Saturday, December 19, 2009 2 comments

Maybe I'll get an MBA - Part 2

Dear ASU College of Business,
In the immortal words of pop artists The Blackeyed Peas "Don't Phunk With My Heart."

Sometimes I even amaze myself with how quickly I can go from curious to elated to in love to surprised to disappointed to are you kidding me?

Yesterday I came across this article in the Arizona Republic about the new Masters of Commerce program offered by ASU for non-business majors "who want practical business education." The program as I understand it is only one year, concludes with an entrepreneurial consulting project and fills those education gaps for individuals looking to turn their passion into profit (or nonprofit). Can this program BE anymore perfect for me?

I thought I had died and gone to Masters Degree Heaven.
Monday, December 7, 2009 0 comments

Maybe I'll get an MBA - Part 1

Recently, I attended Preview Day for the Full-time MBA program at ASU. The schedule consisted of an opening speech by the stylish and cheerful female Associate Dean who assured us that NOW IS THE TIME to return to school. After that it was three sessions on curriculum, career placement and admissions, a sample marketing class (taught by another spunky young female professor), followed by lunch, a discussion on financing your education and a meet-n-greet with a group of smiling and I'd guess highly caffeinated current students.

Here is a progression of my mood throughout the day:
Saturday, December 5, 2009 4 comments

Sparkle Is Not My Color

As much as I wish I was, I will never be one of those people who exudes sunshine and happiness from their every pore. And believe me, I've tried. Naming my blog was an exercise in trying to achieve this very elusive position, and I think we can all agree it's been crash and burn since the very beginning. I've tried to emulate a few of my favorite sparkly social media mavens and actually googled "How to be a Happy Blogger" (Really, I'm not kidding. And admitting this is only slightly less embarrassing than asking for Twitter Socks for Christmas.) but somehow couldn't put the advice into practice. Shocking, I know.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009 3 comments

What's My Mission Statement?

Inspired this week by a post @analiesemarie's Tulips and Tea and Kimberly Wilson's podcast #167 interview with writer/artist Laura Zam, I have been thinking quite a bit about goal setting.

Isn't it fitting that we're in the midst of the holiday season and nearing the end of 2009?
Monday, November 23, 2009 1 comments

From Suppression to Celebration

This weekend, one of the coolest parties ever planned in our town was a roaring success. There were no invitations, no known alcoholic beverages and if you went, you'll never tell. Details were spread only by word of mouth, you wouldn't THINK of entering through the front door, and while many imbibed, I doubt they could tell you exactly what they were imbibing with. Can you guess what this party was celebrating? One more hint. Pinstriped suits and fringed dresses were all the rage.

It was a Prohibition Party!

Held by a Hostess with the Mostest whom shall not be named, all beer and wine labels were removed and any liquid entering the "speakeasy" had to be in unmarked containers. My sources tell me there may have even been a real live jazz band churning out tunes in the style of Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and Duke Ellington.

While Prohibition may be long over (and Thank Heavens for that!), the 13-year failed experiment in reducing alcohol-related crime has no doubt left a legacy on America. The era has been described as a time when people drank more than ever, when the black market boomed with mob-run liquor distributors, and popular celebrities entertained at underground nightclubs.

What is it about the act of prohibiting a thing that makes us humans desire it even more? As a little girl, when I was just starting to be allowed to use child-scissors I remember sitting at the table as my mother left the room warning "only cut the paper or you'll be in BIG TROUBLE!" Ten minutes later I had 1/2 inch bangs, holes in my dress and a welt on my little behind (this was way before spanking became another prohibited behavior!).

This Thanksgiving, I am trying to be grateful for the things in my life that were at one point banned or at the very least, frowned upon. Obviously, the fact that I can have a Mimosa on a random Monday in the comfort of my own home is one. That I am able to blog about my experience as a 20-something job seeker when others are still restricted is another. Still another, is that I can be encouraged and excited, watching many of my dear female friends start businesses when not-too-long ago Rosie the Riveter was the glorified example of a "working woman."

The decisions our government is making or has made in the near past may be exalted or shamed someday as history marches on. Only time will tell, but I think that the rough global economy has inadvertently prohibited some freedoms previously taken for granted. For example: all hardworking, educated people will have jobs that pay they what they're worth and will assist with health insurance. Keeping your "nose clean" and showing up each day means that The Man will be gracious in issuing retirement pensions. The American Dream is attainable to all who cross her borders.

Maybe I am nay-saying a bit on that last one. Perhaps by discouraging loose loans and demanding that companies be more efficient with their dollars and their labor, this prohibitive time period we are now living in is actually creating a new economy - much like that of the underground entertainment that existed in the 1920s. Where before, I know I was guilty of over-spending and under-thinking, of being complacent in my job and too busy to be active in my community, now I am constantly thinking about going back to school, about starting my own business, about participating in local government and fighting to bring about social change. As these thoughts solidify and new people in my life encourage their growth, I may be celebrating this time of economic prohibition almost as much as the revelers this weekend did in celebrating alcoholic prohibition!

If you are feeling ill-at-ease these days, I encourage you to take heart - listen to that squirming little voice that begs you to cut out a new place for you, not to listen to the warnings of others or settle for the status quo, and to seek out like-minded people. And I promise - as hard as it is, I will be doing the same.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 2 comments

The Power of Social Media

Once when I was about eighteen, and feeling nervous about my decision to attend Arizona State University (one of the largest public universities in the nation) I remember someone I trusted telling me not to worry, that as "birds of a feather flock together", like-minded people will always find each other. Since then, I have experienced this phenomenon enough times to fully agree. In fact in the last year, I have seen the power of social media speed this process up so much that I can't even think of an appropriate metaphor.

Now before you think I don't already know: I get that with this post I am flying in the face of good judgement and rule #2 of "10 Things You Need to Stop Tweeting About". But this isn't Tweeting! It's blogging! There's a difference, right? Right?

While I understand that using social media to discuss social media is redundant and often self-serving, I am also out to live a life of impact and joy with like-minded people. Enter @kaileenelise, @ALCinDC, @analiesemarie, @patricksalee, @azstiner and @laurajordan. Only one of these tweeting people actually lives in the same state as I do. Only two of these people have my personal cell phone number. There are a couple that I may never meet in person and a couple whose words and advice impact my work daily.

@ALCinDC is a good friend and fellow blogger who used to live here in Phoenix. We met in a very traditional way, having been introduced through her fiance whom I've known since college. While she now resides in Washington DC, we still talk daily over phone, text, instant messenger, and as of yesterday - video chat! (How amazing is it that she could take me on a tour of her new house in real time, from across the country?!)

