Category Archives: career?

My Summer Bucket List Sprung a Massive Leak

1.  Finally finish the 1st draft of my novel!!!!

2.  Spend an afternoon in the hammock reading without being carried away by mosquitoes.

3. Break out the slip and slide and make a few good runs myself.

4. Accept my paleness and wear shorts with pride.

5. Find a rocking Sangria recipe and enjoy by the pool with friends.

6. Teach Kiddo to become an expert boogie-boarder.

7.  Build a sandcastle at the shore.

8.  Get a blog article syndicated.

9.  Get paid for my writing.

10. Write an article for a local magazine or newspaper.

11. Join twitter.

12.  Teach Kiddo to roller skate without either of us breaking anything.

13. Float down a cool spring in a tube.

14. Eat watermelon naked.

15. Help Kiddo read the first Harry Potter book.

16. Experiment with a new recipe each week.

17. Form a solid writing routine.

18. Transfer all our home videos to the computer.

19. Have family nights watching home videos.

20. Make s’mores over the bbq grill.

21. Make some kick the can ice cream in the backyard.

22. Dance the night away at a concert.

23. Take Kiddo go-cart racing.

24. Loose the couple of pounds that found me.

25. Be vigilant about sunscreen with everyone in the family.

26. Become a yoga goddess.

27. Read at least 6 books a month.

27. Swing on a swing-set as high as I can.

28. Celebrate pajama day with the family several times a month.

29. Make pasta sauce with tomatoes grown from my own garden.

30. Discover a new farmers market.

31. Finish at least one of the dozens of sewing projects in my sewing trunk.

32. Play family board games at least once a week.

33. Go out for ice cream cones.

34. Go to some writer Meet-Ups.

35. Make homemade fruit popsicles.


Hold the phones…shit…a little bit of life got in the way…

36. Check out as many resume, cover letter, and interview books as possible.

37. Rewrite resume for any possible writing jobs.

38. Rewrite resume for any possible library jobs.

39. Rewrite resume for any possible retail jobs.

40. Rewrite resume for ANY possible job.

41. Apply for at least 10- 50 jobs a week.

42. Promise myself not to stare at the phone waiting for it to ring.

43. Try to keep a positive attitude.

44. Try to squeeze in as much family time as possible before there is no chance of it.

45. Keep up a strong front for Kiddo.

46.  Get a professional haircut in case of an interview.

47.  Cancel gym membership.

48. Attempt to catch up with baby book, school papers saved, and photo abums while I can.

49. Get a job.

50. Learn to embrace change.

Mama’s Losin’ It

It was a GOOD day…

{Flashback to Friday night}:

Today was a good day.

I discovered I was not going to be forced to apply for the lingerie maid job I saw posted on Craigslist just to keep a roof over our heads.  (Seriously–scrubbing a gawking stranger’s toilet while wearing a teddie –would that not be the absolute WORST job ever?

 I had three times as many blog hits as ever in my scattered history.  I gained a bunch of new followers (thanks and welcome to all of you!) and found dozens of smart, sassy and like-minded women with fabulous blogs of their own.  And I discovered I was pregnant.

Just kidding!

(Although I did email that to my parents and nearly cause them to suffer simultaneous heart attacks.  To quote my Dad, payback is gonna be a bitch.   I was just carried away by all the whirlwind of snarky comments I had been making all day.  I am a BAD daughter sometimes…)

But the best news came by way of  an after-hours phone call that put an end to a few of the roughest weeks we’ve been through in a while.  Hubby still has a job. Praise God, Hallelujah!  Moments like that make me wish a was a good little Protestant girl…

His “company” is going through massive layoffs, giving pink slips to over half his office and nearly 5,000 employees overall.  After 16 years of hard work and dedication he was informed his position had been cut.   Our world was about to drastically change.

Loss of health insurance.  Insane cobra costs.  Losing hundreds of hours of accrued vacation and sick time.  Massive mortgage payments.  Credit rating going down the crapper.  Meager savings disappearing with one poof of an evil magic wand.  I know far too many other families have been suffering in these horrible economic times. But somehow it seems like an F5 twister barreling towards you when layoffs threaten to devastate YOUR home.  It’s freaking terrifying.

