Thursday, July 30, 2009


I haven't posted lately, dear readers, anything of a too personal nature. No deep thoughts. No dating stories/horrors. It's not that I haven't been thinking these things. It's not that I haven't been lookin' round for prince charming. There just hasn't been a lot to say.

But walking through McCarren Park this afternoon, after a morning spent e-mailing, networking and trying to organize an Unemployed Brooklyn event, I had some time to think about a few things of a more personal nature ... After all the amazing things that happened last week - the exposure from NY1, the amazing comments and e-mails I received from other unemployed people (in Brooklyn and other parts of not only the country, but world), old friends that I am very happy to hear from coming out of nowhere - when I take pause, I'm a little sad.

Because I've no one to share it with.
Sure. I have friends. I have a roommate. I have family a phone call away.
But it's not quite the same.

If you're single, you know what I'm talking about. Even if you are OK with being single. At the end of the day, when something really good (or really bad) happens, you just want that one person to lean on. That one person who will be excited for you. The one person who will answer their cell in the middle of the day because it's you and they are happy to hear from you. That one person who, even though there's a lot of stuff happening in their own life, is always thinking about you. Always in your corner.

I wonder if that is a lot to ask.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

All Together Now

I recently posted about the concept of job hunters pairing up and using the buddy system in their quest for a job - and it's something, gentle readers, to which I have been giving a lot of thought.

Since my appearance on NY1 last week, I have received a ton of comments and emails from other unemployeds, many of them in the Greenpoint/Williamsburg area. So, dear ones, I was thinking that perhaps we should implement the buddy system here, in our fair borough. A support group for those who are searching for a job? People to brainstorm with? People to proofread your resume and cover letters?

Here's the deal. Sometimes other people are going to have a very different perspective on your life and your job hunt and where your set of skills might come in handy. It's so easy to get lost in one's own head when you're looking for a job and the extra brainpower from some fellow unemployeds might come in handy ...

So? What say, my lovelies, shall we organize a little get together (coffee? $2 beers?) and see if we can't help each other out? Contact me at unemployedbrooklyn (at) and let's see if we can't pull something together, and perhaps help each other find some jobs!

On the Cheap

My lovelies, I have linked here many times to my friends over at Brokelyn (and congrats to Faye for being featured on Brooklyn Based today!) as a great resource for cheap and free stuff in Brooklyn. And, of course, I am happy to share all the ways that I have found for living well on the cheap, mostly in my stomping grounds of the Greenpoint and Williamsburg area, as I come across it

Today I want to give a shout out to The Skint, a blog listing cheap and free events all around the city. Make sure to check them out before planning your next date/outing/cocktail session.

Please take a moment, gentle readers, to share your favorite resources for cheap and free finds about town.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Shout Out

A big congratulations to my very dear friend Gabe, who completed a triathlon in NYC this morning.

He's also getting ready to run the NYC Marathon (which he's previously run) in November. You can follow his training, thoughts on training and playlists on his blog.

More Fun With Craigslist

It's been a while, gentle readers since I've shared some of the gems I've found while searching for jobs on Craigslist. This does not mean that I haven't found some fun things to pass along to you.

A sampling:

Work for free till the decide if they feel like paying you:
Compensation: Will be paid as an independent contractor in the amount of $250 - $500 / week. We will evaluate the candidate’s skills for the first week which will be unpaid, if retained the paid position will start from the following week.

Work for a (maybe) famous couple:
Celebrity couple needs personal assistant
Date: 2009-07-22, 6:03PM EDT
Reply to: see below

Celebrity couple is seeking personal assistant for a short term position possibly more.... please be organized, creative, energetic and personable. I'm sure we will get a lot of responses so if we don't get back to you please understand. you may contact us via twitter at "anoncelebcouple" or visit our blog and click contact to reach us be kind rewind!

Have a sexy accent and the job is yours:
We are looking for an energetic, upbeat individual to perform duties as a receptionist and personal assistant. This person must have an English, Irish, Scottish, Australian or New Zealand accent.

Please only apply if you have one of the accents mentioned above. The job pays $12 an hour and the schedule is M-F 8.30am through 5.30pm. There may be times when a later evening or weekend might be required.

