Thursday, January 29, 2009

“No matches could be found for you at this time.”


Thanks a LOT Dr. Phil & Aren’t there like 20 million people on that site and the search engine couldn’t find ONE compatible single guy? Hmm, maybe I have to remove the words “normal, stable, not an alcoholic, no criminal record, and not still having nightmares about his ex-wife” to cast the net a little wider. Very discouraging. Seriously, if my job hunting experience was as difficult as trying to meet a normal, single, straight, emotionally undamaged guy in his 30s in DC, I would have had to apply for welfare.

Aruba was very relaxing. But it gave me too much time to think about my singledom. Maybe cause everyone else there were either newlyweds on their honeymoon or really old adorable couples still holding hands and nagging sweetly to each other "Morty, put on more sunscreen!".

The only other single people my age I met were 3 old high school buddies – a Fox News weatherman, a New Jersey cop and a mortician in Aruba for a Funeral Home Conference. Sounds like a bad joke "A weatherman, a cop, and a mortician walk into a bar...." We drank really bad beer called “Amstel Bright” and commiserated when the bar closed at midnight and the bartender yelled at us for mentioning Natalie Holloway.

Note: DO NOT mention Natalie Holloway when in Aruba. The locals get very upset. I mean I was just making the observation that in my first day in Aruba the hotel bellhop offered to give me a tour if I rented a car and the restaurant GM said he would give me a ride to the casino. Um, I didn’t really follow that case closely but as an American woman why would I consider getting into a car with a local?!?

Having so much free time to think (this was a budget trip, remember I am still technically unemployed until Feb 3, and we only went out to eat one time, so there was a lot of free time. We subsisted on Cup O Noodles and PBJ sandwiches in the hotel room) I realized with the holidays and layoffs, I had not properly had time to digest a breakup from a few months ago. The first night, sitting on my balcony overlooking the sea, I decided the solution to getting over it was to be found at the bottom of a bottle of red wine. And I tried to get there as fast as I could! Sadly, all I found was a slight spin to the room and no answers. And then I woke up in the middle of the night cuddling with this weird dog head towel creature (see pix) which sent me leaping out of bed not knowing where I was. I woke up with a slight headache and went to the gym as punishment and ran 3.5 miles. I have actually never run that far before and decided that was the better alternative therapy than cheap red wine. I am trying to train for a 10k. Pray for me.

I am letting my stupid subscription run out. I am supposed to be living on a budget commiserate with my pay cut and it’s a silly expense – the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results, right? Maybe I should take up a collection to continue it. Or maybe I should outsource the whole thing to a friend. Any takers? I’ll give you my password and you can search for me. Please no guys with Mustangs (bad experience); guys with pix of themselves wearing a tank top, do-rag and sitting on those little speedy motorcycles; or guys with screen names like "desperateforlove" or "outonparole" or "themedsrworking" or "soverygaybutdontknowit" or "liveswithmom" or "seekinggreencard"...Ok, I'll stop now. But that was kinda fun.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blog on Vacation

Blog will be temporarily suspended as I am off to Aruba from Friday thru Wednesday.

Taking the time off while I can!

Thanks to Sheraton and US Airways for sponsoring my trip with points and miles.

Monday, January 19, 2009

3 hours...

3 hours will the gap in time between my severance and extra vacation time pay running out and the start of my new job. I don't think I qualify for unemployment any more. Let's see $378 a week was the max. So divided by 40 hours is $9.45 times 3 hours = $28.35. You can keep it Virginia! (maybe put it towards that pothole in front of my condo please?)

So I feel like a little bit of drama queen here for making such a fuss...but I am employed again. I will say the initial shock for the first 48 hours post lay off was terrifying and painful and sleepless. And I had fears of not being able to keep the condo or having to leave DC etc. Scary.

While I was worried about those things I was also stressed about having to take a job I hated just to be able to pay bills.

But I think of the others with kids and bigger mortgages and I hope they are able to find a job as soon as possible. Good luck and I am here to read resumes, practice interview, drink, feed you (Italian medicine), console, whatever. I have only had about 10 jobs in 10 years so I have a knack for this stuff...

Thanks to good friends who consoled, gave leads and ultimately recommended me for a job and helped me get hired. Thanks Jim!

I will be working for a company that works with country clubs to build out websites to manage their members, tee times, dinner reservations etc. I am sure I will have a better one sentence description after I start! But I love golf and I am beyond ecstatic to be selling something to an industry I have a huge interest in. (I will break 100 this year dang it)

Post layoff, while editing my resume, I came to the realization that I am a salesperson. That is my career. It was not what I wanted to be when I grew up and I have been in denial for years. I thought I'd be the one standing on the capitol steps in January someday :-)...but I started in fundraising which is a warmer and fuzzier but less lucrative type of selling and ended up a salesperson.

