Sued51's Blog











{April 30, 2014}   A Life of Irony

I am always reading personal development and inspirational blogs and books. I’ve tried meditation, visualization, and spirituality, and still I can’t figure out what my life’s purpose is and what I was meant to do. (PLEASE…THIS STATEMENT IS NOT AN INVITATION TO BLOGGERS OUT THERE WHO WANT ME TO JOIN THEIR PYRAMID SCHEME OF MAKING MONEY BLOGGING! I DON’T BELIEVE IN IT SO DON’T TRY TO HOOK ME.)

To bring God into it, I continue to be baffled by what he wants from me, I seem to be deaf to his messages in my life. My proof of this? My life is always full of irony. The moment I finally, after an agonizingly long time, make a decision, I am faced with an ironic response. Or my timing is off…things just don’t seem to work out.

Barricades

Barricades

My proof in point today: My to-do list had included the task — “make business cards” — for quite a while. My purpose was to use them as a tool to pick up freelance editorial work. But I wasn’t getting around to it. I finally decided to enlist the help of a friend’s daughter who is studying graphic design: good practice for her and assistance for me. On the front of the card I would advertise my services and on the back, my blogs. I finally spent the money and got them printed a couple of weeks ago.

And what happened in the meantime? One of the printers near me where I had planned to drop off a card and resume just laid off a large number of people. I was told by someone who works there…don’t bother…they won’t want your services…no work. I have been so busy working extra hours at my part-time job for the last month, as well as working on a freelance editing job and another part-time job, I have barely been able to visit my blogging community or produce blog posts. Result? Dead blog. JUST WHEN I PRINTED MY CARDS TO ADVERTISE. And now, a full-time job offer is on the table after I have been scrambling to pay my bills for a while…Although the job doesn’t involve what I THINK my talents are, I feel like I have to take it for financial stability.

What’s the message my readers? Is God telling me to give up my dreams and passion because it is not part of his plan for me or is he testing me? Based on the reading I have done, if you are following the path you are meant to follow, it will be smooth and easy. It won’t feel like constant barricades are being placed in your path. Or have I got that wrong?

I know that some of you manage to work full-time and still produce blog posts, but that doesn’t seem to be something I’m able to do. Is God it making a correction to my path or am I deluded as to what my talents are and what my purpose is?

I will move forward with the hope that there is a future I can’t foresee. In the meantime, I will try to post when I can. I’ve put 4 years into this…what’s another barricade?




flashMy youngest brother swears my father had a “Flash”#1 comic book. He told me that in excellent condition it is worth over $100,000. “Then why aren’t we finding it right now?” I asked.

If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that my much-loved father was somewhat of a hoarder.  I wax non-grammatical and say “somewhat” because it was never as bad as on the “Hoarders” TV show (and I loved him too much to put that label on him), but believe me…there’s a LOT of stuff.  My brother believes that particular treasure is in the attic of our mother’s house, so yesterday we spent a couple of hours dragging out box after box looking for THE comic book.

The boxes that were regular books had to be moved out of the way. There were magazines in piles that also had to be moved aside. “I’m sure we’ll find it in the boxes at the end,” my brother said. AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL, I said to myself.

Thanks goodness the weather wasn’t hot, but I can’t say I could breathe very well with the dust, spider webs and mouse droppings. Insert nose and mouth into shirt collar. There was no guarantee that if we found it, it hadn’t been chewed to pieces. The boxes were heavy and I had to carry them in a bent-over position because the attic isn’t high enough to stand up straight. But…as there are a few of us that need the money, I quietly carried on with the end result in mind.

We finally reached the “mother load;” he let me know which boxes had comic books in them and I brought those downstairs. We finally began looking through them. My father loved the artwork on the “Conan” books and some other comics that aren’t very popular. He had many Disney ones and Archies; many of the comics were newer ones (from the 60s or 70s). But…there were some from the 30s and 40s mixed in: Rin Tin Tin and “War Heroes.” “They’re mixed up,” my brother said, “we have to look through all of them.”

So we did…and…WAIT FOR IT: it wasn’t there.

