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 (@)
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.

Frugal October

Katharine over at NYC Recession Diary has challenged herself to a FRUTOBER and your MatchGirl is considering whether she will participate.

The basic premise is that, during the month of October, she will spend only $75 on food. Wow. That is definitely frugal! I spent $28 yesterday with an eye towards trying to figure out exactly how many meals/days I could get out of it. I'm sort of guessing a week (so far two, with a couple more planned).

Here are her rules:

October Hacks
Honestly, I’ve got to keep this kind of interesting. Here are my October Budget “Hacks” so it feels a little more like a game than like hell:

--Any change I find can be spent on top of the $75 food or $25 party budgets, unless it’s from my change bowl at home (I also can’t steal – dammit).
--Free food at work is free, baby.
--I will not ask anyone for anything, but if someone offers me free food, drinks or whatnot, it’s not against my rules to accept. But I will NOT become a food-digger. (Like a gold-digger. Get it? hah hah. You can hold me accountable in my blog posts.)
--If in the really off chance I sell something, I can spend only half of the money made. The other half goes into my savings account. (Doubt I’ll be selling anything, but who knows.)

Some of these are tricks that your MatchGirl has found helpful over the past several months (especially the food-digger part!) and I highly recommend for you to try!

If you feel like joining her in her frugal food journey, let her know at nycrecessiondiary AT

I'll keep you all posted if I decide to participate!

More Fun With Craigslist

People will never get it, gentle ones. Take, for instance, the following posting your MatchGirl found on Craigslist this morning (and yes, brace yourself for another rant on people being under, nay un, paid for real work):

Fashion Professionals Wanted (Midtown)
Date: 2009-09-24, 12:00PM EDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

XXXXXXX is looking for intelligent and confident interns to continue its success in breaking a niche market. The [company] is changing the face of fashion by xxxx. With high and ever-increasing demands to meet, we require further sales and networking assistance. Ideal for students who are seeking an insight into business, fashion and/or sales, the position will guarantee a challenging and exciting experience.

All positions are unpaid but commission will be awarded for sales.
Immediate start required.
To apply, please e-mail resume and cover letter to the above e-mail address.

* Compensation: All positions are unpaid but commission will be awarded for sales.

As your MatchGirl would like not to be blacklisted by the fashion community in NYC, she has removed all company-specific clues in this posting, but I think the main point is the same.

The title of the posting, the reason your MatchGirl clicked on it in the first place: Fashion Professionals Wanted. Wonderful. Here's the problem, dear readers, one which we have spoken about many times - in person and via this blog - a professional is, by definition, a person who is paid for their services. A professional is not an intern! This is why hookers are referred to as "pros".

For the future, I would like to assist all employers and future job-posters with The American Heritage Dictionary's definition of the word professional:
pro·fes·sion·al (prə-fěsh'ə-nəl)

1. a. Of, relating to, engaged in, or suitable for a profession: lawyers, doctors, and other professional people.
b. Conforming to the standards of a profession: professional behavior.

2. Engaging in a given activity as a source of livelihood or as a career: a professional writer.

3. Performed by persons receiving pay: professional football.

4. Having or showing great skill; expert: a professional repair job.


1. A person following a profession, especially a learned profession.

2. One who earns a living in a given or implied occupation: hired a professional to decorate the house.

3. A skilled practitioner; an expert.

pro·fes'sion·al·ly adv.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Please refer to this before referring to unpaid college students professionals. If you require an intern, just say so and save the rest of us a lot of time!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Key To Happiness

A week or so ago, dear ones, your MatchGirl received a copy of the newly published book Happiness On $10 A Day by Brooklyn gal Heather Wagner. It proclaims to be a recession-proof guide to happiness, with 120 wallet-friendly activities.

And after reading it - cover to cover - I would have to agree.

