Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm recovering from surgery 10-19-09

hello everyone in blog land. I'm sorry I've been away. Don't get excited yet, I'm going to be away for about another 14 days. I had surgery on my right hand and I've been recovering. I have a cast for two more weeks and then I can start typing in ernest. I had to do it right away because my insurance ends in mid-November. The Corporation has been paying the premiums so far.

Typing with one hand is a bitch. I'll be back soon to start the job search full-time. My resume is done and it looks great! I hope the job market thinks so.

I've done a lot of thinking while I've been laying around and I'll share those thoughts with you soon.

Take care of each other, I'll be back soon.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wed Sept 9 - OOOH! 09/09/09

There must be some sort of numerology significant thing happening with the three 9's don't you think? Someone look it up and let me know if I need to prepare for anything. I hate being unprepared.

Since the last time I spoke with you, I have purchased a new MACpro laptop. WOW! It is intimidating but I love it. It is a little awkward at first, everything is left rather than right. But I'm left handed so it all works out.

Right now I am on hold for a webinar I am taking from RightChoice. I'm actually enjoying these webinars. I have learned quite a bit. My resume looks great, I know what my skills and talents are and I can convey them articulately. How about that?!

I'm still having quite a bit of anxiety. I need to learn how to relax. How do I do that? I can't seem to sit still for any amount of time. I feel like I should be working. I've been getting a lot of alcohol for my birthday so maybe that's a hint to chill out. Great Irish whisky of course.

Gotta run and participate in my webinar. Be back in a little while.

Well, I'm back. I waited for 15 minutes but the facilitator never showed up. I got caught up in the classical music and reading until I realized I'd been on hold for 20 minutes. Yea me! Focus Kate, focus.

I signed up for the same webinar on Sept 14th so that should be good. I also signed up to go back to school starting next Monday. How about that? On-line. I'll start with some business classes and then I will really conquer the world. Gotta dream right?

I did do an e-learning module from RightChoice on Interviewing. I liked it. I found out I couldn't take the Negotiating webinar until I took the e learning Interviewing and another class, I can't remember the other one.

I got lists of the most asked questions, how to answer them according to my experience and skills, and what the interviewer is looking for. It is a game and honestly, I like it. I give a great interview if the interviewer is good. Sometimes you have to lead the interviewer to ask you the right questions so you can give them complete answers.

Some things to keep in mind; never talk about personal information until the end of the interview and you have been asked for the second time, "Tell me about yourself". Also, try not to talk salary. It might be less than you want but what if the job is your dream job? Would be willing to work for less than you were making? Don't disclose too much. If they want to know what your salary requirements are you state, "I'm sure what you are offering will be in the range". Be positive about your previous position -- it's difficult sometimes but nobody likes a whiner. Move on.

Most of all be confident in yourself. You have a lot of life skills and talents you haven't even used yet. We wonderful human beings tend to discount all the amazing things we can do. Remember you are the solution to some company's needs. Don't settle. It's out there for me and it's out there for you.

That is the scary part. Starting over again. I don't like the learning curve. I was good at new beginnings when I was a child. We moved a lot. Always a new school and new friends. Just when you got used to everything, it would be time to move again. That is the hardest part in losing my job. I had been there for all those years. It had become home, something I knew and could count on. There was my downfall. I made it a living entity instead of keeping it in perspective and remembering it was a job. The best part of that is, I get to keep most of it with me. The rest is just paperwork.

I also became complacent. I'd start a new project and it would be shot down. I was always being sent off to do things that would never come to fruition. Although I did learn tremendous things along the way. So, it backfired on The Corporation. They got nothing; I got smarter.

I had quit and decided to stay.

Now, I'm working on 'my transition' phase and it's going slow but sure. Soon I'll have a direction. I'd like to do consulting for a few years until I can figure it out and then go out on my own. If you know of any Corporate Social Responsibility consulting firms looking for a great employee, tell them I'm available to talk.

I've got to do some laundry and work on my resume. No, I still haven't finished it. I need to stop dragging my feet. I told myself I had to have it done by Friday. I also have an appointment with my RightChoice counselor. Her name is Kate. Great name!