I don't have too much to say about any of these. They just struck my fancy as I perused all the listings offering long hours, little or no pay and no benefits ...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Judgment Call

Thanks again to Faye over at Brokelyn for the shout out and the kind words about your MatchGirl:
the tattoorific blogger behind Unemployed Brooklyn, a diary of her take on the jobless, single life in Greenpoint, which she started after losing her job with a cosmetics company last November. (How can such a cutie be flying solo? We thinks her TV debut is going to put an end to that.)

(aw, Faye - you make a girl blush!)

I want to take a moment to talk about the comment that some calling themselves BackToTheMidWest made in the comments section of the post, regarding my supposed trust fund. Normally this is the kind of thing I would let go, but there has been so much talk lately about Williamsburg and Greenpoint and how everyone who lives there moved there, with a trust fund, because it was hip and trendy - the cool place to move.

I moved to Greenpoint, on the north side, five years ago, after living in Boston for eleven years. The move to Greenpoint was definitely not because it was the place to be. In fact, most of the bars and restaurants that you think of as Greenpoint didn't even exist. Franklin street was desolate. We moved to Greenpoint because we could afford it. Now, I love the neighborhood and have no intention of leaving anytime soon, but if I'd moved to New York with a trust fund, there is no way that, five years ago, it would have been this neighborhood. It wasn't even the same neighborhood.

And to address the trust funds, etc ...

It started with the New York Times article about parents of trustafarians pulling the plug on their spoiled kids. I don't know any trust fund babies (that I am aware of), but, of course, I'm a woman in my 30s and it's been a long time (more than 15 years) since anyone supported me financially. And, while I don't want to pass judgment on people I don't know, I am sure that Williamsburg (like many other neighborhoods in NYC) has a bunch of people who live the good life on the backs of mom and dad.

New York Magazine responded with two editorials. The first Williamsburg Will Eat itself, talks about how it's always been the thing to do, to mock the 20-something hipster kids and refers to how Williamsburg needs trust funds for its existence:
The trust fund is to Williamsburg like the yin to its yang, the day to its night: One cannot exist without the other.

The second, Beyond Hipsters: Williamsburg's Tough Economic Reality, says "screw you" to the stereotypes and speaks to the realities of the neighborhood. Again, I've never lived in Williamsburg, but I spend a lot of time there. Our neighborhoods touch. And they are included together in the U.S. Census.
According to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the most recent and reliable data, Williamsburg continues to lag behind other parts of New York in terms of income, with significant populations needing social services such as food stamps, soup kitchens, housing assistance, and SSI. In 2005, 47.1 percent of Community Board 1, which contains Greenpoint and Williamsburg, was on some type of income support. The median income for the area in the last twelve months was $39,663, well below the city median of $48,631. In 2007, 38.3 percent of residents in the 11211 Zip Code were below the poverty level.

Finally, there was an article in the New York Times in May, addressing Greenpoint as a slowly up and coming area and the day to day realities of living in this neighborhood, from a real estate perspective.

Every neighborhood, gentle readers, in every city, is a living and breathing organism. There is a constant ebb and flow, people move in and out, hipsters grow up and get married, babies are born, people die. Parks are created, schools are closed, restaurants burn down, shops take their place. To be so single minded about a community, and to judge it so harshly based on something you know nothing about, is just sad.

You know what happens when you assume ...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Every Day Is Sunday

Earlier today, or perhaps it was late last night, I got an e-mail from a far away and nearly long lost friend. And, dear readers, I thought the sentiment was one that I should share with you, my fellow unemployeds.


Shameless Self-Promotion

As shameless self-promotion is the only way to get ahead in this rough and tumble world of the New York job market (and the singles scene, but that's a different entry, gentle readers), I would be remiss in not posting the video (and as soon as I figure out how to embed it - I will totally have more than just the link here!) from the interview with NY1.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by after seeing the piece on NY1, because you're my pal, because you're unemployed in Brooklyn (or anywhere else) or for whatever reason you stopped by.

Oh, and, my dear ones, though the piece may make it seem like I'm twenty-two and freshly arrived from the cozy campus of a New England university, let me assure you ... it's been well over a decade since I was a college co-ed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

9 to 5

Gentle readers, you may have realized by now that your MatchGirl is a big fan of NPR and, living in Brooklyn, spends loads of time listening to WNYC on her lonely days off (which, being unemployed, is pretty much every day).

