Time, Time, Time… See What’s Become Of Me…

… while I looked around for my possibilities …

I decided this entry would have to be a two-part story because it’s just so lengthy. Or, maybe it just seems lengthy to me because I have so little free time lately. 🙂

Regardless, I could easily write about what is going on now, but to truly understand one needs the background of what has gone on over the past couple of years (or, at least an abridged version).

I was laid off in February of 2011. I won’t go into a story of the cycle of depression one fights with that experience. I briefly touched on it when I hit my 1-year anniversary of unemployment.

At 47 years of age, one finds it difficult to find employment, regardless of laws against age discrimination. Looking for full-time employment? Good luck in the current economy, regardless of your age. August 3 of this year was the 2-and-a-half-year anniversary of my unemployment… technically…

See, eventually I had to do something or I’d go crazy. I started my own consulting business, designing logos and brochures. I found I have a creative streak. But my marketing skills? Ehh… not so great (not for myself, anyway). So in my free time, a few months ago, I started making incense. This has taken off.

My garage and my home smell wonderful. My house looks like a stockroom right now. But Tempest Mystic Products is up and running. 🙂

These past two months have been so busy! I’ve been building up inventory for a major festival this October. My routine:

  • Get up at 4am. Drink coffee.
  • Work in the garage from 4:30am – 8:00am
    • putting incense out to dry
    • or harvesting dry incense
  • Shower (it’s hot in that garage)
  • More coffee
  • Mix oils for more incense
  • Bag and Tag dry sticks
  • Product Development/Fulfill Orders

Oh, and somewhere in there I do remember to eat.

Of course, now that I’ve finally found something that works, what do I get?

A job. A real job. I start next week.

A job? A real job??
A job? A real job??

To be continued…

Firsts

I’ve spent over a year experiencing “firsts”. I’ve finally accepted the fact that the Universe is throwing lessons my way and if I keep closing my eyes and going “la-la-la-la-la”, this train ain’t gonna’ stop. I’m going through a period of growth and change in my life. Again.

Tomorrow I get to experience another “first” – one I’m really not looking forward to. One that terrifies me. I’ve debated blogging about this, though, because this particular experience is nothing new to a lot of people out there. I may come off sounding like a whiny little snit. If I do… :: shrugs :: I can’t help it. Try to see things from my perspective.

Tomorrow I will officially be uninsured. My COBRA insurance expires at midnight tonight. Because of my epilepsy, I can’t get healthcare coverage through any of the insurance providers. My COBRA coverage can’t transfer to an individual policy because they’re based out-of-state (something to do with insurance companies not being able to provide coverage across state lines, even though Blue Cross is Blue Cross in WA and in TX). The only insurance I can get right now is the State High Risk Pool, which is ungodly expensive. My other choice is to go 6 months without any kind of coverage and apply for the Federal High Risk Pool, which is affordable. But asking someone with epilepsy to go 6 months without healthcare coverage is asking a lot. Just like asking someone who has a heart condition, or asthma, or any other condition that required regular visits to a specialist and expensive medication.

I haven’t been without insurance coverage since 1987. Yeah, I know… last year I was saying I hadn’t been without full-time employment since 1987.

I don’t like being afraid, damnit. I feel like my last “safety net” is going away.

A Political Rant on Outsourcing

We’ve seen quite a bit of mudslinging lately between Obama’s campaign and Romney’s campaign. Personally, I don’t support either candidate. Once again, the American public is faced with voting against the other candidate rather than voting for someone they like. Ahh, but that’s another rant for another day.

Let me give you a little history on Outsourcing… see, it all started with NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement)

NAFTA was:

  • Signed December 8, 1993, by President Bill Clinton
    • Eliminated all tarrifs and trade restrictions between the U.S., Canada and Mexico
    • Heavily criticized by Reform Party candidate Ross Perot, who argued if NAFTA passed, Americans would hear a “giant sucking sound” of American companies fleeing the U.S., finding employees who would work for less pay and without benefits (predicting what we know as Outsourcing, today).
  • NAFTA took effect on January 1, 1994

Mitt Romney’s role at Bain Capital (or, Seriously? You’re telling us you never outsourced, ever?)

