Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year In Review

Ah, gentle readers, it's that time of year when people list their favorites and their best and worsts of the previous year. This December 31st there's even more lists as we are embarking on a new decade. There has also been a lot of talk about how much 2009 truly sucked and how excited people are for 2010.

Here's the thing, dear ones, I enjoyed 2009. A lot. Sure, I'm unemployed. And sure I'm ending the year with about $50 in my bank account. And sure I'm heading solo to a New Year's Eve Party (though with dear dear friends). But 2009 has far surpassed 2008. The previous year, I can honestly say, sucked. Sure, a few good things happened (notably the birth of my pal Dash), but mostly it sucked. In 2008 I got dumped, my grandfather died, I cried myself to sleep on my birthday and I got laid off. In 2009, however, things looked up. Don't laugh.

One February morning in 2009, I woke up and decided that Iw as going to write a blog abut my life as a single and unemployed person in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I didn't really expect that anyone would read it. I just wanted to put it out there and feel less alone in my unemployment. Then one summer day in 2009, a reporter from NY1 emailed me and things took off from there.

In 2009 I lived off my unemployment check. I sent out resumes to which no one responded. I stayed home while my friends went on fabulous vacations as I barely had the cash to take Greyhound to visit friends in Boston. But, in 2009, I started organizing meet-ups for my fellow un(der)employed in North Brooklyn. And through those meet-ups, I met a few of you - some of whom have turned into very close friends and collaborators. I had the opportunity to really spend time in my community, in my neighborhood, and I feel more a part of it than ever before.

I have high hopes for 2010, dear readers. I have exciting opportunities I'm looking forward to sharing with you. But for now, my gentle ones, I simply want to thank you for reading and sharing in my little world and to wish you happiness and health and employment in the new year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves

Now, there was a time when they used to say
that behind ev'ry great man, there had to be a great woman.
But oh, in these times of change,
you know that it's no longer true.
So we're comin' out of the kitchen,
'cause there's something we forgot to say to you.
We say, Sisters are doin' it for themselves,
standin' on their own two feet and ringin' on their own bells.
We say, Sisters are doin' it for themselves.
-Eurythmics


Ah, gentle readers, it comes as no surprise to any of you that your MatchGirl is a single gal. Despite her best efforts to find that special someone, it seems that not one has singled himself out (quite yet. It's possible that there is a contender, or two). And, dear ones, your MatchGirl has gotten quite used to being an independent lady.

There are times, of course, that I wish I had a hunny (a lot of times, actually). It's been so long, though, that I'm not sure I would know what to do with one. For instance, this being the holiday season, when it came time to get a tree, I did it by myself. It's not that there weren't people who could help me. Not at all. There were male friends that offered. There were male friends who were offended I didn't ask. But, dear ones, I am not that good at asking for help. Sometimes, I need it. But I feel like I should be able to do most things on my own.

Perhaps this is what makes my dating life problematic. I'm not good at sitting quietly. I'm not good at waiting for Prince Charming to call. I'm not good at letting others do for me. Perhaps that's why I'm having a hard time with the fellas.

I dunno. I do know that my arms still hurt from carrying my tree home all alone.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Talking To Strangers

The other day, gentle readers, your MatchGirl was perusing her Twitter feed and saw this reposted by friend of Unemployed Brooklyn Jewliweb:
Love it! RT @agartka Networking is about doing what your mother told you to never do . . .talk to strangers. 12:33 PM Dec 10th from web

How very true.

So many things in our lives these day hinge on that, no? Looking for a job, these days, is so much more than replying to posts on Craigslist and Monster and whatever other job boards you are perusing for your particular industry. It's talking to people and meeting new people and, most importantly, talking to people who you don't know at all. And being clear about what you are looking for. You never know when a friend of a friend is going to know someone. And you need to shake that fear of speaking up and saying what you want. It's the only way to get anywhere.

So, dear ones, I don't know about you, but I am gonna start talking to a lot more strangers.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

More Fun With Craigslist

Read on, gentle readers:
Most important asset will be an attractive, positive attitude.
Varied duties:
- Reception, Phones, Filing, Printing Emails, Shipping Domestic, and International - will train
- Keeping Showroom Tidy
- Photograph Samples and Email to Appropriate Persons
- Assist with production Follow-up - will train
- Sales, Marketing - will train
- MS Office, Gmail, Outlook

If you are not GREAT AT FOLLOW UP, DO NOT APPLY!!
If you do not know the word 'INITIATIVE' and how to practice it, DO NOT APPLY!!

Friendly, Cheerful, Willing, Open to Learning
Personal Texting, Emailing, Not Well Tolerated Unless an Emergency
No arguing about being asked to do something

We have had a run of people with poor attitudes, that disappear to text or phone someone, spend too much time on personal emails, sullen attitudes.

This is a relaxed, yet hardworking office, and we need a happy, willing, dependable, reliable, good person. Lots of room for growth.

Please tell me why we ought consider you for an interview.

RESUMES WITHOUT COVER LETTERS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED.



* Compensation: 10 - 12 per hour, 3 month review
* Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
* Please, no phone calls about this job!
* Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

All I have to say, dear ones, is that perhaps they have had "a run of people with poor attitudes, that disappear to text or phone someone, spend too much time on personal emails, sullen attitudes" because they are not willing to pay a professional wage. Or, you know, even a living one. I know that when I have been in a similar position, working my ass off for basically no money, my attitude might border on sullen, too.

I keep seeing jobs posted where the employer is looking for a top of the line employee, but not willing (or perhaps able) to pay what that person is worth. I'm not saying times aren't tough out there, but if you are asking a lot of an employee, you need to pay them more than you would an intern!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Toby Project: Greenpoint

Check out my post on the Toby Project on Greepointers.

Many thanks to Miss Heather for alerting me to this cool (and very necessary) event coming to Greenpoint this Thursday at 8am!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The French Chef

Recently, gentle readers, your MatchGirl has been reading "My Life In France" by Julia Child.  In the memoir, Ms. Child recounts moving to France (*sigh* Paris) with her husband Paul in the late 1940s and her discovery of - what became her life long passion - French cuisine.

What inspires me, in these tough times, about this, dear ones, is that Julia Child was in her mid 30s when she met the man of her dreams, her late 30s when she moved to France and her early 40s when she actually started her career as, what we might call now, a professional foodie.  Sure, she had other jobs in her life, she had a good New England liberal arts education, she had a good life - but it was in her 30s that she discovered what would be the passion that drove her for the rest of her life.

This give me hope.

Your MatchGirl, as you may know, has had a few different jobs throughout her "career".  But not one of them was something that she was passionate about.  Of course, the type of person I am, I threw myself into each and every job I have had - long hours, low pay, nightmares about shoes in the rickety stockroom falling on my head... - but none of these places ever drove me.  None of these jobs inspired me to do better, to learn more, to grow grow grow in a very personal way - the way that her discovery of French food drove Julia Child.  But, the more I think about it, the more I know what I do want to do - or, more to the point, where I want to work.   And the type of work that I want to do.

I used to feel crazy (and jealous) that so many of my friends seemed to find their passion - and careers that they wanted to pursue - early in life.  I cannot even count how many friends I have who are passionate doctors and lawyers and teachers - who knew that they wanted to do this by their Freshman year at college.  Not me.  I knew what I enjoyed, and it was varied, but I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life.  The question, "what do you want to do when you grow up?" could be answered differently depending on the day, or hour, that you asked me for most of my life.  In reality, I just want to be happy.  I want to want to go to work because I enjoy what I am doing, or why I am doing it.