At the moment, I am catching the end of today's Leonard Lopate show - a fascinating conversation about women in the workplace, as depicted in film from Baby Face from 1933, to Woman of The Year (Katharine Hepburn is always one of my favorites, especially when matching wits with Spencer Tracey) from 1942, to 9 to 5 from 1980. In between there are bits of conversations between Leonard, Molly Haskell and Barbara Ehrenreich about the leading women in more current (timely?) movies such as Knocked Up and The Devil Wears Prada, always realizing that their man, no matter how wimpy or dorky or doofus-y, is worth more than the career they have been striving for their whole lives.

Now, my dear ones, please do not misunderstand. I am a single girl, but I am definitely looking to meet Mister Right - I just think (raised by the strong, yet very happily married, mother that I have) that any guy who asks you to give up something, without compromise, that is so very important to you - that you have worked so hard to achieve - cannot be Mister Right, can he?

Keep An Eye Out

My loyal readers may have seen a comment posted on this blog a couple weeks back from a Jeanine Ramirez from NY1. Ms. Ramirez is doing a week of features on how the economic downturn is affecting Brooklyn and your MatchGirl will be featured in one of the segments.

It's slated to air on NY1 (on your NYC cable system) Wednesday night at 11PM and then to be re-run in the 8PM hour Thursday. Of course, those of you thrifty enough to have canceled your cable (I, gentle ones, am not among you) and those of you who do not live in NYC, can look for the link online - and yes, of course, I will be posting it here. Ms. Ramirez also mentioned that she had been in touch with our friends over at Brokelyn for the same segment. So set your DVRs, my dear readers, and put a little pop-up reminder on your Outlook/Google/Blackberry calendars and don't miss me (hopefully not making a fool of myself) on cable TV.


Monday, July 20, 2009


From the ferry to Governor's Island

Buddy System

Listening to The Takeaway this morning, I heard a woman speaking to the benefits of using the buddy system in one's job hunt.

This is a pretty interesting concept - pair up with an unemployed pal, or create a network of them, to urge each other on in your hunt for a job. As, gentle readers, I have written before, I do not have too many unemployed friends. But I like this idea. Instead of a career counselor or a job coach - to whom one has to pay huge fees - grab your nearest unemployed friend and brainstorm your strengths and weaknesses and where you will be able to use those skills. Brainstorm the type of job you want and the type of job you can realistically get. Brainstorm the companies you should apply to and the companies that you want to apply to. The best part, the hardest thing to do when you're unemployed and have nothing but time on your hands, is that you and your buddy assign goals to each other, with a time-line - a to-do list that you actually have to complete.

One aspect of this that I really like is the brainstorming your strengths and weaknesses. Especially if you have a friend as your buddy. Because, let's be honest, my dears, we are not always honest with ourselves - about our strengths or our weaknesses. And another set of eyes is a valuable tool in your hunt for employment.

Just a thought.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Summer Wasting

It happens every year, doesn't it? The summer is half over before you've even realized that it's begun. Well, that's what happens to me, anyway. Most years. Of course, my fellow New Yorkers (and New Englanders) will argue that summer has barely started, as it rained for a month straight. But it is summer. And it's nearly over.

Of course, there are things that I haven't done - for a variety of reasons - no money, rainy days, no date, sheer laziness ... And, I can't change some of these things - not with a snap op of my fingers - but there are loads of things left to do this summer and lots of them are free! So, as long as the rain holds out and I can overcome lazy ... there's not much reason, gentle readers, I shouldn't venture out on my own, now is there?

The Pool Parties at the state park on Kent and North 8th Street.

Free films at McCarren Park, there are loads of free films all over the city in the summer time, but these are in my own backyard.

And, as I'm off to a free show at Governor's Island right now ... the rest will have to wait

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Food Security/Insecurity?

Overheard on the mean streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn this afternoon - a 20-something, hipster-ish (who am I to judge?) guy on his cell phone in a matter of moments switching gears from talking about paying for something for his fixed gear bike to telling the person on the other end that he spent three hours in an office today applying for food stamps.

