Week Two of unemployment

As many of you know, I quit my job this summer. August 26th was my last day. Of course, I expected to have my next steps lined up by the time I quit, because all through August, I was interviewing for a job with a NYC agency that I thought I would get an offer for. But the agency decided to go with an internal candidate, and now, I’m back to Square One of Job Searching. Bother.

More importantly though, this means downtime in my employment schedule. Because I really had expected to be working in NYC by now, I wasn’t job searching for most of August. I will now need to take a few weeks to move back down the path towards interviews with new prospective employers. It takes anywhere from two weeks to a month to get from initial screening calls to in-person interviews for the kind of jobs I’m looking for, because so many people at an agency are involved. But I have two initial phone interviews with agencies back East tomorrow, so I can hope to move back down that path soon.

I’m still kind of lost in the interim though. The last time I was unemployed, I had Ben home with me three days a week. Now, because we want to keep him at school in case I have to travel, he is still there full time. So I have fifty-plus hours a week to fill, and absolutely no routine. I have things to do, of course, but on an anti-schedule that is very different than the narrow windows i had on either end of a workday. Suddenly, I can watch the sort of basic cable daytime TV that I’ve never seen before, like the Today Show, or The View. I can go to daytime exercise classes. I can run errands and grocery shop during the week. But it’s taken me most of this week to re-assess my goals, my projects, and what are the new priorities now that I don’t have a full time career job to put so much time and energy into.

First of all, I need to find a job, and job searching is a Major Project that also includes a lot of self promotion. Keeping up my professional image across every social media channel possible is important, and that means continuing to blog, tweet, post to Google+, and update LinkedIn. It also means constantly searching for jobs or potential employers in our target cities, writing cover letters, and sending in resumes. It is a LOT OF WORK that I am currently procrastinating by writing this post.

Second, I do have a few freelance projects to work on. Former colleagues and connections who now know I’m free have looped me in on some of their work. It keeps my media planning skills up, and keeps me challenged, especially when it’s for small businesses where every dollar in ROI counts. It’s mostly local planning, so I can really integrate the SoLoMo (social, local, mobile) tactics that make up a solid local strategy.

Third, I need to lose weight before I go back into the interview process. Overweight women are less likely to be hired than their slender counterparts. But now, I have the time and energy to really invest in diet and exercise. I found instructions online for a program that trains sedentary people like me into runners, with day by day details (today I walked for half an hour, with 30 second running intervals every five minutes). I claimed a free week of yoga at Yogaworks in Larchmont Village. I plan to take my bike, which has been in pieces in the closet for three years, and tune it up at the Bike Kitchen next Monday when they’re open during the day. Then I can ride my bike to the Echo Park pool and train in lap swimming. I have Pilates and spinning and Pop Physique classes to use. I have enough exercise options to transform me into a much healthier, stronger, more toned version of myself. And I can do a couple rounds on the Fat Flush diet once I get the exercise routine down, and really kickstart the process.

Fourth, I’d like to work on my writing skills again. I used to blog almost daily, and I fell out of that habit years ago. I’d like to be able to write better, whether it’s short magazine style articles, or maybe even a novel. Maybe, during this time, I can work a little more on my writing, and return that method of expression to my life.

And finally, of course, I have time to be a better wife and mother to Paul and Ben. I can have dinner ready when they get home, so Ben doesn’t get over-hungry waiting for me to cook (this usually results in a hunger related hissyfit when dinner is actually served). I can take some of the household chores, like cleaning and laundry, off Paul’s shoulders. Actually, I can even take traditionally male chores over, like managing all the household finances and learning to do some of the repair work I would usually ask Paul to handle. I can research and put together better activities for Ben that help him learn and let us spend more time together, like more crafts child friendly cooking, or finding activities and events we can do on the weekends. I will still have the energy at the end of the day to take Ben to the park or the library, and give Paul a break at home. And I can make sure the boys get high nutrition, home cooked meals, three meals a day, which is something I always TRIED to do, but couldn’t always find the energy to execute on.

Unfortunately, none of the above will result in any financial payment in the short term. But obviously, they’re all long term reward programs. Job searching and improving my image, both professional and physical, will result in better job opportunities for me. Freelance work and writing skills could bring in some extra cash down the line, and help me improve my core competencies while I’m working on them. And investing in my family is ALWAYS worthwhile, because I love them, and want to do the best things possible for my men. While I have this time, I may as well use it to set these programs in motion. Besides, I think I have just given myself a brand new fifty hour week schedule…even if I didn’t mean to.

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