Holidaytastic

I have never worked before for a company whose busy season falls around the holidays, so my 10 years in the workforce have been blessed with nice long Christmas breaks, sometimes lasting as long as 2 blissful weeks. Sadly, this is no longer the case. November through New Year’s Day is peak season here in NYC and the city is packed with tourists needing the services my company provides. Oh, and I don’t technically get any vacation days in my first 12-months in this job.

I am fortunate this year to be able to take off Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas, giving me 5 consecutive days off. I know this is more than a lot of people out there, but still it feels short– especially since I wasn’t able to take any time over Thanksgiving to see my family. I have been working at full speed these last several weeks, so I am practically foaming at the mouth to have a few days to relax.

We’ll be heading to Connecticut where the folks have rented a house for a week. I am ever so grateful not to have to fly anywhere this Christmas, so that should make the time that I do have away from my desk all the more enjoyable.

Speaking of things that are enjoyable, I made the most awesome Christmas cookies this past Sunday, and had some fun testing the macro focus function on my camera:

Homeless Prophecy

As we talked about before, every day I walk from Penn Station to my office in Times Square. About a block into this walk I pass a nice gentleman who is raising money for homeless causes. He shouts loud and clear over the din of the morning rush, asking people to give what they can because, after all, “YOU ARE ALL JUST ONE PAYCHECK AWAY FROM BEING HOMELESS”.

This scares me. I guess because it’s sort of true. But not really. Or is it?

This past year has been a financial obstacle course for me. First I was moving to New York with a great job and a great paycheck. Then I was unexpectedly unemployed and freelancing. Then I made some money and paid down some debt. Then I lost my job and was unemployed for two whole days before taking another job that is a bit less lucrative (but SOOO worth it). How do you keep financial consistency with this madness?

The only way all this was possible without going homeless was because of my sweetheart. He puts the roof over our head, his job makes rent and utilities (even cable!) non-existing entities. And I realize how much I have to be thankful for. As much as I bitch and moan about not being closer to the city, and that we don’t have more space for ourselves (you know, with the parents and all), this crazy year would have been much more crazy and stressful if I was throwing $1400 a month on rent down the toilet.

But there are strings to this comfort. If we wanted to move, for example closer to the city, we don’t just break our lease, pack our bags and move on in to a shiny new place. It is a complicated process of him finding a new job, and then finding temporary housing for three months before being allowed to move into the new place that offers the same benefits of rent and utility. Plus we have to consider the parents. And there is the scary notion that, if bad luck should befall us (knock wood), we will lose the arrangement completely and possibly then, yes, be just one paycheck from being homeless. Ok, not one, but a couple for sure.

Let’s not think about that.

On that bright note, happy long weekend to everyone!

NY-Tastic

This morning as I was walking the 12 blocks between the train and my office, I almost stopped dead in my tracks with a strange unfamilar feeling. I can identify this emotion as some of relative of “elation”. The sun was glinting off the buildings and a breeze cooled the air. A gorgeous New York Morning.

I am very excited about my new job and shedding the old one feels as though I have wiggled out of an old flakey skin that just didn’t fit. Part of my training is to be spent exploring the city… Circle line, helicopter tours, museums and historic sites. I am almost glad that much of the city still feels so foreign to me, as I now get to experience it in this exciting new light. Thank God I am starting this new venture in early summer rather than in the dead cold of January.

News! Good News!

I got a job! I got a job!

Not just A job, but a job I am really excited about. The company does a variety of incoming travel services for NYC… broadway tickets, hotels, transport, sightseeing…you name it, they do it. It’s a young company full of potential, so it is exciting to become part of a organization that is growing by leaps and bounds. And the people I met with the company are so positive and seem to love working there– a welcome change from my most recent employment adventure.

I start on Thursday!

I can’t help but think that fate is playing a role here. The timing and circumstance seems a little too perfect. They have been looking for someone for this role for nearly 4 months.

One of the great benefits of the job is the opportunity to attend almost any show, event or function hosted in NYC. For someone who still knows relatively little about this great city, that is a huge plus. I am embarassed to say I haven’t even been to a broadway show since a Teen Club trip in the 7th grade when we went to see 42nd Street.

Cross your fingers for me that this job works out a heck of a lot better than the last one!

Keepin’ On

It has been strange, these first days of my recent unemployment. There are moments of extreme stress followed by extreme optimism and a massive sense of relief. I was invited back by the company that I interviewed with on Tuesday, so that is tremendously encouraging. My second interview yesterday seemed to go well. Who knows? Monday I could very well have a job offer to ponder. And if not, well, I know something else will come along. Well, sometimes I know that and sometimes I think I am royally screwed.

This makes me think about the importance of career confidence. Is this a woman’s issue? It seems to me that my female friends are more likely to get down on themselves when things go wrong at work than my men friends. Men seem to say, “F-that” and move on while women say, “was it me?” Yes, I am generalizing, inappropriately perhaps.

