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,




  1. It sounds like your Resume Webinar went better than the one I was one. Mine was a disaster from the beginning.

  2. I think you are wrong about the classroom. I very sincerely encourage you to check out Whitworth's MBA in International Management. Talk to Mary Alberts or Craig Hinnenkamp. You will love and respect those two greatly. It can't hurt to make a trip out there one day.

  3. Oh, my lovely Kate. I started school at the ripe old age of 28, and finished with my MA just last year. I was in a classroom at Eastern, ended up loving it so much I got my Master's degree and taught there and you know what... I was one of the youngest people there. Please don't let your age scare you about being in a classroom... i learned SO MUCH just from that experience.

    If you are ever up for it, what do you think about a filed trip to Cheney? Not that you would want to go to EWU, but I could show you around the campus so you could see what it's really like - and it's not scary!! I promise! :) I LOVE YOU!!

  4. Oooh! And yes! You can download your resume to scribd or Google docs and post the link. :) Then everyone can see it! :)