Trying this new thing where I make myself more accountable for my actions, starting with food.

Lunch:

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Morning snack:

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Afternoon snack:
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Dinner:
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I did it.

Well I walked it, mostly.  Many of my friends and acquaintances have jumped on the 5K bandwagon, so I decided it was time for me to jump on too.

Being a sufferer of chronic back pain (including, but not limited to, two bulging discs and a couple of herniated discs), I knew this would be a challenge.  But I’m all for challenges these days.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ways to push myself out of the comfort zone.  This was one of them.  So I did and I feel pretty good.

So here I am, the morning after.

The number 01:02:45 (my finishing time) firmly placed in my brain; along with the dread of how much it will hurt when I get out of my seat, yet all I can think about is that next time, I’ll do it in under an hour.

Today I received a phone call at work from a salesperson from a company that has previously solicited me, but it was not the person that has called in the past.  That person has had a handful of conversations with me over the past 2 years; and we’ve discussed why their products weren’t right for us then and are not right for us right now.

Why did I get this call? Why today?

Well 2 days ago, I had downloaded a FREE template from their website; and wouldn’t you know it, not only did I get a salesy email shortly thereafter, but I received this call 2 days later.

So maybe I was feeling a little snarky, having someone new call, who doesn’t know our business needs; or me.  Maybe a little disgusted by how the sales cycle works – I take action, you pounce.  I let him know that he wasn’t the person who typically calls me and that we are not currently in the market for his services, but I’d love a call back in 6 months.  He offered to send me a link to a great article. I thanked him. Goodbye.

Not Goodbye.

Moments later, I see his email in my inbox (okay), followed by a DIFFERENT email forwarded to me by the Managing Partner of our firm from the same guy (not okay).  It stated:

“I saw that one of your colleagues Julie Manteria had taken a look at some of the resources on our website related to [this] and [that] , so I wanted to reach out and see if this was a focus at all.

[Blah  blah blah … followed by a link to the same article]

What the?

I was pretty astonished that this salesperson had the stones to completely discredit my opinion as the marketer for the (small) firm and go straight to the owner!  So I left the guy a voicemail.  It went something like this (although not nearly as eloquent as planned, insert some ‘ums’ to make it more accurate):

Hi [Guy who just pissed me off], it’s Julie from [my company].  I have to say, I’m a little disappointed with your email to [the managing partner].  As the marketer for the firm, I don’t think it was necessary to go over my head … I’m not sure you’ll be hearing from us in the future.

What would you do?

I’m guessing you wouldn’t do what he did next … wait for it …

He sent an email to both of us, subject line “Voicemail from Julie”:

“Hello Julie and [Managing Partner],

My apologies- I wasn’t trying to go over anyone’s head within the organization.

My intention was to reach out and see if this was a priority for anyone else within the [company], since it has a direct impact on the business as a whole.

We help companies generate qualified leads and new business – really just trying to help since I saw you were looking at resources.

Hopefully no hard feelings, and I’d still love to show how we can help.

 Let me know!”

My face turned red.   Marketing: 1 Sales: 0

It’s hard to believe that I haven’t posted anything here since January 2010.  Even harder to believe that my husband didn’t even know this existed, ha!

In a nutshell, here’s you missed …

Got a job in February 2010!  I knew it was the wrong job for me but I took it anyway because it was the only offer I had.  In my interview for the job, the COO of the company asked me, in these words exactly: “I know I’m not supposed to ask this, and I would lie in a court of law, but what’s your deal? Married? Kids?”  Under normal circumstances (not needing the job) I would’ve politely said “I don’t see how this is relevant to the position – I would be happy to answer, if you could tell me how it pertains.”  And then perhaps show myself to the door … instead, I simply answered “married, cats, no kids.”  “Oh I have dogs!” she said.  I later found out those dogs were her only friends (not including her pretend boyfriend), but I digress.

