a friend's birthday last night in Pittsburgh. The pickings are so slim that we ended up in a club that's really for college students and has no discernible dress code. I seriously saw a woman with a McCutchen jersey on and a man in a jogging suit amongst other things that FURTHER let me know that Hulu Plus would have been a better look.

But, I'm a good friend, so I subjected myself to it. Sidenote: In 2016, I may really stop going to places I don't want to go whether it's someone's birthday or not. It's SO hard to do, but I wonder if I waste my life away doing stuff I don't want to do under the guise of supporting others. Like are they going to quit me if I don't go to their birthday party. I think no. 

I digress.

So somewhere on this blog, I've written about how I hate DJs calling out the dumbest stuff on the mic. I believe I said something like:

"The DJ said 'if you have a job and make more than $25,000, MAKES SOME NOISE,' but if you DON'T have a job and/or if you make less than $25,000 a year, you shouldn't even be at the club. Like, why are you consuming anything that isn't essential if you don't make more than $25,000 a year?"

Of course, I'm out at this place with teeny boppers and the DJ says the same thing "If you have a job, if you make more $30,000 a year, if you have XXX in your pocket, MAKE SOME NOISE!"

It was at this moment that I realized that I'm a judgmental jerk. And for all the people I want to ride out of my pockets, I spend a lot of time assigning meaning to what other people have a don't have. 

The DJ at this wack club called out these meager stats and I couldn't even fist pump to them. I was in there looking at my shoes. I wanted to be like, but I have a healthy savings account and a strong IRA. I have good credit and lots of earning potential. I'm just in between jobs right now. This is really what I was thinking.

God humbled me last night. Even though, it seems to be in contrast to my core and who I am as a person, it's my goal to keep this humility with me in my future dealings. Everything happens for a reason and if the only reason for me to be unemployed was to humble me, that's reason enough.

Thankful for the opportunity to have a new perspective.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bum's Log: 2 Months

Originally written on 3/27/15

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I've been unemployed for two months. It went by so fast. I sometimes wonder what I do all day with the 8-12 hours I would have been working. Well... 

I've traveled.
I've networked.
I've applied for 74 relevant positions and had 13 interviews (and had two noncommittal meetings, that were NOT interviews)
I've rediscovered the joy of daily naps.
I've been a TV junkie.
I've done bikram... twice. 
I've unsubscribed from every irrelevant email listserv, as my nerves can no longer stand having to delete party pluggers, shopping coupons and boring newsletters while I'm waiting on interview invites.
I've shredded papers like I have something hide. Apparently my Verizon bills are G14 classified. 
I've entertained.
I've read for pleasure [this is how you know I'm bored].
I've prayed.
I've eaten.
I've searched my soul and explored my innermost desires.
I've cried.
I've slowed down.
I've volunteered.
I've sent birthday postcards.
I've given my hair way too much attention.
I've budgeted.
I've clean. Oh boy, have I cleaned.

I've dreamed.

Have you ever been unemployed? What'd you do?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Unemployment: A day in the life

Originally written on 3/26/15 

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Despite being sleep deprived today was a good day:

9 a.m. - Breakfast with my Pastor. I figured since I'm close to my Pastor I might as well take advantage of that relationship. I imagine if I had a relationship with my father or stepfather that I would go to breakfast and talk to them the way I did with my pastor. I'm grateful that he's standing in the gap.

11 a.m. - Picked up my computer, a Trader Joe's bag full of papers to shred and some nonprofit paperwork to head over to the church.

12:10 p.m. Wrapped up some questions for a grant my Pastor's applying for on behalf of the board I sit on.

12:30 p.m. Got a call from a millionaire who needs marketing help for his nonprofit. Random as ever. I sat next to him at a charitable breakfast about a year ago. While I thought he'd thrown my card in he trash, he remembered every detail of our conversation and wasn't shy about asking me for help. He also told me to send him my resume and he'd forward along to some folks locally. Apparently sitting in the house of the Lord, agrees with me.

1 p.m. - SHREDDED PAPERS! Y'ont know how I feel about it.

2 p.m. - Stopped shredding papers to prep for a phone interview.

2:30 p.m. - Took a phone interview from the sanctuary (the rest of my day had taken place in the church office)

3 p.m. - RESUMED SHREDDING PAPERS. Free therapy, I'm tryna tell ya!

4 p.m. - Ran downstairs to get some macaroni/tuna salad. Another good thing about being at church is there is ALWAYS food. ALWAYS!

4:30 p.m. Sent out four networking emails and confirmed one interview for Monday.

5 p.m. Started prep for our nonprofit board meeting.

6 p.m. Board meeting.

7 p.m. Ate Dinner

8 p.m. Worked out

9 p.m. Crashed

I can't wait for the weekend y'all. I've really "worked" for it this week!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Kids Keep Me Young...

