Monday, November 5, 2012

A Vote for Women

Gentle readers, tomorrow is a big day.

Tomorrow is your MatchGirl's birthday. And, as happens from time to time, it's election day.

All your MatchGirl wants for her birthday (unless you're related to me, then I want presents) is for you to go to your polling place and cast your vote.

It's a big deal.

There's a lot at stake.

And if you are a woman; or if you are someone who care about women; or if you think that women are equal to men in every way, shape and form; then there is only one way that you can vote tomorrow.

Late last month, I shared the reasons that I would be voting for President Obama.
I hope you will, too.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Find And Follow Your Passion With New York Creative Interns

This post was originally posted on Work It Brooklyn:

On November 10th, join creative college students and young professionals for a full-day of discussions and workshops designed to give you the tools needed to create you dream career. Meet creatives from the most exciting companies in New York City, get an edge in your career, and make amazing connections.

Our friends at New York Creative Interns are hosting another spectacular event and Work It Brooklyn is so stoked to announce our involvement as media partners for this amazing event. Speakers include creative professionals from Travel Channel, New York Magazine, USA Network, Behance, MoMA PS1, and many more. The event also includes a 50+ company career fair.

Start your Saturday morning keynote is Tina Roth Eisenberg (aka @swissmiss), attend the internship and career fair and choose amongst several cool sessions to attend over the course of the day.

For our Work It Brooklyn peeps, might we suggest:Seeking Success Within: Reveal What You Want & How To Achieve It with Rhonda Schaller, Director // Center for Career & Professional Development Pratt InstituteFrom Creation to Compensation: Overcome the Starving Artist Stigma with Rebecca Taylor, Communications Director // MoMA PS1; Tim Smith, Manager // Marvel Comics; Opus Moreschi, Colbert Report; Sarah Cooper, UX Designer // GoogleCreative Alchemy: Convert Opportunities into Career Gold with Monico Lo, Senior Art Director and Megan Nuttall, Senior Writer // both of kbs+The Art of Negotiation: How to Earn What You're Worth with (friend of Work It Brooklyn) Jim Hopkinson, President // Hopkinson Creative Media

But, hey, if that particular line-up is not your thing, check out the schedule and choose the sessions you’d like to attend.

Details:Find & Follow Your Passion: A Full Day ConferenceBy NY Creative Interns in partnership with the Center for Career & Professional Development at Pratt Institute.Date: Saturday, November 10, 9am - 5:30pmLocation: Pratt Institute. 200 Willoughby Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205Register:

Tickets: Students: $50 // Recent Grads: $75 // Young Professionals: $150Work It Brooklyn members, use the code WorkItLove for 20% off any non-Pratt ticket.Register and learn more:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

VOTE | Of Mitt and Women: Choose Your Candidate Wisely

Gentle readers, it's been a while since your MatchGirl has posted here.

Forgive me for that.

There are reasons, but they are not important.

What is vitally important is that you go out and vote on November 6th.

You may or may not know that November 6 is your MatchGirl's birthday. And this year, albeit a little late in the game, I have decided, in lieue of all the gifts and cocktails you were going to buy me (not you Boyfriend), that I would love it if people would donate a little bit, whatever you can spare, to support the President's re-election. If you're in, click here.

The image above shows suffragettes, women who had to work hard to get the right to vote. To get the smallest bit of recognition. For whom equality was a dream.

"No self respecting woman should wish or work for the success of a party that ignores her sex." 
Susan B. Anthony. 

Oh, dear readers, your MatchGirl could not agree more!

You know that your MatchGirl is an outspoken liberal, a supporter of the working class, someone who has seen hard times, who grew up in a family that made less than the average family on the block, a defender of women's equality. You know how important I think it is to get out and vote.

So you might be surprised that your MatchGirl is not going to tell you how to vote.
No. That's not my place.
I hope you'll vote the way that I will, (and donate to the cause) but more importantly, I hope you will look at everything that is at stake - truly at stake - and vote with your heart.
It's a big deal.

A few things to keep in mind as you make your way to the polls on November 6th:

Four of our Supreme Court Justices are over 70 years old. And while Supreme Court Justices often stay on the bench till well into their 80s, there is a definite possibility that the next elected president of the United States could shape the face of the coming court.

What does that mean?
It means that women's rights could be set back. Not just when it comes to making their own health care choices, though the Romney/Ryan ticket has vowed to overturn Roe v Wade, and both have gone on record at various times to say that they don't believe choice should ever be an option (still Ryan's postion, though now Romney has the nomination, he's pulled back a teensy bit).

Let's keep going.

It also means no fair pay act for women. Because Mitt Romney does not believe that women are equal. Beyond needing binders full of them.

