As the year comes to an end, I like to look back over 2021, see what I’ve learned, what do I want to continue doing in the new year, what do I want to NOT continue doing, what worked for me, what didn’t.
I’ve mentioned in my previous posts that I was laid off from my job as Senior Travel Advisor, in April 2020. My recall to work date kept getting pushed ahead due to COVID, lockdowns, quarantines, restrictions, etc., so after a year and a half of waiting to return to work, I started looking for work outside the travel field.
I applied at so many places! I started keeping track, just for interest sake, and this is a list of some of them (I won’t mention the company name as I don’t want to get sued, so I’ll just list the positions I applied for):
- fitting room attendant
- cashier in a retail store (clothing and home accessories)
- client services coordinator at a hair salon
- baker at a grocery store
- receptionist for dental offices (two separate offices)
- grocery team member at a health food store
- freelance writer
- service lot attendant for a car dealership
- house cleaner for a well-known, but not well-reviewed cleaning service
- housekeeper at a hotel
- retail store associate for a second-hand store
- spa attendant
- seasonal sales associate at a candle store
- flower shop customer service
- retail sales associate at a pet store
- baker’s assistant at a breadhouse
- pierogi maker
- receptionist at vet hospital
- general labourer at a very large bakery
- front desk attendant at a raquet club
- bakery assistant at a cute bakery in a cute town, making healthy and organic treats for dogs and cats
As you can see, I wasn’t choosey on the positions….I know what I’m capable of doing, so I only applied at places that I knew I could handle the job. Which leads me to the first, “what you need to stop doing” thing….this one is applicable to employers…..
If you’re looking to hire someone for a job, don’t make assumptions. As they say, “when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me”.
Now, I realize that most resumes are “looked at” not by humans FIRST but are scanned by a piece of software, known as an applicant tracking system, or “ATS.” Depending on how highly this machine ranks your resume, you could be first in line for an interview or buried so far down the list recruiters never find you. How sad is that? Someone could be ideal for a job but because they don’t have a great resume, or one that the ATS accepts as awesome, they could be passed over for the job.
It would be easy to look at my resume, which has 30+ years of experience in the travel business as the predominant theme, and think, “Why in the world would she want to leave a desk job, to stand on her feet all day?“, or “I’m sure she’s making a decent income, why would she want to get paid LESS than she’s used to?” or “She’s too old” (no, I didn’t include my age on my resume, but if you do the math, ie “30+ years in the travel business” it’s not rocket science to figure out I’m at least in my late 40’s/early 50’s).
By assuming an applicant isn’t 100% right for the position, you could be missing out on a very good employee. People’s needs and expectations change and evolve over the years….the pandemic has brought that to the forefront I would say.
I’m super-grateful to my new employers at the Pierogi House for NOT making any INCORRECT assumptions. Yes, making pierogi is vastly different from the travel business, but that’s what I love about it!
I’m not a one-dimensional human being…..I have many interests and one of them (which I learned during the lockdowns, quarantines, pandemic) is that I love working with my hands. I love making things…..and one of those things, as it turns out, is pierogi! (just as a sidenote, each and every pierogi we make is made by hand….that’s what makes them the best!)
The second thing to stop doing…..stop expecting to have a positive life if you have a negative mindset. I personally already knew this as I’ve kept a positive attitude since my second cancer-scare in 2008 BUT, I’m including this lesson here because even though I’ve tried to stay positive, I still caught myself, several times this year complaining about things.
How many times in your day do you say (or think) something negative? You may not even realize you’re doing it, because it’s become a (bad) habit but try to listen to your SELF. Do you complain about the weather? Do you complain about the traffic? Do you complain about gas prices? Do you complain about how poorly you slept? Do you complain about someone you live with? Do you complain about how ridiculously confusing all this COVID/variants/booster (mis)information is? Ok that last one is one I’ve done many times this year…..but anyway….my point…..
Don’t get me wrong, I get it, 2020 and 2021 have been sh*tty! I get it, I know, I haven’t been living under a rock. We have plenty of REASONS to complain….but when all is said and done, when you think about it, what does our complaining REALLY change? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
When you say or think something negative, do you feel energized and happy and joyful? Likely not. Are you sharing that negative vibe with people you live with or work with? Probably. Is it CHANGING the situation you’re complaining about at all by you complaining about it? Highly unlikely.
Maybe think about flipping that negative thought or complaint into something more positive.
As an example…..instead of saying, “I have to go to work today”, say, “I get to go to work today”. Many people don’t have jobs these days and I bet they would love to have one to go to.
Instead of saying, “I have to make lunch for the kids”, say, “I get to make lunch for the kids”. Many people can’t have kids and even those who have kids, won’t have them forever…one day that child will be grown and gone and you’ll be WISHING they were there for you to make lunch for them (I am one of these people).
