What we do in Statesville, NC for fun…
“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.” – Kurt Vonnegut
“Building up expectations, creating unrealistic time frames, feeling like our end goal is the end all, be all can all lead to frustration or anxiety. We end up feeling as though we have to power through what we want rather than enjoy the process and just let the result come as it may.” – Gretchen Bleiler
So it’s been over four months now. I have to admit it is getting more difficult as time goes on. When you know you work hard and are pretty darn good at your job, you really don’t think finding a new one will be difficult. Then you realize some of the roadblocks….that you’re perceived as older than you view yourself, your salary isn’t really crazy high but higher than many simply as a result of being in the work force for a long time (so that makes another pool of employees more attractive), and even when you tell folks that you are OK with the idea of commuting an hour or two away for the right job (and are capable of deciding that for yourself before you seriously entertain any job), they don’t always believe you. Even though they don’t really know you.
I guess there is comfort in that, too…these people don’t really know you. They’re looking at you through eyes that see the experiences and people they have experienced in their lives, and not really you. They’re forming an impression of you and one or two sentences poorly worded can impact that impression. I’m a straight shooter. Sometimes people can get the wrong impression with that….or even doubt what I say. Logically I know I can’t control that, but should I try to fit in more and be a bit less me? The recruiters would tell me a resounding yes, but I am looking for a certain kind of workplace. While they test me during these interviews, I also test them. What better way to find if we are compatible?
Having hired people in my past, I understand the random nature of it. Did I always hire the best person? Nope. Did I always believe the answers they gave me to my questions? Nope. Sometimes I just was tired of interviewing and hired the next good person, instead of the stellar one I interviewed three weeks ago. I figured it was just easier. Does that make sense? Not necessarily. The whole process doesn’t make a lot of sense.
And I interviewed folks under the old interview system, since I didn’t hire people in my last job. These days you can simply be out of the mix because your resume has the wrong key words. Or your Linked In profile isn’t exaggerating your accomplishments. Sometimes I giggle when I read those of people I know, but truth is that it probably works for them. I’m confident in my own accomplishments, but always really careful about their authenticity. Maybe I downplay some things. I’m bad with knowing the quantitative results of my past experience. Did I save clients $1.2 million in 2018 as a result of the work I did negotiating rate increases and such? Maybe, that was something I was good at, but I never thought to keep track of that sort of thing. What was the total amount of premium for the book of business I managed? I get asked that a lot and have absolutely no clue. Someone gave me a thinly veiled suggestion that I should make up numbers because no one could dispute them. Well, I could dispute them. That’s enough. But I would advise you to keep track of this sort of thing….it would come in handy. I just never took the time, because I was focused on the job at hand.
I’ve looked at my bank accounts lately and cringed. Don’t worry….I’m doing fine financially….but what if I go six more months without a job? Those savings I had for this possibility becoming reality…..I really didn’t want to use them!
So it’s time to start looking at my budget and see what I can cut. Last week I finished getting outstanding dental work done. At the end of this month I will cancel my COBRA dental coverage. I’m looking at things like cable TV…..I may turn it on once a week. Is that a necessary expense? I don’t think so. My home phone…..do I need it? I think I have included it on a couple of job applications, so I will try not to use it on them in the future and see if I can do that in a month or two. I’ll also probably take some time to look at things like my car and homeowner’s insurance. Is it time to change? I haven’t looked at it for years. When I start thinking about these things I realize there is some fat in my budget, and some things I can manage better that I have been neglecting. Why not cut some of it now instead of later?
While at times frustrating, I still can’t help but be grateful for this time. Waiting is one of the best exercises of our faith. If I really trust God, this is one of those times where the rubber meets the road. When those worried moments hit, I tell myself “Exercise that faith.” And I breathe in and out a few times and it’s all OK. I do trust. I may not know the next road, but the godly GPS is there and working well.
I can spend only so much time job hunting and I have decided I need to make a more concentrated effort to use my time well. I’m someone who could easily read my life away, but that’s not the healthiest approach (though it will always be a large part of my life…..and there is a ton of books on my list I have yet to get to.) I have complained that my job often made me too sedentary….why the heck am I still spending so much time sitting down? It’s time to plan more and better and enjoy the opportunity to be more active. I can volunteer more and spend more time with friends. There are tons of places in the area I have said I wanted to go. Why not now? That’s my plan for the next few weeks. To plan my days better and not be idle. Life was meant to be savored, working or not. But it takes effort. When we make that effort, we reap the rewards. So why not do it?
Yesterday was my personal indulgence….the one “must do” for me on this trip to Japan. It was a visit to Hiroshima, one of the two sites bombed by the Enola Gay in 1945. I became fascinated with World War II in high school. It is a time in history that I think shows us the worse of humanity, but then of the power of hope and peace. Hiroshima is a great symbol of that for me.
We got to the Hiroshima terminal and decided to take one of the streetcars to the Peace Park. It was a short ride from the station. The park is unbelievably beautiful and serene. We wanted lunch, but nothing was appealing to us, so we got gelato (I will eventually decide that was a mistake since food options did not improve). We eventually made our way to the destination I most cared about, the Victim’s Museum. I publicly apologize to Maggie for this….the depressing nature was out of scope with our trip, but still I needed to experience.
This picture is an amazing room that is round, with scenes of Old Hiroshima on the walls, bricks with names of some of the casualties. There is a fountain in the middle, symbolizing healing for the people. It is a great place to sit and reflect and pray…..a special time and place for me. Then to the survivor’s stories. There is a film that talks about the impact it had on some survivors, and also audio, video,,and written accounts from others.
When we arrived back to the station in Kyoto, Maggie stopped dead in her tracks as she rounded a corner. MCDONALD’S!!!!!! OK….it was 8 p.m. and she hadn’t eaten a real meal all day. She had already decided on Pizza Hut, but that was an additional two blocks from our hotel. It was dinner time.
We made our way through the two additional subway stops to our hotel, exhausted but happy. While it had a few difficult moments, overall it was a fun and meaningful day.
Our first full day in Japan was amazing! We met up with Maggie’s best friend Shino from grade school. We were meeting her at the subway station on the corner, but we had a problem figuring out exactly where to meet because evidently there are about six entrances. (Who knew?) As we walked up a street we hear a voice say “Maggie?” And then the joyous reunion began.
We tried to see a temple after the zoo but it was closed for renovation, so instead we went to a nearby market and Maggie found some souvenirs. I mostly people-watched. I enjoy seeing the different forms of dress, including the kimonos that some still wear.
So we left Vancouver and had a bit over a 9-hour flight to Narita Airport in Tokyo. The flight was fine. I don’t mind long flights, and ough Maggie was dreading it she agreed it was fine. You have your personal entertainment center and since I rarely get to movies these days, I had plenty of choices. I watched two during the flight. We napped….not enough, but a bit. We were fed two meals, chicken or beef. One was with an Asian twist, one more Western. As much as I love air travel, my body doesn’t….so I mostly ate bread and butter and fruit and some nuts I had packed.
People always ask how I get to travel to so many places and have so many adventures. Truly I don’t travel that much….I am limited mostly by vacation time. But I do my best to use what I have and I want to spend my precious days off well, and I do try to plan my life so that it is good. Yes, I just go for good. I don’t need spectacular, but when I look back on my days I like to smile. And often quiet and solitude and home and books make me smile. But so do travel and adventure.