Monday, November 22, 2010

Some Press

In April, right before getting her new job, your MatchGirl was featured in the Finnish newspaper Aamulehti.  If anyone knows Finnish, feel free to let me know what it says about me!

Without work but full of energy
A fighter: a New York bachelor of arts has been actively applying for jobs for 6 months without success.

B.C. from New York lost her job 18 months ago, but hasn't let it get her down. "I was let go in November 2008. I'd been working in DEX New York-fashion company as an executive producer for three years and just couldn't believe I was being let go. I considered myself an integral part of the company and good at my job. The reasons they gave me were related to production and the economy. The first couple of months were depressing. I missed the job, the daily rhythm it created and my colleagues. I spent a lot of time at home by myself not doing anything.
After a few months I reasoned with myself that I couldn't take the dismissal personally in this economic climate. I've been applying for jobs constantly, honing my CV and my application and training for interview situations thousands of times. Still, I haven't had luck in landing a job.
I have a bachelor's degree in arts. Because of my degree and my job experience, I'd really rather not go for an underpaid trainee position. At the moment it feels like, however, that there's little else on offer. And the competition is tough. Last week in an interview I was told that they picked me out of 450 applicants, which is encouraging."

Saved by a blog
"New York is an expensive place to live, but I seem to get by ok. I recieve 1720 dollars in unemployment benefits per month. I live with my friend in Brooklyn in an apartment with a rent of 1700 dollars a month. A lot of my friends are also unemployed which isn't surprising given that the country's unemployment rate is nearly 10%. I know a few people who see their lack of employment as such a disgrace that they haven't even told their parents about it. There's a huge risk that they'll get depressed and isolated. My savior has been my blog.
The now nearly one year old Unemployed In Brooklyn blog started receiving comments from other unemployed people almost immediately after its launch and these days it enjoys a tight knit but wide community. The blog has 1500 individual readers per month and we meet up with the most active readers regularly. The group has brought a lot of joy to my life and some unbelievable friendships. The most important part though, has been the peer support. Who knows, I might even find my next job through this community."
Your family connections?
I live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn with a gay friend who I consider a part of my family these days. My parents and one of my sisters live in Boston, another sister lives in Los Angeles.
What do you do in your spare time?
Anything free. I meet friends, go out or visit the library. I don't shop.
What do you watch on the TV?
After I was let go I would watch TV around the clock until the morning soaps really started to bum me out. Now I only watch my favourites like Mad Men, Millionaire Matchmaker and Top Chef.
Do you dream about traveling?
Being unemployed I can't afford to travel even if I have the time and the will. As an employed person I would treat myself to weekend trips.
Do you watch your energy consumption?
Electricity is so expensive in the US that you have to control your use. Fortunately heating and hot water are included in the rent.
How would you describe your diet?
I try to eat healthy and avoid red meat. But occasionally I'll succumb to a hamburger in a restaurant. I cook a lot at home and favour local produce. I enjoy baking and my Nutella-oatmeal cookies are my biggest weakness.
Are you concerned over healthcare issues?
I feel healthy and in good shape. But since my income is so small, I don't have a health insurance and suddenly falling ill is a concern for me.

(Image caption: "I live frugally and often have to say no to temptation. To prevent myself from living outside my means, I cut my credit cards in half after I'd been unemployed for 6 months")
Thanks to my dear friend Diana, I've gotten a translation of this article.  Some of the facts are off - I'd been looking for a job for longer than six months; I was the Operations Manager at DEX; and I haven't had a credit card since 2001 (though it's probably more interesting to make up a quote like the one above - journalistically not cool, but ...  eh.).  But it's still pretty cool to be featured in a huge newspaper in Finland!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Will Anything Come From The Lame Duck?

It's that time again, gentle readers, when Congress returns to Washington to sit on their bums and get pretty much nothing done.  Yep.  It's another lame duck session.  Your MatchGirl would like to believe that the Congress-people and Senators will do their due diligence and decide about a few things that are on their agenda.  Your MatchGirl would like to believe that they will not just bide their time, waiting for the new session to begin in 2011 and a partisan rivalry to throw the country into a standstill for the next two years.

For unemployeds, there is only one true issue - I mean, it's great if they vote on the 20 bills they've got lined up - but, dear ones, there is only one bill that matters to you right now.  One they need to vote on before November 30, 2010.  And that is the extension of unemployment benefits.  If Congress doesn't vote before this date, before the Thanksgiving recess, then upwards of 2 million people could be left with no safety net.  No matter your thoughts on the unemployed in this country - whether you think they are milking the system, they are lazy or you really know the truth - there are a lot of people who rely heavily on those benefits - to feed their families, to pay their rent, to get their heat turned on - and it's not fair, entering the holiday season, especially,  to leave them so literally out in the cold.

This morning I heard a figure on the radio - I can't recall the source they were quoting - that said for every one dollar put into unemployment benefits, two dollars go back into the community.  This means that those people collecting benefits (people like you and formerly me), are buoyed by this tiny bit of income these benefits provide and they are paying them back to the economy - into the MTA, into the indie bookstore down the block, into Walmart, into the bodega, into church collection baskets, into grocery stores and farmer's markets.  Here is a place where math as most of us understand it does not make sense.  Here is a place where one equals two.

Your MatchGirl is no economist.  But hey, neither are most of the people who are sitting in the House and Senate right now.  Goodness knows, there has to be a better way.  But she knows one thing, gentle ones, she knows that any math you do that makes one equal two is only good math in this economy.  Sure, job creation is paramount - unemployment extensions are no magic salve, merely a Band-Aid on the wound - but those jobs will take time to create and fill.  It cannot happen overnight.  They will certainly not be created in the next few weeks nor, realistically speaking, the next few years.

There is no instant solution to the massive problems in joblessness, malemployment and unemployment in this country, but if the lame duck Congress does just one thing right in the next handful of weeks it will be to pass another unemployment extension.  This is important.  This matters.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


When what you do for a living makes you want to kill yourself.
I re-edit text that has already been edited in India; I am so malemployed.
-Urban Dictionary

I heard this word the other day, listening to The Takeaway on WNYC, while getting ready for work.  This, gentle readers, was not a word that your MatchGirl had heard before.  Apparently, according to reporter Beth Kobliner, it's a word coined in the 1970s, during that decade's high unemployment levels.  And with unemployment rates, on record, at nearly 10% country-wide - and actual unemployment teetering at closer to 20% - because the record does not take into account those people whose unemployment insurance has run out and those people who are no longer actively searching for jobs - what is there, realistically, out there, besides malemployment?

