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.