Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas to all!

Merry Christmas to all of my readers, page-viewers, fans, supporters and others! 

Feeling Blessed

In the pursuit of having 'An Entirely Different Life', I've been spending a lot of time in entirely different circumstances of late. To bring you up to speed, I had lost my main source of income a little over two months ago. This led me to the pursuit of something else to do for a living. One of the things I'd vowed to do was to have an open mind and toss out any negative or preconceived notions I had about myself. I'd applied to all sorts of places, wondering feverishly if I had a place within those organizations. In my situation, there also were hundreds more people pursuing the same things I was and most of them won the big prize. 

My rationale is that the reason why I didn't get those other jobs is because God was prepping me for something better. So I quickly got over my disappointment of not having gotten those jobs and set my sights on the future. The opportunity that I ended up pursuing is a position that found me, more or less. I'd looked into a job site that in the past, I'd given the bum's rush to. But this time, I struck gold. I just so happened to look into a section on that site as more of a 'well, let's just see what's in here, shall we?' and found the opportunity that I've been absorbed with the past month and a half or so. 

I'm not going to name the organization but I do want to impress on you that the people sitting at the head table really believe in people and they are willing to give everyone a chance. They don't push people out for their age, lack of degrees or anything else that has barred me and so many others from moving forward in any industry or company.

One of the best parts of this whole process is how nice and positive the management team has been from Day 1. They are very encouraging to the point that they may see something in you, some skill that you might have overlooked or not developed and they assist you in promoting that strength. I feel very blessed due to this experience. It feels so nice to have someone at the top believing in you. You have no idea how awesome this feels and along with that, I see that I tend to push myself even harder. Encouragement is a very good thing. 

Aside from the management, the people that have been hired along with me are several shades of awesome. When you spend a good chunk of your time in training with these folks, you begin to learn about them and their stories, their lives and their struggles. I feel pretty bonded to a lot of the people that were in training with me as well as my new manager. I'm happy to have taken this journey with all of them. 

You see, because I was being lined up for something so much better, this is why I didn't get those other jobs. I'm not mad at those other companies, in fact they did me a big favor even though I didn't know it at the time. The sky is the limit with this and I think that a future unlike anything I have ever experienced is just waiting down the road.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

All In A Day's Work

Every now and then, I find a blog, essay or written piece in my internet travels that speaks to me. It could have to do with phrasing or a concept. In other instances, I could relate so well to what the person is saying that I just want to leap out of my chair and scream "Yes! This person gets it!" The piece that I am about to run is one such article. 

As some of you might know, I lost my main source of income a couple of months back. My circumstances have changed for the better, thankfully. Along with my being out of work the past few months, a good handful of friends also were. This day in age, the chances of you knowing more than one friend who is also unemployed is more of the rule as opposed to the exception. In as much as ten years ago, this was unheard of. 

The article I am about to run is by a good friend of mine, who I have known almost twenty years. We met at a company I had worked for many years ago. Yesterday, she put this piece together and ran it on her Facebook page. I loved it so much that my first thought was that this article needs to run over here and be seen by a lot of others who might not have the chance to see it otherwise. When I spoke to my friend yesterday, we discussed a few things regarding her thoughts about the process of looking for work and applying for jobs.

 One thing that she wishes to emphasize is that you must keep an open mind when searching for a job. There is hope, there are jobs out there and with a little patience it can happen! So having put forth her words, with pleasure, here is the article written by my good friend Lupe Schillari. 

