What I Do In My “Free” Time

March 22, 2013 at 12:17 pm (A Little Fun, A New Career, Employment, Job Satisfaction, Working from home) (, , , , , , , , , , )

You have seen from previous posts that I have a new Thirty-One business.  I didn’t want to take over this blog with my business (not that I have done much updating in the past couple of years!) so I started a new blog dedicated to growing my business.  Please jog on over there and follow if you like.  Among other things I will have fun with videos demonstrating products so customers who can touch and feel the products will have a better idea of what will work best for their needs.

Also, stop by my Facebook group.  I am required to make it a closed group so just request to join.

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Who Would Like to Be a (Thirty-One) Hostess of the Month?

March 7, 2013 at 1:41 am (A Little Fun, A New Career, Employment) (, , , )

All it takes is a commitment to placing a $35 order each month from April 2013 to September 2013 and YOU will receive the benefits of hosting YOUR OWN party one of those months!  That is, at least $35 in FREE products (YOUR CHOICE!), one half-priced item (YOUR CHOICE!) and one hostess exclusive (amazing products offered ONLY to hostesses!).  I will choose names randomly when I have the commitment from 6 people, so you will know ahead of time which is your month.  You can choose to host a party that month, either in home or online to boost sales for your party and in turn earning even MORE free products!

This $35 amount will also qualify you for the monthly customer special.  When everyone takes advantage of the specials, EVERYONE BENEFITS!  What a great way to start stashing away Christmas gifts or planning ahead for birthdays!  Win, Win!!

If you are interested and want more information, please join my facebook group What’s In Your Tote Today? or send me an email at 31 partyatzohodotcom.

https://www.mythirtyone.com/Deliverance/

cindy tote

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Take this survey for me?

March 4, 2013 at 3:55 pm (A New Career, Employment, Working from home) (, , , , , , )

I created a survey for my Thirty-One business.  Those who complete it will be entered for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate.  Winners must be located in the US.

 

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LV2DTST

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Introducing Thrifty Third Thursdays!

January 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm (A Little Fun, A New Career, Fun Photos) (, , , , , , , )

Drum roll, please!!! Now is the time for our first ever Thrify Third Thursday! And for the first ever TTT I am offering a deal on one of our brand new products which I think will be a favorite.

I am going to offer you our Inside-Out Bag PLUS a scarf to accessorize for just $31! (plus shipping and tax). That is a $19 savings! This bag is incredible. It is reversible and you can wear it as a cross-body or shoulder bag. Talk about versatile!

This will also qualify you for the January special, an item from the Your Way collection for 1/2 off. This is already very popular for organizing the home.

When you bundle my TTT deal with the January special today I will ALSO give you 10% off the total!

Here is an example: The original price of the new Room for Two Utility Tote is $60. When you purchase my TTT deal along with this tote you will only pay $54.90 (plush shipping and tax) for all three items, a $55 savings!! That is LESS than the original cost of just the tote! This is our most expensive tote in the line so that is the most you would pay for anything in this bundle.

There are 4 prints in the Inside-Out Bag and 5 prints in the scarves (plus 10 prints in the varsity scarves).

Jump on this deal right now. Only available today! Tell your friends and when they join the group they can get this offer, too!

Shipping is available to anyone in the US.

You must going my Facebook group to take advantage of this deal today.  What’s In Your Tote Today? https://www.facebook.com/groups/366991693385473/

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Yes, I Own My Own Business!

January 11, 2013 at 12:27 am (A New Career, Employment, Job Satisfaction, Working from home) (, , , , , , , , , )

And here is where I do my shameless plug for my NEW BUSINESS!

Way back in June I saw something on Facebook about Thirty-One.  I was like, “What is that?”.  So I looked it up and it was love at first sight.  I new right away that I wanted to not just have a party, but be a CONSULTANT!  That was around the same time that my husband had been out of a job for a few months.  My work hours were pretty minimal since I am a student so I wanted some way to contribute a little more.  I also wanted a way to save up for vacations when we were back on our feet because we love to travel but haven’t had the expendable income to do so in several years.

