Friday, April 1, 2011

I would do it all over again

It has been 5 months now since I had the rug pulled out from under my comfortable feet. The feeling of that moment will never be forgotten, as I literally felt that I was falling into a dark pit, like one of those nightmares that you pray you will awaken from, where you are falling and petrified and it feels so real that you wake up in emotional turmoil and it takes a while to get back to sleep. That is just how it felt to lose the job I had worked for 12 years and thought I would be working for the rest of my life. I really expected to just die at my desk someday.

It took many months to come to terms with the reality of the situation. There were many nights that I went to bed hoping for a call the next day from someone who would tell me they wanted me back. I just prayed that one day one of them would wake up and say, "we need Julie for ...." (fill in the blank - I would have almost taken anything to feel wanted). That prayer was not answered.

Instead of praying for a specific event to unfold the way I thought it should, I began praying for the guidance to know what to do with the rest of my life. Unsure of how the answer would come, I waited for a defining moment to be certain of my convictions. I got that defining moment last night from a dear lady that has been my friend even more than ever since my job loss. She called with news out of the blue and then we chatted and God spoke through her. I digested the information for a while before approaching my husband with my revelation and guess what? He confirmed he had the same vision for our future! The relief is great today.

The pain is now gone. All the turmoil of that period of time was good for me and helped me grow into a much more rounded and compassionate person. I am a much better friend now that I know what friendship really is. People matter to me in a much more caring way now. Reaching out to as many people as possible, I long to ease others' pain as opposed to just treading water and working to keep my own pain at bay. What you give will really come back to you ten-fold. That I have learned, along with the feeling that giving has to the person giving and the person receiving.

I am grateful for all of the lessons and experiences of the last 5 months. I am grateful to the friends and family that have provided unconditional support to me and shown me love through the whole thing.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Income at this Point

I started this blog in despair and really had no idea what direction I would go or where I would be by now. Many of you read in the shadows, maybe to cheer me on and hope I do well, maybe just to stop in and see if I have anything to say. A few posts back I promised to have a success story for you someday and maybe some of you are watching hopefully for good news. Well, I think I have some news about my income potential as an unemployed former executive.

After 2 months, I have amassed a fortune of $930 in my paypal account that is my rainy day fund. I consider that amazing while living on my unemployment check of not even $350 per week (but SO fortunate to have that!). I have sold all my clothes on ebay for a total wealth of a few hundred of those dollars. Writing on the web for web content took a little while to get used to and I have been making my presence known out there. I now have 3 websites that pay me for content that I write for them to use. My income at writing started off at about $20 a week and gradually got to a consistent $50 per week and now I have a goal of at least $100 per week but more realistically I am making about $125 per week. Being an independent contractor, I pay no taxes out of that money but will owe money next year on my total income.

As a secret shopper, I have made a whopping $41 in the last month. But it gets me out of the house and I have a good time at it. I get paid to go shopping, even a little bit.

My Isagenix business is growing but slowly. I have made $125 from that company since December 1st and am still spreading the word about how good the organic nutritional products make me feel as I transform into a melted 30 pound lighter person. I love that part too.

So with an income of just under $2,000 per month is that good news? I sure as heck think so. I am counting my blessings every day and every night that I can do a little of this and little of that to make some money in addition to unemployment.

I still look for 2 jobs a week, but I have to tell you that I enjoy writing and the freedom of working for myself with Isagenix SO much that an offer for employment is going to have to be pretty sweet. :)

The journey is not near over but I think happiness equals success. And I am officially tipping my hat publicly right now to the company that freed me from the chains of employment:


Friday, February 11, 2011

My Anxiety is Reduced

Today I travel with a friend and former colleague to attend an overnight conference regarding some of the best nutritional products in the world. The name of the company is Isagenix, and I and my husband have been using the weight loss plan since Thanksgiving, right as I left my old job, as my position was eliminated. The products are most wonderful and we have realized a great weight loss since starting them. The beautiful thing about Isagenix is that it is easy to share with others, because it works, and it is a life-long commitment for many, not just used to lose weight. We plan to reach our goal weight loss and continue taking these nutritional supplements the rest of our lives, but this post is not really about Isagenix... even though I will provide you with thia link -
Feel free to check out the website if you are interested in these products, as they are providing me with additional income AND the ability to feel great and they can provide you the same. Just give me a call.

