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


©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


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!


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!


Smart Office Manager (Midtown)
Date: 2009-11-10, 3:56PM EST
Reply to: [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)


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.
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