Managing Career Disappointment

Have you ever wanted something more than anything in world, but had to turn it down when you got it?

It could be a job, a new beau, a home.  Something you have been dreaming about, visualizing, wishing and hoping about so much it hurts.

Then, you find out your perfect dream is a smoke screen.  There is a piece of the puzzle that doesn't fit.  Very often, this dream come true requires a risk, and you have to take it or pass on it.

I had what I have been working for, within reach and offered to me.

But there were issues about owning my dream.  Serious issues.  I wanted to bury my concerns, and just go for it.  However, after conferring with friends, I knew that I couldn't follow my gut this time.  I couldn't ignore elements of this opportunity that would clearly impact me if I said yes and took the risk.

Sometimes, life sucks.

I am feeling very angry about loosing something so important- so precious.  Particularly because I don't have a lot of time left on this earth to obtain that goal.

The objections were serious enough that I just couldn't ignore them.  Oh, I want to just do it anyway.  This would be a fatal move.  In my case, it is a job...I job that I covet, that I want so badly.

I have made some serious mistakes in the past, and even though I had an offer I found hard to refuse, I couldn't take it not because of fear of failure, I know I am the best person for this position- but the players would have affected my success.  The fit wasn't there.

Moreover, I have taken positions in the past ignoring my gut, and I was out the door within 3 months.  I am a very special personality,  People either love me or hate me.  There is nothing lukewarm regarding how co-workers and bosses evaluate me.

I want to kick up my heels, stomp my feet and scream at my frustration.

Back in the day, jobs were so plentiful that it took one no more than 4 to 6 months to get the job of your dreams.  Not today, and certainly not for a boomer like me.

Has this ever happened to you?  How did you handle disappointment?

Did you mourn your dream that slipped out of your reach?

I can't let things go.  I am tenacious and stubborn to a fault.  And, I beat myself up mercilessly.

So, as I approach the long, and winding weekend, I have yet another burr under my saddle to fester.

Life can suck when you have to make hard decisions.

So tonight, instead of going home and talking to "the hand" I am going to put my arms around my Great Pyrenees and pour my heart out.

Retirement Is a Dirty Word

Driving to work today, I thought about retirement.  It was frightening to me.  Just the word "retire" makes me think of:

  • tired
  • worn out
  • used up
  • worthless
  • ready to die
  • dead weight

Pretty hard to swallow, that in 10 years-  I will be looking at retiring.  I am not ready.  Notwithstanding, the economy tells me I won't be able to even afford to retire in ten years.

More frightening.

I always thought of myself as being creative, but am I resourceful?  I think one has to be very resourceful to come up with a plan "B" when you're looking into a crystal ball. Check out this chilling Daily Finance article the-notion-that-youll-spend-less-in-retirement-is-totally wrong

I look around, and see loads of resourceful people.  They are not licking their wounds, but rather; they have established clever little businesses to sustain them as they shift into first gear.

I haven't done that.  I have thought a great deal about it.  What I want to do when the time comes.

When I started blogging, I thought, hmmm; this  is a good idea, because I believed it would open doors of possibilities.

To some degree, that has been true.  But it is no secret that you cannot make a living blogging.

Baby boomers, like myself, have this dirty little secret:  we never planned for tomorrow.

 I can remember my mother's good friend telling me to "put my money away."  I also remember feeling very angry about her telling me what to do with my money.

 How dare this woman stick her nose in my business, I thought.

Of course, back in the day, money was rolling in like no tomorrow.  I had a career, making excellent money, and never thought about tomorrows.  Money was to be spent, and I bought want I wanted.

As I look back, I realize I was too foolish and stubborn to look at reality.  And, I haven't changed much since then.  I have been to the school of hard knocks, but all I do is dream about a change in my lifestyle.  I still love to dream, it quiets my restless soul.  

I can't bear to think that I will spend the rest of my life in a void of financial doom and gloom.

So, with that said, I would like to hear from other baby boomers, on ideas to keep yourself afloat, as we approach retirement.  Because, l don't want to retire in the true sense of the word.  I want to continue to provide for myself, be an active part of the community rather than shrivel up in a corner of my home.

So tell me; what are your plans for retirement?

Will you be able to retire and provide financially for yourself?

