Searching for my life

I start writing this without a title. In the time that I began blogging I have learned so much and feel so inadequate in what I know. The reason no title? I keep thinking SEO; what should I write in the title to get more people to my site and reading “all the relevance” that I can give to the world? (ok, tongue in cheek!)

There have been so much that has been happening in my life over the last month which is probably why it has been that long since I last wrote. The thoughts in my mind are churning and it seems impossible to somehow organize them into manageable verse. But today I decided to jump in and just write. I hope that through Divine Intervention my words will give inspiration, or insight, to those that read but maybe more to myself.

I have to be honest and say that there are just some things that I will not write. I will not write about things that would be embarrassing to my family, immediate, extended, my husband’s family, etc… Although if I did, WOW! You would be amazed! But my grandfather always said, “Don’t share family secrets!” Even if it was a disagreement amongst spouses or children, he felt it was inappropriate to share with “outsiders”. I believe that. I don’t want to write or do anything that would lessen the value that people hold for my family members, whether I am close to them or distant. That doesn’t mean that I won’t speak with my friends concerning family matters; I have to be able to vent. I just can’t do it publicly. NOW ON TO TOPIC.

I have had tremendous highs and lows over the past 31 days. I have learned a great deal about myself and I know that I am not invincible.

In my lows, I realized I do not take rejection well. This rejection took place in personal and professional situations. Maybe because it happened in multiple situations and within a short time period, I was able to learn about myself. While I would not recommend this for anyone, it was very insightful and I now know how I react. Hopefully I will be able to handle situations better in the future. What do I do? I just want to give up, walk away and forget that it even happened. I won’t share family secrets so you won’t hear about my personal rejection but the act is not the point; It is the lesson.

Professionally, I was hired to ghost blog for websites. Website owners hire BlogMutt to write weekly blog posts based on topics that they provide. The customer approves, asks for edits  or rejects the post. There are hundreds of websites out there that are having blogmutt.com write their blogs.

The owner of BlogMutt says that there is about a 10% rejection rate and that you just need to let the rejections roll off your back and move on. Well, my first rejection ticked me off because it was well-written, original and factual. The website owner rejected the post saying that is was “factually wrong and not original”. One rejection lead to another and another. Before long I was over the 10% rejection rate. One rejection even received 5 stars (the most you can receive). How can you like something enough to give it 5 stars and then reject it!!!!

I was very hurt and, even now, it is hard for me to write for fear of rejection. But I weather on. Just like any writer, you must write to get paid. If I did not write and submit posts, I would not be paid. And if I want to get paid, I must write. I realized that this would be a difficult career, as payment is based per blog purchased. And you have no direct comment with the website owner and have to take their criticism and move on. Don’t get me wrong, I do like writing for BlogMutt and hope to continue even when I begin a full-time job.

A high point – I was hired for a full-time position as the Camp Coordinator at Camp Fontanelle, a United Methodist Church Camp in Fontanelle, Nebraska. It is a brand new position so I will learn more of my duties when I begin April 1.  This was also a learning experience for me. My family is very familiar with the camp. We have volunteered there for years; Our children attend camp there (since age 3); My husband was on the board for six years and chairman for five; my son is employed as the laser tag “guy” during the fall when the corn maze is running. So we know camp.

But I don’t know that I was considered when the position was created. Four people interviewed for the job and I was probably twice the age of the other three applicants. What I brought to the table was a great deal of experience. I was a perfect fit for the job but there were some really hard feelings. There was at least one other person who felt they were a perfect fit.  After I interviewed I lost sleep as to whether I would take the position if it was offered me. I worried about the person that felt the position was perfect for him/her. I had just been hired by BlogMutt and I thought that is what I wanted to do full-time. So many things running through my mind.

One day, in my stress, I prayed to God. I said, ‘God, guide me in the direction my life is to go. I want to do Your Will.’ I had decided that if I was offered the camp job, it was meant to be and I would accept it. When I told my husband that, he questioned me as to my reasoning. For a short time, ok, maybe 30 seconds, I wondered if I was wrong to say I would accept the job if it was offered. Was I not being discerning enough? But no, I had given it to God and after I did that, I felt great. I would take the job. (Soon after I had accepted the job, I began receiving post rejections. Maybe a sign confirming I was doing the right thing?)

I know that I have not had a rough life. I have never been without a home, or food, or clothes. I have always had the love and acceptance of friends and family members. (Not every person all the time. But enough to know that I am loved).

I have struggled with trying to find a job. And even this recent venture only took 3 months to find a full-time job. Not bad for a woman who quit working full-time when her now 17-year-old son was born. And not only did I find a full-time career but I have a writing job that will bring in a little extra spending money.