One year and many inappropriate comments later, I announced my pregnancy to her, as my coworkers began to question my baggy attire and 4PM saltine feedings.  The beast promptly asked if my pregnancy was planned. Seriously,lady?!  Needless to say, things at this point went from bad to worse and I began to more aggressively search for a way out.

In May 2011 I found the way out.  A new opportunity just minutes away from my home.  Yes, I got a new job while pregnant!  Kind of killed my negotiating power on salary, so I got 4 days of work to help compensate for the lack of salary.

Fast forward to October 17, 2011, the day our ‘small monkey’ arrived.  Riley is without question the best thing that has ever happened to me.  Today she’s nearly one and a half years old and makes me smile every day.  Looking forward to sharing my adventures as a working mom who steps on an average of three Cheerios a day.

small monkey

Riley

Today is a day I will never forget – I lost my job on this day last year. I can’t forget it because it is also my husband’s birthday, which made this even harder.

Looking back, it’s still hard to not replay that day in my head, unless I move myself forward to 3 months after that day when the 2 people who let me go, were also let go.  That little shiny bit of karma is what keeps me from getting very angry.  It’s hard to not be angry after a job loss – even a year later, I still struggle with this sometimes and I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

The good news is that I was pleasantly surprised to find some inner strength and survival tactics that I didn’t think I had in me.  I would’ve never thought that I could go a whole year on unemployment without either leaching off of my family or losing my house.  But I survived, found a few small jobs here and there to keep me going and found out what I can live without.  When you are in a situation like this, it’s a true test of what your wants and needs are.  I’ll be honest, I did let myself have a few ‘wants’ last year, but not without careful consideration.

Where does this leave me today? I still apply for a number of jobs every week and I am trying to build a consulting business as a backup plan, which is working out pretty well so far.  I have also been taking some continuing education classes and spending more time on doing things I love, like making jewelry.  I have hope that this is going to be a good year, or at least a better year.

Being unemployed for the past 9 months has been a time of reflection for me (among other things).  Lately I’ve been thinking about the work I’ve done that isn’t on my resume, but has shaped who I am as a working person.

Here’s a little walk down memory lane – jobs I’ve had and what I learned:

Ice Skating Instructor (age 16): my job was to walk little kids around a skating rink for a half hour and teach them to “step step glide”. What I learned on this job is that if I am the teacher, I am in control.  One student was adamant that I teach her how to do an advanced move, which I knew was not a good idea.  She pushed and pushed and finally I gave in, and she fell down.  She wasn’t hurt, but I will never forget this experience because I didn’t stick to my guns.  I frequently remind myself that my instincts are generally right and I should trust myself more often.

Glitter Gluer (age 17): I worked for a couple, out of their home, gluing glitter to large foam-core cut outs of cartoon characters.  These were used as table centerpieces for extravagant Long Island bar and bat mitzvahs.   The glitter had to look just right – evenly distributed and each color within the proper section, so that the image would look right. I learned about precision and the importance of being attentive to details, while gluing my glitter.  In any job I do, I try to always think about the big picture and making that image “look right” in the end, by paying attention to the details.

Show Crew (age 18): This was a summer job at the local park that provided entertainment every weekend of the summer. My job was to set up the chairs, sound and lighting equipment for each show.  I was the only woman on a team of about a dozen men.  This is when I learned how to assimilate (for the sake of getting along with your co-workers) when you are different from everyone you work with.  In this case, I did it by working just as hard as every man on the team.

Pizza Girl (age 18): I sat in a window of a pizza place (attached to a bar) in my college town selling slices to drunken patrons.  My job was to yell out to the street “pizza – dollar a slice!” – I guess this was my first lesson in advertising.

Apprentice to Mural Artist (age 19): I would probably rank this as one of the more interesting and fun jobs I’ve had.  I worked for a mural artist, painting a cement parking structure to make it look like bricks, mortar and metal beams: http://bit.ly/EIdID.  We used templates and had a very specific guide to follow on how to make everything look right, down to the shadows on the rivets.  The lesson learned here was the importance of following directions and trusting the person who is giving you directions.  I have used this lesson both in listening to my managers and also in being clear in giving directions to people I manage.

