Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: February 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Word On The Street

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They say you disappeared.
And so long as you're safe, I think it's best for you.

I hope you're in the place you want to be & I hope you know that you have a silent (yet willfull) cheerleader in your darkest corner. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Istanbul in 2011 - My #TBT Travel Post

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Istanbul Trip in 2011 - Throwback Thursday Travel Post

The best years of my life (so far) took place when most people were miserable, the recession: 2009 to 2011. I don't think I was built to flourish in the face of great challenges but I made it work, and whatever the reason, these were the happiest days of my adult life.

Leyla Arsan Work
Self employment REALLY does look like this!

Getting Laid Off 
Maybe the best thing that ever happened to me was getting laid off in 2008. I had taken an odd career shift and worked for a company I didn't like (or respect). It was a sales job where I received a small draw against commission. By the time they laid me off, I had blown through six months of savings trying to keep myself afloat. Luckily my unemployment ended up being the same as my draw. Although my financial situation had improved, my morale was at an all time worst. It wasn't long before I was drinking by 2PM (READ: Friday, Otherwise Known as Day 2 of Unemployment). 

No one really knew yet how bad the recession would get but I had some insight. Previous to the job from which I was let go, I was an event planner and I had hosted an event for financial professionals from Deutsche Bank. They had a guest speaker, some chief economist guy from somewhere important. I was stuck running his slide projector for the whole presentation with no phone in my hand, so I had not choice but to pay attention. 

In 2008 & 2009, the economic events unfolded almost exactly how that economist had described, but like Nostradamus before him, his timing was a little off. I remember this guy telling the suits in the room how each global market would fall like dominoes and it happened almost exactly how he described. I tried unsuccessfully to Google this economic Svengali for years after but never did locate the slightly sexy, evil genius economist from New York. 

There I am with Greg and Mike at Affiliate Summit East

Getting Back On My Feet 
I think I sent out close to 300 resumes in the next 8 to 10 months and I interviewed for about 2 jobs. The first one was my dream job - VP of Event Marketing at a prestigious company. The job was posted online on Christmas Eve day, I saw it and immediately applied. By the day after Christmas it was taken down. When I interviewed, I asked about the posting and the HR person told me that they received over 700 resumes in one day and had to pull it. 

When I didn't get the dream job (they went with someone internal) I threw in the towel. I was depressed for a while but eventually I had no choice but to figure something out. Before I go further, I should mention that I was an advertising and marketing recruiter at the crappy job from where I was laid off. I watched the job boards all day long and I would see job descriptions with acronyms like "SEO" and "SEM", I didn't know that was, but I wanted to know. So I would bring in candidates for interviews with those qualifications and ask questions. I didn't have jobs for them but I wanted to know what these digital media jobs were all about, plus I had to fulfill my stupid interview quota somehow. 

So in January or February of 2009, I started to teach myself how to run Google Adwords. Maybe you're wondering why Google ads? Because Google offered free training online, I was broke and failure was a luxury I couldn't afford.  

Oh My God, Get to the POINT! 
I somehow shifted into Social Media and the rest is history! I worked for myself for 2+ years and I took vacations I could write off from my taxes because I wrote a travel blog and edited a travel publication for money. 

The photos from the trip below were taken a few days after I finished my second Downtown Dash (social media scavenger hunt). I spent 10 days in Istanbul living in an apartment in Beyoglu and editing a travel guide. It was fun and I was happy! 

Do I miss it? You bet I do!  
Would I go back? You can't ever go back. 

Istanbul Modern - Leyla Arsan
Visiting the Istanbul Modern
Remember, I was updating a travel guide - I visited all the museums for free!

Grilled Fish
This is what you eat in Istanbul - and lots of it!

This was my favorite night. The woman who ran my apartment complex made our reservation for dinner. She must've told the restaurant that I was writing the guide because we got to take the restaurant owners' private boat to the nightclub after dinner. Or maybe that is just a common courtesy, both are possibilities.

Leyla on her Mac
This night we stayed home and I finished the recap I owed my sponsors. 
Here I am pulling Cision recap reports in the common area of my apartment in Istanbul.

Santral Istanbul - Leyla Arsan
This was the best attraction I visited - Santral Istanbul. An old power station turned into a museum and event space. We were one of the only people there, it was great to run around like kids. I am pretending to push the button in the DHARMA Initiative. That's a Lostafarian reference.

The best reason to visit Turkey -- the deserts and kaymak! 
(look it up)

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more travels from me... Or check these out: 
  1. Travel Stories of Old - my handwritten travel journals from 1995 transcribed (I was MUCH more entertaining & a better writer, not sure what happened there) 
  2. Come Away With Me - Leyla takes a trip to Jordan
  3. Traveling With Me Is Not For The Weak - You must be prepared for: life, death and everything in between 
  4. Travel Tips to Turkey - from my (almost retired) travel blog

OH, and while you're down here... click that Centup button and let me know what happens. Thanks!