jump to navigation

Roll With The Changes March 12, 2010

Posted by jassnight in Change, Job Search, Unemployment.
Tags: , ,
2 comments

Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful, it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident, it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better – King Whitney Jr.

Reach for your Blue Sky Objective

Being paralyzed by fear of change for many years, you reach a breaking point that throws you into radical chaos. Once the dust settles, you sit down with pen and paper and construct a strategic plan. The plan consists of “Blue Sky” objectives that, at the time, seem completely out of reach. Regardless, you reverse engineer from those objectives and strategized step ladder goals and strategies in an attempt to proactively bring you to a life better suited to your core values and persona. The critical path is determined by identifying core events and use of a time-specific Gantt chart. The goals are achieved one by one. The low hanging fruit is gathered. Everything is in place for achievement of the objective and then… an external variable is thrown into the mix. Trying not to fall off course too far, you begin crisis management and re-structure some tactics to place yourself in a holding pattern. Time goes by and resources dwindle. There is more crisis management to stay off the breaking point for just a little longer so that you can optimize as much opportunity as you can.

And then it happens. There you are, staring change in the face. Not just any change, but change that you yourself designed – change that will bring you over the threshold and place you squarely into your blue-sky objective. It is uncanny how the opportunity before you fits your goal statement. All the work you have done for the past five years is about to come to fruition.

But you blink. There is a moment of hesitation. You forgot to account for a variable in your plan. The core reason that this whole journey began in the first place – you are afraid of change. It paralyses you. Luckily you are given time to absorb the tremendous opportunity ahead of you and the enormity of value it brings. You also realize that the stop-gap tactics you had to engage in to extend the original time line have given you essential tools and experience that enabled you to get to this point. They always say, “Everything happens for a reason.” In this case, it is so true.

Your feasibility study finds nothing but a win-win situation and the initial hesitation is purely just unjustified fear of change. You remember that this is change that you designed, change that you desired, change that is now a reality.

Yes!You are ready now. With a smile on your face and warmth in your soul, you confidently stand and say, “yes.”

The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become – Charles Du Bos

Advertisements

What strange thing is going to happen to me today? February 5, 2010

Posted by jassnight in Change, Dating, Friendship, Relationship, Unemployment.
Tags: , , ,
2 comments

Some of my graduate colleagues and I in Cincinatti

There was a time in my recent past that I would wake up in the morning and think to myself, “what strange thing is going to happen to me today?” I was in what I call my “transition period” at the time. I had left a good paying secure job for a chance to better myself with an opportunity that I could not say no to – a free education in the form of a graduate assistantship for a prestigious graduate degree. I was living in a small studio apartment by myself and totally immersed in engaging, exciting work with 30 other students on a day-to-day basis. We were a close family. We ate together, we worked together, we drank, danced, laughed, cried, obsessed and even slept together (overnight study sessions – that’s my story and I am stinking to it 😉 ) When people experience an intense part of their lives together, they become very close. Those ties are never broken and I will always consider them my brothers and sisters. Thank God for Facebook since we are now scattered around the globe.

I know. I got off track there but the fact is that I was experiencing an incredible time full of friendship, opportunity, hope and promise.  I miss waking up in the morning and thinking, “what strange thing is going to happen to me today?” It just doesn’t happen anymore.

Today was different.

We would gather after class at a local brew pub

I already knew it was going to be an unusual day. I had a very important meeting this morning and the anticipation brought back that feeling of opportunity, hope, and promise.  With it was also the waking thought of, “what strange thing is going to happen to me today?” – and something strange did happen…

So I am driving to my meeting and my phone vibrates. It is a text from a number I don’t recognize…

“Hi! It’s just me. How is it going? Is the wacko still screwing with you? You ok? Well, let me know.”

Just me?  Who is just me?  When I was in my transition period, I was also in a relationship. It was intense and horrible at the same time. It was a toxic relationship and I was blind to the effects of it and the damage that it eventually did to me. This toxic lover would always start a voicemail or text with “hi, it’s me” and for a minute I stopped breathing thinking that this text was from her. But in this case, the wacko would be her so this text didn’t make sense.

I text back…

“Who is this?”

“Don’t be silly, u know who it is! U r the one that keeps calling me. U think u would forget after these years and all u did to me. I didn’t look u up.”

I am now thinking, ‘oh my God, it is her! What does she want? Wait a minute! I have not been calling her. I have not called this B&%#h in well over a year. This can’t be her.’

I text again…

“I am sorry, none of this sounds familiar. I think you have the wrong person.”

She simultaneously returns…

“Gerry, look at the pic I sent you. You’ll like it ;-)”

Whew!  It is not my previous toxic lover!  I am not Gerry. Wait!  Now I wish I was Gerry. I wouldn’t mind seeing that pic!

She obviously gets my last text and responds…

“Gerald Sr. and Judy you r still nosy fuckers. Why not just put your adult son’s phone down!”

Ok, now that I know I am not Gerry, this is getting very interesting.