Mr. Lovejoy is working out of town for the next several days so I am going to watch Chick Flicks and Documentary Films. I'm crazy for both.

I'll write again tomorrow.



Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday - Sept 4 Three day week end

Here I am this morning. I've already walked 3 miles with my dog, had breakfast and now I'm ready to write. Why can't I get paid to do this? Mouth off. Speak my mind. Oh yea, who cares. However, there are those who started out on blogs and have gone on to become well known. Perhaps there is hope for the Queen of Ireland after all!

I had a little meltdown yesterday. I went to the pharmacy to pick up some prescriptions and was told "you no longer have insurance." I almost lost it right there. I came home and called the benefits coordinator at The Corporation - who is a delightful young woman - and she calmed me down. It was a matter of my paperwork hadn't gone through yet with COBRA. She took care of everything for me. Thank goodness.

I was really scared. This is what I panic about the most - no insurance. Especially as Mr. Lovejoy and I get older. Don't get me wrong, were are both still young and outstanding, it just takes a little longer to get going in the mornings. What if we didn't have insurance. What if one of us got sick, really sick. Would the burden fall to my children to care for us? Something has to be done about health insurance reform. I've paid a lot of money over the years and someone somewhere is rich because of it. I heard on NPR one morning the CEO of Cigna (my insurance) made, in his last year, $1.2 Billion. That's right $1.2 Billion.

I wonder, do you get up every morning when you are that rich, look in the mirror and say, " I just don't make enough money." How on this earth could, or should, anyone be making that much money. What is wrong with us? What about sport stars? Our priorities are all confused. People die in the streets here because of no insurance, or adquate health care.

Sorry, off track.

I worked on my resume a little bit. I keep dragging my feet. Not sure why. Maybe I'm afraid I'm not as good as I think I am. I believe that's it: I'm afraid. Afraid of what's out there and more importantly what's not out there. Am I ready for the brave new world? I guess I'm old fashioned and like staying with the same company. In today's market if someone is in a job for three years that is longevity. What happens to all the tribal knowledge accumulated over the years. Apparently there is no value in it anymore. Those of us who have been around the corporate world for many years still have a lot of great ideas. Just ask us. It is about the people.

It is about the shareholders but if you take care of your greatest assets, your employees and your communities, you'll get better product, goodwill and stock prices will increase, and shareholders will be happy. Corporations need to remember their employees are their greatest assets and manage accordingly.

I apologize if I repeat myself through these blogs. I'm very passionate about the worker bees. We make the big machine go.

On to what you have all been waiting for.

Corporate Bitches

I received over 30 emails from literally all over the US on different versions of the 'corporate bitch' and here is her profile. I did however receive one male 'corporate bitch'. It was funny but didn't qualify for the profile. Sorry.


1. 39 - 43 years of age - single; divorced or never been married.

2. educated

3. hates women but feigns friendship to get what they want - in otherwords, a back stabber.

4. bossy - not a relationship builder, has no time for frivilious friendships.

5. condescending - one reason they have no friends

6. manipulative - will befriend others for specific purpose. When they get what they want; friendship over.

7. manages by intimidation - a bully. Usually preys on the weak. Tries to make workers fear for their jobs.

8. will do anything for a man - again, only if they are someone with an important title. (The sad news in all this is men, 9 times out of 10, fall for it because she makes them look good. Shame on you. She'll get you too eventually.)

9. looks are everything - gives the appearance of success.

10. No real substance to them - a limited human being
(this comment came from someone on the east coast. Whew! They must have been really burned.)

11. has no loyalty - will rat anyone out if it will benefit her.

12. Power hungry - some regret not being born a man.

13. ineffective and cruel leader on all fronts.

In conclusion, if you know of a Corporate Bitch, stay the hell away from her. I can't tell you how many employees I have counseled on how to deal with this type of person. Unfortunately, when they stood up to their Corporate Bitch managers, they were, what? You guessed it, let go. Many of the emails said the same thing. I remember thinking about the Corporate Bitches I know and feeling very sorry for them. At least when I left The Corporation I still had, and have, many friends. When, and if, they ever leave, they will have nothing. Maybe some business connections but that's about it.