While I may have never heard the term before, being malemployed is something with which your MatchGirl is very very familiar.  And, while I studied art and that is the kind of things that educated artists often are - waiting tables, working retail, pouring coffee - all while having fancy degrees, it is not something that most people should be.  It is not something that most people expect to be.

The word malemployed is interesting to me, though, in its difference to underemployed.  I've been using them interchangeably for months upon months.  But they are two distinct things.  Underemployment -a term that I, and many like me, have been using to define both those people who are working jobs that are "below" (for lack of a better word) them and those people who are working, but not enough - refers simply to the fact that the person does not have enough work.  It doesn't matter what that work is.  Malemployment, on the other hand, defines those people who are working, but are working at jobs well under their eduction or career level.

When I was unemployed, most of what I thought about was getting a job and, at the beginning, dear ones, getting a job that was better and more interesting than the one from which I was laid off.  Towards the end of my unemployment, dear readers, is when your MatchGirl started giving serious thought to giving in to malemployment - to taking a job that would be well below her education and her work experience, simply to sustain - barely at that - some semblance of life.  Because at that point a job - ANY JOB - would have done.  I'm glad that things did not come to that, but I am also very aware that they could have very easily gone down that path.

For those of you unlucky enough to be among the malemployed, some links you might find interesting:

Our soul-crushingly indistinguishable jobs are the Darwinistic extension of Henry Ford’s assembly line.  Our jobs are interchangeable parts designed to be quick, cheap and easy to replace even by an HR person.  All to keep labor costs down and drive profits ever higher to satisfy investors and Jim Cramer’s Mad Money crew.  And we know why we stay – we need the money and there is nothing else out there.
Please Fire Me

Malemployment represents the inability of a college graduate to find a job that effectively uses the knowledge, skills and abilities acquired in college and relegates them to employment in low-skill and generally low-wage occupations that don’t utilize college-level proficiencies. Since the skills of the malemployed remain largely unused by employers, they experience considerable wage losses.
The New England Board of Higher Education

Recent college grads are facing underemployment  or “malemployment,” meaning that they are working at jobs that do not require a college degree.  Professor of Economics at Northeastern University Andrew Sum estimates that during the first half of 2010, more than 50 percent of young B.A.-holders were employed at jobs not requiring a college degree.
Edu In Review

What do you think, gentle ones, are the jobs you are finding - whether ones you've take on or ones your applying to in dire hopes they'll call you back -do these job represent the crisis of malemployment in the country today?  Do you think there is anything that any of us can do about it?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


The other day, gentle readers, a wise friend sent me a birthday message wishing me a happy new year.  And your MatchGirl thinks that this is the passage of time that deserves reflection.  Resolutions? Perhaps.  I'm not so sure.  But reflection, most certainly.

Your MatchGirl had a wonderful birthday weekend.  I celebrated in Greenpoint and Williamsburg - with old friends and new and some who I was lucky enough to meet through this blog.  On Sunday, Boyfriend and I drove out to the Hamptons and took a walk along the Autumnal (his word) beach.

All in all, it was a good weekend.  There is nothing that I would have done differently.

As readers of this little page know, a lot has changed for your MatchGirl in the past 12 months.  I'm no longer unemployed.  I'm not so much single.  I've done things and met people in this past year that I could not have imagined on the eve of my 34th birthday.  And I could not feel more lucky for it.

Thank you, all, for this year.

Here's to the next.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Space And Place

Ah, gentle readers, your MatchGirl has made a resolution to herself to spend more time writing in this little space.  I want to write to you more about what I hear about unemployment issues and underemployment; about health insurance (or your lack thereof); of boys and dating; of how it all somehow comes together and draws parallel lines in life.

I am in a space where I have been at my new job for about 7 months.  Long enough that I cannot call it my "new" job.  It's my job.  Though, after a year and a half sharing this unemployed world with you, it still feels like a new job.  It feels like a new life. 

And that, gentle readers, makes it harder for me to write for you here.  To focus my mind, even for an hour or two a day - and we all know there are not enough hours in the day, as is - on the struggles that are still happening every day for the unemployed and the underemployed, to the issues that I still care a great deal about, takes me to another place.

I have it pretty good, I think, in this work place that I'm in - frustrating though it may be some days.  I get to write on the company blog - and I get to write posts that I'm proud of.  I got to travel to Bogotá, Colombia.  I get to work with a whole bunch of cool people (located in a lot of different offices, all over the world).  But now I am at the place where I need to seriously figure out my next move in that world.  Or, more importantly, how to actually make it happen.

Dear readers, your MatchGirl, feels very lucky to be employed.  I feel in a good place to be plotting my future.  To wrap my head around where I can make things lead in my work life.  To be comfortable enough to relax and see where things will lead in my love life (and yes, there is, and it's a whole separate story). 

Over all, gentle ones, your MatchGirl feels like she is in a very good place.

I hope you are all on your way there, too.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Last night, Americans went to the polls and they voted.
In this MatchGirl's opinion, gentle readers, many of them voted against those in office, as opposed to for those whose ideals they share.

This saddens me.
This frightens me.

For the unemployed and underemployed, who knows what will become of us when this crop of Tea Party people take control in January. I am not being overly dramatic when I say that, with these election results, I fear for our future.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Why You Need To Vote Tomorrow

Because people like this actually exist, your MatchGirl beseeches you - Please remember to VOTE on November 2nd!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rocking The Boat

Ah, gentle readers, with the midterm election fast approaching, your MatchGirl's, though currently employed, mind keeps turning to her unemployed and underemployed friends and neighbors.  The unemployment rate is stagnant and where it drops - in nearby states like New Jersey, it's supposed that this is only because so many people's benefits have run out that they are no longer being tracked.  And income levels have not changed in a very long time.