But Julia Child didn't figure any of it out - man, marriage, career - until she was just older than I am now.  And that, my dear readers, gives me hope.


(image via The New York Times)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanks Giving

It's that time of year, gentle readers, when one takes a moment to reflect on all that has come to pass in our life over the past year. As you know, with the recent anniversary of my lay off, your MatchGirl is no different. And, as I am sure many others will do today - on blogs, on television, on Twitter feeds and on Facebook - I want to share with you, my dear ones, the things that I am thankful for.  The things that, though I am unemployed and single, make me glad, every day.

I am thankful for my family.  It's constantly amazing to me how very supportive my parents are, during this rough time.  And, to those of you who will e-mail or comment that you knew they were supporting me and I'm just another Trustafarian - Stop.  That is most certainly not the kind of support I mean, because they don't support me financially.  I mean that I can call my dad and talk in the middle of the day - and he'll tell me about when I was a kid and he was laid off, and now that he's retired what he does with those long days.  And my mom will tell me how much she enjoyed reading my blog and how proud she is off the things I have been doing with my time - in my job hunt, with my networking and with getting more involved in my community here in North Brooklyn.  I am thankful that they have never pushed me to do something that wasn't right for me.  I am thankful that they have stood 100% behind me - even when the decisions I've made may not be the same that they might have.

I am thankful for my friends - those close to me here in Brooklyn, those I've known forever, and those I've recently met.  Being unemployed in New York, anywhere, stinks.  Let's just say it.  When you have friends you can lean on, though, things don't look so bad.  I'm thankful for every drink and dinner and cab ride home.  I'm thankful for heart to hearts and sitting saying nothing.  I'm thankful for all of the people I can call my friends who enrich my life every single day.  They are brilliant and beautiful, witty and kind.  I have been long blessed with friends who I can aspire to be like - who inspire me to be my best - and for this, I am beyond thankful.

I am thankful for you, gentle readers.  Some of you now fall into the friends category - but I met you through here.  To those of you I've not met in real life - who read my blog, fan me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter - I am thankful for your support and your comments and your e-mails.  I am thankful to know that I'm not the only one out here going through what I am.  And I am thankful that you've found me here so that you know you're not alone, as well.

I'm thankful for all the frogs I've kissed.  Boys/men who know who they are.  Who may or may not still secretly read this little tome.  I'm thankful for you, boys, because, through meeting you and dating you - sharing a cup of coffee, a conversation, a meal, a cocktail, a kiss - I have learned a lot about myself.  I've learned that some things I thought were my truths are not and that things I'd never realized could be great.  So, guys - the losers, the jerks, the sweet ones who just didn't click - I am thankful for each and every one of you.  I'm still single (and unemployed) in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, but I'm figuring it all out.  I'm thankful for that.

And I know we're all thankful for that 14 week unemployment extension that Congress just passed!

Have a very happy Thanksgiving, gentle ones.  Enjoy your friends and your family.  Drink good wine and eat way too much food.  Forget about the hardships and the stress of your everyday.  Pause, if only for a moment, to be thankful for the little things that make you remember life's not so bad.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Design

©Briana Campbell, 2009


For a recent project in my textile design class at FIT we had to make a croquis (a tossed design), keeping in mind the fabric's use. I drew, using Photoshop, these vintage-inspired bicycles and scattered them over the page, on a soft green background. I envision this pattern being used on a mini-dress (think something like this from APC).

The next assignment, due tomorrow!, is to index the colors and re-color the pattern two different ways from a previously determined color palette.  I love the idea of getting an entirely different feel from a pattern using only a subtle change of color.

Hire Me Martha

Gentle readers, your MatchGirl has been alerted to the job she must have at Martha Stewart Omnimedia. Associate Designer, Crafts.  How very amazing would that be for a crafty girl like myself?  To make crafts, to come up with ideas, to organize the intense library that already exists at MSO...  That is something that I would love doing every day.  Absolutely love!  It was posted a month ago, so the likelihood of me getting this job is pretty slim, I'm sure (and I'm not sure any of the other jobs listed on the Martha Stewart website are quite right for me at this precise moment). But, let's take a look at the description and I'll let you all know why I would be an amazing fit for this job.

Associate Designer, Crafts
Posting Date: 10/15/2009
Type: Full-Time
Description: Assist in the development of thematic concepts, color palettes, style guides, create original artwork, and generate applicable product suggestions utilizing our design resources, archives, market research, editorial, and television content.

Assist in the development of Crafts / Weddings / Celebrations / Stationary products. Design select artwork, products, and create initial samples.
I can totally do this. As readers of my blog know, your MatchGirl is quite the crafty girl. In addition to my Etsy shop, I have a degree in Fine Arts and am currently taking classes in textile design at FIT. I've been making things my whole life. I've woven baskets, sewn everything from doll clothes to my clothes to stuffed animals. I'm a whiz with a paintbrush and pencil, I've silk screened, made paper, bound books and made masks for a black and white ball.

Manage the artwork library and leverage it for different product types and businesses.

Organize all design components to hand off to partners. Assist in the communication regarding product specifications with partners up to the final sample approval. Keep designers, merchants, and product mangers updated in all communications. Create and maintain formalized record of designs, design revisions, correspondence, and approvals. Maintain product communication consistent with current department standards.

Research trade shows, antique shows, and retail stores for inspiration and to keep abreast of craft trends and competitive landscape. Purchase market samples as reference.

Collaborate with brand management in the development of packaging and collateral. Confirm all details of the products and projects are accurate.

Maintain library of all MSO publications, artwork, and inspiration tear sheets.

Develop a strong sense of Martha Stewart design aesthetic throughout the design of all merchandise. Stay informed of the latest editorial and television content through appropriate channels. Use inspiration to create viable product suggestions where appropriate. Research and develop new ideas that will in turn inspire editorial and television.

In my last position, as the operations manager for a start-up cosmetics company/photo studio/event space (Think on the Smashbox model), I wore the mantle of manager of several businesses, all running under one roof. I believe that my former employer would say that I handled this with an enormous sense of organization, style and grace under pressure. When one is in a management position at a start-up, gentle readers, the ability to know where everything is, how everything works and what everyone else is supposed to be doing (and whether they are doing it or not!) is a great asset.

In my apartment, the books on the shelf are divided in categories (fiction, art books, cooking books, etc...) and in alphabetical and chronological order by author. The same for the CDs on my CD shelf. The clothes in my drawers are neatly folded, with everything at my fingertips and my closet is hung by category. Lest you think I'm a little OCD, I'm not. I'm not going to have a melt down if something is out of place. I'm simply organized. And, I've found that it's a lot easier to get things done quickly and well if you're organized to start.

So, even though the job was posted about a month ago, dear ones, your MatchGirl is going to give it a go - use her networking and her resources and see if she can't get herself this job (or one a lot like it)! Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I May Be Crazy

It's true, gentle readers. Your MatchGirl may be a little crazy. She may be a tad obsessive. But she has set her sites on something and is determined to use all the resources at her fingertips to make it happen.

As my quest for a job with Martha Stewart continues, I have decided to not only write about it here on Unemployed Brooklyn, but to share those posts on a dedicated blog. That's right, a blog dedicated solely to my search for a job with the Domestic Diva herself. So, if you don't care very much about the day to day trivialities of my life as an unemployed and single gal living in fabulous Greenpoint, Brooklyn, but are fascinated by how this whole Martha Stewart campaign is going to go, check me out on Hire Me Martha.

