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This was originally posted on my friend Lynn Hidy’s website Up Your TeleSales on May 31, 2010.

Who Will You Be When The Pilgrimage Is Over?

Rose Niekrewicz-Winters is a friend of mine, I met when we were both on a bus trip with a band in Ireland…. ‘nuf said. Instead of telling you, I’ve asked Rose to share her pilgrimage and thoughts about it:

It’s been quite a long pilgrimage.  I’ve traveled through the past year and a half searching for a job.  Not just any job, but “the” job.  I know, I know – in this economy many would say I’m a fool to NOT just take any job.  What those people don’t realize is that if I just take any old job and then if it doesn’t work out and they lay me off, it could jeopardize my future unemployment status.  The bottom line is that I’m picky.

Who

Some may say it’s all about who you know.  I’ve found that sometimes that just doesn’t matter.  I have over 600 friends on Facebook, over 200 members in the motorcycle club, I’m in, thousands of hits to my blog, piles of former clients….  The list goes on and on.  Nobody seems to know anyone who is hiring.  I keep my ear to the ground because all it takes is 1 “right person” to drop your name at the right time.

Who I will be at the end of the journey is hopefully someone gainfully employed and happy at my job.  Push that angle aside and I’ll also be a person who took the time to get to know hundreds of people in the process and did good things for others along the way.

What

What did I do to keep my sanity?  I helped others.  I spent time working on a charity poker run for a girl with optic nerve cancer.  I helped some friends whose house burned down rebuild their lives.  I volunteered to help do work to open up the Double H “Hole in the Woods” Ranch in Lake Luzerne, NY.  I helped out a friend who was in a motorcycle accident. I supported a friend whose daughter has leukemia and tried to help her spread the word about a fundraiser for her.  I tell friends that I may have an empty bank account and can’t financially contribute to everything I’d like, but I do have time and a bank full of good karma!

When

When did I find the time?  Being out of work many people assume you’ve got all the time in the world to run around and help them with their errands.  There is nothing further from the truth.  I look at my schedule lately and wonder “when will I find the time to work when I get that new job?”  When you get extra time in your life, life decides to throw things at you to fill the time!

Where

Where do you meet the people?  Anywhere and Everywhere!  I talk to people every chance I get.  I make friends at a local coffee shop, on vacation, at concerts, at networking events, online, through other friends….  I keep saying it only takes talking to the one right person to land that perfect job….

How

How I’ve dealt with being out of work so long is a common question.  The answer is by keeping a positive attitude.  I always keep in mind that nobody wants to hire a complainer who’s crying in their beer all the time.  So I’ve been careful not to be that person. At the end of the How Far Are You Willing to Travel article in the A Chip Off the Block newsletter some questions were asked.

How would you like it to be instead?

Obviously I’d like to be employed.  I’d love it to be with a solid company that’s willing to recognize and pay for a quality employee.  Those $10/hour job calls just frustrate me to the point of asking “Did you even read my resume??”

How open to new, sometimes crazy sounding ideas are you?

I started my job search very focused on a sales job.  Later I reflected on my career and realized I was selling myself short.  True I’ve held many sales positions as of late, but I also have done marketing, data processing, management, etc.  So pigeon holing myself was a horrible thing to do!  I later realized that opening myself up to other markets and other professions was a great idea and now I tell people that I’m keeping my options open and I’d love to hear their ideas, no matter how crazy they may sound.

Just last night a good friend told me that another mutual friend counts on me for my ideas.  Apparently I’m her “think tank” and I never knew it.  I’m analytical and try to think three steps ahead and my friend doesn’t normally think past the first step.  She let’s things unfold as they happen.  I’ve learned in life to think about the future because your actions today can make or break things.

How much effort will you put in?

I work hard so I can play hard.  Everyone likes to make money.  They’d be lying if they said otherwise.  I like to do a job in the most efficient way and get it out of the way.  I put in the effort to get a job done right the first time so it doesn’t have to be revised 4 times therefore wasting valuable “play time.”

How does this fit into your goals?

