Checking in With the Labor Search This Labor Day Weekend

Saturday, August 30, 2014

It isn't that often that I deviate from the retro-related observations to post personal stuff on Go Retro but it's been my experience that the few times I have that my readers kind of dig it. I know that I like to get the person behind some of my favorite sites.

So what's today's personal topic about? Well, some of you may know that I was laid off earlier this year from my full-time February, to be exact. For those of you know don't know, I was laid off earlier this year from my full-time February, to be exact (giggles.)

The good news is I've been staying really positive through this particular tussle with unemployment. This isn't my first's my fourth. Do you think maybe the universe is trying to send me a message about seeking employment in corporate America?

Anyways, being that it's Labor Day weekend, I thought I'd do a little self check and update everyone on what I've been up to for the past seven months.

In all this time, I've only had one in-person interview, with a staffing agency. The interview itself went very well but it was disappointing because I thought I was interviewing for a marketing manager position for a small but growing manufacturing company. The advertised job opening said the person filling the role would be managing their social media channels, helping to name new products and promote them, and write copy for their collateral. It turned out to be nothing more than a copywriter position, for a less-than-exciting company. And the position has been posted on their site pretty much since I've been laid off, and I doubt anyone's been hired for it yet.

But that's not to say that I haven't been staying productive during this time off:

*I continue to manage the social media channels for a small consumer wares company and try to make it fun for their followers (product giveaways, contests, etc.) I also write posts for the company blog and attract PR and good juju for them through Twitter. I don't want to name them because the last time I did, the managers saw it in a Google alert and while I said only good things, it was still a little embarrassing. If you want to know who they are, just send me a private email.

*I got a (non-paying) writing gig with REBEAT Magazine, which is a lot of fun.

*I managed to get a paying writing gig through Craiglist, for a company that populates content sites with those slideshows accompanied by descriptive captions. I compile the photos and write the captions. It pays a few dollars per gallery depending upon the length, and you can pick and choose the ones that interest you. Hey, I'll take it...I have already made a few extra bucks and plan on cranking them out once my unemployment runs out. 

*I was a background extra, playing a nurse in a German TV miniseries that's been filming in my state over the summer. Last year I was a background extra in the upcoming Denzel Washington film The Equalizer and that was a little more exciting and lucrative, but the German miniseries gig was closer to my home and fun, easy money for one day of work. Apparently the Germans are really big on corny romance novels by a British writer named Katie Fford whose books get turned into miniseries for the country. Who knew? 

*While I've exercised regularly since my 20s, I vowed when I got laid off that I'd lose the muffin top I had attracted during the past 7 years at my last job, finally tone my abs and would get into really good shape. I ran my first 5K in May in 32 minutes, 23 seconds (a nice symmetrical number) and have lost seven pounds since losing my job...I'm sure that not having nearly daily temptations in the office such as a vending machine, doughnuts, leftover meeting snacks and homemade cookies helped contribute to that loss!

Which brings me to my next point...

When I was younger, I thought from time to time about becoming a model. People told me on occasion that since I was tall and thin and had nice features, I should try. I actually did, signing on with a now-defunct agency in the Boston suburbs. The only job I was ever offered from them was for a hair show, which I actually couldn't participate in since it was short notice and I worked at a hotel at that time, and it would have been impossible to get the day off. I also did local fashion shows for a small bridal shop...for free. So, when too many shows went by without any compensation from the owner, I quit and forgot about the dream.

As I got older, I noticed that older models were starting to become a commodity. More magazine used to run an annual modeling contest for women over 40. I told myself that when I was 40, I would enter it. That never happened because they discontinued it. But after reading articles about women who were able to launch modeling careers after the age of 40, I got really interested in it again. Not every client is seeking 21 year-old women who are six feet tall, weight 120 pounds, and wear a D cup sized bra. There is commercial modeling work...and companies who are promoting products to 40-something and older women want age appropriate people in their ads and materials. 

Now please know that I'm being realistic about the goal. As much as I'd like to make a commercial where I'm driving my Jag through a car wash to shampoo my hair and meet and marry a British rock star, I know that I can't be the next Pattie Boyd. And I'm still job hunting and prepared to take on a part-time position to supplement whatever modeling gigs I can get...or a full-time one again if it doesn't pan out.  

I have no idea if there's any demand for someone like me in an already extremely competitive industry. But I've met women who are shorter than I am and not much younger who gave gotten lucrative modeling work, and some of the women on the site of an agency I really want to work for are a dress size higher than me, older than me, and shorter than me. So I feel like I have nothing to lose, other than the money I shelled out earlier this week for a professional photographer to take photos of me to submit to sites. I think it would be a good experience for me...a chance to meet some new people, a way to work on my confidence, and who knows, maybe some jobs will get me involved in charity events or involved in other ways to help others. 

You only get one time around on the planet (or so I believe, anyway) so I gotta at least try. Who knows, a year or two from now I may be thinking of venturing into something else. And rest assured, Go Retro isn't going anywhere! 

That's the scoop. I hope everyone, whether working or not, is enjoying the Labor Day weekend!


  1. Hey Pam, I'm glad you shared this--to be honest I was wondering how the job search was going, but didnt want to stick my nose where it didnt belong. :) I admire you a lot for all the creative things you're doing, you're really thinking outside the box--I wish you'd share one of your professional photos here, I got to see one of 'em and I think it was worth it, you look fantastic. I'd love to see that pan out for you. Well good luck with your endeavors and please keep us posted! :)

    PS. Hey I just noticed my dorky blog is in your blog-list on the side; wow, I'm honored!

  2. Well thanks, Doug! I don't know how it is for people with other backgrounds, but I am finding the competition for marketing jobs to be stiff in my area. I've rewritten my resume here and there about a dozen times, had it reviewed by a specialist, and always match keywords when uploading it to employer's sites and never hear back.

    I still love marketing/social media and doing it for this other company...and I keep brainstorming creative ways to gather attention for them. But in the meantime, it's time to try something new, too.

    And yep, I finally updated by blog list a few weeks ago and was surprised I hadn't added yours's good reading!

  3. Hi Pam - sounds like you have a nice positive outlook and I wish you well on the modeling as well. You're right, you never know what they're looking for or when so putting yourself out there is great. My husband was let go two years ago, at the same time his father died. He was out of work for over 8 months and then worked for four months, again out of work for 8 months and worked for 2. He's just now picked up a 6 month contract (to cover a maternity leave) so I hope it will go well for him.

    Interviews he had were dismal and I honestly don't know how he did it - I would have had such low esteem by then, but he managed to keep it together (maybe the difference between men and women). Sounds like you're doing well, don't lose your creative outlets - you have too much to offer us!! Fingers crossed for you!

  4. Pam, your wonderful attitude and you're ability to see opportunity is admirable (and by the way, based on your picture - why aren't you doing modeling? You're much more attractive than the majority of models I see).

    Naysayers and complainers, perhaps Pam could market her "essence" as a immunization for schlump disease.

    You go, girl.

  5. Thank you very much Way Out Wear and Cherdo for the kind words and encouragement! Way Out Wear, I'm sorry to hear that your husband has been job hunting. I'll keep my fingers crossed for him that the new contract opportunity will turn into something permanent.

  6. Thanks so much for the kind comments, Scott. It can be a little bit exciting, starting over, but also a little scary and overwhelming...especially now that my unemployment runs out in two weeks. Still, I'm staying positive. I did not know about Gene Roddenberry's background; thanks for sharing that.

    I loved "A Mighty Wind." I should rent it again sometime.

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