@kaileenelise is a girl somewhere on the east coast whom I started "following" on twitter a few months ago, probably based on a comment she made to @tranquilista. Upon checking out her profile, I saw that she often tweets about things I am interested in. Recently she acknowledged her friend @analiesemarie's blog Tulips and Tea. Naturally, I checked it out and saw that not only does she have a great deal in common with @ALCinDC, she lives in the capital as well! Of course I sent the URL to @ALCinDC, who read it, contacted her, and now she and @analiesemarie regularly read each others posts, recommend local restaurants and activities to each other and may get coffee together one of these days!

So there I was yesterday, feeling oh-so-pleased with myself, having been a little like Friendship Cupid when I get a Twitter Direct Message from @analiesemarie. Apparently, she had recognized me as a fellow nonprofit professional though something I'd tweeted, and boom - overnight we were swapping emails and articles about fundraising. All I can say, is Everybody Wins.

I used to say that Twitter wasn't for everybody, that while I wouldn't go so far as to say that it is for old people, per se, I considered the value to be for work-related purposes. Now though, with the things I have learned and the friends I have made via that little chirping sound I just want to spread the joy and encourage others to try it out for themselves!
Friday, October 30, 2009 7 comments

Chance Encounters

Do you believe in fate? I didn't used to, but I'm beginning to fancy myself a believer.

Remember Shadow, Chance and Sassy - the motley two-dog-one-cat trio who traveled the country in the Disney film Homeward Bound? It was the golden retriever who lead the crew home, but I always thought that Chance, the well-meaning but clumsy bulldog could have done it as well.

Years ago (when hopes were high and my hair was high-lighted) I toured the house I now find myself struggling to pay for. It was and is spacious, full of character and every so often I stumble across a toy buried in the yard or struggle against a carpet stain that reminds me I'm not the first to sleep here. Sometimes I wonder about the family who sold me this house - where they are now, if they've painted their new rooms the same colors I've painted over in MY new rooms and if they still have the tiny black and brown dog that greeted me the first time I visited. This week, at least one of those questions got answered.

I'm not sure what the mathematical probability is of a nine pound Chihuahua returning to its puppyhood home from an unknown location over a year after it last lived there, but that is indeed what happened a few nights ago. I now find myself with the task of tracking down the house's former family with a number that is disconnected and dog tags that still link the little guy to my address.

I also don't know the mathematical probability of a professional, hardworking college graduate being unable to maintain gainful employment. Or how many contracted positions with only a tangential connection to her chosen field she statistically must participate in before locating the elusive Calling. If it's not math, IS it fate? My family seems to think so. They tell me that I will not find success in any job until I move back to Seattle where I am "meant to be."

It seems at this point, I have quite a few opportunities, and very few certainties. For instance, I could give up the Calling and throw myself into the restaurant business - which has a 75% failure rate. I could rent out my house and move back in with my parents where I still may not get a job. I could take all my savings, start my own company and live or die by my own hand. At least I know I wouldn't get fired or laid off. Or I could go back to school for my Master's Degree. ASU does seem to have a superb program. Though tempting, when I hear of friends who leave that little accomplishment off their resumes lest they hear "you're overqualified for this position" any desire I had to chain myself to a textbook for the next few years goes right out the window.

So what's a girl to do? Head to Vegas, leaving my career to chance and my finances on the craps table? I think that plane has already left the tarmac. Should I stop the job search altogether and wait for God or the wind to bless me with my dream job or take away everything ala Richard LeMieux? Or take matters into my own hands with an off-the-wall job-seeking technique like The Resume Shirt? Do I really have any choice? As one of my all time favorite movie characters once said, "You can't interfere with destiny. That's why it's destiny. And if you try to interfere, the same thing's going to happen anyway, and you'll just suffer." Thank you and good luck in the Election, Tracy.

I have a lot to think about. Starting with this little dog who by fate or ingenuity landed where he thinks he belongs. There seems to be a message here somewhere. I'll let you know when I find it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009 1 comments

Just Say "No" to Spec?

Today friends, is a historic day in the life of this would-be Happy, Healthy, Well-Adjusted and Popular gal. Today is day seven of my new job with a fabulous downtown nonprofit! One week, and so far, so good. I enjoy what I do, my new co-workers and my office (Yes, I have an office! With a door! And a window!). I fully support the organization's mission. It's a dream.'s the caveat: it's part-time. I know there may be an opportunity to become full time at some point in the future, assuming the organization has the financial means, and of course, that they like the work I do. It's a powerful motivator, this potential future full-time position. I find myself trying to walk faster, think bigger, and work harder than ever in order to prove myself worthy.

Some might call this period of part-time work "spec" - as in work done for a company during the interview process designed to establish a potential employee's knowledge and skills but without said company having to commit to a hire. While I see very few real similarities between my situation and actual spec work, it does make me wonder, has the down economy birthed a hire-er's market where extreme caution is exercised by interviewers and in which spec work is the norm? Are we really looking at creating a standard practice where one professional feels entitled to ask another to work for free? Should the young workforce resign themselves to a future of test after test in the search for employment?

I decided to ask around. Seems most young interviewees are frustrated that their degrees and resumes are no longer enough to establish their credibility (I mean really, diplomas are just given out like candy these days, right? Or wait, did I get my diploma in EXCHANGE for candy? I forget...). They also fear their intellectual property may be stolen or that they will not be properly reimbursed for their time. Unfortunately, at least among those I spoke with, these fears are too often realized. Maybe it's time those entering the workforce pick up a legal degree in their spare time. I have one highly qualified friend who was asked to create an entire marketing plan for an organization's recruitment initiative only to lose the job one. The position is still open. She doesn't know what became of her marketing plan, and if I were her, I wouldn't want to know: the possibility that her work may be in use while she decides whether to collect unemployment is just too painful.

Some outspoken opponents of spec work admit that while they don't support the idea itself, it is hard to refuse when jobs are scarce and talent is plentiful. And it isn't just new graduates who face this difficult crisis of conscience. On a flight a few months ago, I sat next to an experienced creative director who was in the process of a large, involved spec project for a well respected West coast company. We talked at length about Gen Y's sense of entitlement (see Jenavi Kasper's explosive post on Phoenix Ad Blog) and the value of "bringing the goods" to an interview in addition to your resume's fancy words. I heard recently that he got the job (way to go fellow traveller!) and I have to assume that he was proud of the spec he "brought."

Whether or not spec work is fair, it does get the job done - often for both parties. A friend recently told me about a three hour interview where she was given a complicated design task to complete on the spot. It was through this process that she realized that she didn't want the position - saving both herself and the company the headache that would likely have occurred had she taken a job that wasn't a good fit.

In theory spec work is funny, but when it comes down to it, I think most of us see spec work as a seed of hope - a chance to grab hold of that elusive corporate ladder and demonstrate that despite whatever obstacles have kept us from entering (or escaping) The Rat Race in the past - given just a little time and space we too can produce quality work that will make the world a better place.

