Day Nine Hundred and Two of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

Mystery Shop Assignment

I got up early this morning and saw that my mystery shop company was offering a larger than usual bonus to visit a particular restaurant today. I had toyed with the idea of applying for one today anyway. I applied right away and they assigned it to me.

Early Morning Run to UBC

I woke up early this morning. I haven’t run for a few days and I’ve been feeling really lazy. I need to do this run this morning. I’m feeling quite lethargic lately. I wonder if I will have difficulty running all the way to UBC this morning.

It was overcast but not raining when I set out this morning. I haven’t run in the rain for a while so I hope that it stays dry. I started out slowly and felt okay. After a while though, I started to get a pain in my calf! I wasn’t sure why because I don’t usually experience pain there.

Despite the pain, I decided to run it out anyway. I stopped briefly for a light and did a quick stretch. That didn’t seem to help that much. But I didn’t want to stop so I kept running. As soon as I got on level ground, I felt better. I made to UBC in the usual time.

Dressing Up Again

I felt good dressing up in a suit yesterday when I went to my seminar so I decided to dress up today to do my mystery shop. I was pretending to be a business person doing some work at lunch. I couldn’t get anybody to go with me at the last-minute.

Mystery Shop

I took the skytrain to the restaurant. Again, I felt good doing the fake commute in my suit and carrying my briefcase. I even took some fake ‘work’ so I could be doing something while I was eating lunch. I think that I looked totally authentic.

I was surprised again that this suburban location was so busy at 1 PM on a weekday. I had to wait a few minutes. I was actually looking forward to this because when I dine solo I can order the most expensive things on the menu.

The shop was uneventful. I knew that I’d have to start writing the report as soon as I got home. It should not have taken too long to write but for some odd reason, it took me longer than usual. It was probably because I was distracted watching videos while writing it.

New Job Position to Consider

I got an email from my friend about a job position. I hadn’t even noticed the posting so I’m glad that my friend thought of me. It’s a six month contract position but it seems like it would be a good stable gig. The pay seems pretty good, too.

I do have some experience in it and I even have the right educational background for it, too. But even as I read the listing and can totally see myself doing the job, I can’t help but have some creeping doubt in myself. I know that it’s no big deal if I apply and don’t get it. It’ll be good practice, blah, blah, blah. But how many more rejections can I take before I just give up applying all together? I have to think.


Day Nine Hundred and One of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

Early Morning Commute

I got up early to dress up in a suit. I brought along the new briefcase I just bought (second-hand). If anybody saw me this morning, they would just assume that I was one of many commuters rushing to their job. I can’t believe that it’s been so long since I had to dress up for work. The only other times I have worn a suit is when I was playing an office worker in a TV or movie shoot.

I was going against traffic so it didn’t take as long as I thought it might. One part of me didn’t want to get there too early. They had left time for people to network and since I’m not actually working in the field anymore, I thought that it might be uncomfortable for me.

Elder Planning Conference

I got to the Elder Planning Conference early this morning. I had taken the course to get my EPC designation last year but since then have not actually used it. I had hoped that it would help me get a different financial job, but that never came to fruition.

Even though I am not actually working as an EPC (Elder Planning Counselor) I decided to go in order to maintain my continuing education credits and update what I had learned in the course. I have the background in the industry to be able to relate to the seminar as well. And all of the information is going to be helpful in either dealing with my Dad or myself, as I get older.

Chatting with Old Co-Workers

I knew that one of my old co-workers would be there and he and I have kept in touch several times since I was let go from the firm. In fact, he and I are doing a half-marathon next February. But he was not there.

Instead, I went over and talked to another old co-worker. We hadn’t seen each other since last year’s conference. She was surprised to see me there. I wasn’t close to her when I was working at the firm but we did talk about running. We chatted a bit about some half-marathons and I told her that I would forward her an email about one in Napa coming up.

I decided to sit a little back away from my old co-workers. Each table seated only two people. ┬áThe person who sat beside me was the only non-financial person at the conference. She is a dementia consultant. I was interested in hearing about that. There aren’t too many of them yet but I think that it’s a growing area.