So what if I'm a little crazy. A girl's gotta have a goal in life, no?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Time Management

Corporate types spend a lot of time, dear readers, talking about time management. It's important,after all, for the busy corporate executive to manage their time wisely and efficiently - or, perhaps, manage their employees time wisely and efficiently so that they can spend more time on the golf course or with their liquid lunch. But what about us, the unemployed?

Your MatchGirl thinks that it's quite important to manage one's time wisely when there is absolutely nothing but time on one's hands. Personally, I have a schedule that I set for my Monday through Friday and, though I fall off it from time to time, I find that sticking to the to-do list, getting the satisfaction of crossing off even the smallest detail (buy stamps, CHECK!, wash hair, CHECK!, fold laundry, CHECK!) definitely helps me keep my day on track and in sync. I mean, sure, the order may be out of step from time to time, but it's more a matter of accomplishing things - and for the unemployeds, setting an agenda of things that need to be accomplished.

Today's to-do list had time stamps on it - yoga at this time, breakfast at this time, check e-mails and troll Craiglsist and the other job boards at this time ... This, my dear ones, is not the kind of list for your MatchGirl. While your MatchGirl needs some structure to her day, she also needs to ba able to switch-task if something comes up - it's one of my main skills as a manager (which was what I used to do, back in the long ago employed days) - without a time set to something. That said, there is a lot to be said about concentrating on one thing at a time, and then checking your e-mail or Twitter or Facebook, as opposed to checking your e-mail every time that little red MacMail icon appears at the side (or bottom) of your screen.

This morning on The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street journal offers tips on managing time more efficiently, based on three tested methods. Shellenbarger tried each one out for a week and on the show, she discusses which worked best for which parts of her life and offers advice on where to find out more about the methods.

Sure, these methods, and the article in the WSJ, were really devised for important, management types, but who is to say that unemployeds couldn't use a bit of it as well? I know the days that I have a ton of stuff to do and I make a detailed list, I get a lot more done than I do on those days when I have a lot to do (or could do a lot) and I just let the list roll in the back of my mind.

How do you spend your lazy, unemployed days? Are you lazy? Or do you fill your days with a million and one things and never seem to finish any of them?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Swap and Score!

The best thing about the whole economy being in a downturn when you are unemployed, gentle readers, is that everyone is trying to save a buck - not just you.

This Saturday, Brooklyn's 3rd Ward is hosting the Score Pop-Up Swap. Get rid of your old stuff and bring some new stuff home.

From the 3rd Ward Website:
SCORE! Pop-up Swap
November 21, 1 to 7 p, donations accepted up until 5 p, $3 entry, Cheap Breakfast drinks until 5 p, Complimentary Colt 45 from 1 to 2 p

Presented by Bust, Flavorpill, Yelp & MeanRed

‘Tis the season for sharing and exchanging. On Nov 21st, 3rd Ward will lend its space to a massive free exchange. Bring your old Blondie records, impulse sample sale buys, penny loafers, Jane Fonda workout videos, harmonica chord progression manuals, etc…and score some new treasures! Find a holiday gift for your mom, a smashing scarf for your friend, or a Queen Latifah cassette tape for your own personal collection. All items are free, and all remaining goods go to charity.

Proceeds from the door and sales of the custom Score!/Hasselhoff totebags go to support City Harvest!

Swap Categories

* Clothing & Accessories (Guys, Gals, Kids) - curated by Nisha Gopalan (senior editor, Nylon Magazine)
* Music - curated by Showpaper
* Art Supplies - curated by Lowbrow Society For The Arts
* Books DVDs / Media - curated by The Desk Set
* Housewares & Miscellany - curated by Natalie Kamei

RSVP events@3rdward.com


So take some time to clean out your closet and your cupboards and gather up all those cds (you know you already have all the music on your iTunes anyway!) and head over to 3rd Ward on Saturday to pick up a bunch of new junk!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hire Me Martha

Ah, gentle readers, as many of you know, your MatchGirl adores Martha Stewart. I've written about it here before. And last week, thanks to one of our fellow unemployeds (yay, Tony!), your MatchGirl had the opportunity to attend the taping of Martha's Brooklyn show (which you can watch here, if you missed it!).

The studio was totally big and beautiful, with a huge kitchen area, crafting area and humongous "greenhouse" looking section where she films her outdoor and gardening segments. Thanks to, I dunno, sheer luck, we were seated in the front row and had a prime view of Martha and her guests (and, of course, Joey, her warm-up guy). Martha was everything I had hoped she would be - please no jokes about insider trading or that you know she's a bitch - she was totally self-deprecating and professional (and, once or twice, funny).



It was an amazing day. Who cares that I had to get up when it was still dark outside! It was so worth it! Beyond worth it.

As many of you know, I want to work for Martha.

So, dear ones, I have decided that I am going to launch a campaign, via this little blog, to get hired by Martha Stewart. Once a week I will write a post about how much I want to work for Martha and the reasons that she should hire me. Maybe someone who works for her will see it. Maybe not. But when I think about my job hunt - and where the past year has taken me, and the kind of job that I'd like to do on a regular basis - every day - I want to be doing things that I enjoy. I want to be able to work in a creative environment and get to be creative and to be surrounded by creative people. I want to work somewhere where creativity and a passion for all things creative (crafts, arts, sewing, baking cooking, gardening) is the status quo. And that's hard to find, even in New York.

Many of you have messaged me or e-mailed me to attempt to get me a connection at her company, and I really appreciate it. Many of you have said that she is a bitch, but the simple fact of the matter is that I've worked for a bunch of real tough people, and taken a lot of crap, and not one of them was as successful (or had really any excuse for being so rude, except that power had gone to their heads) as Martha Stewart. And, a few of you have said that she has a hiring freeze (which is probably very true - so many places do!), but that can't last forever, can it?

I'm a great manager and would happily take an administrative position somewhere in her company. Anything. A foot in the door is all I am asking for - it's the hardest thing, of course - but it's all I need. Once I'm in... Martha will see how much of an asset I can be to Martha Stewart Omnimedia. Seriously. Just leave it to me.

So, hire me Martha!

Extensions?

I received this comment on a previous entry this evening and, though I do not have an answer for this commenter, perhaps, gentle readers, one of you may.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Extended Benefits":

I ran out of all 79 weeks of unemployment benefits on Sept. 4, 2009. The website still allows me to certify which I have done since that date. I am worried about the last line that states "Note: You are not eligible for additional benefits if you were told your benefits ran out when you last claimed weekly benefits". I did my weekly claim today and I am wondering if I will be eligible for this new extension. Is anyone in the same boat or does anyone know if I am eligible for the new extension?

I think, unfortunately, if I am reading the NYS DoL Website properly, that you are not:

Congress Approves Additional Weeks of Emergency Benefits
Legislation was approved guaranteeing an additional 14 weeks of emergency benefits. Pending further legislation, another 6 weeks of emergency benefits could also be provided, for a total of 20 weeks. The first payable week of this new extension is the week ending November 15th, 2009. Retroactive payments cannot be made for individuals who exhausted all extended benefits prior to the week ending November 8, 2009. Please continue claiming your weekly benefits to make sure your claim remains active. You do not need to file a new claim unless the system advises you to do so. For updates on benefit extensions, continue to visit this website.
Of course, it varies from state to state, and, as I'm not sure where you're located, make sure to check out the information for your particular state.

Good luck!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More Fun With Craigslist

Oh goodness me, gentle readers. Obviously they need a smart office manager!