A quick little internet search reveals that - with the last numbers - the unemployment rate here in Kings County is slightly above the national average, and above the average for the rest of the sate of New York - at 10.5%.

Your MatchGIrl knows, dear ones, that many of you have found jobs - some are making more than you were before, some less.  Some of you have found jobs in your chosen field.  Some of you, like your MatchGirl, have veered in a new direction, either through choice or circumstance.  Some of you simply took the first thing that was offered to you, knowing that you could stay unemployed no longer.  And a great many of you are underemployed.

Those of you who have found jobs - I know - are incredibly grateful to be working.  I am.

Here's the question, though: Do you find yourselves, just because you are so very excited to (finally) be working again, letting your employers take advantage of your eagerness?  Do you find yourself too eager to please that you're being overworked and (probably) underpaid? Are you finding yourself afraid to rock the boat simply because you are terrified of not having a job again?

Your MatchGirl hears things and reads things - both news article and anecdotes - and, unfortunately, I think that this is the case - across the board.  And I understand being grateful to be employed.  I am.

Be careful, gentle ones, in walking that tightrope that lies between gratitude and being taken advantage of.  Be careful in keeping your new and oh-so-hard to come by job.  But take care of yourself and your needs.  Know that you were hired for several reasons - and being a door mat was (hopefully!) not amongst them!

What do you think? Are you moving on up in your new found employment? Or simply treading water, trying not to capsize?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cast Your Vote

Gentle readers, October 8th marked the final day to register for November 2nd's mid-term election in New York State.  Your MatchGirl sincerely hopes that you have registered and that you plan on being at  the polls on November 2nd.

It may not seem like a big deal, a mid-term election.  But, it is.  If you are still unemployed.  If you are under-employed.  If you are living paycheck to paycheck.  If you are worried about what will become of you if things don't start to improve, then it is most certainly a big deal to vote in this election.  Whomever is elected next month will be instrumental in forming your future.

You can find a comprehensive list of all the candidates, for New York State or your own, on the Smart Voter website.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Ah, gentle readers, as you may be aware, your MatchGirl is fast approaching one of those pivotal birthdays - one of those milestone years that makes you re-examine your life, your decisions; where you've been and where you want to go; what you want versus what you need.

I think that I have been pretty lucky, in general.  I have a great and loving support system in friends and family.  I have people that care what's going on in my life and whether I am OK or not - whether I am working or unemployed.  I have you, dear ones, reading and sending encouragement to me and, more importantly, to each other, via this little web page and the Facebook page.  I have a roof over my head and money to buy groceries and dinners and cocktails.  I am slowly (very slowly) getting my shit together to save some pennies after a very long year and a half of unemployment.  I've been at my current job for about six months and, by all accounts, it's going pretty well.

When I was 25 and thought ahead to being 35, it seemed very far away.  And it was.  Looking back to 25 feel like a lifetime has passed in that decade.  So many things have happened.  So many people have come in and out of my life.  But, in 2000, it seemed like I had a lot of life ahead of me, like 35 was a long time away.  And, I knew, that by the time I was 35, I would be an adult.  I would be established in my career.  I would be married (I thought to the man I was with when I was 25).  I would have a very "grown-up" home.  I would have children.  None of these things have come true.  And 45 does not seem so far from 35 as 35 did from 25.

So, I am considering need versus want.

I lack for very little.

Yet, I still want.  Don't we all?

I mean, I need to save money.  I need to pull together savings for retirement, even though I've just barely started a new career.  I need to save for the eventuality of a home and children and all the hundreds and thousands of dollars that go with those commitments.  I need to continue to do well in my job - to grow and move ahead within it.  I need to keep a roof over my head a my belly full of good food and to do yoga and get enough sleep and drink enough water.  I need to know that I am loved.  And I need to give my own love.  These are my needs.  They are simple.  They are basic.  They are, I think, pretty universal.

But I want.

I want this little gold octopus necklace I keep spying in the vitrine at Catbird.
I want these cute DKNY sheets.
I want pretty much the entire Hayden Harnett Fall 2010 collection.
I want a new tattoo by the very talented Myles Karr.

But that's the thing.  They're just wants.  My life, dear readers, will go on, even without the Cromwell jacket.  And, those of you who know me know I already have a couple of necklaces with octopus motifs, so...  you know...  I don't really need the necklace either.  And my shoulder can live ink free for a while longer - it's gone this far...

When I was younger and my birthday or a holiday approached, I could easily whip up a Wish List for my parents/family members/boyfriends of things I absolutely "had to have".  It was so simple.  I wanted so much.  I don't feel want in the same way any longer.  It's definitely not a want that feels like a need.

Simply a wistful, wishing kind of want.

There are so many more important things in my life these days.

Things that I actually need:

Perfect kisses.
A strong hand to hold.
A place to put my thoughts.
A circle of friends - to share laughs and tears and crazy nights and quiet Sunday afternoons.
Sunshine through my windows.
Mornings of yoga and black coffee.
A crazy job to go to and a quiet home to come back to.

Pretty basic, really.

But, don't get me wrong.  If any of you feel like buying me any of the things that I want ...  well, that's cool, too.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Millenials - Generation Y-Not?

A couple of weeks ago, gentle readers, the New York Times published - in the Sunday Magazine – an article about the new generation of twenty-somethings.  About how they are now adults (as adults are perceived).  About how they are not on a career track.  About how, maybe due to the economy, maybe not, are moving back home with Mom and Dad.

And while the impression given, despite the fact that all the photos were by twenty-something Yale MFA grads, was one that the current generation of twenty-somethings is a bunch of freeloading, lazy and uninspired kids, your MatchGirl sees that proven wrong every day. And, while, dear ones, your MatchGirl may be well out of her twenties – firmly planted in GenX – the Millenials and those at the tail end of GenY who she knows are certainly no slackers.

Through this little web space alone, your MatchGirl has been introduced to a ton of twenty-something “kids” who disprove the Times’ thesis every day.  From my Work It Brooklyn co-founders Joann Kim  and Aja Marsh to my kid sister who works full time as a rape crisis counselor while going to graduate school to my friend Emily, working crazy hours in the fashion world while constantly striving for culinary perfection.  Not one of these women is a slacker.  Not one of hit hard times and just turned tail and moved back in with her parents.  Certainly not one of them decided to just mooch off of someone else while they figured their shit out.