I know it isn't fair, they stay while good people leave. Again, it comes down to leadership - or the lack of it. You need those at the top who not only know business, but know people as well. I am a firm believer in Karma and it will come around. I promise.

I'm going to finish my resume and take another on-line webinar from RightChoice called Negotiating for what you want. I'll let you know how it goes.



Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September 2, 2009 - There's No Place Like Home

I woke up this morning in a panic and the first thought on my mind was "OMG I don't have a job". I felt sick and depressed at the same time. Then I took a deep breath and my positive voice said, "You are okay. Don't panic." Then I was better. Kind of.

Well I made it back. Truly what an adventure. I love my little town! I missed Mr. Lovejoy and my dog. I realized life truly is perspective. I have always said I love living in a small town. After my visit in South Dakota I need to quantify that statement. I love living in a town with 5,000 people. A tiny town of 728 is way too small. Believe me.

I did purchase a beautiful hand crocheted table cloth from the thrift store for $20. I thought when I saw it the price would be at least $100. See, there's a reason to love tiny towns. The ladies in the nursing home seemed a little upset I purchased it. Maybe because I am an outsider. It's mine now.

I didn't do much, other than visit and drive my wonderful mother-in-law to and from the nursing home. It was difficult for her to go there everyday but she needed to. She said she was worried she'll be there soon. I told her we would take care of her, always.

It was daunting to see all the lovely faces of the elderly. Some knew we were there, some didn't. I realized I still have a lot of years left. At least I hope I do. Everyone I met called me young and told me to enjoy my life while I still have the ability. EEKS! No pressure. I certainly don't feel old after this visit. At least not for a couple of days.

Back to the reality of finding a job:

Monday I got all the paperwork together for my resume and mostly hung out with my daughter. She left on Tuesday. What a wonderful young woman. I'm so proud of her. Gotta stop, I'll start crying.

I spoke with someone from University Phoenix for about an hour and I am going to go back to school. I can finish my degree in less than two years. I have a few credits and they take work and life experience into consideration. I know some very wonderful people who graduated from University of Phoenix. I have to make a decision soon because classes start on September 14. I've decided to get a degree in International Business Management. I want something global and I would love to do international Corporate Social Responsibility/Sustainability/ESG/Corporate Citizenship/Community's all the same thing.

I'm waiting for my severance check this week to see how much I get and then I can make some decisions. God, I hope the taxes aren't so much I don't get anything. I am also, as I stated before, applying for WIA (Workforce Investment Act) funds. I have several friends who received it and are planning on going back to school. I may need all your help to get through some classes. I am not good in math. So all you math geniuses will be helping mama Kate.

On Tuesday I started bright and early with a webinar with RightChoice - the outplacement service offered by The Corporation - and I really enjoyed it. Those who know me, know I am an education geek. I read all the time so taking free webinars is exciting to me. The more I know, the more I know.

The webinar was on building a new resume. It lasted two hours but I was interested the entire time. So many new things to remember. A few examples:

1. it is no longer appropriate to put "references upon request" at the bottom of the resume. Only give references after the first call or interview. Be respectful of your references.

2. Two pages or less.

3. Along with your address at the top be sure to include your linkedIn/plaxo address and make sure your profiles are up to date so potential employers can find out about you.

4. Don't put the year you earned your degree, or the year on anything. There is age discrimination out there and you want them to hire you for your abilities not your age. You can simply put the information pertinent to the job.

5. Don't give more information than you have to. We tend to disclose everything. Peak their interest so they want to meet you and discuss a possible job.

6. When you write a Cover Letter if you do not have a name of an individual leave it blank and go right into the letter. Do not write "To Whom It May Concern".

Things change when you don't have to do a resume for 15 years. Right?

I'm also reading a great book called 'From Fired to Hired' by Tory Johnson. It is about how to get going again and she gives some great tips and offers extensive resources in the back. It's for anyone who has been laid off, fired, changing careers, etc. Her career has been dedicated to mostly women and jobs but since the economy is bad and jobs hard to find, she is directing this book to both women and men. It's worth the purchase. It also has templates for resumes, letters, a website to help you create your own business cards. I like it and highly recommend it for all those without work at the moment.