We did some group exercises and I felt good being able to contribute. Oddly enough, I remembered only all the good aspects of working as a financial advisor. I ignored all of the bad things about it. It’s too bad that I don’t seem to want to return to this profession because it tends to attract older people, the average age in the room was even older than me, so my age would not be an issue. And yet I still don’t want to return.

Post Conference Depression

So I could pretend to be a normal working person for the day. During the commute home, I looked at all these people and was jealous of them, normal people working full-time. They probably didn’t even realize how lucky they were, to be working full-time.

When I got home, I started to feel a little depressed about the whole situation. I felt so good today even though realistically, I knew that I probably didn’t really want to return to financial services full-time. It made me realize that even 900 plus days after I lost my job, I’m still not sure what I want to do and that is so frustrating.

Day Nine Hundred of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

Horrifying Milestone Reached Today

I can’t believe that I reached nine hundred days of unemployment today. When I first started this blog over two and a half years ago, I never ever once entertained the thought that I would still be writing this blog at this point. It’s quite depressing and demoralizing.

I have to make sure and clarify. It has been nine hundred days of full-time unemployment. I have had little part-time gigs here and there. Scrounging around for bits of change, really. I don’t really remember what it is like to work full-time, Monday to Friday, 40 plus hours a week any more.

Now that I am over fifty, I despair into wondering if I will ever get back into that full-time mode. Somebody asked me if I was retired. First of all, I was choked that somebody even thought that I looked old enough to be retired. And second, I wish I could be lucky enough to be financially secure enough to be retired.

Uneventful Drive to Set

I got up early and packed my wardrobe for today’s shoot. I had to dig up my winter clothing since we are supposed to do both interior and exterior shots today. I was glad because I was leaving after the worst of rush hour. I was also glad that the weather was fine and not raining. I was able to get there in less time than I thought it would take.

Production Mix Up

I wrote down the instructions for the location. It seemed straight forward enough. As I made my last turn, I looked for a locations person to ask them where I should park. I was a little uneasy because all of the signs were for another show, not the one I am booked for.

I asked the locations person what show this was and sure enough, it’s not the show I’m looking for. This happens. There can be several shows filming in the same vicinity. Last summer, I went to the lot where there were four shows stationed. They had not heard of my show, so that wasn’t a good sign either.

Easy Day

I had to reluctantly call my extras agent to ask them for clarification on the set location. They were understanding because there wasn’t actually any address given so it wasn’t easy to get google directions. I wasn’t far from the first set so I got there in time.

They didn’t end up using my car after all. They didn’t even ask about it. They only needed cars for the 6 AM call people. So that was fine. I’m glad that I didn’t have to get up at 4 AM this morning.

We were filming inside a church today. No heat was turned on so it was almost as cold as outside. I’m glad that we were allowed to wear our coats inside. It was a fairly easy gig today. We finished in five hours and got paid our eight-hour minimum anyway as I knew we would. They even paid for part of our travel time since we were out of the usual zone.

The only bad thing about getting wrapped at this time was that I got stuck right in rush hour. It took me longer to get home. But that was okay. I was happy to get home early.


Day Eight Hundred and Ninety Nine of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

Another Long Day

When I got up this morning, I should have felt good. It was sunny and I had a fairly good day yesterday. But instead, I was feeling down again. I didn’t want to get up. This has been happening at an alarming rate lately.

Mystery Shop Editor

I got an email from my editor for the mystery shops that I did on the weekend. At first, I wasn’t sure if I liked this editor because she had asked me a stupid and obvious question about the restaurant. It took every fiber of my being not to respond in a sarcastic, flippant manner.

I’m glad that I didn’t because when she emailed me again, she was very complimentary and gracious. It made me feel happy. I haven’t had much feedback on my ‘work’ except criticism, so to get positive feedback lifted my spirits.

Low Motivation Again

The afternoon was another waste again. I looked around my apartment with shame. I need to clean up and get rid of stuff. I am having people over next week and it would be nice to not have to scramble at the last-minute to clear everything out.

I need to clear out my office so that I can get it organized if I ever want to start my online retail store. I can’t believe how much I’ve procrastinated over that. It’s embarrassing just thinking about it.

