Such a year

I have never been a fan of “odd” years. Maybe it’s superstition, but I always have this nagging feeling that things will be better when it’s an even year, even age, even month. You get the picture.

As the answer blows in the wind on this blustery, December day, the great news is I’m on the right side of things. My successful career in broadcast journalism has now transitioned into my public relations consulting start-up. My bottom line looks respectable for a one-person operation and I am learning more and more every day through wonderful people I’ve known through the years as well as family and friends.

Driving in the car with my son the other night, I asked him what he thought about the changes our family has been through this year. First thing he said was,” You are doing an amazing, amazing job with your business.” He went on to say flattering, positive things about my transition into this business and I couldn’t have been more pleased. Our son has really blossomed in the past few months. He is now working at his first job as a bus boy at Mirabella Cafe near our home. I met the owner/chef, Joe Palombo, through Sustainable Cherry Hill. I am now the communications director, on the executive board and general board. You see, these are things I could never do for years and years because of my crazy schedule. Now, community involvement is a critical part of what is making me happy now.

I was watching a show last night and there was a line that really rang true to me: “When you figure out what kind of person you really want to be, then you’ll really be happy.” How true. How often do we glaze over each day, muddle through lists of tasks, grumble at our family, friends and associates and wonder, “Is that all there is?” That feeling gnawed at me for the longest time. Fear and comfort and a respectable paycheck kept me from making any moves. After management decided I didn’t fit in to their picture any longer, I was almost relieved. Beyond the lack of respect or appreciation by the top brass when I was let go, I knew the journey to find a better life, more happiness and fulfillment would get underway.

Here are some of the positive changes (in no particular order):

  • no more sleep deprivation
  • regular and constant visits to the gym
  • intense involvement in volunteer community groups that mean a lot to me
  • more quality family time without being sleep deprived
  • being “the boss of me.”
  • flexibility in how my day operates
  • meeting new and interesting people
  • more socialization

OK, the list is getting long. It’s a beautiful thing after living by a very tight schedule with absolutely no wiggle room for years, to be able to structure my days and nights so that they work for me. Of course, I still have to be certain places at certain times, but I don’t have deadlines every ten minutes. I am appreciated for the work I do (most of the time) and I have a sense of accomplishment almost every single day.

Advice from people in-the-know has been critical. There’s been fantastic advice and advice I knew instinctively was crap. The latest great piece of advice I received was from a firm I was talking with about their expansion. The CEO suggested that I narrow my focus in what I want to accomplish. Done…next!

One thing I will always be is a news junkie. I have instincts about people that are spot-on. I know crap when I hear it and I know a true-blue, honest to goodness, truthful person immediately. That has always been a key to success in my figuring out the news. Now, it translates into good instincts about how to help elevate a client’s profile in the audience they are appealing to or figuring out a great pitch to the media to bring a client greater exposure.

That even-numbered year is upon us: 2010. I’ll be turning an even-numbered age as well. It’ll be my second year in business with What’s Next Productions, LLC. It’s all good.

Happy holidays and a safe, prosperous New Year.

Deja vu all over again

When you become a grown up you always say, ” I’ll never be like my mom.” Guess what, we’re all just like our parents, but perhaps a little improved. My son got his first job today. It seems as though no time has passed since my dad came home one day telling me I could go down to Burger Chef; he’d paved the way for my first job after talking with the owner he knew at the time.

The other night, I attended Sustainable Cherry Hill’s (SCH)”Green Drinks” night at P.J. Whelihan’s. SCH (www.sustainablecherryhill.org) is a wonderful group of people working on many different fronts to make our community less dependent and abusive to the land, air and water. Among the board members is Chef Joe Palumbo, who owns Mirabella Cafe and also founded SJ Green Restaurants. In conversation with Joe, I mentioned my son looking for work, and Joe told me to have my son call. Two days later, Adam was hired by Joe to be a bus boy. So, just as my father did, I recycled the same support for my child. Adam now has to do the work and try not to spill water on anyone. Joe’s a great guy, and I have confidence he’ll train my son well and Adam will grow into himself through this first work experience.

Despite the Phillies coming in second to the Yankees this week, it’s been a good start to November. Business is good; the clients are happy (so far) and paying (very nice) and I feel very healthy having kicked my own butt at the gym this week and gotten my H1N1 shot at Rutgers. Now if only the Septa strike would settle. I keep thinking about all the moms, dads, students, and other Philadelphia-area citizens who are having to extend their already exhausting days to walk, bike, carpool (which they should anyway) and spend lots more money packing themselves into Septa trains. Has anyone heard anyone support the union right now? I’ve heard many people say, “They’re lucky they HAVE a job.” So true.

For now, the remaining leaves will pile up in the yard, Thanksgiving will be knocking and the cold will settle in. Since we bought the power boat, Doug is really looking toward the first warm weather we get in 2010 to launch “Mid Life Cri-seas” (still an unofficial name). We’ll see how Adam’s first job goes as he learns to juggle school, work and activities. Wasn’t he just spitting up on my shoulder a few days ago??

Life is a circle–look all around

You never know where you’ll get a job lead. Today, at a memorial service (seriously) I handed out a business card. You had to know my neighbor who passed away. He was a barrel of laughs. Harrison had a sarcastic wit that would make you roll for hours. At the age of 86 and after a long fight, his body just gave out. His family gave him a sendoff that I’m sure Harrison watched from above and enjoyed completely. I even left him a scotch and rocks on his memorial table, just for him to “enjoy.” I digress. There I was, enjoying talking about family, friends and neighbors with the invited guests and a man who used to live across the street from my house starts talking about a board he serves on for an organization I truly believe in. I start chatting and asking questions. Somehow it did get mentioned I was in transition in my career and he starts mentioning people I should contact. Then he asks me for my card so he can call a couple of people on my behalf. Goodness, wouldn’t it be ironic if I ended up with a position after attending the memorial service for my wonderful neighbor? Whether the lead pans out, it just goes to show you: while your job search is underway, never underestimate any situation you are in during your daily life. Being a trained observer my entire professional life has led me to be always looking at life 360°. Life is indeed a circle.