Tag Archives: friends

The Overwhelmingness of Christmas

It’s only December 5 and I am already stressing out about the holidays. Believe it or not, today was a much better day that the last few, which have been riddled with online shopping, searching for coupons and discounts codes, picking up tinsel and making sure the tree has enough water so it lasts through Christmas.

I love the holidays. Thanksgiving tends to be my favorite because it was always the biggest in our home; probably because we grew up in an interfaith family. We always did Christmas and Hanukkah but Thanksgiving was the creme de la creme of all the celebrations. This year, Thanksgiving was gone almost before it even started, so we’ve been full steam ahead into Christmas for weeks now.

I love Christmas, I do. The lights, the decorations, the festiveness – it all gives you a warm and cozy feel. And the fact that my year-and-a-half old daughter is smitten with Santa, Christmas trees and The Elf on the Shelf, it’s even more fun. But with all the fun that comes with this lovely holiday, there are plenty of stressors that creep up at Christmastime.

Before we even started defrosting the turkey, there were so many emails and commercials for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (now it’s Cyber Week?!?). I don’t go out on Black Friday, ever. But, this year, I started my shopping even before Thanksgiving hit. There’s handful of people to buy for and when you’ve been buying gifts for them their whole lives, or a good portion of it, for Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, anniversaries, etc. it gets tougher each year. And then there’s the advertising, telling me it’s my last day to save big, blah, blah, blah. I just couldn’t keep up. And before I knew it, another email would come telling me the sales were extended and even more bonuses or savings were added. Then I found myself calling the retailers trying to get the better deal and those calls always took at least 30-60 minutes. It was exhausting. Over the last week, I’ve felt like I was a slave to my computer, wasting every free moment looking online for gifts. And of course, you know I’m still not done.

Between all the shopping and boxes that are lying around full of Christmas decor waiting to be hung, I’ve felt like I was suffocating at times. So today, it was so nice to just take a break from all the shopping and craziness of the holiday season to enjoy a day that consisted of our norm: playdates, the gym, going out to lunch and soon, a nice glass of wine. Plus, it’s Friday. That’s my bonus deal of the day.

As much as we’ve done, there’s still so much more to go and do. Yet, even with all the craziness going on, I’m still loving the warmth of Christmas and have so much to look forward to; the excitement in my daughter’s eyes whenever she spots Santa; our first real Christmas tree; the anticipation of wrapping a ton of gifts (I really do actually love this part); the delight when everyone opens their presents; the holiday traditions; and finally, and most importantly, celebrating the season with friends and family.

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Are We Ever Truly Satisfied?

Are we ever really satisfied? It always seems like the closer we get to achieving success, greatness, or happiness, there is always more we’re looking to fulfill.

Maybe it’s because life was supposed to be a little easier than it has been for some of us. Weren’t we the generation that was going to have it all? Great jobs, 2.5 kids (what is it with that half kid – has anyone ever really understood that?), a house in the suburbs, lots of money and our best friends living right next door? I don’t know anyone in their late 20s or early 30s living that bundled fantasy right now, do you?

What I see today are friends struggling to have kids while MTV exploits pregnant 16-year-olds. Unemployment is through the roof (they’re not even hiring the unemployed anymore) and even when they tell you it’s getting better, it’s not, because who’s really getting ahead? And that house in the suburbs? It’s $16,000 in taxes and needs a complete makeover before you move in. Forget the beach house.

Yes, I sound like a cynic, I know. And I probably shouldn’t because I have a very, very lovely life. A life that I am thankful for each and every day. But I want something extraordinary, not just for me, but for everyone that surrounds me. I want those magnificent things we all deserve and have worked so hard for.  And while I don’t know exactly what those things might be right this second, I know it’s more than the hand some of us have been dealt.

So here’s to finding your satisfaction – whether it’s in your job, your quest for a new adventure, or even just to see those you love a little more. We all deserve it, so let’s figure out how to capture it and do it!

10 Friends and No Jobs. Yeah, I’m Serious.

I currently have 10 friends on the unemployment line. Can you believe that? On 10 fingers, I can count 10 people I know and hang out with who currently don’t have jobs. It’s really rather sickening.

What’s surprising about all of this is that each of us come from different industries. We’re publicists, graphic designers, customer service agents, teachers, marketers, sales professionals, bartenders, the list continues.

A handful of us have been without work for nearly a year or more. Others have just recently joined the ranks. It was never supposed to be this bad. No matter what we read, no matter how bad the economy got, it wasn’t supposed to be this many for this long.

Some of us are lucky enough to have spouses or significant others help us bear the burden of unemployment, but our family income has taken a severe hit. Others are being forced to move in with friends, downsize to smaller apartments, or borrow money from friends and family. What we all seem to have in common: we’re no longer getting ahead like we used to.

When you think about it, it’s amazing what unemployment can do to you. It takes away your money, your success, and your spirit. It beats you when you’re down and doesn’t give a shit that you’re already having a bad day. It doesn’t discriminate: it doesn’t care where you live, what color you are, or what your religious beliefs are. Bottom line, it sucks.

When 10 of your friends are in the same boat, sometimes it’s not so bad. You have each other and can understand what you’re all going through. But when 10 of your friends don’t have jobs and they need them, they want them, and they have tried so goddamn hard to get them for months on end, you start to wonder what the f*ck is going on?

The Real Unemployed Housewives of Hoboken

I’m a fan of Bravo’s Housewives franchise, but I have to say, Atlanta, New Jersey, New York and Orange County, you got nothing on me and my girls – The Real Unemployed Housewives of Hoboken.