Every couple of years, an article comes out touting the next generation as lazy or ditzy or less than the generation that came before them.  Your MatchGirl must warn against painting a whole generation with such a wide brush.

I mean, my grandparents – the “greatest generation” – definitely looked at the next generation, my parents’ generation, as a bunch of loser, slacker, hippie, do-nothings, too.

Just a thought.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Jane Austen?

A month or two ago, sitting with a girlfriend in my kitchen, drinking beer and sewing curtains, we gossiped, as people do, about relationships - past, present and future. As stories unfolded, she looked at me, gentle readers, and told me that I should write them all down, so that when she was finished reading the works of Jane Austen, she could read the tales of your MatchGirl's loves and losses.

Now, your MatchGirl has not read a lot of Jane Austen, though perhaps that would be a good summer reading endeavor, but my life's loves are certainly full of complex stories. There are none so simple as "girl meets boy". Of course, is that ever really the case in this modern society? We spend so much time online - making friends and acquaintances over social networking sites. We keep in touch with those we love over text messages and e-mails. I don't know about you, dear readers, but I barely just talk on the phone any longer.  It's a rare treat when I have the time.

I have one dear friend who met a girl in real life, and then, while living in separate countries, and chatting online and via Skype on a regular basis, decided that they should be in a relationship - before they had ever been alone together.  They've, of course, since spent time together.  And, to my eyes, and your MatchGirl has known this gentleman for a very long time, he is very happy.

Your MatchGirl, in case you could not tell, loves the written word.  And I love getting to know someone using the written word, but I wonder if all these things (of which I heartily partake) that are supposed to make it easier to communicate really make it harder.  I wonder if we were better off in those days where you met someone, in real life first, and got to know them slowly over a matter of time - over drinks and coffees and dinners and walks from the movie theater.  I remember those times.  I'm not sure my life was any better for it, but I wonder about them.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Benefits Getting The Boot?

Listening to On the Point last night on NPR, gentle ones, your MatchGirl was stunned that so many still think that those collecting unemployment benefits are lazy.  Happy just sitting on their asses while "collecting free money" and making fools of those who are working, paying for their cushy, unemployed lifestyle.

As someone who was unemployed for a year and a half, who worked my ass off looking for jobs, working on my resume and trying to find new and different things to do and new directions for myself, I am offended by people who say these things.  While there are lazy people amongst the unemployed, they are, in my experience, not the norm.  Just like any government program, there is always the assumption that the majority of the people benefiting from it are taking advantage - milking the system - and not those actually in need.

And, this, dear readers, is bullshit.

Below is a an overview of On The Point and links to some of the guests.  No surprise that the most offensive of them is Stephen Moore, of the Wall Street Journal.

Give it a listen and see if you agree...

Census Bureau Says One in Seven Americans Lives in Poverty 

The National Bureau of Economic Research said today the Great Recession that started in December 2007 officially ended in June of last year.  But don't tell that to the 43.6 million people who are trying to live below the poverty line.  That's 14.3% overall, or one in seven Americans and includes 20% of all children, 25% of blacks and Hispanics.  It's the highest poverty rate since 1994, and the Census Bureau says it would have been worse except for government safety nets. Food banks, shelters and job-opportunity centers around the country tell us they're serving a new and different class of people, the recently unemployed. What's the reaction in Washington, six weeks before the November election? Will the private sector start hiring or should government create new jobs?


Friday, September 10, 2010

PRESS RELEASE | Unemployed People Speak Out!


September 8, 2010

Kevin Powell Holding Press Conference with Members of the Unemployed Community, Inviting Towns and Barron

(Brooklyn, NY) This Saturday, at 1 pm, Congressional Candidate Kevin Powell will be holding a press conference at Pathmark located at 11110 Flatlands Avenue highlighting the unemployed members of our community who continue to look for work and find no opportunities as a result of our government's perpetual bailouts of big banks instead of addressing the concerns of the jobless in our communities.  Charles Barron and Congressman Towns will be invited to listen to the community and provide ideas on how we can work through the financial crisis together.

"We're looking forward to meeting with members of the community whom have been out of work for a long time as a result of this economic downturn and our government's misguided attempts at recovery that have clearly failed our community and have set Wall Street against main street" says Powell. "We have some ideas, but we need to hear from those most affected as some of the best ideas come from our community, not from our legislators."

As for why he is inviting his opponent, Ed Towns, Powell responds, "Charles Barron and I have been working together and in opposition to Ed Towns, however we all need to hear ideas directly from the community.  This has been a heated race.  Both Mr. Towns and I intend to win.However, regardless of Tuesday's outcome, we're all better off if we remember who we serve, not the other way around."

Some of Powell's ideas to aid the recovery can be found at

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Reach For The Skies

Ah, gentle readers, your MatchGirl is remiss.  It’s been days upon days since she’s last shared any of her life in this little tome.  To be fair, she has been busy.  There is work. There is the planning of the next Work It Brooklyn. And there is play, catching up with friends, old and new, whose lives are taking them on adventures and to places that your MatchGirl can only imagine.

That said, I am drafting this post en route (and, but en route, I mean literally from the plane) to Bogota, Colombia, where I am headed for four days of work and play combined.

My new job (I say new, though I have been here since April), has a big office and a ton of staff in Bogota, the hometown of one of our founders, and your MatchGirl, a coworker and a lucky prize winner are all going to Bogota for the first time – to meet the staff of the office, to immerse ourselves in company culture, to take pictures, to eat great food and to find out what it is that makes our partnership such a special one.

While I’m in Bogota, I will be Tweeting and blogging for work, as well as posting my personal thoughts, images and videos on my own Twitter feed and Facebook page (sorry, no link to that – you know where it is if you’re my IRL friend!).

This is a journey that I could not have imagined a year ago.  Heck.  This, dear ones, is a journey that I could not have imagined six months ago.

