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

Archive for March, 2019

Coming Down to the Wire

I peeked inside my bank account yesterday and gulped.  It’s enough for maybe 30 days if I am mindful.  This happened right before Christmas.  I had some money come in and its kept me afloat for all this time.  I have to say that I am proud of my cash flow management these past several months.  I stretched what what I had and didn’t freak out about it.  My previous go-to would be full-on, freak-out panic attack.

What’s ahead?  Well, I have about 1-1/2 months of income coming within 30 days if all goes well.  It’s in the Receivables side of things, so I’ll get paid when folks decide to cut the check.  Then I have a pipeline of client projects coming to a close which should generate about four months of income between May and June.  Then another group that will generate another three months or so and that money should be in by June or July.  Beyond that, I don’t know.   My crystal ball becomes cloudy.

Let’s add it up:  between now and July, I’ll have around seven months of income.  Great, it’s not enough.  Wait, what? Nope, that covers things for the here and now.  Think about it, I have to cover April, May, June, July.  Four months of that seven months is gone.  Plus there will be some catch-up bill paying in there, so who knows if it will last seven months, maybe it only lasts six.

It does buy me time to finish up some other things and there is the possibility I will be perfectly fine.  However, this is the shit I am tired of.  The income insecurity.  Sigh.

I had another job idea.  It would mean going back to a big company.  I would team with someone.  I meet him today for the first time on another matter and due to my committee work for the professional organization.  He needs to build a team and  would need my skill set plus eventually some cute, young things.

Karma, she’s a clever one, isn’t she?  My GF who gave me the tough love works at the same company.  She’s setting up the meeting with the head honcho.  I had another meeting there weeks ago and saw many former colleagues who hugged me and welcomed me.  I felt loved and respected.  OK, I need to hit over the head once awhile to see the obvious.  Perhaps this is the direction I need to sail.

In the meantime, let me check the couch for some spare change.

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Photo by Katie Harp – Pinterest Manager on Unsplash

Calmer Seas

I ate some carbs (and sugar) and calmed down after my meltdown yesterday.  I’m still frustrated, but I also recognize that when you have been doing the same thing for 27 years, you can’t suddenly bounce out of it.

My fuse was almost re-lit when I read a job posting that said “If you are up and coming”  HELLO AGE BIAS THERE YOU F*#ING PUBLICLY TRADED COMPANY!! But I took a breath and moved on…sort of.

One idea I had would be to go into a training/mentoring role with a big company.  I mean over 30 years (a few admin years prior to my 27 year focus) of experience should be helpful to those “up and coming” folks.  Plus I like Millennials.  Seriously.   Now, how do I craft that?  The Hunter thinks it should be a consulting/coaching role.  I don’t know because those poor rookies are usually broke.  It’s better to be in-house.  But it’s an idea worth exploring perhaps with Coach.

I got references from three of Coach’s clients.  They were glowing and two were very much about shifting to new careers.  It made me feel better about signing up with him.  Yesterday’s meldown solidified that I do need some help. Plus I had a couple of interesting follow-up thoughts:

  • I am not melting into a depressive, non-communicative funk that I was doing previously.  If I had that kind of a meltdown 1-2 years ago, I would have sat on the couch and sulked for a day or two.  Now I am a bit too busy.  After tears and anger, I had 30 seconds to collect myself in order to lead a conference call on an upcoming event.  I pulled it off beautifully, if I do say so myself.
  • The Hunter told me that he’s scared when I get like that.  He is worried about my mental health.  Yeah, so am I.  He said it gently, but I appreciated that he voiced his feelings on it.
  • He said that he understands my frustration because he’s living it too, but we’ll get through this.  That was a better pep talk than, “there are folks worse off than you”.  Seriously, when I’m ranting, that doesn’t work on me.
  • Walking helps.  Taking a walk in the beautiful park next door cleared my head, dried up my tears and gave me space to think.  I watched a slight rain shower make beautiful patterns on the lake as I dried my tears and regained my composure.
  • Karma is a beautiful creature right now.  She filled my evening and day with clients who need my help and expertise and listen to my advice.  Thank you.

