Week Two of Unemployment

Hello Readers!

Well last week was actually quite interesting. I live in Augusta, GA so last week was the famous Master’s Golf Tournament. So we had a large influx of tourists in our fair city from all over the world but that wasn’t what made last week interesting for me. Here’s last week’s story.

Monday: Woke up and checked my email to find…an invite to an interview! Yay, yippee, Yahoo!!!!!! There were two possible dates. I could either come in Wednesday @ 9 am or come in Thursday @ 3 pm. Trying to be strategic I chose Wednesday. My thought process was if I did exceptionally well that the people who came Thursday would have to live up to the example I set the day before. After Sending my reply I started doing some major planning. First of all, I needed to check over my clothes, shoes, hair, and my overall image. After evaluating everything I decided to do something about my hair.

If you can’t tell from my picture I’m of African-American descent. I also happen to have natural hair. Basic translation, I don’t put chemicals in my hair to straighten it. Now, Monday was rainy and I wasn’t sure what Tuesday or Wednesday would be like so I couldn’t flat-iron my hair and because I was interviewing for a position as the personal assistant to the CEO of the company I wanted to be as conservative as possible my only plausible option seemed to be to cut my large afro back to something much smaller. Which really wasn’t a problem. I actually like my hair that way but I was trying to grow it out during the colder months.

So after running and getting a haircut I then went to my WI-FI spot, Starbucks, and filled out more online paperwork for unemployment. While there I searched for more jobs to apply to, wrote a couple of blog posts, and people watched.

Tuesday: Was errand and laundry day. Everything I could think to get done before my interview I did. Including buying pantyhose, doing laundry (got to have clean underwear when going to an interview.), and printing out extra copies of my resume. I also did research on the company so I could have an idea of what they did as well as come prepared with a few possible ideas of things they may want to implement.

Wednesday: The Big day had arrived! I woke up super early. Showered and prepared for my big interview. Including putting on pantyhose. I know I’ve mentioned this twice and some of you are probably wondering why I keep harping on this. Here’s the deal. I detest pantyhose. I haven’t worn the things in 10 years!!!! They are uncomfortable and when your legs rub together they announce everywhere you go. I left super early and was at the location about 45 minutes before the interview. Because I was so early I decided to sit in my car for a while. Ten minutes before the start of the interview I walked into the building and inquired about who I needed to talk to for the interview.

That’s when I found out that this was going to be a group interview. I and another five of six candidates were being interviewed at the same time. That was a game changer for me. When I’m not completely comfortable in a situation I have a tendency to be much quieter than usual. In fact, I can totally disappear into the background and just observe others. This is not a good thing if you are trying to apply for a job. So now I’m trying to scramble mentally and figure out how to get myself to shine amongst all the other candidates and make a great impression.

After all the candidates arrived they took us into a small conference room and had us take a personality test. According to the test I’m dependable. (Always good to know.) Then they had us fill out an application. While we filled out the application they left the room. After, ten minutes or so they came back took our applications and told us that we would get a call later for a second interview.

So I went to Starbucks and applied for more jobs.

Later that night a couple of us decided to go to Bone Fish for dinner. That was interesting with all the tourists there, it was fun to people watch and see who all had come to our fair city.

Thursday: I stayed home! It was my recovery day from all the stress and preparation for my interview.

Friday: I got a call from Department of Labor telling me that I forgot to do something for certification so I had to go to Starbucks and go to their website. Since I’m a believer of always being prepared, I took my time and made sure I looked extra cute. ūüėČ

Which turned out to be a good thing because there were a lot of cute guys that came through my closest Starbucks. None of them talked to me but it could have happened. You never know. I filled out the online form then decided to check on a few bills that I knew would be coming up soon. One of those bills was my car insurance. I saw there was a way of lowering my bill if I took an online defensive driver course. The course was $20 dollars and the discount was $30. I figured a net of $10 savings on my bill was worth it so I stayed in Starbucks and proceeded to take a 5 or 6 hour-long course on defensive driving. While I was there, one of my besties called and we made plans to hang out that night. After a few more hours of hanging out at Starbucks and taking the course I, and two other friends got together and had dinner at another friends house.

While there, we decided to go to the lake the next day and enjoy ourselves.