Let's talk unemployment and the economy. Sure, Mitt Romney knows how to buy and sell companies. He knows how to make some cash. He knows how to outsource jobs to China. But while Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt didn't have astronomical job growth, as he tries to spin and as he promises that e'll bring to the country. Sure, he had some growth and left MA a little better, perhaps, than he found it. But he didn't win a second term. There's a good post on the Boston Globe website laying out the facts in a pretty even way.

The Salt Lake City Tribune, a fairly progressive paper in a lees-progressive state, came out recently with an endorsement of President Obama. A lot of people were floored (of course, a lot of people also think that Mitt Romney is from Utah because of his Religion - he's from Michigan) by this endorsement.

And so, dear readers, I'll leave you with their closing remarks:

In considering which candidate to endorse, The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board had hoped that Romney would exhibit the same talents for organization, pragmatic problem solving and inspired leadership that he displayed here more than a decade ago [with the Olympics]. Instead, we have watched him morph into a friend of the far right, then tack toward the center with breathtaking aplomb. Through a pair of presidential debates, Romney’s domestic agenda remains bereft of detail and worthy of mistrust.

Therefore, our endorsement must go to the incumbent, a competent leader who, against tough odds, has guided the country through catastrophe and set a course that, while rocky, is pointing toward a brighter day. The president has earned a second term. Romney, in whatever guise, does not deserve a first.

I'm with the Salt Lake City Tribune. The reasons that I've laid out above? Those are just some of the reasons that I will be casting my ballot for President Obama and Vice President Biden on November 6. I won't tell you how to vote, but I hope you'll see fit to vote the same way.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Creative Life

On the weekend, gentle readers, your MatchGirl was listening to Studio 360 on WNYC. Part of the program was about arts funding in public schools (check it out here). Or, more to the point, if a turnaround arts initiative could save schools.

Your MatchGirl only knows what this piece told her about the initiative. But she knows this. Art saves students. And that will be what saves schools.

When your MatchGirl was a kid, she went to several schools. Being the shy, bookish girl before that was a hip thing to be, it wasn't easy to make new friends. But the art room was always a place of solace.

I never would be the smartest kid in class. I would never be the prettiest and I most certainly could never have been, no matter how I longed for it, the most popular. But I could go into the art classroom and feel smart and talented and like I could do anything that I wanted to. I could be accomplished. And I could feel admired.

That was just the self-esteem part of things.

Having the opportunity to participate in arts programs also made me aware that there is seldom one right answer. It made it clear that one could use creativity to arrive at the truth. 

I was never one who did well on standardized tests, probably because of this. My world was always in shades of grey. There was always something that could be the right answer, if only I knew more of the puzzle pieces. 

The thing is, dear readers, when we get out of the classroom and into the real world, it's not so black and white as bubbles filled in with a Number 2 pencil, either. We need creative thinking to make our way in the world - in personal relationships, in the work place, too. Think where we would be without creative thinking. 

And I don't mean think where we would be without the painters and the poets and the composers. Creative thinking is what drives the greatest innovations in our world. Engineers, scientists, mathematicians ... all of these disciplines rely on people who can think outside of previously drawn lines to come to new discovery. 

And they can't land on these discoveries if they've never been taught to wrap their head around problems from a different perspective.

Your MatchGirl, for one, hopes that this initiative proves its worth. And that expands to other schools. She hopes that the school system realizes how many children "No Child Left Behind" is truly failing. 

Who knows, a little creative thinking might help ...

Image: Life

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day

Today marks May Day, gentle readers, a day when we take pause and think about the rights of those who labor daily. The workforce has changed, of course, since the origins ... but we're still a world full of workers.

What will you do today?
Will you join the Occupy movement in protest and strike?
Will you go to work like it's any other day?
Will you take a moment to think about where we, as workers, as unemployed and underemployed, stand in this world?
Will you look at the protests around the world and think that you have it so good? Or so bad?

Your MatchGirl is interested in your comments. Tell me.

Image source

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Road Less Travelled

Your MatchGirl, gentle readers, has been freelancing since her layoff in January.

This has been an interesting ride for a girl who always takes the safe steps. The secure path. But the more I think about it, I wonder how secure that path has really been.

It's been the easy path. Yeah. That's right. It's been the easy one.

And I'm done with the easy path.

Because the easy path hasn't brought me the security that it was supposed to. It didn't bring me a 401K or a ton of money or a house with two cars in the yard... The easy path has just been the not scary one.

So now, dear ones, your MatchGirl is on the scary path. The one she's not quite sure where it leads. There may be bumps ahead, but there might be mountains to get to the top of. All I can do is keep travelling down it, making choice as I go along.

What path have you taken, gentle readers? What is the scary choice that you've made lately? And was it for the best?

