Friday, July 29, 2011

Unemployed Boyfriend

This week, gentle readers, your MatchGirl and Boyfriend fell upon some hard times. Boyfriend was laid off from his job.

As a gal who was long unemployed, your MatchGirl can relate to all he is going through, all he is feeling and all the anxiety that a lay off can cause. It's especially doubled, as when your MatchGirl was laid off, at least she was single and only had herself to provide for - and decision I made I really only had to think about me. But Boyfriend and I live together and have been taking steps towards a bigger and better life together. So this feels like a really big bump in the road.

Even though the economy is still in the crapper, your MatchGirl is sure that Boyfriend will find something. We are both reaching out to our networks. We are both scouring the job listings. We are being open with each other about what we're feeling and what we're thinking and what we're afraid of. It's all, at the end of the day, that we can really do.

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Simple Manners

“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others.  If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use.” ― Emily Post

Your MatchGirl, gentle readers, spends a lot of time thinking about manners. On my commute to work. Walking down the street. In the aisles of the grocery store. Reading comments on blogs. People are taking any chance they have to be incredibly rude. Perhaps part of that is the anonymity of the big city (or the feeling of anonymity that an anonymous blog comment lends). Perhaps part of it is just that people are not that nice.

I've written a bit about manners here before, in a post about employers following up with job seekers and (briefly) in a post about about elevator pitches/3-minute interviews, but I think it's a topic that rarely goes out of style.

In the job hunt, the job seeker is often overly, and overtly, polite. Making sure to do every single thing by the book. The employer, looking for a candidate, on the other hand, is rarely as polite (though, when I recently had to go through a stack of resumes at work, and interview a slew of people, your MatchGirl made sure she let every person she spoke with or corresponded with, whether we wanted them to come back or not). Some places send automated replies - often as much as a month after an application has been received. Sure, a person has not actually looked at these resumes, just a bot searching for matching keywords, but still - if you reply to that email (which often looks like it is coming from an actual person) you will never, ever, ever get a response!

In everyday life people are just plain rude. Maybe it's the heat. Maybe it's the city. Maybe it's the L train. I'm not sure. But people's manners of late are noticeably lacking. Every day on my way to work I get shoved, stepped on, sat on or jostled and no one says a word. Yesterday on the 6th Avenue L platform, I saw a girl step on the back of another girl's shoe, so the shoe went flying a few feet away. The second girl obviously didn't want to walk barefoot on the gross platform to get it back and the girl whose fault it was not only didn't offer any assistance, she looked pissed that the other girl had been walking slow enough that she had gotten stepped on. She most certainly didn't say "I'm sorry" or even "Excuse me." Luckily, in a rare moment of NYC politeness, a fellow commuter snagged the shoe out of the crowd and handed it back to the barefoot gal. If your MatchGirl had not been noticing the prevailing rudeness in the city of late, it's possible she wouldn't have even noticed this little exchange - but it seems so very, unfortunately, common these days.

If there is a mantra to this blog, it is, please treat others how you want to be treated. Be good to each other.

Life is so much easier if we simply try to help each other along and up, instead of constantly tearing each other down.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Gentle readers, when your MatchGirl was unemployed, she made a schedule for herself. She didn't sleep all day (unless she was sick or ridiculously hungover, of course). She got up in the morning, Monday through Friday, washed her face, popped in her contacts and did a yoga workout. Five days a week.

When I go a job, I slowed it down to three days a week. I woke early and did my little routine for about thirty minutes - usually Monday, Wednesday and Friday - and then I'd finish getting ready for work and be on my way. And I felt great.

But things happen and plans change and oh my goodness isn't it so much nicer you stay curled up next to your boo on a cold winter morning than rising early and working out? Yeah. I think so, too.

But being stagnant is no good.

So after months of laziness and having no discipline at all, your MatchGirl is back on it. That's right, dear ones, I am back on the getting up early three days a week, working out before going to work track I was so faithfully on for about 8 months. And I'm feeling it, too!

But, even though it hurts right now, I know I'll be the stronger for it in the end. Life's funny like that.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Change Your Attitude

“If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here, gentle readers, is a prompt from the (extended) Trust30 challenge that your MatchGirl can get down with.

