The thing about taking an extended blogging vacation (no, not vacation…stress/laziness-related work stoppage?) is that when you start again you feel the need to fill the masses of readers (all 6 of you) in on what has been going on. So not to balk at convention, here we go.

A few months ago I started to really feel like I wanted to work more. One of those deep down feelings. Why I didn’t also realize what was coming is poor foresight, since after 40 years the one thing I know about myself for sure is that I am an amazing manifestor of work. Although this is in no way related to being able to manifest money (odd that), as soon as I think “more work”, “new job” or “I’m bored” something comes along. The last 2 years, despite verbally bemoaning my unemployed/work eligibility status, I didn’t have to dig very deep to realize that I actually wasn’t interested or ready to work due to a large and exhausting list of reasons.


This time, when that thought passed my consciousness, I knew it was the real deal. Fast forward a few weeks. Friend Lesli offers me a retainer for 20 hours a month to be her business manager. Pug Pharm gets a few hundred thou in funding so I sign-up with them 60 hours a month to start. Another former boss and friend starts a business and needs her website written. Despite two previous rejections, a friend at Swarovski prompts me to send in my resume to the Director responsible for online communications, and I have an interview for an (on paper) well-matched position (more on that in a sec), plus two positions for English-speaking jobs at a local non-profit (SOS Kinderdorf) get sent to me. Whew! (Reminds me of a story I once read about a rainmaker who did his thing after several months of drought and down came a massive flood of water. He commented he could make it rain, but had no control over the volume.)

And I’m still doing some shopping, laundry and the occasional lunch shift at the cafe.  All with Annie in Kindergarten 20 hours per week.

So what is the fall-out of all this? Firstly, I’m totally loving my contract work. Being involved with a new venture when it isn’t primarily your money at risk is fun. (Being involved in a new venture when your own money is at risk is stressful.)

I’ve also been thinking a lot about what it would look like if I worked full-time right now. In summary, it wouldn’t be pretty. Families with children here don’t have 2 full-time working parents (or one full-time working single parent) unless there is another family member to step in. (It is the 1950’s here in Austria, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before.) So Annie would pretty much be the only child at Kindervilla (of about 100 children) to be there full-time. And believe me, she would notice. (The word “unfair” gets a lot of play these days.)

Plus the cafe is picking up again (a very good thing!), which means Markus is working a zillion hours a week. (A 12-hour day is a shortish day, with at least 2 or 3 long days of 17+ hours.) So Annie literally would have no parent around most of the week. The fact that my (overly judgmental) response to my friend telling me daycare in San Francisco was 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (to 10:00 p.m. and on Saturdays if pre-arranged) was “why bother having kids then?” does indicate that this doesn’t jive with my parenting belief system.

And don’t get me started on what happens once she goes to the first grade. School is over here for the day at 11:45. 11:45!!!!

Not to mention a full-time job would mean giving up my contracts, which as I mentioned, I’m loving.

So it was with this ambiguity that I got gussied up and went to the interview for Manager of Online Communications at the headquarters of the multi-national, multi-billion dollar, family-owned Swarovski empire. The job description was for a manager responsible for a team of four to work on the strategy and implementation for all online, mobile, and social networking communications. Very similar to my last job at AbeBooks plus some things I’m doing at Pug Pharm.

Ah assumptions. You would think in my middle-ageness I would have learned better. I sent my resume in English, the director answered me with an email in English, the admin assistant booked the meeting with me in English, the job posting (which was in German) stated that perfect written and spoken English was required…you don’t need to be a genius to see where this is going.

The incredibly hip, pleasant and obviously smart director gave long explanations of the position in his (thank goodness High) German, to which I had to concentrate so hard to follow that when he was done my brain was ready to explode so that I would give  insightful and relevant comments like “interesting!” or “good idea!”. Blink, blink, stare, stare. I don’t know whether I’m more embarrassed for myself or my poor friend who actually recommended me.

That was just a few days ago, so I’m going to let that sit for a while before doing anything else on the work front. In the meantime, I sent out my first set of invoices for the contract work, which felt pretty good after two years of not financially contributing to the family.

In other news…as mentioned, the cafe is picking up. Yeah! The franchise owner helped Markus out with a spring patio-opening celebration where they handed out 5,000 tulips to near-by office workers and people on the street. See photos here. And since the weather has been lovely the last 10 days, people have been making good use of the outdoor seating. That plus a good run of catering events means sales in March are double what they were in January.

And Annie is, well, Annie…..

That’s a wrap for this update. Here’s hoping this is the restart to something more regular.

4 Responses to “Update”

  1. sox says:

    Thanks for the update, Hillary. I was just thinking about you a couple of days ago, wondering how things were going…

  2. Mom says:

    Hi Hillary
    What a lovely treat to see those pics at the end of our day of driving thru New Mexico.

    You are still a great writer. I laughed aloud at your job manifestation.
    LOVE M.

  3. Tracy says:

    Hi Hillary, I just wanted to let you know that I love following your blog. You’re so funny and I love your pictures!!
    It’s always nice to know that people are reading so I wanted to make sure you knew I’m a fan 🙂
    Good luck with everything!!!
    and just in case you didn’t recognize the last name… it used to be Fulton (from Abe) 🙂

  4. Stacey says:

    Hillary, Annie looks so so grown up. Can’t you do something to stop that. 😛 I wish they could stay little forever.