This all fits into my goals.  My goals are to work hard so I can afford to play hard.  I love to travel (in fact that’s how Lynn of Up Your Telesales and I met and became friends), ride motorcycles, attend concerts, etc.  All of that is tough to do when you’re unemployed.  So I’m hoping my positive attitude and outgoing personality I’m putting out there will pay off with the job of my dreams!

How will you keep going when it gets tough?

That’s a loaded question if I ever saw one!  Things have gotten tough.  Life is tough.  The question is will you choose to have a “Whoa is me” attitude or a positive attitude?  Attitude is half the battle!  Times get tough and somehow it motivates me to work harder and put in even more effort than I had prior.

In closing the How Far Are You Willing To Travel article said:  “It’s your pilgrimage so there are no right or wrong answers – plus if you’re happy with the path you’re on, continue!”

I may not always be happy with the path I’m on, but I’m always aware of the next crossroad and am very aware that my life can be very different based on the choices I make.  All events shape the outcome of future events.  Just like Marty and Doc discussed in Back to the Future It’s all about the “Space Time Continuum”. Make every moment count.

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[tweetmeme] I have friends that send me all kinds of messages like this.  This one has many good lessons to remember.
I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.
Mental Feng Shui

ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

TWO. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

THREE. Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

FOUR. When you say, ‘I love you,’ mean it.

FIVE. When you say, ‘I’m sorry,’ look the person in the eye.

SIX. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

SEVEN. Believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT. Never laugh at anyone’s dreams. People who don’t have dreams don’t have much.

NINE. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it’s the only way to live life completely.

TEN. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

ELEVEN. Don’t judge people by their relatives.

TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly.

THIRTEEN! . . . When someone asks you a question you don’t want to answer, smile and ask, ‘Why do you want to know?’

FOURTEEN. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

FIFTEEN. Say ‘bless you’ when you hear someone sneeze.

SIXTEEN. . When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.

SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R’s: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.

EIGHTEEN. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

NINETEEN. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

TWENTY ONE. Spend some time alone.

A true friend is someone who reaches for your hand and touches your heart

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Image from: http://www.mosaikos.com/feng-shui/live-in-harmony-with-feng-shui.html

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Here’s my strategy to have the most organized and efficient yard sale (garage sale, tag sale, estate sale, flea market) hunt.

I start on a Thursday night….  Why Thursday you ask?  Lately I’m finding that many people in the capital region are hosting their yard sales on Fridays as well as over the weekend.  There are two schools of thought.  Go on Friday to get the best selection before things are picked over, or go on Sunday when you think people will drop their prices the lowest because they don’t want to have to pack their things back up.

Research

Go online to the Times Union (or whatever your local paper may be) and go to their garage and estate sale section and copy and paste the ads I’d be interested in to a word document.  I also check Craig’s List and do the same thing.  As I’m doing this I try to group them all to geographic areas.  Check out  sales in more affluent areas.  People in these areas tend to replace things more often with higher quality items.  Though if you’re looking for antiques and vintage items you might do better in an older area of homes with retirees, etc.

How do I get there?

I put the addresses into a program such as Rand McNally, Map Quest, or Google Maps.  I use the “add additional location” feature that most mapping websites now offer.  I put in the addresses of the sales I’d like to visit.  Once they’re in the program and the pins are placed on the map, I can sort them by the best order to visit them.  I don’t want to be driving north and then south and back north again.  With gas hovering at $3/gallon I try to be smart about things and not be driving in all different directions.  Once I have a route planned I number the ads in the order I want to visit them.  I highlight the address and the hours of the yard sale.  When I’m in my car I program all the addresses into my GPS unit.  My Garmin has a “recently found” feature to make it easy to go to each address on my list.
**While writing this I discovered a cool site called Yard Sale Treasure Map that looks pretty cool for mapping routes as well.  I tried it out over the weekend and it works well, but if you want to modify the route or the order based on the time a yard sale is ending, I don’t believe it let’s you do this.  I’m still learning though….**

What do I bring with me and my interesting way to “haggle”?


I tend to bring a small tape measure, a note pad and pen, in a small purse or wallet with me. Other items that might be a good idea are sunglasses, sunblock, bubble wrap for fragile items, shopping bags, a couple of bottles of water, and some hand wipes for grimy items and to wipe your hands when they dirty.  I try to have small bills if possible and also load a small handful of change in the bottom.  I keep larger bills in a separate section of the wallet.  On more than one occasion while paying at a yard sale I’ve owed the person $10 – as I start pulling out singles, by the time I get up to $7 or $8 they say “that’s good enough, don’t worry about it.”  I just saved $2 or $3 without even saying a word.

