"Love My Way, It's a New Road"

Archive for March, 2018

Moving Forward

Game on — I am working on the job search and taking steps every day.  The recruiter job is not an option — they want someone with a background slightly different than mine.  I sent a Hail Mary email about transferable skills and diversity of thought, but I’m pretty sure it fell upon deaf ears.  I have applied for another job in a big bureaucracy — my skills are ideal for it, but I don’t have any inside advocates for it.  That will be a problem, but I’m thinking about who I can enlist to advocate for me.  I’m also in the process of scheduling an informational interview with a former colleague who has gone on to fame and riches.  He is a generous man and immediately agreed to a meeting….now getting on his calendar is another challenge.

With small, but action-oriented steps, I am making progress.  I got Robin an interview that went really well and they asked her to shadow a key employee — the very employee who got her the interview at my bequest.  My fingers are crossed for her because she is financially struggling so much and a stable job with health insurance is a dream come true for her.  Regardless of this job, I am going to talk to Robin about ratcheting back on some of my monthly overhead expenses for her.  I think she’ll be fine with it, but I don’t want her to feel like I’m firing her.

The other big relief is my son going to Asia for a year.  By postponing grad school for a year, I’ll be freed from paying his monthly stipend, health insurance, cell phone and the like.  Perfect timing.

The Hunter and I have begun the house-rental hunting process and this time we are discussing each and every move.  We are consciously talking about what each of us wants in a neighborhood and a home.  We talk about the Kracken and how he impacts our decision-making.  My Shitz Tzu passed away this week.  I’ll write about that because it’s a sensitive topic for me and brought up some interesting emotions.  We have a garage sale coming up and I have to get my shit together both literally so we have stuff to sell and figuratively with putting out internet ads and the like, trying to get some neighbors to join in, etc.

Busy, busy, busy and, and there is Maggie & Co, still churning along with a trickle of a pipeline.  I had an idea this week about a current client that could land an unexpected windfall. We are having lunch this week, so I’ll explore it with them.  The windfall would buy me the time needed for the job search.

I need to sit down and do the numbers, but my fingers and toes are showing me that by getting a “real” job, I could reduce my overhead dramatically because I would no longer have the Maggie & Co expenses.  The number was surprisingly big which is great because it will give me a lot of salary flexibility.  Anyway, I am chugging along…..more thoughts to come.

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I Better Not Say This

I got an email from a colleague.  She is the one who sent me the shitty client that made me realize that I need to change my work life dramatically.  Perhaps when I safely land, I should thank her. Anyway, her world is turning upside down as her biggest client moves to another provider and she is now adrift in the world of freelancing.  I wrote her the following and then realized it was too much to send to her, so I’m putting it here so I don’t forget these words of advice and I can remember my mindset these days:

 I was thinking about you and this email this weekend. You and I are in a tough spot – this entrepreneurial gig isn’t an easy one. I have to confess that I have been re-thinking it and Robin & I have had a series of heart-2-hearts about where this is all going. Part of me is realizing that the age of the internet could be making our business model dinosaurs when it comes to small to medium size businesses. I hate to sound all doom & gloom, but I see issues with:
• technology providing enough information that clients don’t need us
• gender issues so it’s harder to be picked over men (it’s true, let’s just admit it)
• relationships always trump expertise
• income instability leads to saying yes to things that you should say no to

I don’t say all of this to be Debbie Downer on a Monday, but to let you in on some of the insights I have been realizing over the past couple of months.  I decided to hunker down and go back to the things that I know best and focus only on those. I have got my LinkedIn profile open to inquiries from recruiters. I am thinking about how my skill set translates to jobs outside of our industry and how to explore those options. Suffice it to say, something needs to change for me…

I am running across a number of women in our situation – middle-aged, very smart, quite accomplished and under- or un-employed. How the heck does that happen? Why are we somehow struggling now? When we sit and talk, it’s about a work environment that is changing at a rapid pace. Look at your situation for example. Another example is a high-level sales exec I met last week and she has been with 3 start-ups that have all gone bust. The last one went bust when she made a $14 MILLION sale and they said, “Ummm, we can’t fulfill that order, so um, you won’t get your mid-5-figure commission and we are closing shop”. WTF? Now she has no income, no health insurance and is on the street because SHE DID HER JOB TOO WELL. I have another friend who was hired by a competitor out of a toxic work environment. She was willing to bust her butt for the new company for saving her and taking on her legal issues with the former employer. They wanted her accounts, not her.  They settled the legal issue by giving up too much and now she has discovered a whole trail of gender discrimination and bias issues after a couple of years of frustration. I can go on and on, but you see where I am going with this.

