Looking for Work? Job Hunting-the Good, the Bad, and the…

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Hire me!!

Hire me!!

As part of the AEP/PATH program, I am required to job hunt 40 hours a week, minimum. Some of this can be done online, but much of it is done on foot. After a period of time, there are other activities that you can participate in to be in compliance, but my case manager and I won’t be discussing those options for…five more hours?

Yes, it’s 4 a.m., and I am having another one of those ‘hoping for eight hours of sleep, but the kids forgot to let the dogs out before they went to bed’ types of nights. I figure if I go back to sleep now, I won’t be waking up to my alarms in the morning (yes, I have to use more than one).

Back to job hunting…if you are available and desiring a full-time job, only looking for work a couple hours a week is not going to provide you with many options to choose from. If you are able to work full-time, you should be job searching at least 30 hours a week for employment.

I know, I know, that’s a lot of job hunting. But, if you want to be successful and find a job worth searching for, you have to do the footwork.

Obviously, 30-plus hours is a lot of job applications to fill out, whether it be in person or online. That’s an overwhelming concept all by itself, especially if you’ve been unemployed for awhile and money is lacking.

Also, be prepared for anything. I recently applied for a job that my case manager told me about. She said they were desperate for workers, so I e-mailed them my resume on a Friday. I will only say that the last name of the business was Detox.

Needless to say, I get a call on Saturday for an interview. Before they would schedule a time for me to come in, they had one question for me,

How do you feel about being around people who are naked???

HUH? It’s a good thing I used to work as a HHA and a CNA, and I also had delivered pizzas for three years (you’re probably wondering about this last one, keep reading to find out why I also saw naked people when delivering pizzas), so I was already desensitized to human nudity. What a weird question to be asked on a Saturday morning. Apparently, the business was a detox facility, and they needed security guards to perform strip searches and property searches on the residents. They then asked if I could be in for an interview within an hour, which I couldn’t meet with them until the following Monday. I was not showered, dressed, and prepared to meet for an interview within an hour. With that experience, I learned I needed to be up on Saturdays and ready to go, just in case someone DID want to meet with me (which did happen the following Saturday again).

There are some important concepts to consider when looking for a job (and when you get to the end of this post, I will tell you some of the crazy experiences I’ve had while job hunting):

  • First impressions are everything – whether you are applying for a job or attending an interview, be sure to dress the part. Don’t show up in ‘Holy jeans’ and a Hooters t-shirt when applying or interviewing. At the minimum, dress in business casual attire. If you’re going after a more professional job, it wouldn’t hurt to wear either a suit and tie or a skirt, blouse, and heels.
  • A resume is a necessity – always have a hard copy of your resume on your person while job hunting. Some companies will ask for one on the spot. If your English grammar and typing skills are lacking, ask a friend to type it for you. Sometimes, your resume IS the first impression an employer will have of you, so make sure it’s perfect.
  • Use a notebook for tracking – keeping track of all the places you have applied is impossible if you’re not writing it down. Leave several spaces between the businesses you write down so you can jot down notes later on. You will want to write down the date you applied, and go back and use this list as a reference sheet when you are ready to follow up on your applications. 
  • Give yourself extra time – do NOT be late for your job interview. Do NOT come walking through the door one minute before the interview is scheduled. Plan to be 10 or 15 minutes early. Sometimes, you may have difficulty finding the business because it could be tucked way in the back of some office complex, or there might not be an obvious address on the building. That extra time you gave yourself could be the difference to being on time or late when you can’t find where you’re supposed to be. 
  • Don’t take no for an answer – on this tip, you will have to use your better judgment. There are some business that rarely hire, so if you didn’t get the position at that type of business, continuing to call back is futile. However, if you’re trying to get a general job (McDonald’s, a grocery store, or your favorite retail outlet for clothes), don’t be afraid to randomly call back and check on your application. If thy employer says, “Sorry, we already filled that position,” that doesn’t mean the new person will necessarily work out. Don’t harass these business with constant call backs, but calling once a week or every other week will help that employer to remember you, and maybe, the next time they have a position open, you could be the first person they call in.
  • Don’t forget to SMILE!