Saturday: Everyone met at my house and we took off towards Clark Hill Lake. We got a little lost on the way there but we made it there and had a glorious relaxing afternoon!

Lake entrance

Beach at the lake

gazebo at the lake

It was while we were soaking up this beautiful environment that we decided to look into other fun things for us to do and broaden our horizons. Amongst us we decided that we love our church and love how they do conferences and retreats for our married couples but we wanted to go to a singles conference. Something that was geared totally to us and a way for us to network and get to know singles who had similar views. ¬†So we were searching a few large churches near Atlanta that usually have such conferences and found that they weren’t offering anything this year. ¬†However, at one of the churches, Free Chapel in Gainesville, Ga, was having Israel Houghton lead their praise and worship service the next day!

Now I own a lot of his cd’s and whenever I’m going through some tough times, he is one of my go to worship leaders. Seeing as I love his work so much you’d think I would have seen him live at least once. The sad truth is I hadn’t. ¬†If he was ever in the area in concert I was either at work or didn’t have the money for a concert ticket.

Here was an opportunity that I couldn’t let pass me by! Not only was the man 2 and a half hours away but this was a regular worship service which meant that there wouldn’t be a fee to get in. ¬†So I grabbed one of my friends and told her we were getting on the road early Sunday morning so we could go to the 11 am service at Free Chapel.

Isreal close up

The service was AMAZING!!!!!! I’ve always loved his worship in a recording but in real life it was whole different experience. ¬†The man is truly gifted! I think I may have regressed to the maturity of a star-struck teenager for a little bit. I’m almost certain I might have squealed when I saw him step out onto the stage. My poor friend may even have a sore leg as well because I’m almost certain I hit her leg several times in my excitement! (I’m sure she’ll forgive me…eventually)

On the way home, we came through Atlanta and stopped to visit with one of my brothers. ¬†We had a lovely lunch at Wendy’s and just caught up on each other’s lives.

After that my friend and I hit the road and headed for home.

That was my week. Some triumphs, some fellowship, and a kiss from God. Palm Sunday being led into worship by one of my favorite worship leaders.

Smooches,

Shineka

Week one of Unemployment

Hola Readers!

So last week was my first full week of unemployment and I had my ups and downs emotionally speaking.

On Monday, I picked up my separation paperwork from my employer and went to the Department of Labor. I remember going there when I first moved into this area a little over fifteen years ago but at the time I was a high school graduate trying to find my first job to help pay for college tuition and books.

I was a tiny bit nervous because I had no idea what to expect. I think the nice woman at the welcome desk could tell I had no idea what I was doing so she quickly walked me through the process and sent me on to the next line.

Once my turn came around I was given a booklet that told me all about unemployment insurance (Still have to finish that stimulating read.), given some paperwork to fill out and sent to a room where I was to watch a seven minute video about filing for Unemployment and all the different things I was expected to do on a weekly basis.

After the video, I was sent to a computer to start the claim process. I actually finished in record time compared to most of the other people in the room. ¬†I think that’s mostly because I’m used to using computers and their quirks and foibles. ¬†It seems most of the people there with me had a few issues with their computers and I was asked a few times by my neighbors how to get around on the site.

Georgia Department of Labor
Georgia Department of Labor

 

Tuesday, I went to a prayer meeting at my church and then went to my local Starbucks to use their wi-fi and apply to some positions as well as work on a couple of volunteer projects.

Wednesday, I went to a meeting at my bank to plan on what to do with my 401K from my former employer then went back to Starbucks for a few hours. Later that evening, I went to church for mid-week services.

Thursday, I made the mistake of staying at home all day. That is when depression started to kick in. ¬†I started berating myself for leaving my job and not applying for another position there. I got upset because I was starting to think I had to be a fool for letting myself get into this situation. I also couldn’t understand why God would be putting me through this. I mean didn’t He know I should’ve had a job before my last day at work!

Then I had to have a come to Jesus meeting that night. I had to remind myself of all the things God had done for me in the past and how he hasn’t failed me yet. He also sent one of my best friends along to make sure I got out of the house on Friday.