I know that many of you are still unemployed and underemployed, just looking for something – that right fit.  That job that you not only don’t mind getting up for in the morning, but that more times than not, you want to get up for.  I know that you cannot imagine that six months from now – four months from now – even next week – you could have that job in your hands.

I want to remind you of the possibilities.

So many people that your MatchGirl has been fortunate enough to meet, in real life and simply via the web/blogosphere since I started jotting my thoughts down in this space, have found themselves employed.  And well employed.  So many people that put their heads down and just kept working on what they love have found themselves doing just that.  Have made opportunities where they never imagined opportunities could be.  Have been discovered for doing thing that were, to them, simply works of passion.

So, while many of you struggle still, please, do not abandon hope.

There’s no advice in this post, dear readers, just a glimmer that better days are on the horizon.  Whether it’s according to plan or something entirely unexpected.

Best of luck to you, gentle ones.  I can’t wait to hear the adventures that you find.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Take This Job And Shove It?

Most of you, gentle readers, are unemployed or underemployed.  You started reading this little blog because your MatchGirl was writing about the same (or similar) experiences you were having and the same (or similar) things you were thinking.  And, while I may no longer be unemployed, I am still keeping an eye out for news that effects the unemployed and underemployed amongst us.

When I see a news story about a man like Steven Slater quitting his Jet Blue gig by sliding down the emergency slide, beer in hand, or when I see a hoax like "Whiteboard Girl" - it gives me pause. Both of these are amazing.  I'm not going to lie.  I laughed when I read about both of them.

But they touch a finer point.

People are frustrated.  Working, though ultimately better than not working, the way the economy is right now, is hard.

Please don't take my point the wrong way.  I am so happy to have a job.  And I am lucky to have a job where the people are cool, I am learning a lot, and my boss seems to notice when I am working hard.  I am one of the fortunate ones.  So many people out there - people who were unemployed for a long time and people who are terrified of losing their jobs (for whatever reason) - feel like they cannot speak up.  And they are treated like crap.

The fact of the matter is that a lot of employers are taking full advantage of the fact that the economy is staying in the toilet - and it doesn't look like it's going to get better any time soon.

So, while you may be among the un and underemployed, dear readers, I know you still have that fantasy about saying "take this job and shove it" to your tyrannical boss.  If you could pull a Steven Slater or a "Whiteboard Girl" to quit your job - what would you do?

Leave your comments below!

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Patience is a virtue.
-Piers Plowman

Good things come to those who wait.

Things will be just fine
You and I'll just use a little patience.
-Axl Rose

You take it on faith, you take it to heart
The waiting is the hardest part.
-Tom Petty

Patience is the art of hoping.
-Vauvenargues, Marquis de quotes

Ah, gentle readers, your MatchGirl keeps hearing about the virtue of patience.  And, while she understands that one can't force some subjects and while she understands that one can't push others and while she understands that sometimes there is simply a time-line beyond one's control - she still hates waiting.

Relying on others to come to a decision is one of the most frustrating things in the world.  Because, no matter how hard you've worked towards something or how much you've given of yourself or how much you've put yourself out there - the waiting is the hardest part.

(I've written about it here before)

In dating, it's the waiting for the call.  It's the waiting for the first kiss.  It's the waiting, when (or once) you know what you want from someone - the them to come to the same (you hope) or another (disappointing, yet often inevitable) conclusion.

In the job hunt, it comes after you've sent out hundreds of resumes and are not hearing anything back.  It comes after that first interview, when you are just hoping that they'll call you back.  It comes later you've learned, through your well networked grapevine, that they've checked your references and  you just sit hitting "refresh" on your e-mail browser for hours - no, days - on end.  Waiting for any word.  For any answer.

Recently, for millions of unemployed, it's been in waiting for Congress to come back from yet another vacation (read: campaign trip back home) and vote on a bill that affects your every day life - your ability to pay your rent or keep your electricity on or feed your kids.

It's hard to be patient, dear ones.  It's hard to be patient because, many times, that patience means that you have little or no control over the outcome for which you are waiting.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


As I've noted many times, your MatchGirl is fast approaching her 35th birthday (it's in November & presents are welcome).  And, as regular readers will know, this looming event gives me pause.

It's a milestone birthday that has me considering where I am going and what I am doing  - in every aspect of my life.

I recently read a blog post listing eleven famous people who were not doing the jobs that they are famous for when they were 30 years old.  And gentle readers, I'm not going to lie, that list made me feel a bit better about where my life is going and the direction I am taking it in.  I've written before about how Julia Child found her passion - her soul mate, her love of French culture, her fervor for French cooking - when she was just a bit older than your MatchGirl is now.

This I find inspiring.

Because even though I have friends who are just past 30 and have jobs - no, careers - that are not only impressive, but that they enjoy.  I'm not jealous.  How could I be?  They have careers that they have been focused on for their entire adult lives.  Maybe before they were even adults.  I don't have that.  The answer to "What do you want to be when you grow up?" was never so simple or so focused for me.  Of course, I have friends who fell into amazing jobs or amazing careers, not to say they don't work hard, because they do, they are simply in jobs they didn't dream about as kids.

And that's OK.  We all have different paths.  We all come upon where we're supposed to be at different times and in different ways. 

And, with the specter of that milestone birthday only a few months in the distance - I feel like I might be on the right path.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Taking Care

Sometimes, gentle readers, the little things in life are the sweetest.

This weekend, while out of town, your MatchGirl found herself violently ill. Let's just say that heat plus dehydration plus vodka was not the most wonderful combination. Fortunately, I was staying with a dear dear friend who comforted me and took care of me and assured me that his Saturday was not ruined by the fact that I spent most of it alternately running to the bathroom or curled up in fetal position on his bed.

And, though the weekend did not go exactly according to schedule, this bit of caring, of condolence and, of affection, really made it a beautiful weekend after all.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Easy Come, Easy Go

Money makes the world go around
…the world go around
…the world go around.
Money makes the world go around
Of that we both are sure…
*pffft* on being poor!

Ah, gentle readers, your MatchGirl has been thinking a lot about money of late.

It's a bit odd, perhaps, to be employed, yet seemingly more stressed about the balance of my bank account than when I was unemployed, living on the dole and just trying to get by. But with a job come expenses. Things we don't think about when we're spending a lot of time at home, rarely leaving the house.

