Thursday, February 6, 2014


I’ve learned a lot about myself during these years of underemployment. It’s safe to say that I’m a saner, more grateful person. Nothing like having the rug pulled out from underneath you—and surviving—to make you see how much you still have once you get up.

I lost a friend suddenly last week. A person that made my heart jump every time I saw him. A guy that was so interesting, smart, thoughtful and weird I was looking forward to even the briefest of conversations to come.

More importantly, his girlfriend lost her partner, and their children lost their father. I can’t begin to imagine their grief and pain but it’s certainly put my life and worries into perspective. A job, a title, a salary--who cares? Suddenly it all seems paltry.

Because I’m working from home I’ve been able to help this family a lot this week. Stupid stuff like buying underwear for a visiting sister, securing xanax for another. Mostly just listening. Hours of listening. It felt good to be useful, much better than working on the iphone app I’m designing. I feel grateful to have the time to be part of this grieving and, as silly as it sounds, I feel like I’m supposed to be here. I’m good at it.

Several times I stopped and thought about what I would have been able to offer if I’d been working full-time. Probably not much. Perhaps someone else would have bought the underwear or thought of the xanax. But I don’t think anyone would have noticed the family member crying in the corner last night. I rubbed her shoulders for awhile while she talked. After a bit she said “I feel much better. Thank you for noticing how upset I was.”

Hopefully, I’ll go back to meetings and deadlines soon but for the time being I’m doing work that feels just as important.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

I'm back

It’s been a long time since I posted. I’ve been in a bit of a funk creatively but my mojo coming back. This is good news.

I haven’t been working much this past year--ok, 18 months--but have stayed home with the kids. And while this has been rewarding in so many ways, it wasn’t my first choice on how to spend my time. Yes, I accomplished some things: I spent wonderful moments with all 3 girls, started a screenplay, helped a retarded neighbor get social services. But I also lost track of my work self and started thinking I should be somebody else. Too much me-time is not good for my mind--I start to “over think.” Example: last Fall I was considering social work school or becoming a teacher. Why? Because I had convinced myself that I’m too old to make it in my field anymore. Somehow I'd convinced myself that a 50-year-old social worker seemed more reasonable than a 50-year-old digital designer.

But I don’t think that any more. How I got to this point is interesting. Between you and me, I’ve been seeing (or talking to, as she’s in Vermont) a life coach and, as cheesy as it sounds, it’s helping. One of the excercises I’ve had to do is write a purge--basically a stream-of-conscious brain dump--about my career and work life. It’s no surprise that my purge was filled with fear and doubt about competing against 26-year-olds for jobs and how all the jobs require social media skills and how I don’t know or care about social media so why would anyone hire me? Layered in there was my distain for “sharing” everything and some false (as well as some true) assumptions about what people do on socail media. And the distain and and false ideas were just an excuse not to try Istagram. Some of you may have noticed my sudden presence on Facebook and Istagram this week so you know where this is going. I beginning to tackle my distain and fear of social media. Yes, certain women post waaaaaaaay too many pictures of their kids and food but I found out that my old assistant got married ans was able to hook another one up with an immigrantion lawyer.

Another thing I’ve uncovered with the help of my life coach (ok go ahead and cringe) is that age is an easy thing to hide behind as well. It’s a comfy little pity party with lots of folks to commiserate with. As long as I believe I’m too old to learn the new technology no one is going to hire me. Sure being 50 is going to hurt me in some cases--I’ve been on enough interviews where the folks interviewing me are 20 years younger to know some situations are hopeless. But my age--and experience--is going to be an asset in some places. And that’s where I’m headed (after some continuing ed classes). I don’t want to be a social worker.