My brother found HIS “Spiderman” #1 and #2 that he thought my other brother had taken from him years ago. We also found my great-aunt’s clock during the clearing of the path, which my mother had been looking for, but no “Flash.” That doesn’t mean it isn’t in a shed, the basement, or who knows where else, but it wasn’t with most of the other comic books. If it is in a shed or the basement, there is even less chance it is a sale-able condition.

My brother went home with his “Spiderman” comics, and I went home tired, dirty and disappointed, but it had made me think (and given me this blog).

I don’t gamble, because I feel it is a waste of money. Yet I was willing to waste 6 hours that I could have used looking for a REAL job, on what is really just another get-rich-quick scheme. Hoarders always think they have something special and most of the time, they don’t.

BTW, my father did have “Batman” #1 and “Superman” #1 comics that he sold many years ago when he was out of work and needed to feed his family. They did come in handy, but they didn’t make him rich. Who knows, maybe he sold his “Flash” during some other tough time my brother doesn’t know about, maybe he didn’t. Maybe we’ll find it one day or maybe we won’t, but I’m not holding my now dusty breath.



{November 13, 2012}   Should I or Shouldn’t I?

Sometimes we find messages in what we read, and our interpretations of the messages coax us to action, help us find courage, or sometimes make us reckless. Even if we scoff aloud at superstitions, being human means that there’s a tiny part of you that wonders…

This morning I was reading a poetry anthology. Though I’m taking these lines from Lee Robinson‘s “Rules of Evidence” out of context, they spoke to me as I tried to decide what to blog about today:
What you want to say most

is inadmissible.

Say it anyway.

Say it again.

What they tell you is irrelevant

can’t be denied and will

eventually be heard.

I have a poem I wrote recently that I wanted to post here, but I felt unsure. I put it on my Facebook page, but I was nervous about putting it here because my blog is connected to my LinkedIn page. What would people think?

I almost never write rhyming poems, but I wrote this one to express myself, amuse myself, and get some frustrations out of my system. I wrote it because after talking to a lot of unemployed people — I HAD to. It would not be denied.

UNEMPLOYMENT BLUES

There are plenty of jobs employers say,

But if you haven’t done IT,

then go away.

We expect you to hit the ground at a run:

Tell us specifically,

what have you done?

You say you can proofread…Well, not OUR stuff!

You have a BA? Well, that’s nothing but fluff.

You must speak our jargon to earn our trust;

Key words on your resume —

An absolute must!

If not, our computer will spit you out,

And into the trash bin –

without a doubt.

You’re young — no experience? You can work for free;

MAYBE we’ll hire you later – we’ll see.

You’re older? We doubt you can learn new things;

And we don’t want the headaches your age may bring.

You haven’t been working? You need not apply;

Don’t bother us with your reasons why.

Will we give you training? Not on our dime…

We’ll just keep looking, take our time.

For those who score an interview,

Only a perfect fit will do.



{October 4, 2012}   PS: Irony is Bittersweet

I’m not unaware of the irony of publishing my last post (Drudgery – Perks = Low Morale) following a post about receiving The Sunshine Award, but I felt compelled to write it. (Besides, clouds help us to appreciate the sunshine!) Recent conversations with coworkers, news of more layoffs (they are still happening — not all of them make the news these days), and conversations with friends concerning the job prospects of their graduating children, all led me down memory lane.

I’ve held many different jobs in my life; there were good times and bad times at each one. When the bad outweighs the good, that’s when we are motivated to move on, if we can. These days that is a lot more difficult than in times past; sometimes the bad just has to be tolerated with the bravest smile one can muster. One thing I noticed though as I walked down that lane was that the good memories I held onto are about the people I worked with and about the “perks” I experienced during that phase of my career: free movies for me, my family and friends when I worked at the movie theater; amazing book sale events when I worked at the publishing company; socializing with coworkers after work, when competition was not the name of the game and we didn’t have to make the long trek home to the suburbs. AHHH…the good ol’ days.

I’m grateful for those memories. I feel sorry for younger people who will not get to experience those things or have those memories to look back on when they reach my age. It was a snapshot in time, like a Polaroid; something outgrown and discarded by our changing culture.



