Up until six months ago I lived in a box. Metaphysical to be sure, but a box nonetheless. My box kept my frame of reference focused on about a ten year span of my current life. 

Several months ago, I, like many of you, was pulled onto Facebook. While still not a huge fan, it has blown out  the back of that box and renewed amazing old friendships. While infrequent reunion trips back to college would loosen up those memories, they would safely return to their stored spots as soon as I pulled into my driveway. Facebook has a way of  merging bits of my past into my day-to-day present. A bit spooky at times, but cool…..

Then a few weeks ago, I bravely toddled over to Twitter to see what that was all about. Let me tell you, it can be a mind blowing experience. Within a few days my universe had expanded beyond my initial obsession following Demi/Ashton or Michelle O’s outfits into reaching out to new, wildly varying “friends”. Connections made with writers I had been following for years as well as fellow bloggers have seemed to open up an exciting future. 

So, between the Facebook past and my Twitter future I find myself sliding seemlessly from rewind to fast forward as easily as TiVo moves my favorite recorded shows. My new friend at Adventures In Ecommerce refers to this at the Fourth Dimension. Instead of feeling the weight of all of this, I feel weightless as if floating in space. A Twilight Zone that is truly freeing, as if that old box can’t contain me and my dreams as easily as it once could. To infinity and beyond……

Anyone else?

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No, no, it’s not that I think I am a great blogger. Nor a juicy target for advertisers or bigger gobbling blogs to devour me for millions. It all goes back to Cloris Leachman.

For those of you who have not been with me since the beginning, an “early” post discussed the age gap I was struck with when Cloris Leachman’s name came up (before her Dancing With the Network Stars entry.) Basically, the younger girls did not even know who Mary Tyler Moore’s neighbor was-if this applies to you, please stop reading!

Anywho, I cleverly went to Google Image and posted a favorite picture of Mary, Phyllis and Rhoda at the end of the blog. Click “Publish” and that was it. Two comments and several weeks later it was forgotten.

Then, as any new blogger does several times a day, I was on my WordPress Dashboard hoping to see a few more visitors to my site, when the strangest sight caught my eye. The graph showing daily visitors had jumped so high, it would have meant cardiac arrest on a heart attack victim’s monitor. 

What was up? Had I been discovered? I could see it was coming from Google Image and sometimes had Cloris’ name attached to the search. Did she die? (Sorry Cloris!) It took my brother-in-law over at Without A Net to tell me she has just published a tell-all book. 

And now my heroine Mary Tyler Moore is making the rounds spiking the searches even more. So, here I sit, the girl formerly happy with 50 visits a day. Last few days-1,479 and 902!

So, all you blog gurus, is there something I should do about this to take advantage? I am sure they are just clicking through my site, but it is an interesting bait that I had not thought about before. I guess I should specialize in Cloris gossip dirt and 1,479 might hang around with me for a while!

So whose photo should I insert next? How about The Material Girl?

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Sitting in a waiting room this morning captive to the pre-selected TV channel (thank God not Jerry Springer), I saw a piece that could inspire many of us. The “Today Show” was featuring several interns doing work in NYC. The difference was they were not bright faced 20 year olds, but instead “women of a certain age” as a fellow blogger Karen Knott might call them. They were all very capable journalists facing a changing workplace and needing updated skills. Sure, it took a lot of guts and they were offering their services for free, but really, ingenious.

Think about it this weekend-who could you call upon to pitch this idea? It should be well thought out and approached in the same way any business proposal would be presented. Great exchange though-you offer your enthusiastic work ethic in exchange for exposure to new skills, an elimination of the dreaded resume gap and an opportunity to make some amazing new contacts. In this tough economy, you might be exactly who someone could use right now!

Let’s get going…….

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Enough already…. Okay, I’ve moaned a bit about poor me. Aren’t there 5 stages of something? So I spent some time in shock. Apparently the Big World did not hold its breath for 20 years eagerly anticipating my return. I’m over it and ready to take matters into my own hands!

Having spent time on these boards I know I am not alone-you might either be right along with me or a few steps ahead. So how about we pool our resources and come up with some things we can do on our own, rather than whining about what the world is saying we can’t do . 

I am determined that I can switch careers. I’ve been told my whole life that I’m a PR natural. I just need to get some wind beneath my wings so to speak.

My friends who have been most successful at re-emergence have gone big by going back to school. I just don’t want to do that. I still have haunting nightmares of trying to pound my way into mysteriously locked buildings for finals. 

Instead I’ve put together my own graduate degree which I hope has set me on the right path. I have invested a bit in myself  to attain my MBF-Masters in Becoming Fabulous!

I’ve taken an amazing series of online courses at  MediaBistro.com all taught by sharp PR pros and walked away with an extensive working portfolio. I’ve also attended advanced seminars from  Sponsorship.com and The Donors Forum.