So I had a Thirty-One party to see how things worked and I signed up the very next week to be a consultant!  I have been love, love, loving it!  Even as a full-time Master’s student (of statistics no less!) I can schedule parties when I have the time and make a little extra money.  It has also been a way for me to have forced breaks from my studies.  It was a great release during a very stressful semester.

What I love about being a consultant is I feel like I am a personal shopper for my customers.  They call and tell me what they want to order or ask for ideas and I help them with that.  I figure out ways to get them the best bargain using Thirty-One’s monthly specials (which are always amazing!).  I have everything shipped to me and it feels like Christmas every time a box comes in!  I get to take a look at the products I haven’t seen before and then when I present them to my customers they are so excited.

One other fun byproduct of being a Thirty-One consultant is that I have so many products at my disposal for my own use!  I obviously don’t use the products I show at parties on a daily basis, but I at least try them out so I can truthfully tell my customers how great this or that tote or purse is and give them more ideas on how to use them.  Before I became a consultant I carried the same purse for a year.  I loved it but it was getting holes in it.  Now I change my purse nearly every week it seems like!  I do have my favorites and the ones I will not go back to, but I have fun trying different things out.

If you are interested in becoming a consultant please go to my website and click on “Join My Team”.  Please feel free to ask me any questions.  You do not have to be local for me to sponsor you.

If you are interested in having a party please contact me and I can get you set up right away.  I do in-home parties in the NW Indiana region, but you do not have to be local to have a party!  I can get you set up with a catalog party and your guests can place their orders in the comfort of their own homes…all over the country!  You will have the same benefits as a hostess who parties in-home.  🙂

In January only hostesses get DOUBLE hostess credit when their party is $500 or more.  This means you can get $180 in free products at this level and it goes up from there!  Contact me immediately before this special expires!

https://www.mythirtyone.com/Deliverance/

This month’s special: For every $31 you spend you can get an item from our new “Your Way” collection for half price!

 

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Twenty-Twelve

December 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm (A New Career, back to school, Employment, Finances, Job Satisfaction, Memories, Social Services, Studies) (, , , , )

Last year I said that I was glad to say good-bye to 2011.  Many people agreed with me.  It was a tough year.  As was the year before that…and the year before that…and the year before that…and half of the year before that.  It felt like we were in a game of Whack-A-Mole.  When we were finally able to peek our head above ground  WHACK!  We were bopped back down.

2012 offered a lot of promise.  It started out rough, got a little…well…a LOT rougher, and I think it has ended better than many of the years before.

A few days ago Josh and I took a (very chilly!) walk along Lake Michigan reflecting on the highlights of 2012.

January:

  • Despite being the slow months of winter, Josh saw a lot of success with his program.
  • I started my first semester as a graduate student.
  • Finally out of debt, after 4 years!
  • We picked up our first ever BRAND NEW vehicle (ordered on Black Friday, we had the sales guy so flustered he inverted a couple of numbers giving us a $2,000 savings)!  After 11 years Josh now only has one more broken down vehicle to work on!

033

February:

  • More success in Josh’s program during the slow months of winter.  I think they saw some of the highest number of hours served in the history of the program during these months.  The program is expanding so much Josh is having a hard time hiring staff to keep up!