{October 2, 2012}   Drudgery – Perks = Low Morale

It doesn’t matter what field you are in, older workers can talk truthfully about the “good ol’ days.” Once upon a time employers wanted to encourage loyalty and wanted their workers to feel like family. In return, workers felt emotionally invested in their employers’ business and “whistled” while they worked. It was symbiotic — win-win. Legendary blessings called “pensions” rewarded workers for their loyalty and investment in their jobs. At that time, beautiful mythical beasts called “perks” were prevalent in the workplace: aka employee appreciation days, softball games and cookouts, discounts on company products or “field trips” like being able to work outside the office for a day at a company conference or event. Workers felt proud to wear those company t-shirts.

Did employers truly understand how important those treats were for their workers’ productivity? They seemed to, but maybe they didn’t; all that faded into history with the Recession. Employers don’t want to keep the old horses around anymore; they eat too much without providing enough present value. Heaven forbid they should care about them as anything other than a breathing copy machine or computer. What is the true value of morale? Does anyone really think the bean counters can truly figure that out?

Those who are employed now keep their heads down and try to do their jobs quietly, while they live in fear of making a mistake lest they be tossed out with the trash. Do they bring energy, a spirit of teamwork, a desire to volunteer for something outside their jobs’ parameters out of a feeling of goodwill towards their employer? Not likely. And I know this because…? I listen to the conversations in the cafeteria accompanied by furtive glances; I hear the swearing and sighing over the cubicle walls. My husband says the time wheel will turn back toward the worker; these cycles or eras in time do pass.

Is there stirring and creaking happening now? Some employers are desperately unsuccessful at finding workers with the skill sets they need. Do I have any pity? It doesn’t seem to occur to them that some of these jobs are excruciatingly mindnumbingly boring and without “perks” and appreciation, no one has any desire to do them. Money is not enough. If you are going to be miserable, isn’t it better to be miserable with less stress?

I know it isn’t healthy to live in the past or in a dreamland or a fairy tale world, but I can’t help but hope that employers will have an epiphany and the workers will be woken from their nightmare soon. I hope the Occupy movement helps turn the wheel in the right direction…back to a hopeful future.



{December 8, 2010}   Hitting Home

I just read a fabulous article in the AARP bulletin, Farewell to a Dreadful Decade.  It was so well-written that I wish I had written it (the ultimate compliment for a writer), though if I had, I would have heard that I was being too negative or being too much of a downer.

My first reaction after reading it was that this talented writer, Jim Toedtman, should never have been out of work.  But, despite his age, he has bounced back and I am grateful for knowing that and grateful for still being able to read what he has written.

Thank goodness for friends that believe in us.




For me, the word “fair” invokes thoughts of old-fashioned fun and farm animals, as well as guilty pleasures like fried dough and cotton candy.  Though at my age, I’m a little leery of the rides, I like the happy, relaxed atmosphere.

I got tired of  just dropping resumes into the black hole called the Internet, and I decided to attend a job fair; it was not the fun I had hoped (not that I seriously thought it would be).  No trained animals, but lots of people wandering around in suits, who had been trained to shake hands, smile, and show as much energy and optimism as they could.  Their treats for their performance were pens and cookies (from Panera Bread).  The carnies just didn’t have the same energy; they really looked like they would rather not be there.

I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I had surmised that I would see a lot of young people, fresh out of college, but if anything, I would say the scale tipped more toward the balding and gray-haired.  Although many of the jobs were entry-level, the people attending were not.  I overheard men with grim smiles asking, “Any engineering positions”?  Out of fifteen employers, one was an institution looking for students; one was a collection agency looking for employees to call delinquent debtors (I wasn’t very nice to them…shame on me, but I couldn’t stop myself); three were agencies dealing with mentally challenged adults; and one was the U.S. Secret Service, whose jobs were mostly in Washington, DC.  A representative from Fed Ex was there, looking for seasonal drivers; I had a moment of hope–no special license required–but only the experienced need apply.  Any administrative jobs?  No.

I found myself following a woman older than myself, listening to her ask, “Any administrative jobs”?  No.  She saved me the trouble of asking the same question, and throwing away resumes.

