Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Get Out The Vote

People used to line up to vote, gentle readers.

It was a right worth fighting for. It was a privilege worth showing up for.

Yesterday we saw the NH Primary. It was growing up in New Hampshire that made your MatchGirl so interested in the political process. And she's saddened to see its gamemanship only grow as the years go by... But, one thing she knows, dear ones, is that you can only change the rules by taking part. By showing up. By voting your conscience.

No matter you political affiliation, as the year moves on, show up to vote. And to vote for the smaller offices in your town as well - those are the ones that will really affect your life. Those are the ones who will make a difference you can see.

Good luck to us all!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Changing the Conversation

Today, gentle readers, your MatchGirl must announce some changes to this little blog.

It's served me well, since its inception, nearly three years ago. And it has evolved as my life has changed. And, as my life continues to evolve and change, Unemployed Brooklyn must, as well.

Don't fear, I'm not doing away with it.
There is far too much going on right now, in the current political and employment landscape to abandon it. There is too much at stake.

That said, dear ones, I will be keeping this blog focussed on issues that affect the American people as a whole. And, of course, I will follow the Republican primary (will tomorrow's, in NH, be telling?) and the general election. And any issues that may arise. From time to time I will share a piece on job hunting, interviewing or general personal development.

But as I have been spending more and more of my time thinking on topics related to social media, brand building and online relationships (and in a very different way than I *used* to thin of online relationships), I have decided to launch a new platform on which to share these thoughts. You can find that at brianacampbell.net. And, of course, if you want to check out how my home life is faring, swing on over to A Precious Environment.

Thanks to all of you for joining me on this adventure... let's keep going!

Friday, January 6, 2012

How to Fix Things

Gentle readers, Tuesday was the day of the Iowa Caucus, and next week marks the New Hampshire primary. It marks the beginning of our presidential election cycle.

And while I'll write more, as the year progresses, on this topic, you know that I've been urging you to vote in your local elections, to take part in government at the most local levels if you really want things to improve. But this is the election cycle that gets everyone amped up every four years, so it's the one your MatchGirl will talk about now.

The right to vote is something that people, not so very long ago, fought very hard for. And it's something that we now so easily take for granted.

If we want things to change, gentle readers, we need to take a stand.
We need to stop blaming the politicians (who are, for the most part, royal screw ups, one and all) and take a hard look at how they got into office.
We put them there.
All of us.
We bought into sound bites and rhetoric and the gaming of politics.
We skipped voting at mid-term elections.
We put into office the guys (and gals) we'd like to have a beer (or latte or wine spritzer) with. Not the person who was the best qualified for the job.
And we've been doing it for a long time now.

It's time to stop.
It's time to vote.
It's time to pay attention to what the candidates motivations, beliefs and ideals really are. It's time to look at their voting record.
It's time to respect compromise and to boo political baiting and gamesmanship.

It's time to take responsibility for what's become of this country.
It's time to fix it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Angels Get Their Wings

My dad's favorite movie of all time is Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life."


And your MatchGirl was thinking about that movie as she reflects back on this past year, and as she turns her eyes forward to the year to come.


In case you've lived under a rock for your entire life, the movie tells the story of George Bailey, whose Savings & Loan misplaces some money (Oh, Uncle Billy!) and George, distraught, tries to kill himself. He's saved by a weird little man - an angel named Clarence - who shows George how the town of Bedford Falls, and its inhabitants would have fared had he not been there in the first place. Needless to say, it's not a pretty picture.


Something I've always known, and something that is made clearer to me every day is how very connected the world is. How much our smallest gestures can make someone else's day, or life, a little bit better.


Clarence reminds George to keep something in mind. And, your MatchGirl thinks it's something we should all, gentle readers, keep top of mind at all times. He cautions - Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends.


Thanks to all of you, for being my friends. For being my family.
Thank you for letting me connect you to each other.
Thank you for taking a moment, from time to time, to see the world through my eyes.


It's because of you, dear readers, that I get up every day and do and do some more.
It's because of my dear friends who allow me to share my life with theirs, and who give me the same favor, that I know my life, while not perfect is good.


These threads that connect us to each other, be the IRL or online, they're important.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The New Great Depression

Gentle readers, your MatchGirl is a bit terrified. Terrified of what's coming down the pike. Terrified of what is going to become of us.


In reading this piece in the Washington Post earlier this week, I realized that we really are coming to the next great depression in America.


The article, an adaptation of Bruce Springsteen's intro to Someplace in America: Tales From The New Great Depression, reminisces about a book that came out 30 years ago, by the same authors, filled with pictures and stories of ordinary Americans just struggling to get by.


Springsteen writes:
That book — “Journey to Nowhere,” by Dale Maharidge and Michael S. Williamson — put real lives, names and faces on statistics we’d all been hearing about throughout the ’80s. People who all their lives had played by the rules, done the right thing and had come up empty, men and women whose work and sacrifice had built this country, who’d given their sons to its wars and then whose lives were marginalized or discarded. I lay awake that night thinking: What if the craft I’d learned was suddenly deemed obsolete, no longer needed? What would I do to take care of my family? What wouldn’t I do?

