my first YouTube video

I have finally done a YouTube video.

Several years ago I looked at the idea of doing a video blog to supplement my written blog. I decided against it. First, there were a fair number of wackos out there recording YouTube videos and I did not want to be like them or be associated with them. In particular I think of a fellow who went on about how the Large Hadron Collider was going to punch a hole in the Van Allen Belt and allow Satan and his minions to return to earth. Please! Keep me away.

More importantly, as I thought about undertaking such a project, I realized that my medium is the written word. I am not a video commentator. I write. And what I write is intended to be read, not heard.

However, I am out there seeking employment, or at least contract work. One of the sites I am set up on is a platform for bringing contractors and clients together called upwork. They allow for, and in fact encourage, contractors to do a short video describing their background and skills. I’ve been on upwork for several months now, and decided that it was finally time to do that video.

It took me a number of takes to come up with something that I felt comfortable with, but I finally did. I’m not sure how many takes I did. I would say more than ten and less that fifty. Anyway, for what it’s worth, here is my first YouTube video.

Plan B

The phrase “Plan B” makes sense to anyone familiar with idiomatic American English. Anne Lamott used it in a book title and it has become the common name for a contraceptive pharmaceutical.

Terry and I are thinking about implementing our own Plan B.

On Friday the Department of Labor announced that the economy added 257,000 jobs in January. The unemployment rate ticked up to 5.7% from 5.6%, but they claim that was due to people who had given up looking for work returning to the job market. A headline segment on Morning Edition on NPR included a sound bite from an economist who noted that data point and said that those people would all find jobs soon.

Oh, yeah? I’ve been busily, actively looking since July. So has my colleague and friend Maribeth in New England. We both have solid experience and marketable skills. We both have come up planbempty so far, in spite of our concerted, daily, focused efforts. It is frustrating (to say the very least) to have promising opportunities for positions that are a near perfect match for my skills and experience evaporate. My final unemployment payment is due next Thursday. Meanwhile, despite all of her efforts, Terry has been unable to generate a decent commission check for many months.

It may well be time for Plan B. Time for a significant change in strategy and lifestyle.

I’m not yet prepared to share what that might look like, but I will before long. Terry and I have been discussing this actively and doing some investigation.

We’ll need to make a decision soon.

changing the routine

My friend the Tahoe Mom wrote recently about changing patterns in her daily routine. I have made some changes of my own.

When I was working (and working from home) I would get up at 7:00 a.m., turn on the computer, feed Tasha, and then get started on my work day before having breakfast and taking a shower. The timer on the downstairs light is set to go on at 7:00, so Tasha equates that with getting her breakfast. More recently, being in the mode of looking for work, I had been feeding Tasha at 7:00 and then going back to bed until the heater came on at 7:45, when I would take a shower.

I decided, though, that such behavior was sending the wrong message to the universe. I have started staying up when I feed Tasha, turning on the computer, and checking the job listings that are waiting for me in my email.

I don’t know that I actually accomplish any more by the time I reach the end of the day, but I feel better about myself, and that is worth a lot.

a strange experience

I received an email on Thursday 15 January in response to a resume I submitted. It asked to schedule a phone interview for Friday 23 January. I thought eight days in advance for a phone interview was strange, but of course I was agreeable. The interview was conducted by the HR person and lasted all of five minutes, perhaps seven. That was fine, though, because I received an email that very same afternoon scheduling an in-person interview for the following Thursday.

The company is housed in the Plug and Play Tech Center in Silicon Valley. It is a busy, bustling place with lots of people coming and going. In the parking lot you can see both new Mercedes and Hyundais that are a few years old. There’s businessmen in suits and programmers in T-shirts.

The interview was held in a quiet conference room, a stark contrast to the Plug and Play lobby. Present were the founder and CEO along with another company executive. If they had reached thirty years of age they had gotten there only recently. The interview was cordial, positive, friendly, and upbeat. And lasted all of twenty minutes.

A strange experience all around.

I should hear something by the end of this week.

at loose ends

This week things are not what they have been. It’s a return to the ordinary.

The week before last I had my colonoscopy. That takes time and mindshare until it’s over. My sister-in-law’s visit has come and gone. Last week I was on call for jury duty. I never had to go in, but I did have to check the Web page twice a day. I took advantage of Tuesday, a govermemnt, and hence a court holiday, to interview at a company that employs a long-ago former co-worker. Then, on Friday, I had my final meeting, by phone, with my coach at the outplacement firm. That benefit ended yesterday.

So the colonoscopy is history. My benefit with the outplacement firm has ended. Julie returned home a week ago yesterday. My long-ago former co-worker who holds they key to my possible employment at that company is on vacation until after Thanksgiving.

Here I am at loose ends. All I can do is to keep on keeping on and to keep the job search process moving forward.

And so I will.

(virtual) duct tape

My blog friend, Tahoe Mom, wrote about how her stage manager skills served her well at a picnic she helped organize. Her secret of success at the event, as well as in her long career as a stage manager, was, se wrote:

quoteOrganize, delegate, make rather quick decisions
and keep your eye on the duct tape.

That struck a chord with me. I realized that those are the same skills I employed as a Web content manager. I posted a response to her blog and told her that. She responded, “Even the duct tape part?”

Absolutely. Even the duct tape part. I can’t tell you how much HTML virtual duct tape I and my content team applied to the Web portal over the years.

So here’s to finding a new position in the world of Web content management, virtual duct tape and all.


yes, it can

That is, yes it can happen to me. I was never under any illusion that it couldn’t. Getting laid off that is.

I was notified on Friday. I can’t complain. I’ve dodged the bullet many times. This time I didn’t. To change metaphors, I’ve said for years that it’s like the children’s game of musical chairs. It’s all about where you happen to find yourself when the music stops.

That doesn’t make it any easier when it actually happens. As I wrote of Facebook, “Did you know that it is possible to cycle through denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance multiple times in a single hour?” That’s what Friday afternoon was like.

So I move ahead. I trust that this is the beginning of something bigger and better.