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 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.