  • Romney has been under attack in the media for outsourcing positions at Bain Capital
  • Romney says the outsourcing occurred 2 years after he left the company. I can’t find an unbiased media outlet to confirm or deny this information.
  • Regardless, I’m sure outsourcing occurred while he was there. All the major corporations outsource. It’s “cost effective”, and it “improves the bottom-line”.

The Obama Administration and Outsourcing (or, What Have You Done For Me Lately?)

  • Who remembers Obama’s 2008 campaign rally cry of “Foreign aid, si! Outsourcing, no!”?
  • What has the Obama Administration done to stop outsourcing jobs?
  • Have any changes been made to make it more difficult for corporations to outsource?
  • Have corporations been given any incentives to keep jobs here in the U.S., where our unemployment rates are skyrocketing?

Mr. President, as far as this whole outsourcing issue is concerned I think the pot is calling the kettle black.

This isn’t a Democrat vs. Republican issue. This is about our economy. Period. This is about corporations making major donations to the candidate they think will win the election, and that candidate catering to the whims of the corporations.

What really gets me is seeing all the Facebook posts from people I know falling into this media frenzy. Whether they’re on the Left or the Right, I feel like it’s an “us vs. them” mentality. When, really, it doesn’t matter who we have in Office or what Party they run under. They don’t keep their campaign promises and they’re only “bought-and-paid-for” politicians anyway.

Just feeling a bit jaded today. Stepping off my soap box now.

The Great King COBRA Rant

I can’t convert my COBRA insurance coverage because Premera BCBS is out of state. I have to apply for individual coverage here in TX. They can’t transfer my existing policy because it’s a group policy. I’m an automatic “deny” on my healthcare app with BCBS because they want you to be seizure-free for 5 years before they’ll touch you. They suggested the High Risk Pool.

On the Federal High Risk Pool, you have to go without any insurance coverage at all (note, COBRA counts as insurance coverage) before they’ll cover you. Texas has a State High Risk Pool but if you’re on COBRA and your plan has a conversion option (which, technically, mine does; I just can’t use it because they’re based up in the northwest part of the country and I’m “out of state”), you have to wait 6 months before they’ll cover you.

This. Is. So. Fucked. Up.

I thought “healthcare reform” was supposed to help people who can’t get insurance. WTF? Am I missing something?

Change, Lessons Learned, and The Universe (or, “How I Wax Philosophical as I Drink My Morning Coffee”)

It’s been a rough year. Really, with everything building up prior to the layoff, one could say it’s been a rough couple of years. I’ve had to deal with a lot of change in my life.

I was never one who embraced change when it came to major life events.  I never “went with the flow”. It would probably be more accurate to say I “followed behind, kicking and screaming”.

I’ve always believed events occur in our lives so we can gain experience and learn from those events, and move on. If we have repeating patterns in our lives, from unhealthy relationships to a string of stressful events requiring our coping mechanisms, it may be we need to take a step back and look at the big picture – ask ourselves what the common theme in all these events has been. What lesson have we had to repeat in each event?

I did this recently.

When my seizure threshold lowered and I temporarily lost the ability to drive, that was a change in freedom for me. A change in control.  I could feel the downward spiral of depression begin. Suddenly, although I wanted so badly to get out of the house, when I left, I just wanted to go home. It wasn’t an agoraphobic reaction – I wasn’t afraid of anything. No panic attacks. Home was the last little thread of control I had left. It was my domain. When I left (with someone else driving, of course), I was leaving my domain of control behind.

