A Confession

Hi there. Have you missed me? Have I been neglectful? I know I’m not living up to the promises I’ve kept – like writing every day for the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

I know I strayed, and I’m so sorry. The truth is I’ve been doing a whole lot of writing and posting lately – but not here. Not on my blog.

And I’m going to come clean, right now.

I’ve been cheating on you with LinkedIn.

There. I said it. I feel much better now that I’ve gotten that off my chest.

I don’t know what happened. I just can’t help myself. Every time I get a free minute, I’m there and not here. For a while, I thought Facebook was my mistress, but it turns out LinkedIn has my heart. It has become my new favorite social media platform. And honestly, I’ve been spending a lot more time there than I do here with you on my blog.

And I’m very sorry.

You see, LinkedIn and I been through a lot together over the past few months. We have an understanding. While furloughed, I had nowhere to go, and then I remembered my old friend. At first, I only logged on once a day. And then, I downloaded the app on my phone, and it became several times a day. I’ve made some new friends. I read the articles. I added my thoughts. I have had amazing conversations with people I’ve never met in person before.

I know. It’s so weird. I never thought this would happen to us.

And I wish I could just give it up, but I’m too invested now which could actually a good thing. And although I’ve landed a wonderful job and turned off my recruiter radar and unsubscribed from the job notifications, I want to know how my fellow furloughed friends are doing. Did they find jobs? Where are they applying? How can I help them as they helped me?

I don’t think I’ll ever turn my back on it. I can’t, so please don’t ask me to.

I learn so much from the people there. I find new ideas and professional advice from leaders in my field. I share my own expertise and meet more people every day. It would be foolish to throw it all away.

But, I promise you this. I’ll pay more attention to you and the friends I’ve made here. I’ll carve out time to spend with you because you are important to me too. After all, this blog is my first love, and I won’t take it for granted again.

I hope you can forgive me.

Some Good News

First – apologies to my friends and family who have already heard my good news on Facebook and LinkedIn. You are about to read it again. 🙂

For the rest of you, guess what?! I got a new job!!!

I’m excited to start this new chapter of my life with an opportunity that truly matches up to my values, skills, talents, and passions. It did not happen overnight. Far from it! I was furloughed back in July, but I was already looking. And when I stopped working, I was determined to find a new job.

I’ll be honest. I got frustrated and there were times that I started to lose hope. I was up for some fantastic positions. I have a solid resume and the right stories to use during interviews. It just wasn’t the right time. In fact, finding a job in normal times is never easy. Add in a pandemic and a bad economy, and it was even more difficult. I had to stand out in a huge pool of people who were just as talented, experienced, and recently unemployed. I had to make a lot of adjustments to my process. I did more networking than applying. I learned to interview over Zoom. I took classes to improve my skills. And building my brand on LinkedIn became my new favorite pastime.

I learned so much! And I’m glad to have this platform, so I can pass along some advice (and some good stories) to those of you who may still be looking.

Here is lesson number one.

Know When to Walk Away

It seems like a funny lesson to start with, but when you spend every waking moment looking for a job, you want to know that you are making some headway. So, I learned to recognize when an opportunity just wasn’t right for me.

In one particular case, I met with several people from an organization on three separate occasions. After the initial phone interview, I was asked to provide two writing samples and put together a 15-minute presentation to show my understanding of their mission, and how I could help them meet and exceed their goals. I spent several days preparing and practicing, and I was proud of the job I did. I knew they were impressed too because, during my 1:1 time with the CEO, she asked me if I taught public speaking.

Yeah, I made it to round three. I met with the same people as before, but this time I was asked to edit one of their pieces for both content and grammar.

And then, they asked for a fourth meeting to “discuss my skills.”

At this point, I realized my skills couldn’t possibly be in question. They even told me I was the only candidate they were pursuing. Clearly, I had already proven my value. Their question was about fit. Was I the right person for the role? It was then that I decided to walk away.

