Monday, March 29, 2010


Oh, gentle readers, your MatchGirl is still channeling the mid-90s Brit pop - feeling nostalgic and a little melancholy all at once. Nostalgic for the salad days of youth, perhaps. And melancholy that it was fifteen years ago and being a proper adult seemed so very far away. Back in those days, all you had to do to connect with someone was go to a bar or a concert, hang out in a coffee shop or wander through the (now defunct) Tower Records in Harvard Square. You simply had to go to class and pay attention to the people in your seminar who has interesting things to say. To get a job, you spoke to a counselor on campus. You walked into a store you liked and asked if they were hiring.

Oh my, how times have changed.

Perhaps some of what has changed is simply perception. We're not kids anymore and everything looks so very rosy and romantic in hindsight.

Or, maybe the internet has changed everything.

From Craigslist to Monster to Match, whether you are looking for a job or a date, all one seems to need to do is hop on the web and everything is at their fingertips. Don't get me wrong, gentle ones, your MatchGirl is amazed at the connections she has been able to make through this forum - through blogging and Tweeting and Facebook pages - but, I am lucky to have made a lot of those connections with people who live right here in Greenpoint. I am lucky to have met them in real life and be able to go and grab a coffee or a cocktail with them.

It is a little over a year since I was laid off and it is also a little over a year since I started online dating. I'm ashamed of neither. The economy (and my bosses stocks) tanked and my position was a casualty. I was single and not meeting anyone else who was single, so I decided to sign up for an online service and see who was out there. Both have been enriching and interesting experiences.

Unfortunately, in the desolation that is the American economy in 2010, finding a job online just doesn't seem that likely. The last place I interviewed told me they had received 450 applications - only counting the people who applied properly, answering the supplemental questions and sending their resume to the email address embedded in the body of the job listing. I felt honored just to interview. Honestly. There are so many thousands of people out there right now, searching earnestly for a job. I can't even conceive of the hundreds and hundreds of resumes that each employer receives in their email inbox. I can't imagine sifting through them all, looking for that perfect match.

Online dating is kind of the same. There are so many single people out there - of all shapes and ages and sizes - too shy to speak to someone at a bar or coffee shop. They see a pretty face on the subway and, instead of taking a deep breath and saying "hello", they rush home and write a Missed Connection - throwing it out into the ether and leaving it in the hands of whatever fate they subscribe to that their dream hunny (or an astute friend) is going to see that missive. They troll through pages and pages of online profiles, looking at pictures and sending out emails. All in the hope that not only will the object of their desire respond, but that, upon meeting, the connection will be there and that that one will be "the one".

This morning, as I sit here, perusing the job postings on Craigslist and MediaBistro, I'm over it. I am so very tired of reading these anonymous listings of job descriptions from nameless companies I know nothing about. I want a job - I desperately want a job - but I want a job that is a good fit. For both the employer and for me. I feel as though these anonymous ads on Craigslist are just wasting time. Not only mine, but the company's as well. To sift through a thousand resumes is a pain in the ass, and, by the time that the reader gets through the piles, we all know they will be less focused than when they began the process. The anonymity of the postings also leads to tedious cover letters. If you have no idea who you are addressing, how can you really introduce yourself as being the right one for the job?

As for online dating? Over that, too. Sure, I've met some very interesting people. Some I would never go out with again, but they make a good story for a cocktail party. Some have become good friends, and I'm glad to have them in my circle. But I miss the days when you talk to someone at a party or a dinner or waiting for the bus. I miss the days of making that initial connection.

I am ready to have a job. I am ready for a commute and wearing heels every day and not being able to log onto Facebook whenever I want. I am ready for conference calls and water cooler conversation and intra-office gossip.

I am ready to stop going on first dates. I am ready for dates three and four and hand holding and movie watching and that giddy excitement of actually getting to know someone. In real life.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cigarettes & Alcohol

Is it my imagination
Or have I finally found something worth living for?
I was looking for some action
But all I found was cigarettes and alcohol

You could wait for a lifetime
To spend your days in the sunshine
You might as well do the white line
Cos when it comes on top . . .

You gotta make it happen!

Is it worth the aggravation
To find yourself a job when there's nothing worth working for?
It's a crazy situation
But all I need are cigarettes and alcohol!

