Day…I forget.Post Employment Era.

Available for work

I know I typically start these posts with the number of days I have been post employed, but I have now lost count.  Probably about after the 60th day mark, I just kind of gave up on counting.  That is mostly because, not in a million years would I have even imagined that it would take me this long to land a job.  I just assumed that since there are jobs out there, and I am educated and experienced, that I would just easily slide into one of them.  Well, even in this “employee” market, I got nothing.  I am not bitter, or giving up by any means.  I just need a break.  Job hunting is consuming too much of my mental space.  I need to live a little and enjoy my freedom for a while.

Job hunting do to list

So after applying for more than a 100 jobs and talking about myself more than I ever have, in my entire life, I am taking a much needed hiatus.  I have some irons in the fire, and I will continue to work those leads, but I am no longer going to actively pursue jobs.  Not forever, just through the end of  year.  I will start my hunt again in January.

Write write write - PHD humor

Also, I am currently a full-time PhD student pursing what is deemed a terminal degree for a reason.  I’m thinking they call it that because if the dissertation process doesn’t kill you, the review process surly will! So, my new title is full-time student.  I am going to stay active by volunteering around the city and baking cookies with my grandkids.  Who knows, I might be able to parlay that into an actual career.

I really need to give a shout out to all of my wonderful supportive friends and family.  Without them I would be so lost. Please don’t stop supporting me.  And if you see that perfect fit job for me, by all means, still send it my way.  I will apply and give it my best shot.  Thank you all!

 

 

Day 14. The Post-Employment Era.

Available for work

The best thing about not working, is not working. I like the freedom. I like the flexibility to go to Starbucks and have random conversations with strangers.

The other day, I met Ken and Sam.  Ken is really super opposed to Corporate America. A business owner that doesn’t care for much other than making money.  I am of course exaggerating. I am sure he cares about something else.  His advice to me however, revolved around making money.  Enter Sam.

Sam is an older guy, who spent 50 years in various jobs.  He said that every time he got bored with a job, he switched jobs. Like major career changes. Although he is 70, he sounds like a millennial. He cautioned me to find my passion.  He told me his only regret was that he didn’t pick one career and stick with it. (Umm…note to millennials.)

It was nice talking to them. Two people offering help that didn’t know the history of why I was unemployed.  And frankly didn’t care to know.   They simply just wanted to help. AND, by the way, they weren’t flirty.  We didn’t exchange numbers or emails. They weren’t condescending.  Sometimes men give women advice from a protector’s standpoint. They didn’t do that.  It was just a conversation. Simple as that.

FreedomI am truly going to miss the freedom to have the opportunity to meet people like this. Randomly.  At Starbucks. At 10 am on a Tuesday.

By the way, I am still actively looking for employment.  If you have a job you don’t need, I could use one.

Day Seven, The Post Employment Era.

Available for workUnemployed just sounds so negative, which is why I have decided that post-employment better describes my current situation.  In any case, today marks 7 days that I have been job-free. (Haha, can you tell I am somewhat of a Pollyanna?)  I must say it is quite different from what I thought it would be.

First of all, it isn’t as relaxing and freeing as I thought.  I like to work.  Actually, I LOVE working. So not working is weird, to say the least.  I have decided to “work” at least 8 hours per day. 4 hours of job hunting and 4 hours of schoolwork.  That at least makes me feel like I am an active part of society.  (Side note: This comes directly from my childhood and the fact that my dad believed every day, everyone needed to get up and do something. Funny how kids remember things that parents don’t, I am sure he doesn’t recall ever telling me this.)

Good friends

Second, I have had so many supportive amazing people offer their assistance. From friends of friend to relatives, everyone is willing to help in any way possible. I am a people person and have always believed in the good of people.  This is yet another example of how truly blessed I am, and how truly great people really are.   I have thee best friends, and friends of friends.

Third, filling out applications SUCKS. Now, I know that isn’t a positive statement. But it is honestly the truth of truths. I spent 2 hours filling out a 12 question pre-qualification questionnaire for a job where I met every single qualification, that I will probably never hear back from.

 

Job hunt pic

Fourth, I have talked about myself more in the last week than I have in my entire life. I do love me. BUT, I wish I could pre-record the reasons I am job-free and that you should hire me.  By the way, I am great, you should totally hire me.

getting things done

Lastly, I am enjoying the flexibility to get other things done. For example, on Tuesday I wrote a 5-page paper regarding my dissertation topic, created an Excel spreadsheet to track the jobs I apply to, applied for 6 jobs, did 2 loads of laundry, went grocery shopping, cleaned the basement, created the bomb Kirk Franklin playlist on Amazon and caught up on all of the House Hunting episodes I had recorded. Whew. That was a productive day.

Overall, the week hasn’t been so bad. I have had two in-person interviews, a few phone screens, and more are scheduled.  I know this post-employment era is fleeting and I am going to try not to be so fixated on my joblessness, but instead enjoy my time to be free. Trying.