J.K. Rowling Ready to Roar

JK Rowling-LMK-037518.jpg

I had blogged about my doubts that J.K. Rowling's new book would be a success.  I believed that she should stick with appealing to her children's audience.  Apparently, minds far more evolved disagree:  J.K. Rowling Writes 'Casual Vacancy' For Adults.

This article makes some strong points that I hadn't evaluated about the J.K. Rowling audience. explains that Rowling's targeted children through  the Harry Potter series.  Those books  transitioned the once 'children'  into young adults.  Harry Potter books have made readers out of the  adolescent and preteen readership. goes on to report that those young adults are already sold on the Rowling's new mystery novel, Casual Vacancy.  Makes perfect sense to me.  It's all in the details, it is said.

So clever.  How did I miss that?

I was always from the school of thought that if you have found a niche in your market, don't change courses. Apparently, there are many ways to look at this.

On September 27,  2 million copies hit the United States bookstores.  Clever as she goes, the book will be simultaneously released in Canada, U.K. New Zealand, Australia and Germany.  The digital version will also be released on the same date.

Whew!  never under estimate genius and power of brilliant marketing campaigns.  Silly me, I should know better.

Trouble is, I have this gut thing about me.  I always rely on intuition to evaluate  people, situations, the world at large.  Well, at least agrees with me on one point,  that J.K Rowling is in the same league as Dickens. 

Got that call right.

And, just like the Harry Potter books-  there are no advanced copies being released.  So we all have to hold our breath right up to the end.

Are you ready?

I can't tell you have many books I have started and not finished.  I never had that problem with Harry Potter.  I hung on every word, and they don't get any less interesting when read a second or third time.

In fact, I always find something I have missed -  so good are J.K. Rowling story details.
So. with the advent of another J.K. Rowling novel.  I can hear the pitter-patter of footsteps already lining up at the book stores.

I am so ready to go on another adventurous ride. How about you?

The Real Meaning of Courage

I listened to "Teenage Wasteland" today, the "Who's" mega 60's hit about the Vietnam war.  As I listened, my mind drifted back to my first boyfriend.  He was such a cutie.  I met him at the Surfside Community Center in Miami Beach, Florida.  It was my very first dance.   I was all of 12, he; 13 or 14.

 I'll never forget the nice, starched white shirt he was wearing, and his red and black vest, black pants, and black boots.  He was just a vision for a girl of 12. His blond hair, softly framing his strong face, was the perfect accessory to his wiry, tall body.  Anything Beatle was the rage, and he definitely had the British vibe going for him.

I knew I had to meet him, or at least introduce myself.  I don't actually know how I finally did meet him.  Being rather shy about meeting boys at that time, I must have done something right because by the end of the night we were fast friends.  During the weeks that followed, he invited me to meet him at the beach, and so,  my first crush blossomed.

We'd  meet on weekends and go to the ice-skating rink at the Fountainbleau Hotel. We would delight and walk around to all the hotels of the day that lined  popular Collins Avenue.  But it was a the Deauville Hotel, that he whispered softly into my ear, "do you want to go steady?"  How excited I was to have someone so interested in me.

There were other groups of teens that frequented the Beach, some of them we called "hooples."  These were the rebel without a cause group, always looking for fights, and still sporting the greased back 50's look, rather passe' in the swinging 60's. A couple of these teens must have said something to set my beau off, because the next thing I saw was two or three of them beating him up.

My poor guy had his hands wrapped around his head - it was obvious he wasn't a fighter - and could not protect himself.    At that time, I am ashamed to admit I thought less of him because he didn't fight back and defend himself.

I was a child at 12, at every sense of the world.  However, I was in for one of life's greatest lessons about that incident.  I would not know what the lesson would be, or that it would take 7 years to learn it. 

The Vietnam war was raging on during the 60's.  I went on to meet another young man in my late teens, who was going to be a true boyfriend, not the "puppy love" I experienced with this lad.  During this time, everyone I knew held there breath about the draft.  It was a lotto, and whoever drew the lowest numbers was called to serve.  "Ronnie" wasn't so lucky.  He was shipped off in 1968.  I prayed that my current boyfriend did not get drafted.  As it turned out, he didn't and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

So, I was shocked when, in 1969, the phone rang, and it was my good friend Linda.  She was calling to let me know that Ronnie was killed in Vietnam.  There was a viewing and she wanted me to be there, and even bring my current boyfriend, Tom.  I sighed, and said I couldn't do it.  She was relentless, reminding me that he was my first boyfriend, a friend I had for two years, prodding me even more.  Insisting that I show up- out of respect to him- and our friendship.

