|Issue 1.41 | Thursday, April 2, 2009 | Take an umbrella|
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APRIL 2, 2009 -- It's easy to become depressed if you've been laid off from a company you have worked with for numerous years. Even though it was probably purely a business decision and not performance-based on your part, the feelings of failure are sure to creep into your consciousness. Do you curl into a ball or do you forge ahead? Do you hide under the covers and pray it's just a bad dream or do you hold your head up and face reality? Do you wait until your severance runs out to look for work or do you hit the ground running?
For everyone it's different. Being a Type A personality, my initial feelings when I was laid off were to start immediately, looking at the financial decisions of our family both short-term and long-term and organizing, at least mentally, a game plan. Here is some of what I've learned.
First, develop a list of your expenses. Where can you reduce? For example, grocery shopping became an opportunity for me when I realized how much I was paying for items purely for convenience, such as 8 ounces of cheddar cheese pre-grated in a resealable plastic bag vs. an 8-ounce block of cheese that I grated at home. The savings was $2. Look at the items you purchase on a regular basis and see how fast the little savings add up.
Can you downsize your living arrangements? Though putting your home up for sale is a big step, having a time frame in your mind about if and when you would need to do this can be beneficial. Talk with a Realtor about your home and set some realistic expectations. The conversation is free and you become much more knowledgeable about your options.
Give yourself a very conservative monthly budget. Your goal is to save as much as you can while you're getting any severance package in order to extend your safety net down the road. Also, apply for unemployment benefits immediately. If you are receiving a severance package, you can collect unemployment at the same time.
Once you mentally get your financial house in order, it's time to get your career focus in order. These two items are not mutually exclusive and can be done concurrently.
Develop business cards. As you meet people who can assist you in your job search, you need to tell them how to reach you. I love great graphic designers and high-end printers, but you're looking for a short-term fix for a minimal investment. Visit office supply stores; they have a wide variety of products such as business card papers that can be used in a home printer using free templates from Microsoft Word.
Get the word out. Many people do an e-mail blast; I sent out hard copies of a letter in an oversized envelope (time-consuming, but I did it to make my letter stand out). Use the space not only to tell people of your situation, but also to tell them what you are looking for, what your skills are and how they can help. Most people believe you need them just for moral support or a soft shoulder, but really you need your contacts to make contacts for you. Ask them to call people they know on your behalf, and ask them to meet with you.
Develop a resumé and keep revising it based on the opportunity you are applying for. If you've not written a resumé in years, look at some of the better job posting sites and you will find examples (sometimes by industry) of the different types and styles.
Develop a cover letter. Many job seekers don't feel cover letters are necessary, but a recent New York Times article said good cover letters should summarize your experience in a well-written and succinct manner, grasp the reader's attention and propel him to read your resumé.
Send timely thank-you notes. Many people send an e-mail, but some of us still believe in a hand-written note.
Start the job search. Ideally, you would love to know someone who knows someone who is hiring. Work your contacts and find any inroads. Network, network and network.
Keep your spirits up. Celebrate small successes such as a returned phone call from someone you don't know or an opportunity to show your portfolio to someone who currently does not have an opening. Also, stay involved with the groups you were involved with before. Attend meetings and network with others. The more people you speak with, the greater your chances of staying top of mind when an opening becomes available.
Someone told me that being part of a layoff is like grieving for an old friend; you need to go through all the same emotions. I have done some grieving and some gnashing of teeth and have had some periods of stress. I was part of The Post and Courier's elimination of 25 positions in early February. I am still unemployed, but I try to follow my own advice every day. Have I made some mistakes? Absolutely, but I believe I'm doing many of the right things and I hope to land a great position with a great company here in Charleston or somewhere in the Southeast.
Jane Comfort is a senior marketing executive with more than 20 years of experience. Contact her at email@example.com.
APRIL 2, 2009 -- The calendar says spring started on March 20, but as far as I'm concerned, spring starts in Charleston County on April 11. That's the first day of the farmers market downtown, and I'm already dreaming of the first local asparagus and strawberries. It only gets better after that, with the months ahead bringing tomatoes, blueberries, peaches, butterbeans, okra and more.
The Charleston Farmers Market celebrates its 20th birthday this year. In 2008, it was named the fifth best farmers market in the nation by Travel & Leisure magazine's America's Favorite Cities survey, and that's a pretty cool honor. Beginning April 11, the market will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday at Marion Square, so check it out.