I want to know.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Gut Feeling

Gentle readers, your MatchGirl has posted here, many times, about how important it is to follow your heart. Especially in your job search. In the quest for your career. And I've written before about facing your fears.

Some of these things I wrote when I was employed, some when I was unemployed. Some I wrote having faced the problems. Some I wrote not having truly dealt with them at all.

But, dear readers, you know that your MatchGirl would never give you advice that she herself would not take.

So today I remind you to follow your gut. Face your fears. And don't only dream your dreams, but figure out how to live them.

If I can do it, even if tenuously right now, then you most certainly can, too!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Health and Wellness for Freelancers & Independent Workers

Gentle readers, your MatchGirl is happy to announce that registration is now open for the next Work It Brooklyn event. Read below to learn more!

We’ve all been there, working away for hours, focused on only the task at hand - maybe staring at a computer screen as we write, maybe it’s hours bent over jewelry wire, or time spent standing in front of a canvas. And then we look up and realize it’s 4PM and all we’ve eaten all day was that bagel with our morning coffee. That we’ve been in the same position for hours.

Friends, this is no way for a creative entrepreneur to live!

Whether you freelance, working from home or coffee shops for multiple clients, or are starting your own business, like so many of the members of Work It Brooklyn, you’re spending a lot of time focused on the business you’re trying to grow. But how much time are you spending focused on yourself?

Our next event, April 18th from 7 to 9PM and graciously hosted by our friends at Human At Ease,  is centered on how to stay healthy and well while you are focused on growing your business, and the best way to make all the parts of your life balance while you are doing this.

We’ll have a discussion, led by our own Aja Marsh, of North Brooklyn Runners, and with panelists including  Dishan Elise, a certified personal trainer and the founder/owner of Human At Ease and Kim Ann Curtin, a life coach who is founder and CEO of The Wall Street Coach.

Whether you’re working on starting your own business, freelancing from the cramped confines of your studio apartment, or a member of our community with a focus on food, health and wellness, this event will provide answers to achieving a better, healthier, life balance.

Don’t worry - we’ll also have our signature speed-networking, too!

Want to join us? Register here.

A few words about our amazing host!
Human at Ease is a fitness and wellness studio whose goal and desire in strengthening the “whole” person is to facilitate an overall sense of well-being & fulfillment, and to improve overall quality of life using one or more of our various offerings. Their objective is for the community to recognize Human@Ease’s name for what it is--a haven for strength & serenity. A place where we can all learn to “Love Ourselves”. At Human@Ease we all share in a common vision of positive human change.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

You: The Brand | Part Five - Cover Letters

Gentle readers, no one likes to write a cover letter. No one.

And here's why: It's hard. It's hard to get all that awesome about you squished into a couple of short paragraphs, all the while also saying how amazing the company you're reaching out to is.

As part of this series on branding yourself (you can read the first post here), your MatchGirl wants to take you back to basics. Sure it's great to have yourself up-to-date on every social network and it's amazing if you work in a creative industry and can make a website or resume that gets you some press or attention. But all that means little if you can't do the work and if you don't cover the basics.

Just like when you are re-building your resume (though, really, you should have done that by now), you need to be very specific in your cover letter. A one size fits all approach does not work here.

Some tips to get you going:

  1. Pull the key words out of the job description. These key words will become the basis for your letter.
  2. What are the main areas of expertise the job posting lists? How do these fit with what you've accomplished. Use the top ones to form the meat of your letter.
  3. What is the company up to? If the company name is on the posting, do a little legwork and find out what's great about the company - what you are interested in and think about how that applies to the job for which you're applying. 
  4. Keep it short. You're not writing a novel , or even an essay, here. Three or four short paragraphs will do it. You need to whet their appetite for finding out more about you.

Writing a killer cover takes time. And the time is worth it. The more you write, the more you tweak them to fit each different application, the easier they will come. And, as always, like anything in your job hunt, there is no shame in asking a pal in the industry to take a look at it for you. That's what friends are for!

What are some of your best cover letter tips?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

You: The Brand | Part Four - Make It Work

Gentle readers, on Tuesday, your MatchGirl promised to come back to you with some tips on taking all that you've learned over the last few posts - your new resume, your awesome social media presence and a little bit of chutzpah - and making them work together. To sell yourself to people you've never met before, to people you're just meeting and to people who you really want to get to know.

This is something your MatchGirl has written about before, for her friends at Brokelyn and for the fine folks at Social Media Week NYC, and it's something that I'd like to share with you.

Here are my five points to remember when attending a networking event or trying to sell yourself to a prospective employer:

1. Elevator Pitch: I've been talking about this since 2010, and I've written about it several times. Practice this. Most times you only get two to three minutes to tell your story. Make these minutes count.