I love Humans of New York. It is by far the best display of diversity I've ever seen. It really tells you people's stories in one of the most diverse metropolises of our nation. So I came across this post, where a teacher says he does everything his students do (socially), so that they can know he's interested in them BEFORE they have a problem. Man, that's simple, but it's genius.

Fortunately, I saw this the right before I took Joy to Red Lobster for our farewell/she's just pregnant and hungry dinner. So instead of trying to play my gospel station (LOL!), I let her play her music in the car.

Kids will put you up on that new new. For the record all my juvenile delinquent girls LOVE Chief Keef. Joy thinks he's cute. (How you know she needs my help and guidance). But I let her cook. We listened to this so many times in the car that I started boppin' to it and downloaded it.

It's so bad that you have to watch YouTube with the lyrics to even know what they're saying. It's so bad, that Tank, my ratchet music connoisseur said he couldn't listen to more than 45 seconds of it. It's misogynistic, promotes promiscuity, drug use and probably low self-esteem.

BUT it gave me a way to connect to Joy and it's still banging in my headphones. I present to you Decline. For every fool who ever hit your phone that can't take a hint.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Saddest Post I Ever Wrote

It's Friday morning, I get up early, like I have to go to work and go get my nails done. Because it's my job to be pretty. *insert cute brown girl emoji here*

In Evernote, I have a list of things to do to prepare to move to New York. They range from get Renter's Insurance to get absentee ballot in Pittsburgh, since I'll miss the local election on May 19. I get off the bus with freshly manicured nails and toes right in front of the county building to go vote and my phone rings. It's some 412 number I don't know.

I pick up. I'm in a good mood. My nails are fly. My to-do list is getting beasted, I'm about to go exercise my American right to vote and I was going to try a new restaurant for lunch. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hello
Ashley: Hi Ms. T., this is Ms. Ashley from the Group Home.
Me: Hey Ms. Ashley, how are you?
Ashley: Well, we're really sad today.
Me: *Thinking, yeah you are, I'm moving to New York, who wouldn't be sad about that*
Ashley: Well, I wanted to give you a call so you wouldn't see it on the news. You haven't seen the news, have you?
Me: No, I'm getting ready to move to New York, I haven't been paying attention to much locally.
Ashley: Well, there was news last night of two women being found in a home in the East Hills.
Me: Uh huh.
Ashley: And one of those women was one of our girls.
Me: Oh my God. Oh no. I am so sorry to hear that. Who? WHICH GIRL?
Ashley: Tionna, I don't know if you know her, she was kind of quiet.
Me: Tall, a little heavier, kind of soft-spoken, she had a newborn baby? Yeah, I know her. She likes to workout. She used to put her son in his bouncy seat and workout before dinner. Yeah, I know her.
Ashley: Well, she passed away and we didn't want you to see it on the news. We know how close you are to the girls and wanted to let you know.

That's the conversation. That's the call I got on Friday. I asked if I could be of service, to come over and console the girls or hug them or listen to them or whatever they needed. They were only allowing crisis staff in the house that day. I understood.

And I googled the news and I saw it. And I called Mrs. Grayson (my Pittsburgh mom) to see if she was in court (She's a lawyer) because I was sitting on the side of the court unable to move and crying uncontrollably, but she wasn't in court. Then I called my Pastor and unfortunately, he gets these calls of death and despair all too often. And he said he would pray for me and he did. And I called my homeboy. And he read the article to me and answered my questions about the facts because even though I saw it, my eyes couldn't make out the words. And he was at work, but he listened to me cry.

And I updated my Facebook status to see if anyone was around for a hug. Because I REALLY needed a hug.

Then I willed myself to go vote because it was the only time I had to do it. And the only thing to keep me from voting is my own death. So I walked into the county building, tears streaming down my face and shaking and I voted. And no one consoled me. Because as heavy as this is, I imagine people going in and out of courts and the county building have all kinds of heavy things going on, so maybe it wasn't odd to see a woman crying uncontrollably.

And I knew I had to eat. I didn't want to try the new restaurant anymore. I wanted a pizza. A whole pizza. I didn't have an appetite, but I knew I could eat that. I walked to Domino's and they didn't have any pizzas ready, so I ordered 5 individual slices and went home. It was 2 p.m. by the time I got home. I got the call at about noon. It took me 2 hours to walk six blocks. I was a zombie. I just wanted to lay on the ground and die.

I had to show someone my apartment. I told them I was mourning the loss of a loved one, but willing to show them around. That happened.

Then I got up and went to a girlfriend's house. She had seen my Facebook status and said she was working from home and could she do anything? I took an Uber to her. That poor driver. He tried to talk to me and I just said, not today. Today is a horrible day and I don't want to talk about it.