I’ve worked in a variety of employment fields, because I am a single mother. I have to take what I can get, which has thrown me into some weird situations, especially when I was delivering pizzas for Papa John’s. Be ready for anything. Even on a Saturday. As I mentioned previously, I received a call from the detox facility on a Saturday. The following Saturday (few days ago), I received another call for an interview, and thank goodness, I was dressed and ready to go.

I Can’t Believe I’m Awake Right Now

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How I wish I looked first thing in the morning...

How I wish I looked first thing in the morning…

I have been so tired lately, and my sleeping schedule has not been good. I’ve been staying up as late as my body will allow me to then getting up in the morning to go job hunting for most of the day.

So, I was really excited last night when I started getting sleepy and noticed the time. It was nearly 10 P.M. TRANSLATION: I have been sitting up on the couch attempting to work on the computer, as I nod off for a few seconds then try to wake myself back up. This has been going on for the last hour. Work is not getting done. What the hell is that? I typed something about a penguin? END.

When am I going to learn my lesson about trying to write when I am SO tried? I am someone who sleeps like a log, snores like a freight train, talks in her sleep, and sleepwalks in the night to use the bathroom. So, you can only imagine the things I am still writing about, even after I nod off to sleep while I am typing. My fingers are still moving.

I decided to take advantage of this rare opportunity and just went to bed, before I could catch a second wind. Yay me! I’m going to be able to get a good 8 hours of sleep!

Oh my goodness, I even turned off the television before I went to bed, which I RARELY do.

How I REALLY look when I wake up...

How I REALLY look when I wake up…

And now, it’s 2:45 a.m., and I am awake. Maybe I should work on a quick gratitude list since I can’t sleep (so much for 8 hours…grr). Lately, I’ve been feeling really negative and overwhelmed with life, in general. It has been causing a sense of negativity in my life. I need to start reaching toward more positive thoughts and thinking. I won’t go into great detail and will keep this general and fairly brief.

  1. The #1 position definitely has to go to God, because without Him, nothing worthwhile is possible. 
  2. I am grateful for my kids, because without them, life would definitely be peaceful and boring.
  3. Oh, my house, for sure. No house payment + no rent = no evictions.
  4. I am grateful for my friends, and while their is only a small amount of them that are actually in the close circles of my life, some newer friends from Facebook have also found their way into my heart.
  5. I am grateful that I have the physical ability to do for myself.
  6. I am grateful for a variety of work experiences that does make me a bit more marketable.
  7. My dogs, especially. They are the only ones waiting inside the door, happy to see me. They are the only ones who are always by my side. They never tell me to shut up. They don’t roll their eyes at me. They have complete and total love for my kids and me.
  8. I am grateful to have a big back yard that offers some privacy. I want to get back to gardening this summer (and illegal bonfires).
  9. MUSIC – I am definitely grateful for that. Music makes everything better.
  10. I am grateful for the life experiences, even the negative ones, that teach me and builds me into a stronger individual.

With that being said, I have a TON of stuff to do today, so I am going to try to go back to sleep for an hour or two. Before I nod off and start drooling on my computer. Lots of job hunting…stay tuned for the craziness I have experienced in that department. I’m still laughing about some of it…

We should all start to live before we get too old. Fear is stupid. So are regrets. ~Marilyn Monroe~

Putting Out the Electrical Fire in My Brain

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WOWZERS!

Lost in a tornado of chaos

Lost in a tornado of chaos

This last month has been busy crazy, and I have been in stimuli overload. It’s been the type of month where I have had to basically narrow my to-do list down to the nitty-gritty and only work on certain tasks. Because of this, my nerves are frazzled, my brain is scrambled, and GUESS WHAT HAS TAKEN THE HIT BECAUSE OF IT? Yup, my writing.

I guess it doesn’t help that there have been a couple unexpected recent projects, two falls within a month (both resulting in x-rays and lots of pain, swelling, and bruising), college, and then the real kicker…BOOM! AEP/PATH Program…yeah, let’s just say they have been loads of fun. I keep having dreams about hot tubs…sigh.

Let’s put it this way, I thought I’d go the route I thought was easy…draw public assistance for three to four months, just enough time to finish my last few classes in college and graduate. I mean, I have all these medical issues and a neurosurgeon who told me, “No manual labor.” So, why am I being forced to attend classes that *ahem* I have recent college credits in. Why am I sitting in resume building classes when *ahem* I already have a resume…THREE OF THEM ACTUALLY. Oh, and cover letter templates to call upon whenever it is needed.

