Unemployed for the Holidays

Unemployed for the holidays

Just before the holidays in 2017, I took a paid day off from work to spend time with my daughters. The plan: to enjoy quality time with my girls with a trip to the pumpkin patch. I set aside my work phone and made a point not to check it until later in the afternoon. I enjoyed a much-needed beautiful fall day with my lovely girls.

When I went to check my work phone later that day, the lock screen was filled with text messages and missed calls. My manager was trying to reach me, his voicemail message urgently requested I return his call. It turned out that he was desperately trying to reach me before I heard the bad news (no pun intended) on television.

His voice was calm yet heavy with the unpleasant task of being the bearer of bad news. “Our company is closing its doors permanently. Everyone is being laid off.” My stomach fell out from underneath me. Later that week I would experience my first ulcer. I received a formal letter with a date of my last day of work. I would be on unemployment before Thanksgiving.

As if I didn’t already know how unstable life could be, this experience validated the fact that there are so many things in life that are out of your control. So, I accepted my situation, and began to quickly focus on things that were within my control.

I replaced sinking self-pity with empathy, and extended an offer of help to the other 200 employees floating in the same large boat with me. Many of my fellow laid-off employees had worked at the same employer for 10 to 20-plus years. Most did not have a LinkedIn account, and many needed a resume. I offered my writing services to any who wanted help writing a resume. I must have created at least 20. Luckily the local unemployment office had resume writing resources, because I’m quite sure I would have hit resume-writing burnout before long.

I went through the cumbersome unemployment process, and simultaneously began the job hunt. I would submit easily a dozen resumes per day. Applying to jobs became my full-time job. I used every job search site, had several phone interviews, then in-person interviews, and accepted a new gig just before Christmas.

I would not say my way is the best way. Looking back, I wish I did not put so much pressure on myself. So while I give the below advice, I will preface it with this: BREATHE, and take it one day at a time. Do not stress yourself out. It will not serve you well and it could lead to making a poor decision. You will get through this and you will find the right job in the right time. So again, Breathe.

Last year’s holiday season taught me a great deal. I am not in the habit of taking anything for granted, but with respect to my job, I have a few quick points I would like to make for ANYONE else out there who may be facing a similar circumstance.

1. Always be prepared.

Do not get complacent at your job. It’s always a GREAT idea to keep your resume up-to-date. It is good practice to slap on a few descriptive bullet points to your latest resume with key functions you are doing at your job right now. Jot down noteworthy moments where you shine. It is so difficult to remember those magical moments when you are putting yourself on the spot 3 or 5 or 10 years later. Keep a word doc or excel spreadsheet squirreled away with a catalog of bullet points – keep it current- you will thank yourself later on.

2. Create a LinkedIn Profile.

If you do not have a LinkedIn profile, you are missing out on one of the best, free networking applications on the internet. Create a profile on LinkedIn and then begin looking for old colleagues, classmates, friends, and start connecting with all of them.

If you already have a LinkedIn (LI) account and it’s sitting dormant somewhere on the web, stop what you are doing, access your account, and blow the dust off of it. You need to beef up your LI profile, stat. You can do this with three key things: connecting (with people you worked with, went to school with, or did business with at any level), update your employment details on your profile (this is a living resume), and asking colleagues and friends for endorsements. Endorsements are super helpful- so don’t be bashful. It doesn’t hurt to endorse others as well- many will reciprocate the kindness. If you have questions about ANY of this- please leave them in the comments section. I will respond to all of them.

3. Throw a WIDE net!

Right now there are so many online resources to apply for jobs. I am partial to LinkedIn due the success I’ve experienced. I like the ease of their user interface, and how my profile doubles as a online portfolio. With all of that said, I encourage you to use ALL the websites: Indeed, Monster, Craigslist (with caution), and ask friends or colleagues for their recommendations or sites of choice.

Additionally, do your homework on all potential employers. Glassdoor is a GREAT resource for this. I wish I knew about Glassdoor years ago. It would have saved me from working at a very toxic employer. Glassdoor allows people to provide anonymous feedback about their employer. You can learn about salaries, benefits, the interview process, and specific complaints or praises.

I know this blog post barely scratches the surface with regards to unemployment. If you are finding yourself out of work right now, please know you have resources. If you are a veteran in need of work, there are so may organizations centered on placing veterans in jobs. I will be providing some links to resources below. PLEASE leave a comment if you have any questions for me! I am happy to answer questions about my unemployment experience and how I found my job quickly after being laid off last year.

Ironically, this blog post is inspired by the unsteady climate of my current employer. I just hit my 1-year mark and in the last few weeks my employer has laid off several people, and “partially” laid off the remainder. Odd, right? Apparently it’s a thing. Hourly employees have been informed they can only work 32 hours, and they will get unemployment for the 8 hours they do not work. As I am a salary employee they could not reduce me to 32-hours per week, so instead, I received a 10% pay cut. Still, I’m incredibly grateful to have a job.

