The Daily EO: February 16th, 2016

I just got restructured – and I don’t care what anyone tells you – business is personal.  People say otherwise, but they live in an incongruant world where they follow up “Don’t take it personally” with “Business is all about relationships”.   Business is personal, our lives are a big mixing pot.  And so being impacted in restructuring hurts you, it causes a stumble, a pause, where you wonder what’s wrong with you.

But just a pause for most, when you pick up the pieces and move forward to something better (while occasionally looking back and thinking “those bastards” and eating lots of grilled cheese sandwiches).

The worst thing about getting laid off is the telling other people.   You have to cause impact to ALL of your relationships.  Spouse, family, mentors, close friends, personal and professional suppliers, customers, colleagues, neighbours, acquaintances and strangers.  And that piece of information changes the dynamic of that relationship – you get all sorts of reactions (kind and otherwise – overt and below the surface), but always changing the other person’s perception of you and your relationship with them.

This played out yesterday when I was enjoying the new found freedom of being able to get my haircut during the day on a week day.  My stylist – who I struggle to chat with to begin with because I am intimidated by his hipness (let’s not delve into that issue within my psyche today) – asked me “So, not working today?  Day off?”.  This was his attempt to get conversation rolling – a safe bet normally.

I am sitting there getting my $80 haircut when he asked me that. Yes, I know, one does not *need* $80 haircuts, but if I have to have all of these conversations with everyone, I am going to at least look well groomed, attractive and in control.  It is bad enough I have to now forgo eyelash extensions, manicures, and facials, but I am not going to give up on my hair.  (as I write this, I am realizing the impact to the Vancouver economy my termination is causing and I apologize to my “team” for the impact to their business – Christmas is cancelled everyone.)

I hesitated when he asked, tried to get the right combination of strength/humour/wistfulness in my voice when I answered “Yes, in fact I have every day off now.  I was laid off a couple of weeks ago”.  He didn’t handle it well, he got paralyzed between showing appropriate sympathy, wondering if I am embarrassed/sad/angry and not knowing me well enough to ask further questions for details.  Further attempts at conversation for the rest of the haircut petered out pretty quickly.  Awkward silence was thankfully eventually interrupted by the blow dryer.

That went well.  Only 499 more conversations to go.

February 16, 2016 Extra-Ordinary:  I still tipped the same amount I always do – unemployed or not, I didn’t want anything to change.  Plus he does a great job – my hair is pretty dope  (do the kids still say that?)

 

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The Daily EO: February 9th, 2013

My husband had a work get together at our place tonight and by the time I rolled in, most of the food was gone and a good portion of the drinks as well.

It was a small gathering and as soon as I walked in, I was immediately greeted by someone who through the course of the conversation self-proclaimed herself as the “Book Whisperer”, admired my book collection and who told me she was unemployed but had too much pride to collect EI.   I found this odd as I am not sure what is so noble about gathering debt and not using EI as a transition to the next phase in life.  That is what the program is there for, that is why we have that deduction removed from our pay cheques.

I don’t know – I am pretty prideful myself, but thought this was an odd view.  Why would one not collect EI if your intention is employment?  It’s like having house insurance and then being too prideful to collect when your house burns down.

She didn’t know that Emile and I both faced periods of unemployment and both collected EI, so after a glass of wine I told her it was irresponsible and fiscally stupid to not collect a benefit that she had paid for.  If she was legitimately looking for work, wanted to work, then use the EI exactly what it was intended for.  Honestly.

February 9th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  I went to bed before the party wound down (wine, you fickle mistress), so she left me a note with her promise to sign up for EI next week and her phone number.  I made a friend.  One who wants to do drinks.

The Daily EO: September 27th, 2012

Dear Future Employer,

I am excited to be getting back to work soon!  I plan to work hard and to make a difference.  But I am going to need some accommodations.  Over the last year, I have been unemployed and have become accustomed to certain things.  But I want this relationship to be successful!  So here are some things that I think might help us both – you will gain a focused and committed employee!

  1. I am concerned about working 5 days/week and all of them in a row.  I mean, if I work on a Tuesday, I don’t think it is reasonable for you to expect that I also come in on Wednesday.  And Fridays can be tough for anyone, so maybe I could get all of those off – but I’ll work most Thursdays in exchange.
  2. And while we are on the topic of days of work, lets talk about start time.  I’ve never been an morning person, so having a set start time could be difficult.  I’ll just come in when I wake up (and after I’ve worked out with my personal trainer now that I can afford one).  That way I don’t have to start my day with a jarring alert from an alarm clock.  I’ll be much more relaxed and well rested this way.
  3. There are several days I must leave early – days I am feeling stressed, when I am cooking brown rice for dinner (it takes a long time), Thursdays (so I can get off to my long weekends easier), when there is a major traffic snarl, and days that I need to get to the grocery store (I just hate shopping when it is busy)  I will give at least 15 minutes notice.
  4. Vacation is important – your team members are much more productive with downtime – and with six or seven weeks of vacation, I think I will be able to bring a clear and focused mind to work.
  5. Your professional office environment requires a certain level of dress and I want to fit in.  I would like to request a bi-weekly clothing allowance.  How much you provide determines the level of my professional dress.
  6. I may continue to do some consulting work on the side, this will not interfere with my work for your company about 75% of the time.

With these points – that you can see I’ve been quite reasonable – I think this is going to be a successful win-win relationship.  I look forward to your feedback!

Yours Sincerely,

Susan

The Daily EO: April 11th, 2012

I have a Punch List.  You may think that is a list of people I want to punch, but really I don’t have a list like that.  Really.  I don’t.  It would be too much energy to keep a list.  If you were going to punch a bunch of people, I’d say, do it right when they deserve it. Don’t save it up – get it over with and move on.  No lists.  Unless you want to keep a Punched List – then you can relive the punches.  No, a Punch List – and I’ll admit I made the name made up – is a list of all the things I want once I am Punching the Clock again.

“You will work again” I have been told.  (I sometimes have my doubts).   There may be some of you out there who have been unemployed when you really want the opposite.  What a demoralizing process:  No.  No.  No.  No thank you.  No, you don’t meet the criteria.  No.  Yes. . . actually No.  Nah.  No. No.  And the best of all: ”          “.   It is constant.  So, when you need to be your best to impress a potential employer, you are surrounded by people telling – or implying by their silence – that you are not good enough.   Really hard on the soul.

On my Punch List today is a new Kate Spade wallet, meet with a dietician/nutritionist, finally finding a financial adviser (who does not work on commission), hire a personal shopper, regularly threaded eyebrows at Gee Beauty, and a new can opener.   Just note, if you ask me my Punch List tomorrow, it may differ – that’s because it is an organic entity that has never been recorded anywhere until today.   It’s just something that I use when I am annoyed.  Like  – ack, I hate plucking my eyebrows, I want a professional – and boom, a new entry on the Punch List.  Or when I am sorrowful.  Like, don’t think about that denied opportunity, oh!  You know what I need?  A new wallet that isn’t scuffed.

Yes, call me materialistic, I am okay with that.  I am to a certain extent.  Aren’t we all a little?  Tell me Ghandi didn’t covet a new robe.

I just added the can opener today.  It shouldn’t feel like I have arthritis when I am opening a can – it should just glide, don’t you think?  That was not meant as a metaphor for life.  I just need to find my can opener or get a new one.  Stop reading so much into things, guys!

April 11th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Filling up the Punch List & focusing on the good.  Not those that you want to punch.