But now the stacks of resume books and interview kits can be set aside, or at least just casually browsed through instead of studied as if it was the night before the Bar Exam.  I may still keep looking for a part-time job (unless someone actually wants to pay me for blogging…hint, hint…) but I can stop practicing  Would you like some fries with that?   Kiddo isn’t going to end up in after-care just yet. I can stop buying ramen noodles in bulk and testing out unattractive hair net hairdos.

I can still work on my novel.  Life will go on.

Today was a good day.

Time to crack open a couple of good bottles of wine to celebrate.

When I Grow Up I Want To Be…

“Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they are looking for ideas.”   Paula Poundstone

Kiddo, at ripe old age of seven,  knows exactly what he wants to be when he grows up.  He wants to build roads.   Or build a real R2D2 and C3PO.  I try to explain that he doesn’t want to be the guy on the asphalt truck at three in the morning sucking fumes for minimum wage, he wants to be an engineer and design the roads.  Building robots (engineering again) is another fabulous choice and I prey he did not inherit my utter ineptitude for math and science.   He can be anything he wants to be (so long as it’s legal and preferably doesn’t involve exotic dancing).  As a parent, I just want him to be happy in life.  All he has to do is work hard, get good grades, go to college and his possibilities will be limitless.

I was always told the same thing growing up.  And I believed every word of  it.  I followed the directions to a “T”.  So why does it seem as if my possibilities more limited than the wild game selection on a vegan menu?

I wonder how many people actually wake each day thrilled to be spending another day at their place of employment, knowing they are fulfilling a lifelong dream, a passion, and truly enjoying what they do.  They don’t just have a job–their job is an extension of who they are.  Is it  dumb luck or a chance of a lifetime that falls into their self-satisfied laps?  More likely they actually know what they want and they have the drive, talent, and tenacity to go after it.   

Jobs I have dreamed of over the years:
Photographer (National Geographic)
Magazine Editor (Vogue or Rolling Stone)
Marine Biologist/Killer Whale trainer (until I discovered I was terrified of sharks)
Actress (must be nominated for Oscar)
Fashion Buyer
Magazine writer
Advertising art director/copywriter
Art gallery owner
Frances Mayes
Tina Fey

Jobs I have actually held:
Sales Girl/Ear Piercer
Charitable Giving Solicitor
Disney Intern/Indentured Servant/Pirate
Custom Framer/Art Sales Associate
Department Store Department Manager
Bridal Gown Salon Manager
Social Services Worker
Stay At Home Mom/Jane of All Trades

I think it may have more to do with courage.   So many of the things I have wanted to do in my life are creative and involve spilling my heart and soul onto a piece of paper for others to read, critique, and most likely reject.   To make it you need a tough skin, yet as I grow older I find that my skin is thinner and  less resilient, far more prone to injury, and takes longer to heal.  It has been damaged by sunshine and time. I find it far easier to hide in the shade to prevent more wounds than to slather on layers of protection, a virtual suit of armor, and face the chance of gaining more scars.

To succeed that must change. 
When I grow up I want to be brave.

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.
Eleanor Roosevelt

The Slippery Slope of the SAHM Resume

This afternoon I finally did it.  I dug my decrepit resume from the bowels of my computer hard drive.  Thank God I remembered to transfer it from the floppy disc it once nearly filled several generations of computers ago.   But I think it belongs in those long ago days.  It is ugly.  It is barren.  It has a great big seven year hole glaring out for all to see.

How do I escape from the SAHM black hole?

With half of Hubby’s office about to get the ax and the survivors hoping to cope with pay and benefit cuts, I decided it might be time to test out the waters.  I don’t know if anyone will think I am qualified to hold any position.  I keep reading horror stories of how college-educated SAHMs can’t even score an interview yet kids with the ink still wet on their high school diplomas get the job.  And  I suck at rejection.

After I nearly cried in desperation, I edited some of the job description/accomplishments/bragging passages. Honestly, they were written so long ago I have no idea what “increased sales by 70%” even means.  Was it $20,000?  $100,000?  $1,000,000?  “I cannot recall,”  would not be a suitable answer in an interview.