My advice is to figure out how to keep your freelance gig going as a side hustle while you find something stable. You may need to look at the big firms because what you’ll trade in income will be compensated by stability. These days, I’ll take stable income over a bigger paycheck. If I had a more robust pipeline, maybe I would be singing a different tune, but I’ve been on this roller coaster for over 15 years and I have just about had enough.

Well, enough Debbie Downer and Pragmatic Patty  for one post.  On the good news:  my son is headed to Asia for a year.  He was accepted to a fabulous teaching program which means he will be deferring his exceptional graduate study program for a year.  My son — the stealth achiever.  I’m very proud of him.

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Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Letter to Myself

I opened my mail to discover a handwritten envelope with no return address.  What the heck?  When I opened it, it began “Dear Maggie”….

Good grief, it took me a line or two before I realized it was my own handwriting!!!  This was a letter I wrote to myself about 4 months ago during a day-long business planning summit.  The exercise was to write a letter of encouragement to myself.  Here’s what I wrote:

Dear Maggie,

You are amazing.  You tend to be too hard on yourself, so remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.  We have picked one of the hardest specialties in our profession — we need a specific client at a specific time, so we have to just keep searching.

Remember that the only way to get to shore is to keep rowing.  While you are rowing, remember to keep a consistent stroke.  People like you– they really do, so just be patient and consistent.  Great things are headed your way.  The money will always follow — hopefully before the bank account = 0 (LOL).

Stay positive, stay consistent, show everyone your greatness. 

XXOO,

Maggie

Wow, I really wrote that?  To myself about myself?  Wow.  What a wonderful thing to receive today.  I had completely forgotten about this letter.

I feel good.  Nothing good to report except I feel good.  I decided that if the recruiter job doesn’t pan out, then I’ll approach that company’s competition — why not?  The more I think about that industry, the more excited I get, the more plans and strategies I am creating — damn, they need to give me the job because I am thinking about it constantly!  Now, about the money….it is running out, but that’s a story for another day.

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I’m a star – Photo by Pedro Lastra on Unsplash

Study of a Woman

Nicole had this cool, hip androgynous vibe that just mesmerized me.  She would run her fingers through her hair and swoop back the bangs of her asymmetrical pixie haircut.  She was wearing a cool pair of Raybans which hid her beautiful pale green eyes.  She had full lips that hid a beautiful smile.

I’m not sexually attracted to women, but something about Nicole struck a vibe in me that wanted to go home and fuck the shit out of the Hunter.  She was, to me, incredibly sexy and 100% unattainable.

We met at a networking event.  She was the +1 of her partner, a fem attorney.  As they sat together on the patio on a sofa, she touched her partner’s arm.  When her partner mentioned that the sofa didn’t have enough pillows, she immediately got up and retrieved another pillow to make her comfortable.  The same attentive Acts of Service  and physical touch that I love about the Hunter.

Nicole dressed in dark skinny jeans, with a nondescript dark long-sleeve shirt that partially hid her sleeve tattoo.  She had a purse — no, let’s call it a bag that was like a hip worn leather messenger bag.  Her fingers were long, masculine with very short nails.  I sat across from her and just stared.

She has a very demanding, stressful job as a high-profile first responder.  We talked about the male-domination of her field and mine.  Mostly I just nursed my glass of wine and drank in the amazingly cool vibe that Nicole projected.  It was one of confidence, acceptance of who she is — may I aspire to be that cool and hip.

I’m a Dinosaur

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Photo by Justyn Warner on Unsplash

I spent some time with my accountant and it was dismal.  I cried.  He felt awkward.  Maggie & Co. isn’t profitable.  I didn’t lose money, but I sure as heck didn’t achieve a decent level of profitability.