Your MatchGirl, dear ones, just spent a bit of time balancing her checkbook.   And, though I have no credit cards, it's amazing how money can just get away from you when you are not really paying attention.  Or when you have added expenses that you are not accounting for when planning your monthly budget.

And, you all plan your monthly budget, don't you?

Your MatchGirl uses Mint to manage her finances.  You can add all your bank accounts, your student loans, your credit cards and all your income and really see where your spending is going.  You can download a mobile app for your iPhone or Android phone to give you mobile updates.  While you have to put in some work, I think it's a great way to figure out where my money is going and where I can cut back a little.

Because, with a job, my monthly subway fare went up to an $89 unlimited card, as opposed to the $20 card I would buy every few weeks.  My food spending went up - lunches, coffee, bagels and various dinners out - because I have less time and, honestly, have just been sort of lazy on these long summer days.  And, not gonna lie, I've bought myself a few things - some necessities, some irresistible.  But, the time has come to reign in that spending.

Money, after all, dear ones, as we all know, is not so easy come these days. 
Yet still far too easy to let go.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

A few days ago, a friend posted this quote on his Twitter feed:
The Dunning-Kruger effect: people who don't know much tend not to recognize their ignorance, & so fail to seek better information.

And from the blog of The Science Show:
The dumb get confident, while the intelligent get doubtful. That's the conclusion that David Dunning and Justin Kruger came to when studying people's perceptions of their own talents. What has now become known as the Dunning-Kruger effect helps describe why lay people often act as experts and inept pollies get our votes.
This is exactly why the Tea Party movement is gaining so much traction in America.  And why we spent so many years with a President who people wanted to drink a beer with instead of one with a proven record.

If this blog starts taking a more political slant in the coming months, it's because this is a midterm election year.  And one of the biggest things that will be effected by this election is the economy - and therefore unemployment, joblessness and unemployment benefits.  People tend to think that the only elections that really matter - that they really can get behind are those big every four year Presidential ones.  But don't forget - the people who have been holding up unemployment benefit extensions are the men and women who are elected every six years...

Just sayin'...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Independence Day...

Ah, gentle readers, another holiday weekend has come to a close.  And millions of you, unfortunately, are still unemployed.  And you went the long weekend without your benefits.

Your MatchGirl, as you know, is lucky enough to have found (after a ridiculously long time) a job.  And therefore not to have to worry about living unemployment check to unemployment check and being at the constant mercies of the games being played by politicians.   That doesn't mean that I'm not paying attention.  And it doesn't mean that I'll stop passing on my musings about it.

In Sunday's New York Times Opinion blog, Paul Krugman writes about Congress' refusal to extend unemployment benefits and puts forth his argument for extending benefits.

Today, American workers face the worst job market since the Great Depression, with five job seekers for every job opening, with the average spell of unemployment now at 35 weeks. Yet the Senate went home for the holiday weekend without extending benefits. How was that possible?

The answer is that we’re facing a coalition of the heartless, the clueless and the confused. Nothing can be done about the first group, and probably not much about the second. But maybe it’s possible to clear up some of the confusion.
By the heartless, I mean Republicans who have made the cynical calculation that blocking anything President Obama tries to do — including, or perhaps especially, anything that might alleviate the nation’s economic pain — improves their chances in the midterm elections. Don’t pretend to be shocked: you know they’re out there, and make up a large share of the G.O.P. caucus.

By the clueless I mean people like Sharron Angle, the Republican candidate for senator from Nevada, who has repeatedly insisted that the unemployed are deliberately choosing to stay jobless, so that they can keep collecting benefits. A sample remark: “You can make more money on unemployment than you can going down and getting one of those jobs that is an honest job but it doesn’t pay as much. We’ve put in so much entitlement into our government that we really have spoiled our citizenry.”

Your MatchGirl has made no secret of her left-leaning, raised-by-Hippies politics. But this is not even a politically motivated post.  This is a post about real people in a dire time.  This is a post about people who cannot find a job because there are not any.

Was I able to be a bit more choosy about the jobs I applied for because I was collecting unemployment benefits?  Of course.  I'll admit it.  But I sent out hundreds of resumes, for jobs for which I was supremely qualified, for jobs that I was referred to or recommended to by friends, to jobs which I was over-qualified and would take a massive pay cut - because I wanted to get a job.  And, the fact of the matter, dear Congress, is that I got three job interviews that were for anything that might be real.  I met with numerous staffing agencies who told me they'd get back to me.  Impressed as they may (or may not) have been with my resume, the fact is that there were just no jobs.

Mr. Krugman goes on to write:

Helping the unemployed, by putting money in the pockets of people who badly need it, helps support consumer spending. That’s why the Congressional Budget Office rates aid to the unemployed as a highly cost-effective form of economic stimulus. And unlike, say, large infrastructure projects, aid to the unemployed creates jobs quickly — while allowing that aid to lapse, which is what is happening right now, is a recipe for even weaker job growth, not in the distant future but over the next few months.

People who don't have any money in their pockets, no matter where that money may be coming from, can't spend money. They watch their pennies like a hawk (though, they probably should anyway - don't even get me started on the credit crisis, dear ones - as you well know, your MatchGirl is not a fan of people spending beyond their means!). But a couple extra bucks in someone's pocket can go a long way to helping stimulate the economy.

I understand, as does Mr, Krugman, that this extra spending will increase the deficit, slightly, in the short term.  But we must ask Congress to look ahead - to stop being selfish - and to extend benefits for those amongst us who are still unemployed.  I'm afraid, gentle ones, that, in this year of midterm elections, that the politicians are simply looking out for their themselves, instead of the people who put them into their jobs in the first place.

Friday, June 25, 2010

File Under: People Unclear On the Concept

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) thinks that you're a bunch of junkies.

Yep. You heard me. You unemployed person.  You working poor.  Orrin Hatch thinks that you are on drugs.

Now, who is your MatchGirl, gentle readers, to judge?  I don't care.  But I do care that Orrin Hatch thinks that the poor and the unemployed, basically anyone collecting state or federal assistance, should be required to subject themselves to drug testing.