A non-fiction story by Lupe Schillari

As I sit here, contemplating whether to write about my younger self: A single mom of two boys juggling two jobs, one of which was a hectic career, struggling to make ends meet, it dawned on me that there are probably tens of thousands of women experiencing the same thing I have gone through and that there are dozens of stories written about it as well. Granted, this is quite the tribulation, but at the time I was going through this, I was a naive whippersnapper with high hopes and nothing was going to stand in my way. It was something I did lovingly for my family with no second thoughts.
Fast forward to present day: A gray-haired, middle-aged, former graphic designer who knows nothing about the current digital world or web designing, desperately looking for an identity and . . .  a job.
It has occurred to me that job hunting is a career in itself! You wake up early, just as you would if you had a job to go to, make a pot of coffee, shower and ready yourself for the long day ahead of you. Next, you turn on the computer which by now, you have become so friendly with, you swear it is taking over your best friend’s spot. You proceed to read your emails, the current events of the day, enter a few sweepstakes in hopes you win a trip to some exotic island so you can say you took a vacation this year, all while sipping on your favorite blend of coffee, and then, the grind begins.
If you are like me, you have the job sites come to you. You can have them email you as opposed to you remembering which ones to go to and logging on to them every day. You can set them up to search for the type of job or career you would like and the area you are interested in. Once this is all done, the rest is easy, or so they claim.
You spend hours upon hours searching through pages upon pages, sites upon sites, jobs upon jobs, well, I’m sure you get the picture, whether you presently go through this or have experienced it in the past. You stumble across a position that sounds like something you would be interested in or you know how to do. You fill out what seems to be the mandatory subscription for the actual site this job is on with a user name and a password. It then takes you to the page with the job description, the job requirements, the job responsibilities, the required job skills, the desired job skills, (yes, there is a difference) the benefits included with the job and the possible company info. Whew! This alone is enough to give anyone a headache!
Once you read through all of this, if you are brave enough, you click on the link provided which takes you to a page where you can download a copy of your resume and cover letter, along with an application to fill out. Simple enough you say, not realizing that beyond that application requesting your name, address, and phone number, are questions and an assessment that will take hours to complete. Oh yes, you thought that your test-taking days were over when you graduated college or high school? NOT! Also, don’t be fooled by their insistence that it will only take you 10 minutes to complete. Ha! I have yet to experience that!
By the time you finish applying for job #1, it is lunch time. You stretch your legs, get yourself something to eat just as you would if you were at the office, relax for a bit and before you know it, you grudgingly find yourself staring at the computer screen again, wondering if there are any other jobs available.
I will spare you the heartache of reliving the steps we took earlier, but I will tell you this, it’s another several hours of hard work. Alright, not hard as in physical labor, but hard as in emotionally draining, eyesight depleting, bank account emptying and time exhausting work. The type of employment I wouldn’t wish on anyone, not even my worst enemy! Yet, there are thousands of us
with these career trials, day after day, month after month, year after year, that most people never see, nor understand.
Yes, work is tough, no matter what that job may be, but it is all in a day’s work.

** Happily, Lupe has since found a great job in a new field.**

Thursday, December 5, 2013

All The Wines....Two Corks Up!

Today was the day I chose to do something local. A good friend of mine who I had known from my last place of employment recently got a new job that she loves. She is a bartender/ wine taster server/tour guide at the Florida Orange Groves Winery in Pasadena, FL. Prior to her getting a job at the Winery, she was also a frequent customer of the same business. Isn't it nice when a person gets a job doing something they love? I think she's really lucky in this respect.

Anyway, I headed down to the Winery midday. It was not crowded at all and the admission was free. Tonight they are having a wine-tasting for $5 a person. My friend was happy to see me. She offered a tour of the winery plus a free tasting of 8 wines of my choice. Before the tour, she let me watch a video where the making and bottling of the wine was demonstrated and I learned a few things in the process. Bottling techniques were shown as well. The corks that are used at this facility are made of resin and do not fall apart when a corkscrew is inserted unlike other wines, where you get pieces of cork floating in them. Yuck!

A little background about Florida Orange Grove Winery...the Shook family started development of their unique wines in 1991 and the winery opened its door in Sept 1997. The wines made here are not like the wine you'd get at Napa, France, Italy or any other areas known for fine wines. The main ingredients of the wines at this winery are Florida grown such as citrus, tropical and berry wines. All of the wines are 100% fresh squeezed juice. The winery received an honor in 2000 in which the Florida Citrus Commission approved the use of one of its licensing marks on a beverage other than orange or grapefruit juice. The winery was granted the right to use the 'Florida Sunshine Tree' logo on all of their citrus wines.

Some of the products available include Wine Smoothie (Heaven in slushie form!), Port, Sherry, Sangria, Wine and Champagne. The ones I had the pleasure of enjoying today were Sparkling Cranberry (a bottle of which came home with me!); Sparkling Blueberry Blue; Blueberry Blue; Key Limen (which I would make a special trip back to get a bottle of this!); Mango Mamma; Festiberry; Orange Blossom Honey (which is also known as Mead) and Flamingo Fling Port (a head concoction of chocolate and raspberry!). As for the smoothies, I had Orange Creme Extreme Smoothie Mix (tastes a bit like an orange creamsicle with a kick to it!) and the delightful Key Limen Smoothie mix (which my friend told me can be served in a margarita glass with graham cracker crust on the rim! OMG...YUM!)

Everyone gets their choice of 8 wines plus 2 wine smoothies. If you would want more, I believe it's an added $5. I was also treated to a tiny cup of hot mulled wine. The mulling spices are sold in the store along with every wine-oriented gadget that you could imagine. There were glasses; wine bags; jams; jellies; dip mixes; wine bottle stoppers; corkscrews; and other nifty gifts with a Floridian air to them.

So having enjoyed my time there, I give Florida Orange Groves Winery two corks up! I would recommend this facility to anyone here in vacation or locals to give it a try.

The winery is open for tours and tastings daily 10:00am to 4:00pm, Mon-Sat and on Sunday from noon to 3:30pm. To find out more about this unique winery, feel free to visit www.floridawine.com.