Divided into chapters ranging from "Flying Solo" to "Schadenfreude" and then subdivided with costs and quirky icons representing exactly what type of happiness you will find with each activity, Happiness is a fun, quick read - filled with a lot of cheap (and many free) things to do.

Sure, you may already know that sitting on a park bench, alternating between watching the locals pass by and reading a book, while sipping a beverage from a thermos, is a lovely way to spend an afternoon, did you consider all the other free and fun things you can do in your favorite park? In your city? With your hunny (or that random guy/gal you picked up at the Meat Market last night)?

Here are a few of my favorites:
Stalk Your Successful Friend's Online Presence: Gore Vidal once said "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little."
I mean, who amongst us hasn't felt a pang of jealousy when a frenemy succeeds. Especially, if , like yours truly, one is unemployed and single and not really sure where that is going to take them!

Amateur Mixology:
Included in this section are several tasty recipes for classic cocktails. Your MatchGirl's favorite part? The recession versions, like this one for a classic Caipirinha:
Substitute good-quality cachaça with bottom-shelf rum, mix with 7-Up over ice, and serve with Telemundo

Bake Your Own Bread: ... it's fun to be at home, working on this hearty and wholesome project, as opposed to being outside, where you're far more likely to spend money and get into trouble.
Trouble! Tell me about it! Your MatchGirl spent many a wintry, unemployed day inside baking and saved a lot of money! Though perhaps she could have used a little bit more of the getting into trouble...

Happiness reads like it was written by your girlfriend - the one who plans the most fun outings at the drop of the hat, who has a killer boyfriend who seems like one of the gang and who is always willing to go bar-hopping so you can get your single self a li'l summin summin. And your MatchGirl has five copies of this book to give away to you, gentle readers.

If you'd like one of these swell tomes, send me an e-mail (unemployedbrooklyn @ with your favorite recession friendly (cheap or free, please!!!) activity. The first five to reply will receive a copy of the book. I will share all my favorites on Unemployed Brooklyn at a later date.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Dinner

Traditionally, Sunday is a time for family and cooking and a big meal with those you love. In the modern age, gentle readers, we substitute brunch with good friends or breakfast with last night's hook-up (not so much me, as I have hit an incredibly long dry patch, but you'll recognize the couples playing the morning after dance at your favorite local eatery) for Grandma's Sunday dinner.

I've posted several times, with links that have great recipes and and tips for eating well on a budget. The last time I made such a post, I got a lot of great response - everything from recipes to links. Below are a few resources for you frugal foodies.

30 Bucks A Week: vegetarian Brooklyn couple challenges themselves to spend only $30/week on their grocery budget.

Recession Recipes : fine food and wine loving couple share their secrets to eating posh on a peasant's paycheck.

Fifty Bucks A Week : three writers, three different cities, seeing if they can eat on $50 per adult per week, groceries and dining out included.

Bon Appétit!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The September Issue (or, People Unclear On The Concept)

As you may or may not know, your MatchGirl's roomie is a fashion stylist. Because of this, we get all sorts of fabulous fashion magazines in the mail. Being a girl who loves clothes, as well as one with a bit of extra time on my hands, I do love paging through those mags. Dreaming of the day when I will be employed and get to buy the gorgeous pieces of clothing (or a cheaper facsimile) represented within.

As it is the end of fashion week, I thought it would be, dear ones, an appropriate time to share with you some of my thoughts on the September issue of Vogue. Loads of fashion bloggers did this already and you can run a quick Google search and see what they had to say. Gorgeous, skinny models? Check. Loads of over the top outfits? Check. Beautiful actress on the cover? Check. Everything a September issue should have. Here is where my issue lies. The cover headline proclaims "584 pages of stylish steals and smart splurges" and in the Index section "100 under $500". Yes, my lovelies. That is Anna Wintour's idea of a steal - under $500 for an item.