I am also a career changer.  I do not want to go back to the retail 60-hour workweeks and insane customers unless my house is on the line.  My last employer, the wonderful State of Florida, is currently laying off a significant portion of its dedicated and experienced staff (a.k.a. possibly the Hubby) so there are no opportunities there.   What’s a girl to do?

My main concern now is the black hole.  Do I fill it with one of the snarky “SAHM & Domestic Goddess Engineer” job descriptions?   It’s not as if I have spent the last seven years on the couch eating Thin Mint cookies while watching HGTV  (just a teeny tiny bit when Kiddo was just an infant and napping).  I’ve raised an intelligent, independent, well-adjusted kid.  I’ve budgeted obsessively and kept us afloat on a single, pitiful government employee salary.   I taught myself new skills as I remodeled my house, doing most of the labor myself. I helped run a popular Moms’ Group, been paid to eat popcorn and have interesting Japanese product engineers take samples of my hair.  I write and take photos for a blog (although I never made any money from it) and I’m so close to finishing the first draft of my novel (which I may now never finish).

But does any of that count on a resume?

To anyone out there in the real world I’m just a simple Stay At Home Mom.

Dropping the Bomb on Motherhood

Imagine it is just another rough day in the mothering hood.  Children are crying and wiping snotty noses on your shirt.  The laundry pile is multiplying exponentially as one child had an accident and another spewed chocolate milk across the room and the white dog.  You haven’t seen a television show without singing puppets, trains, or fairy princesses in years.  Your nails are chipped, your legs unshaven, and your not quite sure when you last washed your hair.   Each day is a struggle to find that precarious balance between  family, daily responsibilities, job, and an occasional moment for yourself.  Your life is full, yet you feel as if you lost a bit of yourself somewhere amidst the debris on the delivery room floor.

You may have dreams of escape…those moments when you imagine yourself lying serenely on a beach with a hunky cabana boy bringing you luscious umbrella drinks and there are no children in sight, or perhaps even ON your island oasis.  You may even be lucky enough to enjoy weekends escapes or small vacations sans children every once in a while.

What if an amazing  opportunity came up–your dream job–and you could reclaim some of your previous life and revive your career?  The only caveat: you would have to live on the other side of the world from your children for months at a time.  What if you did it?   And while you were living as a single, childless professional you decided you liked it better than your real life of chaos back home.    You realized maybe you never wanted this whole kids and family thing anyway.

Could you leave them all behind?

Author Rahna Reiko Rizzuto appeared on the Today Show this morning to promote her memoir Hiroshima in the Morning.   Given an opportunity to write about the survivors of the nuclear bomb drop in Japan,  she left her husband and two small children, ages 3 and 5, for six months to follow her career.   While she was away she discovered she had never really wanted to be a mother and didn’t want her children or her husband anymore.  When she returned home Rizzuto divorced her husband of 20 years and gave him custody of their small children.  She spoke out about her struggle with her identity and her utter ambivalence towards her children and husband.

Ruzzuto now parents at her own leisure and sees her now teen children several times a week to play games and watch television shows together.  The “heavy lifting” and day to day dreariness of parenting  is left to their father.  She says it works better for them, because now their relationship is based on “what we want to give, rather than our obligation to give and our assumptions of what we should get.”  In a heavily debated article she wrote, “I was afraid of being swallowed up, of being exhausted, of opening my eyes one day, 20 (or 30!) years after they were born, and realizing I had lost myself and my life was over.”

Men say things like this every day, and society generally does not think worse of them.  Men can have a mid-life crisis and decide to leave their families because they are not fulfilled.  They abandon their children completely for a job or another woman or to rediscover themselves or just slowly drift away into until their presence becomes unexpected and inconsequential.  But they are fathers…

Why do we judge mothers on a different scale?

I cannot speak for all mothers.  We are a diverse sisterhood, each with our own circumstances and  backstory.   But I can confidently say that having a child, whether by giving birth, adoption, or other means intrinsically changes you.

I know I would rather cut off my right arm than give up my child.    I could be offered a million dollar multi-book deal and a villa in Tuscany and I would turn it down flat if it meant leaving my child permanently.  There is nothing wrong with wanting more in your life than carpools and crappy diapers, but once you have made that decision to be a parent it IS your obligation to give unconditionally to that child and provide them with what they need.   And yes, sometimes it’s inconvenient and hard and excruciatingly exhausting.  It’s a part of the job.  Get over it.