In the end, and I am usually humble about things, I am not so bad at it and I like the challenge of having a goal to hit and working towards it. Its like my own little small business and if you are good at it and work hard you get a nice reward and a good quality of life.

I had a choice, many years ago, after working for the Make A Wish Foundation, that I could either:

1. Stay in a nonprofit and work my way up to maybe run an organization someday. Even tho I loved it, I was impatient and was working 60 hours a week and making about $8 an hour. (Ah, the impatience of youth. The Executive Director job was open last year. I applied but I didn't spend the time working my up, and was unqualified. Oh well.)

2. Go work at a for profit, take care of myself first then 2b. give back as much as I can.

I chose option #2 but never really followed thru on 2b except for some adhoc fundraising and volunteering. After this experience I pledge my time to volunteer on a regular basis. Now that I have said it for all to read I need to follow thru.

And it starts with my fundraiser in DC for Row for Hope on Feb 19th. My goal is 100 people and $2,500. If you live in DC - please help by showing up and telling 1-2 people.

And, YES, the blog will continue. I love being the center of attention (to all 6 of you for 10 minutes once or twice a week). Tho this will be the last semi-serious posting. As you may have gleaned (giggle inside joke with a few very special readers), stupid things happen to me all the time and I can generally find something funny about most things.

Soon, I will recount the day my car got towed from my own personal parking spot behind my condo resulting in a 6 hour journey to two tow lots, one with bullet holes in the window and ending in a lonely stroll along a highway searching for my car...or the time I plowed into a giant landscaping rock while going 50 miles an hour on the GW Parkway, or the time I got the $1900 reckless driving ticket for going the speed limit...hmm, I am obviously a hazard to the road as most of my stories involve my car...I will have to think of more topics besides my inability to keep my car in one piece on the road and my license from not being suspended. If the last two weeks are any indication, I am sure I will have lots of material.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Excuse me, can you tell me where the restrooms are?

DC is under siege! By port a potties. These pix are from the National Mall on Saturday morning. I had a one day gig down in the middle of the craziness as a "VIP Escort" for an event. In my duties I had to take coats and take people up the elevator to the 5th floor. I did NOT get to escort Jon Bon Jovi when he arrived and got a tour. I had to resist the urge to stalk him as part of my professional duties so I never did get to see him. I did have to take other people up and down the elevator. Remember VIP in DC means members of Congress, big donors, as well as timeless rock stars. Sadly, I had to work the first two categories instead of Bon Jovi. On my last trip, the elevator got stuck. I didn't know I was terrified and claustrophobic until the very moment the elevator came to an abrupt stop and the emergency buzzer went off. The 10 other people in the elevator (VIPs that I had promised cookies and coffee to if they would only get into the elevator with me...) were made up of 5 children and 4 adults. And one security guard. Lesson : Never take up an offer for cookies from a stranger.
The museum had just been renovated after 2 years and re-opened in November. This was the FIRST DAY the elevators were ever used - way to get out the kinks when 1 million people are arriving! After my initial heart attack, I politely inquired to the big beefy security guards outside the door to please "OPEN THE %$#&*^%ing DOORS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!". Tho I may have been slightly more polished in what I actually said, that was what I was thinking as they kept asking us to push the the 3 inch opening shut from the inside...Before I became as unhinged as the elevator doors, they forced the doors open and I bolted from the elevator and proceeded directly to my car. My one day of work in 2 weeks was very traumatic.

The highlight of the day beyond learning I am terrified of crowded, hot, enclosed spaces was hanging out with some of our founding fathers and Presidents - Tom, Abe, GW (the original).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

So c-c-c-cold....

Why is it so friggin cold?! In DC even. I have played rounds of golf in January in short sleeves. This is the coldest winter in awhile. And it has made me inert. I have zero excuse to not go to the gym but my schedule of late has been:

Wake up at 7:30 ready to take on the world!

Get out of bed - COLD! - jump back into bed for warmth - heat pumps cannot deal with 28 degree weather. I am currently wearing thermal pants and shirt, hooded sweatshirt and jammy pants to bed every night with two comforters and sometimes a hat.

The rest of the days have been as follows: read, doze, have weird dreams where I am back at my old office but invisible, talk on the phone with other unemployed people, sympathetic friends, bill collectors (just kidding, not yet), nap

Then its suddenly after 5 and I go out and have another sympathetic friend buy me dinner

I am bored. I like to work.