Friday, I spent the day helping one of my besties shop for a vacation she was about to go on in a few days.  We went to almost every Wal-Mart in the Augusta/Evans area, Target, Bath and Body Works, Brusters Ice Cream, and we also got some lovely pedicures!  Then that night, we met up with a few of my other besties and saw the glorious Chris Evans in Captain America 2: the Winter Soldier.

Love a great pedicure. Blue Toes!
Love a great pedicure. Blue Toes!

Saturday, I again stayed home but this time I just reveled in the fact that I wasn’t at work on a Saturday.

So that is a summation of my week. Like I said some ups and downs but I’m determined to keep my focus strong. ¬†I maybe unemployed but my rent is paid, I have plenty of food, gas in my car, good friends, and a great God!

God Bless you my dear Readers!

Smooches,

Shineka

My last day.

 

Hi Readers!

So yesterday was my last day at work.

I did my best to walk out the door celebrating and not being in tears.  Ten years is a long time to spend anywhere but for some reason I just wanted to fade away into the background and disappear out of the history books of my former employer.

So I dressed in one of my sassier dresses, put on my “stripper” heels (with back up flats of course just in case we got busy )and went to work. The day was pretty much like any other; customers, questions, stocking merchandise, and dealing with a few attitudes.

My replacement came in for a little more training and then I was whisked off to a surprise farewell party. ¬†Well, it was a surprise but unfortunately it didn’t go as planned. ¬†My manager had arranged earlier in the week to have a “meeting” with me around 3pm. Well it seems that every customer in need of a wedding or shower gift came in at that time and I couldn’t get away from the floor. After about her 3rd or 4th time trying to get me away I figured out something was up.

So after getting my replacement started on helping a couple register for their wedding, I went to my surprise party. By this time it was almost 4 pm.  My party was supposed to be between 3 and 4 so unfortunately most of the guests had to go back to the sales floor.

But some came back through to say goodbye and wish me well. I was even presented with a card and some lovely flowers.  I think the most gratifying thing that happened to me yesterday was how several co-workers told me they would miss me because of my fun positive attitude. That I made work a little more fun and bearable.  That to me was the thing that made my life as a christian worth living. To know that my life did and does impact someone, For that I am truly grateful.

So readers, I’m leaving you with this thought. Does your life reflect what you truly believe? When you leave a place will the people you meet be made better for having known you? ¬†I pray so. ¬†Because I know a lot of the people I met in that store definitely made an impact on me and I hope I did them as well.

God bless and Smooches,

Shineka

 