The other two city-sponsored markets in the county will be raising their tents in the weeks to come. Next up is the North Charleston Farmers Market, which begins April 23 at Park Circle and is open from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays.
Last up this year is the Mount Pleasant Farmers Market. Ever since its inception, the market has been held on the grounds of Moultrie Middle School on Coleman Boulevard, but last year, because of construction to build a new school, the market was moved to a field next door to the campus. It was a nice spot, but just didn't quite have the ambiance - or the shade - of the old site, which was dotted with huge, gnarly old oaks. This year, though, the market will be moving back home - to a new home - on the school grounds.
The new Farmers Market Pavilion on the Moultrie Middle School campus is really starting to take shape. During the school day, students will be able to use the site for outdoor lessons, and on Tuesday afternoons, the pavilion will welcome market vendors and shoppers. It sounds like a great arrangement, and I'm eagerly awaiting 3 p.m. May 12, when officials ring the first bell to open the market for 2009.
mushrooms: While we're on the tasty subject of local produce, be sure
to pick up a carton of Mepkin Abbey oyster mushrooms - they've been in
some of the local Piggly Wiggly stores since early February and are now
expanding into more supermarkets. I spotted them in the Sea Island Pig
in Mount Pleasant recently and brought a box home. Yum! The cashier said
the store had been carrying them for about two weeks and that they'd been
extremely popular with customers.
Click here to find out more. At the bottom of that page, there's a
link to some mushroom recipes that come straight from the kitchen at the
abbey: oyster mushroom fettuccine, a vegetarian oyster mushroom stir-fry,
mushroom and rice soup, and more. Yum again!
Good for golfers: Forbes Traveler online recently ranked Charleston as No. 4 among the nation's Top 10 Golf Cities. Here's what the Web site says - and since we're known here in Charleston for being polite, we'll be gentle as we point out to the nice people at Forbes that it's Yeaman's Hall, not Yeomans: "This great Southern city with a worldwide reputation for its restaurants offers a gourmet menu of golf, too. The Kiawah Island Golf resort has five courses, led by the Ocean Course, slated for the 2012 PGA Championship; its deluxe Sanctuary Hotel, completed for $130 million in 2004, furnishes world-class accommodations. A cluster of stellar private clubs-starting with two Seth Raynor-designed private courses, The Country Club of Charleston and Yeomans Hall-are worth the effort. The Peninsula Grill is a perennial favorite, featuring innovative seafood."
Ann Thrash is editor of CharlestonCurrents.com. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter is the Charleston RiverDogs. The Lowcountrys leader in sports entertainment, Charleston RiverDogs baseball is an attractive, affordable medium for your group or business. The RiverDogs develop the next major league stars for the 26-time World Champion New York Yankees at one of the finest ballparks in Minor League Baseball -- Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. Three short words sum up the every day approach taken by the Charleston RiverDogs front office. The brainchild of club President Mike Veeck, the nine-letter phrase Fun Is Good is meant to be a guideline and daily reminder of how employees should approach their jobs and in turn capture the imagination of the fans to turn them into repeat customers. Opening Day is April 9! Call them today at (843) 723-7241 or visit online at: www.RiverDogs.com.
Lowcountry chef Randolph Stafford has combined his love of all things Southern and his diverse culinary experiences to establish Farm Table Catering in Charleston. "When diners think about Farm Table Catering, they should envision the bounty of the region: collard greens, sweet onions, okra, grits, buttermilk, fried chicken and brown sugar pie - not crudités, cheese and beef carving stations," Stafford said in announcing the new venture. "We want our guests' dining experiences to invoke warm memories and surprise them with modern interpretations of Southern favorites."
Stafford has planted a 4,500-square-foot garden where he is growing heirloom produce such as Wando peas, Cherokee Purple tomatoes, Greasy Grits beans and Charleston Gray watermelons. What he doesn't grow himself, he plans to buy locally and in season. The commitment to supporting Southern growers and artisans helps sets Farm Table apart from large-scale catering companies, Stafford said, noting that he will focus on providing an intimate experience for guests who care about the food they eat and where it comes from.
The menu promises traditional Southern flavors with innovative twists, such as flash-fried Anson Mills grits cakes wrapped in a blanket of local shrimp, skewered, and topped with a dot of thickened tasso gravy.