She sends a second text…

“And while you r at it tell him not to call me or bother me anymore too! I’ve got my fiancé and my 3 girls and life and don’t need him fucking shit up for me!”

Ouch!  Here is a woman who is trying to respond to some previous lover and she is engaged to be married with three kids? What a tangled web we weave!  Yes, this is getting very interesting indeed.  Now, I could take this conversation into the land of impropriety and irresponsibility pretty quickly but I have had my share of that in my life, so I decide to go the route of the gentleman…

“That is all fine and good but I am not Gerry, Gerry Sr. or Judy. Sorry, I hope things work out for you.”

She comes back with…

“Whatever. He called me from this number. That’s how I got it in the first place and I called it too and Gerry left me a voicemail. So whatever, Teresa”

Well, at least I know her name now. This implies that she now has some doubt about whom she is texting and that I am gaining her trust. I will continue in that manner. After all, I know her. My toxic lover of the past was very similar to her.

“Hi Teresa, this number is 607 244 XY02. I have had this number for many years now. I am not sure how that is possible. Sorry to disappoint you. I hope things go well for you”

She now realizes her mistake…

“Sorry, but someone was screwing with me and it’s YX02, not u. I apologize – Teresa”

“No problem, sorry for your troubles, we all have them. “

We were like family

It was a full day of living in the feeling I had when I was a full-time student working with people I love, learning exciting things and engaged in collaborative work – a day of opportunity, hope and promise. Even with the huge relationship mistake I made during that time I truly miss that feeling. Even though I feel for Teresa and her situation, however warped it may be, she completed my day today; Something strange did happen to me today as well.

Thank you Teresa.

Living Separately – Together January 21, 2010

Posted by jassnight in Dating, Divorce, Life, Relationship, Unemployment.
Tags: , , ,
2 comments

Nancy Partridge and her ex-husband, David Snyder, pose outside the home that they share in Westminster, Colo., on Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008. The pair divorced in January after six years of marriage but when the house failed to sell and Partridge ran out of money to pay for an apartment and her half of the mortgage, she moved back in with Snyder in August. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

In a recent post by Big Little Wolf entitled Living Together – Separately, she points out how the economy has forced some couples to live in different cities in order to maintain jobs and careers. Unfortunately the economy has not only hurt healthy relationships but also relationships on the rocks. With today’s economic challenges, it is  not uncommon for separated or divorced couples to move back in with each other, thus living separately – together.

Economic Suicide for a Family

In normal situations, when couples move toward divorce there is a liquidation of shared assets including not only real estate but also investments. Typically, there are gains in such transactions but since the first quarter of 2007, single-family home values have fallen 20 percent or more in some areas. Many divorced couples who would normally sell are stuck with houses worth less than what they owe their lender. As for investments, any securities in stocks and bonds, including retirement accounts that are tied to the market, have seen significant losses. With the unemployment rate currently at 9.7% (December, 2009) it is likely that many of the separated/divorced are also struggling with job loss.

PDP’s – Purely Domestic Partners

Whether it is a recent loss of income or sinking real estate and investment values, more and more separated/divorced couples are making rational sense of their situation and finding solutions by splitting living space up in jointly owned residences as a way to maintain property investments or living standards for themselves and their children. This is especially true when children are college age. There is no contest when a child’s future is hindered by a separated couple’s selfish actions. In fact, much to the divorce lawyer’s dismay, many are even postponing divorce proceedings in an effort to conserve resources. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers states that 37 percent of attorneys polled reported fewer divorces in a bad economy. Regardless, couples that have left the relationship because of abuse, or infidelities do not make good candidates for PDP’s. More than likely most estranged couples that manage shared living space successfully have had amicable separations in the first place.

Successful PDP housing is dependent upon several factors.  There must be enough living space as well as an appropriate floor plan so that each person is comfortable with the ratio between private space (bedroom, bathroom, closet, etc..) and communal space. Negotiating specific understanding about space, behavior, childcare, assigned duties, socialization and dating must be done beforehand. A time limit or a situation benchmark is also important to stipulate for the termination of the joint housing agreement such as an acceptable purchase offer on the house, employment, or unmanageable living differences. If there are children, keep in mind how they feel about the situation. It is quite possible that this transitional time can be easier for children to process. However, if there is constant arguing and fighting, think twice before moving back in.

PDP Caveats

None-the-less, temporarily postponing one problem can easily create other problems. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of a joint living situation. Keep in mind that this type of agreement is not the social norm. Many couples will find themselves the target for ridicule and disapproval. Mainly an assumption fueled by the divorce lawyer syndicate, society expects horrible financial ruin and emotional strife to be associated with any separation and divorce regardless of the circumstances surrounding it. Dating can also be difficult. Moving on into another relationship while sharing space with a previous relationship can be unorthodox to say the least. PDP’s may find it challenging to find anyone willing to date someone in their situation let alone have a relationship with them. Plus, the opportunities to be intimate with a newfound interest is essentially impossible since it should be a fundamental understanding that neither partner will have overnight guests, especially if there are children in the house.

