Laid Off, Now What?

May 28, 2009

Week 5, Next Week Live!

Filed under: 2009 May — Les O'Riley @ 8:05 am
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last week of training

last week of training

Five weeks of training completed

Iris is on the phone live this week but being monitored. If she does well, she goes live, unmonitored next week. If they feel she could use a little bit more help, they’ll monitor her for another week so they can be on-hand to give her assistance. This has been some training session. I know she can do it!

Chinese Baoding Balls

Chinese Baoding Balls

I’m taking a tip from my friend Barb at Before Morning Breaks and I’m going to give the Chinese baoding balls a try for relaxation, concentration and brain sharpening. I turned 53 today, and know that I can use all the brain sharpening help I can get. My set contains 40mm balls with fancy little dragons. Let’s see what they’re like. I’ll post back after I’ve used them for a while. It will be interesting to compare with Barb our feelings as to whether these are beneficial in any way. Documentation says it take more than a week of usage before one will begin to notice any benefits. Ha! I’m sure it will take at least that long to be able to coordinate turning these around in one hand. It should be an interesting learning experience.

May 26, 2009

4 Weeks Down, Live Training this Week

Filed under: 2009 May — Les O'Riley @ 11:34 am

Four weeks of training down, Iris goes live this week.

10Things_number4Down, entering week five. This will be a challenging week. The people Iris has been training with, (who have been there a couple of years,) say that it will take at least 2 months before she feels like she’s not raising her hand with every call to get supervisor assistance. But she’s been training for this and she’s going to give it her best.

Stay tuned for a progress report. ~ Les

May 21, 2009

Comfort Food knows No Hard Times

Filed under: 2009 May — Barb @ 2:02 am
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Photo by Racheliscoconut&Lime

Thanks Les, for letting me post. Since your blog’s theme is about looking for a job, I thought I’d share a money-saving practice which goes along with the disuse of your dishwasher.

I notice that we don’t throw away food anymore.  I used to have a small container of  a 1/2 cup of leftover carrots, another container of beans, and sometimes a plastic bag with a spare chicken thigh. These would get pushed around the refrigerator  shelves and  rejected as late night snacks and “old leftovers.” When I was afraid of opening the tub lid because I figured that I wouldn’t be able to identify the food, I would finally compost it.

Now, the fridge is emptied often. At the end of each week EVERYTHING goes in the soup pot. If there’s a bit of cereal in the bottom of one box and a little left in another, we simply mix the cereals together and use them.

But our favorite is macaroni. All the pastas get mixed together (spaghetti, shells, tubes, etc.) and cooked. Leftovers or bits and pieces aren’t composted or thrown away anymore.

Yes, we should have been doing this before my husband’s job went south, but I had the attitude that there would always be more, so why bother with the little odds and ends.

Strange how good lessons can come from hard times.

Sorry, this isn’t a photo of our crazy macaroni. We ate it before I could get a photo.

Thanks for the post.


May 19, 2009

Computers & Blackberries You Can Eat

Filed under: 2009 May — Les O'Riley @ 8:15 am
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Berries from the Garden

Berries from the Garden

Laptops, iPods, Blackberries, etc. In a world that has gone so crazily electronic, these are such a nice diversion.

Our friends and neighbors, Phil & Mary, and Iris and myself have a nice little arrangement. Iris and I do minor computer related things for them, like scanning an occasional picture for them, or removing a virus from their computer, or more accurately, Mary’s computer. In return, Phil & Mary share all kind of goodies with us. Lots of fresh fruit and veggies come from Phil’s garden, such as tomatoes, squash, green beans, and more. Ah yes, and don’t forget the best garden treat of all, blackberries. The best of the crop are Phil’s Brazos Blackberries. You can be sure that each one of them will have the diameter of a quarter. Juicy & sweet with just the right amount of tang to them, these are to be looked forward to every spring. Whether eaten fresh, as frozen treats, or made into the world’s best cobbler, they’re hard to beat. Phil takes care of the garden, never goes near a computer, but is also our resident gardening expert. He sprays a mixture of fungus killer and insecticide on our fruitless peach trees each year, helping them look beautiful when they bloom in the spring. Mary sends us emails with good recipes, and occasional funny or news article.

