Fighting the Loser Syndrome Wednesday, Apr 27 2011 

Shortly after my job ended last fall, the work group got together for lunch one weekend. Everyone else in the group had found new jobs and so they were excited to talk about their new workplaces. I felt like a loser because I didn’t have anything lined up so I didn’t have much to add to the conversations. Walking home, I reminded myself that there would be some great opportunity for me too at some future date. of  later I began computer classes to learn how to design online seminars. I also did some writing and refinishing of furniture as posted previously. Learning new skills and getting some contract work have helped my self-esteem. In fact, I like running into my peers because I can talk about these new things.

But now, seven months later, the ugly head of loserdom is rearing its head again. There’s been some activity of interviews lately. I’ve been able to talk about my new skills and share my strengths. But nothing has cracked open yet. I fight off the loser thought by challenging myself to think creatively. How else can I get appreciation for my talents? What would it be like if I went into an interview and gave preposterous answers to the questions? What are three new activities I can try in my job search?

I also think about a comment a dear friend of mine who recently passed away made once when we were talking about our job searches. She thought employers would be competing to hire me because of my experience. She told me how she admired my adaptability and flexibility when challenges came up, and how something always seemed to work out for me. I smile when I think of that conversation.

I’ve been calling this period a sabbatical rather than a layoff. For I have been taking the time to think about what’s next. I realized that I needed a skills update and have been gaining knowledge in MS Office and curriculum design tools. I’ve designed some workshops that address some of the deeper issues of unemployment. I’ve made time for creative expression that can also be an income producer. And now I’m starting to internally challenge the job search advice I and my fellow career counselors espouse on a daily basis. We’re in a great economic upheaval, I’m following the advice I give to people; yet there’s something begging to be uncovered. Maybe this loser thought in my head is really a muse speaking truths I haven’t recognized yet.

Reflections on unemployment Monday, Apr 25 2011 

It’s been 7 months since my job ended, and some days I am optimistic and some days I am afraid. When I taught job-search workshops there would be people who would say I’ll take any job. They didn’t necessarily mean it once we probed a little further, but I wondered what drives us to say things like that. While walking around Lake Harriet today, it hit me. People say they’ll take any job because deep down inside there is the human need to contribute to society. My best days are the ones in which I have something productive to do. My workshop attendees felt better when they were actively participating in society. That’s why those of us in the career counseling field recommend volunteering or working part-time in something that interests the client or gives new skills.

There’s only so many household projects that a person can do. After that all of us search for something to fill that need to contribute to the larger world. We might walk our neighborhoods picking up trash and recyclables that were previously hidden under winter’s cover. We might check on a neighbor who lives alone to offer companionship or help with household needs. Whatever the case, I recommend finding an activity that gives personal meaning, not just a source of busy work.

I wish positive energy toward my fellow job seekers.

Shelter magazines I love Thursday, Sep 16 2010 

We just got the October This Old House today and I am so excited to enter to win home products! Every month I steal away the issue before my hubby can read it (yeah, the subscription is my gift to him but I always read it first!). We own a 1920’s Tudor duplex so there’s always something of interest in terms of repairing our home or dreaming of a new kitchen after seeing other readers’ makeovers.

Another magazine I have been enjoying is Fresh Home. I have to admit I enjoyed the original format more when Neil was the editor because it was a great mix of DIY power-tool oriented projects and home decor ideas. Now it leans a little too far toward the fluff side but I’ll stick it out to see how it evolves. I do love its articles on color trends only because Fresh Home editors and others are finally seeing what we dove into years ago- deep colors rock! Three years ago I painted my studio the deepest, richest purple I could find and followed suit two years ago with a beautiful deep turquoise in the den. My husband picked that one out which surprised me because he usually avoids showy colors. Now those blues and purples are all over the place so we have an easier time finding items to add to the spaces. I think my favorite part of Fresh Home though are the entertaining ideas. The playlist concept is fun and someday I will make up a playlist for my own party.

After the demise of Domino I didn’t think anything could replace it, but Lonny magazine has made an online splash for former Domino-ites. My only complaint is I forget to look online! Fortunately their Facebook page lets me know when a new issue is available. The click-to-shop feature is a big advantage of the online format. It’s a good thing my current financial situation doesn’t allow for impulse purchases…

And finally, I’ll admit that I’m a new fan of Martha Stewart Living. My sisters and I used to make fun of the whole MS comglomerate but then one Christmas my sister D. sheepishly admitted she wanted a subscription to try it out. She didn’t want anyone to know about it which is hard considering she lives with another one of our sisters! Then I decided to try it out myself since I am such a magazine addict.

So now I have a range of magazines to compare. From each one I get something a little different. The DIYer, the crafter, the luxury lover and the trend-leader sides of me all get their moment in the spotlight when I read my collection of magazines. and that makes me happy.

Designing a New Life part 2 Thursday, Sep 16 2010 

To get myself motivated for new beginnings, I am reading The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. I admit that it can be challenging to keep up the discipline needed for creative success. When I was young, I wanted to be an artist and I spent time nearly every day drawing or painting- developing my talent. Somewhere along the way I lost that discipline and now find myself very much in need of it. So reading her book helps, as does committing to writing in this blog again because if I want a following, I need to provide content.

My forced vacation is giving me plenty of time to write and look for work. So I’m making a promise to myself to write for at least an hour every day to get that discipline back. Maybe I will break out the pastels and drawing pad as well because my artistic skills are in decline. One idea percolating in my mind is stretching my skills to create an art book. After taking a bookbinding class this summer I feel confident in my ability to produce an original single-copy book. I’ve started the verse part and have some ideas for making the pages shaped like the paper doll chains we used to make as children. Again, I have the time, now I need the discipline.

Designing a New Life Monday, Sep 13 2010 

It’s been some time since I’ve posted. Life slipped away and now life offers the chance to blog again.

My contract job is ending on September 30 and I had hoped to continue working for the State of MN but it seems that plan has a slight hiccup in it. So I’m preparing myself for job search and for exploring new options within that job search. One of those options is doing more writing, thus getting this blog going again. I tell my clients to pursue their dreams yet I haven’t always listened to my own advice. Now while I am using up my vacation leave this month, I have no excuses.

To inspire this new life, I set up my home office in our purple room. I chose the deepest, richest purple they had at Home Depot to show that I am fearless about color. Sitting in this jewel box of a room is comforting. I feel that I can dream some new dreams and design a new direction.

Hello world! Monday, Aug 24 2009 

Welcome to HeatherIsaacsDesign, my blog on all things design-related. I am trained in interior re-design, and have a number of creative hobbies such as bookbinding, polymer clay and making scale miniatures.