I’m sitting down there, listening to this mumble jumble when I could be 1) writing and earning a little money 2) writing and earning a little money and job hunting 3) writing and earning a little money, job hunting, and interviewing, and 4) oh, wait, I’m supposed to be keeping up with classes, too (which can’t be used for compliance hours at PATH). Oh, and let’s not forget about The Teenager and Keegan…whew. Life is tough. I am so glad I don’t have a house payment or rent to deal with right now. Makes it much easier as I wade through this process.

Sorry, got off track there…oh yeah, the real kicker is this: job hunting without a car. I have to give the PATH program some credit. They did help by giving me bus passes and referrals for business clothes, which was very helpful. But, 40 hours a week of job hunting on snow, ice, rain, and cold is difficult with a ruptured disk and ongoing medical procedures. And, there are only so many sit-down jobs available in Battle Creek right now…do the math. I am grateful that half of my job searches can be done online.

And, just as I am winning two consecutive blogger awards, too. The timing just stinks. Life is so stressful, I’m honestly surprised my hair does not have the frizzy appearance of someone who has been electrocuted, cartoon style. This is EXACTLY how I feel:

I will be back later to tell you about how the job search has been going. There have been some crazy and amazing things happen in THAT department.

I’m feeling pretty down sometimes, I think it’s time to come back and write a gratitude list. I haven’t done one of those in a long time…

Toodles for now…gotta take a shower and catch that public bus downtown for an interview before my scheduled mammogram at 3:45…yeehah!

(Oh yeah, did I forget to tell you? The doctor found ‘something’ that has required a mammogram. I’ve decided not to even process that information UNTIL I get my mammogram results back.)

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5 Top Locations for Spotting Celebrities in Miami – a guest post featuring Kendra Thornton

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I was recently contact by a woman named Kendra Thornton, and she had found my blog somewhere and asked if she could write a guest post for my soapbox. I agreed. Kendra is known for her traveling and has visited many continents and even more countries.

Kendra enjoys writing about her travels and family-friendly vacation hot spots, as well as authentic cuisine. She has been featured on major news medias such as FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC, and CW Network. Welcome, Kendra!

Red Faded to Black

After the Oscar’s last weekend, I don’t know about you, but I have that celebrity fever right now! Amongst all my travels throughout the world I have found that one of the most magnetic locations to attract celebs seems to be Miami. With Spring break right around the corner I wanted to fill you in on where to possibly catch these stars soaking up the sun!

Miami is one of the hottest vacation spots in the world.  Millions of people flock here to bask in its lifestyle.  Every time you turn left, you’ll find yourself bathed in clubs, music, beaches, brilliant weather and great sites!  Is it any wonder that, like the rest of us, Miami is a must-stop destination for celebs?

If you’re planning to hit Magic City, keep the sun out of your eyes with a decent pair of shades or you might miss the fact that you’re standing a few feet from a hot celeb lounging on sandy surf or grabbing a bite.  If you decide to make a tour of spotting celebs, here are five spots that’ll up the ante.

The Soho Beach House in Miami

The Soho Beach House in Miami

1. The Soho Beach House: For 20 years, Soho has catered to an exclusive clientele of individuals in the media, film and creative industries.  They operate a series of private hotels, spas, and cinemas, drawing in the likes of Beyoncé and Jay-Z.  Their restaurants are open to the public, enhancing the possibility of spotting a Soho celeb guest.

2. The South Beach Hotel: Located in the heart of Miami’s Art Deco District, amonst some of the top hotels in Miami, has seen the likes of George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes relaxing in the swanky Wall Lounge or grabbing a meal at neighboring eatery, Mr. Chow, where the stunning décor is centered by a Swarovski crystal chandelier and a 124 foot gold leaf.

3. South Beach: It’s said the best way to spot celebs in Miami is to take a walk.  South Beach is a celeb hub, perfect for the activity.  Not a week passes where there won’t be a celeb seen or there’s a photo shoot.  The area also boasts exemplary dining, shopping and Art Deco hotels, drawing in the likes of Shaq, Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Estefan and various Kardashians.

