Monthly Archives: July 2014

Jul
31
  • Witty, Wise Women

    Day 2 of the BlogHer conference, and my mind and emotions are all aflutter. Is that the right word? I dunno. The morning kicked off with such a bang: Guy Kawasaki came on with Arianna Huffington. Guy was a speaker at last year’s conference. He has amazing stage presence with a very warm and approachable style, but shit, Arianna was a whole different level… she was freaking dynamo! Sure, she’s a media tycoon, so you totally expect her to be a master of PR and marketing, but still. Even with those expectations, goodness gracious, she wows. And not at all in that schmoozy, salesly kinda way. I mean, I’m no expert on social and emotional intelligence, but I’m just saying… there was a realness about her. People hate to use the term authenticity these days, but that’s what I witnessed. And shit, so sharp and witty. She talked about how her book, Thrive, came about after she had collapsed one day from exhaustion and burnout. She talked about the world’s obsession with being busy… this self-destructive glamorization of constantly working and struggling. Hello, I am so guilty! But there is a way to work hard towards goals while still maintaining the self. There is a way to be happy and healthy without necessarily stagnating.

    By now, I’ve attended so many of these conferences and there’s always a common theme about growth and leadership. To a large extent, we do bad things to ourselves: the unrelenting self-doubt, the self-shaming, the inadequacies… quite frankly, we exhaust ourselves, because somehow we become convinced that filling our own buckets is selfish or indulgent. I push myself because learning and growing make me feel alive. But I need to do a better job of self-nurturing– of being less critical and more accepting. Huffington said that being chronically tired is now the new normal, and really, instead of viewing that as a badge of honor, I really should reinterpret that message as a red flag: there is something deeply and terribly wrong with feeling chronically shitty and drained.

    BlogHer this year has been kind of interesting because I’m considering so many different avenues moving forward with my blog. On one hand, I have a whole list of things I should do to market and drive traffic to my blog: more visuals, add video, affiliate links, etc. On the other hand, I sat in on a talk about personal blogging and how for some people, the words are the treasures. Not the ads, not the videos, not the images, not the infographics. The words. I find myself a bit torn between always wanting to track the trends and build the skills to stay relevant, yet also honing my craft of storytelling through words. I’m not exactly sure how I will proceed after the conference ends today… maybe I will dabble in one and see where it leads.

    I mentioned earlier that Kerry Washington was the keynote on Saturday. She was so low-key and down-to-earth. She stepped on the stage in jeans, flats, and a simple blouse, and when she spoke, she was so articulate and candid. She talked about how she’d done all kinds of roles… and that for her, as an actor, she considers it her responsibility to expose the humanity (and imperfections) of people. Deep, right? And she also hit on this really interesting complexity about being in this public online space: “I don’t read [online] comments, because its none of my business what you think of me. I’m living my life. I’m doing me. So as much as I like to participate in community, I don’t look to that community to affirm who I am.”

    At times, I have struggled with what I expose on my blog, and how it might shape the way people perceive me. Sometimes, when former co-workers ask me about my blog, I have a reluctance to share the site. And I think it’s because I worry about the vulnerabilities I share, and how they might judge me. Perhaps the attitude going forward should really be more assured and relaxed. People are complicated. We don’t fit into rigid boxes of professional life and work life. The worlds collide, because they are all facets of our lives. I’m going to stop worrying about that shit. If my personal blog, which of course, does not reflect the views of my employer, offends in some way, they don’t have to read it. But I’m not going to stop writing it. After all, I have a point of view, and I have something to say. No apologies.

    KW

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Jul
30
  • Partying with the Cool Club

    It feels a bit funny to admit this, but I think I’m finally coming into my own. Jesus Christ, I sound like I made in through some coming of age rite of passage or something… it’s just that, this last year has been especially bumpy for me. You see, when I first embarked on this whole exploration/discovery/search, I really had no idea what was in store. Sure, I’d read about people facing identity and self-esteem issues, but truthfully, I never thought that the drama would hit me at the magnitude that it did. John’s frequently called 2014 the shittiest year ever, between my confidence crisis and Remy and his job bullshit. I’d never thought to write off the entire year with such an all-encompassing disappointment and pessimism, but after he termed things that way, I kinda saw the rationale.