I have been filling my days with DR appointments before the insurance runs out. I went to an ear, nose and throat Dr cause every time I fly I seem to get sick. As I was sitting in the room waiting for Dr. Lee to come in I overheard his conversation with the patient in the next room. No, I wasn't spying. But because he spoke only English and the poor woman spoke only Spanish, he did what most people do to try to get her to understand - SPEAK VERY LOUDLY AND SLOWLY. In English.

Now, I mentioned this was the EAR, NOSE and THROAT doctor. So I do not know why the conversation led the topic of, in the words of Dr Lee, "Explosive Diarrhea". I sat there listening to a very loud, and very slow description of what it is like to die from diarrhea. Dr Lee finally came in and asked what was wrong with my ears. I told him they hurt from the 14 cotton balls I stole of the counter and stuffed in each ear to avoid hearing the end of his death by diarrhea discourse.

I also went to the dentist and think there are very few things in life worse than the sounds that all those tools make.

Hmm, so I feel like a grandmother going over all my medical appointments to my uninterested grand kids. I am curious as to how many people read this. Post a comment and let me know.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Since I am usually gainfully employed and living in a hotel room somewhere on the east coast for work, I am not usually home when Tyrone, the pest control man, comes by to do his deed each month.

I have done a back of the napkin analysis of my finances and am in the final phases of which luxuries to cut - Cleaning lady gone, DirectTV package reduced, eating pasta from the pantry nonstop (subject of a future post = carbs are NOT the answer) etc...but I will not cut my pest control.

Google "Cave Cricket" and see why. I believe these things preceded dinosaurs and they will be here long the human race has obliterated itself.

When I first moved in to my own condo - my own little plot of land, the American dream - I was so proud. Then THEY arrived. (re: cave crickets).

I would come home and they would be camped out in formation blocking my entrance to my back door. So I would walk all the way around the condo building to go the front door. It was a horrible day when they were bunkered down in front of both doors. I spent an hour throwing sticks at them to get them to clear out so I could get in my house. Finally, a lady with her dog walked by and I begged her to let her dog run around the doorway to clear them out. She said yes. But, then she did look at me funny.

I am TERRIFIED of spiders. But I have gotten to a point where I can deal with them like a grown up, albeit a grown up with very long stick. I cannot, tho, deal with GIANT JUMPING SPIDERS. Which is what these crickets essentially are.

Lets review what happened for 1 year until I hired Tyrone and he got rid of most of those nasty little things for me. Tho I still do see one occassionally and I ask him to use extra spray which I am sure will cause one of my future children to be born with a flipper growing out of its little head...

Anyway, I would open kitchen door after making a mad dash across the patio to the back door trying to avoid the outside crickets. Then I would flip on the lights and scan the kitchen for a cricket. Once a week I would see one, mocking me, in the center of the floor.

So I would go to battle. Armed with a one gallon bucket of bug spray (see: babies born with flippers) in one hand and a swiffer in the other I would douse the little bastard with spray. It would hop AT me (yes, that is their defense mechanism - they are harmless but so ugly looking that they hop AT their enemies to scare them away). After it was weakened and hopefully didn't limp under the stove, I would try to bash it with the swiffer while it was still trying to feebly hop at me. All the while, swearing loudly.

Here is what the neighbors heard during one of these skirmishes:
"SON OF A" bang, bang
"You little F*@%$er" Slam
"HA, take that you bastard". VRRROOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM

Oh, the "vroom" is the final step. I can't bear to get near even the shmushed carcass so I vacuum it up (sometimes still alive - evil laugh) into my Red Devil. Note: I have not ever cleaned out this vacuum full of cricket (and for one scary week, waterbug) bodies. And I never will.

So to connect it all back to being unemployed - I will have to find something else to give up other than Tyrone. My hero.

Shameless Plug...Give a little to get a little.

I think I have accumulated a little audience...evil laugh....

This will be the only time I ask for anything. If you can help, please add a comment below with your contact info. If you know people who are popular and have a lot of friends who like happy hour, send them to me. I sent this email out to some people today but this should help spread the word as well...

"Note: I wrote this draft last Monday to send later. I was laid off from my job on Tuesday. I was going to cancel but people have been so good to me this week that I want to do something to give back. So game on...Let me know how you will help.

Dear Friends,

After a long hiatus from fundraising and asking you for things I have found another charity that I'd like to get your help raising some money for. Watching the news is depressing so please join me in doing something warm and fuzzy for not a lot of $$ or effort and also having an excuse to all get together soon.