Friday, August 28, 2009 1 comments

Everything I Know I Learned from Reality Television

Sometimes, when I'm really low, I decide that the best thing about this period of funemployment is my 10AM date with Live with Regis and Kelly. And my 11AM date with Kathie Lee and Hoda. And my 12PM date with, um Blind Date. Try not to judge - talk to me when you get the pink slip, okay?

And while I'd rather melon-ball my eyes out than admit love for the hot mess that is Project Runway (and by that I mean, the single best thing that has happened to LifetimeTelevisionForWomen EVER); recently, I've developed a certain respect for shows like The Bachelorette, America's Next Top Model, and yes, even Flavor of Love.

If I may? Imagine Flavor Flav is a highly coveted job in PR, or publishing, or pizza making. Instead of submitting a written list of your media placements, literary achievements, or past pies alongside the lists of a thousand other literal gold diggers, why don't we job seekers just show up at Flav's house, mix, mingle, complete a few challenges, and the last one standing gets an offer?

I'm serious. Forty Agency here in Phoenix claims to have hired most of their crew based on personality and precociousness, and is currently seeking video in leu of of curriculum vitae. So why not take that kind of thinking to the next level? While I don't know that a cool video always equals a top notch Account Exec, or a poor video always nets a poor Director of New Business, I do know that real competition brings out in people something that very few other things in this world do: Their True Nature.

And isn't that what makes a good employee? It isn't really about where they used to work, or what their title was or wasn't, or the resume style they prefer. For many jobs, it's about who they are, how they handle themselves in professional situations, whether they have the aptitude for the job, and the ways in which they demonstrate the skills they have.

So what about it, Hiring Managers? Why not hold an event when you need to fill your next position? Perhaps an open house of sorts - where current staff and potential staff convene to determine who really is Your Company's Next Top Hire. I'd be there with my wit, wisdom and worldly wiles... competing to get the most face time with your top executives, sizing up the weaknesses of my peers and proving via my skills and personality that I can do the job. Or at least, that I deserve a second date.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 3 comments

Creativity Begets Creativity

As a creative person, do you ever feel it's "feast or famine?" One day, despite barely escaping Death by Caffeine your best idea involves laying on the couch, and the next you are so prolific in your work that Apple should be knocking down your door with offers of exorbitant consulting fees, a plush office and a company hybrid jet (flown by Brad Pitt and serving only calorie free hot fudge sundaes of course). How does this happen!?

There are plenty of credible studies on the concept, but in my experience, I've found that on my best days there are two constants: The presence of other creative people, and a variety of projects and stimulus. Trying to design something cool alone in my house all day almost always results in ...not much, but a day split between writing projects, design projects, baking, cleaning and happy hour with friends more often than not finds me happily creating into the wee hours of the morning.

This humble theory o' mine was clearly exemplified last week at Creative Connect, a meeting of designers, writers, photographers and artists in the Valley. While I'm the first to note the sheer ridiculousness of a bunch of egotistic, narcissistic, hipster Creatives out to "network" [read: get some gainful employment]; last week, when I was finally able to (sort of) let go of my own egotistic, narcissistic, hipster tendencies and actually look up from my fruit and cheese and beer-because-I'm-making-a-statement, I was pleased to discover a handful of great people I already knew (the lovely and talented Jennifer Bates and Lynelle Grimes among others) and a few I'm happy to have met there.

I soon found myself drifting around the room with a little group making hilariously snarky comments to each other and I started feeling less like I should have stayed home and more like the smart, creative, connected person I know I am somewhere under the nervous smile and vintage jewelry.**

Part way through the evening, true Drifting Creatives Martin Hooper and Gavin Braman - think Flight of the Concords do Graphic Design - introduced themselves: two new graduates from Texas "designing their way across the country." Picking up simple design projects to pay for gas and food and crashing similar networking events in each town, the two are building for themselves an interesting and diverse resume, and documenting their experience in short video diaries and via Twitter. Bravo guys - this is the kind of innovation and intelligent risk taking that I'm most inspired by. Here you are, practicing a wide variety of design and media in your day to day life, and seeking out other creative people in which to give your work some context.

As the beer and wine did their thing on us all and we started to relax, I began hearing some really great ideas come out of my little posse. Suddenly things around us stopped being intimidating and started being worth doing or at least dreaming about. I myself went home that night and promptly googled Improvisational Cuisine (called Posh, a Scottsdale restaurant definitely not on my list of Cheap Dates but profoundly enticing all the same, is owned and run by hometown boy done good Josh Hebert) and began plans for a "Please Hire Me" singing telegram to be delivered to wherever those drifting boys end up.

It got me thinking, shouldn't there be a place where creative people, employed or otherwise, can go - to work on individual projects in a communal space? Where they can bounce ideas off each other and pick up Photoshop tips, share music and be inspired and inspire others? The thing is, I think Chandler has one. Has anyone heard of Gangplank? From what I understand, the organization among other things, offers a free place for web professionals to work on client projects. But what constitutes a web professional? What constitutes a client project? I'd like to check it out but I'm short on moxie these days - do I need an invitation? Is it some sort of Manson-esque religious cult started by Steve Jobs and requiring an Ipod? Am I supposed to bring offerings of organic free trade coffee to appease the design gods? Will anyone sit by me if I don't have the right PBJ on White Wonder Bread in my Saved By the Bell lunchbox? What if I'm not cool enough? Or talented enough? How will I ever make it through seventh grade! Oh oops, excuse me while I shove back my junior high insecurities.

Hopefully, it is exactly as it's manifesto pontificates: a place for people who value collaboration over competition. Let me know if you've been there, and what you think.

Peace Love and Woodstock my friends - enjoy the anniversary of ideals by putting them to work in the Desert.

**Shameless Plug! I've got a mortgage to pay!

Sunday, August 9, 2009 1 comments

Car Talk: An Ode to Dads, Brothers, and Good Friends' Husbands

It had been seven years since she rolled off the lot,
shiny and new, with love she was bought.

Seattle to Phoenix and all in between,
Mexico, Kansas, and Colorado she'd seen.

A few came before her, less shiny or new
each well-taken care of by "Dad" - Woo Hoo!

"Gwendolyn the Golden Girl" was the name she was given,
fast and furious was the way she was driven.

A ding here, a dent there - who cares she'd had fun!
She felt invincible - forever she'd run!

Alas! Disaster struck when it least was expected
perhaps she'd have been better had she not been neglected.

It's true - there were times when she had needed some care
but unaware went her owner, without that "Dad" there.

"Dad" had been great, he'd kept all their cars right
but explain he did not, and so on came her "check engine" light.

Day by day and bit by bit
lots of things started breaking, and a mirror - it just split.

Away from the door on the driver's side,
The plastic had warped and shook on each ride.

So to save money and time some epoxy was sent
into the gap and worked like cement.

