Monday, August 29, 2011

The girl who smelled like pee

An 8-hour interview extravaganza (8 people, 8 hours) was extended to 9.5 hours (9 people, 9.5 hours!). I know that I’m lucky for the opportunity but way to take me from the minor leagues to the Olympic decathalon (yeah, I know baseball is not an Olympic event. Roll with it). I reached deep for my inner Derek Jeter/Gold medal decathlete (Bruce Jenner?) and ate my Wheaties.

Of course, I didn’t sleep that night. I had nervous energy, tossed and turned and cursed myself under and over my breath. At 2am, I got up and hit the treadmill in my building's gym. Totally insane and unsafe. After I’d run a mile, a really weird guy briskly came into the gym and I hightailed it out of there. Ironically, the running/fear combo did the trick. I fell asleep. Until my 6am wake up.

I went to my first interview at 7:30am and then had a break to get my first of 4 lattes. Over the course of the day, I just kept telling myself, “YOU CAN DO IT!” like that horrible infomercial guy with the curly ponytail.

At one break, I went to the ladies room. There wasn’t a tissue toilet cover and I won’t sit on a public toilet. I squatted and did my business. I quickly realized that I peed on the back of my pant leg (just a little bit). Ready to cry (fatigue and caffeine crash combo) I dabbed and wet the spot, let out a sigh and moved forward.

In the next interview, when talking about tweens and social media, the interviewer said, “Isn’t it terrible for tweens? Imagine being known as the girl that peed on herself not only in your school but to anyone on Facebook?” I gulped. Is she trying to tell me that I smelled like pee? Naw, paranoia. Or so I think.

Well, readers, it worked out because I just got a job offer and accepted. The secret? A lot of hard work, caffeine, lack of sleep, 2am running and the faint aroma of urine. You’re welcome, America.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Excerpt: From Chapter 3

As Seen on TV 
Post-layoff, the anxiety dreams got worse. I’d stay up later at night and sleep a little bit later in the morning, but I felt a compulsion to get up and apply for jobs like a mad woman. As an overachiever, I checked every site, networked like CBS—except I was hardly sleeping. This new sleep deficit coupled with my existing sleep deprivation made for quite a combination. Never was this more apparent than when I went to a taping of Chelsea Lately.

Not only does Los Angeles have amazing weather and lots of people working non-traditional jobs to hang out with during the day, but also there are free TV show tapings. Audience members are always in short supply. All you need to do is go to a show’s Web site, click through for tickets and submit your information. Some shows are booked for a few weeks but most are easy to get tickets for if you plan ahead.

At 1 p.m. on a Wednesday (woo hoo!), I headed to the studios where Chelsea Lately tapes. As a worker, I would have been hunkering down to get the rest of what I needed done so I could leave at a decent hour. The only way that I could’ve managed this would have been to take the day off and constantly check my voicemail and email. So, I already felt like I’d hit the jackpot.

Chelsea No Sleepy 
When I arrived at the studio, I checked in, got in line and hoped I’d make it in to see the taping. First, I failed to read the ticket and brought every banned item possible (large bag, food, umbrella) and got quite, well, terse with security. Then I fell asleep standing in line. Security must have thought I was on drugs or just batsh*t crazy. I explained that I was narcoleptic since I was too embarrassed to say that I’d been laid off (I hadn’t quite gotten through my Bargaining stage at this point).

Eventually, I scored an entry but one thing I didn’t know about show tapings: the studios are freezing (it helped keep me awake at least). And you don’t get a good view of the whole show, kind of like going to the theater but with huge cameras in the way. You also have to sit there for a long time before the show starts and clap constantly throughout the show.

I’ll never know if the security team warned the warm-up guy or not, but he definitely zeroed in on me. He asked me where I was from and after I said, “Hollywood,” he responded by saying, “No wonder you’re so jaded, tired and unhappy.” After a couple more, um, “shout-outs” during his set, I was even crankier than when I got in line.

Don’t get me wrong—watching the actual show was a ton of fun. You see people in real life that you watch on TV (Chelsea is much skinnier in person). I laughed the entire show and completely forgot that I was unemployed (and that I was mocked mercilessly by the warm-up stand up.). I felt special because I got to do something that most people don’t have the time to do. That’s when it hit me that this list had some merit: I could stop being sad sack unemployed Kerry and be the-world-is-my-oyster FUNemployed Kerry.