I was going to go into The Corporation today to have lunch with some friends but I just can't do it yet. Still a little painful. I have a non-profit board meeting I have to attend but I'm going to skip The Corporation. More so I'm afraid my mouth would get the best of me and I really need to stay positive right now. Maybe next week. We'll see.

As I have stated before, I am very thankful for all the skills I gained at The Corporation and will make good use of them as I go forward. Today's mad skill I'm proud of is, I
'm an Innovator. I love creating new things. My last manager called me a visionary. I love planning for the future and developing different ways of viewing the situation. I also realize I'm not a person who likes to do the same thing, day after day. I thrive on building and implementing new innovative programs, training someone else to run them and then go on to the next big thing. I built several wonderful programs at The Corporation such as:

Community Investment Program - I built this when the previous CEO called me in his office and said, "The Corporation has been in the community for almost 20 years and no one knows who we are and that is a shame. I want you to start a Community Involvement Program for us." I remember looking at him and thinking,"What?!" Up to this point I had spent my corporate career being an Executive Administrator - a mini operations manager. I liked my career as an Exec Admin. I had my fingers in everything, I was 'in the know'. I also learned a great deal about executive teams and how they work. More importantly how to work with them.

Now I was being asked to go off and create something I had never heard of. I looked at him and asked, "What the hell is that?". We'd known each other a long time. To which he replied, "I don't know, go figure it out and bring me something in two weeks."

I was scared shitless. I knew I had hit the level of my incompetence. What? What made him think I could do something like this? Was he mad at me? A Community what? Well, kiss my career goodbye.

Then I went to the Internet and a whole new Kate was born.

***You see, I have re-invented myself many times. We all have, if you think about it. I started my life in poverty and abuse and I have had to re-invent myself each time I did something new. It has been difficult at times but when I persevered, I was rewarded. Rewarded with new knowledge, skills and confidence.

On the Internet I found so much information it was incredible! As I read what Community Involvement was I became very excited. However, I didn't have the education to get to where I needed and, I wasn't convinced I wanted to leave my stable exec world. I was crazy busy all the time, in charge of many high level projects, and everything was predictable and scheduled. This Community Involvement stuff was all over the place.

I decided I didn't want to do it and so I came up with a plan to bring it to the CEO and tell him I'd have to go to school and it would cost too much money. (He was known for not spending unnecessary money.)

The expensive part was true. I found the Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College. It resides in their business college. They were the only place in the US who offered education in Community Involvement. I brought the plan to him and said," I couldn't possibly put something like this together without some education in the area and the only place to go to school would be Boston College."

I sat back smugly and thought I had done a great job with that spiel. I was convinced he would say forget it and I could go back to my comfortable job. However, I wasn't prepared for him to say, "okay, go." Crap.

I was going to be a one person department reporting to the CEO. I started my education with Boston College in 2000 and continue to this day. I have, in fact, sat on a leadership round table for four years and was part of the team who created the Standards of Excellence for the Community Involvement profession. I am very proud of my work with BC.

The end result was a program involving employees in volunteering - another program I created - and building relationships in the communities where we live and work. Soon everyone knew The Corporation. The CEO had become a community superstar. It is also very beneficial when you are a publicly held corporation to show goodwill to your communities. A large portion of shareholders only invest in companies who are good corporate citizens. Look up Social Indexing if you want to invest in good companies.

I created something from nothing. From the strategic plan on what the program would look like to how to give out funding in the communities, topolicy and procedure, to communications to relationship building, I created it all. It was the most wonderful, and one of the toughest, experiences in my life. The program thrived and The Corporation went from being about 10% known in the community to a resounding 100% known. By virtue of our good works. Our goodwill bank account was full. And employees were happy to be able to volunteer and give back. The employees are who made it work. They were and are, magnificent.

When they laid me off and I was told my department was being eliminated, I was more sad for our employees and our communities. All the non-profits are struggling as well and it just wasn't fair. The reputation I worked so hard to build was going to dwindle. I felt bad for the employees who wouldn't be able to volunteer anymore. It felt like I lost a part of me.

Did I also mention we won numerous awards for our community service. Including national awards. We were listed as one of the top 100 best corporate citizens. So much for that now. A part of me hopes they were lying and said it to just get rid of me, because I would like them to continue to support the employees and in turn, the non-profits. We'll see. New regime.