I have had personal failures. I have disappointed people I love and I have been hurt by those same people. There have been times in the last four months that I wasn’t sure that I have made a difference in the world, that I was doing what I was meant to do, or be the person that I could be.

But through all of the highs and lows, I have tried to have faith – faith that it would work out and I would be able to shine. I think I forgot that I don’t need to be in control all of the time. My first step was to give it up to God. While I know that there will still be disappointments and I will disappoint, these last four months have given me some great perspective and maybe patience. It may not seem much to you, but I get to play at camp for my job. There will be long days and hard work in the summer but I know it is what I am to do because I, for once, didn’t need to be in control of my future. I now have the job of taking this gift that was given me and doing my best.

I guess now I am trying to figure out the purpose of this blog. Today was writing just to write; More cathartic than informational or inspirational.  My head is still spinning because my life is taking a new direction. I hope I continue to write this blog and find direction to be meaningful  and worthwhile. Bare with me as I evolve into the new me.

Just added a title – not very SEO – but SEO was not the purpose of this blog, come to find out!

Always editing my life

I am amazed at how many times I look at something I have written, think it looks fine, publish it, only to find out that I have typos, or grammatical errors or misspellings. Just when I think it is ready to go…there it is, something I did not see before.

Like the last post I had, I looked at it numerous times, thought it looked and flowed nicely. I publish, only to go back less than an hour later and find two, yes two, errors that were so obvious, and yet I missed them. Even the auto-correct had missed them. And this now is the second time I have written this. I originally had it as a draft, incomplete. When I came back to my writing, I hit publish and put something out there not completed. I don’t know what I was thinking; I was thinking it wouldn’t publish? I don’t know. I needed to send it to trash and start over so someone would not go to my page and read something that was not finished. WOW, what a life.

How many times do we walk through life and wish that we could have a re-do, or have an auto-correct? If only we had an editor walking by our side, or in our head, that would make the correction before the words came out of our mouth! Wow, what a concept that would be!

I think we do have an auto-correct in our brain for words that come out of our mouth. I think it is a better system than anything that we have for the written word. It is called a conscience. And nicely so, we don’t have to spell words when they come out of our mouth. As I am getting older, gaining wisdom, and growing in maturity, I try to be more aware of what I say and how I say it.

While I know that we are in a world where instant messaging is rampant and we want everyone to know what we are doing, every minute of the day, we still need to think; we need to think about what we say and how we say it. We need to realize that everyone does not need to know every detail of our life.

I made the mistake years ago of having my emails sent out as soon as I hit the “send” button. I wanted to get those emails out straight away! That is fine until you write something in the heat of the moment. You are writing from raw emotion and not necessarily thinking about those words and how they can impact someone else. Because of that incident, my emails sit in my outbox for a while, just in case I need to edit (or delete) those words.

It was a Friday night, my husband was out-of-town and the children and I were watching a movie, theatre-style (which meant with all of the lights out). That Friday night was also the deadline for Girl Scout leaders to get their cookie orders input into the on-line computer program. They had until midnight. You see, I was the Girl Scout Product Sales Coordinator for the county where I live and it was my responsibility to make sure that all of the orders were entered and looked correct. I hoped that everything would go smoothly and there would be very few problems. What do they say about Murphy’s Law? Well Murphy was present that night.

Too make a long story shorter, a leader phoned me and asked if she could have an extension on the entry deadline. I had to tell her no because I had deadlines. I asked her what I could do to help. She hung up on me as she did not like my answer. She then called back and said that her internet was down and she had phoned someone to come fix it (after 8:00 pm Friday night) and that she also was having a birthday party for her child and that I needed to be reasonable and give her more time. (I think the comment about bringing in a repairman was to guilt me into acquiescing) Numerous times I offered to input the information for her and she would not have that. She spent ten minutes yelling at me (and I have to admit, I started yelling back) when in those ten minutes, I could have had all of her information input.

Well, by the time I got off the phone with her (she had hung up on me again), I was very frustrated. This leader sent me an email which was not very kind. I wrote an email to my boss (BTW, I was a volunteer in that position) and used words that you would use when you are frustrated. I hit the send button and the email was sent immediately.

That was all well and good BUT instead of hitting the “forward” button, I hit the “reply” button. This ranting email, that was meant for my eyes and the eyes of my boss, was sent directly to the person of which I was ranting! I was devastated!!!!

So now not only did I need to phone my boss and explain what I had just done (at 10:00 at night), I needed to apologize to the volunteer for my inappropriate words. After I made those phone calls, I immediately went to my email settings and changed how my emails were sent. I would never allow my words written in frustration to go out straight away. I would take the time to mull over what I had written and make sure that it represents who I am.