    Thankfully, these days I do feel stronger, more resilient, and just overall more encouraged and inspired. BlogHer was a pretty good conference. I mean, yeah the sessions themselves were kinda hit or miss, but the keynote speakers were sooo inspiring, and the connections proved more fruitful than expected. First, I love a good talk. My high from being re-energized and motivated can easily last me several days. Second, I definitely want to try some new things on my site with affiliate links and basic monetization, just to tinker and see how it all works. Plus, I am considering creating my own graphics and maybe even trying the video content… I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew, but whatever. Why not just try some of these tools? Maybe in the end, I’ll still be destined to writing only, but I figure I might as well look and see.

    Hanging out with E was a total blast. She was really sweet to introduce me to several of her friends. As it turns out, two of the ladies even have nonprofit leadership experience!! I definitely noticed lots of grad/professional women at the conference this year: a ton of lawyers and MBAs, which surprised me. Maybe more people are craving the creative outlet blogging provides.

    What else. At the Expo hall, I talked to several reps at their booths. I kinda used the experience as a way to listen to spiels, practice my own attempts to build quick rapport, AND score some free products. Yeah, BlogHer is crazy commercialized. There’s always TONS of swag. I made a very strong effort to be minimalist this time around, but I still left there with bags, supplements, vitamins, oral care, a frickin’ board game, a new tote bag (to replace last year’s Beano tote), and the like. Interestingly, Khloe Kardashian made an appearance on Saturday for HairFinity. When I saw her in person, she seemed totally normal-sized– tv definitely portrays her like an Amazon. But then E actually got a picture taken WITH Khloe, and she insists that the lady is giant. Then again, E is super petite, so figures. Guess it’s all relative. Kim and Kourtney are like Liliputians next to their sis.

    Kerry Washington spoke at lunch on the last day. I know, I’m such a gusher, but she was so smart and articulate talking about her craft, her activism, her family life. She sounded so damn grounded. Naturally, she’s now my latest gal crush, and as much as I hate to watch tv, I might have to add Scandal to my watch list now.

    Sadly, I didn’t see my badass blogger Flourish in Progress. So sad. Based on her Instagram, she and I were both at the after party, featuring Rev Run of Run DMC, but I didn’t see her. Argh. Yeah, the DJing was pretty good: tons of super old school shit, and the crowd went nuts jumping around all over. You know me: I was surrounded by it all, standing in a sea of fun-loving people, and there I stood: awkward, stiff, and totally out of rhythm. I swear there is no hope for me. Dance Central ain’t ever gonna teach me the beats and moves. Ah well. At least I felt less self-conscious than I’ve ever been under similar circumstances.

    We stayed out pretty late. After the organizers kicked us out, we all headed back to the hotel and one of the ladies in the group who flew out that night gifted me her swanky room at the Fairmont. John even drove down later that night to live it up with soft, luxury sheets and full-on air-conditioning. Can you tell we’ve had a series of heat waves here? It’s been hotter than hell, and our house is a goddamn solar oven. Needless to say, Fairmont was our savior. All in all, I feel good about the connections from the conference this year. I definitely talked to more people and made strong enough connections that I think we’ll keep in touch. Yay!

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Jul
25
  • Imposter Syndrome

    I had trouble sleeping last night. Yesterday was a hectic day filled with learning, training, and job hunting, and even though I was exhausted by the end of it all, my mind just would not. shut. off. If you haven’t yet noticed, yes, I’m basically obsessed now with figuring out the game, i.e. the job hunting process. And following the communications training I attended last Monday, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed about my messaging and personal branding. You see, if I really am serious about working in communications, I have to have my shit MORE together. You know, like what’s my elevator pitch for 1) job hunting 2) casual encounters 3) blogging conference, etc. See what I mean? In each scenario, the audience is different, so the message has to adjust accordingly. I know, you feel I’m overthinking this shit. Trust me, I am not. Messaging is everything.