Now, your MatchGirl is not a cheapskate. Far from it. She spent more than a decade working luxury retail and owns fabulous items ranging from Anya Hindmarch to Christian Louboutin to Marc Jacobs to Milly to Miu Miu. Of course, I mix these finds with H&M, Old Navy and Uniqlo, since the majority of my wardrobe is made up of lower/mid priced brands. Though, I love fine design and appreciate and authentic luxury item. However, I find neither a $450 beach towel by D. Porthault nor a $495 Judith Leiber lipstick case to be a steal. A $495 leather satchel in a classic color and style by Tory Burch, that will last you for years, perhaps if you consider cost per wear (which your MatchGirl almost always does), but ... really, Vogue? Sure, there are some spectacular items pictured here. But, steals? I think not.

There is an article in the issue by Teri Agins entitled "What Price Fashion?", which attempts to explain how designers are "trying to keep quality high and prices low". Though a cocktail dress, devoid of sequins or feathers or more that 2 yards of fabric, for under $2,000 (retail price $1,999) is not actually low-priced, Oscar de la Renta or not. There is nothing really new here and nothing said that wasn't written already in Dana Thomas's superb look into the world of uber-high end retail, Deluxe: How Luxury Lost It's Lustre. An actual luxury item - one that's made to order or made in a very limited quantity, stitched by hand and made from only the finest materials, should, of course, be at a high price point. It's a piece of art. And, if not one-of-a-kind, it's certainly not something you see everywhere. An item by a designer, who's name you recognize, but is mass-produced in China or Indonesia or wherever materials are cheap and labor is cheaper is simply, by definition, not luxury. It's branded. And the consumer, world-wide, is falling for it. Personally, your MatchGirl, would rather have a quality crafted piece by a lesser known designer, made in the US or Europe somewhere, than a Louis Vuitton bag, crafted in China and sold at the local "high"-end shopping mall. If everyone has one, it's not luxurious, it's mainstream.

For a fashionista on a tight budget, I recommend taking a deep look into your closet at the change of the seasons. Invest money in basics - jeans that fit perfectly; a suit, if your profession calls for it; a great winter jacket/coat; a little black dress; for men, dress shirts that fit well. And when it comes to the trendy or the one time wear, check out the designer collections for Target, go to Forever 21, Old Navy, H&M or Uniqlo (in NYC). Host a clothing swap with your friends and find new favorite pieces that someone else is done with. Hunt through the good Goodwills and Salvation Armies in your city or town. And if there is some pricey something that you absolutely must have, just consider how many times you will wear it, and maybe how sad you will be if you don't add it to your wardrobe. Everyone, even the un(der)employed, deserves a splurge from time to time.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More Fun With Craigslist

In keeping with this morning's post on unpaid internships, your MatchGirl thought she'd share the following, which she found on her afternoon job search.

Seeking Smart, Organized Intern for Exciting Fashion Company (Garment Center )
Date: 2009-09-16, 10:36AM EDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

Fashion Label, selling in Bloomingdales and other fine retail stores, seeks an energetic, smart, motivated intern who is interested in Fashion. Responsibilities include being the right hand to the fashion designer, and assisting in many tasks crucial to the success of the company.
This is a non-paid Internship
Administrative, computer tasks
Marketing Research
Fashion Research
Organizing photo shoots
Errands in Garment Center
Working with suppliers and personal Clients
Meeting buyers and clients of the brand.
And many many other tasks. Every day is interesting and different.
Requirements :
Excellent Organizational skills
Excellent Presentation Skills
Excellent Verbal & Written Communication Skills.
Prefer some background in Fashion , But not absolutely necessary.
Must be available 3-4 Full days per week.
Must be interested in learning about what happens behind the scenes in the development of a Fashion Brand.
Thank you .

* Location: Garment Center
* Compensation: NON-Paid Internship

To be fair to the poster, the "internship" is labeled as such. But if you read down to the bottom, you will see that the employer is requiring a commitment of 3 to 4 full days per week. Now, that is something that a student could do, had this internship been posted at the beginning of the semester, before their class schedules (and usually part-time jobs) were set. It's a few weeks into the semester, however, and I know the students in my class have their lives pretty much organized.