Anyway, the anxiety. Every other time I had to travel for business reasons, I would experience almost nauseating anxiety and social pressure. This trip is entirely different for me and I think I know why. When I traveled for my old company, even if traveling with friends, I always felt that I was not good enough or did not represent the company well enough. Where that came from, I can not tell you for sure. Did someone say it to me? Did I imagine it? All I knew was that there was a great deal of pressure to pretend to be something or someone that I was not.
Today I am ready to leave and meet new people and I do not have that same level of anxiety! Maybe it is not meeting new people or my inability to present myself well. Maybe it all relates to my ability to be myself this trip and not try to pretend to be someone else. If this is the freedom that my old job gave me by getting rid of me or eliminating my position or laying me off, or whatever, then I graciously thank them.
I am going to Kansas City as Julie today and maybe there is nothing wrong with her. :)

"To love what you do and feel that it matters, how could anything be more fun?"
Katharine Graham

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It is Getting Easier to be Laid Off

I remember back to December when my period of unemployment began. I actually felt ashamed for anyone to know I "lost my job" or my "position got eliminated", as if it was somehow something that I could have affected one way or the other. I felt like a deadbeat, not having a job. When acquaintances asked what I did, I usually stammered saying that I was semi-retired or something that sounded kind of more glamorous and in control.
I can't say it is easy yet, but last night I was asked by someone, "What do you do, Julie?" That insecurity and shame began to flood my emotions again as I answered "I am a writer".
I was not sure if she would accept that answer and of course she said "I thought you were working as a nurse somewhere, when did you start writing?"   ouch...
I told her I started writing when I lost my job. There, I said it! I was honest and it wasn't easy and it still didn't feel good to me but I can tell that it rolls off of my tongue easier now than it used to.
I didn't mention that I only make about $100 per week from my writing right now, on top of the unemployment I am grateful to be receiving, lest I starve. I did not tell her about my insecurities or fears. I did not share anger or sadness with her. It is getting easier to accept my new situation.

I really do not know where I will end up. This journey is exciting and kind of fun during some points of the day, but it is still full of uncertainties and sometimes I have to muster more bravery than I feel like showing to the world. But it is definitely getting better every day and I am a survivor! I make lemonade out of lemons. I am strong and smart and resourceful and I am going to make it!

For those who grieve, Christ offers comfort. For those who struggle, He offers rest. For those overcome by pain, He offers hope and healing. To those who carry emotional burdens too large for them to bear, Christ offers His strength.
In The Source of My Strength, Dr. Charles Stanley talks honestly about his own journey through emotional pain and points readers toward the wellspring of strength. He shares his own experiences with grief and shows readers how to overcome the pain, understand the burdens, confront memories, and discover the courage and strength to live freely in God's love for them. Written from the heart, The Source of My Strength is one of Dr. Stanley's most personal and triumphant books.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Redefining Yourself After Career Loss