It is so very easy to let a bad attitude sully your day. Your week. Your month. Your year. Your life. Seriously. Your MatchGirl, herself, has fallen prey to a poor woe-is-me attitude from time to time.

Let's not let that happen to us, dear ones. Let's pledge to help each other out, when we get down in the dumps. To remind ourselves off all the awesome we have to offer.

Your MatchGirl has a lot of things she'd like to do. She has a lot of things she'd like to be. She has a lot of life to live and she's excited to share it with you.

Stick around.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Life's Too Short To Live Any Other Way

"when i like someone, i let them know it. life's too short to live any other way."

Gentle readers, your MatchGirl has this quote marked as a favorite on her Facebook wall... and though I can remember exactly the provenance of all the other quotes on there, this one somehow escapes me. I'm going to guess it grabbed me while watching a TV show or a movie. And, though I 'd love to give credit for it, it doesn't really matter.

The point is still the same.

It's about going for what you want. Going after what excites you. Asking for what will make you happy.

Whether it's a new job, a promotion or a relationship ... dear ones, please take your MatchGirl's advice, as she has lived and loved and lost and learned, all so you can bypass her mistakes and missteps ... Put yourself out there. Let the object of your affection know that you want them.

It works in your professional life as well as your personal. So take a deep breath and go for it!

Let me know how it goes!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Evolution of Self

Yesterday, gentle readers, your MatchGirl received the good news that her baby sister (nearly 8 years her junior) is engaged to be married. Such exciting news. Such good stuff!

A few years ago, this news would have sent me into a downward spiral. Not because I would not have been just as excited for my sister and her beau then, I certainly would have. They've been together for a long time and they are really good together. He treats her so well and they are very much in love. My reaction - my mixed emotions - would have had nothing to do with sis and her hunny. They would have been purely about me. They would have been purely selfish.

Because a few years ago, your MatchGirl, dear ones, did not feel so great about herself. Long time readers of this little space know that well. You've seen the evolution. Before you go jumping to conclusions that the reason I feel OK about it now is because of Boyfriend (the not so single part of my tagline), it's not. Don't get me wrong. Boyfriend is an amazing man and I am lucky and happy to have him as my partner. But he's just one part of the puzzle...

A few years ago, I felt terrible about myself. About my life. I felt like I could never move forward (and sometimes I let that dark part of my mind surface now, but I don't let it win), and, in fact, that I might be moving backward. I didn't like what I was doing for work. I didn't like what I saw as my options. I felt like I had done something wrong which led to prior relationships failing, though in my head I knew that sometimes relationships just end and it's no one's fault. I felt that I was not where I was "supposed" to be in my life. I felt lost.

I was in the dark.

But I started looking at myself in a different light. I started seeing the things that I worked on as a hobby as things to be proud of. Of things that were worthwhile. And this is where the pivot happened. This is where I woke up. This is where the light came.

And this is how your MatchGirl, gentle readers, started to take her first steps forward and out of the dark, sad place.

It's hard, when you're in a rough place, to see the positive things about yourself. It's hard to see that what you do, even if it's something you look at as a silly hobby, is important. Or that some people, who are the people who will bring you down, look down their noses at, is actually a big deal. I don't know if you'll be able to monetize your passion projects, though I hope we all one day will, but I know that they matter. And I know that you matter.

Don't let yourselves sink down those dark holes, dear ones. Your MatchGirl has been there and she's come out the other side to tell you that it's not a path you need to follow. Feel good about yourself and about the journey you're on. When you do that, you'll find yourself feeling happy for other people as they succeed in their journeys, too.

No matter what, keep putting one foot in front of the other.
You'll find your way.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Ah, gentle readers, your MatchGirl knows that many of you are overwhelmed. You work hard at a job where you get little to no recognition (or compensation). You apply for jobs and hear nothing back. You work and work and work as hard as you can - for your day job or for your pet projects - yet you still can't seem to get ahead.

There are not enough hours in the day.

There are not enough minutes in the hours.

There are too many things going on Saturday evening.

There is not enough money in the bank.

There is not enough time for a second job cos your first one knocks you out and no one is hiring anyway.