But onward and upward. If I can do it once I can do it again right! I just need a visionary leader to give me a call and say, "Hey, I'll pay you lots of money if you will come here and create and motivate and inspire us to be active citizens of the world." I'm ready.

I also created the Employee Scholarship Program and a unique 501(c) 3 Internal Employee Crisis Foundation to take care of our employees. It is one of only 30 in the US. I'm very proud of that as well and know my legacy is the employees will always be take care of and The Corporation can't take it away. It is a separate entity and belongs to the employees by virtue of the employee board of directors and it is fully funded by employees as well.

Well I'm done writing for now. I have to go and work on my resume. I'm excited to do it, I'm not sure what it will look like in the end. I'll have to figure out a way to let you see my resume. Any ideas?

I will also keep you posted as to my registering for school. Thank goodness it will be on-line. I'd really feel like an old broad if I had to go to a classroom.

Talk to you later,



Thursday, August 27, 2009

August 26 - Cemetary Cell phone

Well here I am in Hendricks, MN with my mother-in-law visiting her 95 year old aunt. I have the time. This town is so small and remote - how small is it - I'll tell you. In order to use my cell phone I have to go to the cemetary, which is the highest point in town, to use the cell phone. You can see all kinds of cars there at all times during the day. It is hilarious.

The country side is beautiful and the people are wonderful. Right now I am using the computer at the nursing home. I didn't want you all to think I gave up. I love writing in this blog. Please I'm Irish. We always have things to say right?

Gotta run, I'll see if I can write again soon. I'll be home on Sunday night and will get back on a regular writing schedule. What an adventure. I purchased several books on how to get back to work. I'll let you know if they have any good in them. I have time to read while I am here. Now I have to go and bake a cake for a little party we are having tomorrow. Me cooking? What a concept. I hope I don't kill anyone. Oh well, no one knows me here.



Monday, August 24, 2009

Erroneous Information

This morning started out fine with my daughter and I going for a walk with the puppy. Then while my daughter went for a longer run I came home to start the process of finding a job.

On the fateful day at The Corporation, HR told me the outplacement service they were referring me to had an office in Spokane. I tried to argue with HR saying they did not have an office in Spokane, only in the Seattle area. I knew this because I had helped an employee who was let go several months earlier. I was told by HR I was wrong. Guess what? I was right. Quel Surprise! I called Right Choice and spoke to a person in Portland who said they do not have an office in Spokane and any help they give me will have to be via the computer or over the phone. I'll take what I can get. I'll let you know if the 'home-based' help works. More importantly I was right. The second item was my COBRA payment. In my paperwork it said my fee - after my three months of The Corporation paying - would be appx $258. When I received the paperwork from COBRA they said the payment will be $359. Quite a difference wouldn't you say. I called The Corporation and was told the HR person should not have given me that paper and yes my payment will be $359. Yea!!! Well that pissed me off.

On the other hand I did get some good news. I have to collect my unemployment from Washington state, since I worked in Washington, and they pay more! Yippee!!! I picked up an application for WIA (Workforce Investment Act) program when I was at the Unemployment office. Maybe I'll go back to school. I can always be smarter, right?

I've received some wonderful phone calls and emails from magnificent people looking out for me over the last week and I love you all. I'm a little scared and confused, but all new beginnings are the same; fear of the unknown.

My daughter and I are going to see Inglorious Basterds right now. I need to see a movie where justice is exacted. Please, it's Quentin Terratino - it has to be bloody and filled with revenge. And a whole bunch of sarcastic humor. Look at me, going to a movie in the middle of the afternoon. If I had a job, I wouldn't be able to.

Take care, I'll talk to you later.



Sunday, August 23, 2009

Visitor day - Hooray

I'm not going to write very much this morning. I have seven hours to clean the house before my daughter gets here. I know she doesn't care but I do. I love having guests. I like everything to be ready for their visit. I want them to feel welcome and loved. And having a clean house is part of it. Good news is I live in an 1100 square foot cottage. Not much to clean but then again, absolutely no storage. Ah well. Jeez we're never happy.

Have a great day.