Call from my Extras Agent

I got an unexpected call from my extras agent. I haven’t heard from my agency for a while. It turns out that he had a gig for tomorrow. But the gig is quite far. It looks like they really want my car which is an older car.

They didn’t want to book my car though, which would have meant $35 extra. That’s not a good sign if the production is so cheap that they won’t even commit to that. Still, I haven’t had any work for a while, so I was eager to accept.

I got my call time later and I was relieved to see that it is 11 AM and not 6 AM like some of the others. If it was early, I’d have to leave my pace at 4:45 AM to get there in time! With it being 11 AM, I wouldn’t be driving in rush hour either.

They did say that part of the day might be exterior so I was worried about how cold it might get. I have to dig out my winter coats. Compared to the rest of Canada, they wouldn’t be warm enough to be considered winter coats, but for here, they should be okay. In any case, there won’t be any snow.

I won’t pack my suitcase for tomorrow’s gig tonight. I have plenty of time to do it in the morning. I already have some idea of what I will take. I just want to get to bed early tonight.

Day Eight Hundred and Ninety Eight of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

Early Morning Run

Although I managed to get up early this morning, I felt a little tired. I was dawdling getting ready to leave the house and knew that I’d have to really run fast in order to get to class in time.

I was so late getting out that I wondered how the bus service was on an early Sunday morning. I figured that there wouldn’t be too many so I might as well just go as fast as I could and hope for the best.

Free Yoga Class at Lululemon

I got to class faster than I thought that I would. I was out of breath and more sweaty than I usually am though. I was able to only chill out a few minutes before class started.

I missed last week’s class because I was in Seattle so I was really looking forward to getting into it today. Today’s instructor was the running yogi who also runs the running clinic at this store. He said that he was going to do something called Dharmic yoga which I had never heard of before. It was a good class and I’m glad that I was able to come today.

Shopping and Cooking

After class I headed over to the downtown east side flea market. There aren’t going to be many more rain-free days so more people were selling and buying than usual on this sunny day. I shouldn’t have come but I couldn’t resist since I know that there won’t be too many more days once the rain comes.

After that I went to the Sunrise market to get some produce. I have to make something for the farewell potluck for my friend this afternoon. I’ve been trying to think of something that wouldn’t be too expensive or too difficult to make.

I finally decided on roast potatoes and meatballs. As soon as I got home, I went at it. I don’t often cook and haven’t felt that confident about it even though I used to be a good cook. I just lost interest in cooking in recent years. But I don’t want to cop-out and just buy something either.

Going Away Party

I got there late but I was happy that I was able to make everything I had planned. The kitchen was a mess when I left but I would get to that later. The weather was still nice and sunny as I drove there.

This was a farewell party for my yoga instructor and her family. They are going to the Caribbean in a few days. I knew that there was a chance that they would get transferred but I was hoping that they’d be here longer.

I saw a couple of my fellow yoga students and chatted with them. I enjoyed all of the different food, too. I think people enjoyed my meatballs and roast potatoes. I think that this is just the beginning of holiday eating that I’m going to have to watch.

Day Eight Hundred and Ninety Seven of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

Late Morning

I had stayed up late finishing up my mystery shop report last night. It didn’t take so long but I kept getting distracted. I was finally satisfied with the report. I finally submitted it and went to bed around 1 AM.

Depressed for the Whole Day

It was another sunny day today. And yet, I just couldn’t seem to get up to do anything. I’m wasting this nice weather. I thought that if I wasted the morning, I would feel better and get up to do something this afternoon but apparently not.

All I did was watch TV and eat. There’s so much that I could do, like clean, declutter, write, work on my online store, but nothing seemed to get me up. I hate myself when this happens.

Lack of Motivation to Do Anything

I felt so sad that I even took a short nap in the afternoon. It wasn’t long and it didn’t make me feel particularly better. In fact, I just felt guilty that I was wasting my life away. I didn’t feel any more refreshed or anything. I don’t know why I can’t seem to get motivated.

Ran to Restaurant

My original plan was to go work out at the community center but that time window went by. Then I was going to do a longer run and arrive at restaurant in time for the mystery shop. I did manage to run to the shop, but I just did the bare minimum to get there.