2. Listen as much as you speak: Something else that your MatchGirl has touched on here. You need to remember that looking for a job, promoting your brand and building your business is all built on connections.

3. Keep moving: If you're at a networking event, don't spend the entire evening talking to one or two people. Move around the room. Excuse yourself and talk to some new faces. That's why you're there, after all!

4. Follow Up: After the event, or an interview, or even an impromptu meeting, where you've grabbed a business card, follow up. Shoot the person an email, connect on LinkedIn, or even Tweet at them to say hi. Keep the lines of communication open.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

You: The Brand | Part Three - Now What?

All right, gentle readers, if you've been following along the past couple of posts, you are prepared for the next step: Taking the pieces of what you've put together and doing something with them.

Come now. You didn't think that people would just come to you, now that you've got this beautiful resume and those coordinated social media profiles, did you?
If you are your own brand (hint: you are), you need to get out there and sell yourself!

And yes, gentle readers, your MatchGirl is well aware that this might be the hardest part of all.

As many of you know, I co-host networking events for creative freelancers and entrepreneurs in Brooklyn. I attend as many events as I can, that are geared to tech and social media especially. If I have an opportunity to network, I will do my best to get myself out there. When I was working for an agency, I did it on behalf of the agency - smiling, shaking hands, speaking in a positive way about all the cool things we were doing or had in the pipeline - and I'd do it for myself, as well. Here's the thing, dear readers, it's 100 times easier to sell something or someone else than it is to sell the idea of yourself.

A few things you're going to need to get started:

Business cards. Even in this digital age, many people still like to collect paper business cards to add to their collection. Don't use price as an excuse. You can get beautiful, custom cards a few bucks. Services like Moo Cards (where I actually got mine for free, using a Klout perk) and VistaPrint offer great products at very affordable prices.

A charged phone. Others may not be as on top of things as you are. Make sure your mobile is charged so you can take the phone number and email address of anyone you meet who you'd like to get in touch with in the future.

Chutzpah. Going to events and putting yourself out there requires a lot of gumption. You're going to need to go up to people you don't know and introduce yourself - representing the brand of you. You're going to need confidence to do this - confidence in what you're selling.

Next post? How to talk about yourself without coming across as a braggart or a bore.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

You: The Brand | Part Two - Social Networks

Earlier in the week, gentle readers, we wrote about beginning the rebranding of you - starting with your resume.

Today, your MatchGirl wants to talk to you about branding yourself across your social networks. You might think that this is the least of your worries, but in this day and age, where employers are Googling your name, where some interviewers are asking for social logins, and where unemployment is still over 8% across the country, you need to pay careful attention to how you come across. Everywhere.

Let's talk about that. Take a peek at my Google profile picture here on Blogger. Then head on over to my Twitter account. Check out my page and you'll see the same image. Pinterest? Yep. Instagram (viewed here with Webstagram)? Check. And if you were to meet me in person and see my business card, you'd see the same image. Why? Because your image on social platforms is a branding opportunity. And on social platforms, consistency matters.

I make an exception on LinkedIn, where a straight up, pro-looking headshot is more appropriate. You'll notice, though, the same color combos - navy and white (and me). There is no doubt that these networks are related. Are you on LinkedIn? Take a second and check that your photo is one a potential employer would be drawn to - no babies, no pets, no plastic beer cups. Refer to Tuesday's post and make sure your resume fits the brand of you that you're building now - not the person you were ten years ago.

Is your Facebook profile private? Or is it one that any one can see? That search engines can index? If you want to use Facebook as a place to espouse political views, to share pictures of you doing keg stands or anything else that a potential employer might find ... unseemly, make your profile private. My personal Facebook profile is private, while I have a page for Unemployed Brooklyn. And I use LinkedIn for connecting with professional organizations and people.

What about Twitter? What are you talking about and sharing? Does it reflect how you want to be perceived by others?

What other social platforms do you live on? If they are public, are you cognizant of what you are putting out there? Right now, you need to be all about selling the brand of you and if you're not paying attention to what that brand is saying, you may get overlooked for someone who is better at it.

I'll finish, gentle readers, with one big question to ask yourself when you're living online:

Is this something I'd be embarrassed by if my mother saw it?
If the answer is yes, you probably don't want a potential boss to see it either.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

You: The Brand | Part One - Your Resume

You. You are a brand. Whether you like it or not. Whether you want to be or not. You are a brand and you need to sell yourself as such. Whether you are a freelancer, a person on the hunt for a full-time job or anything in-between. The brand of you is something that is more important in the digital age than it has ever been before.

Gentle readers, this is something that your MatchGirl has touched on before, but let's look at it a little more specifically - you're one person, on a job hunt, creating the brand for the product you are trying to sell - YOU.

First things first.