Well, it’s off to scan a picture of Phil’s grandfather and family that he found out in his work shed. His son saw it and asked if he would make him a copy. My part in this is to clean it up a bit in photoshop so it will make a nice print. Mary can email her son a smaller copy as well. No electronics for Phil. That’s fine with us. We’d much rather share his blackberries with us than an electronic one. Don’t forget the ice cream. ~ Les

May 17, 2009

Three Weeks Down, Two to Go

Filed under: 2009 May — Les O'Riley @ 6:54 pm
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3 Weeks Down

3 Weeks Down

Iris has just finished three out of her five weeks of training for her new job as a Technical Support Person for Verizon DSL Small Business Customers. Go Iris! Training for this tech support position has been a full-time endeavor. Her typical day has been like this, with no exception: Up at 7, shower, dress, inventory everything to go to work with, (lunchbox, waters, notebook/pen, purse, etc.) breakfast/coffee to go, and off she goes to be in work by 8:30. Classes start at 9, taking notes, working with equipment, listening in on calls and discussing everything with team members. Break for lunch, back at it, off at 5-5:30. After getting home and putting on some comfy clothes, we have dinner together, one day of the week watching our favorite TV show, (Medium) and back to studying. Iris spends most of the evening typing up notes from the day to study. It hasn’t been easy getting to bed at a decent time.

But Iris is a trooper. I continue to try to do all the things that she did while I was working, dishes, laundry, vacuuming, mowing the lawn, weed-whacking, taking out the garbage, changing the kitty box, etc., etc. Did I mention cooking 3 square meals a day? (Otherwise her lunchbox would have an echo in it.) One thing I think every day (for 3 weeks now) is that Iris did this same thing for me without complaining for nine YEARS! I suppose it will become routine, but it seems like it never ends. I’m not complaining, because at the same time it makes me more appreciative of what she has done for me for so long, and at the same time it gives me constructive things to do to maintain my sanity. I have come to the conclusion that it really is good for us to be busy.

I have been trying to retrain myself into being a one-task-at-a-time doer. I have read a lot lately about “living in the moment” instead of “…hoping for the future and worrying about the past” as Joni Mitchell once sang. After all, what can we do about the past? Can we really change the future?

Here’s a beautiful quote by Henry David Thoreau:

You must live in the present,
launch yourself on every wave,
find your eternity in each moment.

Not that he meant “launching yourself on every wave” as in a surfboard, but as surfing is my favorite sport, it makes this quote especially wonderful to contemplate. Here’s to you catching every wave of the moment. Not the past or the future, but the one right under your feet right now.

In the Moment

In the Moment

You Bet I Use the Dishwasher

Filed under: 2009 May — Les O'Riley @ 5:27 pm
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Yes, our dish washing machine works perfectly well. Perhaps too well. With just the two of us in the house, well, excluding our three kitties, it takes at least two meals to put a reasonable amount of dishes in the dishwasher to justify using it. Not to mention that having less than 100% faith that it will remove certain foods that turn to cement, (ever leave oatmeal or farina for the dishwasher to deal with?) we tend to get our sink water really hot and give them a good wash before putting them in, anyway.

So it dawned on me… why bother? Why bother using the dishwasher at all? After all, my parents grew up with out one and never missed it. Not to mention that mom was cooking for four of us, herself and dad, and me and my sister. Mom washed, dad dried, end of story.

Living two miles outside of the official city limits, we have a septic tank sewer system. I have been told that the nicest thing you can do for your (septic) system is to give it as little work to do as possible. Considering we had over six inches of rain last week alone, (don’t worry, soon it will stop for the whole summer,) I’m sure that it would be best to not pour hundreds of more gallons of water into it.

Not to mention how the dishwasher affects our other energy-sucking appliance, the air conditioner. Now that I am the only one at home during the day, (my go-getter wife having become the bread winner after I was laid off in February,) I only have the air conditioner on from one hour before she gets home, (so she can come home to a nice temp house,) until 9pm. By then the house is sufficiently cooled and will stay that way through the night, so off with the thermostat. We don’t use the oven much in the summer because it generates a good bit of hit in the kitchen. Why run the hot dishwasher? So I wash, scrub-a-dub dub, and our former dishwasher has become the dish drier.

Any other good ideas that you’ve come up with or been told about? Let’s hear them. We’ll all benefit from pulling in the reins a bit, and we can be kinder to our environment at the same time. ~ Les

May 14, 2009

Introducing a friend and Co-Author, Barb Froman

Filed under: 2009 May — Les O'Riley @ 12:24 am
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Barb and I met right here, on  Laid Off, Now What?

I like popping over to her blog. She’s upbeat and a good writer. As life would have it, her hubby was without work for a while, thanks to our recent economy. Fate somehow allowed us to cross paths, and now we bounce back and forth.

Stay tuned for her interesting input on whatever subject she chooses to share with us. In fact, you might want to add her blog to your list of good reads as well. I’ll add it to my blogroll tomorrow.  Sorry, it’s time for bed!

