Resolution Update

Peter asked me what my New Year’s Resolutions were, although he knew the first one was to get a new job. He seems to go back and forth between being helpful, being a little worried (although he doesn’t admit it), and being silly (he told me I should get a job in Seattle. I could just fly out there for interviews, he told me).

I obviously am working on getting a job, and have had one interview and am trying to schedule another. I’ll keep my blog updated as things progress.

My second was to start running again, which I did today. I ran once over Thanksgiving, and it was a struggle. I guess I didn’t run much over the fall. It was great to run. It is a nice way to focus on things. Music in my ears. Fresh air in my lungs. And no distractions. Between showers and run we could solve the worlds problems.

Burning Down the Mouse

FORT SUMNER, N.M. — A mouse got its revenge against a homeowner who tried to dispose of it in a pile of burning leaves.

The blazing rodent ran back to the man’s house and set it on fire.

Luciano Mares, 81, of Fort Sumner, said he caught the mouse inside and wanted to get rid of it.

“I had some leaves burning outside, so I threw it in the fire, and the mouse was on fire and ran back at the house,” Mares said Saturday from a motel room.

Village Fire Chief Juan Chavez said the burning mouse ran to just beneath a window, and the flames spread from there.

No one was hurt, but the home and all its contents were destroyed.

“I’ve seen numerous house fires,” fire Capt. Jim Lyssy said, “but nothing as unique as this one.”
— The Associated Press

A real week passed

So after sending out emails to everyone I know, and getting some leads back, here’s what I did:

Meeting over coffee with a friend who migrated from corporate to self-employed
2 arts commission meetings
(the above 3 meetings got me up and going 3 of the four days last week)
lunch meeting with someone introduced by email
career seminar
meeting with a career coach (through UNC alumni office)
phone interview for a job
and a trip to the Scout Shop in Raleigh (where I cut my finger, but, you know, they had band-aids)

And I only got dinner on the table at 6:00 one day

This coming week seems lighter, but I have lots of phone calls to make, and some of them will result in meetings. I am expanding my network in the hopes that someone will connect me to a job. It is actually better than looking for a job, since if you meet with new people you have suceeded.

And I was so busy with all this stuff during the day, and mostly taking the nights off, that I still haven’t cleaned up my desk or caught up on the wretched ATM slips. I have ergonmic issues with the height of my chair and my neck hurts, so after spending the who day in the chair, I really don’t want to spend more time at night.

Jobs? Anyone? Bueller?

I hope this finds you well as you begin the New Year.

Anyway, I find myself at the beginning of 2006 looking for work. Here is the brief story. The company I worked for for nearly 14 years, MDK, Inc., manufacturer of K-LINE Electric Trains, was involved in a technology-based lawsuit over the summer. As a result of the settlement of the lawsuit, the company declared bankruptcy. The company was to be sold to its largest creditor, who also happened to be its largest manufacturing vendor. As the recent line of credit expired December 15, which was also to be the date of purchase, MDK was in talks with another investor who was interested in buying the company. This new investor has plans to keep the company operational and needed until mid to late January to put together the deal to purchase the company. In the meantime, there was no way to fund current operations. Everyone, including me, was laid off just days before Christmas. Several people were brought back to operate the company in limited capacity until the sale goes through to one of the two parties in January.

While it is possible that there will be a position for me in towards the end of the month, obviously I cannot count on anything and I am now looking for a job. If you work somewhere that might be hiring, please let me know. If you hear of someone hiring, that would be great too. If you want to forward this on to someone you know, that’s cool too.

Here are the details about my recent position. I was employed as the Director of Marketing for a toy train manufacturer. I was responsible for managing all aspects of producing a semi-annual 164-page catalog, managing the company web site, developing new products and overseeing the creation of all advertising and marketing materials for B2B and B2C. I would be happy to continue in these areas, and I would also consider other related positions. I can send you my resume if you would like more details about what I have done.

So thank you in advance for any assistance that you may provide me, and have a great New Year!

Something’s in the air, but not Independence

Just received the following email:

Today is a sad day for Independence Air.

Today we must announce that we will be ceasing scheduled service operations this Thursday evening, January 5. The financial pressures in the industry have prevailed. We have run out of time.

It has been an amazing 18 months. We set out to challenge the status quo and to re-set your expectations about air travel. We set out to introduce you to lower fares and a new level of service delivered by employees who care. Currently ranked #2 in customer satisfaction among all US airlines, we are proud that we did indeed earn your respect and loyalty. We are proud that we built a brand so universally praised by over 8 million customers. We are proud of the mark we have made.

Further information can be found on our website,

What Else Drops in Other Places?

New York:
The Ball Drop in Times Square stems from an even older ritual in England when a descending Time Ball was a popular method of signaling noon to allow pocket watches and nearby at sea ships chronometer’s to be reset daily. This tradition continues onward today in Washington D.C. at the United States Naval Observatory where it still drops a Time Ball down a flag pole every day at noon.

The latest ball measures 6 feet in diameter. The lighted Ball descends 77 feet in sixty seconds. The Ball is a geodesic sphere, six feet in diameter, weighing approximately 1,070 pounds. The Ball is covered with 504 Waterford crystal triangles, 696 multicolored Philips light bulbs, 96 high intensity strobe lights, and 90 rotating pyramid mirrors.

Atlanta: Giant Peach
New Orleans: Gumbo Pot
Mt. Olive, NC: Giant Pickle
Port Clinton, Ohio: 600-pound fiberglass walleye

Let me know if you know of anything else.

The Boredom Sets In

I have now been unemployed for 7 business days, but most of it has been over Christmas Break. Meg’s brother and sister-in-law have been here from Christmas morning through yesterday, so we have had lots of family time and lots of kid time.

Today, Meg took Peter and Grace to Charlotte so Peter can go to a Bobcats game. This is his special “Mama Time” event since Grace saw the Nutcracker ballet before Christmas. We have friends in Charlotte to stay with, so Grace went along for the ride. And to play with Griffin and Marshall.

So as it turns out, today was my first day alone. All day. Looking for a job. When you file for unemployment benefits (maximum of $442 a week before taxes), as I did last week online, apparently you have to act like someone who wants to find work, AND apply for two jobs a week. These have to be recorded on a form that the Employment Security Commission can periodically check. Technically, the wording is that one must apply in person for two jobs each week, however, that is ridiculous in the age of Monster.

In my particular instance, there will be a limited number of appropriate jobs that I am qualified for, so if I apply for all of them at once, I will have trouble applying for 2 jobs a week in month. This means, instead of pounding through the Monster listings and trying to get a job quickly, I must stretch it out so I can keep getting my $442 a week before taxes. This will get dumb.

I actually applied for 3 jobs this week. I couldn’t help myself. I was preparing an email that I meant to save until next week, but I sent it anyway. Unemployment be damned.

I arranged a meeting for next week with a friend of mine who has her own business. That will count as one of my job applications. I watched too much TV. I napped a little bit and ate pop tarts and tortilla chips. Right now I am bored.

Tonight I need to clean up. I am going out to eat with my father-in-law and it will be my first outing today. I’m not counting when I went out in my socks to get the mail. On rainy days I’ll wear shoes, but on sunny days socks will be fine.

I think I will need to have a schedule so these days don’t drive me crazy. I have a bunch of meetings to go to next week, and I should start seeing some responses to my job applications. My blog will definitely benefit from my new-found availability.