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A Reversal of Fortune

Step right up, folks, our ride is about to begin ... again. Unfortunately, shortly after celebrating his one-year anniversary with a new company, my husband was let go. (Cue the screaming.)





There had been some "restructuring" (why is that word often the death knell for so many?) which occurred mid-winter and while it wasn't without its challenges, he was trying to make the best of it.

We knew things weren't great when the much-ballyhooed holiday party was cancelled back in December without much notice. Next, a move to a nicer building was put on hold indefinitely. Then, little by little, colleagues started to slip away and my husband wasn't sure if their departures were voluntary. (Spoiler alert: They weren't.)  The cryptic emails that followed their abrupt disappearances went a little something like this:

"Dan is no longer with the company. Let's wish him well in all his future endeavors!" and were sent out only after Dan's cubicle was stri…

A Thought Leader ... Who Me? & A Bit About UpScored

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A few months ago, Elise Runde Voss, chief executive officer of UpScored reached out to me after reading my piece on how networking helped my husband get back to work after being laid-off. In her email, she referred to me as "a thought leader in career development and progression." Now before I go any further, as a woman who can barely get her kids to wear long pants in a blizzard, I was beyond flattered, so naturally, I wanted to hear what else she had to say.

Her new endeavor, UpScored, is a career discovery platform that connects professionals to their best career prospects. As someone who struggled with finding a job for far longer than I'd have liked, I was intrigued and wanted to learn more.

Fortunately, I had the pleasure of speaking with the entrepreneur who is determined to streamline the job search (and hiring) process. I highly recommend checking out the site. I did -- for research purposes, of course -- and was pretty impressed and surprised by how user-friend…

Where I've Been

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A few friends have asked if I've given up writing this blog. While I definitely hadn’t intended to, I haven't had much free time lately. As I've mentioned in other posts, I've been freelancing whenever and wherever I have the opportunity. 

Initially, I felt like I couldn't turn down any work in case one of us found ourselves unexpectedly out of work again. Then, I just kept it up because I enjoyed having an opportunity to write on a variety of different topics. Now, I’m doing it more than ever because I found myself in need of a big ole influx of cash. Let me explain. 

In November, my husband and I went to a fundraising event which we attend every year. In the name of a worthy cause, I often find myself spending the silent auction portion of the evening bidding on items we definitely don’t need. Think: shopping carts/chair caddies you can take to the beach (??), skydiving lessons, a bouquet of fast food gift cards … you get the idea. 

But when it comes to the live auc…

The LinkedIn Endorsements You Wish Existed

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When it comes to LinkedIn endorsements, there are different schools of thought on their value. Some people are delighted when they receive a notification that someone thinks they're great at proofreading and three unrelated skills. Others regard them as a bunch of hooey. I probably fall into the latter category as I've been endorsed twice for speechwriting. Yet, aside from the short lackluster toast I gave at my dad's 70th birthday party, I really have no experience with this. And I don't think the people who endorsed me were at that small affair.

While the catalog of endorsement traits is vast and sundry, here are a few I wish existed, because, let's face it, we've all worked with people who've honed these skills to perfection:

Oration

A testament to those long and loud personal calls, which after 10 minutes begin to take on the fever-pitch of a televangelist

Nomadic Tendencies

The ability to carry an always-full water bottle and wander from cube to cube com…

How Networking Brought Us Our Unexpected Fairy Tale Ending

My husband just celebrated his six-month anniversary at his new job and since several people have asked me how it's going for him, I thought I'd provide an update. But first, here's a quick recap: After 20 years at the same company he was laid off out of the blue on a Monday in November of 2013.

At first, he experienced the feelings of relief and the euphoria that come from shedding the mantle of responsibility and knowing never again will you have to see the manager who sent you confusing and condescending emails for years. But, unfortunately, as months passed, those positive emotions gave way to fear and anxiety as his job search extended well beyond when his generous severance package ended.

Thankfully, in March, after networking with just about everyone he'd ever been within 50 feet of, he received a job offer that seemed too good to be true. In fact, it still does. His commute, which was 90 minutes door to door each way (on a good day) has shrunk to just 20 minutes.…

10 Things I’ll Miss When You Go Back to School (Insert Sarcasm Here)

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When you work from home 80 percent of the time you have the luxury of enjoying some really special benefits, like hanging out in your pajamas until noon, (OK, 3 p.m.), throwing in a load of laundry whenever you feel like it, and eating cake for lunch without it raising any eyebrows. 

But when it's summertime and your kids are home, writing a simple coherent sentence seems about as plausible as building a spaceship.

And, oh, it’s been a long, lazy summer. But with back-to-school season more in your face than Donald Trump, I just want to take a moment to let my feisty brood know what Mama will miss most when they’re finally forced to shower, strap on those backpacks, and get the hell off our chocolate-and-booger encrusted couch. 
Rather than pen a heartfelt and oh-so-truthful Dear Boys, we need some time apart … letter, I thought I’d focus on some of the highlights that made up the days we survived shared this summer.
Here are the top 10 things I’ll miss when you, my three darling boys,…

When Working for Free Pays Off & When It Doesn't

If you're lucky enough to have a full-time job in this economy, the thought of taking on additional unpaid work is probably about as appealing as submitting to an all-over body waxing and may seem as fruitless as trying to teach the Kardashians about modesty.

Chances are you're already working hard enough, right? But, if you're looking to improve your karma, build your portfolio, or grow your network, sometimes giving away a "free sample" or two can prove pretty profitable.

The following are some great reasons to do a little pro bono work:

Good Karma

I have a friend who's an incredibly talented graphic designer. She's also a busy mom who finds herself taking on a lot of projects to support her kids' schools. Additionally, she lends her talents to the not-for-profit Dress for Success. Her plate is pretty full and she'll often joke that 90 percent of the work she's doing is unpaid. But people adore this woman and truly value her time and effort. She…