Instead of saying, “I have to do laundry”, say, “I get to do laundry”. Many people don’t have the luxury of a machine to wash their clothes and another machine to dry their clothes, heck, some people don’t have clothes.
Side note, if you hate doing laundry, stop buying so much clothes! Not only are you saving yourself work because you’ll have less to wash, but also you’ll be saving money, AND the planet!
I remember, I was a teen, and I asked my Dad (who grew up very, very poor and worked very hard for everything) if I could get another pair of jeans. He looked at me like it was the craziest question he’s ever heard, and asked me, “Why do you need another pair of jeans, you HAVE a pair of jeans?!”
When I started earning my own money, I bought more jeans…and more, and more and more. So much clothes.
Now that I look back on that waste, I feel really stupid. Dad was right. I didn’t NEED more than one pair of jeans. Today, I have ONE pair of jeans.
Likewise, I have only two sets of sheets/pillowcases for my bed. I HATE folding fitted sheets (I KNOW the “trick”, I still hate doing it). So I have one set that’s on my bed, then on laundry day, that set gets replaced with a clean set.
Do you know that each load of laundry you do uses anywhere from 12-20+ gallons of water–depending on the type of machine you use and the size of the load you’re doing….and think of all those plastic jugs of detergent ending up in the landfill…I’ve switched to laundry strips for that reason but that’s a whole other topic!
Likewise, the more clothes you buy, the more you have to get rid of down the line…and guess where that ends up….in the landfill….and guess where else it ends up….in the oceans…..and guess where THAT ends up, in our food….and guess where that ends up….in your body…..and guess what that does, it makes you sick!
Sorry, went on a tangent there for a bit….back to our original programming…..
I read somewhere that Richard Branson wears the same jeans every day. Mark Zuckerberg is known for wearing grey t-shirts all the time. The reason behind it is because it’s one less decision to make. Now, my name doesn’t end with Branson or Zuckerberg, and I don’t have to make the decision they do, but I believe if you can do something simply, why complicate it? Buying, and therefore wearing, fewer items of clothing results in, among other things, less laundry to do.
Three: Stop thinking that you don’t matter. You DO matter!
EVERY thing you DO or you DON’T DO, matters. Think about it. EVERY decision or choice you make impacts someone somehow somewhere sometime. Everything from what you eat to what you wear to how you shop, what you shop for, EVERY choice you make is important, and NOT making a choice IS making a choice, so don’t kid yourself.
Going back to my second point, about what to stop doing….ie, try to replace negative thoughts about yourself with positive thoughts about yourself. By changing your own narrative you’ll see a more positive shift in your life…..I know, sounds cheesy, but it’s true. Is it easy to do? Maybe not. Is it worth it? 100%. And for God’s sake, don’t take to heart other people’s opinions! Unless you have a medical condition for which you’ve been diagnosed, don’t listen to others on what they think you should/shouldn’t be doing. (yes, I get the irony here lol)
Remember, other people are looking at you through the lens of their own ego.
Four: Stop wasting your time on things that no longer serve you. Most recently I’ve realized that I have a lot of newsletters coming into my Inbox. Some, I DO remember subscribing to, but others I don’t remember subscribing to and it bugs me that I’m losing time in dealing with them. Yes, it takes only a few minutes to read a newsletter, but those few minutes add up. I’m not recommending that you need to Unsubscribe from ALL newsletters, I’m just saying it would be a better use of your day to spend time reading content that benefits you, rather than what depletes your time with no real purpose or benefit.
Five: If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know that I’ve done a fair bit of purging in the past year or so, as I intend to start a new chapter in my life (timeline has changed to spring 2022) and so I’ve touched on this topic in past posts, but it’s so important, in my opinion, that I’m including it here. Stop wasting your most precious commodity……time.
During the first couple of lockdowns we had here in Ontario, I learned very quickly how very little I NEED. I realized how little space I NEED and I realized how little STUFF I NEED. So I binge-watched Marie Kondo on Netflix, got rid of everything that didn’t bring me joy, stored some sentimental things, and sold or donated everything else.
I DO have some things in my sister’s garage that I need to sort through but I DO foresee another yard sale in my future (likely springtime) as well as another trip to the donation center. I ALWAYS feel better when I get rid of items that no longer serve me (going back to a previous point, the more STUFF you have, the more you have to deal with it), and before buying something else, I ask myself, “How many hours do I have to work to pay for this?”
As we turn the page and start a new year, rather than making resolutions, I for one am going to take what 2021 taught me and use it to make 2022 a better year. There are MANY things in this world we can’t control, but there are also MANY we can. Let’s do better, so we can BE better, ok?
Happy New Year!