As we sat and talked, I aired my grievances about his service.  He explained the numbers and the reality of my situation weighed heavy in the room.  Bless his heart, after our meeting, he flooded my Inbox with referrals to his BNI group.  I hate BNI, but I appreciate the gesture.

One thing that became clear to me, as we sat and talked,  is my profession is one that is becoming radically changed by technology.  It isn’t just morphing, it’s going away.  Think about carriage makers as cars became common. We still have a few carriage makers, but far, far less than pre-car era.  That’s the comparison I was thinking about.  I spent the rest of my day in teary self-reflection.  I’m still teary.

I did drag myself to a professional networking event because I paid for it, the venue was cool, so dammit, I went.  I’m glad I did.  I pulled myself together and had a nice time.  I’ll write about one of the women I met because she is such a badass.

The Hunter came home and immediately saw I wasn’t happy.  He asked what was wrong and I told him I had a bad day and then elaborated.  He’s such a good man.  He knows not to try to fix it, but he offered love and encouragement.  I am blessed.  He has addressed and changed all of the issues I had about our relationship.  He went to a crappy party without me having to ask because he knew I wanted him there.  He cleaned up the house this weekend to channel his frustration and nervous energy about some client checks not coming in.  I am a lucky woman.

But I am a dinosaur.  The good news is that I am recognizing the problems facing my profession sooner than many of my colleagues.  The question becomes: “Am I an extinct dinosaur or am I just a bird that needs to find its flock?”  I think I am the latter.  Now it’s time to find my flock….

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Photo by Alan Emery on Unsplash

What’s My Current Situation?

Here I sit on Friday procrastinating from digging into the minutiae of what I need to get done.  I have written a LinkedIn article, posted some interesting crap so I look sparkly.  Now I have to think about the following:

  1. How much cash do I have?  How much is coming in and how much do I need?  Ugh, cash flow calculations are such a downer these days.
  2. What can Maggie & Co. generate as I continue my job search efforts?  How can I squeeze it so it keeps paying the bills?  Will it be able to pay the bills?
  3. What the heck is going on with my accountant?  He LOST MY CHECK and had the balls to send me an email asking me to send a replacement.  He is really on my shit list because he refused to send me some reports until he got paid (financial reports from previous years that I needed for my business plan and that I had already paid for the work).  What really burns is that I had already processed his payments (and told him) before I asked him for the info.  WTF?  I’ll be getting a new accountant for 2018. In the meantime, I have to call him and chew his ass out.  Ugh.
  4. What is the best use of my business development time?  That’s a big picture question but a very important one.

I am reading the Morten Hansen book, Great at Work.  I strongly recommend it.  Then I went to his website and took his quiz.  Boy that was a downer.  One thing that he stresses is to do less and then obsess over doing it extremely well.  I need to figure out what that means for me in my business development efforts.  It does make infinite sense.  I’ve been trying a bunch of different things and can definitively say that NONE OF IT WORKED.  Now I need to think about what did work and do more of that.

OK, enough whining.  Time to roll up my sleeves and get to work.  Today is all about making some $$.  The job search efforts will continue, but a girl’s gotta eat.

Everybody Cross Your Fingers!

Maggie, the eternal optimist, just had a great call with a recruiter this week.  I was pinged on a job that is related to my profession and sounds great.  I would be the market leader for a company expanding into my neck of the woods.  The recruiter loved me and said she was only presenting 3 candidates — of course, that could mean just 3 for the first round, but I want to believe that it’s only 3 period.

Round Two will be a phone interview with the boss and then a trip to their HQ for a formal interview.  It’s a cool company with some really, really smart people running it.  I gulped as I read their bios.

I also found a local job in my field and applied to that.  The HR computer bot rejected me, but I am undeterred.  I’m revamping my resume and sending it to the local decision-maker.  Then I’ll have a buddy who knows him put in a good word for me.

The tricky part of this job search is to keep Maggie & Co hobbling along generating income so I can stay afloat as I pivot to something new.  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…..

Now I’m thinking interview suits, etc……

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