It seems to me that the designer has found themselves in need of an assistant and simply doesn't have the cash to pay for one. "Responsibilities include being the right hand to the fashion designer, and assisting in many tasks crucial to the success of the company."

Dear original poster of this listing, if the assistance the "intern" will be providing is so crucial to the success of your business, don't you think you ought to share the wealth?

Unpaid Internships: Uncool And (Often) Illegal

Ah, my dear readers. There has been a lot of conversation amongst the unemployeds that your MatchGirl spends her time with about internships. Specifically, unpaid internships.

Almost every time I hang out with a fellow unemployed, especially on who is a creative, the conversation, inevitably turns to our job hunts. And, no matter the site they are scrolling, to the sheer and overwhelming amount of unpaid internships that are offered. Now, I have written here before about how annoying it is to click on a job for, say, Executive Assistant to the CEO or Handbag Designer and read all the way down to the bottom of the posting, the paragraphs of job description, the 20 to 50 necessary skills and computer programs that one must know ... and then *poof*, it's an unpaid internship. A great learning experience.

Well, today on Facebook (via Tumblr), Rick Webb, posted a link to the Labor and Employment Law Blog on the legality of the unpaid internship. If you scroll through the comments section, there seems to be a bit of controversy around this blog, but your MatchGirl thinks that's par for the course whenever one challenges the status quo. Whether this guy is "for real" or not, it seems that the following points, at least, make sense when considering the legality of an unpaid internship.

The U.S. Department of Labor has outlined a list of criteria that ALL must be met in order for an internship to be unpaid.

1. The training, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to that which would be given in a vocational school;
2. The training is for the benefit of the trainee;
3. The trainees do not displace regular employees, but work under close observation;
4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees and on occasion the employer’s operations may actually be impeded;
5. The trainees are not necessarily entitled to a job at the completion of the training period; and
6. The employer and the trainee understand that the trainees are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training.

From the above list, #4 is really the key one – all the others will follow from whether the employer derives any immediate benefit from the activities.

The main reason that you do not see more lawsuits regarding unpaid internships is that the interns are very unlikely to sue. In most cases, they fear being blacklisted, as they will undoubtedly need to use the internship as a reference to get any future work.

In a management position at my former place of employment, your MatchGirl was in charge of interns and, while they were helpful in doing some data entry and filing and research that saved me some time, I'm not sure we really benefited from their work. My employer was often trying to find interns to do graphic design work, etc... as we did not really have the funds to pay a competitive salary to a pro, but there are problems in this - especially when getting an intern who is a college student working for credit.

When a person applies for an unpaid internship, they are generally a college student who is interning for credit and to learn the realities of their field. And while the intern expects that they will be doing some grunt work - getting some coffee, filing some invoices - they also expect that there will be someone there, to whom they are reporting, who will act as a mentor, who will show them a few things and who will be able to answer their questions about their chosen path to future employment - paid employment.

Your MatchGirl realizes that the economy is rough. She knows that employers are trying to save money whenever possible. But she thinks that asking a skilled person to work for free is simply not the way to run a business. And, perhaps, not even a legal one. So please, my lovelies, when considering those internships, pay careful attention to what they will be asking of you and what you will be getting out of it. Getting helpful hints on Final Cut Pro from a professional editor, while making the occasional lunch run, is cool. If you're a student or making a career change, you'll get the chance to learn some things and make some connections - we all know that networking is the best way to get a job. But if it seems you will be doing the work of a person they've recently removed from the payroll, then you're being taken advantage of and just walk away.

You'll find something that pays.
We all will.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fun With Craigslist

In case you can't really make it out, the best line is the first:

Earn as a Payroll in a well reputable company at the above location, forward your well updated Resume

Yep. That sounds like a legit job posting there ...