This blog started with the feelings of grief and despair. I promised you then that I would succeed and share that along the way. You have read about my struggles, fears, nightmares, and anger, but now it is time for me to deliver on my promise to share the successes.
My first success came this morning when my 9 year old daughter woke up too sick to go to school. I gave her medicine, breakfast, and tucked her in on the couch for the day. She just said to me "Mommy, I am so glad you are home and don't have to go to work so you can take care of me." Yes, I can! And I can nurture her and fulfill her needs while doing my writing. Now let me tell you about that.
I have been writing internet content for the last few months. There is a website that connects publishers that need content with writers that can create that content. After applying for a writing position with them I was accepted as a beginning writer, at tier 1. This provided me with about .07 per word. The article needs appear in a queue every day that is ever changing as things get written and new ones get added. These articles are about every subject from basic finance to fashion, health, and a rich variety of other topics. The first few weeks of writing I made about $20 per week, writing everything that I was comfortable accepting.
After the first few weeks I was promoted to a tier 2 writer, which paid about a penny per word. That was a big day for me! During those weeks, my earnings grew to about $40 - $50 per week. Not a full time living, for sure, but something productive to do in order to supplement my meager unemployment earnings.
Just in the last few weeks, I requested a raise to tier 3. That required the editors to review my content submissions. To my happy surprise, the advance me to tier 3!! That was a happy day in my house, as I now made 1.5 cents per word.
Now I am here to tell you that I am not getting rich. I now have the capacity to earn a little over $100 per week from that website and that is writing part time. That income alone will not keep me solvent when the unemployment stops but it is a beginning. I am beginning to redefine myself as a writer!
I recently attended my first writer's workshop. There are 3 of them in town that meet at various frequencies in various locations. I intend to attend all of them in an effort to network with other people who have a greater knowledge of the business. I have also found another website that brokers writers with publishers and applied to that one as well. My application was accepted and  am now awaiting a level assignment based on my previous work done and samples submitted. I hope to begin on that site making a bit over 1 cent per word, but the availability of more assignments and more exposure will be the next step in my journey.
I can't begin to tell you how satisfying it is to work for myself and begin this journey of re-creation. I will never abandon my nursing knowledge nor all the knowledge I gained from the corporate work world, but I really do not desire to re-enter that world. I would rather be here for my family, and work for myself, living the dream I have always had to make my living as a writer or an author. Sudden job loss and forced unemployment is providing me the opportunity to begin to live my dreams! 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Reaching out to meet your goals

I attended my first writer's workshop tonight. Just being a fledgling in this field, I felt a bit intimidated to breach this group on my own. It was a wonderful and growing experience for me. I plan to continue attending these every month, in hopes of opening doors and gaining a richer understanding of the world of writing. There was a local author featured that spoke about her newest book being released. It is titled Operation Bonnet and is a delightful read. You should consider some of her works for a humorous fictional read. She has 4 other books published that are equivalent to the Irma Bombeck books. She writes about family life in a humorous way. Here are the current offerings by Kimberly Stuart:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

This My 2 Month Anniversary of My Last Day at Work - Selling on Ebay

The announcement that my position was eliminated came on October 20, a day that I will never forget. My last day of work at my job was December 3, another hallmark day. I vividly remember that last day just two months ago and the pain that I experienced leaving my friends and the familiar environment of work. It has been quite a roller coaster ride since then but not all bad.
I am truly enjoying staying home to be closer to my family. My husband has been supportive and helpful in ways I never knew he could be. The kids have been by my side celebrating even the successes that they don't fully understand. Parents and sister have been like a rock for me through all the emotional ups and downs.
Funny how life throws curve balls at us that we can never anticipate. Just the other day, Mike said "I never dreamed we would both be home like this together and doing ok financially." Yes, we are financially solvent at this time, but it has not been without worry and a little anxiety.

I have a couple of gigs going right now via online at home. They are paying me some self-employment income that subsidizes my unemployment income, which helps a lot paying the bills. One of the businesses that I have started is on e-Bay.

E-bay is an amazing marketplace that you can use to make some extra money. We all have items around our house that others want, if we can get creative and willing to sell them. For me, I am selling all my old size 18 professional clothes on ebay and actually doing well with them. I have lost 28 pounds in the last 2 months through a weight loss program and these clothes do not fit anymore but they still have a lot of wear left in them and people are buying them from me. E-bay makes it so easy for me. I list the auctions starting at 99 cents and list them for a week. Using the "calculated shipping option", I simply have to determine how much each item weighs and it calculates the shipping for the buyer and the buyer pays for the shipping. All postage supplies are free through the United States Postal Service and I can even print my shipping labels from my Paypal account and pay for them from home. Then I simply drop my packages off at a nearby post office and do not even have to stand in line. To offset the low cost of my auctions, I have added an invisible $1.00 handling charge to the cost of shipping for my buyers so I will be sure to make some profit even if an item does not get more than the 99 cent bid.

In order to start on ebay and do this for yourself, you will need some postage supplies, a digital camera, and a postage quality scale to weigh your items. I have found Amazon is another amazing marketplace and you can purchase almost any imaginable item there, including a postage scale. It will be delivered to your door in a few days. Check out the one I have featured for you here. This method of making money is fun and easy and anyone can do it from home!

This is the cheapest scale on Amazon and runs on 3 AAA batteries but it will do nicely to start your ebay business.