Stay tuned to hear about my 20’s, when my unexpected career in marketing began ….

So last night I had a fantastic dinner with some friends at a locally well-known establishment.  The restaurant advertised that they were ‘rolling back prices’ to 1989 in commemoration of their 20th anniversary.  Well I fell for it.

As I ate my way through half of my linguine with shrimp & lobster, which I just finished for lunch today, I realized that in 1989 I had no concept of the price of food.  I was a sophmore in High School and still on the mom & dad food plan.  Whenever we went to a nice restaurant, the price of the meal would’ve never crossed my mind.  What did I know?  I was a teenager who wasn’t even old enough to hold a job, let alone know what a meal costs.

I guess where I’m going with this is that $70 later (and well-fed), I don’t feel like I got a deal.  No complaints about the food, but I normally spend about that on a good meal these days anyway, so what was the draw?  I think  I sucked into the hype that I was going to be a part of something and lucky enough to get reservations at the one-time only anniversary event, while really it was just another night at expensive restaurant.  I wouldn’t generally quote Flava Flav, but seriously, “don’t believe the hype.”

Okay, maybe I’m overracting a little … I’m familiar with the unsubscribe process and nobody got hurt.

Here’s the story – I signed up for a free job networking event last month run by LinkedIn and hosted by the Sports Club/LA, but I did not attend.  Since then, I have received not only promotional emails (plural), but a voicemail message on my cell phone from a representative of the sports club trying to sell me membership! 

I get it, if I were in their shoes, I would want to get something (perhaps a list) out of my generosity for hosting the event.  However, I might be careful in how I target the list, since a) it was an event for job seekers (ie: we have no money) and b) maybe a little geo targeting would help (I live on Long Island).  I was also a bit miffed by the only URL in the entire email landing on a page that launches into a 4 page PDF brochure.  Come on!

Just something to think about Sports Club/LA – if you need to hire a marketer that understands targeting, I’m available 😉

If you’re a native New Yorker, you know that the name Fortunoff’s has been a staple in fine home furnishings for many years, but recently closed its doors permanently.

Upon my engagement to Chris in late 2005, I took the standard trip to Fortunoff’s with mom at my side and sku gun in hand to start shooting off my wedding registry.  Fast forward to today, I received an email from “Replacements, Ltd.” with the following message:

Dear Fortunoff Customer, We are Replacements, Ltd., and you have been referred to us as someone who may be interested in access to the best in old and new tableware, collectibles, and giftware. You may be aware that earlier this year, Fortunoff closed its doors after decades of industry-leading service and selection in fine tableware and collectibles.  Replacements, Ltd. carries many of the same patterns, both discontinued and active, with a great selection of pieces in each pattern. The list below includes pieces now available in your pattern(s), including measurements and prices. If you appreciate fine tableware, and the joy and fun it brings to family and friends, we can help with everything you need to enjoy life’s special occasions to their fullest for years to come. If we’re mistaken regarding your potential interest in our tableware selection, please accept our apologies for interrupting; check the instructions at the bottom of this message to opt out. Thanks!

Okay, “If you appreciate fine tableware, and the joy and fun it brings to family and friends …” is pretty cheez-erific, but I think this is great marketing.  I did not receive everything on my registry before Fortunoff’s untimely demise and now I have a place to buy what I’m missing, and at a lower price.  Not bad, Replacements Ltd.:  you just may have found a new customer.

My Everyday Dishes

My Everyday Dishes

Had a fantastic meal here on Saturday night.  I had the “Stone Steak” which was cooked to order on the table right in front of me.  http://www.rewardsnetwork.com/details.htm?merchantId=92127.

Super-friendly staff, terrific atmosphere and great food.  Check it out.