Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Waiting Game

Ah, gentle readers. Your MatchGirl is not a fan of waiting.  That is not to say that I cannot be a patient girl, but when I want something to happen, I want it to happen.  I believe in doing what I can to make things happen and I believe in trying to figure out how to make things happen when I'm  not sure.

To be honest, when it comes to an income, I am very much in the position where I am trying to figure out how to make things happen - as I'm not really sure what my next step ought to be.  And full-time employment, job interviews, even, seem to elude me.

This is a post about waiting. 
This is yet another post about how looking for a job and the dating world are so very much the same game.

In both, you need to show interest.  But just enough.  Too much interest and you may seem a little creepy or obsessive.  Too little interest and you will not be taken seriously.

In both job seeking and dating, you need to show up the first time ready to make the best impression.  The right shoes.  The right outfit.  Hair coiffed exactly right.  You need to have fresh breath and the right accessories on hand, be it resumes or condoms, prepared for anything.

You need to spend a lot of time looking.  And I mean a lot.  Whether you are trolling the job sites on line or obsessively e-mailing employers you'd just like to work for, it's not so different than paging through the dating sites or keeping an eye to Missed Connections (just in case that cute boy in the jeans and sneakers with ironic glasses noticed you, too).  Putting together your LinkedIn profile is pretty much the same as filling out your page on Nerve.com.  Either way, it's upon you to sell yourself in a very short amount of space - to make people want to e-mail you.

In my humble experience, however, dear ones, the biggest similarity is the waiting.  And the waiting.  And the waiting.

You go on an interview.  You send your Thank You e-mails and/or letters.  And then you wait.  Perhaps you phone them or e-mail them again.  But mostly, you wait - either for rejection or confirmation.  You just hope that they ask you in again.

You are introduced to a gentleman (or lady) by mutual friends.  You chat.  You have a drink.  Perhaps you share some food.  You feel like you'd like to get to know this person better.  They ask for your number/e-mail/card, so you feel like they'd like to know you better as well.  And then you wait.  And you wait.  And that's just the way things go.

Your MatchGirl is not good at this kind of waiting.  She likes to have a plan - to have action - to know what is going to happen next.  I feel the same disappointment when I don't hear back from a prospective employer regarding my interviews (I understand that not every applicant will receive acknowledgment of their submission, but after one or two interviews a courtesy e-mail or call is only appropriate!) as when that cute guy that asked for my number/e-mail/card doesn't call.  The worst part of it?  Knowing there is nothing I can do about it.


Image from some kid's project on the 70s and 80s

Friday, January 22, 2010

Beauty School Dropout

Ah, gentle readers, your MatchGirl knows that these are tough times. Money is tight and a thrifty gal needs to pinch her pennies. But does that mean that a thrifty gal can't still look her prettiest?

No. It most certainly does not.

Your MatchGirl sent a questionnaire out to some of her gal pals - from makeup artists to beauty PR mavens to simply cool gals - to ask them to name their favorite drugstore beauty products.

Here's what the ladies had to say:

For your skin care fix, Jeannine of Beauty Sweetspot swears by Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Moisturizer ($12.99 at drugstore.com) while makeup artist Alice recommends Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash to keep her complexion smooth and clear.  My dear friend Kora says "Aveeno Anti-Blemish Foaming Face Wash! Smells awesome and retails for like 6 bucks."  As a great, and multi-purpose (remove eye makeup, heal tattoos), deep body moisturizer, Pam and Kora both go nuts for Aquaphor.  Seriously nuts - your MatchGirl's inbox was a back and forth of how much they both loved it and all its purposes!


For brilliant color at home, LA based makeup artist Konnie says that Clairol Natural Instincts "always gives me great semi-permanent color results without the stink" And to keep your 'do doing what it's supposed to, Nancy recommends Citre-Shine Anti-Frizz Serum, for $6.99.