I asked her what happened, how did he die?  She explained that he was anxious to get home.  His troop had the option of getting home early, if they volunteered for a reconosance mission.  Ronnie volunteered and tragically stepped on a land mine.  

When I went to view his body, the poor boy was dressed in his army uniform, with a glass enclosure over his body.  A mutual friend was standing over his body, pointing out that his right arm was obviously missing, as the uniform hung flat on his right side.  Tom and I slowly kneeled over the casket, and said a prayer for Ronnie.  It was a strange and very odd feeling, being there with my current boyfriend, and honoring my first.

While it was a terrible experience, I didn't think back to the incident on the beach, at least not at first.  It was, over the years, that I most reflect back on that day.  I frequently reflect on, the joke was really on the "hooples".  Because he was the real hero.  I thought of the "toughs" and how they looked at him, full of arrogance and pride.

Could they man up to what he did?  Would they have taken on that mission?

The old adage that "youth is wasted on the young" couldn't be more potent.  It is life's lessons like this that are truly wasted on the young.  It was inspiring to first become aware, that Ronnie was a hero, and getting beat up on the beach paled in comparison to giving up his life for his country.

Life has it ironies, doesn't it?

I can't help but drift back to that day every time I hear the Who's Teenage Wasteland.  I still can't make sense of that war.  But I will never forget Ronnie and all the other men who fought for what turned out to be a senseless effort.

I will never forget Ronnie, nor will I forget the lesson I learned about courage, and what real courage is.

I wouldn't want to ever forget.

My Moments

I have had my "moments."  Those little spaces in time, etched in my mind that I will never forget.

Here are some samples:

  • my first kiss
  • my first boyfriend and what he wore when I met him at a teen dance
  • my first boyfriend's wake after serving in Vietnam
  • my wedding
  • giving birth to my first child
  • giving birth to my second child
  • feeling old on my 30th birthday
  • seeing Ireland for the first time
  • my father on his death bed
  • my  mother on her death bed
  • the first house I owned
  • the house I grew up in
  • seeing the Beatles in Jacksonville
The list goes on and on...but I remember so much more, those special moments in time uniquely my own.

These memories never fade, but seem to reappear more frequently with age.  Maybe it is like dying, and going through the proverbial tunnel.  I suppose I am supposed to remember the incidents that make up a lifetime.

There are those that say life begins with today.  Many, refuse to look back, just forward- or better- just live in the moment.  I am far too traditional for that kind of thinking.  

We all have our "moments."  Everyone has them, many paint them, others' talk about them.
We are share our "moments" differently.

I am bothered by the moments I have forgotten, but delight when somebody asks "do you remember when..." and I suddenly remember something I forgot.  More troubling, when someone asks do you remember so and so and I CAN'T remember...ugh....that gets very awkward.

That is the great thing about writing, as difficult as it is - you establish your very own personal memories- lest you forget.

I am happy I could share a couple of my own with you.

Do Our Children 'Owe' Us?

What do we owe our children?  What should we expect from our children?  I have been doing battle with my daughter for some time now.  She left home at 14 during the summer, which was to be her regular summer vacation with her Dad in Pittsburgh.

Right before she was to return, I received a call from her Dad informing me that she wasn't coming home.  She had chose to live with him and go to high school in Pittsburgh.  I was devastated.  How could this happen?  Why would my daughter do this to  me?  And why would her Dad make the call, and she refuse to do it herself?

To be fair, I was married to a bi-polar man and there was a lot of arguing in the house.  She told me years later that this was the reason.  It didn't stop the pain.  I will never forget it.  A loss that went right to the heart.

I cried until there were no tears left in my body. My  neighbor, and friend came over to comfort me.  I remember every detail of the day.  I shall never forget the day.