I got to her apartment and collapsed in her arms. My tears streamed down her body and she just held me. We're not even that close, but I thank God for her. It took me three hours to get to that hug and it was all I needed.

As fate would have it, I had an appointment with my therapist at 4:30, so I went to that. Cried again. Acknowledged all of this sadness, but caught her up on all of the happiness I was feeling before I got that call and was reminded that I can be both happy and sad. I do not have to choose one over the other. 

I walked from my therapist's office to meet my girls for drinks. I had sent out a text at like 8am that day asking what was popping after work, then by the time 5 p.m. came I kept going back and forth from I want to lay on my floor and die to I want to be on a rooftop with a mojito. Dark liquor would have taken me to a bad, bad place.

I opted to hang with my girls. We went to three different places looking for a rooftop (third place had it) and a mojito (nowhere in Pittsburgh makes mojitos. This stupid, stupid city.) I finally gave in to wanting to be alone at about 8:45p.m. then I slept. Lord, did I sleep.

Saturday morning, I was awakened by a Facetime from two fools who made me laugh for an hour straight. Thanks Dion and Mike, I love you both more than you know! 

As I write this, I feel much better now, Wednesday, a few days later. The funeral is Friday. I am not going and that's ok. I checked in with the girls at the house. They are clearly sad. Joy, my one-on-one mentee, said that she feels like it's not real, like it's TV or a movie or something. And it will feel real to her after the funeral on Friday.

The hardest part is knowing that I've done all I can do. I can't mentor away violence. I can't protect these girls from the world. The day I found out, I felt so guilty for my success. I have all this goodness happening in my life and I just wanted to trade it all to get Tionna back. I would be poor for the rest of my life to see that child again. I know that favor is not fair, but some days I just want to give some of mine away to help other people. But, life doesn't work like that. I am sure that I am what God needs me to be in the lives of these girls, but this murder has changed my life forever.

I pray like a parent now. I call every girl's name in prayer and pray that she is alive, well and no harm or violence comes to her. I pray that everyone I know or encounter is blessed and protected. I pray I NEVER get a call like that EVER again. 

I love you all, but I'm disabling the comments. I can say with some certainty that 1) you are SO sorry this happened, 2) you have me, Tionna's family and my girls in the group home in your prayers and if there's anything you can do, that you want me to let you know. Sometimes condolences make me sadder, so thank you in advance, but let's just talk about happy stuff, ok?

One more thing: They CONSISTENTLY pronounced her name wrong on the news reports, which is why, amongst other reasons, I stopped following the story. It upsets me to no end. It also underscores the sad fact that she didn't have a lot of family. Family would have corrected the reporter. For your information, it is pronounced TEE-AHN-NAH. Not TIE-OWN-NAH. If I die and you let the news mispronounce my name, I will haunt you in your waking moments and in your nightmares. Believe that. 

aijuswannasleep

Originally written on 3/26/16

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I looked back at my blog and on March 2nd, I talked about not being able to sleep. Waking up at about 3:30 in the morning and not being able to go back to sleep.

Somewhere between then and now, I've been able to sleep 7, 8, sometimes even 10 hours each night. This feels amazing. While I can't exactly pull myself out of bed before 8 a.m. (I tried and it's like nah...), I am pleased to once again get a full night's sleep.

Or I WAS pleased with a full night's sleep until yesterday, when I woke up at 3:30 in the morning and couldn't go back to sleep until about 7. Then I woke up and 9, rolled over and didn't wake up again until 12:50.

Today I woke up at about 3:15 a.m. I have to be somewhere at 9 a.m., so I'm not going to sleep in until 1 p.m. again like yesterday. I'm already tired thinking about the nap I can't take today.

Whenever I hear preachers talking about being up at the crack of dawn, they say it's a call from God. A call for prayer. Strangely, I don't feel like that's the call I'm getting. I pray every day. I pray long, specific prayers every day, so I'm not convinced that God is waking me up in the middle of the night to talk to Him again. But I guess if you love someone you probably talk to them more than once a day.

Maybe it IS prayer time. Whatever time it is, it's not going to sleep time and for that I am sad.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Blessings of Unemployment

Originally written on 3/25/15

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Today, I volunteered at Family House. Now, I usually volunteer at the Shadyside House, but I haven't been able to sign up in a timely fashion because I never know when I'm going to have an interview out of town. So I hit the volunteer coordinator up on Monday to see if she still needed a Shadyside volunteer on from 10-2 on Wednesday. She didn't, but as fate would have it, someone had just dropped out and she ask if I could go to Neville. AND could I go 10-2, same shift ACTUALLY, 12-4, No, Actually, 2-6.

I wish I could say I WANTED to go to Neville. I didn't. It's off of my bus route. I got lost going and had to pay twice on the bus (a real issue when you don't have a job) and when I got there, I had to wait about 15 minutes for the current manager to show me around the house. *I'M* supposed to know how to show people around the house. That's part of my job description as a volunteer. When I first arrived, I felt like more of a nuisance than a help.

