Telecommuting from wherever I am

The beauty of being unemployed is that you can work from anywhere! I just spent a week in SC, mostly near Charleston. I had one scheduled phone interview while I was there and ended up having a second one. The hiring manager for a job I had applied for and I had been playing phone tag all morning. So when she called back, I answered because I assumed she was calling to schedule a time for us to talk. I had left a bunch of options for times in my message to her. But she asked if I had a few minutes to talk right then, and for some reason, I said yes. Even though I was sitting on the beach at that moment! I actually think it went really well. Helped I’m sure, because I’ve had a fair amount of practice recently.

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Cautiously Optimistic

It’s officially spring: I just mowed the lawn for the first time this year. It’s so much easier to feel hopeful when the weather’s nice (and by nice, I really just mean not 45º and raining. It’s a low bar.). Well, it’s also easier to feel hopeful when I have several interviews lined up including a second interview at a company I’d actually like to work for.

The whole job search thing is so cyclical. Every month when the US Labor Department releases its job numbers they talk about these huge factors like natural disasters impacting the numbers. But I think that it’s probably more granular. To me it seems much more likely that it’s a series of small and local happenings. I feel like there’s a dissertation topic in there. You’re welcome.

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Timing is Everything

I haven’t posted much recently. I’ve been feeling a little like a broken record. I’m still singing the same old tune, but I figured I’d post anyway!

I’ve got the big seven month unemployed anniversary this week. On the one hand, I can’t believe it’s been that long. On the other hand, yikes! It took seven months, but I’ve finally started tackling some of those house projects I put on a list back when I was first laid off. Don’t worry. I’m balancing that with watching obscene amounts every day this week of The Good Wife, a show I somehow managed to miss when it first came on.

I’m feeling slightly more optimistic today. I heard back from a place I had a phone interview with last week, and I’m going for an in-person interview. Plus, the weather’s getting better. I’m convinced that the way it’s going to work is that I’ll get a job just in time to be indoors all summer (fingers crossed).

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Springing for Spring

We’re barely having spring-like weather here, but I think I might have spring fever. Or that’s how I’m labeling my complete lack of motivation this week. It sounds better than just saying I’m lazy.

Although I do think that I’ve become slightly more efficient, and I am getting more things done than it seems. Well, this is true where networking is concerned anyway. I’m making contacts and connecting with people and following up, blah, blah, blah. But as far as getting anything done around the house, and now that the weather’s better the yard too, lazy might not be a strong enough word.

At least once a week I have the realization that if I suddenly get a job, I’m going to be very annoyed with myself for all the things I left undone around the house. And then for maybe an afternoon I’ll have a flurry of activity. But it never seems to last long. When I was first laid off, I made a long list of projects to take care of. I’ve managed to check off an embarrassingly few of them. So I am publicly resolving that I will do at least one house project every day for the next week. Here’s hoping wanting to avoid being shamed will be enough motivation!

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For your weekend: Amy recommends what you should be reading and watching

I do spend a certain amount of time every week job hunting, crafting the perfect cover letter and meeting anyone who will meet me for coffee. But let’s face it, that’s not filling my days. In addition to sleeping a lot, I watch a lot of tv and movies, and I’ve been reading a ton.

I just finished reading A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, which I loved. It’s partly the story of a Japanese teenager writing her diary, and partly the story of the writer who lives on an island off of Vancouver who finds the diary when it washes up on her beach. I can’t explain it, but it’s great and you should read it. And now I really want to learn Japanese. 

In addition to my regular tv viewing, I just started watching the first season of Game of Thrones. My sister sent me the first book and the first season DVDs awhile back. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to like it, because I’ve never really been a fan of what I’ll call fantasy. Also, the book is 800 pages long. I asked her if I could skip reading the book and go straight to the tv show. She said I could, but that she thought I’d like it better if I read the book first. I felt like I should at least make a good faith attempt at starting the book, although I had no intention of actually reading the whole thing. But it really sucks you in, and I found I couldn’t stop reading. It’s super violent, but you can skim over that in the book. And since I’ve read/skimmed the violence in the book, I don’t have to pay close attention to those scenes on tv. The other bonus of reading the book is that it has a cheat sheet of who the characters are and how they’re related. Or maybe I’m the only one who had to refer to that repeatedly. One thing about GOT is that it’s not really binge watching material. Although now that I know I have three other seasons to catch up on, I might pick up the pace a bit.

Anyway, those are my recommendations for the week. That should keep you busy through the weekend!

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Email factoids

Boy, have I been unmotivated this week. I realized how long I’ve been out of work, and decided that since I hadn’t found a job yet why bother looking for one. Kind of self-defeating, I know. I’m going to continue to blame my attitude on the weather. But we’re finally having what could be defined as spring-like weather in any part of the country (the bar is set kind of low here in Vermont). It’s easier to feel hopeful when the sun is shining and the temperature is above freezing.

That being said, my biggest accomplishment so far this week is unsubscribing from emails that I don’t read. It’s all stuff I signed up for at some point in time (well, except for the stuff that the other abarcombs have signed me up for). Generally I just delete them without reading them and feel annoyed when it’s the same emails every day. Now that I have loads of time, I decided I would go one step further and stop them from being sent again! It feels kind of revolutionary. Did you know that those emails are referred to as bacn (as in the delicious meat)? Because those emails that are better than spam — but not as good as personal emails. That’s my cocktail party trivia for the day. You’re welcome.

I have high hopes and a reasonable to-do list for tomorrow. I’ll let you know how that goes!


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File Under: Useless Information

I was reading an article over the weekend that said that there are employers who ask job applicants for their SAT scores — even if the test was taken years ago. I think my scores were actually fairly decent (by which I mean, good enough to get me into college <cough> a couple of years ago), but on principle I think it’s ridiculous that you would not consider hiring someone based on one test she took in high school. I don’t really want to say how many years ago that was for me, except that the article also said the test was harder before 1995. And I will admit that I took it when it was harder! It seems even stranger that a potential employer would look at SAT scores, when more and more college say they are placing less emphasis on them. I haven’t yet run into this with any of the jobs I’ve applied for. So far that algebra test remains the hardest (and least relevant) test I’ve had to take. And that might have been one time I’d rather have used a test score from high school.

In other news, The Onion nails it with some job hunting advice:,35621/



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