My next step is to figure out cash flow so I can pay Coach.  I’ll do that after I place a service call for my AC, it appears to have just broken.  Sigh….

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Photo by Linus Nylund on Unsplash

What Was I Thinking?

I glibly thought that I could transition my career with little to no bumps in the road.  HA! As if life is that simple.  It isn’t.

I had coffee with my GF who has been in the role I am contemplating.  She’s been doing this for her entire career and is very knowledgeable.  She’s also kind and generous.  We sat down to chat and here were my takeaways:

  • She’s never had anyone from my field transition to hers.  Usually it goes the other way.
  • My pay cut would be severe because I would have to start near the bottom.  Sigh.  Transferable skills are not that transferable apparently.

She couldn’t fathom why I would leave what I am doing.  It stumped her, which made me feel foolish.  I talked about collaborating rather than being transactional.  She told me that I’m one of the best in my field.  I’m one of the good guys who does right by her clients.  That my reputation was stellar.

Then why the heck aren’t I making any $$?  I told her the business development was wearing me down and I’m not making the $$ I should be making.  I talked about ageism and gender bias (she is a friend, I felt I could get away with that).  She said I need to go back to a big firm.  She wants me to talk to the regional head (he runs the state).  I don’t know this guy, but she thinks the world of him.  She asked why I’m not on a team.  Good question, I have no fucking idea but it has to do with NEVER being asked.

I got frustrated and a little teary.  It was tough.  I felt so STUCK when I left.  I’m so FRUSTRATED.  I don’t know what the fuck to do.  Part of me said that I should chuck the idea of a career coach, but now I’m reading two of his references and they have compelling stories on how Coach helped.

I have to write my GF a gracious thank you note and send a follow up email so I can meet with the big boss.  She had some other folks for me to talk to that might have the kind of job I want — a mixture of her job and mine.  Those are incredibly hard to find these days, but they are out there.

It’s once again about not what you know, but who you know.  One thing I realized as I left, I need to talk to lots and lots of people.  I need to eat humble pie and tell my truth.  To do that, I need to carefully craft my story so it isn’t too much TMI or tears.  FUCK!

At the end of the day, it is going to be a slog.  There is no other way than to slog through the mud to get to the end.  I don’t have much time left in a “formal” career.  This next jump is probably the last one.  I have to make it count.  Nothing like putting even more pressure on myself.

When I got home, the Hunter gave me his pep talk which was basically, “other people are worse off than we are, so get some perspective.”  I appreciate him trying to boost me out of my foul mood, but that wasn’t doing it.  At that moment and as I write this, I didn’t give a flying fuck about anybody but me.  I ranted to him that nobody wants an aging, overweight professional in my field.  They all want YOUNG.  Shit, one of the senior people I talked to at OppA talked about how they want YOUNG.   You look at the hires my old giant employer has made in the past two years and they are all YOUNG, fit, energetic.  Not the old, steady plow horse that I am.  My industry is full of old farts, so these companies are trying to balance it with a bunch of millennials. I like millennials, don’t get me wrong, but I need to find a place to hang my hat for another decade or so.

Time to go take a walk and clear my head.  Why is it so bloody hard to find a decent job?  How the hell do people leave my profession?  I have to ask some of them….I’ll put them on my list of people to talk to…..

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Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

 

My New Man

Over the weekend, I decided that it’s time to develop a new team for pursuing my transition to a new career.  I went up on LinkedIn Pro to get some help with resume writing and interview coaching.

As I worked my way through the 9 referrals, I began figuring out who would be the best fit for me.

One was booted out when I looked at his LinkedIn profile.  Seriously, dude.  If you are selling career coaching, don’t do videos for your LinkedIn profile dressed in workout clothes.  He looked scruffy and sweaty.  Ugh.  How can I trust you to give me professional advice when you don’t look professional in videos that you are posting to LinkedIn?