You need to tell your story.
Not sure what that is? Let's start with your resume.
Here's a great exercise:

  1. Grab a notebook and pen (yes - go analogue, it will be easier to edit and get your thoughts together).
  2. Write down all the key words that your dream job requires - whether you're looking for a job right now, or if you just have one in mind for down the road. Pull these words from job postings, from the LinkedIn profiles of people who have your dream job and from what you think your dream job requires. 
  3. Then write down all the qualifications that you have, for any job. I like to do this exercise using columns, but you can use different sheets of paper, too.
  4. Where do they meet up? If you've been working towards a goal, there will be loads of overlap.
  5. Pull up your old resume - I like a printed copy so I can mark on it, but feel free to use your favorite text editor.
  6. Take a hard look at your resume, at what it says. Are the key words for your sought after job in there? Can they be? Pen in hand, go through the bullets of your resume and insert the skills you've got, that match your key words, into your resume.
  7. Have stuff on there not related to your dream job? Spent a year slinging burgers but looking for a journalism job? Can that year. Unless you're looking for your first job, you've got relevant work experience, volunteer experience or even college experiences that will add weight to your targeted resume much more than that year when you were just working your bum off to make rent.
  8. Know someone who's working in your dream area? It's best if they're senior and have been in a hiring position before. Ask them to review your resume. Your MatchGirl has done this and it was one of the smartest things I did. Don't be proud - your friends and your close network want you to succeed. 
  9. Make the changes suggested. Seriously. 
  10. Upload to all job boards where your old resume was, LinkedIn and any resume section of your website or blog.
This is a really good start. Congratulations!

Next post, branding yourself across networks.

Photo  VivaScriva

Thursday, March 8, 2012

How To Make It

On Tuesday of this week, gentle readers, your MatchGirl had the chance to attend a very cool event, presented by the folks at Uncommon Goods. How To Make It: How To Make Money While Doing What You Love was an intimate event targeted at designers who are trying to make a career out of their passion projects.

The panel - Tina Roth EisenbergJeff DavisNickey SkarstadAnna Rabinowicz - are all people who know what it's like to pursue a creative dream (even if it's not the one they set out to follow), and were thus well-equipped to speak with Uncommon Goods' CEO Dave Bolotsky and to answer a few questions from the eager audience

What struck me, dear readers, is that much of the advice the panelists gave for those looking to get their creative businesses off the ground can (and maybe should) be applied to you, when it comes to building your own brand and moving your job hunt forward.

One of the topics that arose was that of being happy. SwissMiss (Tina Roth Eisenberg - your MatchGirl feels silly calling her anything else after following her on Twitter for so long!) said that when she was thinking about hiring people in her business, she made a list of everything that she had to do to get her day to day work and then put a smiley or frowny face next to each item. The frowny faced items on the list were the things she was not stoked on doing and that she ended up hiring someone else for.

One of my favorite quotes came from Jeff Davis, who said, "You have to be happy in your day to day life as a small business owner - otherwise, it's going to suck."

True story. And, in your MatchGirl's humble opinion, true of any job one takes.

Another great piece of advice came from Etsy's Nickey Skarstad, who reminded the audience to remember to pay themselves. Figuring out what your worth is tough, and something your MatchGirl has written about more than once. Whether you are figuring out pricing a product you're making, a service you are providing or answering a potential employer's query as to how much you'd like to make.

The topic of branding was also adressed, something that your MatchGirl has written extensively about, personally and professionally.

Gentle readers, the good folks at Uncommon Goods have told me that they'll be sure to hold more events like this one, hopefully in the very near future. What would you like to learn at an event like this?

image from UNH in my kinda hometown of Durham, NH.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Something For Everyone

Gentle readers, your MatchGirl knows it's hard out there.
She knows the job market is still touchy. She knows that you're all struggling a bit.
But she's here to remind you of something important.

Gentle readers, you can't be everything to all people. And your resume cannot fit all jobs. And... at the end of the day, why would you even want it to be?

When you're out of work and you don't have as much money coming in as you once did, it's easy to just go for any job that you're qualified for. It's easy to say, "Hey, I could do that." But, gentle readers, I need you to take a step back and ask yourself this question: Do I want to do that?

Especially as we get older, and here your MatchGirl knows of what she speaks, it's even more important that we don't settle for something that might be kind of OK. We need to strive for the great fit. For the work that excites us. For the kinds of companies that we want to work for.

Tailor your resume to the job you want to have. You can't be something for everyone. And, honestly, you shouldn't even try to be.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pick A Job | Advice from Mad Men

This is America. Pick a job and then become the person that does it.  - Bobbie Barrett, Mad Men "The New Girl"

Last week, gentle readers, your MatchGirl wrote about whether it was possible for one to truly reinvent themselves in the digital age. With our more connected world comes greater visibility. And less of a chance to hide who you might have been.