Now, gentle readers, your MatchGirl knows that things are rough out there. And she would certainly never begrudge someone a little joy - new handle bars for your bike, fancy new shoes, an overpriced cocktail - especially in such times. But, there was something in that conversation that just rubbed me the wrong way.

I recently spoke to an old friend who was explaining that in taking the job they currently have that they had taken a significant pay cut and that they had been on food stamps for a while during that transition. Which is fine. That's what they are for. And those of you who are collecting unemployment, are probably making less than half of what you were making previously (unless you've got a little summin' summin' under the table and on the side). And maybe you've contemplated food stamps. I know I have. For me, at this point, I have decided against it. If I can scrounge up a few pennies to hit up Mugs for brunch on a Sunday morning, then I think I am OK with my current food budget.

Of course, I don't have a family. I only have myself to look out for right now. Those of you who find yourself in a different position may very well want to check out food stamps and the food services programs that are offered here in New York.

But don't let me catch you paying for your food with government aid and then dropping a grand on a trendy bicycle!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

That's What I Want

Just a quick question for the unemployed amongst you, my lovelies, and please do feel free to either post your comments below, or email them to your MatchGirl at UnemployedBrooklyn (at) gmail (dot) com.

What is it, my gentle readers, that you do to make a little extra cash during these tough times?

Do you sell your prized possessions on Ebay?
Are you having a stoop sale (so very NY), yard sale, tag sale to get a few extra bucks for that big night out?
Going on dates with inappropriate men just to get a fancy dinner and a $13 cocktail?
Playing beer pong in Vegas?
Clipping coupons like your grandma used to?
Waiting tables or tending bar under the table?

If you, like me, are living on your unemployment check, you know just how tough that can be. As you know, I've decided to make a few little critters out of re-purposed fabric and sell them on the fantastic site of the crafty, Etsy, but I wonder what it is you are doing to make ends meet these days ...

Monday, July 13, 2009


Above are a couple of little stuffed elephants I have made for some babies I know. After the first one was a big hit, and some interest was shown, I've decided to try my hand at selling them on Etsy.

Keep an eye on for a whole slew of crafty prezzies for the kids in your life ... and probably some grown up stuff, too!


Volunteer Brooklyn - Gowanus Cleanup

Gentle readers, the following note popped into the UnemployedBrooklyn inbox this afternoon.

Anissa writes:

Dear Matchgirl,

I am an intern at the Gowanus Canal Conservancy and was wondering if you could post our volunteer opportunity on your blog? Here is the description and contact information:

Gowanus Canal Conservancy's Clean & Green volunteer program
Call for all volunteers! The Gowanus Canal Conservancy is looking for volunteers to participate in our monthly Clean & Green volunteer program. This month, volunteers will assemble at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 25 at Degraw Street off Nevins (east of the Gowanus Canal) and the program will run until 2:00 p.m. Volunteer tasks will include planting, weeding, and picking up trash and debris. All volunteer efforts will help the NYC Parks Department’s GreenStreets program and help street ends thrive, while improving both the health and beauty of the Gowanus Canal.

To sign up, e-mail us at and include your name, phone number, and the dates you’d like to participate.

Check out the website for more information. And, while I'm personally more interested in the mess that's in my own backyard (ie. The Newtown Creek), this is definitely a worthy volunteer opportunity.


Here is why you have to network, my lovelies. It's so simple. It's something we all know, in our heads. It's easy and it's hard all at the same time. But it's a simple fact of life. Only 4% of hirings come out of job boards. All the rest of them come through networking - a friend, a friend of a friend, a friend of a colleague, a colleague of a lover ... a NETWORK.

And the thing about these networks, these people you know, is that they need to be fostered. They need to be fed. They need to be nurtured in order to grow.

In lunching with a dear friend today, the subject of my job hunt arose (as it so often does). And while this friend is in an entirely different industry than I am, he is still out there and in the world and he has a lot of good advice and a lot to say. And he asked me about the people from my last job that I was in touch with and, more importantly, when the last time I spoke with them was. And here's why it's important. Of course Ms X knows you're looking for a job. And perhaps Ms X has people she knows who are hiring. But, the reality of life, especially life in this city, is that Ms X has a lot of her own stuff happening ... and you're job hunt, while sitting firmly in the front of your mind, is so not what she thinks about all the time. It's not that Ms X doesn't care. It's not that Ms X wouldn't love to lend a helping hand. But Ms X has a lot to do. She has her own worries and her own problems and her own life.