Another guy was booted when I saw a review that mentioned “I respect your avid support of our president.”  Yeah, that guy will understand women…NOT.

I ended up choosing three to chat with.  One is a retired HR professional.  She was a hoot.  We set up a phone interview, but I somehow missed her call and got a VM from her “I’ll be in the bath soaking for the next 30 minutes, so call me.”

OK, I love that, but seriously it was TMI.  I need someone to help me filter out my own TMI and I’m not sure she’s it.  It was a great call, but I was left not convinced that she was the one.  I kept thinking that I am chatting away with a nekkid Baby Boomer soaking in a bathtub.  The visual was hilarious.

Then I spoke to a small firm of resume writers and coaches.  The office manager called and it was very much about the logistics of uploading my info, choosing my package through the portal and then I would be matched up with someone best suited to me.  I wasn’t feeling the warm fuzzy that I felt from my new man.

The third is younger than me and was with a huge Fortune 100 for a short time so he understands that corporate world.  Most of his clients are women, which he said surprised him, but he likes working with women more than men.  He candidly thought when he opened his firm that he would be working mostly with men.  He also said that at first he thought gender bias wasn’t as prevalent as it really is, so he gets it when I talk about gender and age bias in my world.  He doesn’t discount this concept.  I told him that I wanted to work with a man because I needed a man’s perspective since my world is male-dominated.

Our 15 minute call stretched into 45 minutes.  He said that I had clarity and was already way ahead of the game in this transition because of my clarity, thinking of my transferable skills and finding a new profession that has a talent shortage.  We talked about needing to work on messaging and how to tell my story without TMI.  It was a wonderful call and we both felt energized by it.  I found my man.

Hopefully this won’t cost me an arm and a leg.  I get my coaching contract tonight.  We agreed that 6 weeks felt right.  Now I got to get to work so I can pay for this guy.  I feel good.  This was a great start to my week.

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Yep, that’s how I felt talking to Coach.  Kindred soul.  Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

What a Bitch!

My business social events this week have not been fun.  I hate the bar scene and both events were at noisy bars.  I found myself cringing from the noise and just exhausted by it.  I had two back-to-back so at the end of last night I was DONE.

The first event was one for an organization where I just became chair of an important committee.  As a matter of fact, I was the last-minute hostess.  I got there early, made sure it was set up, met staff, etc.

The president of the organization had decided to have the monthly board meeting at the venue prior to the event.  Stupid idea.  Most people elected to call in rather than show up, so we had a meeting on the cell phone in a noisy bar.  Nothing meaningful could be accomplished.

This organization needs to tackle some serious shit and I was not impressed.  Plus the president is talking smack about the woman I replaced and just generally did not behave in a manner befitting the leadership role she holds.  Oh boy, this is gonna be a long year…

Then I had my Bro event I mentioned in my previous post.  All men, few women in a sports bar for March Madness.  Downtown, expensive parking — ugh.  But I showed up because I was in the area and needed face time with these folks.

By the time I got home, I was cranky.  Cranky that I’m surrounded by a bunch of fucking bros.  Cranky about wasting time with a potential new client earlier this week who wasted about 5 hours of my precious time.  Cranky that I am realizing I don’t want to do what I do any more — no matter what kind of $$ I am making.  Cranky because of a conversation I had with a very good friend at the event.

That conversation concluded with:  I cannot be successful alone.  I know that.  I have to change.

I struggled through peak rush hour traffic, which I actually didn’t mind because I had NPR and time to think.  But I wasn’t fit company for anyone when I walked through the door.  The Hunter was asleep in front of the TV.  I kissed him and went upstairs to change.  I came down and told him I was going to watch TV in bed.