In thinking about it more, though, I wonder if we can use social tools to - not to hide from who we were - but to be open about our transformations. 

It's something I've certainly done, from the beginning of my time writing Unemployed Brooklyn through the fun ride of Hire Me Martha to me finally landing in a place that I truly love - thinking about, playing on, moving forward with and working in the field of social media

On some level, this quote still rings true. America is still the land of opportunity, the place where you can decide what or who you want to be and then work your ass off to do it. Sure, it matters, still who you know and who you meet. But you can know those people. You can met them. And social tools make it even easier.

So, did I follow the advice of Bobbie Barrett, Don Draper's ambitious lover in season 2 of Mad Men? Yes. I did. And then I went further.

I've been nothing but transparent about my career change. I've been nothing but honest about who I am and where I come from. I'm happy to tell would-be-employers that I don't come from a traditional PR or marketing background. I didn't study it in school. I learned it in the real world. In a country where Americans have, on average, 7 jobs in their lifetime, isn't it better to keep learning and growing as you work? To keep acquiring new skills? To keep making your personal brand stronger and more marketable? 

If I'd learned these skills in school, I wouldn't have been taught about social media. It didn't exist. And it's possible I would find myself in a much worse unemployment position than I do right now. Because it's very possible that if I had been taught PR or marketing at university I would not have figured out the social tools that are so very necessary in today's world. 

I wouldn't have fallen in love with social media because I wouldn't have found it on my own. I wouldn't have been in a position to take chances and express myself. I might not have thought to start this blog.

Or maybe I would have figured it out.

It's no good looking at what might have been, anyway. But, gentle readers, it is important to focus at the task at hand.

So, take Mrs. Barrett's advice: Pick a job and then become the person who does it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Reinvention In The Digital Age

It used to be, gentle readers, that one could go off to college and be a different person than they were in high school. It used to be that one could move to a new city or a new country and be a different person than the one they had been before.

And your MatchGirl isn't speaking about anything nefarious. It's simply that it used to be so simple to leave one's old self behind. To invent yourself from scratch. Or, at the very least, put aside your bookish nerdy self and become a cheerleader-type. Or some such thing.

But how do we do that now?
In this digital age, when everything about you is available for everyone else to see?

It's hard to escape your past, for sure, but it's not so hard to look to your future.
Your MatchGirl's advice to those looking to reinvent themselves, just do it. You don't need to forget who you were (or are) to get where you are going. But you do need to see where it is you want to be.

And honestly, from one geeky girl, who never did turn into a cheerleader-type, to someone probably not that different (if you're reading this little tome, anyway), why would you want to lose all that old stuff? It's what adds up to make you who you are today. And that person ... probably doesn't suck.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How to Stay Motivated While Unemployed

Ah, gentle readers. A lot of people have been asking lately how your MatchGirl stays motivated to keep up this blog (and others) while searching for a full time job and doing a bit of freelancing. How does she keep going when the pay-off doesn't seem so immediate?

The answer isn't simple. There are certainly days when a Netflix marathon seems much more enticing than writing, emailing or ... pretty much anything else. But staying motivated is a mindset.

To-do lists are your best friend. Promise. They are a way to keep you motivated and feeling accomplished all at once.

Timers are good, too. Say you are going to write for an hour? Set your kitchen timer, put aside other distractions and just write. When the timer beeps, get up, walk around the room, go for a walk around the block, and then move on to the next item on your list. The same goes for replying to e-mails, or reaching out to potential employers.

Bribe yourself. Really want to watch the season finale of Downton Abbey? To eat that last piece of cake in the fridge? Wait. Finish your work first. Reward yourself for what you've done. Not what you're planning on doing.

Staying motivated is hard. YourMatchGirl isn't saying otherwise. But it's important. Make a mini-schedule for yourself and get your work done. And, equally as important, know when to set your work aside and pay attention to the people around you.

Good luck!

Friday, February 10, 2012

On Debt & Parachutes

Do you know about Skillshare?

Learn anything, anywhere, from anyone.

Your MatchGirl has quite a few friends who have taught classes. And she has considered teaching some herself (on what ... she's not quite sure.) Skillshare is on the forefront of the new education model that's been much buzzed about of late.

And in the interest of promoting that new model, they are hosting a "Golden Parachute" contest:

It's time the little guy gets bailed out! Enter for a chance to wipe out $5,000 from your student debt.

Click here to enter.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Interviews Are Conversation

As your MatchGirl heads out on another job interview, it's important to take a moment to talk about them, gentle readers.

An interview is a conversation. You need to give as good as you get.

Here are a few tips to help you through:

Dress up. Even if it's at a jeans and t-shirt kind of place. Take your clothing to the next level. It shows you care.