Ms X just needs a gentle reminder. Just a little note to say hello and how's it going and to tell her that you're still out there and please to keep her eyes open. It's not pushy.

I promise.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Keep The Doctor Away

Raise your hand if you have health insurance ...
Not too many of you I see.
The question of health insurance comes up quite a bit in New York. There are thousands of underemployed, the working poor and unemployed people who don't have it. Freelancers can sign up through the Freelancer's Union, but it's expensive, so a lot of freelancers don't have it either.

If you were recently laid off, gentle reader, perhaps you were offered COBRA. My employers neglected to send me the paperwork. (I heard later that they discontinued insurance at the company, but they did that a few months after mine ran out and, therefore, they should have sent me the paperwork anyway.) Would I have been able to afford COBRA on the meager amount I make on unemployment? Most certainly not. Not if I wanted to pay rent, anyway.

On one hand, I'm lucky. I'm single (OK, as you all know, that's not really that lucky). I don't have any kids. I'm healthy and still pretty young. Young enough, anyway. But, on the other hand, I sometimes need to go to the doctor. I sometimes need a prescription. I sometimes need stitches. There are just certain things you can't avoid in life. Life happens.

So, with that in mind, here are a couple of links for my unemployed colleagues. I've not tried any of them yet, but you can be sure that I will.

The Institute For Family Health

The New York City Free Clinic

Healthy New York

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More Fun With Craigslist

Please summit a short video describing your skills and personality. Mpeg, youtube, or facebook link are acceptable.

Job hiring immediately.

OK. The job I pulled this from actually looks all right. It's pay is unspecified and it's one of those jobs where you wear way too many hats and never make enough money. And, while pretty much everyone has a video camera, I don't. And I don't think I come across that well on video anyway.

There are always positions asking you to send a photo - mostly in retail, where they want their salespeople to look pretty (regardless of skill). But I am seeing it more and more for administrative and personal assistants.

Here's a couple more:
Part time personal ass't to work out of soho providing support for personal (travel arrangements, shopping, social calendar, etc) and business ( research commercial realestate deveopment and screen play research). It's important that the person have a great attitude and positive out look on life...No drama, organization skills , experience w/ Mac computer is important, responsible , exceedingly honest and ability to complete a task. The hours are flexible and will vary from week to week. Please send a resume , references, availability to meet as well as a photo.

* Compensation: Starting @ $20 per hour

We are a rapidly growing web company based in midtown Manhattan. We sell watches and jewelry primarily on the internet.

We are looking for a multi-skilled person who can act as an office utility player as well as model pieces of jewelry from our line. Modeling experience is not required, but is definitely a plus.
The person we are looking to hire must be well spoken on the phone and have customer service experience as CS will play a large portion of the job we are looking to fill asap.

Our company has a great energy and upbeat vibe!

Please send us photographs of head shots and/or portfolio pictures along with your resume and salary requirements. We are looking to fill this position as soon as possible.


* Compensation: TBD based on Customer Service and Modeling Experience

There was one more (that I can't re-find) that was a gay man looking for a gay assistant because he thought a gay assistant would be more anal in his filing ... Maybe it was flagged and taken down. Or perhaps he found someone right away?

Brian Lehrer And The Question Of Unemployment

This is a shout out to Brian Lehrer on WNYC. On yesterday's show he had a call-in for people who were recently unemployed and also asked people to comment on the show's page on the WNYC website - especially if they were part of the new 9 1/2% unemployment rate announced for June.

When I was laid off, in November (way before the biggest wave of layoffs, and before the handful of friends I have who are also unemployed), I had more time to listen to NPR and even then, when the rates were lower, I realized that Brian Lehrer was spending a lot of time on his show reaching out to the unemployed in his audience. From "UnCommon Economic Indicators", a series that he asks people to call or write in with things that are signs of the failing economy that are perhaps missed by mainstream media, to the fact that he regularly speaks to the unemployed in NYC, it's nice to know that someone is paying attention. And reaching out to all sorts of laid off people, despite ethnicity or industry.