You could wait for a lifetime
To spend your days in the sunshine
You might as well do the white line
Cos when it comes on top . . .

You gotta make it happen! 
Oasis, Cigarettes and Alcohol, 1994

Ah, gentle readers, your MatchGirl has been spending a bit of time living in the past lately.  Having deep memories of times gone by.  Not longing for them, not by any means, but most certainly thinking of those times.  

With kind of a sense of wonder.

Watching VH1 Classic the other day (yes, I am old enough that the songs I adored in college are now shown on VH1 Classic) I heard this song again.  Cigarettes and Alcohol, by Oasis (before Wonderwall.  Before most of you, dear readers, had ever hear of them).  This song is the lament of all youth - thinking that they are wiser than they are, thinking that the life they have ahead is nothing but a bore.  Thinking that there is nothing to do but get drunk and do drugs and live for today because tomorrow is not worth very much.

And, no matter the time period, the "youth of today" always feel that way.

At the time that album came out, the economy in Britain was in the crapper.  From Wikipedia:
The song proclaims the inherent appeal of cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs as a remedy to the banality and seemingly futile nature of the working class life. Lyrics such as "Is it worth the aggravation to find yourself a job when there's nothing worth working for?" tapped into the mood of many in the mid-1990s (when released) as well as a common sentiment today.
Upon first hearing the song, the man who discovered the band, Alan McGee, claimed that the song was one of the greatest societal statements anyone had made in the past 25 years.
Anyway, dear ones, your MatchGirl hates to dissect poetry.  I like to hear it, to feel it, to really listen to it and to let it take me somewhere.  I feel this way about most art.  Sure, I spent a lot of years reading art theory and studying paintings.  Sure, I belong to a book club.  It's because I like discourse, not dissection.

That said, I heard this song the other day and he reminded me not only of being, um, young(er), but of the right now.  Of the economic situation.  Of how hard it is to find a job and how sometimes you just want to say "fuck it" and throw in the towel because there doesn't seem to be anything out there worth the time or effort.  There are so few jobs (and, let be serious, men) out there that sometimes it just seems like it would be easier to just give up.

Not that I'm going to.

It's not my nature.

But I might keep the early 90s BritPop on a loop for a while.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Keeping Up With The Joneses

Ah, gentle readers, your MatchGirl has been doing a lot of thinking of late. All right. I have been spending a lot of time thinking about the Great Recession that we find ourselves in right now. I have been thinking about how so very many people are still having trouble finding employment that pays a living wage. I have been thinking about the other times that I have been jobless in my life and I tried a quarter as hard and got jobs almost immediately.  I have been thinking about how so many people are having such a hard time just getting by.

This recession is different than so many others because it has affected America's wealth more than any other. Not necessarily personal wealth - unemployment extensions and low gas prices have helped to keep them somewhat stable - but the wealth of the country as a whole has gone down the tubes. A lot of that is because Americans were using credit like never before. For housing. For cars. For luxury items. All in an effort to be as good as, or appear as good as, the people next door.

Now, dear ones, I am not going to tell you that you should not have a credit card.  I am most certainly not one to judge.  But I am going to tell you that I don't.  And I am also going to tell you that I haven't.  Not since 2001/2002.  And my life is better for it.  Because when I was laid off, well over a year ago, though I was freaked out about my finances - about paying the rent and the electric bill, about buying groceries and Metro cards - I was not at all worried about the other stuff.  About having a credit card on which I was only paying the minimum making my tenuous credit even worse.  And, no.  I wasn't worried about not being able to buy stuff.

I'm not going to lie to you, I like stuff.  I like shopping.  And I miss being able to go to a sample sale or having enough stashed in my savings account to get out of town.  I'm bummed out when I can't join friends for a nice dinner or a trip to the spa.  But it's not a big deal.  It's just stuff.  When I'm working, I can get more of it.  When I'm earning money, I'll be able to save it again.  I'll be able to save it better.  Because I have spent the last year and a half living on very little.

I'm not saying I won't get a credit card in the future.  I might.

I'm not saying I'm not psyched to be able to go shopping again.  It's something I am looking very, very forward to.

But the fact that I haven't been keeping up with the Joneses this past year?