Oh Joy! What luck! That mirror- it was stuck!
As was the window - quite tight (What the Fuck!).

Add that to the list of woes Goldie had,
at that last crappy mechanic - her owner was Mad!

But out of the desert came a hero, a friend!
It was Ike to the rescue - a hand he did lend.

He picked and he prodded, listened and thought,
and helped diagnose the diseases she'd caught.

He told her owner what needed to be done
what to say to the mechanic who'd messed up a ton.

And guess what else that awesome Ike did?
He fixed that glued window - he did! Yes he did!

So into the night that little car sprang,
with a spring in her step - and nary a clang.

She ran through a drive-thru, her window rolled down
not having to open her door like a clown.

So thanks my dear friend for lending your hubby,
to fix my little car, and in the midst get quite grubby!
Tuesday, August 4, 2009 0 comments

Cheap Dates - Part 2

I have a confession to make.

I talk a big game about our culture's unhealthy reliance on "things" and "stuff." But when I set out to live cheap last month, I was secretly thinking "yeah, like I'm really going to SHOWER for this." But now, as I sit here in my room, overwhelmed by all the amazing community-building, inexpensive opportunities for fun and fiber, I am taunted by Lazlo The Chihuahua who has positioned himself ever-so-subtly next to a plaque reading: "It's Not Shopping, It's Retail Therapy." Even my dog thinks I'm a fraud.

While he may be partially right, that I may still love the "cha-ching" of New Shoes Being Purchased, today I am proud to announce that I am now 100%, no-holds-barred, hook, line and sinker, fully bought into the movement I'm fond of calling The Great Cheap Date.

To be part of The Great Cheap Date, one must be willing to put in just a few extra minutes online or lingering at the coffee shop bulletin board to find that awesome out of the way happy hour, a free independent film screening or bingo tournament that isn't necessarily advertised in old town Scottsdale.

And I'm not the only one pushing for this kind of life. Every magazine I open these days has a list of things to do with little or no cash. And since I've become interested (read:obsessed) with living cheap, I've been inundated with ideas and articles thoughtfully clipped out and mailed to me from all parts of the country. Thanks mom, for Woman's Day Magazine, June 2, 2009 Issue, Page 78.

Keep in mind that a Great Cheap Date doesn't have to be of the romantic kind (although lets be real, aren't those the best kind?) but can be with a friend, family member, professional network or even alone. Sometimes what a soul needs most is a little Me Time. And since it is a blistering 111 degrees today, stay in and feed the need.

First off - a few online fun sites along the lines of "time-wasters-I-would-never-consider-doing-on-the-clock-if-I-actually-had-a-job" type:, the site that helps you make the real important decisions in life, Benign Objects and Design Delights when you feel like swooning over something other than Colin Farrell, and Not Your Grandmother's Crossword Puzzles. There's CheapHealthyGood written by the very funny and very hungry Kristen Swenssen and a new favorite of mine Lords and Ladies of Leisure - which touches the soft spot I have in my heart for the unemployed.

And how about learning a new skill? Split the cost of with a friend and you may both master Photoshop, Dreamweaver, or even Microsoft Word! The best software tutorial I've ever seen. What about mastering the Art of the Mixtape? Remember those? When just the right mix of songs could tell that hot professor why you - a design major - did so well in his Calculous class or when you found out your best friend's boyfriend was a cheating sleaze and needed Carrie Underwood, Hinder, and Brandy and Monica to tell the story? The perfect mix is important, and done right might just score you some home-baked brownies, or at least some brownie points.

And when the inevitable happens as it often does - Twitter gets too many tweets, Facebook times out, no one has emailed you in at least an hour and your laptop battery bleats out its last charge - THROW A PARTY! Not a lavish affair, but a rocking, fun, casual get together. Think board games and BYOB, a Wii Tennis tournament and night swimming. Give it a theme - Margaritas and Mustaches, Christmas in July, 80's night, 60's night - anything to get people to connect and laugh and take the edge off our money woes for awhile. Better yet - host a Swap Party and you may find yourself a new pair of shoes cute enough that you don't even miss the "cha-ching."
Sunday, July 12, 2009 2 comments

Viva La Revolución

"You're not going to have a revolution if most people feel they're making out pretty well." [Quinn, My Ishmael, 1997]

Last week, I suggested that being forced to give up some luxuries may actually make us happier, healthier (and dare I say...well-adjusted and popular) people. Up til now, though the economy was based on projection - not reality - it worked out reasonably well for most of us. Now the tide has changed, the revolution of healthy frugality has begun, and we are able to demand more of ourselves and world - and find ways to enjoy life and connect with one another in places not punctuated by money and possessions.

Yesterday, I visited Liberty Market in Gilbert - home of a $2 plate of the best roasted sweet potato and curry salad this side of my kitchen. The relaxed, urban atmosphere of the market, restaurant, and bar (JP should add this place to her list of "slashy" local businesses) boasts of delicious eats - most of which are under $8 - and a healthy selection of espresso beverages and a beer and wine list that could reek of pretentiousness but surprisingly does not.

It is places like this and events like CreateLive AZ (hosted here - sorry I missed it!) that exemplify the connection we are hungering for. Inexpensive, unique experiences that feed our stomachs and souls -

Thankfully, if you are willing to look, these opportunities do exist in our community and are growing daily: From Twitter @PhoenixNewTimes: What Laura Says (local band featured on NPR last year!) And Free Ice Cream At Heard Museum Friday. See? Art, Music, and Food - what more do you need?

Along with AZ Central and The New Times, there are lots of great sites featuring free and inexpensive events. A few standouts I found:

- Free Breakfast Weekend at Ikea July 18, 19. Swedish pancakes, anyone?
- A personal favorite from my go-to expert on good music, EastonAshe performs Friday at O'Donoghue's Irish Pub in honor of St. Practice Day: a not-so-dry run of the pub's St. Paddy's festivities.
- Check out the Michael Easterday Band at San Tan Flat, where the opportunity to roast marshmallows under the stars is almost worth the drive itself. Almost.
- For celebrity sightings, Trader Vic's in Scottsdale is celebrating their anniversary this month - and guess what? It's free to get in.
- July has a jazz jamboree, and a cribbage tournament and way too many other options to mention here. Just mouse-around: maybe you'll find a new favorite cheap and easy Bingo-and-Open Mic-and-Wine Tasting- Night Hike. Or something.

The Roommate and I recently investigated the how-to's of The Culture Pass, the Piper Trust's gift of art and culture to Valley residents. A fact I didn't know: picking up one pass at the library does not grant access to all participating venues for two weeks. Instead, after visiting two separate area libraries we were able to scrape the bottom of the barrel (which turned out not to be the bottom after all!) for a one-time use pass to Mesa Contemporary Arts. We also learned of the venues offering discounts at various times throughout the summer without a pass. All frustrations with the lack of selection at our chosen libraries aside - we had lots of fun!