Stafford, a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance and Lowcountry Local First, lives on Sullivan's Island. A native of Chatham, Va., he has served as sous chef at Red Drum Gastropub in Mount Pleasant, executive chef at Tom Smith Catering in Charleston, chef/director of operations at Iverson Catering in Park City, Utah, and private dining chef at McCrady's in Charleston. For more information, go to http://www.farmtablecatering.com.
Charleston to host first International Festival of Choirs
The first Charleston International Festival of Choirs, a three-day invitational event showcasing local and national choral groups, will be held at sites around the Lowcountry from April 17 through April 19. In addition to the performances, there will be master classes and choral clinics with well-known guest conductor and choral clinician Judith Willoughby, professor of conducting and music education at Oklahoma City University.
Choirs will offer performances in several local venues, including St. Matthews Church on King Street, Boone Hall Plantation, Wando High School, Sweetgrass Village Assisted Living Facility, local parish churches and Citadel Square Baptist Church. In addition, two participating choirs - the Oakland (Calif.) Interfaith Gospel Choir and Cherokee High School Girls Traveling Choir (New Jersey) - will perform the national anthem as part of the Family Circle Cup tennis tournament on Daniel Island.
The festival's organizers are Marilyn Austin, a retired choral educator; Lee Pringle, founder and president of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Gospel Choir and the CSO Spiritual Ensemble; and Jodi Breckenridge, president of Music Contact International of Burlington, Vt. "This brand new addition to Charleston's renowned arts festival scene endeavors to tie the city's deep appreciation for church-based choral traditions with its international profile as one of the country's most admired travel destinations," Pringle said.
For specifics on the concert schedule, go to http://www.charlestonfestivalofchoirs.org.
First Factor Prize winner to be featured at Gibbes
The photographs of North Carolina artist Jeff Whetstone, the first winner of the Gibbes Museum of Art's Factor Prize, will be on view in the exhibition "Jeff Whetstone: Post-Pleistocene" in the Rotunda Galleries at the Gibbes from April 3 through July 19. The Factor Prize is given to artists whose work demonstrates the highest level of artistic achievement in any media while contributing to a new understanding of art in the South.
The photographs in "Post-Pleistocene" examine the history of man-made markings found within the depths of the Saltpetre caves of Tennessee and Alabama. During the Civil War, many of the caves were mined for their Saltpetre soil, which was used to produce gunpowder. Since then, the caves have become sites of lore, obsession and extensive exploration, accumulating an expansive record of human markings, signatures, drawings and messages on their walls.
"Some caves have been so heavily visited that the markings are several layers deep," says a press release from the Gibbes. "They have elicited the voices of wild adolescents, homegrown explorers, Civil War deserters, criminals and scientists. Whetstone has photographed these caves from the vantage point of an artist, an explorer, an evolutionist and a native son, and describes them as 'cathedrals for human expression.' "
information, including museum hours and admission prices, go to http://www.gibbesmuseum.org.
The annual Blessing of the Fleet and Seafood Festival in Mount Pleasant is growing this year from a single day's event to a series of activities over a five-day period. The festival, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 26 on the grounds of Alhambra Hall and Park, will cap off an array of activities centering on the shrimping and seafood industries, town officials said. The group of events is being called A Week with the Fleet. Activities include the following:
Thomas Elfe was most likely born in London circa 1719 and immigrated to Charleston by 1745. He is the individual most often associated with the pre-Revolutionary cabinetmaking industry in Charleston due to the survival of one of his account books covering the period from 1765 until his death in 1775. The book contains information that addresses not only Elfe's business and personal accounts, but also the structure and mechanics of a successful urban colonial cabinet shop.
Elfe's accounts reveal the general structure of his shop, the types of labor and raw materials he utilized, and the extensive list of clients and associated artisans with whom he conducted business. The labor consisted of cabinetmakers, journeymen (day laborers), and slaves. Slaves were often hired out to other artisans, and the charges associated with this practice reveal that many of them were highly skilled artisans in their own right.
The inventory of raw materials is helpful in identifying the woods from which Elfe's cabinetwork was composed. His utilization of indigenous woods serves to differentiate his work, as well as that of other Charleston cabinetmakers of the era, from that produced abroad or in other regions of colonial America. The descriptions of various forms within his inventory are helpful in identifying appropriate period terminology and expand the decorative vocabulary that is applicable to pre-Revolutionary War cabinetwork in Charleston and the colonies.