*sigh*

Smart Office Manager (Midtown)
Date: 2009-11-10, 3:56PM EST
Reply to: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

we are in business since last 20 years .we are looking for long lorm placement ,

professionals to manage office
who will
deals with interior designers, Retail stores, and manage sales reps nation wide , communication is key of sucess in business .
,please email with expected salary and a picture .

this is not a place for temping

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Anniversary Party


Unemployed Brooklyn 1 Year Anniversary!
Thursday, November 12th @ 4PM
t.b.d. bar, 224 Franklin Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn



Thursday, November 12th is the one year anniversary of my lay off and I invite you, my gentle readers, to join me for Happy Hour at t.b.d Bar in Greenpoint at 4PM. They have a full bar, a ping pong table, loads of room for unemployeds to lounge about and happy hour specials. Meet your fellow unemployed Brooklynites (those who dwell in other boroughs are entirely welcome), share your lay-off stories, get some advice from a few former unemployeds who are now gainfully employed and see if you can put a fresh spin on your search for employment in these dire times.

The more, the merrier, so please come and bring your un(der)employed friends! I look forward to seeing several of you again and meeting many of you for the first time!

If you will be attending, or for further details, please R.S.V.P. to unemployedbrooklyn (at) gmail.com

Milestones

Ah, gentle readers, this time of year makes your MatchGirl quite pensive. This time of year is one of milestones for me - every year because of my birthday and this year specifically because Thursday, November 12th is the one year anniversary of my lay off.

Every year, when my birthday rolls around, I take a long, hard look at my life. I think about where I want to be. I think about things that I have done in the previous year. I re-evaluate relationships. I feel thankful for my closest friends and lucky to have met new ones. I think about where I am going and where I have been.

This year it is doubly true, as I also contemplate all that has occurred in this year of unemployment. All the amazing people I have met (in real life and simply via e-mail), the connections I have made, the great press I have gotten (and so much of it, amazing!) and all of the things I would not have done and people I would not have met had it not been for my current unemployed situation and writing about it on this blog.

Where am I going? I'm not sure. I feel that I could have answered that question more fully six months ago, dear ones. Your MatchGirl is at a crossroads right now, where she needs to make some hard decisions about where her life is going and what her next steps ought to be. I feel that many of you are in a similar space, and I wish I had advice or helpful or soothing words for you. I wish I had them for me.

As I contemplate this past year of unemployment, however, I do not feel sad. Am I disheartened about my job search? Of course. How could I not be. But this year of unemployment has afforded me many opportunities that I would not have been able to take full advantage of were I employed and working 40 to 60 (to more) hours a week. And, most importantly, this year of unemployment has introduced me to all of you. For that, gentle ones, I am very grateful.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Minding One's Ps & Qs

Ah, gentle readers, you may have guessed that your MatchGirl is a fan of Miss Manners. I believe that it's important to be polite in this digital age - please and thank you and have a good day and giving up your seat on the subway for the elderly or pregnant or injured. There is certainly, especially in Gotham, a decline in - dare I say complete lack of - good manners. People live solely in their own heads and own worlds and pay little or no attention to those around them.

I've written a bit about manners in the job search previously, but it's time to discuss it once again.

It seems to me that the onus is only on the applicant in these rough times. When you apply for a job, it is up to you to make the appropriate phone calls. It is up to you to send the "thank you" card/note/e-mail. It is up to you to do all the follow through. The employer, on the other hand, the one doing the hiring, holds all the cards and, it's seems, is not currently held to any standards of etiquette - from keeping you waiting up to 20 minutes for your scheduled interview to never letting you know whether you've gotten the job or not afterward. Honestly, how hard is it to send out an e-mail?

About a month ago your MatchGirl went for an interview with a luxe fashion company. Though I left the interview feeling very unsure of how it went (I was very nervous going in, as it had been a while since I had gone to an interview). The next day I sent a handwritten "thank you" on beautiful stationary. And I got an e-mail a couple of days later asking to be supplied with references. Oh! Good news! It's always a good sign when one is asked for one's references. So I sent them references from my two NYC jobs. And they phoned them. And they kept them on the phone for 45 minutes. Oh! That's a good sign! I was called in for a second interview - an interview which lasted well over an hour - where we talked about specifics of my previous jobs and duties, about my skill set and my quickness of learning. We spoke of the references my previous employers and co-workers had given (good, all of them). We spoke about money. We shook hands and I left feeling pretty good - still a bit unsure, and definitely not wanting to get ahead of myself, but good. They were off to Paris the next day for fashion week and I didn't expect to hear from them until a couple of days after they returned. I sent them a follow up e-mail while they were in Paris, thanking them again for meeting with me and wishing them a successful trip.

And I never heard from them again.

A few days after they returned from Paris, I was doing my usual morning troll of Craigslist and shock! there was the job I had applied for re-listed! But without a word from the company to me. I sent another e-mail, saying I was looking forward to speaking with them further. Nada. Nothing. I was reticent to write about it here earlier in the month, dear ones, as one of the bosses and I had discussed this little site and I wanted to be quite careful about what I was putting out there. But, enough time has passed that, even if they were being exceedingly careful in vetting the appropriate person, it is quite clear that I did not get the job. I can't say why. I know I wanted the high end of their pay scale. I know that my Illustrator skills are a bit less than they wanted. And that's all well and good. If I wasn't the person for the job, I wasn't the person for the job - it's a small company and fit most certainly matters. But how hard is it to send an e-mail and tell me that you have gone with someone else?

I most certainly don't understand.

In a recent conversation with a fellow unemployed gal, we were drawing parallels between being on the hunt for a job and the dating life of a single girl in NYC. She said that when she didn't get a call back after an interview, it was just like dating. I totally agree. You go on that first date with that cute guy. You have dinner or a couple of drinks. You're wearing a great outfit. The conversation sparkles. he walks you to the subway or your door or opens the car door for you. You have a chaste good night kiss (or maybe one that's a little hotter) and you go home and to bed with a smile on your face, thinking how wonderful the night was and how you can't wait to hear from him again. And the night was wonderful. And you never hear from him again. And you have absolutely no idea why.

Right now, job hunting is exactly the same. You don't know what happened. You thought you connected. You thought it was all good. You thought, at the very least that they had enough respect for you to reply to an e-mail or tell you that they didn't think it was going to work out.

The decline of manners has long been on my mind, dear readers. It's so very sad how little we respect one another in this city (and probably in the rest of the country, as well). But, honestly, in the business world? Please. Even though we're unemployed, we're still people deserving of respect.

How hard is it to be a little polite?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Retail Therapy - Clothing and Accessories Edition

Ah, gentle readers, your MatchGirl has been giving a lot of thought these days to all the fabulous things she would buy if she had a job. Though I am a frugal girl, and I get along OK, this is my absolute favorite time of year - the leaves are changing colors and there's cashmere in the stores. The Fall wardrobe is the absolute best of the wardrobes. And walking by the stores, and reading the fashion blogs and magazines is taking its toll on me.

So here are a (very) few things that I would like to buy. And, to be very honest, the list could go on and on. But here the big ones.
Sigh.
new jeans from APC


the perfect black cashmere cardigan


the amazing "Arbus" dress by Hayden Harnett


cognac knee high boots (and some classic pumps, too)


more ink by Myles Karr

Friday, October 30, 2009

Recovery

For the past couple of days, the radio has been telling me that the recession is over.

Gentle readers, this is news to me. A (near) year of unemployment. My savings dwindling down. No real idea as to what will happen in the next few months. The countdown to my unemployment running out is on.

But the recession is over.