Eh.  It's no big deal.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

More Fun With Craigslist

Another employer looking to get something for nothing.

The following internship is offered, for academic credit, only to someone able to work 40 hours a week as a full time job. How can one be enrolled in school full-time and work full-time for academic credit?

As an operations intern, you will play an important role in our day-to-day office management. You will work with the staff to help plan events, coordinate schedules, keep accurate financial records and manage the phone and email communication for the office.

Interns must be available to work full time (5 days a week) at our offices in SoHo. Stipends are available for interns not currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program. In the past, particularly outstanding interns have been given a chance to join our team at the conclusion of their internships.

We are looking for someone who takes initiative, has great organization skills, and is willing to learn. We work in a fast-paced environment, and the ideal candidate must be able to work independently, and as a member of a team. We are looking for creative problem-solvers willing to rise to the challenges presented, and work towards quick and effective solutions.

To apply, please send us the following documents:

*** A resume/CV, including references
*** Any two samples of your academic or journalistic writing, each preferably in a different style
*** A brief (1-page) cover letter explaining why your experience, knowledge, and personality make you perfect for this position (if your cover letter does not address our company and this position specifically, you will not be considered for this internship)

To their credit, this position was listed with the word "internship" in the headline.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Jim Bunning (R-KY) Is A Douche

I mentioned it on the Facebook fan page.

ABC news had an altercation with him.

And Rachel Maddow showed, last night, exactly what he's doing, not only to stop unemployment extensions, but to halt roadwork and cut transportation jobs.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I'll reiterate that the unemployment rate in Bunning's home state of Kentucky is 10.6%

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Little Patience

Ah, gentle readers, if you've been reading this tome for a while now, you know that your MatchGirl is not the most patient of women.  She likes to know what's happening.  She likes to have an answer.

But, as so often the case in job hunting, and, its parallel, dating, there are no quick and easy answers.  There is no fast fix.

Today I was alerted to a job that seemed made for me.  It was out there in the Twitter-verse, re-posted by a friend of a friend, who I follow for her musings of all these food and drink related.  I had just been on Craiglsist, perusing the listings, perhaps an hour earlier, and feeling completely uninspired.  Nothing was speaking to me.  Nothing inspired me to apply.  Honestly, there was nothing that made me feel like I would want to go into that office every day and do that job ad infinitum.  I felt like I should give up for the day - look at a couple of other sites, reach out to a couple of recruiters I know and then hit the streets and the sewing machine for the rest of my sunny Monday.

I, however, caught Meredith's quick re-tweet and clicked on the posting - more out of curiosity than thinking that I would find a job for me behind that url.  I couldn't have been more surprised!  The job spoke to me in ways that no posting has in quite some time.  The skills required were not only ones I have done in past jobs, they were ones that I use in my free time.  For fun!  It required organizational skills, calmness under pressure and comfort in the world of social media networking.

Well, dear ones, we all know that I can do that!

So, I've submitted my resume.

I wrote a cover letter.
I answered the included questions.
I put in hyper-links to all my blogs and social media platforms.

And now I wait.

Your MatchGirl has never been good at waiting.  At not knowing what's going on.
Just sitting back and relaxing are not really things that I have ever known how to do.

I'm the same way when it comes to dating.  When I meet a guy and I know I like him, I want to hang out with him and see where it will go.  I want to get to know him better.  I want to spend time - I want to make time - for all of that.  I'm no good at being that patient gal that waits by the phone for her man to call.  Of course, I don't want to call him to much because it's a sure-fired way to scare him away (or so all my friends - male and female - say).  The games people play in dating have never made sense to me (I think I was out of the room when that particular rule book was passed around).  I can't be bothered with them.

While your MatchGirl considers herself a virtuous (mostly) girl, patience has never been one which she possessed in spades.  Perhaps it's the Scorpio in her.  Perhaps it's because she is the first-born child.  Whatever the reason, it's an art I wish to practice, but not one that comes easily.

Of course, I believe, Axl Rose said it best:
Sometimes, I get so tense
But I can't speed up the time
But you know, love, there's one more thing to consider
Said woman take it slow
Things will be just fine
You and I'll just use a little patience
Here's to you, Axl.  And here's to me using (finding) that little patience.
In a few things that are going on in my life right now.