But then something amazing happened. I slowed down and helped two people to their rooms that day. They didn't need help with their bags and they didn't really even need to know where to go. What they needed was to see a helpful friendly face welcome them to a warm place during a difficult time. They needed someone to talk to about their drive in and how nice it was to have a place to go while they awaited their wife's and their own medical procedures, respectively. They needed me to just show up, slow down and be myself.

Then another thing happened. I was fasting for Lent today (no food on Wednesdays until 6 p.m.), so I brought my dinner and planned to eat it in the kitchen at 6 p.m. when my shift was over. But some students from the Circle K Club at DuQuesne University made noodle stir fry for the guests and volunteers... and guess what time dinnertime was, 6 p.m.

So I sat at the table with the patients and families of patients battling terminal illnesses or awaiting surgeries or transplants and we had dinner like a family. And we watched and discussed the 6 p.m. news. And they asked me about the cold winters in Chicago. And they told me what it's like to live in the sticks of Virginia or West Virginia or Pennsylvania and how how Pittsburgh is too fast for their tastes.

One woman, about 70 years old, who was sick and by herself... She took a liking to me and I had the chance to talk to her until she went up to her room for the night. This woman asked me if there was a Christian cancer pamphlet because her neighbor was recently given a terminal diagnosis and when she got back home she wanted to share support with him and his wife. (The pamphlet sitting out at the desk was for Jewish folks and she didn't want to impose.)

I don't know all of these guest's stories and I don't know their outcomes, but I know I was exactly where I was supposed to be today. And if I had a job, not only would I have NOT been available on a weekday, and NOT have been flexible to switch houses, but I DEFINITELY would not have had time to sit and fellowship with the guests.

Days like today remind me what a blessing it can be to be unemployed. And it's days like today that I hope I remember most when I get back to the grind.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Today was a good day!

Originally written on 3/16/15.

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Last weekend, I forced myself to finish House of Cards, so I wouldn't be left out of any conversations. This weekend, I forced myself watch the Good Wife to catch up to the network airing (I didn't catch up. I had to buy CBS All Access Pass to watch Season 6, then I was about two episodes away from being done when the live show aired. I finished this morning). I digress. While I was forcing myself to watch TV, I somehow got really motivated to not just job search, but to do all the other work-like things on my to-do list and to participate fully in life (vs. hiding from life on the couch with ice cream and cookies).

I decided from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. M-F, this week, I'd "work" and then after 5 p.m. I could get back to being a couch potato or whatever.

So I have a list of 111 Pittsburgh restaurants (and counting) and today I decided I'm going to start knocking those restaurants off of my list whether people want to join me or not. A lot of them are walking distance from my house AND lunch is cheaper than dinner AND I REALLY need to get out of the house these days, so the first such outing went extremely well.

Today, it was 70 degrees outside (in the middle of March). I did EVERYTHING on my to-do list, explored a neighborhood close to my home that I rarely visit, ate at a restaurant I'd never eaten at before and allowed myself to both be happy and experience joy, no matter what my job status.

While doing so, I came across this gem here and laughed uncontrollably:


Today was a good day!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Unemployment: By The Numbers*

Originally written on 3/15/15

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143: Episodes of the Good Wife that I've watched since I lost my job
56: Jobs I've applied to
49: Days I've been unemployed
10: Interviews I've had 
3: Cities I've visited since that fateful January day 
2: Number of times I've been on the phone with the unemployment office this morning because who cares about accuracy when it comes to paying my bills...
1: Mind I lost

*This post seemed a lot more interesting when I started to write it, but after I finished it fell flat. But, I already wrote it, so I'm posting it. This asterisk either represents "I'm sorry" or "you're welcome," depending on how you feel about the post.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Interview Prep: LIKE A BOSS!

Originally written on 3/5/15.

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I have an interview today with a company I REALLY want to work for. I'm talking about years of applying with this company and finally a callback. I've talked to their recruiter several times (he was the callback) and now I'm about to hop on the phone with the "hiring team," who is one executive. Like his picture is on the website of a billion dollar company and he's getting ready to dial my line to "explore my background."

God willing, by the time you read this, I'll be coming up on my one-year anniversary with said company, but right now...