For a scent on a budget, Nancy recommends going old school and letting Calgon take you away, with its Body Mist.  Her favorite fragrance?  Hawaiian Ginger.  Yum.


As for your MatchGirl, gentle ones, I have been a girl on a budget for a very long time and I have a long list of drugstore favorites.  For washing my face, I am a big fan of alternating Cetaphil non-foaming cleanser and St. Ives Apricot Scrub.  For spot treating blemishes, you can't go wrong with Burt's Bees Herbal Blemish Stick (and I love the licorice-y scent).  I moisturize just like my mom and my nana before her with Oil of Olay.  And you can never go wrong with my number one makeup must have - Maybelline mascara.


What are some of your favorite beauty secrets on the cheap?


For your pretty pout, Vickie swears by L'oreal Colour Juice Sheer Juicy Lip, for about $8 a tube, while Pam suggests you keep them moisturized with Nivea's Lip Care line.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Haiti Fundraiser - TOMORROW

Gentle readers, it's times like this that your MatchGirl is reminded that things could be a lot worse.  Sure, I don't have a job or a boyfriend.  Sure there is a little mouse that, even with a kitten in the apartment, won't seem to go away.  But, you know what?  I have an apartment.  My friends and family are all OK.  I know where they are and that they are doing OK.  Right now, a lot of people can't say that.

As a response to the devastation in Haiti last week (and with this mornings 6.1 aftershock making it all the more imperative) a group of Brooklyn designers and artists and DJs, include dear friend of Unemployed Brooklyn, Bob Bland of Brooklyn Royalty, have come together to raise money to send to Haiti. The benefit is tomorrow evening, Thursday, January 21st from 7PM to midnight.

Details, from the website:

✦Save Haiti Benefit/Silent Auction✦

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

7pm-12am

@ Night Owl
170 North 4th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211

✦Optional Open Bar of Well & Beer All Night with $30 donation✦

✦HOSTED BY✦

MONICA SHARP

THE GIRLS OF FINDERZKEEPERZ

✦ WITH DJs ✦

DANCES WITH WHITE GIRLS

COBRA KRAMES

DIRTY FINGER

FULL TIME FUN

ARQ

K!O

✦SPONSORs & PHOTOGRAPHERs✦

THE CULTURE OF ME

LILLY FRANCES

NALBAND


Silent Auction of local Brooklyn Designs, Art & Fashion
All proceeds will be distributed equally to benefit Haitian Relief Efforts in the following organizations:

UNICEF (http://www.unicef.org)
American Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org)
Doctors Without Borders (http://doctorswithoutborders.org)

Clothing, Food & Water Donations also accepted on behalf of:
Food for the Poor (http://www.foodforthepoor.org)
Fashion Delivers (http://www.fashiondelivers.org)

For more details, to volunteer or give donations email: bobblanddesign [at] gmail.com

You can read my posting on Greenpointers and you can see all the details on the Brooklyn Royalty website.

Extended Benefits

Ah, gentle readers, your MatchGirl has been receiving a lot of comments and emails lately about unemployment extensions and the confusion surrounding them.  Unfortunately, I do not have the answers.  And, if you live outside of New York state, I am at a loss as to how to help you. 

Personally, when I had to apply for my extension - not such a bad process, save the 45 minute wait to actually speak to someone, which you're required to do - the woman that I spoke with was fine.  She was as helpful as she possibly could be.  When I asked her to help me figure out how much longer I had, she said she had no way of knowing, because it was different for each person.  Of course it is.  And she was in my file.  But she could not help.  She directed me to the calculator on the NYS Department of Labor website.

Duh.

Of course I had checked that out.  I didn't really find it that helpful.  It's all just the possibility of how many weeks you might get. 

Late last week, however, I did a little looking and found this link that was much more helpful.  It shows unemployment eligibility based on when you started collecting.  It's much clearer than anything that I have come across previously.