I have found all of this just put a more formal spin on much of what I’ve been doing on my own for two decades. But now I am more current with buzz words and trends. I’m shaving rings off my tree trunk circles.

I got over any trepidation about newer computer skills-lifelong PC girl went out and bought myself a Mac-and it’s mind blowing. Roamed around Borders a bit and brought home “Powerpoint in 24 Easy Lessons”. Guess what-I’m pretty darn good at it!

Then there’s this whole Blog thing-a world of people out there have no idea how to set this up-I plan to find them and offer my most proficient services. Of course there’s my LinkedIn page and now I am somehow Twitting from the Tweetdeck as well!

In other words I have replaced the hours I was spending staring at online applications and turned them into actual experiences to show for myself. Later we’ll talk about actually putting it into use.

I’d love to hear from you on what you have done to get yourself ready. Let’s go the party together!party-11

I admit it, I am one of those sentimental fools with letters to my kids in the safety deposit box (please remind my husband in case he forgets). They would be a bit mortifying if published, even in this anonymous blogging world, right?

However, there are a few things I could pass on not only to my daughters, but maybe to yours as well.  Since I am sure your daughters are as unlikely to listen to you as mine to me, perhaps we could trade and share our stories with them! 

So here goes: Girls…..

1)Fearlessly search for a sustainable passion. If you love it, you will keep yourself involved one way or another over your lifetime. Many of us were encouraged to follow the “serious” career path-the one that our mothers were discouraged from following. Nothing wrong with serious-but it should connect with you. I truly feel this is what made it easier for many of us to “drop out”. There was no gut connection to our career even on our best days. So in the end it didn’t really matter if it was high paying-once you’ve left and it’s “no paying”, that point is moot! Even if you completely change direction later on, you will have had a taste of passion and won’t settle for anything less.

2)Embrace the love of making money for its own sake. This might go against #1, but I have noticed that many of us girls never took pride in the pleasure of just making the cash. Why is this? It certainly tides the boys over the rough patch or two that are bound to come up even in the most passionate pursuits. Maybe it’s just my age, but it all seemed a bit beneath us to be working for the money. Now I see it’s the ticket to true financial and emotional freedom. As Gordon Gekko said, “Greed is GOOD!” 

3) Feel free to take the time you need for detours. I still believe this can be done while heeding the lessons of “The Feminine Mistake”. Just keep vigilant during the detour just as you would if you were taking any unknown road. Don’t lose track of what’s going on with the road you jumped off-you never know when you will want to get back on.

And if  you leave the line,  be sure to visit from time to time with yummy snacks so they save you a spot somewhere!

What about you, wise friends? What else can we share with our daughters?

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Regardless of the fabulous single process color of my hair, the graduation date on my resume is the elephant in any interview room. “I thought she was a lot younger than that” is the best I can hope for as they do the math, hopefully comparing me to their age and not their mother’s!

You see, it’s a Catch-22. I’ve spent some years out of the corporate loop. So, of course it’s important to fill those dreaded gaps with impacting action phrases describing my successful, if unconventional ventures. Which all of a sudden makes me both overqualified and dramatically unproven at the same time.

I have applied for some positions only to be either rejected as it’s deemed below my qualifications or promoted to interview for a senior position where other candidates more seamlessly fit the mold. Would I sound lacking in confidence (or the desperado I sense I am becoming) to admit, “Hey, just bring me on at any level. I know I can do it and the clock is ticking!”

You see, I wasn’t expecting to keep pace with my peers that toiled these past 20 years in a conventional job. But it is becoming shockingly clear that there was an expiration date on the value of my original corporate experience-and some view my date should land me in the spoiled bin!

Matt Youngquist, author of Career Horizons: The Blog! offers an insightful punch list of issues for those of us engaged in the post 40 job search. It is spot on in assessing these silent but deadly misgivings the guy across the table might be having. I plan on working my way down the list to be better prepared for my next fabulous opportunity.

How’s that for optimism? What are your secrets for keeping the faith?

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So now its true confession time. People ask, “How’s that job search going?” and I would love to have a reply of the many actual interviews I have taken and offers I am considering. Do I really admit I have hardly left my computer screen?

I have to say I don’t feel as crazy since I started sharing post-40 job search struggles with friends in the same boat. You would think the Internet search engines of GoDaddy.com, Careerbuilder.com and Monster.com would make this whole process a breeze. But instead they have created WasteYourWholeDayStaringAtAMonitor.com!

Talk about overthinking-I have debated my entire  year’s vacation plans, wardrobe options and possible train schedules over a new job posting. I have written and rewritten cover letters to someone I will never meet. I have creatively filled the dreaded resume “gap” with action sounding entries to avoid the obvious-I spent a few decades holding puke buckets and playing amateur shrink to my household. 

But here’s the truth, hours later that “Submit” button finally gets pushed by my sweaty finger and then-NOTHING. Where is the graveyard of overwrought  submissions?

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