March:

  • Day trip to South Bend.  We still don’t have money, but we wanted to get OUT!
  • Josh’s brother calls on a Wednesday to invite us to his wedding…Friday.  This was supposed to be the day Josh got terminated, but because of this call he had to push the appointment back.  Yes, they made an appointment with him to terminate him, but he was told they would be working out some issues with his boss.
  • We enjoy Chris and Katie’s wedding on the steps of the courthouse in Crown Point.
  • On March 9 I post this on FB: For the first time since shortly after our move back from Scotland we have money in the bank! After 4 years of working to get out of debt we did not ask for it feels SO good to have a few bucks that are not already claimed for bills.
  • On March 19 Josh was terminated (Josh’s comment at the beach: I didn’t have to work for my creepy boss anymore!).
  • I have no choice but to continue working at the same agency that chewed Josh up and spit him out.
  • Josh’s amazing staff came together and gave him a great going away party on their own time.  We are humbled by the love and support they show.

leaving5

April:

  • Classes end.
  • Josh is trying to get out of social services so not applying for those jobs, but he is not being considered for anything else because he does not have specific experience. I want to go up to those haughty HR people and tell them my husband is so ingenuitive he can make a Popsicle stand in the arctic successful and they are missing out!

May:

  • Josh finally starts getting unemployment.  We watch our finances slip back to their previous state of debt.
  • Josh continues the job search, trying to get out of social services.  After countless emails saying he will not be considered for a labor or manufacturing position because he does not have the experience he goes back to applying for social services positions.
  • Camping!
  • I enjoy meeting with high school friends Tiph, Jil, and Steph at Steph’s production of Listen To Your Mother.

June:

  • We celebrated my grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary in Michigan.

ann1

  • We enjoy our cousin Kristina’s wedding.
  • Josh is offered a job to start mid-June.  Neither of us feel good about it, but it is a job.  Josh tries to negotiate for more time off because of his experience, since they will not budge on the low pay, but they say no.
  • We take a road trip to visit a dear friend in North Carolina.  We love to travel but had not had the money to for the last 5 years.  We love nature and mountains and this was just what we needed.
  • Josh has an interview for another job the day we get back from NC.
  • I take my client on her vacation to Amish Acres where we see “State Fair”, eat out LOTS (I have the best ever root beer float, and I don’t like root beer!), shop at Shipshewana, and go on a horse a buggy ride.
  • I put in my two weeks!
  • Josh starts his new job, but is offered the other and quits after 4 days (He has yet to be paid for that one!).

July:

  • Josh starts his NEW new job.
  • I become advocate for Verda, who was previously my client.
  • Blueberry picking!
  • I enjoy occasionally meeting with Verda and her staff for coffee/lunch/ice cream.
  • We enjoy the LaPorte County Fair.
  • FIREWORKS!!!
  • Josh, Stacey, and I organize  help set up for Chris and Katie’s wedding (and party hard afterwards!).

August:

  • We enjoy our summerly get together at our place for our lunch club.
  • We fly (for the first time since we moved back stateside!) to SF to visit Stacey.  We had a wonderful apartment in San Rafael, enjoyed many restaurants (YAY restaurant.com!), and got in lots of nature with hikes along the coast and a visit to Yosemite.
  • Classes begin.
  • Josh is working lots of hours.

September:

  • Camping!
  • We join a great new small group.
  • I start my Thirty-One business!

kit

  • We say good-bye to our Brazilian friends Eduardo and Natalia.  😦
  • I have my first Thirty-One party.
  • Josh is working lots of hours, but he gets his first raise.

October:

  • We celebrate Josh’s birthday at his favorite place because he can get whatever seafood he wants (Red Lobster).
  • Camping!
  • I have several Thirty-One parties, but everything starts to become a blur because of classes.
  • Josh is working lots of hours.

November

  • We celebrate my birthday, but we had to squeeze it in quick because I didn’t really have time to celebrate.  We didn’t go out anywhere.  Josh surprised me with a beautiful lemon and raspberry cake he made and decorated.
  • Stevie had some of his artwork in ArtAbility.
  • Thanksgiving!
  • Josh is working lots of hours, but is caseload is changed to be more local.  He is allowed $300/mo for his expense report.  This was not even covering his mileage.