Hopefully it's helpful!  good luck, everyone!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Greenpointers: My G Train Shuttle Adventure

Read about my Sunday adventure with the G Train shuttle bus on Greenpointers.

Think You Have It Bad?

A friend alerted me to these cool maps on Kiplinger, with unemployment broken down by state and, further than that, by year.

I know that it doesn't make any of you feel any better to see that other states are worse off than you. And I know that when I scrolled through, it certainly didn't make me feel any better to see that it was way worse in 1976 for New York than it was in 2009. But it does give some perspective to my situation.

It stinks out there right now. You have to work your extra hard to get a job - any job. I like, however, the perspective that this map gives. Because, yes, things are bad right now. It's possible that they'll get worse. But, and here's the thing, they have been worse. And the economy recovered. Everyone needs to take a step back and do whatever they can to get ahead (or back to where you were before your layoff). This is the time for thinking outside the box. This is the time for innovation.

This is most certainly not the time to be resting on your laurels or sitting on your butt complaining about how bad things are. Everyone knows how bad they are.

But it's been a lot worse.

Image from Anderson Cooper 360° blog on CNN

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hire Me Martha: The Blog Show

Oh my goodness, gentle readers! Your MatchGirl had quite a week. And I apologize for the lack of posts. I have, however, a very good excuse.

You MatchGirl was on The Martha Stewart Show!

Read all about my day on Hire Me Martha.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

More Fun With Craigslist

Ah, gentle readers, the new year brings new fun with the job hunting resource that is Craigslist. Today your MatchGirl found this e-mail in the Unemployed Brooklyn inbox.

F writes:

I applied to this job on craigslist

http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/med/1539969137.html

.... This is what I got in return....

HA! thought you would find it funny to say the least!



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: xxx xxxxxx
Date: Thu, Jan 7, 2010 at 9:57 AM
Subject: more about the job
To:


Thanks for responding. I should probably tell you more about the job.This job is flexible so you can do it wherever you are provided that there is a post office in the area. In addition to that, I don't mind you doing all of the tasks during your spare time outside of work or school. Where are you located? I wish I could meet up with you to talk about this job in person but I am currently away on business.

I am in Australia so there will be no interview. I will prepay you in advance to do my shopping and have my mails/packages forwarded to your address. If you will be unable to stay at home to get the mails, I can have them shipped to a post office near you and then you can pick them up at your convenience.All errands are in city and is metro/taxi/bus accessible. When you get my mails/packages; you are required to mail them to where I want them mailed to. You won't have to put money out of your pocket, all you have to do is have packages shipped to your house and do my shopping. You are allowed to open the packages to reveal the content. The content of the packages will be business and
personal mails.

All expenses and taxes will be covered by me. You will work between 15 and 20hrs a month.How much will you charge per month? I will pay $400.. That is not a bad offer is it? I need your service because I am constantly out of town... I work in real estate and I own an.Art Gallery in Australia. I will return to Usa in BY MAY ending so this process will be on going till then. If you don't mind, I will meet up with you when I return and then we can talk about the possibility of making this long term. Well, let me know if you are able to handle the position. I will email you the list and pictures of what to shop for when I am ready. No heavy packages is involved! You can do the shopping at nearest stores. You will be shopping for Electronics and clothings. I will provide you my UPS account number for Shipping. All you have to do is provide my account number to UPS and shipping charges will be applied into the account. I will provide clear set of instructions for each task I need done as well the funds to cover them. If I were to mail you money to do my shopping plus upfront payment for your service, where would you want it mailed to? How should your name appear on the money?
Thank you..

Name:::::

Address:: (NOT PO BOX )

state::::

City:::::

zip code:

Phone number::

Thanks for your time.


best regard....

Is there anything else to say?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Banking on Mom and Dad

A few months ago, while drinking coffee and watching a rerun of 90210 on SoapNet, I saw an ad for a new show called The Bank of Mom & Dad.  I didn't think much of it at the time - just another reality show, no?  But a couple of weeks ago, I caught an episode of this show, and it's fascinating.

