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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How strange is it that I couldn’t wait to come tell all of “you” how my “Put Up or Shut Up” went??? Is it wonderful, since my world is so blogishly expanded now or  am I a 12 year old girl alone bonding with her diary? Whatever…..

So do you want to know how it went down or what I wore? The PowerPoint went over very well-a bit unnerving as I was pitching to the heads of the agency about their own agency. But when you get where I/we are in this world, it takes a lot to really get ruffled.  I admit it was great to get this engine roaring again. A bit rejuvenating, I must say.

So, it’s a short-term consulting gig with great potential to be lengthened. Great people, great organization. I guess I work for myself!

And most importantly, here it is:

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Put Up or Shut Up!

March 25, 2009

Yes, Big Interview Day has come and gone. It went really well, I think…… Many pleasantries back and forth, shared sensibilities about the challenges at hand. Inserted all the alluring lingo I could manage into one hour-PowerPoint, Blogging, my Client Base, TweetDeck. Much nodding about collaborative opportunities that we must explore. 

And then, she says, “There is a ‘test’ to pass.” I am still nodding and smiling, but processing……. A test?!

Initial reactions in no particular order: Sure, I will do anything. What did she just say? What did I agree to do for free? I have to do what I said I can do? 

I think I was smiling while all of the above raced through my brain.

So, they request that I prepare a sample PowerPoint (one of the communication devices I “specialize”in) to pitch a new campaign they are working on. Just  an “opportunity to see if we are on the same page”. Really, it does make sense. An outside consultant would probably provide something similar to get the business and this “relationship” we are working on is consulting-like.  

And isn’t this what many of us have been waiting for-a stop to endless pre-screening applications and blab, blab, hypothetical blab during hard to earn interviews? Just a chance to do our stuff and make a difference. 

So off I go to focus and pound away. And probably spend a few too many minutes thinking about what I should wear…..

 

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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

Alright, I don’t really expect cuts in the line of the corporately employed. I would never presume to have kept pace in the queue with my cohorts who never took the detours I did. Those friends have sacrificed much and are running the show-well deserved! Even a first grader knows you have to get everyone around you to agree to let you back in before you leave your spot.

As I mentioned the other day, my career has not been a conventional one. I originally jumped off the corporate trajectory to allow for a more flexible workplace and family. I’ve got to admit I might have banked a bit too much on the working world’s warm welcome the first time around. When the chairman of my company called on my last day to encourage me to let him know when I wanted to return, perhaps he didn’t expect that call to come 20 years later! I guess it wasn’t just a blink of an eye to the rest of the world.

The topic of the assumption of re-emergence is covered painfully well in “The Feminine Mistake” by Leslie Bennetts. The women of my generation experienced few initial obstacles in the 80s and 90s. Did it come so easily for us that we took it for granted-like that “nice boy” that you just don’t appreciate? I know many of us were sure when the time was right, we would find our place again.

All I can say is I have far too many friends right now completely dumbfounded and flailing trying to rejoin the workforce and not meeting with much success. We need to do a better job of positively pitching our experiences from the other lines where we have been standing.

And if there is a next time that I get out of line, you can be sure I’ll get everyone to swear on “cuts allowed” when I return! 

 

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