I then slid into bed to savor a TV show I had taped and had been eagerly looking forward to watching.  He soon came upstairs looking for attention.  I paused the show.  I explained that I really wanted to decompress and watch the show.  He left and returned.

He wanted a massage, to get frisky, and he just generally wanted attention.  I wanted to be left alone.  I was quite bitchy.  I mean for God’s sake — when was the last time he gave me a massage?  I want to decompress and watch this fucking show.  Leave me alone.  My stomach hurts, I’m cranky and I don’t have any emotional energy left over for someone else at this moment.

He finally got the message and sulked off to sleep on the couch downstairs.  I apologized this morning for being a bitch, but seriously — I really needed space and empathy, instead I felt like more was being demanded of me.  I’m a bitch….and proud of it.

This morning we walked the Kracken and I breathed in some fresh air while watching the sun rise.  I feel better.  I still have shit to do and figure out, but I’m not feeling like such a bitch.

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Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

Something Has to Change

I don’t know exactly what, but I do know that I’m not living the life I want. Let me count the ways:

  1. Work: I work alone in a stressful job that will only get harder as I age. That’s a fact, Jack. I think more often about my mentor. I watched her slowly age out of our profession and it became painful at the end. She was savvy enough to know it was age combined with gender. I was at an industry event last night and it was such a “Bro” culture. I was one of 5 women out of a crowd of 30+. Three of those women were hosts of the event. I found myself standing alone in the crowd several times and had to basically force myself into conversation circles. I hate that with a passion.
    2. Health: I’m too fat and too lazy. That’s the blunt assessment. I need to exercise more and watch my food choices. Improving my health will improve other areas of my life. I know what I need to do, now I just need to do it.
    3. FOMO: I find myself listening to people talk about trips, concerts, festivals, restaurants — all stuff I really don’t do any more. I miss that stuff. The Hunter isn’t one to embrace those activities and I also have to admit that money does play a role as well.

I just feel like taking my current situation/life and crumpling it up like a piece of paper and tossing it into the trash. Then I can pull out a fresh piece of paper and start again.

But how? I just renewed the lease for my home for two years. I need to finish up some work projects so I have some money in the bank.

I need a plan. I need a timetable. I need to think about what changes I need and go from there. So what steps can I take towards re-designing my life?

1. Get rid of all my debt. That will lower my monthly overhead which gives me breathing room and freedom to begin saving again.
2. Debt includes paying my back taxes
3. Get the other certification I have been thinking about
4. Get a part-time job in that new field so I can build up new skills while getting paid to learn. It will also let me determine if I will like this.
5. Have an informational lunch/coffee with a couple of women who have the type of job I am thinking about transitioning to. I need to talk to people and get their ideas on how to shift my career. This may be the most important step because that will tell me if this shift is viable.  It can also tell me if the certification and part-time job are necessary.

If I can do the above in the next two years, which is very feasible, my townhouse lease will be expiring and I’ll have a better sense of if this new career shift is feasible.

Maybe the side hustle works and I can transition to that profession full-time and maybe it doesn’t so I can try something else.

I need to do something. I look in the mirror and I don’t like what I see. I can do better. I can be better. The questions are “At what?” and “How?”

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Photo by Vlad Bagacian on Unsplash

Breathe…

I spent a lovely weekend off the grid.  No phones, wifi, TV — just me, the Hunter and the Kracken out in the woods in a rustic cabin with a beautiful lake view.  It was very quiet and I loved it.

What was really funny was the Hunter didn’t enjoy it as much as I did.  He couldn’t hunt his beloved turkeys because it is a no-hunting area.  His friend who owns the house didn’t quite understand that.  He got four ticks which freaked him out completely.  The Kracken and I each got one.  I plucked mine out like a champion without blinking an eye.  The Hunter has been itchy and twitchy ever since he found the first one.  I have been quietly smiling about my manly man being all itchy & twitchy.