A few other of my favorite cheap dates include seeing not-yet-on-dvd movies at the Tempe Cinemas, First Friday Art Walk in Phoenix, Fourth Friday Art Walk in Mesa and taking the light rail to meet friends for one of the many happy hours and freebies featured here, here, and here.

Use your imagination, and let the revolution begin.

P.S. For my non-AZ readers: I encourage you to seek out your community's own free gifts. Try local and alternative newspapers... and know that you might have to go outside your city limits for an adventure; take Sedalia, Missouri and the Wheel Inn, home of the $3.50 Guberburger meal for example (Thanks Adam - I'll never forget my first Guberburger).
Friday, July 3, 2009 3 comments

Cheap and Proud of It

Just what will the impact of The Recession on our generation be? Experts predict an end to our financial woes sometime this year. This is good news right? This means job security, the stabilization of the housing market, lower gas prices, and no more stay-at-home-vacations! I for one cannot wait for the day when I don't pray that my card won't be declined every time I hand it over to a waiter who knows without asking that "no, I won't be ordering dessert tonight."

We all hate sacrifice. And why shouldn't we? Sacrifice and compromise are things that the majority of our baby boomer parents have made sure we haven't had to consider. We're the tee-ball generation where everybody wins, enough is never enough, and keeping up with the Jones'? Please! They keep up with us!

And yet...I have more than one friend who swoons over Dennis Haysbert in recent AllState commercials when he intones what we have learned this year - namely, (to paraphrase) meatloaf and Jenga can be as good as steak and a set of box seats. Target follows suit with their Brand New Day spot where consumers happily replace their cars with bicycles, their gym memberships with exercise balls, and hold off on family room remodels, opting instead for backyard tents. Likewise, anyone who has been to Starbucks recently will confirm: lines are longer than ever. Interestingly, sales are down. Why? The $4 iced latte has become a $2 iced coffee with milk. I was in Kansas City recently and couldn't help but notice in the bathroom of an old roommate who, although he makes plenty of money, has switched from salon shampoo to a drugstore brand. Hmmm. Wonder if he notices a difference.

So what will happen on this vague day in the future when the cloud of corporate corruption finally lifts, earned raises actually get given, and expendable income begins to live up to its name again? Maybe our newfound frugality will ebb like the intense patriotism that was prevalent in the days following September 11, 2001. Maybe we'll all reinstate our standing appointments at the nail salons, trade in our sensible vehicles for the newest hybrid hummers, and once again congregate with our fabulous friends in rooftop bars sipping $12 cocktails.

Maybe. Or maybe not. I've found that I actually LIKE iced coffee with milk, that my nails don't actually look that bad when I do them myself, and as for the rooftop bar? My friends tend to rave for days about the fun we have when we stay in for "bring your own beer" game nights. Is it possible that the recession might actually be (godforbid) good for the health of our generation, and not just our pocketbooks?

"Your Ad Here" ... and Here ... and Here ... and Here." Driving through Missouri last week, I was accosted with blank billboard after blank billboard advertising... well, advertising. Clearly marketing dollars are being spent elsewhere. Bad for the the billboard business, but good for... the view? Instead of reading about casino buffets and new checking options, I got to concentrate on conversation with my traveling companion and the gorgeous green rolling hills around us. It got me thinking - could this recession actually weed out industries that clutter our landscape and pollute our senses? What would our country (and world) look like if we put more emphasis on "I got it at a thrift shop!" than "He went to Jared." Some places, like Kansas City International Airport are embracing a culture of cheap. Could we come out of this economic landslide and actually live better, fuller, more meaningful lives? Is it possible? Is it likely? Lets say Yes - and make it happen.
Monday, June 22, 2009 0 comments

An Open Letter to Ear Candy

Dear Nate Anderson and all the other amazing Ear Candy Guys,

You should hire me to be your Development Director.

I got to see you all in action at the McDowell Mountain Music Festival (speaking of which - Cute Journalist/PR Guy covering the festival: If you're still out there, I suddenly find myself with lots of free time if you ever want to hang out again...) where I spent some time in your tent being blown away by the positive atmosphere and super-talented kids playing your stage.

I was there to help a friend at Arizona's Children , volunteering for the silent auction. The Ear Candy tent caught my eye, and I had to investigate.

Undeterred by the creepy, yet descriptive oversize Ear-And-Peppermint-Stick logo emblazoned on your tee-shirts (reminiscent of the "do not force in ear canal" warning on the back of the Q-Tip box), I was ecstatic to learn about the organization that is Creating, Supporting and Sustaining Music Programs for Youth managed by an awesome group of passionate young people.

As a young, passionate lover of music, kids, and making a difference in the world myself, there is clearly a huge draw for me to want to be part of an organization that has taken "grass-roots activism" to a whole new level.

...And I'm certain you've heard that before, as our generation is full of entrepreneurs, social change agents and Internet-born musical sensations - so I know you must be asking yourselves "What's in it for us?"

Good! Keep asking yourselves that - for every person, place and idea that wants to hop on the PR train that Mr. Anderson has created on behalf of Ear Candy - what is the major benefit to the organization today, tomorrow and a year from now? because if there isn't one - those kids are counting on you to say "why bother?"

So without further ado - Hire Me, Ear Candy! - and here are ten reasons why:

1) I have a degree in this stuff. Nonprofit stuff. Nonprofit Management to be exact - from one of the top programs in the nation, our very own American Humanics at ASU. The complex nuances of operating a 501 (c) (3) within a region, a state, and an emerging sector are not lost on me, and you'll save valuable time (and time = money) not having to train. I hope I can even teach you a thing or two.

2) Experience. I co-lead a $50,000 fundraising campaign in 2005 where we met our program's largest goal to date in just a few months. I planned and implemented a successful volunteer-ran walk-a-thon event for a suicide prevention organization in a city that didn't have a local chapter. I've participated in capital campaigns, grant writing, major events, and even secured start up funding, donated office space and computer equipment for an organization based on a business plan alone.

3) Confidence. Or ahem...cojones. Tim Ferris in his book articulates something I have always known to be true: "The fishing is best where the fewest go, and the collective insecurity of the world makes it easy for people to hit home runs while everyone else is aiming for base hits." You collected 100 instruments, lets make it 100,000.

4) Via your website, I know Ear Candy like the back of my hand - go ahead, quiz me - I can tell you each place a Nate Anderson sound-bite has been featured, where each typo is, and which paragraphs I think could better articulate the way the organization partners with the community and will not only continue to make a difference in music programs everywhere, but is systematically building a cultural foundation on which the arts community in Arizona will grow.

5) Intelligence - I work smart. Its difficult to get the State Superintendent of Education on the phone. That's why I'd call before 9am and after 5pm when his pit bull of an assistant is off the clock. You'd be surprised how many chief execs answer their own phones at these times.