My mantra of late has been “its just a job”, and I repeat that over and agin. I feel blessed to have moved into a cycle of life where work is no longer the central focus of my existance. It is definitely important to me to find a job that I find personally rewarding, but my priorities have certainly shifted.

Greener Pastures and Silver Linings

I lost my job today.

Well, I didn’t exactly lose it. I know where it is, I just don’t have it anymore. The whole story is odd and confusing and more than a little frustrating. I don’t think it appropriate to put all the details here online, but know that I did my best and I can be proud of that. In many ways it is a relief, though I don’t relish the idea of being unemployed again. I actually already have an interview for what sounds like an interesting job in Manhattan tomorrow.

I have a feeling this will turn into one of those “blessing in disguise” scenarios. Seriously, I know it sounds cheesy, or a trifle Pollyanna, but it seems like a good thing to be moving away from a situation that really wasn’t all that pleasant.

Damir was able to grab a few hours away today and we took a long relaxing drive to the Hamptons and had lunch on beautiful Shelter Island. It was a gorgeous sunny day and it felt great to be outside. This past weekend we had a blast during a whirlwind trip to Boston (I was there for my sis’ wedding shower) and we found time for a game at Fenway before heading back to NY.

I don’t know what is next for me. I am scared about being unemployed, but excited about new opportunities that are just around the corner.

Aince awa, aye awa

Monday kicks off a month of comings and goings. First I am off to Scotland where I will be visiting vendors in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow. After a week at home for recovery I am off to Ireland for tradeshows in Dublin and Belfast. Then the weekend following my return I am off again to Vermont to help my sister and Mom with some wedding planning. Whew! Then about two weeks later a long weekend in Pennsylvania for Penny’s wedding… and then…sleep.

All of this is compounded by this exciting news: after 3 months in my job I have been promoted. As of yesterday it was announced that I am the new president of my company and the owner is scaling back and starting the process of transitioning his responsibilities over to me. I am both excited and a little nervous about this amazing opportunity, as you can imagine. I don’t feel quite ready yet to take on this level of responsibilty, but suppose I have to follow my Mom’s recent advice, “Well, you better get yourself ready, Girl!”.

I don’t expect to blog much from the road, but will definitely post when I can. Hopefully will get some great pictures in between meetings.

Signs

I had to go back to Philadelphia yesterday evening to attend a last minute trade show promoting Ireland travel to local travel agents. It’s a bit of a hike to drive down and back in the same evening, so I was thankful Damir managed to head down there with me to provide company on the drive.

From Long Island to Philly is not a pretty drive.

Insane drivers cutting in and out on the Belt Parkway, the $9 toll crossing the Verrazano bridge, followed by suicidal truckers on the New Jersey turpike make is less than a pleasant trip.

The one bright spot during the whole drive is this road sign when exiting the city boundaries of Brooklyn:

Awesome.

Open Letter to Today’s Youth

Dear Youth,

I know how hard it is to look for a job out in this crazy world. Believe me, I’ve been there. I have been there rather recently in fact. As I am somewhat older and marginally wiser, let me offer you some advice when it comes to applying for a job.

1) Always provide a cover letter for your resume detailing why you are applying for the job and how you think you’d be a good fit for the position/organization. It is especially important that you do this when the job description actually asks you to. The following does not a cover letter make:

Dear Sirs [ehm, I am a madam! Why don’t people address letters ‘dear madams’? but I digress],

Here is my resume.

Sincerely,

Joe.

2) Did you know people used to have to actually buy a newspaper and send actual paper letters of application? Email and the Internet sure make applying for jobs a lot easier. But for the sweet love of Moses, Youth, do me a favor and please do not send your career hopes from BootyCucaracha@blahmail.com or DocLoverPimp@blahmail.com. It’s like my mom always told me, You never get a second change to make a first impression and like it or not, for better or worse, your email address says more about you than you think.

3) DO NOT, under any circumstances, WEAR FLIPFLOPS to an interview. I don’t care if your water main broke and the only dry pair of shoes are your rubber pink thongs that just happen to match your pretty blouse. It’s NEVER OK to wear flippies to an interview.

OK Kids, that’s it for now. You can thank me later.

Love,

Mamma Interravision.

Off to smell the flowers

I am off tomorrow to the Philly Flower Show to work with the Irish National Tourism Board for 4 days promoting my company’s Ireland travel programs. Who knew that flower lovers want to travel to Ireland? Not me! I am going to have to take a crash course on Irish Vegetation and Horticulture.

If you are in the neighborhood, stop by and say hello.

On a related note, did you know that Globespan airlines is starting a new trans-Atlantic service from Boston and JFK to Knock Airport in Northwestern Ireland? It’s no frills (no meal!) but cheap!