Much love, Eve Poetry

Some helpful websites: 

State of Oregon: Employment resources

LinkedIn 101 – How to use LinkedIn for Beginners (Great article)

Jobs for Veterans: Recruit Military

VA Employment Assistance

VetJobs

Glassdoor- Check out your potential employer.

This post contains affiliate links. An affiliate link means I may earn advertising / referral fees if you make a purchase through my link, with no extra cost to you. It helps to keep this little magazine afloat. Thanks for your support. Read full disclosure here.

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What does Jesus think of Trump?

What does Jesus think of Trump?

An Article by Deanna M Ramirez

I ask a question that I realize could spark hostile debate. Please know, I do not ask this to instigate negativity. I am seeking to understand. I ask for thoughtful explanation, and thoughtful conversation.

I was raised in two households. During the first part of my childhood, I was raised by my single mother. She is an immigrant who arrived in U.S. in the fifties. Her family worked very hard to send my mother and her sisters to this country. My mother boarded a ship as a pre-teen, with two of her four sisters, and arrived to this country in New York City where she was picked up by my great-grandfather.

My grandmother and her three daughters lived in Little Italy in the North End of Boston in a tiny one-bedroom apartment. They paid for showers at a bath house. The girls went to school where they were teased by the American-born Italian children for not speaking the language. My mother was likely in the 6th grade at the time of her arrival. However, she was put in a first or second-grade classroom as they did not have an education system that could address the language barrier. She soon dropped out of school, as many did at that time. The embarrassment and bullying became too much, and she needed to begin working to help support herself and her family.

Like many immigrant children, my mother experienced childhood trauma. Her experiences made it nearly impossible for her to hold a job. She suffered from severe migraines and panic attacks. We lived in the projects just outside of Boston and were grateful beneficiaries of the welfare system. It allowed my mother to stay home and care for us, and I am so grateful she was home.

I began to spend time with my dad on the west coast when I was eight years old. Eventually I began to split time between the coasts and switched from school in Boston to school in the west, with summers in the east. My father is a conservative Republican. He is also a Christian. My mother a Catholic.

The first Presidential election that I remember well was 1988, Dukakis vs Bush. I remember announcing to my dad, ‘I want Dukakis to win! He’s from Massachusetts, and he’s for the people’. I was immediately scolded and told that I was to root for Bush. And from that point on, I was indoctrinated into the belief system that aligns with a Conservative Right worldview. Not a large task as I was only 11 years old.

I lived a life divided. One that experienced the benefits of a democratic social system that took care of people who could not completely fend for themselves, and another largely motivated by conservative religious ideals. Neither do I feel are wrong or bad, but neither were distinctly my own point of view.

I found myself floating along for years, owning mostly the thought system of my father. I didn’t really know why I was impassioned to defend the beliefs I had as they were not organically my own. It wasn’t until I hit my late thirties that I began soul searching to determine my own political views.

At 41 years of age, I am still soul searching. What is it that I believe? It may seem bizarre to others that I admit this, but it took this long to figure out: ‘are these my beliefs because I really think this way?’ or ‘is this thinking someone imposed on me, but I really do not think this way?’.

I do believe there is a God. I have seen evidence in my own life of a higher power. I am comfortable with the idea of spirituality.  I accept that not everything can be seen or touched to make it real. Some things simply require a belief system of faith. I still believe in Jesus. The Jesus I know is a God of love. His teachings focus on defining love. He teaches the acceptance of broken people and modeled agape love during His time on this earth.

Which bring me to my question: What does Jesus think of Trump?

In this complex, polarizing political time, I see and hear Christians proclaiming their undying devotion to Donald Trump. Yet I am perplexed in what I see as a contradiction between things that Trump says and does, and the things that Jesus says in the Bible. An example of this would be Trump’s feelings on immigration.

Immigration is a topic especially close to my heart. If my mother was unable to immigrate to this country, I would not be here today. My great-grandfather and grandmother left a war-torn country to claim a better life for their children, and their children’s children. My great-grandfather and great-uncles helped build the bridges and tunnels that millions use every day in Boston.

I hope someone out there sees this and answers my question. Again, I am only asking to understand. I mean no offense. I am not a Republican. I am not a Democrat. I do vote. I do not vote based on political party anymore. I research each topic and each candidate and base my vote on the facts I am given. I am not a political writer, although this blog post contradicts that statement.

My writing is meant to cover all aspects of my life and in this case, I am reflecting on current politics. My motivation to write this is a desire to learn.

Thank you for reading this. Please leave a comment!

This post contains affiliate links. An affiliate link means I may earn advertising / referral fees if you make a purchase through my link, with no extra cost to you. It helps to keep this little magazine afloat. Thanks for your support. Read full disclosure here.