    Since I’ve started ProMatch, I’ve honed my job hunting pitch a lot. But then today, at the BlogHer conference, I realized that I still have work to do in the other areas. This morning, I reunited with my friend E. We had met at last year’s BlogHer. She runs the awesome MommyMafia website, and we’ve been in touch throughout the last year. E is extremely savvy and smart. She’ll learn about random tools and then the next thing you know, she’ll have mastered the tools AND posted fresh new content created USING the new tools. That woman is nimble as fuck! Not surprisingly, she’s made amazing progress on the blog over the last year, and I know I’m gonna see some new content on there soon, because I saw her gears churning today! Anyway, this morning E introduced me to some of her blogger friends. But as soon as they asked me what I blogged about, I found myself scrambling and stammering. “Oh, I just blog about my life… I tell stories from my daily life.” From a communications professional’s perspective, that response is so bland and lame! I mean, there was no enthusiasm, no confidence, no oomph! E kindly chimed in that I was an awesome writer with a hilarious, sarcastic slant. And her friend continued, “Yeah, don’t dismiss your blog, it’s not just about your life.” So fucking true. Have I learned nothing these last several months? Why am I not owning this shit? Why am I not celebrating the value I offer through my blog? I don’t know. I have issues. Shrug. More shit to work on. Ugh.

    One other thing I realized from the conference today? So many women suffer from imposter’s syndrome– the combo of two debilitating thoughts: 1) the notion that every success is solely attributed to luck and 2) the fear that people will eventually call you out for being unaccomplished and illegitimate. When I read or hear about imposter’s syndrome, it always sounds so ridiculous in its self-sabotaging ways. Yet, that doubt has visited me often, particularly in the last year.

    We heard from so many accomplished writers and speakers today. One lady is even a current NYT best-seller, and she still struggles with feeling unworthy. She still worries that she’ll never write another good book again. Sound familiar? I find myself saying to Bubbey: I’ll never find another job again!  And yes, that is a major complaint. I want to work!!! But shit man, self-doubt is so annoyingly persistent!!

    So back to the elevator pitch: yeah, whenever I’m on the receiving end of an introduction, I always notice when someone lacks confidence or when someone fumbles or mutters a half-ass reply. I’m not saying every interaction has to be perfect, but shit, those first few seconds are uber critical. So tonight, I’m going to craft my message– a strong, confident, charismatic message and then tomorrow, I will test. That’s right, baby: Iterate, implement, evaluate, repeat. What am I, a stand-up comedienne? Right??

    In other news, I saw another one of my fav bloggers today. Flourish in Progress. Not only is she super fucking bad ass, but I just love her honesty about her struggles and vulnerabilities. Her candidness resonates so strongly with me, I swear she can bring tears to my eyes at the drop of a frickin’ dime. And on top of that, she is funny as hell. Definitely one of my favorite discoveries from BlogHer13. Unfortunately, I was too shy to introduce myself today, but I still have tomorrow. She’s way too cool for me, but oh well. I don’t mind being a fangirl. Haha.

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Jul
25
  • Hollywood Pals

    Today was such a long day. I was at ProMatch for the mandatory meeting, plus I was volunteering as an usher. In the afternoon, I attended a class on tailoring your resume. I got really frustrated this afternoon, because I’m getting conflicting advice. I mean, I know a lot of this strategy is still subjective, but goddamn! Last week, I went to the NOVA career adviser, who said my resume was awesome. Then today, after I listened to the guest speaker in the morning meeting and sat in on the ProMatch class, I started feeling like my resume was too dense, with too much generic fluff.

    I suppose the message from the guest speaker was this: nobody cares what you did before, all the laundry list of tasks. All that matters now is your value proposition. How are you going to help the hiring manager with her/his pain points? What specific stories can you tell that illustrate your experience? How will your knowledge and current skills serve the hiring manager NOW? Already, I had tweaked my resume earlier this month based on basic resume classes, but I think the ProMatch classes are more specifically geared towards professionals, so the style/execution is even tighter. That’s my only conclusion: my tweaked resume may have sufficed compared to other NOVA job seekers, but compared to other ProMatch job seekers, it needed yet another revamp.