Don't interrupt. This is hard for some people, but it's important to remember. Bite your tongue and hear your interviewer out.

Pause. Don't jump right into you answer. Take a moment. Think about what you'll say. Then go.

Don't say "like" or "um" in your sentences. If you're searching for the word, simply pause. You'll seem more intelligent.

Eye contact is important. It shows you're paying attention and that you're interested in the job.

Ask questions. Come in prepared with at least one question. If you're meeting with several people, this is a rough one sometimes, but you can do it. Asking questions shows that you're excited about the place and the position. It shows that you listened as they were speaking and that you did some research before you showed up.

Remember that this is two (or more) people sitting down for a conversation. And it's as much about them, who they are and what they are looking for, as it is about you. If you keep this in mind, you should do just fine.

Good luck to you - and me!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Safety Nets

Ah, gentle readers. Let's talk about safety nets. I imagine quite a few of you out there are taking advantage of one or another right now. Is unemployment insurance a safety net? Do you become poor living on unemployment insurance for long enough, while you struggle to find a new position?

The federal poverty line is $10,800 a year for a single person, $22,000 for a family of four.


Can you imagine living on that? Let alone in New York City, where everything from food to rent costs more than most other places in the US?

About a week ago, GOP Presidential hopeful (and my former Governor) Mitt Romney said, "I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I'll fix it." He went on to speak about how he's concerned mostly with the middle class in America, who is struggling. He didn't say that a lot of them are teetering precipitously close to that line of being amongst the very poor.

In your MatchGirl's opinion, gentle readers, Mitt just doesn't get it. While he was governor of Massachusetts (though not voted for by me), it seemed like he might. He rolled out "Obamacare"(otherwise known as health care reform) before Obamacare was even a term. Or, you know, about a year into Obama's career as the Junior Senator from Illinois. Your MatchGirl still has a lot of friends in Massachusetts and the reform itself has mixed reviews, but, overall...  isn't it better to be able to go to the doctor, to take your kids, than to either not be able to or to break the bank doing so? Your MatchGirl thinks maybe.

But back to those safety nets.

Your MatchGirl wonders if there is not something more that can be done.
What good is a safety net, after all, if there is no way to climb out of it?

Sure, the majority of the country isn't at the poverty level. Yet. But that number is growing.

We need more than nets to catch people - that brings to mind fish gasping for air to this seacoast girl's mind. We need a way to make the American dream more than a dream for more Americans

In my opinion, dear readers, this starts with education reform. Big and hard changes that will scare the people who think the only way to measure intelligence is by having a kid fill in little bubbles on a scan card. That there is only one way that kids can learn. I've written about it before. And I'll keep talking about it.

Because America is falling behind - it's falling behind not only the Asian countries that the candidates keep calling out as our biggest threats, but smaller countries, like Finland. Because we don't look at the problem long term.

We look at everything in terms of electability.
In terms of a manufacturing sector that does not exist in the way it did for our grandparents (or parents).
In terms of the good old days where you could provide, well, for a family on a high school degree and where you could be guaranteed a good job with a college degree.
Guess what - we live in a different world. And we need to adapt to it if we're going to survive.

America, dear Mitt, doesn't need safety nets (nor, Mr. Gingrich, does it need trampolines - you just fall back down, you know)

It needs a ladder.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hiding In Shadows

Today, some groundhog, with a cute name, in some city in America, peeped his little head out of his burrow and saw his shadow.

Or he didn't.

As I write this, gentle readers, I have no idea what the rodent saw.
And it doesn't matter. Not one little bit.

Life keeps on moving and there's no reason that one should hide in the shadows.

Get yourself out there. Say hi. Be seen.

Whatever you do, no matter where you are in your own life, don't go hiding from your own shadow.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

No Comparison

Gentle readers, pull up a stool and listen to what your MatchGirl has to say.
You are like no one else.

It's true. You are you and they are they and never the twain shall meet.

When we're out of work, spending a little more time on the social web than we would have had time to before... it's easy, too easy, to look at the lives of others in our social circles and compare ourselves to those. They have a great job. They have a big family. They live in an amazing city. They have things that you want and you're just not sure how to get.

Guess what. You have things they want. You're living a life that is solely your own and you can't compare yourself to anyone else.

They have things you want? Awesome! Strive to get those things for yourself.

Just because you're a little down on your luck right now doesn't mean things won't be better soon. Especially not if you keep trying to make them better.

So, log off the social networks and spend some of this unemployed "down" time on you. And who you are. And on where you want to go.

Friday, January 27, 2012

It's Not You, It's ...


It's 100% them.

Gentle readers, if you've just been laid off, your MatchGirl needs you to remember this.
Because this is not the time for moping. This is not the time for feeling sorry for oneself.
This is the time to make it work.