Day one, post-employment…

Available for work

Today is the first day in over 20 years that I haven’t had a job. I am a girl that likes to work. So much so that even when I’ve switched jobs, I would end one on a Friday and start the new one on a Monday.  Seriously, I barely take vacation time because I actually like to work.  So this worker bee is now in a place that she hasn’t been in quite some time. I’m documenting my journey, here’s hoping that this is my last post because I will have a job tomorrow.

Day one post-employment. 8.16.17

On my first unofficial day of unemployment (Tuesday), I spent 13 full hours submitting to job applications. YES, you read that correctly, 13 hours!  Guess what? I still don’t have a job today. So frustrating.

Okay, so now here we are, day one of my official first day post-employment.

6:40 AM: Time to prayI started my day with prayer. I am a praying woman, but I don’t typically start with prayer as soon as I open my eyes. Today I did. I asked the Lord to grant me peace, to guide my steps. I asked that I find a job that that would fulfill my passion AND financial obligations.  I told Him what He already knows, that I am trusting Him in utter faith to take me to the next point in my career. Well my friends, you might not believe what I believe, but I had such a feeling of peace and joy come over me that I had to smile. He’s got this. I’ve got this. Now don’t get me wrong faith without work, is that of a fool. I’m no fool.  So I am working, full-time to find a new job.

7:35 AM: Advisory Board meeting. Today the meeting seemed so much more crowded. All these people with full-time jobs making decisions that would impact other people.  Talking about how to help students succeed, in life, in college and at work. The whole time I was thinking, I wonder if Susie got my email with my resume? Or wait, I need to update my resume to say that I did this. Hmm, did I remember to get my favorite coffee mug off of my desk?  Then snap, someone mentioned my name. Dang, what did they say? I nodded and smiled. I guess that worked because they went onto the next topic. But I did snap out of it long enough to actually add some useful information to the conversation. Finally, the meeting was over. The board president and I discussed my lack of employment, he asked me to send my resume.

9:00 AM: At the local coffee shop. I start making a to-do-list…

  1. Get a job.
  2. Go to see the doctor.
  3. Make an eye appointment.
  4. Make a dentist appointment.
  5. Clean the garage. This has been on my list since May.
  6. Clean the basement. This has been on my list since January.
  7. Clean the kitchen cabinets.
  8. Call my credit companies. I heard that this is the perfect to negotiate.
  9. Do my homework. Oh yea, that’s right, I’m working on my PhD. I almost forgot.
  10. Email Joe.
  11. Email Brandie.
  12. Email Wade.
  13. Look up Account Management jobs.

5:00 PM: I finished my homework. I emailed Joe, Brandie and Wade. I still don’t have a job and my garage, basement and kitchen cabinets are still a mess! Oh plus my teeth still need cleaning and my glasses adjusted. Basically, the only thing I really accomplished was my homework.

8:00 PM: I still don’t have a job. But I have made process, I wrote this blog post.

So that was the summary of my first official day, post-employment.  I hope you get my sarcasm and painfully accurate depiction of humor regarding a subject that is absolutely not funny.

By the way, if you have an extra job laying around that you aren’t using, I could use one.  Seriously, though, link in with me. https://www.linkedin.com/in/cassbowers/

 

Milwaukee Brown Girl Renovates…..the Backyard

Backyard ProjectIt is summer in Milwaukee. Finally. And I happen to love the summer. I have so many fond memories of my summers as a kid at my grandmother’s house. There was always someone to play with and there was always something to do. We literally spent every single daylight second outside.  It is what kids used to do. We rode bikes. We played tag. We laid in the grass dreaming up stories that the clouds played out across the sky. But we were outside. Every non-rainy day, all summer long.

Now I have a job. I have bills. I have responsibilities. I have not one valid reason to sit outside all day. Except, as I stated before I love summer. I love the sun. I love the beauty that only nature can provide.

In my nostalgia I knew that this summer would have to be different.  This summer I would build a patio.  A simple little patio to allow me to sit outside, soak up the sun and reminisce about those lovely days of the past (with a glass of wine, of course).

Not for me to run and play on but for me to sit and enjoy the warm summer breezes.  You see I am now too old to run. I am now the grandmother.   So this summer I decided to take on the endeavor of my first major home improvement project and build a patio myself.

I started my project at Menards using their project estimator kiosk.  This kiosk is a lifesaver for a novice like myself. It helped me plan out every single detail of my backyard renovation.  This fanatic tool  let me know which materials I needed and even gave me the exact prices.  Once I was finished designing it I simply printed it out and took it to the register.  I had the materials delivered to my home and so began the work.