I've gotten some really nice comments on this blog from a lot of other unemployed people here in Brooklyn. And I thank you so much for them. Because as nice as it is to know that there are other people out there in my situation (or close enough), it's really nice to know that what I put out into the world about my situation might give someone else a boost.

So, I thank Brian Lehrer for keeping it on the tips of our tongues and at the front of our minds. Even though one may spend most of their unemployed days alone, it's really good to hear that you are not entirely alone.

Monday, July 6, 2009

In Memory Of A Resume

The June before I moved to Brooklyn, a friend of mine passed away. She wasn't necessarily one of my closest friends, but we had worked together and ran in many of the same circles. She had undying spirit and energy and amazing talent. She was one of the closest friends to a woman that I will always count amongst my closest friends, my non-blood related family.

It was recently the 5th anniversary of her untimely death, and I've been thinking about her a lot lately. About conversations we had in the last few weeks of her life. About the changes we were both going through at the time. And about the expectations of the future. One that didn't go as either of us planned.

And as I have embarked onto the world of online dating, I have been thinking about an art project that she had done in the early 2000s (I think it was around 2002/2003). It was called The Love Resume Project (you can still find it here online). In it, Kirsten listed all her ex-boyfriends and the experience that she had gained through their ups and downs (knowing a handful of the guys, I can attest to the truth of it!). I have been wondering, as I look for a job and as I look for a man, about resumes and how one represents themselves. I wonder about how my profile online represents me and if it's reaching the "right" kind of man. Perhaps if I made my profile more like a resume?

Anyway. Kirsten was ahead of her time with the whole thing.

If you want to know more, you can read her obituary, donate to the scholarship fund that is in her name at MassArt, see an unfinished art project and some more art here.

As I think about her, and as I sometimes wallow in what I think of as my own crappy life, I realize that at least I am alive, to stumble through it all. And I will keep perfecting my own resume (my job resume and my love resume) until I figure it all out. And the last conversation I had with her, about all the real and hard stuff in our pre-30s lives, will always stay in my head (if I close my eyes, I am back in my kitchen in Allston, an after-party from a dance night, our mutual best girlfriend visiting from Cali, and just she and I in the kitchen, in the dark, drinking beer and talking about our next steps in life - she was killed exactly one week later). And that conversation, which seemed not so big at the time, will continue to push me forward and appreciate all the things that I do have, as opposed to all the things that are lacking.

I know it's a lot.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

What A Girl Needs

I've written here, a lot, about the emotions one goes through while unemployed. I've written a lot about how looking for a job and looking for a man are both emotionally draining. Perhaps, gentle readers, I've written too much or too personally or divulged too much ... but this is a hard time in a gal's life, dear ones.

I've always been a girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. An old friend told me recently that was why it gets fractured so easily. And when I speak about its fracturing, I don't just mean the men in my life - the guys that I have dated, the ones who I perceive to have done me wrong. I mean friends, too. I know that not everyone will like me. I don't like everyone and it would be silly to expect others to have a different view. But sometimes ... you find out that someone really dislikes you. And you don't know why. And, though you may have suspected it here and there, to have the fact confirmed by others ... it's painful. Especially when it's someone in your circle, who you see often, who you have to see if you want to keep hanging out with your friends. Because we're all adults here. And you wouldn't want to make anyone choose. But they choose. They choose all on their own. The Friday nights when your phone calls to hang out are not returned. The brunches you're not invited to. And you find out who was there later and you guess why no one called you back. Why you were not wanted.

And, perhaps, if things were better in the other parts of your life - if you could get a job (or even an interview!), if any of the guys you've been going on a million first dates with would stick - then maybe this slight would not feel so painful. But it's hard to be unemployed (and it's hard to be single, especially when no one else is). You need a support system. And when one of the pieces (perceived or otherwise) is so unkind ... it's hard for your whole structure to stay standing.

I had one of those tumbles last night. After a pretty nice day - friends I believe to be my friends, movie watching, wine drinking - I had a suspicion confirmed ... and I fell apart. Because, right now, dear readers, I am only held together with little bits of scotch tape and a pasted on smile.