…you’ve got to have a J-O-B… if you wanna be…um… sane?? Ok, maybe not everyone, but definitely for me! I’ve recently had to rediscover why staying at home for long lengths of time is not a great option for me. I was laid off from my job a few months ago, so I’ve been laying REALLY low while trying to find my next “work home” (hence, one reason I haven’t posted in awhile). I don’t do well as a recluse. I need social activities and the buzz of everyone working around me, so I’m going a bit nuts at home. I realized, however, that this is the PERFECT topic to write about! “Is it?” You ask. I mean, most of you are probably reading this from your desk at work without a care in the world, so this may not seem like such a “hot topic” for you. As I’ve experienced, however, jobs aren’t always definite, and if you have any health issues, like me, you might want to stick around for a bit…
You see, the last time I was laid off was almost 20 years ago! WHAT? I know… I just totally aged myself by saying that. However, at that time, things seemed so much simpler. NOW… damn! It’s a whole new ballgame! Things have changed not only with the process of finding a job, but for my personal situation as well (I’m older, more experienced, have more health issues to worry about, and a LOT more bills to pay). While I’ve been chipping away at this job hunt process, a few things have popped up that I wanted to share with you:
- Absolutely sign up for unemployment if you qualify. I was going to wait until I needed it (because I had received a severance package), however, since the transplant and Celiac diagnosis, my bills and expenses have sky rocketed. Every penny I can get from unemployment is huge help with those expenses and I can focus on using my severance for rent and car payments, etc. Don’t hold off signing up!
- Discrimination is a possibility. While it’s illegal for any company to discriminate against someone due to their health, age, race, gender, etc., let’s be honest…it still happens. They may not openly admit it, but when a company is trying to weed out the top candidates from a pile of possibly hundreds or thousands of applicants, they will look for any excuse to eliminate you and make their job easier. It’s not ideal, nor is it right, but it’s reality. I’ve noticed in every application I’ve come across, a section where they ask for “voluntary information” that includes race, gender, etc. I generally don’t have an issue answering these questions, but they have now listed Diabetes as a “disability”. I have never, ever considered this a disability, but rather a condition I have to just deal with daily. I always choose the “I prefer not to answer” box for that question. That may cause a red flag by doing so, but I’d rather wow them with my Wonder Woman work skills before giving them a chance to judge me on my health (after they hire me)!
- Negotiate! Anyone that has pre-existing conditions already knows the importance of maintaining continual health insurance, and carrying proof of that continual health insurance. (If you don’t… take note! I have always had to prove to a new health insurance company that I had previous coverage for my conditions before they would cover me at a new company.) Something that most people aren’t aware of, though, is that when negotiating your final salary amount with a new employer, you can also negotiate your health insurance coverage starting date! A lot of companies make you wait a few months before beginning your new health insurance plan. If you are making COBRA payments, though, you know how extremely expensive that waiting period could get! I have always managed to negotiate the starting date of my insurance coverage to begin immediately upon my work-start date to prevent having to go broke. *crossing my fingers that I can continue to do so!*
- Stay healthy! While I haven’t been the best example of it lately, it’s very important to maintain your usual routine of staying healthy. Continue to see your doctors, keep working out, eat right… you know the drill. You do not want your health to suffer just because you aren’t working full-time! It’s tough, mentally, to stay motivated, but you’ll get through it, and you want to be healthy and ready to take on your next job chapter with gusto! I have been a bit too gusto with my cooking (I’ve had more time to do it, so why not…hee), so I have to be better about getting my booty to the gym, but I have made a strong point of not letting everything else slide while job hunting. 🙂
Now, as I excitedly look for a dinner recipe that might take two hours to cook (just because I can!), I’m making a promise to myself that I will make a trip to the gym tomorrow and try to make more of an effort to get out of the house!
Sharing time – I’m curious if anyone else has run into this fear or experienced any situations where your health has prohibited you from getting a job/promotion. Please share below!
Things I’m thankful for today:
- I have been given a package that will hold me over for awhile as I look for my next job!
- I have amazing support from my friends, family and ex-coworkers who are not only helping me network, but keeping my spirits high. 🙂
- My kitties LOVE having me home…they follow me everywhere now. I know that sounds silly, but it definitely makes me feel loved. hee…
- Robert – my amazing hair dresser. I’ve mentioned him before, but his cuts are of such good quality, it allows me to go for months longer without having to get a trim!
- My time off has allowed me to donate more time with JDRF…my sister, my mom and I all helped at the JDRF Gala a few weeks ago where they raised more than $2 million for diabetes research!
- OH! I almost forgot! In honor of it being Celiac Awareness Month, I made GF biscuits from scratch yesterday… the first time I’ve been able to eat biscuits is more than 5 years, and they were sooo good! See recipe here if you’d like to try them out.
Wow… ok, so much for my New Year’s resolution about sticking to a more consistent blogging schedule! LOL! Maybe my new resolution should be to work on better resolutions! I’ll add that to this year’s list. Jot that down.