Motherhood isn’t always what we signed on for.  It takes far more time, effort, compassion, and strength than I ever imagined I had to give.  It means sacrifice and change.  It also takes courage…and yes, some days that may mean the courage to keep giving when you feel as if you have drained yourself dry.  It means having the courage to stay. 

As my child grow more independent I struggle with my identity each and every day.  But I know no matter how my life grows and I choose to define myself, I will always be a  mother.  It is a primal concept that Ruzzoto is to selfish to grasp.

Turning the Screw on State Employees

 The media, Tea Partiers, and Republicans have been on a crusade against state workers, denouncing high level bureaucrats with disproportionately high salaries and pension fund double-dippers. They argue it’s only fair to bring state worker benefits more in line with what’s offered in the private sector. Meanwhile, the average State of Florida public worker has been vilified in the rhetoric, turned into a scapegoat for all of Florida’s budget troubles. 

The public sector IS NOT the private sector.

When times are flush, private sector employees are rewarded with raises, exorbitant bonuses and solid benefit packages. They are compensated for exceeding quotas and getting their job done. I have never heard of a DCF employee receiving an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii for meeting his quota. Public employees are lucky if a co-worker organizes a potluck holiday party in the break room during lunch.

Here is a sample of current State of Florida job openings with annual salaries:

Psychiatric Aid (Night Shift) $18,259

Gaurdian Ad Litem Case Coordinator $15,762

Juvenile Probation Officer $21,642

Wildland Firefighter $24,579

Correctional Officer $28,093

Child Protective Investigator $28,093

High School Math Teacher for the Deaf and Blind $33,250

Unlike the private sector, there is not much hope of these salaries increasing when the economy improves. State employees have not had a raise in  five to seven years and Scott wants to permanently eliminate any annual cost of living increases.  Now Scott also wants employees to pay a mandatory 5% of these paltry salaries into a retirement fund. If employees had any chance of a raise they might be much more open to this option. Currently, after 30 years of low pay serving the people of Florida, most employees accrue less than half their annual salary. State workers who have any hopes of actually retiring already pay into supplemental 401k accounts.  Scott is changing the rules on many workers midway to late in their careers to suit his own needs.  Many employees believe they have been contributing already, a trade-off of non-competitive, poor wages for benefits.  The rug has been yanked from under their feet.

And Czar Governor Scott’s absurd new budget proposal would also raise an employee’s family medical insurance premium to $9920 per year, thereby cutting employee’s pay by $7760. For many employees, that $643 per month would be over half their paycheck–gone. If that passes, many full-time state workers will be living in virtual poverty. 

Let’s use an example. A Child Protective Investigator is called out day or night, often into dangerous neighborhoods and extremely volatile family situations, to save children who are being physically and/or sexually abused. The investigator’s judgment and experience (or lack of) can literally mean a child’s life or untimely death. If these proposals are passed, that college educated full-time public employee will bring home $322/week before taxes. After taxes, he would do better receiving unemployment. 
The Juvenile Probation Officer would be raking in just over $200 per week before taxes.  That is not a living wage.

Going against his own campaign slogan, “Let’s get to work!” Scott has plans to eliminate 7% of state government jobs, resulting in nearly 7,000 layoffs, with more cuts to come in the following year.  So those left with a job would be doing twice as much work for considerably less pay.

Supporters say if state workers don’t like it, they can find another job. Perhaps they can, but someone must do these jobs, and many of these positions are hard to fill under the best of circumstances.  Cutting wages and benefits will lead to a mass exodus of qualified, dedicated, and honest employees and increase corruption, complacency, and crimes against the citizens of Florida.  With his sketchy history Gov. Scott will feel right at home.

And although Florida is in such dire straits,  Scott is nearly doubling the budget of his own office to $635 million. This would go into  his own private slush fund so he can dole out our cash to his big business buddies, money he claims is designated to entices business to our sad state.  

Too bad no one is going to have any paycheck to spend.   State workers will join ranks of the million others out of work and on the unemployment line…if there is anyone left to work it.