Tuesday, August 23, 2016

She Works Hard for the Money

With a hat tip to Donna Summer, I'm loving this old song, which is now stuck in my head!

Before moving on, I've been wanting to write a final "catch up" post covering some of the work related challenges I've faced in my aging journey during the past couple of years.  When I moved to the coast at the end of 2013- only about 25 miles away - my personal and professional network all but evaporated.

I thought I might get established first and work a "real job" as a part time receptionist at a nearby senior community.  I scoured Craigslist and the other job sites for positions of this nature.  I got a few call backs, but generally these jobs had really wacky schedules which did not appeal to this old girl who needs her home time and beauty rest in a big way!  Routine matters as we get older!

Around January of 2014, I applied to work at an online startup relating to senior housing as admin support.  We spoke on the phone but he hired someone else.   In March, he contacted me again for another role he was looking to fill.  This role he called "Munk" (Chip - munk, get it?) for his senior housing ratings and review website ChipperList.  My role was to visit, tour and review the major senior housing communities in San Diego that he designated.  I was an independent contractor, and could set my own schedule and to a great extent, design my own job.

Since I had recent experience in senior services through family, volunteer and paid positions, this was a dream job for me!  The founder, Chip was super smart - a Millennial software engineer.  It was a pleasure to connect with another advocate for quality senior care and transparency to the consumer!

I worked very hard for him, touring, reviewing, researching and then developing what I called my "community outreach" role - basically promoting the website to consumers and senior services professionals.  I also blogged and wrote a monthly newsletter for him.  Great gig!

Chip ran into cash flow issues at the end of 2014 - his business model is unique and ahead of its time.  Senior housing is dominated by Corporate America and we were competing with "placement agencies" who function like Realtors - free to the customer, but big commission paid by the senior community to the placement company "senior advisor".  So in effect, the "advisers" are working hand-in-hand with the communities, and not necessarily representing the best interest of the senior housing consumer.  Chip's revenue model was similar to the YELP model.

After some other efforts to reinvent the business and find investors, Chip put it on hold.  I was heartbroken and so disappointed.  I don't think I've ever grieved for leaving a job the way I grieved for this one going away.  Working with ChipperList was more than a gig, it was a meaningful cause.

Late in 2014 I had responded to a Craigslist post from a local artist, Lori Wylie Richardson, who needed some filing done.  In 2015, my role soon expanded into catching up her bookkeeping on QuickBooks.  I am not a bookkeeper, but my decades of admin skills and excellent paperwork organizing abilities pay off very well with bookkeeping, as long as I can turn it all over to an actual accountant!  Lori's business finances came a long way during the months we worked together, before she moved her home and her studio into downtown San Diego.  In Googling her to get her website link for this post, I see she now has a gallery!

In 2015 I helped a dear friend with organizing her apartment and her paperwork for her taxes.  Later, I started organizing paperwork for a local couple - the husband was very ill and the wife was constantly overwhelmed with her role as his primary caregiver.

In early 2016 I responded to a Craigslist ad for a senior companion.  The very nice woman who posted the ad lives in a senior community right down the street from me!  We are a great match and I am still working with both of these two local organizing clients, focusing on daily money management - I plan to join this association in 2017.

Working hard for the money seems to change very little as we age!  I've always added value to whatever job I've had, or to my many clients' lives.   My hair is a little less big than Donna Summer's (and mine) was back in 1983 but I'm still kicking - though not as high!

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