MAN, I'M NERVOUS! I've moved past "pit of my stomach, panic attack anxiety." That was last week. Today, I'm am in super preparation mode. Stay up all night, take a nap and get up early preparation mode. Here's what I've done so far.
  • Reviewed the company's financials, annual report, earnings statement, etc. 
  • Reviewed the company's product portfolio. 
  • Reviewed the company's top brand social media channels. 
  • Took a look at the company's in-store set-up for key brands. (On-site research)
  • Reviewed the interviewer's background and internet footprint.
  • Chatted with the recruiter (different from the interviewer). 
  • Conducted a mock phone interview with a friend who's a C-Level HR Exec. 
  • Chatted with someone who works at the company to get insight on the role, culture, interviewer and my general chances [my chances are good!].
  • Reviewed my old resumes to jog my memory of past work experience.(This was a super fun experience. I found my very first resume from college and listen, the Lord has brought me a might long way!)
  • Reviewed PR, social media and category (food and beverage) trends.
  • Prepped questions, answers and specific examples for more than 40 questions. 
  • Created a sell sheet that follows the situation-action-result (SARS) model for 13 brand-specific campaigns and my corresponding competencies/accomplishments for them.
  • Read today and yesterday's Wall Street Journal. The actual paper, not the online version.
  • Applied for other jobs. (Can't keep all my eggs in one basket)  
  • Listened to Beyonce's 7/11. 
  • Prayed. 
  • Meditated. 
  • Did 10 Jumping jacks. 
*bounces around like Muhammad Ali* I think I'm ready. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Expired Dijon Mustard When Bread, Meat and Cheese Weren't Enough.

Originally written on 3/4/15

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I have sandwich problems.
I'm unemployed. Which means I'm at home most of the day, which means at lunch time, I don't NECESSARILY want to cook an entire meal or chop the fixins for a salad.
I don't usually eat bread in my home because I can keep about 5 or 6 pounds a year off by not eating bread and ice cream at home. No one has money to buy new clothes every year for some Wonder bread.
I decided that since I'm home all day, I will break my rule and purchase bread. I also got lunchmeat and cheese. Not having had bread here in um... 2 and a half years, there's a few things that people who usually buy bread have and I don't.

Peanut Butter. None.
Jelly. None.
Miracle Whip. Expired.
Mustard. Expired.
Dijon Mustard. Expired.

Fam, everything I need to make a sandwich is expired. Then I explore my poor neglected fridge further and...

Teriyaki sauce. Expired.
Soy sauce. Expired.
Lemon Juice. Expired.
Lime Juice. Expired.
Capers. Expired.
Olives. Expired.

I mean, I guess this means I don't eat a lot of processed foods and this is good. On the flip side, I probably dine out WAY too much. Otherwise, how did I not know all this stuff was expired.

On the day in question, I rolled up some turkey and cheese and ate four crackers like I was at a networking event that only provided crudite.

My sandwich struggle was real.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Why Not Chicago?

Hey folks,

Thanks for reading and commenting on my unemployment series. (I said series in my *Pastor Hannah voice* If you go to New Life you should be laughing by now).

Unknown asked why I wasn't interested in moving back to Chicago. AND had Pittsburgh changed my perspective on Chicago.

I hadn't really given much thought to the why (I typically just do what I want to do), but let's explore it here.

1. I always wanted to live in New York or D.C. Moving back to Chicago more than likely would close the door on the possibility of moving to those cities in the near future.

2. As far as Pittsburgh changing my perspective on Chicago, yes, there are a few things Chicagoans deal with that no one should have to:

- Cost of living - (now this makes no sense since I'm moving to New York, but) Moving to Pittsburgh gave me a new perspective on how cutting my living costs can improve my life.
- Traffic - Chicago traffic is stupid. Not just relative to Pittsburgh "traffic," but in comparison to itself in recent history. Every time I'm home it's worse than it was before. It makes me miserable sitting in that traffic.
- Weather - There are milder temperatures available in places that still have winters. I do not HAVE to be cold for 9 months out of the year. It's been literally freezing on the 4th of July before and people act like they don't remember wearing sweatshirts on the lakefront. It's miserable sometimes. Nice to visit, sucky to live like that.

3. Going back to Chicago without having a desire to go back to Chicago felt like giving up, almost like being defeated by getting laid off. Pittsburgh made me so uncomfortable and helped me to grow as a person. I feel like it would be a cop out to get laid off in Pittsburgh and then return to my comfort zone because family is there and my professional network there is strong. I'm not saying I want to struggle, but I do want to grow. I'm just not sure how much growth there is for me in Chicago at this point in my career or personal life.

4. My social life is easier outside of Chicago. Being home is overwhelming. I know too many people and my family is too big. So many times I had to choose between a family member's event and a very close friend's event and even though, they probably don't care AS much, it's important for me to be present, when I can be present. But when I don't live there, my baby shower and church function duties aren't at crazy levels. I can go out or not go out because my relationships aren't that deep. And when I'm in town, people make it a priority to see me vs. missing each other constantly because we work too much. Maybe I'm crazy, but feeling like I can't get to everyone makes me sad and I don't want to be sad. 