6) Nate Anderson needs a vacation. Although his incredible energy sustains the organization now, it can't always. The greatest gift any founder can leave his organization is a legacy plan. I will help you craft that plan Nate.

7) The following parable governs my philosophy on making a difference and thinking "outside the box." The Panhandler's Secret.

8) Despite Jack Black, School of Rock is still one of my top ten favorite movies.

9) I got kicked out of piano lessons in 4th grade. It's true. Granted, it was because I never practiced and had a bit of a body odor issue (since rectified!) but still, that's got to tug on some heart strings right?

10) If nothing else, check your mailbox - you just got one donation.

Now Mr. Anderson and friends, will you take the risk on an educated, experienced, passionate and intelligent young professional? Phone me. Lets take in a show, compare The Dave Matthews Band to Counting Crows, and talk about this Development Director position.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 2 comments


Its surprising how many people are still confused about social media - and equally surprising how many call themselves experts. The difference between the two is this: Those who don't know much about it are definitely employed, those who are experts are definitely unemployed, and those who call themselves experts could be either, but really are just straining to make themselves look relevant. 

The fact is that when I was kicking butt and taking names at The Ad Agency, the last thing I had time for was the blogosphere or twittequette. Now however, I have plenty of time to dive into the world of blogs by people I know (Deserted After Dark by the incredibly ambitious Sam Richard and All About The Ask by the very grown-up Patrick Sallee), blogs by people I don't (Decor8 and Modite), the Facebook club, and of course the "cocktail party" that is Twitter. And I find yet ANOTHER silver lining under the cloud of unemployment (will wonders never cease?). So as an attempt to shine a little light on social media for all you hard workin' stiffs out there without pretending to be an expert, I bring you...The Happy Healthy Well Adjusted and Popular Guide to Getting Just Enough from Web 2.0.

1) Facebook is for people you used to know, Twitter is for people you want to know. An article ran this month in Glamour magazine about baby boomers taking over Facebook and ruining it for us millenials. A friend recently found this out when his mom and a professor publicly chastised him on his Wall when his status read "Hungover." Clearly, care must be taken when your online "friends" include parents, teachers, and bosses. However, the things to write and read on Facebook can take on a more casual tone - things that are personally interesting verses the professionally interesting snippets that make Twitter valuable. 

Consider Twitter like bugging the desktops of your smartest friends, local journalists, the President and those with the jobs you wish you had - so that when they drop an article they find enlightening, or a relevant discussion they're having with someone, or their current feelings on the state of the economy - you too can be well-read and in-the-know. Likewise, you leave your own trail of quips, quotes, webpages and podcasts. Although many people use it as such, Twitter is not for broadcasting what is in your lunch bag or the shade of purple your bruised toe has become. Ick. 

2) A blog is not a list of links.  Bloggers write for a variety of reasons and for many different audiences. A former co-worker of mine blogs for his out-of-state family about the charming phases of his kids' growth.  My friend Sarah blogs to showcase her writing and get freelancing jobs. Danny Seo blogs to sell mattresses, magazines, and beauty products. And me? I blog to keep myself motivated and to share a little humor and lots of cool stuff with anyone who cares to read.  Many blogs have links, but all blogs are written to tell the author's story. 

3) Comments are like heroin to bloggers, tweeters and facebookers - give us more!  Sure there are applications like Google Analytics to track site visits, and it's easy to see your Twitter followers, but the only real way for those of us who make social media our art form to feel relevant is to see that we have engaged our readers, followers and friends enough to join our discussion. So take the bait - respond to a status post, argue a point in a blog, and tweet us something interesting. This is the social part of social media. Without that - it's just advertising. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2009 1 comments

My Life For Sale

It's up! My first ever Etsy store has been launched, and even features something to purchase! After a bit a trial and error, Happy Healthy Well Adjusted and Popular persons everywhere now have the option to purchase a beautiful vintage faux pearl necklace from yours truely! Of course, amid the other thousands of shops on the site, my lil ole As-Yet-Unnamed virtual kiosk does get lost in the shuffle. No matter, promotion is step 2. Happy shopping!
Tuesday, June 2, 2009 0 comments

Warning: This Post Might Make You Do Something

Does this blog make me look desperate? I've been reading The Four Hour Work Week and pondering the "New Rich" - a subset of the world who not only get by on passive income, but actually live the proverbial good life, traveling the world, leasing fabulous cars, and participating in x-treme sports, all with their Blackberries/Web Cams/iPhone Apps so that for the brief amounts of time they are actually needed, they can easily assume the roll of mobile mogul. A warning on the back cover reads: "Do Not Read This Book Unless You Want to Quit Your Job."

Like any piece of opinion writing, there is both good and ridiculous, so I say read it and take from it what you will.

What I've taken from it is the understanding that multiple streams of passive income require quite a bit of initial investment - of motivated motion. With a nod to my personality flaws, I think I can safely say that I am a woman of action. Whether it is deciding where to go for brunch (The fabulous but now closed Palatte), what to drink (A Dirty Sexy Starbucks Soy Chai with a shot of raspberry and espresso), what to read (MINE magazine, the future of publications?), or what to listen to (Blitzen Trapper - Furr), I can definitely make a decision and act on it quickly.

Unfortunately, not all quick thinking has resulted in tranquil bliss, as exemplified by the following: #1: Left my only sweatshirt and umbrella in a London hostel on the first leg of a EuroVacation that included five days in the "driving rain" on the plains of Spain. #2: The Great Sandwich Incident of 2007 in which a harmless prank on a roommate's lunch left me almost homeless and utterly friendless in a house of four - #3 Could be any one of the tall, dark, handsome and horrible hunks I've dated, and of course #4, and #5 you already know. Yes, my friends and family would agree, I've made lots of bad decisions quickly. I ought to make bumper stickers. HA! Forget Honors Students - "I make bad decisions faster than you do!" Watch for them on Cafe' Press. Passive income, you know.

Which brings me to the point: In this era of entry level jobs being fought over by former CEOs, MBA holders, and rosy-cheeked undergrads, the window of opportunity in Corporate America for those of us in our mid-twenties, not quite generations X or Y, with some but not tons of experience, and having both an iPod and a modest closet of nice suits and sensible heels is shrinking daily. So what is an educated, enthusiastic worker with a mortgage, a credit card payment and an extensive list of Must-See friends' weddings, new babies, and Grad-School graduations to do? The answer, or at least AN ANSWER is: Open an Etsy Store!

For the uninitiated, is an online marketplace for all things handmade, re-made, and crafted. It is a worldwide boutique of one of a kind gifts, vintage finds and true artistic talent. It is also a tech-geek's playground, a designer's resource, and a Locavore's cheat sheet. Cheaper and with less headache than Ebay, the fuzzy, feel-good, we-all-share-one-goal atmosphere of Etsy may be just what I need to meet my Target Monthly Income.