Life as an unemployed housewife in one of Hudson County’s most prominent areas is not all fun and games. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to enjoy lunch and cocktails during these beautiful summer-like days while others are stuck in their cubicles, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Let me give you a glimpse into a day in the life of a Real Unemployed Housewife of Hoboken.

Wake up with the husband’s alarm clock around 7 a.m. and get the day started. Yes! Another jam-packed day of searching job boards, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and every other website out there in an effort to land a goddamn job. After hours of connecting, following up on previous job leads which only lead to dead ends, and indulging in some hot topics with Wendy Williams and the ladies of The View, it’s time to get in shape girl! Off to the gym or out for a run to keep the figure in tact because if we don’t, lord only knows what could happen to that ass!

After a solid, or at least half decent workout, it’s back to checking email, hoping that someone got back to you about a job, but all you’ve got is friend requests and more (entry-level) postings. Bitter, you decide if you’re going to bother getting ready or just hang out in your pjs all day. If you’re just sitting on the couch catching up on DVR’ed episodes of Tori & Dean, is it really worth it to get dressed for nothing? But then you get the call from your unemployed pals who are also feeling the frustration of no job and even less money, so you decide how you can kick this funk.

The first and most obvious choice is to hit the bar. A gorgeous day and a city that had more bars per square mile than any other city in the nation, why not? Then you realize you have to claim your unemployment benefits and the check won’t go through until tomorrow. That means no cash flow until the following day. To charge or not to charge? You’re already feeling lower than lower, you want to be with your girls, and if you hung at someone’s house you’d have to spend money to buy wine and food anyway, so you say what the hell.

Ok, now things are picking up. People watching at a bar near the PATH with your unemployed entourage. Your friends are such regulars at the local watering hole that you get hooked up, which is always a bonus. Then your husband calls and asks how your day is going. Shit!

You’re thinking, “I should have been home making dinner, looking for more jobs, connecting more, doing laundry, blah blah blah.” But your man told you to do what makes you happy because you can’t let unemployment get you down. We’ll, you certainly took his advice.

You’re probably thinking back to my statement, how none of those C-list celebrity Housewives have anything on me and my unemployed gals, right? Well, here’s what you’ve been waiting for: We do all those things I mentioned: relentlessly job hunt, feel bad about not bringing in the income we used to, connect with everyone’s brother’s mother’s sister to secure an interview, get lonely and depressed with the same boring routines of laundry, emptying the dishwasher, making the bed and vacuuming. And we also make the most of a somewhat undesirable situation: we find ways to bring each other up when we’re down, we help each other in the job search, we don’t sit around and bicker when a success happens for one and not the other, we figure out how to have fun on a teeny tiny budget, we’re one another’s biggest supporters and most importantly, we laugh… A LOT.

We may not have the bling, we may not have the mansions, we may not have the loot, but we’ve got each other. Top that Bravo Housewives!

Don’t Ask Me to Do My Old Job When I Come to Visit You

The other day I had the opportunity to stop by a smaller office of my former job. I knew a few people would be there, and by few, I mean like 3-5 at most. My husband had a meeting near the office and I decided since one of the colleagues I worked very closely with was there that day, I would pop in and say hello.

Had this been the office that I worked in, the place where they let me go and told me in literally 30 seconds that I no longer had a job and had to fend for myself; the place that slowly went from a job I loved to a prison, I certainly would not have stepped foot inside. But like I said, this was a much more remote office, the office where I actually began my Red Cross career, so I kind of felt safe.

I walked right in and the volunteer at the desk didn’t recognize me. That was ok, I was seldom at this branch so it didn’t surprise me much, especially since I didn’t know who was at the desk anyway! As I walked up the stairs, I waited for that sense of sadness to come over me, some sort of memory that would make me wish I was back there. Nothing rushed over me. I was just excited to see my former colleague and surprise her.

And she was surprised to see me and got up to hug me hello and it was nice to feel that warmth of work friendship once again. It had only been a few weeks, if that long, since I had seen her, but when you see someone every day and share thoughts, dreams and aggravations with one another, not seeing those people in a few weeks sometimes seems longer. She told me that she missed me and asked me what was new and before I knew it, another colleague came over to say hello. I was also close with her, she had always had a whip of a personality, which was what I loved her.

Unfortunately, she barely said hello to me before she was asking me to help her with a project. I was baffled. I hadn’t seen this woman in weeks, she had yet to ask how I was (or my husband for that matter), I had just lost yet another job (see blog post #2) and she was asking me to help her with a website issue? Give me a break!

I handled all the web content and campaigns for our chapter’s website and while this lovely woman had a large part to handle with the website in fundraising capacities, she never really learned how to do those things. I always helped her, and while I walked her through things and set her up with specialized training from our webhost providers and gave her some tips before I left, she still never got it and never bothered to try. And frankly, it wasn’t my problem that she didn’t know how to deal with these things now that I was gone.

When she asked me, I got annoyed. I said, “I haven’t heard from you in ages and when I do, you ask me to do stuff for the website?” No, this was not the first time she asked me to do this crap. I had received at least two emails after my departure asking me to do these same types of things. She said something about how the staff didn’t know how useful I was and that they still needed me. What she didn’t know was that I knew that already and didn’t care much anymore.

Needless to say, I helped her, but did it without my usual smile and grace.  I came there to say hello to these folks. I mustered up the courage to go into my old stomping ground (hey, the guy who laid me off could have been at that office that day for all I knew!) to see old colleagues and they ask me to help them with projects? Give me a break!

I left that day very bothered and thinking about still makes me bothered. What is even more annoying is that neither of those women has reached out to me since to say hello or see how I am (either by phone or email).

A note to those who are visited by former colleagues: don’t ask them to help you or do work for you during their visit. While they may not have a job, that’s certainly not why they came by.