The charity is called Row for Hope ( 25 year old Paul Ridley is ROWING SOLO ACROSS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN to raise money for the Yale Cancer Research Center. Paul and his sister Joy lost their mother to skin cancer in 2001. And this is their way of honoring her while helping people at the same time.

I am looking for a host committee for a happy hour to be held in downtown DC on Feb 19th from 5-8 at Clydes in Gallery Place. Clyde's has given us most of the use of one of the bars.

All you need to do: Donate $25 (or more) and get at least 5 (10 would be better) people to show up and donate $25 (or more).
Or if you dont want to do that, just bring yourself (and your $25 (or more)) to the event.

You are receiving this email cause thru work or school or soccer you belong to a network where it should be pretty easy to rally people to a happy hour.

Please let me know soon. Shouldnt be too hard. Either say:
YES, I will get my coworkers/neighbors/friends/alumni to attend and join the committee
YES, I will be there but wont be able to commit to get people there - just send me the date

Click on the link and read the story...Then pick one option above.

Carmella "

Monday, January 12, 2009

Just another Manic Monday...

Well not really...I am still waking up early out of habit but then taking some nice naps in the afternoon. I am a great napper.

I received my PIN number from the Commonwealth of VA today to confirm I am indeed a ward of the state. I always thought I would be much older and much more senile when that would happen.

I am trying to figure out health insurance as the clock is ticking on Jan 31st. Luckily, VA allows individuals to get private insurance so I should be ok for awhile. Plus Cobra is retroactive for 30 days. Hmm, things I wish I didn't need to know that I am becoming well-versed in.

I did a review on my frequent flyer miles and hotel points and realized that after 3.5 years of travelling - I can go on vacation for free for at least 6 days. And I am trying to not feel guilty about it. I mean, in 6 months if I am still without a job, I may look back fondly on those umbrella drinks as I am moving back in with my parents and watching bad spanish telenovellas with my dad.

Its T minus one week until DC goes under siege for the inauguration. I have a new joke for the occassion:

"Whats the definiation of a newly registered Democrat?"
"A Republican who has been laid off."

HAHAHAHA, ugh. I. still. believe. in. the. free. market...Yes. I. do.

And please, hold off on any comments that bash my political opinions. Start your own blog. This one is mine and I will cry if I want to.

Sorry for the short post. My brain is ooze.

Friday, January 9, 2009

What goes around comes around

My army of cleaning ladies showed up for the monthly condo cleaning today. I love how clean my place is when they get done. They are so good. Everything is so clean and lemony smelling. I love them.

When they were all done - I fired them.

I have done some analysis of the fat in my spending. I am pretty good at my expenses tho. I never did the $4 daily starbucks so I don't have much fluff to cut. But I do eat at restaurants a lot. In fact, now that I am cutting back on my restaurant activity it is certain to plunge the industry into a depression versus recession.

Its a downward spiral. I cut out going to restaurants. A server gets fired. The server stops drinking his tips every night at the bar across the street so the bartender gets fired. The bartender was saving up to buy a new car but has to dip into savings to pay rent. So the car salesman loses his job. The car salesman was about to close on a house but re-negs. The mortgage broker gets fired. The mortgage broker goes to the bar to drink his sorrows, wait...this economy could be self sustaining after all! Let me call the Fed and tell them!

You see, I read an article today on how alcohol sales are UP 6.5%. Nothing is UP any percent much less more than 6% these days.

In the state of VA:
"Overall liquor sales from July through November were up 6.5 percent from the same period a year ago, but the bulk of that increase came from sales to individual customers at ABC stores. Those sales rose 8.1 percent, while sales to bars and restaurants increased only 0.6 percent." AP

Hmm, I may need to look into working for a liquor distributor.

I haven't relaxed at all since "Black Tuesday" but decided I will as of tonight and thru the weekend. I need a break. I have been emailing, calling, begging, pleading, stressing, losing sleep and drinking since Tuesday. Well, I will take a break from 6 out of 7 of those this weekend anyway. You guess which.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I'm taking the bus!

Have any of you seen the Simpsons episode where Monty Burns sends Smithers on vacation and tries to take the bus all by himself? And he announces to everyone "I'm taking the bus!". Anyway, that was me today. DC has a very good transportation system. I just have never had to use it very much. But I couldnt justify driving into DC and pay a lot to park when the bus fare is $2.10.