    So all afternoon, I cut the crap. The workshop coach was an old Indian guy, and he said I could trim the fat in my resume about 40-50%. Shit, really? Then they (the experts) said I have to incorporate more white space… highlight specific scenarios where I kicked butt. I have to say, I love writing, but holy fuck, the editing process can kill ya! I got home about 4:30p, took Martin to the park, and then proceeded to work on my one resume for one specific posting until 7:30p and then again after dinner. I mean, I know I can’t be spending so much time on one application, but I just want to figure out the secret sauce so that if I get traction, then I know the changes are working. Sigh.

    So now I am all paranoid that the version of my resume that I sent in to a foundation last week is not good. I know, that ship has sailed. Incidentally, I reached out to my contact at the foundation, and he suggested that HR consider me for the comm position. We’ll see if that scores me an initial round. I have to practice talking about my accomplishments more.

    So another week of ProMatch has wrapped. I am really liking some of the people there. It’s kinda weird actually, because a bunch of them remind me of Hollywood characters. Like there’s a very nice EE. He looks like the warden in Shawshank. Another dude reminds me of Hugh Jackman, and a third dude has all the mannerisms and tone of Milton from Office Space. It’s insane. Today in the resume workshop, the Hugh Jackman guy was getting really snippy with the group leader. Like he was challenging the advice and then just cutting him off. I started feeling really uncomfortable, because prior to witnessing that exchange, I really liked Wolverine. And then I was kinda annoyed with myself for not intervening. I mean, I dunno. They are both grown, adult men (one in his 40s and the other in his 60s), but shit, the tension bothered me. If I were to have spoken up, how could I have handled the situation? Fuck man. Overthinking brain.

    So I also wanted to follow up today about my recent parenthood comments. I was thinking that maybe I might be coming across as a kid hater. Not true. I actually like my friend’s kids. I mean, I get that there is something about seeing the world through the unadulterated eyes of children. And they are kinda cute with their miniature size and wide-eyed innocence. I suppose my gripe is really about parenting. For us, it’s a risk we just aren’t interested in taking. I almost have a perpetual worry that the parental sacrifice is just too great. I dunno why it’s such a bleak attitude: I guess I’ve just seen a lot of drama and dysfunction. Most parents really try their best, but the outcomes still really run the gamut. I know, my brother (and my extended family) have really fucked me up. It’s hard for me to really see the good. Whatever. The point is, my friends are smart people. They know what they are jumping into, and even if things turn out to be more challenging than anticipated, they’ll figure it out. Just like I am with my career path.

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Jul
23
  • Lamenting Death of the Written Word

    I went to the career center today: in the morning, I attended a lab on targeting my resume; in the afternoon, I had a one-on-one meeting with a career advisor. I am so grateful for the NOVA job center: I am learning so much about the art and science of job hunting, but today, I felt a little sad. Sad about this new reality where everything has to be super short and concise, because people “no longer have time.”

    I admit. I love the written word. I love using language to describe situations, to paint a picture, to tell a story. I love using words to convey emotions and feelings. I love using cuss words to relieve my stress. ;) In my cover letters, I try to express my genuine enthusiasm for philanthropy– why I am drawn to it and how I want to be a part of that movement for social change. But so many times now, I’m told to cut things out, to write with more brevity. I understand the advice… writing and editing are never-ending processes, really. You can fine tune shit til the cows come home. That said, sometimes I just want to speak freely without having every single word scrutinized over the value and purpose that it serves. So yes, this afternoon, I was told to strike more sections of my cover letter: Get to the point faster, sooner. People are chomping at the bit.

    I’m a very diligent student, so I will make the changes. That said, the defiant, creative writing side of me is fucking frustrated as hell. I think about how as a child, I used to write all my friends weekly. Long-winded tales of teenage woes, familial drama (what’s new) , nerdy, first-world problems. I loved every bit of that experience from picking out the stationery to decorating the envelope… and I loved receiving colorful pieces back in the mail. The last time I was home in Maryland, I found a stash of letters from my high school pen pals. I try to avoid nostalgia as much as possible, but there is just something about these correspondences that I miss terribly.

    Nowadays, everyone is in a fucking hurry. I mean sure, I am guilty of impatience as well. But with my blog and with my emails to friends, I try to honor this old tradition. Usually, my friends don’t indulge me in their replies: they schedule a call or meet up instead. But I miss the back and forth. There’s just something about the reading and writing that resonates with me.