This idea popped into my head just a few days ago, and today, it launches! I could spend the next four weeks researching all the options, stocking my craft cabinet, reading books on pricing homemade goods, naming and re-naming the store - but for what? Potentially the same outcome? Not today friends. Today, I am putting my hands to work, getting off the couch and taking a few real steps toward real money in the global marketplace. Today I act.  Stay tuned, I'll let you know how it goes.

Oh By the Way, I am taking suggestions on the store name - Un-Glued? TMI? Happy Healthy Well Adjusted Stuff? Let the creativity flow!
Thursday, May 28, 2009 1 comments

Will Date for Food

A few months ago a story broke from my home state of Washington about a man who took his nine year old with him to a mini mart where he proceeded to rob it at gunpoint - claiming he had lost his job and needed financial help to raise the daughter, Meadow.

I've been thinking about that story quite a bit recently, and wondering how many of the unemployed people in this economy find themselves desperately considering less-than-legal-or-ethical means of making the almighty dollar. 

The question is no longer "How Low Can You Go?" but rather, "How Low WILL You Go?"

I wonder when I myself will consider sex, drugs and rock 'n roll as legitimate forms of income. Don't misunderstand me - it's not as if I'm getting offers to star in porn or swallow bags of heroin and run across the border on a daily basis. And even if I did find myself in possession of one or two extra bottles of Vicodin or Percoset - I don't have the foggiest idea of how to move it - What do you do? Sell that stuff on Craigslist? Good Grief.

Clearly, hard core criminality is not for me. So what else is there? Stripping? I'm sure The Dream Palace is always hiring, and even if I don't make much money, writing about the shady world of strip clubs worked like a charm for Diablo Cody with Candy Girl - and look where the writer of Juno is now! Somehow though, I don't think the book buying public needs TWO memoirs of a middle class stripper.

As freshmen at Arizona State University, my college roommate and I used to play a game called "Who can see the most movies for free?" Although the game was mostly a joke, it's true that shortly after orientation we had been introduced to the value (financial or otherwise) of casual dating - and an addiction was born.  With both of us having been firmly attached to specific sweethearts throughout high school, college offered us the opportunity to get to know some wonderful and some not-so-wonderful men, and revel in the movies, dinners, drinks and weekend trips that every savvy girl experiences on the dating scene.  Ah the good ole days when I was just expected to show up, look cute, make good conversation and say thank you.  

Wait just a minute! I'm still perfectly capable of those things! In fact, now that I've perfected fashionably late - casual dating should be even better!  So long feminist ideals and Hello Sugar Daddies! Anyone up for the job? I promise to be charming and fabulous so long as you give me enough time for me to volunteer, and have no problem investing in the multiple business start ups I am currently working on.

While I wait for Mr. Eligible Wealthy Bachelor to come along, I must do something, for a girl cannot live on blogging alone.  What will it be - Burger King? Nah, too greasy. Landscaping? No way - too sweaty and upper body strength is not exactly my calling card. Professional poker playing takes up too many nights, and gas station attendant puts me too close for comfort with potential gun-wielding Fathers Of The Year. Alright, so slinging coffee at Starbucks it is.  Who knows? Maybe I'll meet my future employer in the drive thru? One can only hope.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009 1 comments

If you want to get Bit in the Arse, go into Business with your Friends

Last week, President Obama graced Arizona with his presence at ASU's commencement ceremony.  With around 60,000 of my closest friends, I made the trek from the 'burbs  by way of the new light rail and a whole lot of walking in the blistering hot sun. Like the others, I was excited to hear what the President would have to say to my beloved Alma Mater who stiffed him an honorary degree and whose class of 2009 is facing the toughest job market in memory. His speech writers didn't disappoint. He was funny and poignant, irreverent and inspiring.  He challenged the graduates to seek after different riches than those that contributed to the collapse of Wall Street. He urged them to take different risks - ones that would ultimately make the world better - and he acknowledged that they might fail, and fail again; but to take heart because their body of work is yet to be finished...

...And thank God for that! On Saturday, I was fired for the second time in a month. I wish I was kidding.  I really do.  Here's the story: In light of my joblessness, mortgage, and the fact that I allow my nearest and dearest to hang out pool side whenever they feel like it, a friend who owns his own business offered me the opportunity to do a little online SEO work for some extra cash. Gladly, I accepted and managed to impress in a relatively short amount of time.  A few weeks into our arrangement, I made an unrelated joke about this person that after making it's way through the gossip tree that our friends operate not unlike the childhood game of Telephone - I was informed that my "services would no longer be needed."  All I could think was, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! 

Awesome. The Universe - 2, Me - 0. 

I would love to expound on how completely silly and petty and pathetic this situation is and how my joke was not in QUITE the bad taste it was made out to be, but I'm still experiencing enough shock and disbelief that I don't even have the energy for it. "With friends like these, who needs..." you know the rest. 

In all seriousness, I recognize that there are lessons to be learned here as well - don't joke about your boss, don't joke about your boss to the Town Crier, if you do joke about your boss, address the situation with him right away, etc.  But not the least of these lessons is this: Do Not Go Into Business With Your Friends. That is a hard one for me - as some of the most intelligent, creative and talented people I know are my friends.  Money may not actually be the root of all evil, but when one friend has it to lord over another, bad things are bound to happen.  In spite of the fact that I am down another paycheck, thoroughly saddened that I hurt my friend, and - yet again - am sufficiently humbled, I am actually a bit glad that this happened at this exact time (okay, I know that you know I'm lying through my teeth - but I'm trying to see the silver lining here people!) because as I flesh out the new business ideas I have floating through my head, it is very tempting to call upon my friends to be part of them.  

Maybe this is one of the risks President Obama was speaking of when he addressed Sun Devil Stadium last week, or maybe it wasn't. Either way, I plan to tuck this little gem away and remember my ill-fated and short lived career working for a friend, and stay determined to make the hard choices next time.  The businesses and nonprofit organizations I plan to launch as part of my body of work may force me to work harder and longer without the help of my besties, but maybe they will also force me to tap into the wealth of knowledge being held by strangers and neighbors who are looking to find their dreams in the Arizona desert as well.  Only time will tell.
Friday, May 15, 2009 2 comments

Personality Tests May Not Be A Load of Crap After All

A few evenings ago, I had dinner at My Florist Cafe with an old friend and mentor who I know from my days with American Humanics in Kansas City. Over deliciously pretentious salads served by hot male waiters sporting more hair gel than either of us, she proceeded to see through every excuse, flippant comment and joke I put out there about why I haven't yet found another job. Damn her! Why couldn't she leave well-enough alone? And why am I now putting down my copy of Skinny Bitch and dealing with the things she said? Doesn't my heart know that I am not ready to face reality?