Some people suggest picking out everything you’d like and then make them an offer on the lot of things.  If it adds up to $15 you could nicely ask them if they’d accept $12 for it all.  Have $12 in your hand when you ask – nobody wants to see you stuff that money back into your pocket if they say no.  If you have a $20 in your hand they’re less apt to drop their price, so bringing small bills is always a good idea.

Another way to get a good price is this one – if you’re buying a woman’s item wait until the wife is distracted and ask the husband and if it’s a male’s item wait until the husband is distracted and ask the wife.  If they’re not emotionally attached to the item, the opposite spouse is apt to give you a lower price to just get rid of the item.  Also they might not know the value of the item either.  I scored an authentic Coach purse for $3 this way once 😉

If you’re going to yard sales with your kids, have them pay for the purchases.  Many times people don’t like to take money from kids so they tell them to just take it, or they reduce the price.  Plus helps teach your kids how to handle money.

If you see an items that you’d like, but it’s priced higher than you’d like, you may try giving the yard sale host/hostess your name and number or a business card.  Tell them you’d like the item but don’t want to pay that much.  If they don’t sell it by the end of the day and would drop the price to give you a call.  You’ve got nothing to lose right?

I am not one to haggle.  It’s not in my nature.  I did have a situation which became humorous.  The person had an attachment for a Kitchen Aid mixer.  I asked how much they wanted for it.  (For the record I can’t stand it when people don’t put prices on their items.  I don’t like feeling like they change the price based on the appearance or actions of the person who asks)  When she told me $25 I said thank you and put the box back on the table.  She asked me how much I thought it should be.  I told her “I don’t know, but I can’t afford $25 right now.”  She kept pushing me “What would you be willing to pay?”  Finally I told her $7 or $8.  When she asked her husband he said “I paid like $40 for it and it’s never been used.”  I assured her it was fine, I respected that he wanted more for it, I just couldn’t afford it.  She went back and told her about my $7-$8 comment and he said “Well I really don’t want to pack it back into my garage so just give it to her for that.”  And that’s how I got it for $7.  I didn’t haggle, I didn’t intend to haggle, but by being honest and friendly I found a treasure.

Things to keep in mind.

Wood furniture can be refinished or repainted.  Last summer I got an end table, a plant stand, and two night stands.  I painted the plant stand and two night stands, put new hardware on the night stands and they look awesome!!  I recently picked up a desk – I’m still on the fence if I want to refinish it or if I want to paint it.

Smell things.  I know this kind of sounds silly, but if you’re a non-smoker buying something from a smoker’s home you might not be happy in the long run.  When you’re outside in the sun, it’s not always apparent unless you get up close and personal with the item.  Keep this in mind for books too.

If you’re looking for something specific ASK.  You could get lucky.  It’s possible the person has what you’re looking for in their basement and they didn’t think to put it out in their yard sale until you mentioned it.  Hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask right?

Be careful buying glass items.  I’ve learned to remove the price tag because on more than one occasion it was covering a chip or crack in the item.

Make sure you get what you pay for.  People have been known to buy a replacement item and place their old item in the old items box, so make sure you open the box to make sure what’s on the box picture is what’s really in there.

Check DVDs and CDs for scratches.  Also make sure you’re not buying Sponge Bob’s Greatest Hits and get home to find a slasher movie in it, etc.

Be friendly.  It’s more fun that way.

Things to keep in mind if you’re hosting a yard sale.

Stick to your times.  I cannot stress this enough!!!  There is nothing more frustrating than driving 15 miles and finding out you packed up your yard sale 3 hours early!

Take down your signs after.  As I’m driving around to the advertised sales, I always keep my eyes open for yard sale signs at the end of streets.  If your yard sale is over though, take down your sign so people like me don’t go on a wild goose chase looking for a yard sale that’s not going on!

Don’t try to get $5 for an item that has the Target price tag on it that says you got it for $1.50.