What a lot of obstacles there are! Here is my challenge to you, dear readers, take a deep breath and step back. And jump these hurdles, one by one. Jump them with me! Let's make a pact to work together to knock down all the wall that are holding us back from happiness. Let's make a promise to put ourselves first - to make ourselves number one. When we make ourselves a priority, we let others see that we know our worth. We let others see that we know our value. And we let others see that they must value us as well.

Your MatchGirl, gentle ones, is well aware of how very scary it is out there. She's been wading through it for a while now.

But she knows that, together, we can make it to the other side.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Emotion Itself

"The important thing is not the object of love, but the emotion itself." --Gore Vidal

How true this is, gentle readers. When we set out to do something we need to feel the passion for our task, otherwise how can we fully commit?

What we are tasked with, at least in your MatchGirl's opinion, does not matter as much as how we feel about the work we have to do. It doesn't matter if you're a writer or a painter, a musician or a tax attorney, a chef or a social media geek (like me), What matters is that you need to find what where your passion lies - what makes you feel enthralled and excited and a little bit in love - and then go.

Feel it. Do it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Secret Path to the Stars

Lately, gentle readers, several people have asked your MatchGirl how she went from being unemployed to heading up social media for a digital media company in Manhattan. People are asking me what was my secret.

Here it is.

I did the work.

I put myself out there.

I blogged.
I Tweeted.
I made Facebook groups.
I managed communities in real life and online.

I wrote and wrote and wrote. I put it all out there.

I imagined what I wanted to do and I looked for it.

Long time readers will know that it's not what I originally envisioned for myself.

But over the year and a half of unemployment, of getting out there and meeting people and connecting people and founding Work It Brooklyn (with two awesome gals) and constantly creating contents for blogs, something changed (as so often happens in life). I came to the realization that, though I love sewing and crafting and baking, what makes me feel the best - the most accomplished, is helping people connect. So a career that revolves around using social media platforms to make that happen - and educating people about the nest ways to do it for themselves - is amazing.

Advice, dear readers, think about what makes you happy. And write your resume to that. You'll find your calling. Or, maybe...  your calling will find you.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Love In The Time of Recession

Aline H. Rhonie, American painter, 1909-1963, at work on aviation mural at Roosevelt Field, Garden City, New YorkYesterday, gentle readers, your MatchGirl wondered if doing what you love for a living is playing with fire. Of course, it is every person's dream to wake up every single morning and get to do something they like, no - LOVE, all day long, every day.

The thing about doing what you love, though, for work, is that it is still work.

If you love crafting and you start a little Etsy shop that takes off, that's awesome. But you need to do the work. You need to produce. Every day.

If you love writing and you figure out how to sustain yourself so you can write every single day, you need to write every single day.

If you're in a band you go one tour, you record and mix your album, you put videos on YouTube and music sites. You practice, you write songs. You play. Every day.

The reality is that work is work is work. If you're passionate about what you're doing, that's awesome. If you love and enjoy what you are doing, that is amazing. You're one of the lucky ones. But you still need to put yourself out there. You need to work and you need to work hard. You'll just like it more than if you're working on something you don't feel passionate about. Than if you're living the life of a nine to five drone.

So. What do do if you're unemployed? What to do if you're underemployed? What to do if you are afraid to reach for the stars and follow your dreams in this scary economy?

Fuck it.

Screw your fears, gentle readers. Reach for what you want - reach for what you need to make you happy. It's terrifying, of course, but go for it. Go. Go. GO!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Play With Fire

Lemonade StandLast night your MatchGirl, gentle readers, listened to an interview with Conan O'Brien and something he said really struck me. He said, I'll paraphrase, "When you turn what you love into a career, then you're playing with fire." In light of Trust 30 and of the passion in Anything You Want, this thought gives me pause. I think that to make money doing something that you love is amazing.

Something that most of us can only hope for.

I understand Conan's point - that turning an escape into work is a game-changer. That turning fun into profit, and having to sustain it, is a lot to wrap one's mind around. Still, though, to do what you love every day, even if it is work - hard work, even if others rely on you for their jobs - I think that is a gift that we all should be striving for.

