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.