The government has launched a website called recovery.gov where you can see where all the stimulus money is going. You can even search the country by zip code - cool for New York, as you can really see how it's affecting your neighborhood - but. But. But.

The radio also keeps telling me that this will be a jobless recovery. How can we be expected to spend money to stimulate the economy if there are no jobs for us?

It's all well and good that they are trying to create jobs. Wonderful. But they are only in a few sectors, and, unfortunately, in New York City they are not necessarily in the sectors that are hurting.

During the Great Depression, FDR created the WPA, which stimulated the economy by creating real jobs. In fact, pretty much everyone who was unemployed was eligible for some kind of job under this bill - they restored old buildings, artists created giant murals, the pool at McCarren park was built during this time and it even eventually offered job training. The thing that the WPA did that our current stimulus program is not really doing was offer relief to white-collar workers. I think it's great to offer training to people who previously didn't have that kind of education and building infrastructure through construction jobs is important, too. I'm not really knocking the current stimulus. But, for an already educated person, living in NYC, it doesn't really do anything to help me in my job hunt.

The fact of the matter is that a lot of jobs lost in NYC were jobs in the fashion industry and the arts and on Wall Street - and not the high paid jobs, but the assistant designers and the secretaries and the office managers and event organizers - and those are the people that are currently being overlooked (those are the people whose jobs are being turned into internships). That's the kind of job I had. That's the kind of job that I know a lot of people who read my blog and follow me on Twitter and are a fan on Facebook were laid off from and are currently looking for. But it's not the kind of job that's being helped by the current stimulus. There is a lot of talk about the rich Wall Street people that lost jobs. And there is a lot of talk about people who were living below the poverty line who lost there jobs. And every now and then you see something about the middle class. But not much. And, in my opinion, those are the people who are going to be out of work the longest, because there is just not that much that is being done to help them.

But, ring the bells and throw a freakin' ticker tape parade, dear ones, cos the recession is over.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Resume Revamp

As my year of unemployment looms (keep your eyes out for an anniversary happy hour to come), gentle readers, your MatchGirl has been wondering what she's doing wrong in her job hunt.

Now, I know the economy is terrible right now. And I know several of you have also been unemployed for close to a year, or more than a year. And I know that several of you who are more recently unemployed are very nervous that you, too, could be facing a near-year of unemployment in a few months. We all know the recession is not ending any time in the near future - no matter how many stimulus programs the government starts.

But, dear ones, that does not mean we stop trying. No. And while, yes, perhaps there is nothing that I am doing "wrong" in my job hunt, there is always something more that can be done.

I have spent the last few days doing a total resume revamp. Out with the old, I tell you. In with the new, the modern resume, the tips that others got from hiring managers. I redid the whole thing - with loads of help from a formerly unemployed Brooklynite. (Thanks, D!!!). I changed the mission statement. I added action words. I pointed to achievements and accomplishments instead of simply a laundry list of daily activities and job descriptions. And today I sent a few out. No responses yet, but we'll see what tomorrow brings.

While I have rewritten several parts of my resume over the past year (and about five dozen cover letters), I hadn't really totally made it over - thrown out the whole thing and started, basically, from scratch. And it was one of the hardest things I have done in a long time. Writing a cover letter is tough, but you practice and you tweak it for every job you send it to, and, depending on your career, you can be a little wordy and a little interesting and definitely descriptive. With a resume, especially the old format, not so much. Wrapping my head around the more "modern" format was definitely tricky, but, thanks to good advice, a lot of time on my hands and a very patient proof-reader, I feel pretty good about what I'm putting out there now.

Now, about those jobs to apply for?



In response to some of the comments I've been getting, here is a link to a professional resume writing service - they have good examples of modern resumes and this site has a page with a list of great action verbs on it. If anyone else has any ideas or good resources, please post them in the comments section. I'm sure your fellow unemployeds would be interested to know!

Good luck to all of us!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sick Days

There is a lot of talk right now about "Health Care Reform" (You can find loads of information online - here's a good resource for everything that's not happening in Congress right now) and your MatchGirl has to be honest with you, my dear ones. I'm pretty sick of it. There is not a single person out there trying to reform health care. They're all just dealing with insurance companies and no one is telling what's true.

What's true is that a lot of people in this country don't have health insurance. What's true is that, even when we are not in the midst of a recession/depression/whatever you want to call it, a lot of people are unable to afford health insurance. What's true is that America does not have the best health care in the world. In fact, it's ranked 37th, according to the World Health Organization - I'm not interested in people's debates about whether this was a political organization or whether it was a "fixed" study or anything the right or left has to say about it. And I'm not interested in hearing people list all the countries where people are worse off. Of course there are. That's a given. But the US is the only "first-world" country where there are so many people who go without care. The only country of such status where people can go bankrupt - lose homes or cars or life-savings - through no fault of their own, just because they got sick. And, I'm not interested in hearing people talk about how Americans have poor diets and don't exercise. That's a given, too. Those aren't the people I am talking about.

I'm talking about people like me. I'm young (for the time being anyway!). I eat healthfully. I don't smoke. I drink moderately. I'm active. I'm unemployed and uninsured.

This week, I had the flu. I didn't go to to doctor, so I'm not sure what form of flu I had. I can say that I was sick. The sickest I have felt in years. I had a fever of 102.5° one night, I had a swollen gland and a sore throat and aches. And I was sick. If I had insurance, I would have thought nothing of going to the doctor, but I don't. And I didn't. I holed up on my couch and in my bed. I drank tea and Emergen-C and took supplements and I slept. A lot. Five days later, I feel better. Not wholly myself, but better. My throat is still a little scratchy, but the aches are gone and my temperature is back to normal.

And I keep hearing all these people on the radio and on the television talking about how America doesn't need health care reform and it makes me sick. Mainly because the key point that people seem to bring up is waiting. And that's so confusing to me. When you go to the emergency room, you wait - insured or not. I've waited over three hours in an emergency room before, while insured. You go to the doctor's office for your annual gyno visit and you wait - you have an appointment for 8:15 am so you can get to work on time and you're lucky if you're only 20 minutes late to work - when you're supposed to be there at 10 am. The people serving you in America's fucked up health care system don't give a shit about your time. They care about their dime. And the sooner the majority of Americans learn that their beloved health care system, with it's bloated insurance providers, is simply profit driven (like the rest of our faltering economy), the sooner everyone can get off their asses and realize that the only way to make America stronger is for of us to take care of everyone. No one should have to worry whether they can afford treatment. No one should have to choose between prescriptions and food or rent. And if you don't agree, I don't understand the type of person you are.

Do unto others. Treat people the way you want to be treated.

It's very simple.

Take care of each other.

Friday, October 23, 2009

More Fun With Craigslist

Ah, gentle readers, your MatchGirl feels as though she is oft redundant when she posts these. But, seriously. Please, if you are looking for an intern, put it in the headline and save people some time. People need jobs. Desperately! Also, no one likes to be yelled at!

This week's fun with Craiglist was mostly picked because the person is either one of those of the older generation who haven't figured out that when you type in all CAPS it means that you are shouting at the other person (who wants to work for a screamer!??! Having had that experience at my last position, your MatchGirl can certainly say, not she!)