Now that the Trust 30 challenge is (officially) over, your MatchGirl is not sure if she will be able to sustain posting here every day. I hope that I can sustain to post here, as well as on Precious Environment, five days a week, but content creation, as many of you know, is certainly a time consuming endeavor. As I move forward with my new position, creating and editing content for a couple of other blogs during the 9-to-5, and enjoying summer months and activities with Boyfriend, I hope I can continue to provide you with near daily musings. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ask. And Receive.

I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Think of all the things that are not working in your life. That job you don’t like, that relationship that’s not working, those friends that annoy you. Now turn them all on you. Imagine that everything that’s not working in your life, is your fault. How would you approach it? What would you work on to change your life to the state that you want it to be?

The official final prompt of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Trust 30 challenge comes from Carlos Miceli. Though, if you are so inclined, Amber Rae is continuing the challenge and the site stays up! And what a way to finish the month.

Gentle readers, this is something we all must do, from time to time. This is what this challenge has prompted us to do. We all must take some time and think not about the things that we complain about and how bad we have it, but we must think about the things we're not happy about in our own lives and we must change them.

Unhappy with your job? You have options. Your MatchGirl, speaking from experience, assures you of that. Room for advancement but your not the one advancing? Speak to your supervisor or your mentor or a sympathetic person on the HR team. But don't just question why you're not advancing - tell them why you should be. If you've really worked your ass off, if you've truly contributed, you will have a list of the reasons that you're prime for a promotion. Sing your own praises (without being an asshole) and see how far it may take you. Or not. If your company is going nowhere - or if you are going nowhere in your company - look for something new. The economy, your MatchGirl knows, is tough, and a new job is hard to find. But make your own happiness a priority and look for something new!

Your relationship is not what you want it to be? Where you want it to be? Ask for what you want. This is something of which your MatchGirl can speak quite authoritatively. Dear readers, I have been in that place. I have been seeing someone where I wanted it so badly to be exclusive. Where (and this was a long time ago and in a smaller city) if I saw him out with someone else, I felt physically ill. So I asked for what I wanted. I told him what I needed. I was brave and...  I got what I wanted and it was (though with ups and downs) mostly beautiful for four years. I have also been in the place where I was not feeling good about myself, where my self-esteem was very low and I was afraid to ask. This, gentle ones, has never worked out for the best.

And with Boyfriend? With Boyfriend, I told him what I needed. I told him what I was looking for. I told him on, maybe, our third or fourth date, that I wasn't looking to screw around and that if he was one of those tattooed-bearded-Williamsburg-guys who think there is always a hotter (younger) piece of ass around the corner, we could still be friends, but I couldn't keep dating him. Period. I told him that I was looking for more, I was looking for serious. I was looking for a man who was open to possibilities of the future - not guaranteeing them, mind you, but open to them. And you can see for yourselves how that turned out.

I am slowly, but surely, moving my life into place. I am slowly, but surely, paying attention to the little things - the every day things - that make me happy. And I am making them priorities in my life - as I plan my next steps. As I ready myself to make my next move.

But being brave, gentle readers, that will get you a lot. Look at your MatchGirl. In 2008/2009 and into the beginning of 2010 she was unemployed and single, blogging and dating and putting herself out there. And now? It's 2011 and she is living with Boyfriend. And she was just named the Head of Social Media at the digital media company where she has been employed for the last (almost) year and a half.

How did I make this difference? How did I make this change?

I stood up.

And I asked.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Today Tomorrow Sometime Never

Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Imagine your future self, ie, you 10 years from now. If he/she were to send you a tweet or text message, 1) what would it say and 2) how would that transform your life or change something you’re doing, thinking, believing or saying today?

Ah, Tia Singh's prompt is another where you speak to your future self and you speak to your past self. In this case your future self speaks to its past self which is your present self...  Got it?

Gentle readers, as silly as these types of "what if...?" prompts may be, they are not without validity. They are not without reason. Because if you were to sit and think - think hard - on what you want your future to look like you'd probably scare the bejeezus out of yourself. You'r MatchGirl, when she thinks of the future to come - of being settled with Boyfriend, of a kid or two, of a lot more writing and organizing and a little less nine-to-five - sometimes, as much as I want it, it seems a little ... daunting. Terrifying, really.

