The new full time job…

My recent trip to the unemployment office introduced me to my new full time job! The person providing orientation to the unemployment process happily told us that our new full time job would be “looking for a job!”.  Overwhelming, happened way too quickly for me!

I’ve decided to take a couple months off to spend time with my family.  Summer is coming up and I really want to hang with my kids for the first time.  Funny though, since looking for a job is supposed to be my new full time job, I feel like I am not “meeting expectations”, forget about exceeding, not even trying to be an over achiever here!

My former employer has graciously provided me with outplacement services.  between them and the unemployment office, I exist with this nagging feeling that I always have to be doing something, anything, to meet someone’s expectations of finding a job!  May not be my immediate goal, but by gosh it is someone’s goal! Clearly this is one of the signals that I am still adjusting to my “separation” from corporate america!

So today, I did a webinar on creating your own Marketing Plan, it’s like a Self Appraisal for the unemployed.  Between that and the expected Networking…  Let the mind games begin!  Well anyway, let me just say “Wow…”, I feel like people have to be constantly in “ON” mode and this is where my nagging feeling comes into play…  should I not also be in “ON” mode.  Should I always be in ready mode for that (self) sales conversation!  If I’m not ready, isn’t it my responsibility to fake it (ha ha!).

My marketing plan is due on Wednesday, today is Monday.  Will I have to pull an all nighter, stay up late to get this done, after all I have a deadline!  Knowing myself, I’ll certainly make a good faith attempt or not..  who knows!

My friends, I have not had a full day of rest since my “separation”.  It’s coming though! As each day passes, I feel more and more separated, soon enough, it will all be a distant memory!

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The million dollar question..

So I finally got it..  I’ve been wondering how I would handle it, but under the circumstances, I think I did fine!

My daughter’s school had a luncheon today to thank the volunteers.  I thought that was really nice, unexpected but appreciated.  Always nice to be appreciated.  Food was good, not cafeteria food, which was even better.  Anyway, I sat a table with people at various life stages.  We all chatted about a variety of  differing topics, from religion and fasting to home sales to wedding dresses, to who’s moving out of the area, etc. Then one mother that seemed to be of similar age popped the question, ” Do you work?”.  I calmly said “No”.  Thank God Almighty she did not drag out the question into a full blown conversation!  Really, I’m serious!  I have not truly prepared myself for this full scale conversation as to why a woman of may age, which to the naked eye appears to be of a functional working age is not gainfully employed.  Of course, being open and honest is one approach, but really does anyone really care?  I am trying not to appear disingenuous though and trip over myself by providing too much information, because really, again, is it anyone’s business?  I can only hope for those that don’t delve into the issue, I already appear to be independently wealthy!

Oh I forgot to mention that this was actually my second time that I had to explain that I was not currently employed.  The school nurse called my cell to let me know that my daughter was not feeling well.  Then she said “Oh by the way, as I have you on the phone, is your work number working?”  Yes, now that I recall, this was my first open acknowledgment of my unemployment.  Things were moving too fast for me to be traumatized though, my child was ill!

I really should prepare my 30 second elevator speech though on why I opted to take a break from corporate America.  Preparation helps to build the sincerity around the story.  Not that there is anything to lie about, but people just do not understand a somewhat voluntary sojourn out of the norm.  I think it’s sad though, for those of us that have been in corporate America for so long to feel like our contribution or the lack thereof to corporate America is what we’ve been using to define ourselves.

My mental progress..  I still have to stop making myself constantly busy.  Lord knows at the end of the day, I am not sure what I’ve accomplished, except wonderment at where the day has gone.  Don’t know that I’ve moved from the 25% acceptance, but tomorrow is another day, and I have all intentions of making it great!

Bonne nuit!

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Second week of “separation”

Wow, it’s all of 8 word days since I’ve left corporate america.  Sometimes you hear people say “It’s like I was never there!”.  Not so in this case.  I was there.  There is also the chance that my continued financial survival depends on me being back there.  If for nothing else, the health insurance!  So what have I been up to.  The schpiel at the unemployment office included the not so subtle mention that searching for a job will be my new full time job!  Amazingly not so!

Laundry has now become my full time job.  How did I move from a being a Direct Marketer to being a Day Laborer.  Where did all this laundry come from and who the heck was doing it when I had a full time job?  I think I am averaging a load a day!  Honestly, I feel like I am more tired now than when I had a full time job!  People keep saying, get some well needed rest…  Tomorrow, I have a lunch at one school and Friday, a party at the other.  There is no peace my friends. Corporate america may have dropped off my radar for a moment, but the earth has somehow continued to revolve on its axis!  Who knew!

It’s 10:00pm and my kids are still awake.  If I was still gainfully employed, they would have been in bed by 8:30, for my own sanity, if for no one else’s benefit.  Have I lost all structure, all desire to even maintain this structure, hopefully not!

The feeling of separation is improving though.  I am now about 25% there in my acceptance that it is OK to be out of corporate america for the moment.  Still get nervous, but it really only lasts for minutes now instead of consuming my whole being as it did prior! Oh and yes, I finally went shopping..  WooHoo!  There were no restrictions on my time, no child crying for attention and no hubby smiling while making a mental note of how much money was being spent!  Revolutionary!

It’s all good.  Friends are telling me to get some vacation time in.  Not to be tongue in cheek, but isn’t this really an extended vacation.  I’ll get productive though, just give me a moment!

Whatever happens, I’ll definitely keep you posted!

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Thoughts on my first week of “separation”

Hey World, This is Nicole, one of the three moms keeping you updated on our “separation” journey.  Just to put everyone on the same page, we’ve been recently separated from Corporate America.  We are all happily married women and this “separation” should hopefully have no negative effects on our marriages!

Please note we will continue to call this period, separation and not unemployment simply because we prefer the term, just seems a little less severe.  It’s amazing the reactions you get when you tell people that you are unemployed.  They seem to want to treat you like you have “The Big C”.  Really, it’s not.  We’re currently separated from our most recent nine to five and will be using this wonderful time and opportunity to go find a more (or less) desirable nine to five.

Anyway, getting down to the actual separation.  April 8th was my actual last day at work.  I may not have had time to dwell or feel the huge impending loss that week as my kids were home on Spring break driving my up a gum tree (yes, pls try the visual). The weekend was when it all hit though.  I felt very weird.  I suddenly started to wonder, with no job, what was my role.  How would I fill my days?  Who would appreciate the work that I was doing.  Love my kids, but really, do they appreciate all that is being done to keep them cute.  Not really.  Suffice to say, the weekend was not my high point.  Started cleaning the house.. Oy Vey!

The week started busy, as I tried to keep myself busy.  Had a conference call with the other Moms as we’ve decided to be each other’s support group.  Listen, don’t take that for granted.  It really helps to not feel like I am the only “separated” person out there in the world.  Went to the outplacement services.  Went to the unemployment office (that event will take an entire different posting!!!!) played enough tennis to compete professionally.  Amazingly, I did no shopping.  Figured if I wasn’t gainfully employed, there was no reason for me to be ungainfully spending!

Anyway, I’ve made it through the first week.  Still have my sanity.  Getting used to this new found freedom will take a moment I guess.  I think I am about 10% convinced it is OK to have idle time.  It’s a process.  While I am excited to be otherwise useful out of corporate america, it takes a moment to really appreciate it and I am trying my damndest!

I’ll be back to with more updates.

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