Friday, March 20, 2009

Fruits and Vegetables

It’s been tough to write during the last three weeks. You see, I started a new job. I’m a home-based consultant for Right Management, helping people who have recently been laid off with their job search. The great thing is I get to continue to work from home. In order to manage telecommuters, there are a myriad of policies, procedures and documentation. So far, there are eight separate and unique websites I have to learn. Of course, each has its own log in and password.

For the most part, I like the work. After one day, we started working with clients and I now have ten. They are from all over the country, from different industries and professions. I find them to be enthusiastic, positive and accepting of my help. That’s saying a lot in this economic climate.

I’m going to let you in on a secret that I covered up well in my interview. I was crazy busy before I took the job, and now I’m barely hanging on by thread. Once I get through the thirty-two hours of training, it should be more manageable.

We have this interesting shift that has occurred in our family. I’ve always been busy, but my husband was also busy. I’m working seven days a week. He’s retired. Therefore, he’s having to take more household responsibility. Bless him, he’s doing that. He’s cooking, doing dishes, and laundry.

I sent him to the store to buy the week’s groceries, with my ATM card, no less. Deep breath. I told him he couldn’t spend more than $150 (this will last two weeks). He did good, and stayed below his budget. I was helping putting away the groceries and commented, “I see you didn’t spend much time in the fruits and vegetables.”

Quite innocently, he responded, “Yes, I did. I bought canned corn, beans, peas and tomatoes.” The men who read this might not see the humor, but most women will read this and chuckle.

Here’s the dilemma. I can do it all myself. I can criticize what he’s done, so he becomes angry and resentful at trying to help out. Or, I can keep my mouth shut. This is what happens when you enter retirement. Whether I’m working or not, I want him to participate in the chores around the house. At some level, I have to back off and not dictate how I want it done.

I'd love to hear other stories of how men help out around the house after retirement.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Relationship Guru

Times of financial instability and transitions, such as retirement or job change can wreak havoc on relationships. Unfortunately, by the time most people get to therapy, the bond is broken.

Stephen Frueh is a coach and educator who is passionate about building effective relationships. Whether your relationship is in trouble or you just want to improve it, Stephen has a wealth of information at

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Help a Small Business

I’ve been so impressed with the creative things businesses are doing to lure us into using them. My favorite art supply company, Cheap Joes offers free shipping on all orders. The local Cineplex sent a postcard offering two movie tickets for the price of one, plus a free 46 oz popcorn with purchase of a soda every Tuesday during the month of March. What a deal!

We got a huge wake-up call last fall. There are certainly people in this country who are in dire straights, losing homes and jobs. Those of us who aren’t affected directly know someone who is or are afraid because of the situation.

The good news is the savings has shifted from a negative rate to over 8%. This is in part a good thing. BUT, if we totally button up and stop spending completely, we’ll collectively send the economy into the depression everyone is talking about.

Most people don’t realize that small business is the backbone of our country. Over the last twenty years, small business has had the most job growth. While the large corporations have been losing jobs, small companies have been growing.

I want to start a campaign to help a small business. As you go through your week, identify a small business you can go out of your way to support. It can be an artisan, independent farmer, retail establishment, or service provider.

I painted last Tuesday. There’s a gentleman that comes by every week to wash cars. My first inclination was to say no and save the $20.00. Then, I stopped. That $20.00 isn’t going to kill me, but it’s going to mean a lot to him.

Since then, I’ve done a lot of thinking about the economy. We can buy into the nightly news of how horrible it is, weave a cocoon, and try to hibernate. Or we can declare we are going to do everything to be positive, supportive and make a contribution to the world we live in.

I love being connected to the amazing small business people on the Internet, so I want to start a viral campaign to shift the energy and momentum in a new direction. Will you help?