Unless you were very very naughty, the reason you were laid of, dear one, has nothing to do with you. So get over yourself. No matter how personal it feels, how small the company, the person who made the final decision was not thinking about you - you as a person - they were thinking about the dollar signs that you represent, sitting in that chair, using that electricity. That's it.

It feels personal. It's affecting your personal life.
But you need to find the way to push through that.

Right now, there are a lot of companies who see little in the value in their human workforce. That's on them. They need to figure out how to get their businesses through the next few months. They can't think about how you're going to feed your kids. It's just not on the agenda. So don't take it personally.

Your focus, right now, needs to be on the next steps for improving your situation.

Forget about them. It'll be easier that way.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Unemployed: Now What?

As your MatchGirl promised in Monday's post, a few helpful hints about what you should do when you're newly laid off and looking for a new position.

Of course, gentle readers, this is not a definitive step by step to finding a new job. Your MatchGirl doesn't have that sussed yet herself. A week and a half of unemployment is still pretty new ... but here are some tips that will certainly set you on the right track.

Make sure your social media profiles are up to date. More and more HR pros are turning to LinkedIn to research candidates, so make sure that your profile is 100% filled in - with tags on your strengths and your most recent accomplishments listed.

Do the same to the resume you'll send as an attachment.

Start connecting. LinkedIn, email, Facebook ... wherever you know people professionally, start reaching out. Don't be embarrassed about losing your job - unless you really really messed up. We've all been in your shoes and people, in your MatchGirl's experience, are almost always willing to lend a hand. You've just got to ask for it. So, whether that means a recommendation from your former boss, asking someone in your industry to keep an ear to the ground for you, or reaching out to a former mentor and seeing if they have some time to talk with you, you need to do it.

Take meetings that have no promise of an open position or a job at all. It doesn't hurt to get out and see what else is out there. If there is a place you'd love to work and someone there has some time to chat with you, jump on that. If a job at that company doesn't come out of it right away, at least you've made a new connection, at that company and in your industry.

Don't mope. Sure, use this extra time to catch up on Mad Men before the series 5 premier, to run errands in the middle of the day, but don't sit around and do nothing. Reach out to former colleagues. Sign up for meetups and networking events. Put yourself out there and keep doing it.

In the economy, especially, it's a town of warm leads. A recommendation from someone who can vouch for you is worth a lot more than the right words on your resume.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Unemployment: The Second Time Around

Gentle readers, when your MatchGirl was first laid off in 2008, she did not really have a purpose to her life, to her career. She was drifting around and figuring out what to make of things and how to get closer to working in a place that, while maybe not making her happy, did not make her miserable. At least not on a daily basis, anyway.

Through this tome, through Twitter, through connecting with people, through the advice of friends, she came upon something that she enjoys doing. That she has a passion for.

I think, dear readers, that is why it feels so different this time around.

This time around, there was no moping, no feeling sorry for oneself. There was simply a jump to action. There were resumes sent, there were phone calls made, there were LinkedIn connections revitalized. There was a network full of smart people - people who work in the same world as your MatchGirl, who share similar passions - to reach out to.

So. You're newly laid off and terrified of what's to come.
No worries. It happens to the best of us.
You'll make it through, because you're smart and resourceful.
Will you need to change some things in your day-to-day life? Yes.
Will you need to draw on an inner strength you're not sure you possess? For sure.
Will you come out the other end? Of course. We all do. Eventually.

Next post... some tips for getting started, when you're starting again.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Putting The "Un" Back In Unemployed

Gentle readers.

You may have noticed that the name of this small blog has changed from Unemployed Brooklyn back to its original title - Unemployed Brooklyn.

Yes. That's right.
Your MatchGirl is once again on the dole queue.
The company for which she worked faced some setbacks in the fourth quarter, which led to a major restructure. While they'll probably push through and come out all right on the other side, for now, your MatchGirl and several of her colleagues are pounding the (virtual) pavement.

Don't despair, though, dear readers,  Your MatchGirl feels totally OK.

Your MatchGirl will keep you updated as she moves forward in her quest for a new position. And of course, this little tome will continue to bring you thoughts on the plight of the under and unemployed in this country as we move through the current election cycle.

Stay tuned ... I have a feeling there will be a lot to talk about.

Monday, January 16, 2012

In Order To Form A More Perfect Union ...

Early last year, gentle readers, your MatchGirl wrote about the anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and the need we still have for oversight for employees. Whether you fully agree with that or not, I'd like you to take a moment to look at the photo above and have a good think on what it says. Because, dear ones, I assure you that one of these parties is serving their country in a much more productive way - ensuring America's future, not their own.

Just something to think about ...

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 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.