Elfe's clients during the ten-year period numbered nearly three hundred, ranging from members of Charleston's elite planter and merchant class to the artisan class, which provided necessary specialized trades such as carving, gilding, and upholstering. One of the most valuable aspects of the account book is its illumination of the extensive and complex network of allied trades that were interdependent on one another for success.
The information contained within the personal accounts, in addition to other public records, demonstrates Elfe's highly diversified interests aside from cabinetmaking. He owned and leased numerous properties within Charleston and in the surrounding environs, loaned money, speculated in real estate, served as a jurist, and was philanthropic with his income. He was also a family man, marrying Mary Hancock in 1748 (she died one year later) and Rachel Prideau in 1755, with whom he had several children. On his death on November 28, 1775, Elfe was described in his obituary as an "honest and industrious man." The evaluation of his estate was 38,243.16.2 pounds sterling, making him the wealthiest cabinetmaker to have practiced in South Carolina before the Revolution. Despite the scale of Elfe's cabinetmaking business, no fully documented example of his work is known to exist.
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Spring has sprung, so take some time to stop and smell the roses (and other blooms) at these five garden festivals and events around the Palmetto State:
Flowertown Festival: April 3-5, Summerville. The Summerville Family YMCA's annual celebration of spring is one of the state's largest arts and crafts festivals, but it's also known for its setting: smack in the middle of thousands of blooming azaleas in the historic town's Azalea Park. More info.
Plantasia: April 25, Charleston. The Charleston Horticultural Society sponsors this mega-sale, which the group calls "a green market for plant lovers." It runs from 8 a.m. until noon, rain or shine, on the grounds of the Gaillard Auditorium, and admission is free. Bring a soil sample for testing; the Charleston County Clemson Extension Master Gardeners will do the soil tests for $6. More info.
Brookgreen Gardens Plantacular: April 25-26, Murrells Inlet. Brookgreen, America's largest outdoor sculpture garden, holds its annual plant sale featuring top-quality, hard-to-find plants, trees and flowers from Brookgreen's greenhouse. More info.
S.C. Festival of Roses: May 1-3, Orangeburg. The festival features community-oriented events, centered on Edisto Memorial Gardens, a testing site for All-American Rose Selections. Some 4,000 plants representing at least 75 labeled varieties of roses are always on display in the gardens. More info.
Sumter Iris Festival: May 22-24, Sumter. Billed as South Carolina's oldest continuous festival, the Sumter Iris Festival includes not just flower shows, but concerts, an arts and crafts show, a golf tournament, the crowning of the Iris Festival king and queen, and a number of contests and children's activities. Sumter's Swan Lake-Iris Gardens, the main staging area for the festival, is home to all eight types of the world's swans, including swans from Asia, Australia, England and South America - and thousands of blooming irises, too. More info.
Source: S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism
"If the people who make the decisions are the people who will also bear the consequences of those decisions, perhaps better decisions will result."
CALENDAR: THIS WEEK
Noon to 6 p.m. April 5, James Island County Park. The 18th annual
festival brings Louisiana to the Lowcountry, with Cajun and Creole food,
Zydeco music, children's activities and more. Cost: $10 (free for ages
12 and under with paying adult; also free for Gold Pass holders). No coolers,
pets or outside alcohol allowed. More info: 795-4386 or here
Palm Sunday Spirituals: 5 p.m. April 5, Citadel Square Baptist Church, 328 Meeting St., downtown. The Charleston Symphony Orchestra Spiritual Ensemble will repeat its recent sold-out concert, which featured 35 vocalists from the CSO Gospel Choir performing traditional African-American spirituals. The performance will highlight the importance of preserving the legacy of the spiritual and its significance to the Lowcountry. Tickets: $10; available at the Gaillard Auditorium Box Office, 77 Calhoun St., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday or one hour before the performance.
(NEW) Heyward-Washington Garden Tours: 4 p.m. each Friday in April, Heyward-Washington House, 87 Church St., Charleston. The Heyward-Washington House garden includes plants that were introduced to the Lowcountry no later than 1791. Visitors will see camellias, tea olives, boxwoods, native azaleas, yellow begonias, roses, herbs and more. Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for ages 3-12 (free for Charleston Museum members); includes both the garden and house tours. More info: 722-2996, ext. 235.