Here's one more:

The position pays an annual base gross salary of $25,000 (payable bi-weekly) plus commission on product sales. The time commitment will average from 40-50 hours per week. Daily hours will vary, but will mainly be M-F.

Um, real quick, gentle readers, look at the salary. Now, I know that there are a lot of people out there who are at the end of their unemployment. And I know that a lot of people out there would take just about anything to make ends meet. But that is about the same "salary" you make on Unemployment in NYC (and less than one makes in our neighboring state of NJ). Anyone who has had a job before knows that working 40-50 hours a week means you will clock closer to 60 and that the hours varying means that you will rarely have a set and dependable schedule to plan your life around. And we all know that mainly Monday through Friday means every other Saturday ...

I know these are desperate times, darlings, but can't we be a little human? Treat people the way we expect to be treated? Pay them what they're worth? Is that too much to ask?

Your MatchGirl thinks not.


As you know, my gentle readers, your MatchGirl has been trying to hone her skills while unemployed. A career change is the long term goal, but more skills for my current one is an added benefit.

In the class I am currently taking at FIT, we are learning some pretty basic Photoshop with CS4. Our current assignment, due tonight, was simply to free-hand some abstract designs, which is kind of fun and also reminds me of the stuff that my sister and I used to do on McDraw and MacPaint on our first family computer (a little Macintosh SE) back in the mid 80s.

Here's one I did based on some fabric I had hand-painted to make a bag from:

And here's the fabric I hand-painted that inspired it:

And here's a photo of my LA friend J and me, by my dear friend Violet Shuraka, after a rehearsal dinner in Boston on 11 September, with the cute bag tucked under my arm:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Unemployed Brooklyn's Best Weekend Bets

Ah, dear readers, another weekend is upon us. Of course, many of you will be attending fabulous Fashion Week activities, but what about those of you who are not connected to (or just don't care about) Fashion Week? Whatever shall you do?

It's New York, of course, so there are about a million other things to do, but your MatchGirl has a couple of good best for you North Brooklyn residents.

This (and every) Saturday, friend of Unemployed Brooklyn Joann Kim presents the Greenpoint Food Market from noon to 6 PM at Church of the Messiah (129 Russell Stree, between Nassau and Driggs).

The Food Market promises loads of local and DIY food and drink for every palette. Among the participants are Mama O's Kimchee, Kombucha and Brooklyn Brine. There will be a food based performance and a bake sale to satisfy your sweet tooth. I'm really excited to have this amazing community based event happening in the neighborhood. I think it'll be a great time!

On Sunday from 1 to 5 PM, Lydia Bell brings a performance piece to East River State Park as a part of Perform Williamsburg. Originally funded by FEAST, a community dinner in Greenpoint that funds new and interesting art projects, Will Work For Pay is a performance piece utilizing un and underemployed artists-turned-dancers.
It aims to create a discreet economy in which artists are paid for creative research. This project suggests a new model of connecting artists to resources by using the art itself as a means of communication.
A couple of very cool things to check out, gentle ones, without even leaving the neighborhood.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What I Did On My Summer Staycation

Ah, my gentle readers, yesterday was Labor Day here in the U.S. of A. and you all know what that means. Summer is over. Maybe not according to the lunar calendar, but for our purposes - done. The kiddies are back to school, the Congress is back in session (working, I'm not so sure), and it is time for the traditional essay of What I Did On My Summer Vacation.

As you know, your MatchGirl has been unemployed for a long time now, so her summer vacation was actually the ever so trendy and topical staycation. To be fair, if one is going to spend ones vacation staying put, New York City is not such a bad place to do so.