STUDIO ASSISTANT (TriBeCa)
Date: 2009-10-23, 12:27AM EDT
Reply to: jobXXXXXXXXX@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

SMALL STUDIO WORKING WITH DESIGN EXHIBITION ,BRANDING AND VIDEO LOOKING FOR A VERY ORGANIZED , SMART AND DESIGN MEDIA GENIUS TO WORK WITH US
MUST HAVE EXCELLENT WRITTING SKILLS
MUST HAVE KNOWLEGE OR WEB PROGRAMING , PHOTOSHOP, EDITING, EXCELL, ETC,
ANY 3D EXPERIENCE A PLUS
MUST HAVE GOOD ACTITUDE , PHONE SKILLS, AND DATA BASE KNOWLEDGE
THE PERSON SHOULD BE IN CHARGE OF EVERYDAY ROUTINE FROM ASWERING THE PHONE TO WORK ON A PHOTOMONTAGE
KNOWLEDGE OF 2D DRAWING ON COMPUTER AND FLUENT IN SPANISH A PLUS
POSITION AVAILABLE INMEDIATELY
PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT IF YOU DONT HAVE THOSE REQUIREMENTS !!

* Compensation: 10/12 $ /HR
* This is a part-time job.
* This is an internship job


Wow. This employer is looking for a genius. With lots of experience. To be in charge of the everyday routine of their studio. And for all that, they are willing to pay them a whopping $10 - $12 an hour. How wonderful.

And, apparently, will yell at them a lot.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dream Job?


Ah, my lovelies, your MatchGirl has been looking for a job for a long time now. Your MatchGirl is frustrated. Your MatchGirl has felt all over the place. Especially as the year of unemployment looms and I feel as though I should just take anything that comes my way.

But here's the thing, gentle readers, I don't want to have to take just anything that comes my way. I want something that I am good at and that I am interested in and that I'll want to do for a while. At the end of the day, I want to work for Martha Stewart.

There. I said it. I want to work for Martha. She does all the things that I enjoy - baking, crafting, sewing. She gardens - I hardly ever kill the plants in my apartment. I think it could be amazing.

I started my classes at FIT because I'd like to go into Textile Design, and, while I am learning a lot, I'm not really sure the next step in this journey. I love what I have learned so far. I think I am pretty good at it and with a little practice I will be a lot better at it (but isn't that how everything works?). I suppose I should figure out how to get something entry level, but I am not sure where to begin.

When I think about working for Martha, I think about how diverse her creativity is - how many types of crafts and sewing and baking and cooking projects that she offers to her readers and her viewers. And I think about how great it would be, how fun, to spend your day not only perfecting projects, but coming up with new ones or tweaking old ones so they are modern. How great would it be to break a project down to it's barest parts and then teach it to someone - someone who thinks they're no good at stitching or baking or papier-mâché - and have them do it almost as good as Martha? (I mean, let's face it, no one is as good as Martha).

So. There it is. I want to work for Martha.
Who's going to hook me up with an interview?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Get A Job!

*Sigh*

Gentle readers, your MatchGirl is disheartened. I'm not going to lie.
While I have been keeping busy, keeping my chin up and trying (very hard) to keep a positive attitude over this past near-year, the simple fact of the matter is that next month, dear ones, it will have been a year since I was laid off.

And I never thought that I would be unemployed for so long.

I've been unemployed before - sometimes by choice, sometimes not so much - but this is the absolute longest that i have ever been without work. And the prospects look dim, dear ones. Very dim. Having spent several hours job hunting this morning (and countless of hundreds of thousands of hours over the past several months), I am frustrated. Very.

Is no one looking for employees? Is every job out there simply an internship? Am I going to be able to pay rent over the next few months?

I keep thinking that I should have a great idea, something entrepreneurial. Something where I can do all the things that I love to do - sewing and crafting and baking and making art - and work with my creative, and, unfortunately un(der)employed friends and former co-workers. But ideas escape me. Today I am going to spend some time on my Etsy shop. Tomorrow I am going to spend the afternoon at the computer lab at FIT. And somehow, I am going to try and learn some things, think of some things ... do some things ...

But will any of it lead me to a job? If you'd asked me a few months ago, I would have had a different answer. This morning ... not so much.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Make New Friends

Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver, the other is gold.

A circle is round, it has no end.
That's how long, I will be your friend.

A fire burns bright, it warms the heart.
We've been friends, from the very start.

You have one hand, I have the other.
Put them together, We have each other.

Silver is precious, Gold is too.
I am precious, and so are you.

You help me, and I'll help you
and together we will see it through.


Your MatchGirl has been spending a lot of time thinking, gentle readers. To those of you who know me, you will know that this is par for the course. I have always spent a lot of time in my own head, with my own thoughts. But my thinking lately has been more focused. I think on the job hunt. I think on the fact that it has been nearly a year since my lay off and I am not sure what is to come. I think, a lot, on the fact (especially as my birthday - a few weeks away - approaches) about how this is not the place I thought I would be in my mid-30s.

Tomorrow, your MatchGirl has some friends coming into town - old friends whom she has not seen in probably six years. They live across the country, in a city I love but rarely get to. But they are old friends. And, at a certain point in my life, they were dear friends. And I am very excited to see them and catch up.

Their visit, coupled with the impending end of a year being unemployed, has gotten me thinking, though, about friendship. About cycles. About the past year. About the song (above) I learned, at 6 years old, in Brownie Girl Scouts.

While over the past year I have lived frugally on my unemployment check, while I have had not luck finding employment, while I have been frustrated and hurt by men, I have also been a lucky girl. Because it's in one's bad times that one really has a chance to gain some perspective on their life, their friendships and on what is truly important. Not only have my old friends, my core Brooklyn peeps, been truly there for me when I needed a helping hand, a shoulder or a cocktail, but I have made some truly amazing new friends - people who I would not have met had I not been laid off, started this blog and then gotten a little press about it. And, for that, gentle readers, I am truly thankful.

Through new friends in our adulthood, we learn about ourselves. People who have known us forever, know us. They see us inside out. They see us, probably, the way we remember ourselves and maybe in ways that we don't want to look at ourselves. New friends, however, give us a little perspective. They open our eyes to things about ourselves that maybe those who have known us a long time don't notice or forget, or maybe even parts of ourselves that we didn't know were there.

So, while I may not find a job any time soon, and while the men in my life may continue to disappoint, I am grateful for, and inspired by, the people I have been lucky enough to meet during my time of unemployment.

And that, my dear readers, is definitely the silver lining to this very grey cloud of a year.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Falling Off

Oh, my gentle readers, your dear MatchGirl is disappointed in herself this morning. She has fallen off the wagon, so to speak. A few months ago, your MatchGirl set a schedule for herself - a wake up-time, an exercise schedule, an agenda for each day - to keep her productive and on track. And, over the past few days, my lovelies, that agenda has fallen by the wayside.

Could it be the killer insomnia that kept me awake till the wee hours of this morning, that made me hit snooze not only on my alarm clock, but on my phone? Perhaps. But is that an excuse? I think not.

In these seemingly never-ending days of joblessness, it's important for one to act as though they do have a place to go in the morning. To keep one's spirits up and to be productive. Sure, you can stay up all night working on that project or resume or iming with you un(der)employed pals, but do you feel good about yourself the next day? Do you feel a sense of achievement? Probably not so much.

So, dear ones, by putting it out there - by admitting to you that I have fallen off the schedule wagon, I have take the first step. Tomorrow is a new day, a new beginning (and since today is a holiday, perhaps it shouldn't count anyway!) and a chance for me to get back on track - and keep me on it.