And it's not scary because I'm unsure I want those things. It's just scary because big change is always a little scary. Sometimes it's downright frightening. And thinking about the change the future will inevitably bring? Man...

So. To answer the question. The message from my 45 year old self will read:

Push. Focus. Do the work.
It just keeps getting better.

*bonus points if you know where the post title comes from...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Write down a major life goal you have yet to achieve or even begin to take action on. For each goal, write down three uncertainties (read: fears) you have relating to each goal. Break it down further, and write down three reasons for each uncertainty. When you have three reasons for your fear, you’ll be able to start processing the change because you know where the fear stems from. Now you’ll be able to make a smaller changes that push you towards your larger goal. So begins the process of “trusting yourself.” - Sean Ogle

Ahhh. This one's a good one.

And your MatchGirl has an answer.  She's just, gentle readers, not quite ready to go public with them...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's Alive!

Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. If we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

When did you feel most alive recently? Where were you? What did you smell? What sights and sounds did you experience? Capture that moment on paper and recall that feeling. Then, when it’s time to create something, read your own words to reclaim a sense of being to motivate you to complete a task at hand. - Sam Davidson 

This prompt is a tough one, gentle readers. So much has happened to your MatchGirl over the course of the past year - so many amazing things - that I'm not sure I can quantify one moment over another. When I felt the most alive?

A lot of things have happened. Highs and lows. Near nervous breakdowns. Ecstatic moments of life. And I know they will keep coming. It's hard to think seriously that one moment could make me feel more alive than another.

Some cool things have happened. Some things that certainly made me feel "alive."

I stood on the top of the highest point in Bogotá and looked out over the city, feeling like I could go anywhere- that that one stop on that journey was just the beginning of great things to come (it was).

I walked out of my apartment one Sunday afternoon to meet a friend for a drink and saw that friend, that man, suddenly in a whole new light (you can read about that here).

I held my friends' preemie son and heard him coo, happy and healthy and strong, even though born nearly 4 months early.

I went to a friend's house with Boyfriend one night when the snow was just beginning to fall and left three hours later with snow still falling and the whole world covered in white, up to my knees. We walked down the middle of Manhattan Avenue and Greenpoint was silent and clean.

I saw two dear friends marry, in a beautiful, sun-filled room, and cried (I couldn't help it) when they danced their first dance as husband and wife - it was perfection.

Something that I have learned, dear readers, as I have been on the journey that I share with you here, is that every single moment matters. Every single moment is important to the next. It doesn't matter if that moment is spent watching some "trashy" TV. It doesn't matter if that moment is spent working on your pet project or having a drink with a girlfriend or spooning with your hunny or sitting outside in the sun with someone you've not seen for a long time.

These moments, each and every one of them, no matter how mundane they may seem, these are the moments that you should feel the most alive. Pay attention to every one of them - the smallest thing might lead to the greatest opportunity.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Seed of Action

I do not wish to expiate, but to live. My life is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady. I wish it to be sound and sweet, and not to need diet and bleeding. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Think about the type of person you’d NEVER want to be 5 years from now. Write out your own personal recipe to prevent this from happening and commit to following it. “Thought is the seed of action.” - Harley Schreiber

In five years, gentle readers, your MatchGirl will be 40 years old (on the cusp of turning 41). Here are things I don't want:

  • I don't want to be uninspired.
  • I don't want to be bored.
  • I don't want to think I know everything.
  • I don't want to have stopped learning.
  • I don't want to be sedentary.
  • I don't want to have stopped trying.
  • I don't want to be so comfortable in my live that I've stopped striving to make things better.
  • I don't want to be anyone different than me.

My recipe to make sure these things don't happen? I think I'll just continue on the path I'm on and everything will be a-OK. The thing about stumbling onto a clear(ish) path a little later in life is that you have spent your twenties (and maybe early thirties) walking on paths that don't quite make sense. You've got a lot of experiences stored in your memories to keep yourself on track.

Today is the official last day of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Self-Reliance Trust 30 Challenge. As I've been posting, when I deem that I want to share my thoughts, only on weekdays, you'll have to bare with me a few more (five) days. I hope that you've enjoyed these musings. I hope that you've gotten something from them. And, most importantly, I hope that you have joined me in contemplating the next actions of your lives, as I have mine.