We stopped on the way back at a quaint historic town.  I was thrilled because they had a festival going on.  The Hunter wasn’t because it was a “no dogs allowed” event, so the Kracken was person non grata.  I have to say that the Hunter is a really good sport.  I walked through it for about half an hour to 45 minutes without him while he patiently walked the Kracken around outside the perimeter.

I fell completely off my intermittent fasting and low carb/high fat diet.  Bring on the sugar, alcohol and carbs!!  I drank rum, had cookies and buns for my hamburger & hotdogs.  Diet be damned!  I got on the scale today and blanched at the 2 steps backwards it showed me.

Getting ready to go off the grid was a bit nerve-racking as I scrambled to get some time- sensitive things completed.  Coming back was fine today as I slowly emerged from my adventure. I did work later than usual today and I have plenty to do, but it seems manageable.

However, now I am looking at my bank account and once again, I am flirting with disaster.  I’m in that cash flow crunch that will bring me down to the wire again.  Man, I’m so over the stress of all this.  The good news/bad news financially is that I don’t have to pay taxes for Maggie & Co because I didn’t make much anyway.  That kinda of sucks.  The upside of my cash flow situation is that by June I should be quite fat & happy if all goes well. That will give me some breathing room which I so desperately crave.

Tomorrow I have a call with my business coach.  We had very big, hairy, audacious goals for Maggie & Co.  I am close to some, accomplished a few and am far from others.  That’s OK too.  I feel zen with that.  I do know one thing that I haven’t accomplished and it will bite me in the tuckus come May/June — business development.  The bane of my existence.  I haven’t been steady with it.  I need to have a system of small consistent steps for that.  Hmmm, something to think about while I read my book, Atomic Habits by James Clear.

Busy Bee

I haven’t been writing because I have been so thankfully damn busy.  I have a bunch of projects wrapping up all at the same time while new ones are waiting to be launched.  What a wonderful onslaught of productive work!

Of course, I don’t have enough time to do it all and we are heading out of town for a quick, FREE weekend getaway at a friend’s place, but that’s OK also.  I’ll figure it all out.  I also made the mistake (?) of saying yes to becoming a committee chair for the professional organization I wrote about here.  Apparently the woman I was having problems communicating with was having problems throughout the organization.  She decided for everyone’s best interests to step down.  We had a great heart-to-heart and I felt bad for her.  It’s hard to feel rejection and not understand why.

Now I am in charge of one of the most important committees for the organization.  I had breakfast with the president this morning.  Next week I am having lunch with one of my key committee members plus my first board meeting.  How the heck am I going to squeeze this into my schedule??

I have had some very interesting follow ups from both OppA and OppB.  In an ironic twist of fate, all three of us were at the same networking event.  OppB was thrilled to see me and wanted to talk, talk, talk.  Of course he wants to get together but I didn’t get a follow up from him.  Meh.  Whatever.

Queen B from OppA was cordial and also warm.  She was probably a bit surprised when I darted up to the VIP speaker to hug her.  Our daughters grew up together.  Then I ran into my Advocate over at OppA at another luncheon (somehow with all this work I am still hitting the rubber chicken circuit).  He called me today with some very interesting news….

I haven’t been rejected.  Everything is on hold.  They have some internal global growth issues to deal with, so they have put the talent acquisition temporarily on hold.  My Advocate is a guys guy.  I told him my concerns about not performing well in the CEO interview due to a bulging eye.  He laughed.  I told him I thought my numbers were turning them off and he brushed that aside as merely a formality.  He loves me and desperately wants me to join them.  It’s nice to feel wanted.

The funny thing is that now that we are not in the throes of career courtship, I am second-guessing if I want to take OppA.  Things are going fine with Maggie & Co.  Yes, I need a larger ship when stormy weather approaches, but right now I am happily sailing my little boat and we are making great progress.  This is actually good because I can sit back and weigh things more objectively.

Anyway, here it is 8:00 at night and this busy bee is gearing up for another round of work.  I figure another hour or two so I can go off the grid tomorrow without guilt….OK, off the grid after 3:00 tomorrow.  I’ve got a lot of plates spinning….

