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.