A few highlights of my summer staycation included a ferry ride to Governor's Island to see the amazing Bee Gees cover band Tragedy!, a Tuesday spent toasting on the beach at Coney Island with my freelancer roomie and one of his unemployed pals and a NJ transit bus trip to my dear friend G's parents pool in dirty Jersey. Of course, there were also countless afternoons spent reading in McCarren Park, wandering aimlessly through the northernmost parts of North Brooklyn and many a weekday afternoon drinking in my favorite artworks at MoMA. And, while most of my pals have gotten further out of the city several times this summer, your MatchGirl made one quick trip to DC to spend a suburban long weekend with a college gal-pal and her family.

This weekend, Labor Day weekend, was another one where people were away. Several of your MatchGirl's friends are out of the country. A few went to the beach with their hunnies. A few were just too hung over after a fun and fairly debaucherous bachelorette party Friday evening to do anything but curl up on their couches with a couple of aspirin, Gatorade and cable TV. But, dear ones, I had things to do, places to go, errands to run. So I treated myself to a staycation, spending most of the long weekend solo and, I have to tell you, I truly enjoyed myself.

Saturday, I needed to go to Pearl Paint to get a couple of things for school - so I took myself to Chinatown, braving the Saturday crowds. I love the smell of Pearl Paint. There is something in the scent, the moment I open the door that just makes me happy. All the kiddies were there with their Freshman Art lists of supplies, walking around in a clueless daze and your MatchGirl, normally not that excited to have to squeeze through the aisles teenagers, was overwhelmed with nostalgia. Normally, items procured, on a sunny Saturday afternoon, I would high-tail in out of the Chinatown tourist crowds. But not this day. Instead I took myself for a dinner of spring rolls and pho at Pho Viet Huong on Mulberry Street, totally cheap and within the unemployed gal's budget and tasty, too!

Sunday, due to the lack of power in my apartment, my to-do list was totally off-whack. So I sat on the stoop and read the paper. I cut some fabric to stictch up later (when the power was restored). I worked on my homework (yes. Nerd.). When the power came back, I watched a couple of girly movies (ooh - double feature An Affair to Remember and The Way We Were!) and when a friend called to cancel a potential evening out, that was A-OK. Sure, my laundry didn't get done, but I felt quite accomplished.

And Monday, Labor Day, itself, I celebrated with friends on a rooftop on the southside of Williamsburg - old friends, great food, silly dogs running about and an amazing view of Manhattan. Hey, a girl can't spend the whole Holiday weekend basking in her own company, can she?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Back To School

There is a lot of talk out there about how the unemployed can get some cash to go back to school in this economic downturn. A lot of it has some strings attached and a lot of it is for really specific job-training, but let's consider, gentle readers, the benefits of education not only in your hunt for a new (better, more stable) job, but how it can help in your unemployment.

Think about your days. Perhaps you are motivated and rise early in the morning, go to the gym, go for a run, etc ... Perhaps you are always on the move. Perhaps you spend the day on the couch feeling sorry for yourself. And, of course, all of this depends on what point of your unemployment you're at. Of course you look for jobs - you network, you cruise Monster and Craigslist and whatever other sites you're plaintively searching for a job on. But, do you have projects? Things that you're working on which need actual deadlines?

Tonight, your MatchGirl starts class at FIT. Fall semester, with a handful of young and fresh-faced students? It's just one class and yes, it's towards a greater goal of not only a job, but of a career. A career in something I'll enjoy - as opposed to a career that's there for a paycheck. However, dear ones, I gotta say, as my unemployment lingers, I am excited to start a class. To have a schedule that's for something greater. Even if I wasn't looking for a change in career, I believe that taking a class is a great idea. It gives you structure. It makes you committed to being somewhere, every week, and accomplishing things for this class. It gives your days different purpose than just looking for a job.

I'm taking a class at FIT. The semester has started, but they have lots of weekend classes and continuing ed programs and, as a SUNY school, they are very reasonably priced. Check out the evening and weekend classes online here. Anyone else have great places that the unemployed can "better" themselves? I know some people take classes at 3rd Ward and Noble Desktop. Anything else?