Apparently, it does not. My friend and I talked at length about the Myers-Briggs personality test, and the characteristics of ENFP - the disposition we both share, according to the quiz. ENFP-ers are known as being "Inspirers." A related website says this about us: "ENFPs are... enthusiastic people, typically very bright and full of potential. They live in the world of possibilities... very passionate and excited about things. Their enthusiasm lends them the ability to inspire and motivate others... They can talk their way in or out of anything. They love life... and strive to make the most out of it. ENFPs have an unusually broad range of skills and talents. They are good at most things which interest them. Project-oriented, they may go through several different careers during their lifetime." Woo-Hoo! I'm bright! I'm full of potential! I have an unusually broad range of skills! I will go through several different careers in my lifetime! Um. About that last one... 

While most of the above should sufficiently boost my ego so I can make the calls I dread making, and send out the resumes I dread sending, there are a few challenges that we as ENFP's face. The list: "to onlookers, the ENFP may seem directionless and without purpose... They... are on a continuous quest... to achieve inner peace (seriously, how well did I name this blog?!). An ENFP needs to focus on following through with their projects. This can be a problem area for some of these individuals. ENFPs... may fall into the habit of  dropping a project when they become excited about a new possibility, and thus they never achieve the great accomplishments which they are capable of." 

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd love to say that those "personality tests" are a bunch of hooey, that I cannot be defined by some formula derived from abstract questions. I am unique! I am special! I am the exception to every rule!

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on which of the above paragraphs you skip), I am 100% ENFP. An example: I recently read about a business plan contest the Downtown Tempe Community is holding in order to fill vacant spaces on Mill Avenue with a year of free rent for the winner. I was so excited about this prospect that I immediately wrote down three or four brilliant ideas and told everyone I know about them. But now that the rules and regs have been posted, and it is time to put these fabulous ideas into a focused concrete plan, I find myself being easily distracted by the email I must check, the Twitter account I must update, and yes, the blog entry I must write. 

So is there hope for me and other ENFPs? Will I be able to power through the sea of ideas and emotions that toss me from one endeavor to the next, often making me late for one thing or the other? My friend seems to think so. The first thing, she so wisely advised me is to take some time for myself. Stop flitting from one activity, friend, boyfriend or project to the next and take one moment or many to sit down and really be productive. 

On our way to dinner, I told my friend about the other young woman I had invited to join us, one who was in need of a little encouragement. Thankfully my friend was able to see right through my attempt to shift the focus off me and my lack of direction, and made sure I was well aware of both my weaknesses and my strengths.  A friend like this, I believe, is the second thing. 
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 3 comments

The Truth Hurts?

I’ve heard it’s better not to tell future employers the truth about losing your job. My friend JP is a fan of the phrase “Management and I had an irresolvable difference of opinion regarding a company policy.” Others prefer the innocuous term “Laid off” and at least one person has told me to leave the last eighteen months off my resume completely. As if it didn’t exist. As if all the things I accomplished and learned just never happened. 

But it did exist, and I produced some truly wonderful work while at this agency. I also made some mistakes.  I’m not denying that.

There were four significant days that contributed to my painfully quick slide to demise. Let’s revisit: Day 1 – arrived for a meeting in Tempe that turned out to be in Paradise Valley. 45 minutes later I finally made it – late of course, but in good spirits, as were everyone else. Day 2 – got stuck in traffic on Interstate 60. That’s Phoenix commuting for you, and I did get there, just a bit late. Day 3 - simply did not book enough time between meetings to get from one to the other without being…you guessed it, late again. Day 4 - was so ready to prove myself that I had the meeting room set up fifteen minutes ahead and I sat by the office door waiting to greet the client and walk him to the conference room myself. 20 minutes later, I was informed that said client had entered the backdoor, found his own way to the conference room and the meeting had begun without me. My spirit crushed, I walked into the conference room and was for the last time – late.  That’s it, game over, thanks for playing.

While I try to make up for my shortcomings with wit and charm, intelligence and style, I do know that I had something to learn from this experience. And what did I learn? 1 – NEVER assume you know where a meeting is being held. 2 – Listen to NPR in order to hear traffic reports instead of rocking out to a CD the cute guy in PR gave you. 3 – Remember that the first of two meetings will always run long. And 4 – Pace a path between every possible door that a client could walk through. Better yet – put a tracking device on his Blackberry and lock the conference room door with the only key glued to your hand.

Brazen Careerist author Penelope Trunk opines that being fired is a time learn what you want in a job, and to articulate those things to a future employer. Right. And this would be me:

“Hello Mrs./Mr. Potential Employer. My ideal position would be one where I could be creative and strategic, where I could try out new ideas and work on alternate forms of revenue generating. Where I could make a difference in the world, and where I would never have to be on time for anything.” 

JP thinks this means I should go into business for myself. I would like to agree, but unless I plan to never work with or around any other human again, ever – I’m afraid I’m my options are limited. Being fired for this was awful. It was unnecessary and unhelpful, ridiculous and disheartening. Being early all the time is a pain, feels rigid and not even very possible. It sucks, but I’m going to do it. I have to – if only to be happy healthy well-adjusted and popular.  What do you think, friends?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 0 comments

When Life gives you Lemons, Lay by the Pool

Well Friends,

There has been a major upheaval in my life this week, and I suddenly find myself without a job and five pounds heavier.  A little context - I was an Ad Exec for a progressive agency here in Arizona.  I thought many things were going very very well. Apparently, as I found out yesterday, some were not.  A series of bad decisions on my part collided with a string of bad luck and boom - the cosmos have shifted.  And the extra poundage? I'll chalk that up to discovering that Inner Peace can actually come in chocolate form. 

After a hard day of tears and a harder night of multiple Peach Martinis, I spent a good bit of time today out by the pool, basking in the hot sun, and discussing life with Lazlo the Chihuahua. I was reminded of the last time I was unemployed, and although at that time I had far fewer bills and a greater number of options, I adopted the title of Lady of Leisure. My friends and family were not amused, but it certainly made a difficult period more manageable. I chose to spend the time I had between submitting applications and attending interviews lounging and lunching, writing letters and reading good books. I gardened and cooked, cleaned out my closet and organized my files.  I was still actively searching for a position in my field, but treating it like a cheap vacation kept me from slitting my wrists to the sounds of Evanescence. 

A Lady of Leisure, hmm? This time around the title should be different. I'm older and wiser and have a healthy supply of anti-depressants.  I have a few ideas, so I'll sleep on it. 

Friends,  it is a new day. Pick your metaphor: a new chapter, a new leaf, a whole new ball game. How appropriate then, that I take this opportunity to embark with you on a personal, though not too private journey in hopes of reaching that Holy Grail of Happy, Healthy, Well-Adjusted and Popular.