Farewell cake
Farewell cake

Countdown to Unemployment

Hello Dear Readers!
So I guess you can see what the topic of this post is going to be.
I guess to tell the story well, I have to start at the beginning.¬† So here goes…
For those who don’t know, my birthday is¬†January 22nd¬†which fell on a Wednesday¬†this year.¬† Since it’s kind of hard to celebrate in the middle of the week I decided to go out for lunch with some friends the¬†Sunday after.¬† It was a great day. I got some pretty awesome gifts, including some prayer for a year with open doors and moving to another level in my life.¬† Little did I know how prophetic that prayer would turn out to be. (SMH ;-))
The next day, Monday, January 27th, 2014 I found out that I and other people in the same position as I in the company had been laid off.  It was quite strange actually how it all went down.  I came to work at 11 as scheduled and did as I normally do when I come to work.  I clocked in grabbed my debit card and headed towards Starbucks to get my customary cup of coffee and a cup of ice water.  Before I could get out the door I hear my manager page me over the intercom asking me to dial a certain extension.
I called her and she asked me to meet her in her office.¬† After I hung up this feeling kind of came over me that I was about to be fired.¬† I had no¬†reason to know this for a fact but, I knew something was up and it didn’t feel like a good something either.¬† So I go to her office we have light conversation for a minute or two and then she proceeds to read me a letter that explained that the position I held at the store had been deleted.¬† My position was that of a Wedding and Gift Registry Consultant for a major Department Store.¬† I was given three choices.¬† I could A) Apply for the newly created Wedding Advisor position, B) Apply for another position in the store, or¬†C) take a severance¬†package and try to find something else.
After receiving that bombshell, I was in state of shock, tears, and strangely enough¬†relief. (Don’t quite understand that one at all)
So after talking to the HR manager about all the details of each option I went home at the end of the day and cried and prayed.¬† Course, I also put my prayer warrior friends on the case as well.¬† I didn’t know which way to turn and I felt very broken about the situation.¬† I’ve never been let go from a job before in my life.¬† I worked for 5 years with one company to pay for school and when I left there I left on my own steam to work for my present employer.¬† I’ve been with this company for 10 years.¬† So the thought of being without a job shook me up.
To my mind none of the options were all that appealing.¬† I’ll break them down so you can see what I was looking at.
A) With the new Advisor position, I would have been the only person in the department. (The part-time consultant lost her job all together.)¬† Which meant with the new schedule for this position I’d be working three out of four weekends.¬† From other posts I’ve done I’m sure you know I’m very active in my church and enjoy the different ministries I work with there.¬† If I applied and got the position I would have to give up most of the work I do there.¬† Not only that but I’d only get to go to church one Sunday¬†a month.¬† For me that was not an option.
B) The only full-time position open in¬†my store was that of a sales associate in the men’s department.¬† As a sales associate I’d be responsible for sales goals and so forth.¬† Which would be fine but I also know that if something went wrong in the Wedding & Gift section or there wasn’t somebody around to help a couple and I was in the men’s department working I know I would be pulled over there to fix the problem.¬† Well, if¬†I’m doing wedding and gift registry then I can’t make my sales goal. If I don’t make my sales goals then I get in trouble and endanger my job even more.¬† So that didn’t look like a great option either.
C) Walk out into the unknown job market and trust God for all my needs as I’ve always said I did anyway. A good option but a very scary one.
To be even more honest I had already been applying to jobs before this all went down.
To put the pressure on I only had two weeks to make my final decision.
So after tossing to and from, praying, crying, and wrestling with my decisions I made the only choice that offered me some sort of crazy peace.  The severance package.
To my natural mind it didn’t make a lick of sense but if I stayed with my employer I felt like I would only be settling instead of growing.¬† I have a bachelor’s degree, I’m very intelligent, and I need to move forward in my career not backwards.
The good news in taking the severance package is that the company wanted the consultants to stay until March 29th to help with the transition between the Consultant program and the Advisor program.
So I had two months to hopefully find a new job and still have a steady paycheck in the mean time. Well, today is¬†Monday, March 24th¬†and that job has not materialized yet.¬† There is no turning back for me in this decision.¬† I’m a little nervous but between my savings, the severance package, and my tax returns I have enough to get me through for about 6 months and if necessary I can also dip into my 401k for back up.¬† The most important factor in all of this is that I have my God who has promised many times in His Word that he will supply all my needs according to His riches in Glory.¬† He has supplied me many times before with the little things and He will continue to do so in the even bigger things.
Since, I haven’t posted really in the last year and I have been trying to figure out ideas of what to post on this blog I have decided to make this a personal journey through my ups and downs with unemployment and this test of faith I’m embarking on. (God give me strength)¬† I promise to be as transparent as I can with this blog.¬† There will probably be times when I will rant and rave about the unfairness of it all.¬† You might even see me have a pity party or two but hopefully once this journey is over we will all have gained some insight into God and just how He can work all things into good for those who love Him.
Have a blessed day dear readers and I’ll see you later.
Smooches,
Shineka

My Unemployment Anthem

I’m a Hoarder and I didn’t even know it!

Hello Dear Readers!
Every so often I’ll get into a fit of cleanliness! (I’m not dirty or anything like that but sometimes when life gets busy I might not vacuum every week or laundry and mail gets piled up. Stuff like that.)¬† So when I can’t stand looking at it I will spend all day cleaning and throwing things away until I have order in my little world again.
The other day I was going through my personal email box and I was horrified!¬† I had over 2000 emails in my box and the majority hadn’t even been read!¬† Now I check my email everyday and I’m very good about usually deleting emails as soon as I’ve read them.¬† So I couldn’t figure out why I had soooooo many emails!?!
On further inspection I realized most of them were emails I said I’d get back to later but never did, newsletters and Blog posts from writers I follow, and assorted nonsense.¬† I couldn’t, for the life of me understand why I had let my email get this cluttered and I went into a frenzy just deleting everything I couldn’t see myself ever reading again.
Then today, I went to manage my kindle so I could delete some books off my account that I didn’t like and knew I would never read again and too my shock I saw I had¬†over 2500 books either in my cloud or on my devices!¬† Really that many books and I can guarantee you I haven’t read all of them or even half for that matter!
So I am now resigned to the fact that I, Shineka, am a digital file hoarder.
Can someone tell me of a help group I can join somewhere?
See you another time!
Smooches,
Shineka

My Adventures with Online Dating.