So, I am going to justify my “leave” by saying that a ton of stuff has been going on this year that has kept me insanely busy – to the point that I have not stopped to give you the time you deserve! So, let’s take a break, grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and curl up on the couch to catch up. Actually, my couch doesn’t fit that many people, and I’m not a fan of PSLs, so how about I just blog about it? 😉
In order to not overwhelm you with the many new updates of my increasingly ceaseless lifestyle (yes, I’m being totally sarcastic…kind of… it HAS been busy), today, I’m only going to focus on the biggest recent change – travel. I say “change”, but really, it’s a return to my life pre-transplant/sick-time…just different. On one hand, I’m absolutely LOVING being “on the road again”, however, the highway is less straight and wide open than it used to be, it’s now filled with twists and bumps! Before I got sick, I used to travel a lot for work. I loved it! I was adventurous and fearless trying new foods, meeting new people, dancing till my feet would literally throb… anything that created the most fun and crazy stories and memories! These days, my travel has a completely different feel. I’ve become this overly cautious grandma! What??? What happened to me? Who am I?
Well, I’ll tell you what happened… my “new life” happened. I once had a panic attack in the middle of one trip fearing what would happen if I got sick while in a “strange” city. Who would know what all my “issues” are if I couldn’t speak for myself? Where is the nearest hospital/ER? Would they be able to treat me? (In one case, they even admitted they couldn’t!) No one knows me or would even know what to do to help!
I am still going through a lot of changes post-transplant that require adjustment. And that’s how I’m regarding this… an adjustment. It’s all about being a boy scout. (Not literally… I have no desire to be a 7 year-old boy!) I have to be prepared. I have to think 10 steps ahead of everything I do, and I’m learning more with each trip I take.
When I fly now, I have to be very careful of the recycled air and germy, nasty fold-down tables in the plane b/c of my low immune system (yes, I pack clorox wipes for this reason). I have to take into consideration where I travel – no 3rd world countries – so even some work trips are a no-go. When I am in a new city, I have to do extensive research on where I can eat due to the Celiac disease (there’s an awesome app for that – Find Me Gluten Free). When I’m in large crowds, I have to be aware of who’s coughing, what I’m touching, where the nearest “exit” is in case I get glutened, and so on and so on. It’s exhausting, but I’m learning to adjust to this “new life” one step at a time (as are my very patient friends – God bless them!).
Now, back to my resolutions… with this blog, I thee vow that I am making progress on my “accepting my new self” resolution. I am no longer the same carefree Cameron Diaz character I once liked to believe I was, but I’m able to go out and see the world again and if that means I have to be more Howie Mandel with my actions so I can do so, I’ll gladly take it! 🙂
Things I’m thankful for today:
1. Getting to spend an amazing weekend in Nashville with my Jersey girls – Jen and Carm! It’s so glad to see that sometimes some things don’t change. 🙂
2. Luck! After accidentally taking a big bite of a panko-covered fried banana (I thought it was a GF cheese bread ball), I did NOT get sick from being glutened!
3. Virgin Airlines – they have a fun and modern take on the flying experience, AND they offer safe GF food/snack options in-flight! Woohoo!
4. All beef hot dogs – for when there is nothing else in an all-fried/deli-filled food court to eat that’s safe to eat.
5. That my mom’s foot is healing better after her 3rd foot surgery within the last few months. Mom, your new toe will be something to show off in sandals for our Hawaii trip! 🙂
6. My new gray sweater/cardigan – definitely the most comfy, squishy, warm sweater I’ve ever bought! It’s like the perfect blanket for all those freezing planes (and meeting rooms).
7. Shout out to my friends Elissa and Nick – they are going to have their first baby this Christmas! Congrats to you both! 🙂
Happy New Year 2016!!!!
I have said this once, and I’ll continue to say it until I’m blue in the face, but I LOVE the holiday season! No, I’m not saying “holiday” to be all PC and such…I say “holiday season” because I include New Years Day in this beautiful package. Not only have I been able to spend some good quality time with my favorite people, watching as they thoroughly enjoy their blessings, and personally benefiting from the amazing sales this month (75% off??? Hello new wardrobe!), but I’m also able to take the past year and relish in what I’ve gained…I’m able to look back over the year and see exactly what I have to be thankful for and how I’ve grown. New Years Day is also a huge inspiration and symbol of hope for me. It’s a new beginning and a way to start fresh with anything and pretty much everything.
So, using the lyrics of Great Big World’s awesome anthem to New Years, (go ahead and listen to it while reading…give it a sec, it’ll put a smile on your face!) I’m going to breakdown my resolutions for this year!
“Say everything you’ve always wanted”
This year, I vow to be a bit more strong in my message. I have always been very careful when talking about things I’d like to promote for fear that it would offend someone or put some sort of label on me. (Then again, you can’t post ANYTHING these days without offending someone!) I don’t usually post any of my support for JDRF, American Heart Association, Celiac Disease Foundation, and many others on social media because I fear becoming a “poster child” or “that girl” who’s always pushing her health agenda. I have no intention of being a poster child pushing any type of agenda, but I should not fear being supportive and helping when/where I can! From now on, I won’t hide and instead will be more openly vocal about my involvement. After all, how else does awareness work if you don’t say a word?