It is important to remain clear on the reasoning for a joint living arrangement and not be influenced by external dissention. Financial maintenance, preservation of assets, standard of living, child stability and comfort are all good reasons to weigh the benefits of such living arrangements.  If anything, to have a little power of decision in such restrictive economic times is enough to at least think of it as an option.

Resources:

Huffington Post – Couples Staying Together Because of Poor Economy

Recession and Divorce: Living With Your Ex to Make Ends Meet

The Great Divorce Recession of 2009

What’s in Your Wallet? January 15, 2010

Posted by jassnight in Family, Job Search, Life, Unemployment.
Tags: , , ,
15 comments

They say you can tell a lot about a man by what he carries around in his wallet. I see the truth in that statement simply because with a wallet, a man has to be very selective in what goes in it, and stays in it. None of us enjoy a wallet in our back pocket. Since I lost a ton of weight, my ass no longer has that fat cushion. Sitting on a chair with a wallet in my pants is like a stone in my shoe – painful. These days my wallet goes in my jacket pocket or brief case. Whatever the reason, a man keeps his wallet lean just because it is generally, and literally a “pain in the ass.” The contents of his wallet must have purpose. There must be monetary value, functional value, historical value, or emotional value. Either that or he just forgot to take the crap out, and even that will say something about the man.

So here is my charge for the evening. I am sitting here with my wallet in my hand. What I am going to do is go through it and report what I find. Here we go…

…Opening wallet now…

Money

Let’s go for the obvious first. I have exactly $20 in cash in here – one 10, one 5, and 5 ones. That is a lot less than what I carried around with me before working on a career change. Semi-employment, which I know is much more than what many have these days, has made my wallet thinner but the reasoning goes much deeper. At one point in my life, I could not wait to buy the latest in technology, toys, gizmos, possessions. Buying made me happy – for a day or two. Then I returned to my miserable state until the next newfangled widget was purchased. Now my money is in my wallet for a different purpose. I don’t buy stuff anymore. I buy time. Whether it is drinking a beer together, a game of pool, seeing a movie, or a cup of coffee, time with friends is what makes me happy now. I make sure I always have enough just in case I have an opportunity to meet up with someone.

Cards

I seem to have an overabundance of business-like cards in here. I am going to take a closer look. Most of them are coffee discount cards, all from separate coffee houses I frequent. When you buy a cup of coffee, the barista stamps the card for you. When your card is full with stamps, you get a free cup. My favorite place is Stella’s, a small dark elongated café where students from both Ithaca College and Cornell hang to work on projects, collaborate on papers, engage in academic discussion or just gather for some down time. I am a product of this culture and it is here where I feel the most at home.

Plastic

Wow, I see to have a bunch of these stashed in various slots. 4 credit/debit cards (I have been spreading the dept around these days. That way it doesn’t seem so bad.) 2 clothing store credit cards (I need professional clothes to go on professional interviews so that I can continue to get rejection letters.) 3 grocery store cards (I don’t think they let you buy food anymore unless you have one of these!) finally, an AAA card. This is one thing I will never go without anymore. I have been in several situations where a tow was needed and the cost sunk me. So far, being a member has been a good ROI.

Membership Cards

I have three in my wallet. They are professional organizations in which my membership has lapsed. I can no longer afford to be a member. I am not sure why I keep carrying them in my wallet. It could be because I have hope that I might be an active member again at some point. More than likely it has more to  do with denial tactics.

License and Registration

Standard issue for a wallet, no surprises there. The only problem is that my license still has the picture of me from when I was fat. It doesn’t even look like me anymore.

ID Card

Even though I make very little money, I am very proud to be working where I am working. I love the work, I love the mission, and I love the people. I am proud to have my work ID card in my wallet. It even has a more recent picture of me on it!

????

What is this?  It is a 3×5 card folded in half. Old and ragged, there are several dog eared corners and frayed edges. Written in bold faded marker on one side is written, “SHUT UP – 1 hr.” I remember this! A long time ago, for one of my birthdays, my oldest daughter gave me a series of index cards as coupons. Similar to the coffee cards, the idea was to redeem them back to her in exchange for the service printed on them. Some were quite unique. She was and still is quite unique.  She is an in-your-face kind of kid – always passionate for whatever she does, always excited to learn something new, always driven to do her very best. When she was little it was no different. The coupon cards offered take-it-down-a-notch behaviors such as: “Let you talk first – 30 minutes,” “Eat with my utensils – one meal,” “Sit in my room alone – 2 hours.” The card from my wallet is one of those. Apparently she would “shut up” for one hour if I redeemed this card.  I wonder what she would do if I gave it to her now after all of these years? My bet is that it would make her talk more. The card would trigger her into a vivid discourse of her childhood; the days of tutus and Easy Bake ovens, the days of Little Mermaid and Polly Pockets. Talking about those times would be fine with me. Now that would be priceless.

Put that in your wallet.