5. Chicago is home and even though it's perfect, I've done it already. So when I'm at a crossroads and I have to pick between something I've done already and something I've never done, I'm almost always going to pick the adventure, the unknown.

6. I'm pretty sure Chicago is going to be my final stop. Moving is hard. The details and logistics are taxing, but I'm also stricken with grief having to leave my church family in Pittsburgh. This is the same type of grief I experienced when I left my family in friends in Chicago. And that I felt for the first year that I was living in Pittsburgh... Crying in the cab on the way to the airport every time I visited (which was like twice a month)... Excusing myself to the bathroom to ball my eyes out at my going away party, then covering up my tears and making jokes so no one else would cry or notice I was crying.

I'm pretty sick of this feeling. Even if there's a better job, a better opportunity, a better life, leaving anywhere is SO HARD for me. So when I go back to Chicago, I don't think I'll be able to leave it again. So I don't to go back until I'm done exploring.

I'm thinking maybe New York, London and a city in the south, then home. But who cares what I'm thinking. God might have a life for me in Alaska. We'll see. 

And I Wonder...

Originally written on 3/2/15

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It's 5'oclock in the morning. #NoBiggieLyrics I'm wide awake. I've been up for 90 minutes. I've prayed and balanced my checkbook. I haven't meditated.

When I got up, I thought I would do laundry, clean out the fridge, exercise and practice interview questions until 9 a.m. (I have a very promising phone interview this week.) Then at 9 a.m. I'd apply for a job that someone sent me that's in Chicago. As you may know by now, I don't/didn't want Chicago to be my next move after Pittsburgh, but this organization is too amazing to not apply.

I don't like to apply for jobs outside of business hours because I don't know what time the recruiters get the emails and I don't want to appear desperate. An email at 3 a.m. seems desperate.

I remember when I didn't have a Blackberry, my first smart phone. When my desktop or laptop computer was the only way to check my email. I would send emails at all times of the night and couldn't understand why friends or coworkers would know or care that I was up all night working/thinking. Then after I got a blackberry, I realized that these folks got every notification for an email at the time that it was sent and I was so embarrassed by my late night email trysts.

I thought that I would tackle my to-do list of cleaning and thinking and body sculpting because lying in the bed was just pointless, but now that I'm up all I want to do is go back to sleep. But I don't want to get back in the bed and just lie there for hours, that seems like wasting time. And although I have nothing to do but watch House of Cards and the Good Wife, I'm deathly afraid of wasting even an hour.

I wonder if being unemployed would be easier if I had a trust. If I knew that there was nothing I could do that would make me run out of money, would I be able to sleep in on days like today? I wonder if having less money in my savings account (Right now, I'll be ok for 7 months without working before I run out of money to pay my bills.), would make me a complete insomniac.

I don't think this is insomnia, because I don't have a hard time falling asleep. But I only slept for four hours. I typically require 8-10 hours of sleep. I haven't slept 8-10 hours since I've been off work. With the exception of the one time I had a panic attack, brought on my a call from a recruiter [at a company I really wanted to work for]. I slept a lot that day.

I wonder if this anxiety, this unrest that I have, brought on by uncertainty is a slap in the face of God, who I'm supposed to put my full trust in. Or, if He thought it proper to wake me now, so I could speak to Him before I did anything else. I wonder if sleepless nights are rewarded in heaven or cursed in hell. Lately, I wonder about a lot of things I never considered before.





Going Rogue

My "luxury" apartment building is giving me crap about moving out. And by crap, I mean trying to charge me money I do not have. Now, they don't know I haven't been working for three months, but they're about to find out.

They're all you can't sublet. I'm all... my lease says otherwise.

Anywho, if you're:

- Moving to Pittsburgh
- Know anyone moving to Pittsburgh or
- Live in Pittsburgh and want to try downtown for the summer/fall

Consider taking over my apartment lease. It's a great deal for all of the conveniences of downtown living.


http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/sub/5013607840.html

Please share far and wide!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Office Supplies

Originally written on 2/28/15

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I've been off work for a month and a day. You'd think I'd miss the challenge of marketing for my clients or the discourse of smart brains or the camaraderie of coworkers. Nope. The thing I miss the most about the office is office supplies/conveniences. Here are few things I'm missing right now:

10. Legal notepads. Do you know how much paper costs? I dare you to go into Walgreens or CVS and stand in the paper aisle and see if your mind isn't blown at these prices. I keep electronic lists, but sometimes I prefer tactiles and these little notebooks set me back. 
9. Free goodies from IT. Every once in a while, I'll just mention to IT that I lost my iPhone 5 charger and BOOM, a new iPhone 5 charger just emerges overnight.
8. Staplers. Now, I know I owned a pink stapler. I remember buying it, thinking "This is so cute." I kept it at home. I remember packing it in a plastic bag with other office supplies and I can't find it. It's so dumb, but I'm not buying a new stapler, when I know this old pink one exists.
7. A fax machine - I've not needed to send a fax, but the moment I do and I have to pay FedEx Kinkos a dollar per page, I'm going to miss it.
6. An electronic 3-hole puncher - It's just so efficient.
5.
4. Cake. Ok, so this isn't really an office supply, but go with it: Once a month, the office had meetings and to celebrate the birthday babies that month there was cake. A white cake with raspberry filling and a chocolate cake with chocolate icing. Fam, I used to live for that cake. I'm tempted to call the receptionist and ask where they order it from and just go get a slice once a month. 
3. The scanner. When I need to send a receipt to someone now I just take a photo of it with my phone. It seems cheap.
2. The printer. I haven't had a printer since I realized that it's cheaper to buy a new printer than it is to buy ink, I stored my printer at my mother's house and resolved to only do my printing at work.
1. The paper shredder. There's something therapeutic to me about paper shredding. It's also nice to know that stranger danger won't have my social security and credit card numbers to steal my identity. I bought a little one from Wal-Mart that broke after one 2-hour session of shredding papers. I miss that big, powerful paper shredder in my office. I miss it a lot.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Wow!

Originally written on 2/26/15

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My big sister, mighty woman of God, just spoke a word and I burst out in tears. Yes, I burst out in tears a lot, but it always surprises me because I never expect it.

She called to ask how I was doing since I'm unemployed and had a falling out with another family member. She said I had been on her mind and in her prayers because while everyone was so concerned about this other family member, it occurred to her that I'd lost my job and I may not be ok about it. DING! DING! DING!

She asked me about three times how I was doing. That's the number of times you have to ask to get a real answer. First answer, good, how are you. Second answer, I'm ok/fine. Third answer, I have some good days and I have some bad days, which is the true answer. I imagine it takes me so long to get there because "How are you doing?" is such a generic greeting. I'm not sure if people are being polite in order to get to the next order of business or if they really want to hear how I'm doing. I ALSO don't think it's everyone's right to know how I'm doing all the time. Maybe that seems weird, but just because you called or because I'm passing you on the street doesn't mean its time to discuss my innermost fears and desires. I'm not really good with vulnerability. I'm working on it.

None of this is what I sat down to type this blog about. Here's the thing. The last time I was on the phone with my big sis I was SO EXCITED at the prospect of paying my student loans off. And she said, you shouldn't just pay them off. You should tell others how to do the same. She thinks I should start a speaking series or write a book or at least do classes at church or something.

So during this recent conversation, I say, "well, it's a good thing I'm only living on 40% or so of my income because now the money that was going to go to student loans will be going to bills." And my sister says, "The devil saw that you were going to get the demon of debt off of your back and he doesn't like it. That's why you lost your job, but I believe God for you, Esha and you WILL pay your student loans off by the end of 2015."

This is the first time I've heard this Word. Everyone else said things like well, you have plans and God laughs. Or they say the same thing I said, it's a good thing you had a savings or a good thing you lived below your means or whatever.

But it takes a mighty woman of God to tell you that your dreams are valid. That a bump in the road does not mean a stop in your journey. That believing in God takes CRAZY faith (because if I believe I can pay my bills AND pay student loans down based on what unemployment is sending me, I'm nuts.) She told me that I'm about to have everything I wanted. And I think God is testing me to see if I believe him to give it to me.

*In my Pastor Hannah voice* I believe God! I believe God! I believe God!

WHEW! Now, let me go fix my face!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Thank You, LinkedIn!

Originally written on on 2/25/15

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It's just two days shy of me being unemployed for a full month. I feel better about it than I have. I actually am up and down. Some days I'm thankful for the time to reflect. Other days I want to teleport into the job that I want to have.

Some days I love the calls from recruiters following up on applications that I've sent. Other days, it makes me sick to my stomach.

I can't control any of it, but I'm no longer having trouble sleeping. I've been to Phoenix to visit my little brother and his family. I've been to Chicago to visit my mom and various friends. Most people thought I was a jerk on the Chicago trip because I didn't announce that I was coming home. But I saw who I was supposed to see and life goes on.

Today, I am thankful for LinkedIn. The last time I was conducting an active job search, I feel like Simply Hired had the best job leads. In 2015, LinkedIn has taken over leaps and bounds. Even when I wasn't actively looking, LinkedIn would send me about 5-7 jobs a week to see if I was interested. I filed those in a safe place and can refer to those companies and positions now.

What's more, the LinkedIn jobs section has a pretty smart algorithm. I tell them where I want to work (New York, D.C., Houston, Dallas and London are all searches right now) and jobs just pop up like a Facebook news feed. They use all the skills that people [who I've never worked with] have endorsed me for on LinkedIn to bring up relevant jobs. If I don't like a job, I just put an X through it and they don't how me those types of jobs anymore. For example, they keep giving me Account Supervisor roles, since my former role was Senior Account Supervisor and that's basically a demotion.