I will not say that I am perfect in what I say or write. But I will say that I was greatly humbled by what transpired that night.

I do make sure that if I say words in anger, they are not words I will regret at a later date. I make sure that what I write represents who I am. I make sure that what I say in confidence is something which does not shame me if that confidence is broken.

I do believe in freedom of speech. But I also believe that just because you have that right, it does not mean you should say anything you want. I do believe you have to take others into consideration. It is so important that I “do unto others…” I truly wish there were more people out there that thought of the consequences of their words and the way they are used.

There are two things that stick in my mind about my mother: 1) I have never heard her swear, not even a “gosh” or “golly” and 2) I have never heard my mom raise her voice or say an argumentative word towards or about my father. She always said that she doesn’t swear because she has too much respect for herself-that her language represents who she is and she does not want foul language to be that representation. WOW, such wisdom.

I want my words to represent who I am. While I regret, terribly, that Friday night when I wrote such wrong things, I wouldn’t change that night for the world because it helped make me a better person. How I wish I could have learned that without the controversy but that is not how it happened.

How can I or how can others in this world get out that message? How do we educate others to believe that their language represents who they are? How do we make the world a better place through OUR words? I hope that maybe my words and my actions could bring people to action. There are so many people out there that say, ‘if this can change the life of just one person…’ well I don’t want that; I want this to impact more than one person.

I WANT TO IMPACT THE WORLD!!!!! I want people to realize that words have the power to uplift or to destroy. My grandfather always said, “Do not raise yourself up by bringing others down.” Once again, such wisdom. I want to be a person who raises others up and in return, makes me a better person, a person that makes my mom proud.

I hope and pray that I have the chance to change the world, one little (but powerful) word at a time.

(Oh and BTW, there was only one suggested change to this blog when I hit the “publish” button)

I need a job

“I need a job!” How many times have you said that? Actually, I remember just twice – once when I was graduated from college and had sent out a million (okay a little exaggeration) resume‘s to television stations and now. I have either been gainfully employed or, as a family, made the decision that a paying job was not best. All that has changed. I am not gainfully employed and the family has decided that I need to start providing an income.

So, “I need a job!” Do you know how hard it is for me to find a job/career when I have not had full-time work for almost 17 years? It is pretty darn hard, especially if I want to find a job/career in my field of study, contemporary media/journalism. I have been sending out resume’s via a job search website http://www.flexjobs.com.

My first experience of sending out resume’s, oh so many years ago, was all done by snail mail and the employer would respond back with a “Thank you, no jobs are available”, or “Thanks, but your qualifications do not match our needs.” Now you send out a resume’ for a job posting and the email response is…”Thank you for your application. While (insert company name) attempts to contact all candidates within a reasonable time, due to the high volume of applicants, we may not always be able to respond to each submission. We will contact potential candidates to schedule an interview. HR will keep your resume and information on file for future consideration.” I don’t have hundreds of applications out there, but I have either received the above statement or heard nothing at all.

Some problems I have been finding are employers want paid experience. I have been a volunteer writer/editor for a not-for-profit quarterly newsletter for over 3 years and have been their non-paid grant writer for two years. How can this not count as experience? My success rate for grants is over 50%. My understanding, that in the grant writing world, that percentage is successful.

I also have been writing, almost non-stop, since college. I either found a way to write in my job or was using my background for other organizations or businesses. I have written for the Girl Scouts – newsletters, brochures and other PR publications. I used my talent writing for our housing development, the Village of Kennard, Nebraska, Toastmaster’s International and presently, Camp Fontanelle in Fontanelle, NE. But the only job that I actually was paid for writing was at the television station. The other positions were not part of my job title but became a part of my job or was done as a volunteer. I even write articles for our local newspaper but once again, not a paid position.

I just need a chance, but cannot take a non-paid job. I blog regularly for practice and write for http://www.examiner.com. Examiner is more about getting practice and getting published. It cannot be my main source of income. I spend many hours a week, sometimes a day, and this is about all I can give non-paid.

I am learning about on-line writing. This is a new animal for me. This was not a possibility when I was in college because the internet did not exist. I don’t know if there are more writers out there or more people out there writing. But I am trying to brush up on my AP style writing and copywriting/editing. I am not expecting a miracle. I would like a writing position by mid-summer. I am being patient but I also know that I would rather write than work in customer service. It seems that is one of few options that I have since it has been 17 years since working full-time.

This blog is a place for my thoughts, experiences and feelings. While it is not meant to have huge SEO, there may be some, like you, who read this. If you have any words of advice or encouragement, please share. Your help is greatly appreciated.