Without getting on a soapbox, these are the questions Maharidge and Williamson posed with their words and pictures. Men and women struggling to take care of their own in the most impossible conditions and still moving on, surviving.

Gentle readers, is this not the same thing we've been talking about for the past (over) three years? What happened to this country, the political rut we are stuck in, occurred be cause we as citizen's were too blinded by the glitter of a small economic boom to see failure coming. What has happened to this country has happened to this country before, yes, in the poverty and layoffs of the 80s - where manufacturing jobs started on their inevitable decline - but also in the wake of the "roaring twenties."

Extremes, dear ones, are not sustainable.

The failure that we didn't see coming - how stupid were we. Plants started shutting down in the midwest and the south. The family farm started getting eaten by the factory farm. Wages were cut in half and half again (The great book Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town, by Nick Reding details well what the loss of these types of jobs has done to our country). Towns started to die. This started in the 1980s.

But what did we do? As citizens?
Sure, we donated to FarmAid, but FarmAid still exists. Thirty years later we're still begging for donations to help the family farm. And, maybe, in some places, this is coming. And maybe, as more people really want to know where the food they're eating comes from, we'll see their lives improve. We'll see.

We bemoaned the loss of "real American jobs." We watched Roger & Me. But what else did we do?
Did we "buy American"? Maybe.
Did it help? Not so much.
Because those American cars, at least parts of them, were being manufactured in Mexico and Taiwan and loads of other places where the labor was/is cheap and labor laws barely existent.

What we did not do, gentle ones, is look at the core problem.
What we did not do is to invest in education.
What we did not do was look at spending money now to teach people to be more prosperous in the future.

My generation, Generation X for those of you who pay attention to those things, is the first generation to be, overall, worse off than the one before it. Let's not let it keep getting worse for the ones who come after us.

Let's let our leaders - the ones in office, they work for us, you know - know that we want them to think long term. That we want them to invest in education and innovation. That we want them to look beyond creating 5,000 for the next 3 years and figure out how to create 5,000,000 over the next thirty.

Let's learn a lesson from our past - for once - and push push push for an American where there is a priority placed on learning to the highest level, of the skills that will build a future and carry us forward into the 22nd century.

Sure, we won't be around to see it, but that doesn't mean it's not a worthy investment.



Monday, December 19, 2011

Collaboration

Gentle readers, as many of you know, at the beginning of this year, your MatchGirl joined the street team of Seth Godin's Domino Project. I believe I reflected on it for the first time in February of this year. And I got my first big jolt of inspiration after devouring Godin's Poke the Box- and wrote about it here.

The thing is, dear ones, your MatchGirl continues to be inspired and motivated by this project, even though it has officially come to an end.

What is it that's kept me so motivated?
It's keeping in touch with the other members of the street team, scattered throughout the world.
It's watching them take deep breaths and do the scary things they weren't sure they could do.
It's being part of the community.
And it's keeping the collaboration going.

Your MatchGirl is a big fan of collaboration.
Of coming together.
It's part of why she was so excited to help in the founding of Work It Brooklyn. And why she continues to encourage all of you to come together.

Through working together, we can make good ideas great.
We can make small accomplishments big achievements.
We can turn the germ of an idea into something that will change the world.

No one can do it alone, though.
I promise you that, gentle ones.
No matter who you are. No matter how big your personality. No matter how much money you have. No matter who your parents are.
Anything you do solo in this world can only be made better by coming together with other smart people. Whether they code or write or market or keep your ego in check. If they give you answers and keep your ego in line (no matter your talent) they're worth your time.

What's the best collaborative project you've worked on? What inspires you to keep connecting and collaborating? I'd love for you to share your stories with me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Your Fair Share

"Consideration for the rights and feelings of others is not merely a rule for behavior in public but the very foundation upon which social life is built.
Rule of etiquette the first—which hundreds of others merely paraphrase or explain or elaborate—is:
Never do anything that is unpleasant to others.
Never take more than your share—whether of the road in driving a car, of chairs on a boat or seats on a train, or food at the table."
--Emily Post, Etiquette

As we keeping talking about the 99% and the 1% (refer to this post to see what you MatchGirl has to say on the subject) and the wealth gap or income gap. And as we enter a presidential election year (hint: not the most important public official you vote for), and watch a crazy Republican primary taking place, it's easy to forget that life can be broken down into some pretty simple tenets. And that perhaps if we took a moment to reflect on them, we'd all be living a bit better right now.

The rule to live by, gentle readers, the golden rule, as it were, is sometimes hard to stick to, but it's the most important: Treat people like you yourself want to be treated.
Be nice.
Be kind.
Say excuse me, pardon me, thank you and you're welcome.
Hold the door for the person behind you
Stand up for a harried parent, an elderly person or an injured person on public transport.
Speak your mind, but don't be cruel.
Think before you speak.
Treat people like you yourself wish to - feel you deserve to - be treated.

And, this, gentle readers, from Miss Emily Post's 1922 Etiquette (now in its 18th Edition), never take more than your share.
Don't be greedy.

Work hard. Reap the reward. Sure.
But take what's your's.
That's enough.

Your MatchGirl leaves you with this (repeated from above): "Consideration for the rights and feelings of others is not merely a rule for behavior in public but the very foundation upon which social life is built."

Let's remember that, shall we?