Click here to tell him he's an ass.

In other news, Rand Paul (R-KY), proud representative of the Tea Party movement, thinks that you all ought to stop asking for handouts and take lower paying jobs.

Via The Huffington Post:
Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul has a blunt message for the millions of Americans who remain unemployed in the long-term: "Accept a wage that's less than [you] had at [your] previous job" and "get back to work."
While he was answering a question about Republicans stalling an unemployment benefits extension in the Senate, there is, perhaps, a more educated conversation to have.  It's ignorant to think (to say!) that the majority of unemployed people are not looking for work.  People are looking for jobs.  And many many people have accepted jobs that pay well below what they made previously.  There are grown adults taking barely paid internships and pouring coffee/beer/cocktails/what-have-you on the side just to squeak by.

I'm sure that there are unemployed and poor people out there who do drugs.  And I'm certain that there are unemployed people out there trying to milk the system for as much money as they can get.  But to make vast generalizations on literally millions of Americans simply proves how very out of touch these men are with the real world.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More Fun With Craigslist

It seems, gentle readers, that this should be a big "duh", but your MatchGirl has seen too many people fall into this type of trap.  Pay attention to the above and, please, proceed with caution.

I know how very hard it still is out there, for so very many of you.  And so do the scammers.  Please don't let desperate times lead to measures that could make you even more desperate.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Think Tank Pot Luck

Save the date, Saturday June 26th to come out and support my dear friend Joann and the awesome vendors of the Greenpoint Food Market.  The DOH has already done away with bake sales at schools and the true spirit of the Red Hook Ball Fields and now they want to hurt our neighborhood market...

Your MatchGirl will be there.  Please check out the info on the GFM website and come out to support this amazing community.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Gentle readers, in 4 months and 23 days your MatchGirl will be 35 years old.

Now, while that may not really be so old in the general scheme of things, I gotta tell you, my life at 35 (almost) is not really where I thought it would be when I was 25(ish).

That's not to complain about my life.  It's good.  I spent a year and a half of it being unemployed and getting to know myself and my neighborhood and my neighbors.  I have friends who, every single day, surprise and amaze me.  I have a (newish) job in a growing field, where I'm constantly learning, having to stay on my toes and working with some of the most interesting and creative people I've met.

But it's a life that is very different than the one I'd imagined for myself.

There are a few pieces that still need to fall into place.  They're the pieces that can't be forced.  The ones one has to sit back and wait for, maybe giving a little nudge here and there.  But definitely the one that cannot be forced.  And this, dear readers, for your impatient MatchGirl, is the most difficult part of the journey...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Frugality And The Working Girl

Ah, gentle readers, your MatchGirl may have a job, but that doesn't mean she's rolling in dough.  Of course, a lady never talks about money.  But this lady is going to tell you a thing or two about keeping it. 

Of course, loyal readers of this little blog will know that I am a frugal girl.  That I survived on unemployment with no credit cards and no money from mom and dad or that imaginary trust fund (that so many accused me of having).  That even though I had very little money, I still managed to have a pretty good life while looking for a job.

Now, as you know, I am working.  And I have a paycheck.  And some of those little luxuries that accompany that - the ability to pay bills/rent on time, health insurance, groceries.  And I have the ability to do a few things that I had to be careful about before, like dinner out at a nice(ish) restaurant with friends.  And there are a few things that I really want  - a necklace much like this one at Catbird, the awesome Bibliotheque dress (and maybe a couple of others) at Hayden Harnett, this awesome cross body bag by Magnes Sisters (yeah yeah, even though I go to Manhattan every day, I still like to keep my spending in the 'hood!). And I think I will get them.

But, dear ones, there are other things that a gal needs to think about.
Like the future.

So, to that end, I will put aside the money for the things I want now - a girl needs a couple of new things to stay stylish in her new job - but I will also put money aside for other things.  My student loan, long deferred.  Getting my cat fixed.  Money every month into my savings account.  And, now that I am getting back on my feet for the right now, money into an IRA (though I still need to find one) for the future.

After spending a year and a half on the very tight budget of unemployment, I know that it will be easier for me to stay on budget than when I was previously employed.  It's nice to have some spending money for the niceties in life, but it will be even nicer to have it when I'm sixty-five!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Holiday Weekend

This was a holiday weekend, gentle readers.  It's been a long time since your MatchGirl has enjoyed a holiday weekend.  And, before those of you who have not lived the unemployed life say that the whole thing is a holiday weekend or a vacation or whatever you say - believe you me, it's not the same thing.

But this weekend, your MatchGirl was able to really enjoy a three day weekend (because, even in previous employment, I always had such crazy schedules that they just weren't the same as my friends who worked in the 9 to 5 world).  And enjoy it, I did.

While the whole weekend was mellow and lovely, it was really Sunday that epitomized the start of summer.  The way I hope sets the tone for weekends for the rest of the summer.

Sunday started mellow, listening to NPR and puttering about the apartment.  But in the afternoon, I met up with my friend T and went to a little BBQ on my friend Tony and Jackie's roof.  There was a ton of meat, cold beer and interesting conversation on a Greenpoint rooftop.  When T and I were leaving the rooftop, we ran into a couple of the guys from Cafe Royal, sitting outside and enjoying the weather, so we stopped for a chat - where the conversation ran from barbecue to the neighborhood to the intricacies of the Arabic language to the USS Iwo Jima.  Then we touched base with a couple of friends who had a friend in town from Germany and, though we had just eaten delicious grilled meat for several hours, we somehow found ourselves at Fatty Cue eating even more.

It was one of those easy, sleepy, dreamy summer days with not a care in the world.

It was one of those kinds of days that is so easy to not appreciate when you're unemployed.  But it was also one of those days that is so easy to overlook when you are used to the rhythm of the working world and those Bank holidays that happen from time to time.

I'm happy to be in the working world, and happy to be getting into the swing of things.  And very happy that it's still new enough that I can truly appreciate things like a three day weekend.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Case For Friendship

Ah, gentle readers, your MatchGirl may have been a bit spotty with the posting of late, but I promise to be better from now on.  Employment won't keep me away from you.