If you, like me, gentle readers, have let your self-imposed schedule fall to the side, perhaps it is time to get back on the wagon, as well?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

For What You're Worth

Last night, dear ones, I had the opportunity to have dinner with some of the ladies from The Greenpoint Girls Group, at Papacitos. It's not often that your MatchGirl has an opportunity to break bread with so many smart, interesting and creative women. It was not only a fun evening, but inspirational as well. I came home wanting to make more art, to be more focused and to spend more time with like-minded people.

A few nights ago, I had a conversation with a fellow that I've just met. In telling a story about the purchasing of my first lap top - a gorgeous tangerine iBook - I was telling this fellow that, at the time, that was a really big purchase for me. I told him how I was working retail and making, something like, $10 an hour in 1999/2000. Instead of taking this as it was, an endearing story about me needing to make sure that I got this fantastic new computer in the cute tangerine color instead of the boring blue, he looked me up and down, saying that he didn't mean to be judgmental, but what was I doing, at 24/25 years of age, working at a job that only paid $10 and hour (plus commission)? Not to be judgmental, but didn't I have any plans for my life/future/etc...?

I related this to the ladies last night and they were appalled. More so than I had been, even.

You see, it came up as a natural part of conversation about un and under employment. It came up as one of the gals in the group said she kept seeing jobs posted in her industry that would maybe pay $8 and hour. It came up as part of a conversation about how, if you work in a creative industry, while it's always tough, it's even harder right now. And how it is an employer's market. And how everyone is trying to get something for nothing. And I related to the girls - artists and writers and food makers - the anecdote from above. They all said they hoped I wasn't going to see that gentleman again.

Now, I think I will give Mr. Judgmental another chance, and consider that perhaps he just has no idea how to speak to someone who is unemployed in this economy (or doesn't roll with too many people who are purely creative types).

It's not that I don't want to make money, gentle readers. But it's never been my priority. I want to live comfortably - more so than I have been able to live recently - I don't, however, want those who have never worked in my industry telling me how to do so. I don't want people who have never struggled to tell me how much they think I should make - or, more to the point, how much I should have made. I can't go back to 1999 and re-do my life. There's no use discussing it. Would I even want to? Probably not.

As I near a year of unemployment, my dears, I am thinking hard about those I spend my time with. I am thinking about how to make the best use of my time (even more so than before). I am thinking about the people I need to surround myself with. Amazing, creative folks, all looking to meet more creative and interesting folks? Definitely. People who are going to ask me if I am looking for a job (duh) or judge me based on decisions I've made in my distant past? Not so much.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

United We Work

A couple of weeks ago, gentle readers, your MatchGirl received an e-mail promoting a new job search site, based on the tenets of the E-Harmony dating site.

From the e-mail:
In today’s cut-throat job-seeking climate, job seekers are often frustrated by the “black hole” of internet job searching: job seekers submit an application or resume for a position and chances are, they’ll never hear anything about it again.

One new job program has a solution. UnitedWeWork.org is seeking to connect job seekers with employers in a more personalized and humane way that’s free for everyone. The model has been compared to that of the popular dating site eHarmony; instead of listing available jobs and applying to each one, job seekers create one profile which includes their skills, experience, education and desires and the job-matching network connects them with recruiters who are filling appropriate positions.

UnitedWeWork.org is powered by QuietAgent, a next generation job matching network, and is provided free of charge by AllianceQ, a growing collaboration of industry leading Fortune 500 companies whose members include Starbucks, Bank of America, Allstate, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and many more. There are currently 8,500+ employers on the site with more than 350,000 jobs that job seekers are actively being matched to every day. About 250,000 new jobs are added each month. Over 70,000 job seekers have signed up through the United We Work program since its launch in July 2009 – membership has grown by 150% month over month since the launch.


Your Matchgirl has finally had an opportunity to fully create a profile and spend some time in the site. While I'm not yet convinced it is great for more creative types, or those working in the world of fashion or beauty, it seems to offer a fresh approach to job hunting. And goodness knows, we could all use that!

It really does seem to be like a dating site - Here are some more fun features:
It’s perfect for career transitions: Similar to the idea of eHarmony’s matching technology, United We Work utilizes QuietAgent's smart matching technology, which isn’t just based on job titles or keywords. Intuitive yet complex, the site is perfect for anyone open to a career transition and/or relocation because the job seekers are matched with positions based on compatibility of skills and strengths – not just on past experience in that exact position.

Say goodbye to the “black hole”: United We Work is committed to sending members real-time status updates for each job seeker; allowing them to feel empowered by understanding what the process is; if the job has been filled, or if the employer needs more time to decide.

Privacy: While anonymity is still a critical concern for some job seekers, every user is entirely anonymous until they choose to reveal their identity. Additionally, each user’s profile can be set up to exclude any employers by domain names.


Anyway, check it out and let me know if you find it more (or less?) useful than any of the other job sites that you're on. And, hey, what other job sites are you using?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

All Hail ...

It's an election year in NY, gentle readers. I hope you've been following it closely. I trust that you pulled yourself away from your lap top long enough to stroll down to your polling station and cast your vote in the primary and subsequent run-off (Goodness knows you have the time!).

Your MatchGirl is not endorsing anyone - though she was quite taken with Miss Heather's ringing endorsement of C. Montgomery Burns for Mayor over at New York Shitty on Sunday.

But I did want to speak to a couple of issues that you, as civil minded (and perhaps a wee bit disgruntled) residents, the un and underemployed of NYC, maybe concerned about.

First up:
Public Transportation and the MTA
Sunday morning, dear ones, I had to be in Central Park by 11am. No. Not so early, but consider this - neither of the trains I would normally take from my neighborhood were running. So, I had to leave myself a little before 10am and still, giving myself an hour for transport time, I was late! Just by a few minutes, but late nonetheless. And this started me thinking about when I had a job where I worked weekends - every weekend. And how I had to leave my house at least 20 minutes earlier than I would have on a weekday morning, just to get there in the nick of time.

And while this blog is about unemployment and my experiences surrounding my life as a single and unemployed gal in Greenpoint, my Sunday commute made me think about the working poor. The people who have a handful of really crap jobs on weekend and evenings, who have to take what they can just to scrape by and pay their rent and feed their kids.

And, though the NYC subway system is really super compared to a lot of others and compared to cities that don't have public transportation, I wonder who is going to do something to make it a bit more user friendly. Anyone know?

What are some other issues of interest to my fellow unemployeds? I'll have a few more rants coming up over the course of the next few weeks ...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Extended Benefits

Ah, gentle readers. Why must the people at the NYS Unemployment Office make things so very difficult for us poor unemployeds? I mean, the system works OK. You go to the website. You log on. You type in the pertinent information and you go off on your merry job hunting way. But there is this extension. And when you go to check your balance, it doesn't always jive with what you have recorded - what you have been carefully keeping track of.

For instance, dear ones, last week, when your MatchGirl logged onto the system to file her claim, she saw that her remaining balance was one week's worth of pay! Now, that couldn't be true. No matter how the math could be added, she simply hadn't exhausted the emergency benefits. She'd barely entered them. And, today when she logged on, it told her that the amount left worked out to about six weeks - and, no matter the math - calculators and calendars out, could she figure out where this monetary amount came from.

So, I looked, for about the millionth time, at the New York State Department of Labor Website and read, for about the millionth time, the details about extended and emergency benefits. And I took out my calculator and my calendar again. And it still doesn't make sense. Not according to any math that I know how to do. Not according to the amount of time for which I have been collecting unemployment and not according to any of my own math.