Barb, when you read this… hop on and introduce yourself.  🙂

May 12, 2009

Two Weeks Down for Iris

Filed under: 2009 May — Les O'Riley @ 8:03 am
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Two Down

Two Down

Iris has now finished two weeks of training. In fact, by tomorrow she’ll be 1/2 way through her third. Go, Iris, go! I’m still crankin’ out resumes, thinking, “oh yeah, this ones a great match.” Of course a half a million people from last month alone have joined me in the Land of the Living Unemployed. Hmm… almost sounds like a movie! Okay, maybe it’s the weather, 3 days of rain, that has me feeling somewhat less than chipper.

I applied for a networking position where my wife works. I am *perfectly* trained and suited for this position. One thing sad about those types of jobs, the ones you’re perfectly suited for… seems like they get away. I hope this is not the case with this one.

I’m holding off on the Pharmacy Tech training, hoping really hard that this networking job comes through, if not the supply specialist position with Raytheon, or the InDesign Professional job with JC Penney, or ….

Back to the hunt. ~ Les


May 4, 2009

One Week of Training Down

Filed under: 2009 May — Les O'Riley @ 8:35 am
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One Week Down

One Week Down

Iris finished up her first week of training. A few other adults and a whole bunch of techies, geeks and gamers rounded out the 18 or so individuals that make up her training class. Sort of an odd bunch. But I think that’s just the way it goes. Who else would want to commit to taking care of someone elses many computer problems, alllllllll day long?

So at first Iris is finding the material a little bit foreign. PPPoE, open, closed, DHCP, DNS… what the heck is this all about? While in the past Iris left all the technical stuff to me on our home network, like it or not, I think she’s going to be getting the hang of this stuff real soon. Stay tuned to how she fairs in week two.

My life as a house keeper continues. I have 25  minutes left to finish this post before it’s time to empty the cat box and get the garbage out to the corner. We never know when our garbage man is going to fly through. Sometimes as early as 10am, but sometimes as late as 5pm. He’ll be here, sooner or later, I just want to make sure we’re ready for him.

I put a bunch of resumes out last week. One was for a position I am perfectly suited for. It is for catalog production, design and editing for a women’s apparel catalog of a major clothing outlet. They want someone with a bachelor’s degree, (check) and at least two years experience, (check). Now, if they would only CALL me! The job is in McKinney, Texas, about a 45 minute drive from here, but I’d take it in a heartbeat.

That’s all for now. The cat box calls… ~ Les

April 25, 2009

One Down (not me) One to Go

Filed under: 2009 April — Les O'Riley @ 12:24 am
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Iris got a job.

Verizon Tech Support

Verizon Tech Support

I would have joined this tech support team as well if it weren’t for the little matter of insurance. If Iris and I both took a tech support position starting Monday, (which is when Iris will start her 5 week training period,) neither one of us would have insurance. In fact, if we both took the job, neither one of us would have insurance for 3 months, the mandatory waiting period before you’re allowed to have insurance. That’s pretty common, but creates quite a sticky situation.

Who can live without health insurance? The last time I was unemployed, I had only lost my job (and insurance) a few weeks earlier, when BAMMM!, Iris developed excruciatingly painful kidney stones. So, what’s one to do… off to the emergency room we went. A small treatment or two and a couple of thousand dollars and she was all better. So much for savings. Count with me: ONE…TWO…THREE! Gone.

Since I still have COBRA insurance available to me from my most recent job (who I wish would call me back,) I will maintain my insurance for the next 3 months until Iris’ insurance kicks in, and then she can tack me onto her insurance as well. Of course if I find a wonderful and high paying job in the meantime in this thriving economy, I’ll just drop the COBRA and pay for our insurance until Iris’ kicks in and covers us both. This should happen any day now, eh?

New idea: in addition to continuing to look for a job, I am going to take a certification course to become a Pharmacy Technician. (A glorified prescription filler.) Before you say “why?” consider this: The average starting pay for a Pharmacy Technician is $18.33 an hour, and it only takes a 6 month course to prepare for the national exam.  Then I’ll have a bachelor’s degree in Management, an associate’s degree in Network Administration, and a Pharmacy Technician certification. Heck, after that maybe I’ll add a Master’s degree in Health Science, and then a Doctorate of Pharmacy! Who knows. One step at a time.

Anyway, that’s the plan. Next week I get to start doing all of the things that Iris has so wonderfully done while I was working full time over the last 9 years we’ve shared our lives together… cleaning, cooking, laundry, mowing, (darn it!,) changing the cat box, (eww!,) grocery shopping, and who knows what else. Oh yeah, paying the bills… with her income, however.

So, this is a switch, but really it’s just another way for us to work out the every day demands of life together. We make our decisions together which gives us great confidence that everything is going to work out fine.

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