Hola Dear Readers!

It’s been a bout a year since I posted on this blog. ¬†That doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing however! I’ve been mostly posting to my book review blog¬†over the last year and have been having a blast the whole time. ¬†I’ve met some great writers, read some extraordinary books (some not so extraordinary) and even gotten to know a few other avid readers of clean romance novels.

My personal life over the last year has been a slightly different story all by itself.

In one of my lasts posts on this blog I talked about being ready to go back into the dating field, so I decided to try online dating. After a year of experimenting I have come to the conclusion that online dating just isn’t for me!

I tried 3 sites for copyright sake and to keep from being sued I will not list their names. ¬†The first two sites I paid for a month’s subscription just to see if it was worth a deeper investment.

On one site, I’ll call it A to keep from confusing you, I only had gentlemen old enough to be my grandfather approaching me. ¬†Now I’m not saying its wrong or immoral but I’m not interested in anyone old enough to be my grandfather.

On Site B, I was approached by not 1, not 2, but 3 con artists!!!!! I don’t know if it was the same person trying to get to me with 3 different profiles or what it was but I was about to lose my faith in humanity after that craziness!

Of course, I quickly deleted my profile from both sites A and B and was about to give up after two months of torture, when I decided to give one more very reputable site a try. So in March of last year I tried Site C.

Site C was a little expensive so I had to wait until they had a free weekend to communicate with some of the men on the site.  I actually met some very nice real men on Site C.

I actually narrowed it down 2 men Mr. K lived in the Midwest and Mr. M lived in the Southeast.  They were definitely the real deal I did background checks on both of them and they both were real people with lives that were traceable and neither of them had police records.  After about a month I decided to narrow the field even more and decided to concentrate exclusively on Mr. M.

While I liked both men, I just felt I had more in common with Mr. M.  We agreed on everything from movies and music to politics and religion.  He was funny and did silly little things for me like send me a digital rose every morning in a text message. I must say he quite turned my head a little bit.

After a couple of months of emailing, calling, texting, and Skyping things started slowly coming apart. Mr. M got a promotion at his job and his communication started disappearing. ¬†Now, before you get upset dear readers, let me explain that at first I wasn’t too upset. I’m a big girl I understand being busy and things becoming so hectic that you lose track of things. Plus Mr. M was going to school at the same time. So between work and school I understood having less time to talk on the phone. ¬†Don’t think that I was totally relying on him either. I did text, and call him on a pretty regular basis so it isn’t as if I was sitting by the phone waiting for him. If I had something to do I went out and did it. (I may not have much of a life but I’m no wallflower either.)

Then, the communication went from once a week to nothing for almost 3 weeks. That readers is when I should have seen the writing on the wall. When Mr. M did call he always apologized profusely and said he was going to do better but then it would happen again and by November, I’d¬†had enough. After making another promise to call more often I got a text message from him saying he was thankful for me and then I didn’t hear from him for another week and a half.

So I sent him a message telling him that I couldn’t do this anymore and if he couldn’t commit to at least once a week then maybe we shouldn’t do this anymore. ¬†The sad thing is that he seemed to have time to post on Facebook but he didn’t seem to have time to call me.

I haven’t heard from Mr. M since that last text message on Thanksgiving Day.

Please don’t feel sad for me dear readers. ¬†I did learn a few important things in this year-long experiment.

I learned that I can open up and let someone into my life.

I learned a lot of cool detective skills. (Catfish MTV is a great learning tool)

I also learned that most of the time my first instincts served me well about the shadier people who came across my path.

The last thing I learned was that I have some great friends who were there to help me stay grounded and love me through this process.

Is online dating a bad thing? I wouldn’t say it is. I’m just saying it’s not for me. I have a few friends who met and married the man of their dreams through different websites and more power to them. I however, will stick to the old fashion way of meeting people.

Smooches,

Shineka