Thursday, February 19, 2015

Job Search Fun

“When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless.
You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space.”
                                                                                            Pema Chödrön
Remember when I said I didn’t have to send my resume through the black hole of the Internet anymore?  Well, I’m back at it.   The year’s gift for my Sabbatical has passed.  It was, and continues to be, amazing.  Truth be told, I would Sabbatical for the rest of my life if I could.  But, that is not smart or feasible on so many levels.  It was asked of me last year if I would outlive my savings.  Since I cannot predict how long I’ll be on this fine earth of ours, I must be prudent. ?!

Thankfully I did actually do some work with pay (not “just” volunteer work) during my Sabbatical year.  Teaching CPR/First Aid for Initiate Care is, and has been, quite an adventure.  That continues. My Food Film Festivals during the fall actually had me on the Production Team! (God, I love saying things like that.)  That will continue per event, I believe and hope.  If I am to stay in this great Gotham, I must be a bit more financially sustainable.

I have realized something very interesting about myself in this healing process: I am now truly afraid of any type of commitment.  Personal or professional.  I feel like a 20 year old guy.  (Yes, I have always admitted I’m a bit sexist.)  Right now, I would love a series of part-time gigs to dabble a bit. 

For instance, through Craig and his list (my faith restored a bit thanks to my new lovely home) I spent a couple of days recently at the Javits Center helping a lovely Couple, set up and break down their booths for the NY Now Gift Show.  Their company, Arbiter, carries beautiful, colorful, and fun pieces from Italy.  When I asked how they got started doing this, Lovely Lady replied: “As with so many things, a wonderful trip.”  I knew we’d get along splendidly.  We did. It was fun, different and made me realize something I have actually known for quite awhile, retail is tough work.

From CareertThinker's website
So, back to the drawing boards of the job search.  If anyone has done this as a “Person of a Certain Age”, it is an adventure to say the least.   Continuing to take advantage of the wonderful classes, lectures and programs of the NYPL system I have learned much at Tom Powner’s talks.  Tom was a successful businessman who wanted more; and after some personal sadness; decided to go for a dream he  had.  (Sound familiar?).  Having been the person in charge of hiring in his last company, he wanted to help people with their resumes, etc.  So, was born.  Another desire he always had, but no time for, was “giving back”.  Now he teaches these great courses for free.  The classes are usually full.  (I met a lovely Lady who actually came and volunteered for me at VDay’s OBR event a couple of weeks ago..more on that later.)

Having re-worked my resume, yet again, using some tidbits I’ve picked up: each job should have a resume written just for it, not to mention a wonderful cover letter.  Tom says each job requires about two hours of work on these.  Much of the time now, before a human even sees any of the information, there are computer software programs (ATS: applicant tracking software) that “read” resumes first and target them.   It wasn’t already inhumane enough.

Recently I spent a Sunday afternoon perusing Craigslist, and found a few jobs that looked interesting.   OMG, I got a response almost immediately from one!  (Have I mentioned the “black hole’?)  This is true and too good not to share:

The Posting:
“Special Events/Personal Assistant Part time to.start (Union Square)
compensation: 1500-2000
Events and Entertainment services CEO seeks part time Personal Assistant. Organize and maintain home office studio., event venue showings, SEO,assist with Web development, organize galas and dating events. Open minded and flexible for early morning and late night.meetings as needed.PR, Marketing, Fashion.interest or experience a must. Domestic duties as needed., celebrity contact.”
  • I won’t bother you with my cover letter, etc.  But this is the response that made me giddy, before I opened it:  “Read ad carefully thanks.”
  •  Wanting, needing, having to respond back, I wanted to say back F…you.  Instead I sent:  “?  I thought I did?  Thanks for even responding.”
  •  Next response from prospective employerVery personal assistant.”
  • Now I was literally laughing out loud.  So, I replied:  “Oh!  Never mind!  Didn't understand what the hours meant! (Or how to read between the lines?)  No matter how much I grow up, guess I'll always be naive!  Again, I really appreciate a response.  Good luck finding your very personal assistant!  Be well.”
  • From the person I realized would never be my employer, for so many reasons:  “Are you here in NYC?”
  • Now it’s simply crazy:  “I am.”
  • Again from employer:  “Your resume is great we  Cary. CEO”  (The name of his/her?! company was also on that email.  I checked it out.  It looks great.  I would have loved to get a job in a company like that to continue my education in the event world I have fallen in love with..)
  • My response: “Cary, Thank you.  You have no idea how much that means to me.  Trying to change careers, especially in NYC, is daunting at best.  But, in full disclosure, I’m not looking to be anyone’s very personal assistant?!  If you’d really like to meet to discuss any tips you can give me professionally, I’m game.  Especially as I really would love to continue working events.”
  • Cary’s response: “Understood.”
  • My final response: “Got to admit, you have given me some smiles this afternoon.  Thank you.  I’m curious.. Anyway, your website is lovely.”
  • Cary’s final response: “Thank yiu.”

 (My Girls exclaimed when I told them this story..”Stay off Craigslist!  It’s nothing but gross perverts and porn.”  I explained that I must disagree, and that Tom confirmed that he loves Craigslist, as many small companies use it exclusively due to the economic realities.  It’s much cheaper than, etc.)