The Delano Hotel in Miami

The Delano Hotel in Miami

4. The Delano Hotel: The Delano is a first class urban resort.  Fully self-contained, it offers relaxation with amenities like the Orchard, an almost surreal outdoor pool that feels like a daydream with its giant chessboard, antique daybed and lush lawn.  Madonna and J-Lo, among others, have been seen enjoying the accommodations.

5. Mercadito: Located in midtown Miami, the relatively new Mercadito has fast become one of the hottest celeb stomping grounds.  Recurring celebs include Jessica Simpson, Shakira, Mariah Carey, Ludacris, Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson.  Enjoy some of the best authentic Mexican food and wash it down with cerveza or tequila.

Red Faded to Black

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Unbearable Grief…When Does It End?

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 6, 2013

Life is so rough right now. I never thought I’d share deep things in my life through blogging. But, that has turned out not to be the case. This blog is my journal, in some ways, as I do not have time to keep a written journal.

I’ve had the worst streak of bad luck these last couple years, unexpected medical issues, and many other events surrounding me. For example, I am scheduled to have a rhizotomy done on my back next week. This is a procedure where the doctor will go into my spine and kill the medial nerves to the injured vertebrae. I also am having a mammogram in two weeks because the doctor felt something in my left breast at my last exam.

R.I.P. John...

R.I.P. John…

A couple days ago, my first husband, John, passed away from a massive heart attack at the age of 40. John was my daughter’s father, and if you have read my blog earlier, you know that we gave her up for adoption at birth, because I was only 18 year old and already had a baby in diapers. She was raised by a wonderful family who I knew for years prior to her birth.

John and his current wife, Cindy, moved back to Michigan last year with their kids. Our daughter had only had the opportunity to physically meet him once before he died; however, they talked often and were getting to know each other. My heart breaks for my daughter, because her adoptive father died less than two years ago from leukemia, so she was excited when her biological father moved back to Michigan, as she was able to establish a relationship with him. Last year was the first time John and I were able to establish relationships with our daughter, because we were asked to wait until she turned 18 years old to meet her openly.

I have not spoken to John directly in about 18 years, but I became friends on Facebook with him and his wife, Cindy, last year. Despite the fact that John and I had obvious history, I have utmost respect for his marriage and maintained a distance from him to keep drama low between his wife and I. I felt like we were divorced, and he had moved on. My friendship on Facebook has been 99% with his wife and 1% with him, plus he didn’t spend much time on Facebook except to play games.

John, his wife, and their kids in the earlier days...

John, his wife, and their kids in the earlier days…

When it comes to death, even if you haven’t spoken to that person in years, if you have ever shared part of your life with someone, whether it be relationships, friendships, roommates, or whatever, you will grieve their death. Even if you haven’t spoken to that person in years, and you may have even left the relationship with bad feelings, you will still grieve their death when they die. I think that is human nature.

I am sad for John’s wife and children the most. I am sad for his parents who never expected their children to die before them. I am sad for our daughter, who will have to get to know him through memories of him and from stories of others.

My disappointment lies in the fact that I will never be able to make direct amends to him now, which I will have to do here. When we were together, we were really young. Yes, he left me when I was pregnant with our daughter when I was 18. Yes, we finally got back together a couple weeks before she was born. Yes, I chose to move forward with the adoption anyway, because I felt that was in our daughter’s best interest. John begged me not to give her up, but he supported my decision anyway and was present in court the day we signed off our rights to her.

Where I messed up was thinking I could emotionally handle giving my baby up for adoption without any therapy. I justified that because I knew who adopted her well, and I knew they were taking good care of her. But, knowing that was not enough. I took care of my baby while I was in the hospital from giving birth to her. She stayed in my room with me. I got to feed her, change her diaper and clothing, and hold her. I think I held her the majority of the time that I was in the hospital. John was with me during her birth, and he got to spend time with her as well.

I was angry after her birth. I was not prepared for the trauma it would cause me on an emotional level. I was not prepared for the amount of pain I was going to feel, and I don’t think it would have been any worse had she died instead. I had nowhere to expel that grief, and I could not, in any way, share what I was feeling with my daughter’s adoptive family. I did not want to negatively influence the adoption in any way.

I took my anger out on John in major ways. I blamed him for the adoption because if he had never left me to begin with, we could have kept her. I blamed him and punished him for ever small misdeed, every mistake he ever made. And, I didn’t let it go. We fought and fought and fought. I had gotten physical with him several times. We broke up again.