On that note, here’s my first step… Jan 5th marks my 2-year kidney-versary!!! Kirby will have been living strongly within me for two years and I plan on celebrating this every single year in honor of his/the transplant team’s success and the life of my precious donor. This year, my mom, my sister and I all had our nails done to celebrate Kirby and my donor, and when anyone asks me what the green ribbon is for, I will gladly tell them. 🙂
“Be not afraid of who you really are”
Part of my resolution above fits this piece of the puzzle. However there is another shallow part of me that also needs some work. I had dinner with a very good friend the other night, and as we talked, I was reminded of my flawed self-perception. I always believed that I was a pretty strong person with a good sense of self, however with every word that came out of my mouth, I realized I still have many improvements to make (don’t we all???). He helped me see that most of my insecurities were things that are unimportant. I speak of vanity and my self-confidence. I have many reasons…no, I rephrase…”excuses” that would justify why I feel the way I do about myself, but I have THOUSANDS more reasons to squash those excuses into dust. I have so much more to offer than a few wrinkles on my face, some chubby cheeks that show up at odd angles, or a few years that have crept up on me all too quickly. I have fought some pretty big battles and won them (health and otherwise). I have made my career my own. I have never stopped going for what I believe in and have always (eventually) come out on both feet. Why should I feel bad about those few shallow things I see in the mirror when everything else is so much cooler than that? 2016 will be my year to finally accept myself as the “me” I am now and not the “me” I used to be (who I kept striving to be again). There is nothing wrong with a smarter, wiser, healthier, and albeit a few years older Nachomama! 🙂 I won’t lie, I will still be attempting to improve my fitness routine in order to look better at an upcoming beach trip, but I also plan on focusing more on the health benefits this time rather than the vanity. Baby steps…
“‘Cause in the end we have each other…and that’s at least one thing worth living for.”
This resolution is a bit different, and it’s something that has been bothering me for awhile. Yes, I try to volunteer for various organizations because I believe in their goals. However, there are times when I still feel as if I can do more. How can I make a more direct impact? What do I have to offer? All I have is what I know, and I believe that we are all encouraged to help others using even just that. This year, to further my pursuit in philanthropy, I plan on using what I’ve learned via my experiences and knowledge to research how I can further help make a difference. I will post more on this as I figure it out!
And that, my friends, is my list of resolutions for 2016. Wait, I have a few more smaller goals (I have to publish them so that you will all hold me to them!):
- to learn a new culture (I kind of already do this whenever I choose a new book to read, however, it’s fascinating and I plan to do more via travel as well)
- to lower my A1C score to below 7
- to be on a more consistent schedule with my blog…hee! (maybe I’ll even take off the “snow” that has been falling on this blog continuously for two years! hahaha… after winter is over, though, of course.)
So, to summarize this exciting initial blog post for the year, I’ll again quote lyrics from this post’s song:
“Another year you made a promise
Another chance to turn it all around
And do not save this for tomorrow
Embrace the past and you can live for now”
Truer words never spoken. 🙂 Can’t wait to hear what your resolutions are!
Things I’m thankful for today:
1. My kitchen is starting to finally feel like a REAL kitchen! Santa brought me some amazing foodie-gadgets that I’ve been eyeing, and one of them was a Kitchen-Aid mixer!!! WOOHOOO! If you have ever tried to bake anything from scratch using a mediocre hand mixer and/or spoon, you will understand the excitement. Thank you Santa! 🙂
2. A very dear family friend of ours has generously blessed us with the use of their vacation home in Hawaii, so my family is going on its first trip to Hawaii this year! I’m so excited I could spit! (I won’t… I’m not a camel…) However, you can absolutely guarantee I’ll be on the search for Alex O’Loughlin the entire time I’m there! 😛
3. Vacation time. For the first time ever, I took off work for the week between Christmas and New Years. WHY have I never done this before??? Sleeping in, cooking all my meals (ie. not having to eat out all the time), getting errands done… finally, relaxing, binge-watching all my shows on Netflix/DVR… yes, I believe I have finally learned the appreciation of true vacation time. Now, I’ve got to retrain my sleeping schedule so that I can get up for work next week. Ugh…
4. Christmas decorations. I think I post this every year, but this year was the first time in 4 years I’ve been able to pull out all of my OWN Christmas stuff to decorate my apartment. I love evenings with the Christmas tree lights on, the fireplace all done up with our stockings, the goofy elf feet and Santa hats I have all over the place! It’s impossible to come home and NOT feel happy!
5. My dad has finally found a doctor who could help him with his ankle. He’s been in tons of pain and has not had an easy time getting around due to injuries that were caused years ago. Now, hopefully, he’ll be able to walk without pain or a limp! Yaay!!! Mom, you’re next! 😀 #TakingCareOfBusiness #TakingCareOfFamily