December

  • I feel like I am about to die as classes wind down.  I pulled 2 all-nighters in a row to complete a project.
  • Classes finally end!  I didn’t think I would make it!
  • Josh’s work finally starts to slow down and he is offered another raise.
  • Christmas!

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First Day

January 18, 2011 at 9:49 pm (A Little Fun, A New Career, back to school, Studies) (, , )

Yesterday I automatically woke up at 4:30am.  Don’t know why.  I think this made it easier to get out of bed when the alarm went off at 4:45 this morning.

I waited 40 minutes at the train station for my train.  I was 10 minutes early.  The train was at least 30 minutes late.  South Shore was kind enough to make the announcement that the train would be 10-15 minutes late.  The radio reported the trains were on time.

As I stood in the rain listening over my music for the horn I debated whether it would be better to take the train and be late (I only have 5 minutes to get to class when the trains are on time) or to drive in the sleet, in the dark (my night vision is not the greatest), in bad traffic and be late.  I guess I made the right decision because as I was getting into my car I heard the ding signaling an announcement and shortly after the parking lot was suddenly flooded with others heading back to their vehicles.

It only took an hour and a half, traffic was not great.  I arrived in Evanston at the time my class was starting.  Now I had to find parking.  Parking in this area is difficult, to put it kindly.  I found a spot at a meter and prayed I had some quarters.  They were a staple in our car when we lived in Chicago, but not any more.  The meter said “1 1/2 hours for $1.50”, but I’m wondering what you got 1 1/2 of because the meter only gave me 60 minutes.  That was all I had.  I had to give up another little supplication that I didn’t get a ticket.

I made it to my class 10 minutes late, but fortunately someone save a seat for me.  Right in the front.  Middle.  About 3 feet away from the overhead screen.  I was frazzled, my hair was in my face, and I was doing what I could to avoid an embarrassing snot situation.  There at the front of the class.  I’m not sure I absorbed much.  Statistics, that is.

After making a mad dash out to my car to move it to a non-metered spot after class, I was happy NOT to see an orange envelope hanging from my window.  Now I have to pray I don’t get one in the mail.

I found a spot several blocks away and made my way back to campus to take care of some business.  I walked in circles around campus because there is construction and many paths are closed.  I got the ID.  I went to meet with an advisor who couldn’t help me and sent me to someone in the mathematics department.  On the other side of campus.  He couldn’t help with my specific question either.

I felt like I deserved a coffee after all of this and popped in to one of the many independent coffee shops in the area.  LOVE THIS!  There are so many different ethnicities in the area and I was getting so excited about all of the potentials for lunch.  Oh, wait.  I don’t have money to eat out.

I turned down the street I THOUGHT I had parked my car.  Then I went down next.  And the next.  This isn’t like me to lose my parking spot and it unnerved me a bit.  But I saw the Devon Market and went in to look around and this cheered me up.  Josh called to see how my day was going and as I was babbling and randomly walking down the streets I found my car.

Although I wanted to get home and get started on homework (I’m in a training all day tomorrow), I thought it would be great to drive through our old neighborhood since I didn’t plan to have my car any other time.  I saw some new buildings and couldn’t believe that one of the dilapidated apartment buildings that housed immigrants was gone and a Dominick’s in it’s place.  A stop at my favourite Middle Eastern Bakery was necessary and I got falafel for tonight’s dinner.  That makes me happy.

I wanted to take a picture of my first day on campus, but the sleet and the wind off the lake didn’t really make me want to linger long enough to take out my camera.  I do hope to have more time to post about my experience coming full circle and studying once again in Chicago.

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And the Job Search Goes On…

May 25, 2010 at 7:37 pm (A New Career, Employment, Finances, Job Satisfaction, Time Off Together, working midnights) (, , )

It has been a roller coaster ride.  When I talk about a job search I am asked, “What are you looking for?”  Well…almost anything right now.  Its sort of complicated.  I really want more responsibility.  I REALLY want to have normal hours.  I want to have a weekend again.  I want evenings off.  Time with my husband.  I want something that pays a livable wage.