For those of you who would like to read it for the zillionth time (cos you know you all check in on it to see if it makes more or less sense on a regular basis) here's what the NYSDoL has to say:
Important Notice About
Unemployment Benefit Extensions

On September 22, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation to extend Unemployment Insurance benefits for an additional 13 weeks for states, like New York, with consistently high unemployment rates. However, legislation to extend benefits must still pass the Senate and be signed into law. Therefore, this proposed extension is NOT in effect at this time. Please continue to claim weekly benefits in the usual manner. It is not necessary to file a new claim unless you are advised to do so. Please continue to check this web site for updates.

Currently, New York State provides 26 weeks of regular unemployment insurance benefits.

An additional 53 weeks of unemployment benefits have been approved for claimants who meet certain criteria.

The first 33 weeks fall under the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Program, and are known as Emergency Benefits; the last 20 weeks fall under a different program titled the Extended Benefits (EB) Program, and are known as Extended Benefits. Per current Federal legislation, specific deadlines apply to the different extensions, and as a result, not all claimants are eligible for the full 53 additional weeks of benefits.

The extensions are broken down as follows:

Emergency Benefits include two tiers:

* Tier 1 (20 weeks) – to be eligible for any additional benefits under Tier 1, the individual must exhaust regular benefits on or before the week ending December 20, 2009, and start claiming Emergency Benefits on or before week ending December 27, 2009. Note: This means the individual must have filed their initial claim for regular unemployment benefits effective on or before Monday, June 15, 2009.
* Tier 2 (13 weeks) – to be eligible for any additional benefits under Tier 2, the individual must exhaust all 20 weeks of Tier 1 on or before the week ending December 27, 2009. Note: This means that the individual must have filed their initial claim for regular unemployment benefits effective on or before Monday, February 2, 2009.

The last payable week of both Tier 1 and Tier 2 is the week ending June 6, 2010.

Extended Benefits (20 weeks: (13 initial plus the seven (7) added eff. July, 17 2009)) are available to individuals who exhaust all 33 weeks of Emergency Benefits. However, the last payable week of Extended Benefits is the week ending December 27, 2009. Note: This means the individual must have filed their initial claim for regular unemployment benefits effective on or before Monday, October 27, 2008.
Individuals who have a claim with New York State, but live in another state that is not in an extended benefit period, will be eligible for only 2 weeks of extended benefits (for extended benefits status of other states, see Frequently Asked Questions below).

Work search requirements are more stringent for individuals claiming Extended Benefits (see Frequently Asked Questions below). However, individuals in training approved by the New York State Department of Labor, are not required to look for work while claiming benefits.



And, dear readers, please don't write in and tell me I should just call. You know it's impossible to get anyone on the phone. While unemployeds do have some extra time on our hands, this is one girl who has been quite busy in her unemployment.

Anyway, the DoL site was down most of the week, but it's up and running now. Don't forget to log on and claim your weekly benefits!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Meeting People Is Easy

... when you come to an Unemployed Brooklyn event!

Your MatchGirl is remiss, my dear readers, that so long has passed since our last meeting. You know how it is. Things happen, the days pass by and suddenly nearly two months have passed. Alas, gentle ones, it's just the way life goes.

However, this Wednesday, we will change all that.

We will meet again.

Here are the details: Wednesday, September 30th at 4 PM we'll convene at TBD, on the corner of Franklin and Green Streets, in beautiful Greenpoint. TBD has $3 well liquor and draft beers till 7 PM, and a ton of space. They also have wi-fi, if you feel like bringing your laptop to a happy hour unemployed event.

Much like the last meeting, this event will be largely unstructured, but if there is something you's like to talk about, please feel free to let me, or one of your fellow unemployeds, know about it - shoot me an e-mail or leave a comment below. Through recent, casual, conversations, I've gotten some great tips on tweaking my resume and some much needed moral support regarding interviewing. Feel free to come and share your lay-off story, to talk about your recent interviews, to have a drink and bond with a few people in the same situation as you.

Most importantly, come prepared to talk to as many people as possible. Everyone knows that the best way to get a job is through networking - and you never know who may know someone in your field.

Please RSVP to unemployedbrooklyn (@) gmail.com.
See you Wednesday!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Few Good Men?

There's a proliferation of singles events in this city, gentle readers.

And there is a problem with all of these events. A big one.

Men are strongly encouraged to buy tickets for the Brokelyn/Brooklyn Based MeatUp at the Bell House this Wednesday evening. This morning, while listening to Weekend Edition, I heard Leonard Lopate beseeching male listeners to sign up for the 40 and over singles event that WNYC is hosting in October. And, while your MatchGirl could not make it to the Smiths Singles Night, right around the corner from her apartment, a friend told her they closed the sign up to women soon after the event was announced, and were begging for guys right up until the day of the event.


Oh my.

Why is it so difficult to meet eligible men in NYC, my lovelies? And why do women still think that these events are going to be filled with hotties, instead of just a lot of other women - all as smart, pretty and interesting as themselves?

Your MatchGirl is no stranger to the dating scene. Not at all. She's been single for a long while now. And she's kissed a lot of frogs. She's met some interesting men who she liked and who didn't like her as much. She met some flakes. She's met some losers. She's met a handful of jackasses (in fact, she saw one yesterday at the Greenpoint Food Market - not in time to say "hi", just in time to see him, from the corner of her eye, slinking out, attempting to avoid being seen - you know who I'm talking about El Cuerpo!) She's met some great guys she just didn't click with. And she is still looking for Mister Right (or Mister Really-Close-To-Right).

I'm just not sure where I ought to go to meet him. I am, however, under no illusion that I will find him at one of these events. It's possible I will meet some other cool and single women to go bar-hopping with. But men are a fickle bunch, and to meet one who is interested in dating at a singles meat market just seems unlikely ...

Especially when they're not even signing up to go.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Where To Find Me

Wonder what your MatchGirl will be up to this weekend, dear readers? Can't think of anything fun to do without spending a bunch of cash? Just don't want to leave the comfort of your own neighborhood? Well, gentle ones, there are loads of fun activities happening this weekend in Greenpoint and Williamsburg - so get off your bum and participate!

Friend of Unemployed Brooklyn, Joann at Greenpointers has a great post today with a ton of fun and local activities (a couple of which she organized herself, so make sure to check them out!).

Where-o-where will your MatchGirl be?

Ah, my dear ones, I will start the weekend off right by popping into the opening of the Greenpoint Open Studios at the new WNYC Transmitter Park (located at the end of Greenpoint Ave).


Tomorrow I shall make appearances at The Indie Designer Soiree at The Arsenal in Williamsburg. One of our fellow unemployeds has a table here and I'm excited to check out her work!




Also on Saturday, I will be checking out the tasty goodies at the Greenpoint Food Market. Last weekend, I picked up some tasty heirloom pickles and some really delicious coriander mustard (I, in fact, enjoy this mustard so much that I have planned my whole menu for the next few days based on using it in as many meals as possible!).

And finally, I will be exploring as many of the open studios as possible. One of our fellow unemployeds (the writer of everyone's favorite cover letter) is opening his studio for the world, or, you know, the neighborhood, to check out. He is also showing at Marie Taillefer Gallery, which, like many of the galleries involved in Greenpoint Open Studios, is having an opening party from 6 to 8 PM.

Finally, Sunday evening is the closing party for the GOS and my very dear friend Jacob Jiles will be playing. Coco 66. 9PM. Sunday night. Check him out and say good night to another fantabulous North Brooklyn Weekend.

If you see me out and about at one of these events, please say hello. Unless you are a creepy stalker, if you are a creepy stalker, please keep a distance of at least 500 feet. Your MatchGirl is not a fan of creepy stalkers.