As soon as I started my run, I regretted that I hadn’t gotten out earlier so I could have enjoyed this nice weather. I was able to run at a good pace and felt good. There were a few people on the streets, cycling, running and walking. We were all taking advantage of this rainless weather.

Second Mystery Shop

I got to the restaurant ten minutes ahead of time. It was getting dark and it was chilly out. I looked around to see if there was anything to report from the exterior of the building and took a couple of photos.

As I was waiting outside in the cold I was wondering where my friend was. She is usually punctual, even early. So here it is, time to go in and she’s nowhere to be found. I called home and there was no message. I wondered what I could do in this case. If I had to do the shop alone, I was supposed to get permission.

Finally, my friend poked out her head and saw me. She had arrived 15 minutes early and went inside. I was annoyed but relieved that she was here. We are only supposed to enter together and only after a particular time.

The service was bad and I knew that it would mean taking me a longer time to write the report. I took more notes than I usually do because I knew that it the report is critical of anything, they will investigate it more before they talk to the employee.

Report Finished

I did an outline of my report before I went online to type it in. I wanted to make sure that I covered everything and had the correct timeline. It did take longer than last night’s report but not as long as I had expected, so that was a relief. I have to get up early tomorrow morning for yoga so I was glad I could go to bed early.

Day Eight Hundred and Ninety Six of Unemployment-Fifty and Unemployed

Ran to Thrift Store

I got up early this morning to a bright sunny day. There was a clear blue sky but it was quite cold. There was a 99 cent sale at the local thrift store. There wasn’t anything that I was interested on sale and I was going to pass. But my friend who is now at her home in California emailed me and asked me if was going, and if I could get some dresses for her twin granddaughters for her.

Although one part of me didn’t want to go because I might get tempted to buy things that I didn’t need, I did go to do my friend a favor. I had visited this store the day before and saw several beautiful dresses that she would love. The bargain hunter in me acquiesced and ran to the store.

It was busy when I got there and I quickly picked out and bought fifteen dresses for my friend. And as I had feared, I did find some things for myself as well. I just couldn’t resist getting some things for a mere 99 cents.

Ran into the Mayor

As I ran home, I saw a big entourage complete with several TV cameras. Our city’s mayor, who also lives in my neighborhood, was doing some last-minute campaigning ahead of tomorrow’s election. I stopped and got out my camera and started taking pictures.

I was thrilled to get to see him and the other candidates. I had already voted last week and was surprised that he and other candidates were spending time in my neighborhood. One of his staffers noticed me taking pictures and asked if I wanted one of myself with the mayor. This was the second picture of me with him. I had met him a couple of years ago and had a friend take a picture.

He introduced himself (again) to me and was engaging and warm. I told him I had already voted for him and he thanked me. I was glad that I got to meet him again.

Crash After Buying Binge

Once I got home, I started to feel depressed, thinking about the things that I had just bought. Yes, they didn’t cost a lot of money, but I really didn’t need to accumulate more stuff. I should be getting rid of stuff, not getting more stuff to add to the pile!

I shouldn’t have tempted myself by going to the store, fooling myself into thinking I could just buy my friend’s stuff and not get anything for myself. I felt guilty all afternoon, just thinking about it. I don’t know why I have such difficulty with this.

Went Downtown

Later in the afternoon, I had to go downtown to do another mystery shop. I had been planning to run downtown. Just as I was leaving, I suddenly remembered that I had forgotten to make a pre-visit call to the restaurant! I went back inside and made the call.

Because of that, I was too late to run downtown. I had to end up taking the bus. I would be late even if taking the bus. I couldn’t believe that I had forgotten to make the call. Sometimes, I get worried when I forget important things like that.

Mystery Shop Downtown

I met an old co-worker for the shop. It was at a beautiful location. I had been meaning to come here for months. It was packed and we had to wait almost half and hour! I was mad at myself because if I had called earlier, like I was supposed to, I could have gotten a reservation.

It was an uneventful visit. When I got home, I was able to write the shop report fairly quickly. I have to do another shop at a different location tomorrow.