At the end of the show, I stood up and noticed that the warm up stand up was looking at me, horrified. I was wearing skinny jeans, flats, a blazer and an empire waist blouse. The way that my shirt was puckering out (and let’s face it, my carb baby stomach), I looked pregnant. I could see a wave of remorse on his face for torturing me. I thought about correcting him, but quickly changed my mind. I never said revenge wasn’t part of FUNemployment.

On my way out, the security guard with whom I interacted most stopped me and said, “I saw him point you out and pick on you. But you got a smile on your face now. Girl, go home and get some sleep.”
I got home close to 5 p.m. and promptly took a four-hour nap (as instructed by security). Yep, just because I could. I was extra tired from all of that clapping. When I woke up, I thought to myself, “Whoo! That was scary. I didn’t realize I was so tired.”

And then it dawned on me. Of course I’m tired. I’ve just been through a traumatic experience after months of torture. As important as it was that I look for a job and feel like I’m living, I needed to take care of myself. I learned the hard way that sleep is really important and made it my mission to never be that sleep deprived again. Especially because I’m pretty sure that my picture is on the wall of the E! security station with the caption “Banned,” “Confiscate food at your own risk” or “Crazy sleepwalking zombie.” Can’t get myself banned from anywhere else—and that includes potential employers.

Cost saving tip: If you’re having trouble sleeping, don’t get yourself hooked on costly Lunesta or Ambien. Go the more natural route with Melatonin. Trader Joe’s offers a great Melatonin product at a good price. In Los Angeles, it’s less than $5 for a bottle of 90 pills.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Juice Cleanses are Hell in a Glass

I’m a vegan. Relax, I’m not here to convert you and I don’t want to hear any garbage about the awesomeness of meat. I’m confessing to set the stage of my story.

I met a nutritionist who used to live in NYC, worked in advertising (sales, not agency) and had some of the same health issues that I had (fibroid tumor). We talked about how nutrition and stress played such a huge part in our health problems. We bonded and she told me that she wanted to help me.

In the spirit of FUNemployment, I went for it. No time like to present to get my eating habits under control. My goal of our meeting was to get a balanced eating plan. I have no idea if I’m getting all the nutrients I need. I mean, if I eat vegan eggplant, do I pair it with a salad or whole wheat pasta? Or both?

In lieu of said plan, she insisted on putting me on a juice cleanse. I could eat one meal at night. Her definition of a meal and mine differ greatly. She excitedly told me that I could have a salad and quinoa for dinner. My first thought was, “Cardboard for one.”

I told myself, “Ok, you’re tough. You can make it through anything.” WRONG. By day three, I was bed ridden by the afternoon, weeping from starvation. I just wanted a carb, any carb but preferably a bagel, a cupcake, a chocolate chip cookie and if my stomach permitted, a loaf of bread.

What was supposed to reboot my system and force me to crave vegetables left me a sobbing, starving, sad excuse for a lady. EPIC FAIL free nutritionist that I met at an event. I got what I paid for. And, I still have no idea what to pair with that eggplant. If you happen to know, let me know. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

My first radio interview for the eBook!

I did a radio interview that has been posted on this Web site from now through the end of 8/23

I said the word positive a million times and rambled a lot. I did manage to use the phrase "per se" (I rolled my own eyes and said Oy Vey when I heard it) but I think it's a good first effort. It was also the day after a 9.5 hour marathon so I'm giving myself some slack. Take a listen and I hope you enjoy!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Max Headrooming Myself

Excited stuff going on in the world of FUNemployed. In addition to doing my first radio interview, I'm also working on shooting a video book trailer and filming some FUNemployed tips. Whenever I explain my philosophy and eBook, people always tell me that it sounds inspiring and a must read for the unemployed.

Unemployment can be looked at as a problem (I know, a huge one) OR an opportunity. It all depends on your perspective. Thinking positively will help you turn the tide. I lost 20 lbs, became an eBay seller, wrote a book, took up photography, was an extra in a movie, hit the red carpet at The Espy Awards and most importantly rediscovered my love of writing. None of this would've happened if I wallowed. I decided that I was going to make the most of the time that I wasn't dedicating to finding a new job.

Some of the tips that I'm thinking of covering include, "What is FUNemployment?," "What do you do all day?," "How do you stay positive?," and "How do you afford FUN?" If you have anything that you're dying to know or would like me to cover, let me know!