Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Go back to work?

I was away this weekend - a fun, but cold weekend in Vermont. With 3+ hours in the car each way, I was thinking about the coming year. What am I going to do? Of course, my husband was also asking me - "What are you going to do if you don't find a job soon? - Do you want to find a job?" The problem is that I really don't know what I want. My job hunt is not going well. My resume looks a little scary at this point. I have been with many companies and have several 'holes' from not working and I have been away from a 'real' job since 2002. I got on the "mommy track" by leaving time consuming jobs and working part time and now I'm paying the price.
There is no good way to explain in a 2 page resume that I took time off to spend time with my kids and to provide a more stable family life for all of us. How do you show that a family has difficulty when both parents work more than 40 hours/week and both travel? How do I explain that some job changes came because the company was bought and they booted everyone - it should not reflect on my abilities - they did not seem to matter.
How do I show them that in my time "off", I have run a small antiques business to pay for my antiquing habit, have done countless hours of volunteer work in our schools and at a local charity, developed and taught a wonderful after school program for children that teaches them about different cultures, put together several business plans hoping to start my own small business (never worked out though). . .
Finally, how do I convince a hiring manager that a BS in Engineering and 20+ years of business experience should be able to substitute for an MBA? Book smart or street smart - what do they really need?
I have tried touching on a few of these things within a cover letter, but I'm convinced no one even reads those any more. Unfortunately, part of my problem is that I would rather work for myself and I really need to figure out how to do that - beyond the bits of consulting and contracting that I have been doing.
Anyway - that is my vent for today. I have not been writing much - it is just such a busy time of the year.
Anyone else out there take some years off from a professional career and get back in? Any advice?

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Santa traditions

I was thinking about the whole Santa tradition today. My youngest daughter, who is 9, was discussing her list with a friend while I was driving them to gymnastics yesterday. She was explaining how Santa stopped bringing presents when you were 16, and her friend was saying it was not so - her parents still get presents in their stockings from Santa.
(For the records, my kids are more than 9 years apart and we provide gifts from Santa and from us. When our oldest hit 16, the 2 groups of gifts were getting so "small" - due to the cost of items that teenagers want - that we decided to clear the Santa slate. Most people who have a 16 year old may not be dealing with a 6-7 year old who still believes)
Anyway, I just got to thinking about how many times this type of thing has happened since I have had kids. Discussions about Santa result in comparisons of traditions. "Santa gifts aren't wrapped!" - "Yes, they are!"; "Mommy, why don't kids who have less than us get presents from Santa?"; "My parents gave it to me" - "Parents don't give Christmas gifts. Only Santa does!"; "Mom, what's the real deal with Santa?" - "Do you really want to know?" - "NO! Never mind" I have heard all these things, and many more. So, I ask myself - how are we able to keep this wonderful magic alive? It amazes me when kids believe past about 4 years old - with all the mixed messages from others and the inconsistancies. I guess there is something to be said for WANTING to believe!
Generation after generation - we choose to start new traditions and honor old ones. Our kids continue to enjoy the wonder and excitement of the season and many of us do everything possible to keep the 'secret'.
Now, I don't want to get too caught up in the gifts area - I try to focus on the spirit of giving and the joy of family. Like it or not, the gifts from Santa and all the details around them will end up as a vivid (and hopefully wonderful) memory for our children.
So, on we go - deciding what Santa will bring this year and what we will give. I always struggle with who should bring the most desired toy - Santa or me??!!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Positive thoughts (in 30 second chunks)

I have been responding to blogs about things that can change the world. One in particular (click here) is about a challenge to come up with 30 things that take 30 seconds each. The lists that others had come up with captured many of the things I might include as well.
I posted my addition - which is to make a positive comment about another religion, race or culture - especially to a child. The idea is to reduce negative thoughts about things that are different or unknown and to influence positive concepts. What if we all did this for 30 seconds every day?!
This has got me thinking about an after school program I put together (with the help of a friend) a couple of years ago - called "Explorers of the World". I don't have the time today, but I will post some info on that shortly - I'm actually going to put some thought into a separate site for just that topic.
More to come . . .

Sunday, November 26, 2006

How do we change the world?

Is it me or are people going crazy all over the world? Do we even know why people are killing each other in some countries? Do the people doing the killing even know why they are doing this? How can we stop the violence and suffering and poverty?
I know these seem to be rhetorical questions - something we could not possibly answer and begin to address - but why not? I would really like to know what can be done by individuals - and I'm not talking about making a donation to some large charitable organization.

So, how do we change the world? How do you put together a group of reasonable people and make an impact somewhere along the way. I almost don't care what we target at this point - killings in Darfur, civil war in Iraq, bombings in Israel and Palestine, starvation in Ethiopia, torture, rape and murder in too many places to list . . . How do we change this downward spiral? How do we leave a better world for our children and future generations?
Please post ideas, comments and what have you.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Kids and Friendships

If anyone had told me that having children would affect my friendships for the next 20 years, I would not have believed it. Well, 18 plus years after having my first child, I can look back and see that kids have had a huge influence on my social life - probably more than any other factor.

Face it, once the kids get into school and other activities, you start to spend a lot of time with their friend's parents. If the kids get along well, you try to get along with the parents. For me, this has led to a group of women that enjoy drinking wine together and talking up a storm - quite regularly. When I look at the group that we have assembled, I do wonder if some of us would ever have become friends if we did not have our group of 3rd grade girls in common. This is not a bad thing - it's just interesting to think about what we really have in common.

On the other side of the friendship equation are the old friends that you have had forever, but parent very differently than you do. We thought it would be great to all have kids and get together during this new phase of our lives. Suddenly, you can't stand to be around one or two of those kids. Maybe your friends can't handle your child's personality. You find that your best friend is not the person you choose to get together with any more. Calls are less frequent. You might wait a year and then try to get together again - hoping that the tantrums or freshness has passed. Nope. Some kids are just not as easy to be around as others, and this is just no fun.

So, we all know that children have a huge effect on our lives. Until we live through all the stages, we can never know just how much they will influence. One thing is certain, friendships will be affected. Hopefully, it's all recoverable in the end.

Share your stories about friendships with kids - write a comment here.