It started last August when one of our group homes was in dire need of staff.  I went over there for three weeks to help out.  It was the most difficult as almost all of the clients require total care.  I was dreading it.  My first day was long and, just long.  At that point I was told I would only be there for one week.  On the first day I was told I would be there another week.  I cried the whole way home.

 Managers at the other group homes tease that they will send staff there as punishment.  That is how difficult it is.

But then I had a revelation.  This group home was in need.  They guys were great, despite having to feed them, change their undergarments, etc.  I COULD BE THE MANAGER!!!  I was so ready to take on the job and turn that house around.  There was a revolving door when it came to staff so there was absolutely no consistancy.  I was sure no one else within the agency would apply for that position.  It wasn’t even posted yet so I thought I had an advantage.  I typed up a VERY GOOD cover letter and turned in my letter of interest to HR.  Everyone that heard I was applying said I would be good in that position.  One week, Two weeks, Three weeks passed and I didn’t hear a word.  I sent out an email to the director.  He said, “Oh, thanks for your interest, but we are going to let another one of our managers run this house.”

Later I applied for a med assistant position.  Running appointments.  Not exactly what I had my heart set on, but it had different responsibilities and the hours were regular.  (After I applied for the manager position I was suddenly switched to midnights and it was making me physically and emotionally ill.)  I came in a close second.  It went to someone who knew a few more of the clients in the department than me.  But I was encouraged to apply for QMRP or staff supervisor if it became available.  The person who got the med assistant position?  She lasted one month and wanted to be transfered back to her old position.

Then a QMRP position because available.  Yay!  I interviewed.  Close second, AGAIN.   It went to someone the interviewee already worked with.  She was a staff supervisor.

I interviewed for the staff supervisor position.  Sounded like I was going to get it since she said, “I am looking for such-and-such qualities and you sound like that person.”  It went to someone who had worked at our agency previously.

THEN, Program Specialist became available.  This was the position I had been hopeing would become available for the last 6 months!  It was day hours, no on call, decent increase in pay.  Advocating for clients, setting and working on goals, training staff to work with clients.  Just what I wanted.  Again I was told I had great credentials and was encouraged to keep applying for positions.  This time I actually requested feedback on the interview.  I was absolutely gobsmacked by what she said.  She didn’t think I could be assertive when needed.  She didn’t think I could work with a diverse population.  She didn’t think I could handle difficult situations.  These are the things I had to do and deal with EVERY SINGLE DAY as a case manager for homeless clients.  I had the clients trying to come on to me.  I had clients trying to bully me for things they wanted.  I had to beg landlords not to kick my client whom I JUST got housed out.  I had to remain calm while I client was opening up to me as maggots were dropping onto the table from the ceiling and rats waddled by.  I worked with drug addicts, mentally ill, abused, young, old, black, white, former attorneys, you name it! 

I was rather upset that the things she mentioned were not things she asked about, but it was good feedback nonetheless.  I somehow have been coming across and timid and weak I guess.  That will have to change.

I am so tired of the interviewing though.  I am tired of getting paid little above minimum wage.  I am tired of  having to work overtime every week to get bills paid.  I am tired of working in an entry-level position and no one can see that I can do a darned good job with so much more responsibility.  I am tired of searching for jobs only to see ‘2 years experience required’ for things like front desk jobs and such (I can get paid 50% more as a clerk/secretary at Purdue and it would work out well for me as I am taking classes there now).

I came across an entry level position for a company in Chicago that does consulting for non-profits.  They preferred someone with experience in direct services.  I thought this would be an awesome job and it could possibly grow into something else as I get math and statistics classes under my belt.  I have not heard from them.  I am sure they are swamped with newly graduated applicants.  *sigh*

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Coffee Makes Everything All Better

December 31, 2009 at 4:18 pm (A New Career, Job Satisfaction) (, , , , )

I try not to drink too much coffee.  I work late and early shifts a lot so it is easy to want to grab a cup and it is easy for me to get addicted again.  I have an addictive personality and so many times I become dependent on coffee even after I get to a point where the thought of drinking it makes me feel sick.