But here is why I have to bow down to LinkedIn. They have a feature where you can apply using your profile. Upload a resume, CV or cover letter and boom, you've applied. THEN they tell you how many other people have applied. THEN they tell you similar jobs. I wish all jobs sites were this intuitive.

Assuming I'll have a job by the time this posts, but just in case I don't, what other site would you suggest for relevant searches?  

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Unemployment Chronicles

Originally written on 2/19/15.

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I have good days and I have bad days. Today is a good day. I woke up ready to look for jobs and I had a sensible breakfast and I'm going to workout later.

Yesterday was a pretty sucky day. I slept until about noon. I forgot to eat and was knocked over by hunger at about 2 p.m. en route to my best friend's house.

I'm visiting Chicago unexpectedly and I don't have snowboots, so en route via CTA to my bestie's house I had to walk almost a mile and I think I almost froze to death. My poor big toes.

I also had THEE WORST anxiety yesterday. My phone rang and I thought it was a potential employer and I was in the worst mood, so I didn't answer the phone. Then they didn't leave a message and I went through every possible scenario in my head. I figured they went to the next candidate, hired them, then never called me back. Then I beat myself up for not being up to answering the phone.

After that, I answered the next call and it was a telemarketer. *sigh*

Anyway, today is better. I'm going to see a lot of friends today. I've been avoiding my friends. Not all of them, but most of them. Because most of what we do is eat and drink and eating and drinking costs money and I don't want to be a burden, but I also just don't want to talk about it.

I don't know what I want to do.
I don't want to move back to Chicago.
I don't want people sending me a bunch of jobs in Chicago.
I don't want to hurt people's feelings because they think their friendship is enough to make me move back to Chicago and it's not.

I digress. Since I'm able to process every thought. I got a message from IHG Rewards, one of the many hotel points reward programs I belong to, letting me know my current balance. I travel a lot, but not nearly as much as I used to and I'm not loyal to any one hotel chain or airline. Therefore, I rarely have enough points at any one to do anything with.

So today, I'm going through my wallet, finding out my points balances and transferring them tot he airlines I have the most points with or buying gift cards, downloading music, or getting magazine subscriptions with the points.

Yet, another thing I would have no time to do or pay attention to if I had gainful employment. This makes me happy today.

What made you happy today?  

Fight Night!

I was going to post this to Facebook, but I'm not really ready for the string of comments that will ensue. It's also too many characters for a coherent Twitter though, so here you go:

"If you're going to be watching the Mayweather fight tonight (and I will) I don't want to hear another word about how you don't understand my support for the indiscretions of [fictional character] Olivia Pope. Let's just agree that we look the other way when entertainment & sports are involved and move on."

Friday, May 1, 2015

Things I noticed

Hey folks, I got a new job, so get ready for my unemployment blog series! I have about a month's worth of reflections to share. I hope it entertains a lot of people and help at least one person. I'll be sure to write the date of the actual posts on all of the posts to give you an idea of when I wrote it. Enjoy.

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It's February 4, 2015 and I've been unemployed for 8 days now. I haven't told a lot of people because I'm not emotionally equipped to deal with their reactions. The shock, the pity, the concern, the confusion. I can't deal with any of it from other people. So I'm keeping quiet until I have a plan. As you can imagine, I have a lot to say about being unemployed, so you get all the info now: One year later...

Here are things that I've noticed since I've been unemployed:
  1. Even though Pittsburgh is one of the gloomiest cities in America (no sun due the valleys and such), the sun DOES come out most days. From about 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. it shines brightly into the 12 foot windows of my apartment. So much so, that I can turn the heat down and not get cold. I cherish those sunny moments. 
  2. My oven is quite dirty; Easy Off works really well.
  3. The doormen in my building are nosy as hell (Can't get out of the building without going out of the front door, damn shame.) 
  4. The Good Wife is a great show. I'm six seasons behind. With 23 shows per season, who knows if I'll ever catch up. 
  5. It is possible to finish my to-do list daily.
  6. Pinterest is just as great as it always was.
  7. It's both refreshing and exhausting to process every single personal thought that crosses my mind because I don't have anything else to do.
  8. It's easier than I expected to ignore social media and/or only post during times that I would usually be on my way to or getting home from work.
  9. I subscribe to too many online newsletters.
  10. I'm sad when I don't get mail, especially since walking down to get mail is sometimes my only outing for the day 
    Bonus: I create a lot of waste. There's something about eating two meals a day at work and putting my trash in multiple trash cans that make me feel like I'm a good environmental citizen, but being at home all day and having a full bag of trash at the end of each day for just me, makes me think recycling is not enough.