So I dutifully checked the web site, got the schedules and the transfers to get downtown. Then I went 5 minutes early...and waited for 45 minutes. No Bus. OH! I was at the wrong corner. I wasn't sure if another bus was going to come so I called another laid off co-worker to come get me and drive me to DC instead. The bus drove by me as I was walking to her place and I was exactly in the middle of two stops. I am useless.

Other than freezing my toes off, today was a GREAT day. Seriously, the kindness of friends, strangers, colleagues is amazing. I have one amazing lead for a great job already lined up and another call is being made for me to someone else. And tons of people have sent me messages on facebook for jobs as well.

I have sent random emails to people on linked in and gotten paragraphs of responses back with ideas and people to call.

Pretty amazing.

I have 4 stages of this job hunt:
1. Stay in the restaurant industry doing sales - the best shot at getting close to my salary and staying in the industry
2. Stay in the restaurant industry but work at a restaurant at the bar or in management - might be tough to own the condo that way but how I miss tending bar...
3. Find a Sugardaddy - all problems solved!
4. Take a sales job outside of the industry tho I won't be thrilled about it - this option is down the road when I have to start dipping into savings

So to all those who have helped by sending info - thanks! If you fall into #4 with your leads I will definitely keep the ideas filed away in case #1-3 don't work out. Of course, if you have any leads for me...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Why couldn't this have happened in July so I could go to the Pool?

Ok, so my DAY #1 plan was aggressive. I did not go to a networking event or buy a new laptop.

It was really cold and rainy out and I just didn't want to go outside.

I received my "separation agreement". Why is it an agreement? I personally don't agree with any of it. It wasn't as exciting as I had hoped. Hmm, there is a non disparagement clause. O well, there goes the fun parts of the blog...No, I am too big of a person for that and will not disparage. But I do like that word. I will have to remember to use it in an upcoming interview.

I applied for unemployment today. See action shot. It was pretty easy actually. I am to await a letter in the mail with my weekly amount and duration within one week.

I didn't realize you have to pay taxes on benefits you receive from the government that were funded with taxes to begin with ...AND you have to report every Sunday that you have applied for two jobs a week to get paid. I did apply online though I almost went to the office I thought it would make for better blog material. See: cold and rainy above.

You also are forced to go to an online job site and do a resume and update your skills. Here is a sampling of skills:

apply traction
distinguish colors
make decisions

I decided to log off the system at that point.

I've Been Affected

In order to keep my sanity and offer amusement to the world (i.e. the 3 people reading this blog), I have decided to chronicle my experiences being laid off in 2009 with a resume full of great experiences and accomplishments in jobs that are the first to be cut when the economy tanks.

How it went down:
I work from home so I dialed into a conference call with a choked up CEO telling us we have to make cuts.

The call ended at 11:15. If we got a call by 1pm we were out. I was one of 5 National Sales people, my job is safe, I thought. I mean you always have to sell right? And it's a big country for 5 of us to cover. My phone rang at 11:50am.

I love HR formalities. Every call had to have two people on it for witness purposes. When they called me and I was introduced to the other co-worker I had a brief moment of hope - maybe I was serving as the witness for the other guy's lay off call! Er, not so much...

I was told I was "affected". I was a little worried I had a rash I didn't know about but after a quick inspection I realized I was laid off.

Meanwhile, just to give you a sense of how my life usually goes, and why this may be amusing to read over your daily morning coffee...

I was in my kitchen. I had made a giant vat of sauce. I had the genius idea to put the sauce in ziploc bags. I decided to do this during the conference call to multitask (note: we did not know the topic of the call beforehand). So as I am hearing I am probably losing my VP level, nice salary job, I am transferring bags of sauce to the freezer. And 4 bags explode. So while I am waiting for my call, I am taking apart my freezer and covered in sauce from head to toe. Took me about 2 hours to clean it all up. But now I have pasta dinners during my unemployment.

And I realized, as I was scrubbing on my hands and knees, that no job is beneath me. I could tend bar again for awhile. I scrub well. I know how to make a margarita. All will be good.

So we ended the day, those of us "affected", at a bar drinking heavily. Note: Lots of people buy you drinks if you announce you've been laid off. There are hundreds of bars in DC I figure I have a few months to work this schtick and get free drinks.

Today, DAY 1 - My sales training is kicking in. I basically just got a big fat NO and the next step is to make a list of opportunities and a plan to go after them like a good little salesperson.

Today's Activities:
Buy a laptop, up the minutes on my cell phone plan, make Dr appointments before insurance runs out, apply for unemployment (I am sure that will be a whole experience to blog about), go to coffee shop and edit a few resume versions - 1. sales, 2. restaurant, 3. dumbed down version just in case. Go to a networking event.