But it really does make everything better!  I have a couple of sips and I think that life really isn’t so bad!  If only I could convince Josh that this kind of self-medicating isn’t so bad.  🙂

Yesterday I went to Starbucks.  These are special trips reserved for something special, like a day I am going to work a really, really long overnight shift or it’s my day off and I’m running errands or it’s cold outside or I just need a pick-me-up.  No, really.  Coffee shop coffee really is reserved to once-in-a-great-while.  And I usually go to Starbucks because (aside from I know how the coffee is SUPPOSED to taste and can have it done right if it isn’t) last Christmas got me a $100 gift certificate (for $80 from Costco).  He knows I don’t like to spend that much for our gifts, but how could I refuse?!  And yes, I AM still using that same gift card.  I have enough on it for one more drink.

Anyways, yesterday I went to Starbucks.  Everytime I am there, it doesn’t matter which one, every time I am there I want to jump behind the counter and make my own drink.  They are so darned slow!  There are usually 4 or 5 or more behind the counter and they can’t keep up with 5 drinks!  Once I was the only person in the store and there was one car in the drive through and it took me 10 minutes to get my frapp.  And then it didn’t even taste right.

It makes me think back to my days behind the bar.  Aside from weekends and holidays there were only ever 2 of us behind the bar.  AND there were points in the day where there was only one.  And I got so good at my job that I could handle 5 customers all by myself.  I mean the whole transaction, from ordering to paying to making the drink.  When I was training green beans and the poor bloke at the machine had a line of cups that would no longer fit on top I would jump in and steam milk and start drinks while handling customers at the till.  And when I was behind the bar and I saw a regular in the queue I would start there drink and have it ready before they even ordered and without backing up the drinks that were already ordered. 

And it wasn’t just that I was fast.  I was GOOD!  Customers liked it when I was behind the bar because my drinks were reliable.  When I told one of my customers that I was leaving she exclaimed in her Scottish brogue, “Oh, no!  Where am I going to go?  You make the best cappuccino!”  And even though I was only a supervisor, I felt more like a manager because I ran a lot of the workings of the store.  I was respected by those I supervised.  They enjoyed working for me.  They even told me that I should open up a deep-dish pizza shop and they would all come work for me.  I really enjoyed knowing my job inside and out and having the capability to be excellent in what I do.  I knew how to be diplomatic with the customers, too.  Even with blood boiling I could handle a problem with a smile on my face.  This is probably where I learned how to insult someone without them even realising it.  I never satisfied a customer at the expense of one of my teammates, though.

Since then I have not felt that way and I think it really affects my job satisfaction.  I know I have done good work in my recent jobs, but because there is so much regulation, too many to really learn, especially when the state really isn’t that clear on regs, and because we have so many people to answer to, each one of them having their own ideas about how things should be done, I don’t feel like I will ever know my job inside and out and be the best in my field.  I just hope that the new line of work I go into will be different and that I can excel, not just get the job done, but be really good at what I do.

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Making Me Nervous

December 20, 2009 at 12:43 am (A New Career) ()

I have been looking at statistician jobs all over to get an idea of the demand, salary, job descriptions, and such.  I came across one description of what would go on in the interview for a job with the Scottish government.   I would be looking at a 3+ hour interview!

The Scottish Government Assistant Statistician Assessment Centre consists of the following elements:

  • Written exercise
    Lasting 1 hour 5 minutes and with a choice of questions
  • Presentation preparation
    You will be given 30 minutes to prepare a presentation based on given information
  • Presentation followed by a Competency Based and Technical Interview
    You will give your presentation and answer follow up questions on it, before moving on to the main interview which should last approximately 1 hour

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