The steps outlined by Menards as follows:

  1. Step 1: Remove sod. Excavate the installation area to approximately 6″ larger on all sides than the actual finished size.
  2. Step 2: Prepare and compact base. Install paver base and compact to a finished thickness of 4″ for patios and walkways and 8″ for driveways. Paver base should be installed in 4″ increments. Prepare the base by firmly compacting the soil. Place 2″ of paver base and thoroughly compacted.
  3. Step 3: Screed sand. Layout 1″ diameter pipe on base then pour 1″ of play sand over compacted base and screed the play sand by dragging a 2″x4″. Level the surface in both directions with a level board over pipe.
  4. Step 4: Install paver edge. Install paver edge around the entire project 3″ from edge of compacted aggregate.
  5. Step 5: Lay pavers. Lay paver stones in desired pattern.
  6. Step 6: Compact and spread sand. Compact the installed pavers with a plate compactor in both directions at least two passes. Once compacted, spread play sand on the installation and sweep into joints. Compact again to ensure that all joints are completely full. Remove any remaining sand from on top of project. You can substitute paver locking sand in place of play sand to inhibit weed growth.

This entire process from start to finish took about three weeks, which was two weeks longer than I thought it would take.  So this list is quite a bit simpler than it actually is to complete the patio project. There was a ton of digging leveling and pouring of sand.  I physically moved over 127 pavers, at least twice until they fit in perfectly. I poured more sand than I have ever seen in my life and I tampered until my arms were sore. The ending results however were well worth it.

I am now finally able to enjoy the warm summer days, sitting on my patio watching my grandson run around it until he passes out in a dizzy euphoric daze.

 

http://www.menards.com/main/c-14045.htm

 

Milwaukee Brown Girl Renovates….

I own a 1937 brick colonial, that is absolutely beautiful. It sits in the heart of my beloved city, in an historic neighborhood. But as is the case with many older homes, it needs some work. Some major and some minor. 1937 Colonial

I knew when I purchased the home that my undertaking would be massive. I also knew that I would be doing most of the work myself. For one thing, I believe in the hands on sweat equity approach and for two I am a project manager by profession, so the thought of my home being my new project was thrilling to me.

So for the next few posts I will chronicle my progress on renovating my Milwaukee home.

My Brown Face in the Place – Blu Milwaukee

Blue Milwaukee

In a sweet beautiful way a song can open minds to receive messages made murky by biases and prejudice. A melody written in the innocent sincerity of the song writer’s experiences has a way of penetrating anger, hurt, shame and so many other emotions.  A good song, a wonderfully written song can and will make you fall in love. It will make you cry. It will make you hate injustice. A song, a simple little song can change the world.

And beyond the song, music especially live music is exhilarating.  Even slow sweet tunes are made better by a good live band.  Coupled with a passionate soulful articulate singer, nothing can match the sound. No computer generated tune can compare to those calculated strokes of the drummer’s sticks to drum. Or the deliberate way the piano player’s fingers cuddle the keys. And certainly not the way the saxophone player’s long deep breaths of control and science push out forceful thrusts of poignant sound. Ah, yes, there is nothing better than live jazz music.

So when I was invited to attend a birthday celebration on the 23rd floor of the Pfister Hotel inside Blu, I was thrilled.  Blu is an after five bar and lounge that is known for its elegant appearance, superbly blended cocktails and most importantly its live music. Actually, it sits in a location that perfectly illustrates Milwaukee’s skyline and lake views, so my expectations were pretty high.  I was not disappointed, Blu’s views were spectacular. The lowered lights created a dark romantic vibe that enhanced the city lights. I was in love.

Moscow Mule
Moscow Mule

Sitting in comfortable cigar chairs arranged in convenient conversation areas around the band made me feel grown up and special. The atmosphere was perfect.  The wait staff seemed overwhelmed by the crowd and could have been a tad bit more responsive but they were friendly and knowledgeable.  The drinks were priced well, comparable to other downtown spots in the city. My current favorite drink, Moscow Mule was on the menu so of course I had to order it and for $10 it was well worth the price. It was made deliciously and served as per course in a tin cup, but I wished the lime juice would have been sweeter.

Then the band started to play, the Kevin Hayden band to be exact. Sounds from this band caressed my soul. The soft even stroke of Kevin’s talented gripe on the drum sticks was surprising. I wasn’t used to a drummer being so subdued, but it worked. It really worked. Next Marcus Adams joined in with his sax.  He is an amazing sax player with great talent and the sounds he produced easily swept me a way.  But perhaps what brought home my desire to return to Blu was the charming brilliant voice that is Joe Jordan. His voice is amazing, masculine, yet sweet, soulful, dramatic and melancholy but in a good way. I could listen to him all day. The entire room was enthralled.

Speaking of the room, it was filled with a diverse crowd of young, old and mixes of races. This is something Milwaukee is not known for, but here I sat in a crowd of people who did not all look like me. Some did. Some did not. It was wonderful.  My Brown Face in this Place was happy.

I loved every minute of my experience at Blu and I will be back because it is yet another wonderful example of my love, my city, Milwaukee.

http://www.blumilwaukee.com

http://www.kevinhayden.net