Do you like going to yard sales?
If so, do you have a strategy?
Have you had any cool finds?

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Do you utilize your local library?

My title of this actually implies that I spend quite a bit of time in mine, but lately it’s been quite the opposite.
I tend to go online and search out books I’d like and I request them.  When I get to the library, they scan my card and go to the reserved shelf and give me my stack.  It’s great!  I don’t need to search or go into “the stacks” at all.

Occasionally I do still take a wander up the aisles and scan through the new book shelf to see if anything catches my eye, but I usually have enough reserved that I can barely lift my back after I check them out….

Lately I’ve been reading (well it’s more like detailed skimming) books about blogging, job searching, management skills (just to keep me on my toes), cookbooks, and trivia type books.

Do you use your library?
Have you read anything good lately?

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If you’d like to see what I’ve read lately you can check out my GoodReads Account.

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Loaded Questions

Last night Michael and I attended the Times Union’s Baseball & Bloggers event at the Dale Miller Restaurant.   It was a fun evening with a great turn out.  It was out first visit to the Dale Miller Restaurant.  The event was held on the 13th Floor (A.K.A. – P1) and the views were beautiful!!  Mike Huber – the Times Union’s Interactive Audience Manager organized the event.  Job well done Mike 🙂

Baseball & Bloggers - Boston Red Sox vs. NY Yankees

We arrived earlier than most of the crowd along with Amanda Talar and Kari Vanalstine.  Soon after; we were approached by a Times Union photographer who wanted to take pictures of us.  After she took the picture she asked us “Where are you from?”  (Insert awkward silence here)

WHAT A LOADED QUESTION!!

Kari & I just before the question was asked. Photo by Anne Marie Sheehan

After she left Kari and I got talking about the possible answers.

Where it all stated:  I came from my Mother’s womb.
Where I grew up:  I grew up in Red Hook, NY (Dutchess County)
Since it was a blogging event I could have said my blog: Dozenroses13’s Blog
Where I currently live: Albany County

Kari’s response to the woman was “when?”  (She’s moved around through the years….)

What other loaded questions have you been asked??

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Photo of Kari & I updated 5/19/2010 2:43PM

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"The Persistence of Memory" ~ Dali

I have a weird obsession.  I’m obsessed with time.  I am very uncomfortable in a room that doesn’t have a clock if I’m not wearing a watch.  Thank God I’ve never forgotten to bring a watch to Vegas with me.  In case you’ve never been there or don’t know…  casino’s historically do not have clocks or windows in the gambling areas.

In my bedroom I like to have multiple clocks to I don’t need to roll over to see what time it is.  I want to know the time from whatever vantage point I’m laying.  (Does that make sense?)

The weird thing about all this is that I’m not obsessed with being punctual.  I’m chronically 5 minutes late for almost everything.  Though I suppose it depends what it is I’m being late to.  I’m not late to weddings or funerals, but I’ll be 5 minutes late for dinner or a nail appointment.

One thing about this obsession that makes me absolutely crazy is going to my Mother’s house.  No two clocks have the same time and it makes me insane!  I’m not even talking about a couple minute off, she’s got one that’s usually 25 minutes fast!  She does it to try to trick herself into getting places on time.  But if you know it’s set ahead you just do the math and tell yourself you’ve got plenty of time to get there.  I just hate that I can’t look at a clock there and really know what time it is!!!!

Ah screw it, next time I’m there maybe I’ll synchronize her clocks and really mess with her!  LOL!

What are some of your crazy obsessions?
How do they impact your life?

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When I’m extremely emotional I close my eyes and
I see blue stars on a black background.
I’ve been that way for as long as I can remember.
Even back to when I was a little girl.
All I see are blue stars lately.

It really is horrible to feel helpless.
Especially when you’ve given all the help that you could over time.
Apparently putting others first in your life and
doing your best to be a good person just isn’t good enough.

I gave tolerance and understanding.
I gave time and patience.
I gave trust and love.
I gave it my all.

What I thought was a rough patch was apparently enough for others to
give up.
I can’t dwell on the “what if’s” in life.
I need to focus on the “what was” and more importantly the “what is.”

I need to find that “whatever it takes” attitude again.
I’m just seeing blue stars….

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