I looked at major life change events that have occurred for me since 2006 (both positive and negative) and my reactions. With the anticipation of change in my environment, I became so stressed and full of anxiety. I allowed it to impact my health. All of this stemmed from the concept that change equates to “relinquishing control”. When in reality, I can control my reaction to changes in my environment at anytime. It’s when I allow myself to panic or stress about change that I relinquish control to change.

So, how does “The Universe” fit into all of this? Excellent question! When I finally made the realization about how I’ve been fighting change all these years, and about the lesson I finally needed to learn, it was as though The Universe opened a new door for me. Suddenly, I had recruiters contacting me this week about possible job opportunities (people looking me up on LinkedIn). I had people responding to me on positions I’d applied for about a month ago. Now, I have no idea if any of these are going to come through, but things are no longer stagnant. I’m going with the flow.

However, I think I’ll go with the flow with a bit more efficiency if I finish my coffee and have some breakfast. 😉

So, what do you do?

 

We’ve all been on the receiving end of this question at one time or another in our lives. We’ve all asked it at some point. You’re in a social gathering, you’re introduced to someone, the question inevitably falls out of someone’s mouth.

“So, what do you do?”

I got this question the other day. What goes through my head? Well, I do a lot, I just don’t get paid for it. What falls out of my mouth? Something equally as awkward. “I look for a job.” At least I smiled when I said it, right? I can’t really blame her for the uncomfortable look she had on her face. I really could have phrased my answer differently. I’m sure there are thousands of things I could have said in response to her question. “I’m a content manager. Know anyone who’s hiring?”  That would have been better.

It’s just that whole “so-what-do-you-do” question that takes me off guard. For so long I had my self-identification wrapped up in my job. Now, when I hear that question I still freeze in response because I no longer have my answer. Logically speaking, I know I’m much more than any job I’ve ever held or will ever hold; however, it seems there is still a part of me that doesn’t believe it yet.

Tonight’s blog is more for me than for everyone else. I’m making a list of what I do. Maybe if I put it in writing, my inner McFly will STFU. 😉

So, what do you do?

  • I make custom, blended oils.
  • I handle the social media marketing for my husband’s business
  • I’m learning HTML5 and CSS
  • I can do basic code changes on existing websites
  • I dabble in photography
  • I’m still learning all the cool stuff you can do with PhotoShop
  • I learn and I grow
  • I’m a mother of the greatest teenage boy, ever
  • I’m the wife of the best husband on earth

I could go on, but I think this is enough. I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging, and I don’t want you all to get bored. Oh, ok, I’ll add one more:

  • I’m a modest writer. 😉

Goodnight, world.

How can this be legal?

Many of you who follow the news have heard the stories of potential employers asking for Facebook passwords during job interviews. In today’s competitive job market, this appears to be one more thing they’ve added to the list of how they determine if you’re desperate enough to take anything, and work for anyone, holding out until better working conditions come along, or if you’re the type of person who’ll stand up for what they believe in. Unfortunately, standing up for what you believe in is a gamble you take that may cost you the job.

On March 28, The House shot down a proposal that would reform this practice – making it just as much of an HR violation to request this information as it is to request your age or your religion. The proposal was shot down.

Interestingly enough, of all the media coverage we’re getting on this, what we aren’t hearing is that most of the employers requesting the login credentials are law enforcement agencies; which, according to the article I linked to, are not regulated by the FCC and would not be affected by the bill anyway.

Regardless, let’s put this hypothetical situation out there… suppose it is just law enforcement agencies requesting credentials. And suppose the argument used to support requesting Facebook passwords for these job candidates is “in the interest of homeland security”. You know, that’s still a crock, IMHO. It puts the employer in the position of discriminating against the candidate after seeing a personal profile. We’re only human. We judge. The job candidate has a right to privacy and has a right to a personal life outside of the workplace. Also, in this hypothetical scenario, the job candidate is innocent until proven guilty. Why aren’t we treating the person with the right he or she deserves?

Lastly, if this practice stands in one area, it will eventually spread in Corporate America as a common hiring practice. But that’s my opinion, and we all have an opinion.