The following year, we got back together. I thought enough time had lapsed that maybe our relationship would work that time. I loved him very much, despite my anger at him, because he was my first love, my first live-in boyfriend, my first husband. We got married when I was 19 years old. Well, that happiness didn’t last long. My anger over the adoption and life in general was still a dominant presence in my life. I punished him, yet again. I got physical with him, yet again. He left 3 1/2 months into the marriage, and we never got back together again.

See, I was so worried about my own feelings and emotions. I was selfish, and I reacted on my emotions. I never stopped for two seconds to think about the grief he might be carrying about giving our daughter up for adoption. Instead of drawing on our similarities and getting help together, I pushed him away with my angry hatred.

Would things have worked out in the long-run had we gotten help? No, I don’t think it would. I do believe we would have been broken up in a matter of time, because of my history, because I was a product of abuse. I had no clue how to make a relationship work. I still would have probably pushed him away. My inability to forgive has affected many relationship and friendships in the past my past.

I am a firm believer that ultimately, life turns out the way it’s supposed to, whether we like it or not. We will pay the consequences to our mistakes. But, in the long run, life has a funny way of working out anyways. John married his current wife shortly after our divorce. They stayed married for 18 years and were actively married when John passed away Monday night/Tuesday morning.

I couldn’t make him happy, but that was not because I didn’t love him. Sometimes, if we know we don’t have what that person needs, we have to let them go. Not because we don’t love them, but because we love them enough to let them go find happiness. John’s wife is a good person. She accepted my daughter, her husband’s daughter, with open arms as part of her family. She loved him unconditionally. I remember something he said once on Facebook recently, in one of his rare verbal postings in which he thanked her for their 18 years together and how much he still loved her.

For that, I am grateful. I am grateful I let him go when I did. I am grateful he had such an amazing woman to help pick up the pieces, who was strong enough to love him completely. Life works out exactly the way it’s supposed to. There is the proof. I don’t look at John as my ex-husband. I look at him as someone who is part of my extended family because we share a daughter together. I look at his wife as part of that same extended family. I have not entertained ideas of ever getting back together with him over the years. Sure, I wanted to find him. I had pictures I held onto for years of our daughter, some of which were supposed to go to him. I tried looking for him a couple times over the years to give him those pictures, but for whatever reason, we never made contact.

I wish I could have told him I’m sorry. I wish I could apology to his mother for not being a good partner for her son, if anything, for hurting him the way I did. I was willing to make those amends to him. I should have. I wanted to message him on Facebook to tell him these things, but I was afraid his wife would think I was trying to come between them, so I refrained from saying anything at all. I should have told him. Now, it’s too late.

I had major flashbacks Tuesday. I had a woman respond to the ad for Buddha needing a forever home. I’ve had Buddha for a few months, so I had gotten a little bit attached to him. When she arrived, I walked him outside to her car. He didn’t want to go and crouched with his tail between his legs. I was on the verge of tears. I hugged and kissed him good-bye and told him I’d come visit soon. I put him in her car and shut the door and she pulled away. The tears started to fall, and the dam had broken. Right then, I was rooted in my spot and taken to a place over 19 years ago, when I left the hospital with my baby girl, hugged and kissed her good-bye, as I handed her to her adoptive parents. They strapped her in their car, shut the door, and drove away to take her to their home. Talk about flashbacks! It wasn’t a good day to send Buddha off like that. I was too emotional.

John’s death instigated me to think about many of our experiences together, some good, some painful. It’s hard to remember all the bad things anymore. Even after 18 years, I am amazed at how many things I haven’t thought about in years. My condolences go to his family, and my prayers for them are constant. I pray his wife can get through this and eventually, be able to find happiness in her life again, wherever that happiness may be.

SATURDAY MARCH 9, 2013

Jason and his girlfriend Melissa - R.I.P. Jason...

Jason and his girlfriend Melissa – R.I.P. Jason…

As I wake up this morning to finally publish this post, I discovered more bad news on Facebook. Someone I knew from high school and on Facebook passed away last night at the age of 39.

According to my life-long friend, Tony (who was nearby when it happened), Jason laid down because his head and body were aching. Jason never woke up. This is sad news.

So many people are dying lately…WHY? I know we’re all going to go someday, but this is just so young.

R.I.P. Jason…

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