I wasn’t angry. Relieved was more like it. If they couldn’t see it, there wasn’t anything more I could say or do to convince them otherwise.

It was a shame, but I kept moving forward knowing there was something better out there for me. I’m so glad I found it.

I’m Distracted.

I hope Joe Biden wins the presidential election so that I can get more accomplished. Seriously, I’m so distracted by all of the “breaking news.” And guess what…a lot of times, it is not new at all! It is a repeat of the breaking news from 15 minutes ago. And yet, I still listen because I may have missed something the first time.

I blame Donald Trump.

Fine. I admit it. Right now, I’m in an endless spiral of distractions. Social media is another rabbit hole I avoid at all costs. I mean I’m only checking Facebook during the day when I sit down to eat and then, I put my phone away. Okay, I take a peek first thing in the morning, and again before I go to bed. And while I’m in the bathroom. But, that’s it!

I need help.

These constant distractions are probably the reason why this is the third day in a row that I can’t think of a decent thing to blog about. So, instead of deep thoughts and inspiring stories, you are getting me at my most distracted and maybe at my most real.

There is a reason this blog is called Life Without A Manual. I’m living it, baby!

Last night, I promised myself I would jump out of bed this morning, grab a coffee, and start writing. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. I’m much better when I write in the morning than at 9 pm at night. But then, the dishes in the sink distract me. After putting away the dishes, I wipe down the counters. Then, I grab the broom and sweep the floor. And then I take out the recycling because it’s trash day.

Have you ever read, ‘If You Give A Mouse A Cookie…” Yeah, it’s like that.

Oh look, it’s time to walk the dog. Ugh!

Distractions are evil. I hope a brilliant blog idea saves me. After all, I’m only on day six of this challenge.

On My Mind

This is me… trying to figure out what to write about today.

Here I am at 9:57 pm with no blog post to show for it. I’ve been thinking about what to write all day and while several ideas came to mind, I promptly dismissed them. As a writer, some days are better than others. Today is just not my day.

I tried all of my old tricks to find inspiration. I looked through some magazines and lists of prompts, but nothing spoke to me. I watched the news for a few minutes and since it’s all so depressing, I turned it off. Feeling anxious now about my blog and today’s news, I sat outside with my dog and waited for a topic to magically come to me. My plan was to run inside and turn on my laptop as soon as the mood struck me.

But, it never did.

Finally, I went on Facebook and found the question it asks all of us – what’s on your mind? Well, that I can answer. Here we go:

  • I can’t wait to visit my daughter at college next weekend. We are dropping off her fall sweaters that made no sense to pack back in August. It’s been two months since I’ve seen her. Time to put together a good Fall care package!
  • Our son turns 17 this month. He is so grown up now and finally acting like a total teenager. He has that awesome sense of humor, wry smile, and the messiest room that all reminds me how much I’m going to miss him when he goes away to college. That reminds me – I have to call his SAT tutor tomorrow.
  • Donald Trump is a narcissistic idiot. Did he not get enough love and attention from the doctors and nurses at Walter Reed. Did he need to pull a publicity stunt just to see his fan club? He has COVID for G-d sake! As my sister-in-law brilliantly put it, he’s in a hospital, not a hotel. Whose bright idea was it to risk people’s lives so he could take a joy ride? Where the fuck are the grownups? Just when you thought you’ve seen it all. I’m exasperated. End rant.

Now for the lightning round of random thoughts.

  • I loved Jim Carrey as Joe Biden on SNL last night.
  • I haven’t done a jigsaw puzzle in quite a while. Maybe I’ll start one this week.
  • I finished binge-watching seven seasons of West Wing. What should my next show be?
  • Subscribing to different things gets incredibly expensive. You don’t think about it when you sign up but then it all starts to add it. Time to start canceling some of them starting with Disney Plus. I saw Hamilton. I’m good now.

I think that’s plenty. 10:26 pm and 466 words. Good night!

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