    But ah, those days are gone now. I actually lamented about it to the career adviser this afternoon. He says that he communicates with his kids via text now. I mean, who the fuck is calling these shots? Who is dictating this? It reminds me of my friend J. We used to work together, and we would email and hang out and shoot the shit after work all the time. Then he went elsewhere, got married, and now he doesn’t even read email anymore. If I want to communicate with him, I can send an email, but I have to follow up with a text to ask him to check his email, and then he’ll respond. Usually though, we just catch up when we meet in person (not as often as I would like). I understand that communication methods are changing, but how am I supposed to cultivate friendships this way without phone and email? Am I supposed to just have conversations via text or in person only? It’s a problem! Am I being too old school about this shit?

    Similar deal with my other friend J. After he left our last employer, we kept in touch via email and it was pretty cool pen paling, but then he had a third kid and the emails got shorter and more infrequent. Just makes me sad. Speaking of J, I had lunch with him yesterday– first time in over a year. I was in SF for a training, and we met up afterwards in Berkeley. It was really great to see him. We actually had a frank discussion about how his kids are limiting his life, but I’m hopeful that he will take some steps towards self-preservation. I know, no matter what, I’ll never truly understand the parenthood choice but whatever. I just want to solve problems. I mean, of course you are allowed to complain (that’s just being human), but the real issue is, what are you doing about the problems, you know? So he says he wants to attend Outside Lands. He wants to do lots of things, but “he can’t” because of childcare. Meanwhile, dude and his wife are making beaucoup bucks! Huh?? I know, money isn’t the answer to all things, but shit, it certainly carries a lot of problem-solving weight. Needless to say, I’m convinced that childcare is a solvable problem for them. So I gave him some ideas: we’ll see what happens. Hunkering down for another few years just doesn’t seem like a viable option. Am I being too judgey?

    Interestingly, I had an epiphany yesterday. Here I have been wondering who in their right mind would opt for kids (especially the unplanned ones), and I kinda realized that we all make sacrifices for what’s important. For example, my whole job hunting experience. This process has been so damn challenging and exhausting for me, and yet, I am trudging through because there is no other path to getting what I want. Similarly, at the core, people want to be parents. They really celebrate the unique experience, so despite all the hardships and day-to-day difficulties, in the end, most of them would really have it no other way. So maybe I ought to be a bit more respectful and understanding about the challenges of the experience. Eye opener #1 for the week.

    Back to my meeting with the adviser: it went well… I just have to do better: tighten up my materials and really, seriously work on selling myself. I have this weird feeling that even though I am getting more and more comfortable with meeting strangers and building rapport quickly, there’s something I could be doing better, more strategically to leverage my networking.

    Another revelation I had today was regarding my pitch. You see, prior to all these classes, I really used the cover letter and resume as the way to convince employers to hire me. Now, I’m learning that you just want to hook them enough to bring you in for an interview. Then, the in person session is where you REALLY sell yourself. For me though, all of that assumes that my oral communications skills are stronger than my written right? I still have social anxiety about the in person… I still prefer written communications over oral, but what can I do? Argh!! This is how the game works. Fucking A. So this week, I am trying all sorts of new tweaks and approaches to see if I can improve my chances of getting into round 1. I feel like I’m learning the rules of the new game and trying to unlock the secret. I hope I figure it all out soon though, because I’m getting super antsy.

    Tomorrow is mandatory meeting day for ProMatch. Mondays and Thursdays. I’m clocking my service hours as an usher. And then in the afternoon, I’m doing another resume class. Friday and Saturday, I’m going to the BlogHer conference. Yeah, some day, I’ll be a pro blogger/writer. Maybe when I’m 50. Sigh. For now, eye on the prize in philanthropy.

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Jul
18
  • Applying What I’m Learning

    Wow, I can’t believe another week has zipped by. I’ve been continuing the full-court press… My friend J says I’m working a ton; I’m just not getting paid. For some reason, her comment makes me think: this must be what motherhood feels like. So yeah, after beating myself up last week for not getting to round 2 of my “dream job,” I tried really hard to pour my energy into the path ahead. You know what they say about spoiled milk. Thankfully, I also had some encouraging conversations with friends that helped push me to a healthier conclusion: it’s not me, it’s them. Yup, the total opposite of that popular breakup line, right?