I walked out no more depressed than when I came in; I was curious and didn’t have high expectations.  My husband hoped that at the very least, I would feel less alone, and I will say that the conversations with the other job seekers were the best part.  All I could think about afterwards was writing this blog…that they shouldn’t call them fairs, not only because they are nowhere near as fun, but because the pursuit of jobs in this economy is very far from being so (in the equitable sense of the word).




So far my stint in retail has been quite a learning experience.  The obvious part is that I have learned about the business and its jargon and about its products.  But the phrase that best described my experience is “judge not, lest ye be judged.”

Nobody wants to work for the salary that is offered; everyone who does it has a reason for doing so.  Although “grateful to have a job” would seem to be the common thread, it is not the only story.  There can be medical reasons, family reasons, and lifestyle reasons.

There is a certain amount in camaraderie in knowing that there is always a story worse than your own—and that includes the customers.  I’ve met older people who seem happy to have someone to talk to—a man told me about losing his wife to cancer several years ago and how being her caretaker had aged him—and customers who need someone to listen to their anger about being unable to find work because the government doesn’t.  They tell me they refuse to go to the self-checkout because they believe it costs people jobs.  I can easily and honestly commiserate.

I’ve learned from the customers too.  They tell me about their makeshift solutions to problems and I tell them mine.  It’s very enjoyable for me to talk gardens with people and serve as a kind of liaison, transferring knowledge from one customer to another.

Last, but not least, I have learned to be more comfortable with 20-somethings; I am learning their language and am appreciating how different their lives are than mine was at their age.  I am sympathetic to their student loan issues and they help me remember what it was like to have dreams and plans (not to mention that I have now seen silly bands up close and personal).

I am sure that when this experience becomes part of my past, I will never look at retail workers the same way again.  I will be more sympathetic, more patient and less judgmental.




I read this book a couple of years ago when I was still working full-time and stressed to the max.  I can’t recommend it enough, especially in these economic times.  Wouldn’t we all like to know how much is “enough” and come to terms with what we need and want out of life?  See the summary on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Your-Money-Life-Transforming-Relationship/dp/0140286780 .

The book is set up as a 9-step program to help the reader examine his or her relationship with money and gain an understanding of what people are actually paid for their work.  My copy is filled with highlighting; I could SO relate to everything I was reading.  I know some might think of it as socialism…maybe taken to an extreme, it is, but I believe everyone can take something away from this book.  If you do not want to explore the spiritual side of it, then in the words of the author, “The program without the inner dimension is just strategies for saving a whack of money but cutting out unnecessary spending and keeping your eye on the goal of financial independence.”  That might be helpful for some.  One thing I did after reading it was to save up my bottle redemption money and buy savings bonds.

What I find really amazing is that the book was written in the ‘70s, yet people are still reading it.  One of the authors is deceased, but the other original author has a new coauthor.  There are still seminars being given and groups being formed by those who follow its principles.

Check it out; if you are willing to open your mind, you will learn something: http://yourmoneyoryourlife.info/ .



{March 23, 2010}   Becoming Color-Challenged

I used to be someone who prided myself on my color-matching skills and was often complimented on my outfits.  I loved decorating and seemed to have “color memory”– I KNEW that the throw I had on the couch at home would match the pillow I saw in the store.  I didn’t need swatches or pictures.

But now that I am working at home and seldom leave the house, my outfits are more often mismatched than not.  I put on whatever T-shirt is on the top of the pile in the closet and whatever pair of pants is handy, and I don’t think about it!!  It doesn’t hurt my sensibilities to be clashing…I NEVER thought this would happen to me.

I think it bothers my husband though.  Sometimes we spontaneously decide to go for a walk around the neighborhood for fresh air.  I don’t change my clothes, why would I?  So… he has to walk with someone who might have turquoise sweatpants and a red sweatshirt!  Oh the horror!  And don’t even ask about the socks I wear, I’m fortunate if they match each other, let alone match my outfit. 

I hope that when I have an occasion to dress up, I will remember how. I don’t want to become a color-challenged senior who looks like I’m wearing hand-me-downs from the 70s.



et cetera
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