Sure, it's fascinating in that way that reality shows are always fascinating - they're like a car wreck that you rubber neck while driving by - gruesome, but you just can't look away.  But it's also fascinating because the girls on this show are like so many people we keep hearing about being so affected by the "economic downturn"- when the economy was high, they spent and spent and spent - totally beyond their means - and now that the economy sucks, they have no idea what to do.  Actually, before the economy sucked, they had no idea what to do.

The basic premise of the show is that there is a 20-something woman who overspends on her credit cards, who hardly works, eats out all the time and whose parents (and sometimes boyfriend/fiance/husband) pay off any overflow, or maybe all, of their bills.  So the production company sends her mom and dad to live with her for a week and show her how to take control of her finances, with the help of an economic expert (a cute and very relatable 30-something gal).  To be fair, in the show, they do make sure to say that it's not all the girl's fault - her parents are responsible, too - always bailing her out, supporting her, and not ever teaching her the value of the dollar (or hard work). 

And here's where I'm confused.  And here's where it becomes pertinent to the real world - or, at least, our world.  It's a reflection of our society as a whole that there are so many people out there just like these women.  I'm not saying that no one should have a credit card, but I really don't understand the idea of living so far beyond your means.  It's only asking for trouble.  Sure, if you don't have the cash on Wednesday but you get paid on Friday and you will then, by all means put the hot new date-night shoes on your credit card and then take the money from your check to put towards your credit card bill.  But if you really want those Louboutins and you are not going to have the money for months upon months, forget 'em girls!  Wait for the Barney's Warehouse Sale (that's where I got mine, at over 75% off) or you save up for them.  It seems common sense, gentle readers.

I'm not saying anything bad about consumerism.  Your MatchGirl worked retail for over a decade and wouldn't have been able to pay her bills had it not been for the magic of people over-spending.  But I am saying something about a culture that places such high value on stuff - and getting the stuff by any means necessary.  And about a society that doesn't teach its young people the value of a dollar - or even how to balance a checkbook.  Perhaps iif we paid more attention to these things, the country (the world) wouldn't be in the mess we're in now.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Resolve

Today starts a new year, dear readers, and with the new year come resolutions for that year. We think of how we want to better ourselves. We think about what we need to do to further our goals. We think of vices we have and which ones we should leave behind with the old year. Your MatchGirl is no different. No, certainly not. I have spent a lot of time, over the past couple of days, thinking about a new year's resolution for this new decade.

So, this morning (not that early) I walked through Williamsburg and Greenpoint, before many people were awake. It was quiet - near silent - on Bedford Ave and kind of gorgeous and I was in quite a good mood. Honestly, I couldn't help but smile as I walked up the street, thinking about my lovely night, spent low key with old, dear friends, and about all the possibilities that a new year, a new decade, even a new morning, bring.

Earlier, a friend asked me if I had made a New Year's resolution. And, gentle ones, indeed I had. I feel like this was the first year in a long time, when asked that question, that I could answer right away.

I told him this: "Yes. To have no expectations."

Now, some of you may say that this is not so hard to do. But, for your MatchGirl, it's not as easy as it seems. We go through this life expecting a lot - of friends, of events, of lovers, of places - and it's all so very depressing. Sometime in the past few months, I started trying to lower my expectations. That's not to say that I don't hope that people treat me well or with respect. That's not to say that I don't want a lot from life and it's not to say that I'm not worth a lot. It's simply to say that we put such high importance on how something is going to turn out or how someone is going to act - we spend so much time thinking three steps ahead that we don't ever revel in the moment. So, for this brand new decade, I resolve to take life as it comes, to revel in the moment and not to expect how anything will turn out (or anyone will act).

Wish me luck!

image courtesy the LIFE photo archive on Google

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year In Review

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

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

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

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

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