    Last weekend was good. Pretty uneventful, but very relaxing. Our neighbors, who had moved in many moons ago, had us over for afternoon drinks and snacks. I know, we’ve been living right next door for probably seven months now; thankfully, they caved first and showed some initiative. :) And my goodness, what a lovely family! Both hubby and wife are in tech, and they have a very sweet daughter, who loves animals. She’s always playing with their chickens and petting the cat. Over the last several months, I’d actually bumped into the family multiple times. Early on, I could really tell the wife has a soft spot for animals. Remy would always tromp through their front lawn… and believe it or not, some people get super uptight about dogs peeing on their lawn or in their flower beds. Well, F never cared one iota… she was only concerned about how Remy was doing. It’s funny how reactions to tiniest situations reveal so much about one’s personality. When she learned that Remy had died, she was so empathetic. Whenever she sees Martin, she asks how he’s doing. She’s so very considerate.

    When I told E and F that I was looking for work, both jumped in immediately with offers to help. I mean, here we were: they knew nothing about me and my qualifications or credentials, but they both stepped up anyway, offering to assist through connections or whatever, in any way they could. It was so kind and refreshing! The husband, who’d himself gone through an extensive job search a few years back, said he remembered how challenging and discouraging that whole experience was… how easy it was to take every rejection personally, as a reflection of yourself, as some mark of your failure. Their acknowledgement and generosity resonated so strongly with me that day. And later that night, John also remarked about how unexpected that was… we were really inspired to be better, more thoughtful and generous people.

    Of course, like a true nerd, I looked to apply this new life lesson like immediately.  And where better than at ProMatch?!?! Haha. I have to say, the mandatory meetings are very challenging for me: after all, I am extremely impatient. That said, the workshops have been superb, and I am definitely warming up to a handful of people there. They don’t know it yet, but I’m going to target them soon to be on my Success Team, which is a support/accountability group that meets weekly to share the job hunting experience and help get through the blockages. Yup, I’m already cessing out the A-Team players. What can I say, playas gonna play! I need to create my own little tribe, man.

    So all this week, I’ve been listening to what opportunities people are seeking, and running through all my contacts in my head, brainstorming where I can offer help. I’ve already “refreshed my network” with five people– kinda like checking in with people from the past, updating them on what’s new, and seeing how they are… I mean, it sounds all calculated and manipulative like I’m just trying to use people, but actually, I am very much a relationship cultivator who likes to stay up to speed with people. Plus, who doesn’t like to be contacted by someone they used to like and be friends with? It rarely happens to me, but when it has happened, I love hearing from past friends.

    Likewise, a few people in ProMatch have connected me with their contacts, and it has worked out beautifully. And reading through their email and seeing HOW they made the introduction, I realized that I was being way too stingy about introductions. In the past, I was reluctant to introduce my contacts to a stranger, because I didn’t want to necessarily endorse someone I didn’t know in front if my trusted network. But now, I see that it’s just a simple introduction. The job seeker will still have to earn the job. For example, this week, one of my ProMatch mates emailed her contact who was the previous AGC at one of the family foundations. She simply said, “I know a nice lady (linked to my profile) who’s interested in opportunities at foundations. Might you consider connecting with her to share your insights about working at XYZ Foundation and in philanthropy in general.” Done. So I actually spoke to the AGC yesterday, and shit, she was the friendliest person EVER. By the end of the 20 minute conversation, we were both so sad about her moving to MN, because we totally would have hung out and done yoga together. I mean, sure, I’m still unemployed but wow, I see now that this is how the process grows and builds towards that end, right? And even if a job doesn’t appear at the end of the rainbow, I’m still thrilled to have met another great person!

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Jul
11
  • Unwanted

    I received news yesterday that the “match made in heaven” just was not meant to be. I had cautioned myself against putting all my eggs into one basket, but I didn’t actually listen to my own wisdom. Consequently, yesterday was a bad day, complete with devastation and meltdown.