This blog began as "one girl's perspective on being unemployed and single in Greenpoint, Brooklyn."  And I feel that I've remained true to that.  Though, often a lot more posts focus on my life as an unemployed gal, this one is about the part of my life that's me as a single girl.

Over the past year or so, dear ones, your MatchGirl has dated.  A lot.  This is not to say that she is out hooking up with a lot of men.  But this does mean that she has been on several first dates, a handful of second ones and even met some guys who stuck around for (or were kept around for?) dates that numbered into the double digits.  She has certainly kissed a lot of frogs.

While dating itself is kind of fun - anticipation, fresh conversation, meeting new people who are, whether they're a love connection or not, for the most part interesting and engaging and nice to spend an hour or two with - actually being single, meeting the people to go on those dates with and, no employed, finding the time to do so is a little stressful.

My favorite, though, are the dates that were unexpected, unplanned, unsure. Tentative meetings with men that you know through friends or work or events or just running into around the neighborhood.

And here is why - there are no nerves, just easy conversation.  It's easy to have a drink with a friend.  We do it all the time.  It's easy to meet up with someone you want to get to know better - that's how friendships flourish.

Think of it this way, gentle ones:  You're at a party and you start chatting with someone of the same sex (or opposite sex if you're attracted to those of the same sex) and it turns out that you have a lot in common or you live in the same neighborhood or you both list "Can't Buy Me Love" among your favorite movies so you decide that you should have coffee or brunch or have a cocktail and get to know each other better.  You don't think twice about texting her or shooting off an e-mail.  You call because you want to hang out.

There are no rules.  There are no games.  There is simply "Let's hang out and get to know each other better."

In my opinion, dear readers, this is a much more civilized way to go about things.

And, to that end, I have made a resolution - or, actually, committed to keeping a resolution that I made a long time ago.

I will play no games.
If I have a lovely time with a gentleman, I will let him know.
If I want to see him again, I'll tell him.
If I feel like sending him a text, I will.
If he freaks out...  then he's not the man for me.

Life's to short to wait around for games and three-day rules.  Every great relationship is built on friendship anyway, so why not approach dating the same way you would making a new friend?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Clothing Swap, May 22

Gentle readers, your MatchGirl knows that many of you found this little tome by doing a little Google search for "clothing swap" and finding some info on one my friends held at Union Pool a while back.  While there are a lot of other sites that post this kind of information more frequently (Brokelyn, theskint), I am happy to pass it along when things come my way.

And, as this one's leftover clothes will go to the same charity as the one my friends organized, it seemed a nice fit (though, you'll have to leave Greenpoint!)

From Michael:
Clean out your closet, find new threads from your neighbor's closet, and keep clothes out of landfills! Bring your clean and usable women’s, men’s, and children’s clothing to contribute.
Because reduce/reuse/recycle is *always* in fashion.

Clothes left over from the swap will go to the wonderful programs at Housing Works, which provide the highest quality services for homeless men, women, and children living with HIV and AIDS in New York City and beyond.

Brought to you by Greener Gotham Events, founded by Green Party activists to create fun and social eco-events in the Five Boroughs!

We'll be at All Saints Catholic Church, located at 115 Throop Ave (basement entrance) at the corner of Thorton Street. Take the G and J/M trains to Flushing Avenue -- or the L train to Montrose Avenue.

FREE with a contribution of clean, usable clothes to the swap. Email or call 347-788-1646.

Unfortunately, dear readers, your MatchGirl has quadruple booked herself for next Saturday (her head spins just thinking about the hectic day!), but you should definitely go, take some clothes that you're sick of and go home with a bunch of new-to-you finds!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Work It Brooklyn: Industry Focus - Fashion

As you know, gentle readers,  your MatchGirl has been involved in organizing a pretty amazing group called Work It Brooklyn. Our first event, on February of this year was a phenomenal success.  While we'll be going forward with larger mix and mingle type events, we'll be having smaller, focused events (about once a month), where people working in specific fields can come together to network and learn from one another.  At these events, we'll have panel discussions with established professionals and a mixer afterward.

We're excited to say that our next event will be tomorrow evening. There are still a few spaces left (it's free to register!).  Details below:

To balance out our larger primary events, Work It Brooklyn is beginning a series of smaller, intimate industry-focused events and May 12th's FASHION event will kick it all off!

There will be a great panel of local industry self-starters to offer you their insight, help you learn from their experiences, and offer their thoughts on how to "make it" in the fashion and accessory business-- whether as a designer, publicist, retailer, publicist, or wherever your path may lead you. Q & A will follow. Submit your questions for our speakers here.

This is a great event for Brooklyn-based (and beyond!) fashion and accessory designers, stylists, fashion writers, producers, students, photographers, publicists, and boutique owners. All participants are strongly encouraged to bring business cards to pass onto all of the new contacts you'll be making at this event! Feel free to also bring clips or portfolios to share.

Pre-registration is required and capacity is strictly limited to 45 participants.


Bob Bland
Founder and Brand Director, Brooklyn Royalty

Bob is a professional menswear designer with experience at Triple Five Soul, Rugby by Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Banana Republic. The Brooklyn Royalty line she started is inspired by the fiercely independent spirit and highly individual aesthetic of King’s County residents. The line combines timeless design principles, premium materials and hand-printed graphics that are meant to look and wear better over time.

Toni Hacker
Owner and Creative Director, Hayden Harnett

Working as a designer since 1999, Toni Hacker launched indie fashion company Hayden-Harnett in April of 2005 with her partner Ben Harnett. The brand, known for fine leather goods and women's apparel, is sold globally and has grown to include two NYC-based retail stores. Big believers in group synergy, the couple launched The Collective Showroom, an incubator and mentoring project for local and emerging designers in September 2009.

Elaine La Personerie
Founder, Wink PR

Wink PR specializes in publicity, marketing and event planning. Clients include fashion/accessories, food, authors, personalities and consumer product brands. Elaine's experiences in building her own business from the ground up will lend great insight to the panel and guests.

6:45-7:00pm - Check-In
7:00-8:00pm - Panel Discussion begins, followed by Q+A
8:00-9:00pm - Networking Cocktail Hour
Location: Kingdom, 170 North 4th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Questions? Let us know!