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Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Flying Solo

Over the weekend I found myself sitting at the bar of a chain restaurant drinking wine and getting a good buzz before I headed over to see The Favourite.

By the way, darkly wickedly funny movie.  Not exactly what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it.

While I was drinking wine, I found myself surrounded by ladies heading over to see a concert.  I had a great time.  The Hunter was in the woods with a buddy.

I took a deep breath and felt…. good. Comfortable. OK with flying solo. I chatted with the ladies in the seat next to me and then they headed out.  The next two ladies sat with their back to me gabbing away.   That’s OK,  it’s their girls night out and they aren’t sitting there to entertain me. I get it.

I enjoyed the bustle of a busy restaurant and bar. I was tucked in a corner where I can see everything.  It is a well run, very busy restaurant.  I have the cute lesbian couple over there – a Spring/Winter couple. Then we have the two friends from work. We laughed about what I called the “creeper” drink. One with a smooth taste that disguises the alcohol.

I got a nice buzz but that was fine because I had a movie to watch so I was fine when it came time to drive home. The evening ended up being incredibly cheap.  I had a Happy Hour special for food and wine.  I added a salad to my tab, but it took so long to come out, that the bartender took it off my tab.  Yes, I tipped on the real total.  The movie attendant insisted on selling me a senior ticket. Rather than be indignant, i I went for pragmatic and took the discounted ticket.

Being solo doesn’t mean being alone. I had the space to see things, observe and relax. No demands, no pressure. It was a really nice evening, but I missed having a girlfriend to chatter with.  More on that in my next post…..

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Photo by Julia Kouzenkov on Unsplash

Another Small Step

Today has been productive.  I cleaned out my personal email inbox to the tune of over 8,000 emails deleted.  Yeah, I am one of those people that could care less about them accumulating.  I got some meetings set up, handled a bunch of emails and generally got my shit done.  There is more to be done, but all my plates are spinning evenly right now.

But I’m not happy.  I am tired of my current work situation.  The stress of it chips away at me.  Then I fret about how is anybody going to find me to ask me to work for them when they can’t find me?  I need to get my lazy butt back on LinkedIn and start spewing a bunch of content.  Sigh.  One of my frenemies has been getting business from LI and he’s not the only one.  I have heard success stories from others.

The only way to fix my work situation is for me to take action.  What does that action look like?  One is by learning some new software.  Ugh.  One is Quickbooks.  I have Quickbooks, but I am by no means an expert.  I have it for Maggie & Co and I wander through it like a babe in the woods.  Part of my career shift involves more numbers and accounting, so if I can be more proficient with Quickbooks, it will help me.

Back in college, I took accounting one semester.  During the Go-Go 80’s everybody thought a business degree was the end-all, be all.  I wasn’t enamored with a business degree, but I thought I would take a few courses wouldn’t hurt.  I barely made it through Economics and I had a tutor for that.  Accounting was even worse.  My tutor (a guy I was sleeping with) refused to tutor me through Accounting, even though he was getting a Masters in Accounting.  I thought I understood it all and left the first exam thinking I had aced it.  Nope, I got like a 40.  Panic ensued because I knew that if I was that far off in my comprehension, I was doomed.  This was a class of hundreds, so help was not readily available.  I dropped it like a hot potato.

It does make me a bit nervous to think about shifting my focus to a job that has parts that don’t accentuate my strengths.  Then again, as I think of it, my current situation doesn’t accentuate many of my strengths….  But I also think that if I take my time, I will be fine.  I just have to remember to take small steps and the current one is to learn more about QuickBooks.  Then I can decide the next step.

Sitting in my little home office alone is wearing on me.  I need a team, a tribe, something.  Now, let me finish up my stuff so I can take a look at free QuickBooks courses.  I found a couple and just need to start.

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Photo by Clique Images on Unsplash

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