    As you know, I recently joined that professional networking group… In one of several mandatory meetings I attended last week, I was feeling like there were a lot of socially awkward people in the group, myself included of course. I mean, I’ve definitely come a really long way, and there are degrees of awkwardness, but I’ll just say: my encounters are really hit or miss… In some cases, I am so humbled by the courage of my mates.  There are older folks, plus people from other countries who have poor English… Some of the older folks have been in tech or engineering or whatever for decades. They have tons of letters and degrees and certifications behind their names, yet today they are struggling to remain legitimate and relevant in this new world order. Those grappling with language must additionally deal with the discomfort of interacting heavily with strangers and in large numbers… To my amazement, all of them still have the courage to join this networking group– to go in front of 50+ people to introduce themselves and to tell us what they seek.

    There’s a lady from China amongst the group. For some reason, she reminds me a bit of my mother– something about her face shape, her plain attire, and her broken English. She comes across soft-spoken, and every time I see her go up to the front of the room and speak, I feel an inside pain, like I’m on the verge of tears. I think of the journey she has made— from China where she was in her own element doing her thing, to here, now unemployed, trying to learn a new language and new skills to survive in this foreign market… Who will invite her to be on their team?

    I’m a strong, motivated woman, but I sometimes wonder whether I have that kind of fortitude and visceral depth. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately: I feel so humbled by people like this lady. The Valley is a tough place. It’s an ageist place. I admire her tenacity, but I worry about what will happen to people like her.

    The experts say groups like this networking one are helpful, because they provide support for people who are sharing in a common experience. But I find no comfort in knowing that others are working just as hard, trying to keep their heads up. I frequently feel demoralized and disheartened… I only hope that they are more immune than I.

    You see, after yesterday’s disappointing news, I started doubting myself all over again. What is wrong with me? What am I doing wrong such that people see my qualifications on paper, are interested enough to speak or meet with me, and then the relationship dead ends shortly thereafter? What is the issue? Is there a flaw in my social intelligence and EQ? Am I coming across inarticulate and unpolished? With each rejection, I reach out afterwards grasping for clues and feedback. And every time, I get the same response: “You had a very strong application…” BUT WHAT THEN?? All yesterday evening I cried about my woes.

    But this morning, I awoke ready to hit the pavement again. I have two classes today:  Should I Start a Biz? (I would love to, but what biz??) and Basic Interviewing Practice. I’m still trucking away… it’s been a long week, and I’m going biking in a few to blow off the steam. I suppose now is as good a time as any to bring exercise back into this equation.

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Jul
3
  • Redeemed

    So following my disaster of a phone call earlier this week, my confidence was noticeably shaken. But I was trying really hard to keep my head up and to focus on moving forward. My networking group (ProMatch) duties ramped up this week… we had the second orientation meeting on Wednesday, and well, you know how that goes: more discomfort desensitization training for me. Haha. I also took a class called Generating Job Leads, and I tell ya, I am learning some se-crets!! There are just so many resources out there… I am amazed every damn day.

    But the big news is that I got called for a phone screen on Thursday. Going by the job description and everything I have read about the organization online, this place is made for me. I know, I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket just yet, but I’m just saying, the vibe, the culture, the content… it’s practically a match made in heaven. In preparation for the call, I poured through my notes from my “Ace the Interview” class. The instructor had said last week that phone interviews are the best, because you can just post all your talking points on the wall, you can have access to the computer during, and you have all your information right there. Wow, I’d never thought about it that way, but shit, she’s right. I mean, I really should just pin everything up on the wall and take the call standing up, you know? So I went into big time preparation mode, and my goodness, the closet doors in my office got plastered with my notes and papers. It’s now my very own Situation Room. Move over Wolf Blitzer!! And what do you know, the call went really well!! I mean, not PERFECT, but I’m still pleased. The ED was so charismatic and nice. We really had a great conversation, so now I’m even farther invested into this gig… But you know, I’m not going to be stupid about it. I just need to apply everything I’m learning, and we’ll see where this all leads.

    Thank goodness the call went well though: it’s a great way to kick off the holiday weekend!

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