Throughout the years, my daughter went on to graduate from college, and became a Probation Officer in Florida.  She had a relationship with a college boyfriend that lasted 9 years.  They lived together, (which I initially suggested rather than rush into marriage).  This back fired.   Four years, went onto five, and I expressed my concerns and thoughts about marriage and family.  Last year, they bought a house; got a second dog - company for the min-pin my daughter has had for 10 years.  I also expressed my concerns over my daughter purchasing a house with a man who had not committed.

I have only seen my daughter three times in the 10 year period.  I could have visited her more, but financial obligations kept me from doing so.

I missed her terribly.

Roughly two months' ago, she announced she was going to meet her cousin, whom she had come to know on-line through Facebook.

 Hmmmm...she was going to New York, and I was concerned.  I told her that my niece may not be the most reliable person in the world.  That she should confirm her willingness to put her up for the few days she would be there.

To my dismay, my daughter told me that she told my niece exactly what I said.  I was incensed.  I explained that was not for publication, but something that was for her ears only.  Her comment?

"You should not talk behind people's backs."

 I couldn't believe my ears.

At any rate, as predicted, my daughter did not stay with my niece because, as I understood; my niece's boyfriend was not in agreement.  So, she ended up staying with a friend of my niece, a  40 year old man.  My daughter is 29.  I thought it odd that my daughter's boyfriend wasn't going along.  She had always done everything with this man.

I told my daughter that it was obvious that she was angry with me and had no respect for me.  I suggested we take a break and not speak.  I heard through the grapevine, that after a month returning from her trip, she packed up her bags, went to a motel, left her 10 year-old dog and the house she owned with her boyfriend.   She was moving to Connecticut to be with the man she had met - and stayed with on her trip- for just 3 days.

Just like that.  Quit her job (without notice) and left.

I was in total shock, as was the rest of the family.  What can you do - at 29 our children are adults- we have no control of their lives.  I communicated with my daughter today, and things went from bad to worse.  I was angry, and said some things better left unsaid.

I am now officially "unfriended"  from my daughter's Facebook page.  I am certain I deserved this after my lecture.

The point is, what can we expect from our adult children?  Do we have a right to tell them we don't approve or agree with their decisions?  Should we be disposable if they don't agree with us?

I am not the greatest diplomat with these matters.  I let it all hang out, and my temper gets the best of me.  Honestly, if someone told me they weren't speaking to their children and had written them off, I would be the first to judge and think how wrong they were.

Until it happened to me.

What do you think?  Is it better to come clean with your kids and let them know they are disrespectful?  Even if it means severing the relationship because they treat you like one of their friends instead of a parent?

I know many would bite the bullet and make up with their child.  I just can't, because I feel I am not getting the respect as a parent.  The only thing I wanted was an apology.

I never got it.

Post Office Closures: More Symptoms of Decaying Economy

Wikipedia, Mail Carrier

Growing up, I always found excitement in waiting for the mail.  The mailman always greeted me with a curious wink, and asked what I was up to for the day.  It was part of life for me as a preschooler.

Now that is all going to change.

Because of of the Internet, we no longer rely on snail mail to get our letters off to friends, family and businesses.

Why should we bother? we ask, when we can send a message across continents in seconds.

What about the art and intimacy of the personal handwritten note?  The post office was once a meeting place for folks in the 30's, 40's, 60's and beyond.  Now, as more satellite offices close, we are lucky to find one tucked away at our local food spot or strip center.

This is the beginning of an epidemic.  With a crumbling economy, I see this as a domino effect to businesses internationally.

Sad part is, all we can do is stand by and watch it crumble.  Post office may be going, gone by end of the year. notes, rural counties are struggling to stay open at least through the election: Postal Service: Will keep rural post offices open.

Our customer's habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business," Postmaster General Patrick Donahue said this summer.

Just another symptom of a failing economy, we may say.  But where does this end?  What major facility is going to close next?  Will hospitals also close because of big government intervention due to lack of use, or worse;  because of government dictates regarding what facilities will be approved to treat patients?

Personally, I don't like this helplessness.  The United States economy as we know it, is evolving in a direction that makes me uneasy.  Thousands of employee layoffs are inevitable, with the advent of more government and private industry closures.

I may not use the post office on a daily basis, I still want to know it is there for me when I need it.

It seems I will no longer enjoy that luxury.