The search, the adventure, continues.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

Christmas Time with Cousins

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, 
everything is softer and more beautiful.”
Norman Vincent Peale

Computers.  Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em.  Love them/hate them.  Spending a good part of a winter afternoon writing a blog piece about special Holiday visitors, I could have sworn I saved it.  I “know” I did.  The next day, nowhere to be found.  I have finally gotten over my fear of calling Mac support and even the young lad couldn’t find it (What was uplifting is that all the ways he had me search for it, I had already done!)… Argh.

My Sojourn
So, second try.  Having mentioned often how I love sharing my NYC with special people (and feeding my tour guide hunger), Cousins, Mom and her Daughter, came down to play with me to ring in the Christmas season.  Arriving on a rainy Friday evening, hungry and tired, we simply crossed over to my Sojourn where we got the royal treatment!  My Teen had her first taste of brussell spouts, and loved them.  They are done very well at Sojourn.  (I have been told that are now served regularly at their home.)

Saturday morning we woke to a lot more rain (thankfully it wasn’t too cold or icy), but couldn’t let that deter us.  Rounding the corner to a sweet little Belgian bakery, O Merveilleux Belgian Meringue, we started with some decadent sustenance.  I purposely would forget about the place (now it’s not around the corner..).

From there, my Cousins got their first taste of NYC’s MTA, where we spent much of the day going up and down the island of Manhattan.  First stop was Herald Square where I had read of a little pop-up Christmas Market.  Since we were in the neighborhood we scooted over to Macy’s to see their awesome Christmas window displays.  Next stop, a peek at Chelsea Market.  Whereupon I learned of my Teen’s bottom-less stomach (oh, to be young again..).  She had a real hankering for a good old hot dog from a street cart.  Found one!  (And my Cousins kindly treated a homeless man to a dog with the works.)  I hate hot dogs from anywhere.  I got some chicken. 

Backtracking a bit, we headed up to Grand Central.  We poked into the MTA Museum Annex to see the Holiday Train exhibit which was awesome (something I had been meaning to see for years.).  We then stopped and got some fruit, and “copped a squat” (ala “Pretty Woman”) in the great hall and literally just watched the world go by for awhile which was actually quite enjoyable, and definitely interesting.  We then perused the Grand Central Holiday Market but quickly realized that while filled with lovely things, not much fit a Teen’s spending budget. 

From Wikipedia
Hmm, where to take a teen to shop?  Canal Street!  While not as busy and crazy as in years past, the Vendors are getting ruder, louder, and crazier.  Quite fun.  Never has it failed, whomever I have brought to this crazy street, doesn’t matter on age or size (females), after a couple of stalls my “guests” always get a look in heir eyes and decide they are on a mission…With Teens, I always explain the trick of the haggle.  Usually they are very hesitant at first, and again, always get into it quickly!  So it was, we went into many stalls, got yelled at, got kicked out of at least one, and then finally found one with a pleasant young man.  My Teen asked for the type of bag she wanted.  He brought us into the next room, then pushed on a wall (I was delighted.  My Cousins were going to get the whole Canal Street experience!), and into a dark space we followed.  Finally he hit a switch on the wall, light, and “Candyland!  Less than 10 minutes later we emerged and my teen was a very happy camper with her treat for a price she was quite pleased with.  After a few more treasures, we headed even further south for more fun.
Canal Street is still a destination point for “designer” pocketbooks.

One of my favorite places in this city (yes, I have many), but a very historical, poignant, and meaningful stop is the neighborhood of the World Trade Center. For quite awhile after 9-11 I wouldn’t go, now it’s a must see.  Getting off the train my Teen saw the Wafels & Dinges food cart, so first a stop (in the rain) for a decadent treat, which by the look of her face covered from ear to ear, nose to chin, in chocolate, was enjoyed immensely.  Then to my usual first stop in that neighborhood, St Paul’s Chapel, followed by a visit to the 9-11 Memorial (I still haven’t gone to the museum yet.).  And, since it was so close, I brought my Teen to Century 21, known for it’s good priced treasures.  However, it was there we all hit a wall, and decided to go home to rest for a bit.

While deciding what to do for dinner, go out, or order in like NY’ers?  my Guests asked if we could simply go back over to Sojourn.  More regulars!  It was an early dinner for a NYC Saturday, but we had more places to go, and things to see!  Heading into Rockefeller Center to go up to The Top of the Rock, the kind Guide explained that there was zero visibility.  Lesson learned: tickets bought for the Top of the Rock are good for a year, in case that should happen: lousy visibility.  My Cousins will simply have to come back.  We enjoyed The Tree and the ice skating from ground level instead.

From the Radio City Website

Crossing the street to Radio City Music Hall to see their Christmas Spectacular (still one of my favorite Christmas shows) we got herded in a very orderly fashion.  They really do have crowd control down to a science.  Impressive.  Then, instead of walking along the Christmas magic of 5th Avenue; we couldn’t; we went home to the Hx3 and promptly fell into bed.  Started ay 9:15am, hit the hay at midnight.  Successful,wonderful day doing many “quintessential NYC things.”
Also from Radio City's website

Sunday, we had a light brunch at Hi-Life and my guests headed home, still tired, but happy, I believe.