CALENDAR: ONGOING AND SOON
Film Series on Jim Crow: 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays, March 10-April 4, Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting St. In conjunction with the exhibit "From Slave to Sharecropper: African Americans in the Lowcountry after the Civil War," the museum will host a four-part documentary film series, "The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow." The Peabody Award-winning documentary, offers a comprehensive look at race relations in America between the Civil War and the civil rights movement. Cost: Free with general museum admission of $10 for adults, $5 for children 3-12. For details on specific shows and schedules, call 722-2996 or go here online.
Historic Charleston Foundation Festival of Houses and Gardens: Ongoing March 19 through April 18, various sites. Tours feature the interiors and gardens of approximately 150 historic private homes in 10 colonial and antebellum neighborhoods during the peak of the city's springtime blooms. Other events include Plantation Picnics at Drayton Hall Plantation, daily walking tours through the Old and Historic District, "Eat and Run" luncheons, harbor tours, book signings, etc. Proceeds benefit the work of the Historic Charleston Foundation. Tickets/more info: 723-1623 or by clicking here.
Old St. Andrew's Tea Room: 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, March 23 to April 4, Old St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 2604 Ashley River Road. Tea room features local favorites for lunch and an array of homemade desserts. Proceeds benefit the mission and ministry programs of the Episcopal Church Women of Old St. Andrew's and the church's Preservation Fund. More info.
(POSTPONED) Immigration in the Current Economic Environment: The Chambers Latin American Business Council workshop "Immigration in the Current Economic Environment," on Thursday, April 9, has been postponed until this fall. Please contact Emily Brown or phone 843.805.3042 for questions.
Lowcountry Oyster Roast: 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. April 10, Drayton Hall Plantation, 3380 Ashley River Road, Charleston. Held in conjunction with the Historic Charleston Foundation's annual Festival of Houses and Gardens, the oyster roast and picnic includes local steamed oysters, a Lowcountry buffet supper, beer, wine, and soft drinks. Guests can also take a guided tour of Drayton Hall's main house. Tickets: $45 adults, $20 children ages 6-18, and free for children under 6. Tickets: HCF Events Office, 722-3405.
Founders' Day: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 11, Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, 1500 Old Towne Road, west of the Ashley. Celebrate the 339th anniversary of the "Birth of the Carolinas" during Founders' Day. Living-history programs, demonstrations of the firing of black powder cannons and muskets, re-enactments and other activities showing how Charleston's first English settlers lived in 1670. Cost: $5 adults, $3 ages 6-15, $3.25 for S.C. seniors or disabled. Details are online.
Easter EGGstravaganza: 11 a.m. April 11, Hampton Park. The city of Charleston's largest Easter egg hunt includes a magic show, games, a jump castle, refreshments and even a visit from the Easter Bunny. Free to children 12 and younger. Sponsored by the city of Charleston.
"Run Forrest Run 5K": 4:15 p.m. April 11, beginning at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park. Sponsored by the Charleston RiverDogs, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Coburg Dairy, the race is a fundraiser for the Storm Eye Institute at MUSC. The race finishes at home plate, where runners are greeted by the RiverDogs' players before the start of that evening's game against the Rome Braves. Registration: $25 if received by March 27 (includes T-shirt, one ticket to baseball game and post-race party with dinner from Bubba Gump's); $30 after March 27. Registration forms available at the RiverDogs Box Office at Riley Park, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., The Extra Mile Running Shop and online at www.riverdogs.com or www.active.com.
'Fun is Good' Conference: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 17, Charleston Marriott, 170 Lockwood Blvd., Charleston. Presented by the Charleston RiverDogs and the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, the conference is designed to show business owners and organization managers how to empower their staffs and achieve success. The RiverDogs' famous "Fun is Good" philosophy emphasizes that laughter is not just the best medicine, but can also be the key ingredient in turning a floundering business into a profitable one or jump-starting a stalled career. Keynote speakers include RiverDogs co-owner Mike Veeck. Cost: $125 per person. Registration here.
Moonlight Mixer: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. April 17, Folly Beach Fishing Pier. Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission's popular Moonlight Mixers series returns for another season, with nine mixers scheduled for April through Septemeber. DJ Rob Duren will play oldies and beach music for dancing. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Cost: In advance, $8 for Charleston County residents, $10 for nonresidents; at the gate (if available), $10. Sellouts are common, so advance purchases are recommended. More info/other mixer dates.
In this section, we offer a list of good reads that you might want to consider reading:
New local music CD
to old clunker
know you're from...