Tag Archives: unemployed

Let’s Cook!

I was never much of a cook. Growing up, my mom didn’t cook very much. She made things like Stouffer’s lasagna or Mrs. Budd’s chicken pot pies. When she did make a homemade meal, she hit it out of the park. Appetizers and holiday cooking like Thanksgiving and Passover were her specialities and still are today.

My husband also loved to cook. When we lived in Hoboken, he loved to whip up new and exciting meals like stuffed peppers or bolognese while I made things like spaghetti or turkey burgers. Our roles have since changed.

When I lost my job a few years back, I started to get into cooking. When I wasn’t job hunting or interviewing, I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands. While Eric worked, I needed an outlet. So I started to cook. I thought it would be nice for him to have something to come home to. Plus, I felt like I did something; it somehow justified me being home all day and not working.

When I reentered the job force, I still tried to cook. Unfortunatey, I just didn’t have the same kind of time to devote to my new hobby. After working all day in the city, commuting and then getting in a run or workout, cooking was the last thing I wanted to do. Besides, living in Hoboken, there were so many great restaurants and eateries to enjoy, it was so much easier to say, “Lets eat out tonight!”

Fast forward to mommyhood and my life in suburbs and I have found a new love for cooking. At first, I was somewhat intimated, like when I wanted to try to make a cookie cake for Eric for Father’s Day. He loved it when a girlfriend of mine made it so I faced my fear, gave it a try and found surprising success. Pintrest has become a good friend of mine as I look to create new and exciting dishes for our family like a chicken, artichoke and spinach pasta bake; balsamic chicken; homemade banana bread; or lasagna roll ups.

Believe it or not, cooking somewhat relaxes me. I feel creative. Staying home, I don’t always feel like that, especially after a successful career in public relations where I was constantly coming up with new ideas and initiatives seen all across the world. Cooking has filled a little bit of that void for the time being. While my daughter sleeps and I have some extra time in between cleaning, paying bills and catching up on “The Real Housewives,” I’ve found something new to be excited and proud of again.

When Did We Stop Giving Back?

Recently, the U.S. Postal Service held a food drive soliciting donations from millions of Americans across the country as part of their Stamp Out Hunger campaign: a cute and catchy tagline with the postage stamp, and a great way to get people to donate to a good cause, Feeding America. Plus, being that they’re the post office, free marketing: they were able to put flyers in millions of mailboxes across the U.S. without paying postage! Brilliant!

I participated in the program. It was easy. Pack up food in a bag and place it at your mailbox. It gave me an opportunity to give back to the community AND clean out my cupboards!

I packed up as many goods as I could that were acceptable to donate. I found stuff I didn’t eat anymore, things I shouldn’t eat anymore, and foods that might make people who don’t have the luxury to eat the way I do a little happier.

I arrived shortly before my postman (an awesome guy I have grown to know after months of long-term unemployment!) with my bag full of goodies and was sorely disappointed. There were five bags of groceries for the hungry at our mailboxes.

I live in a luxury building in Hoboken that houses over 200 units. Of all those apartments and rich people who parade around this place, only five bags were left for the hungry!?! Are you friggin’ kidding me?

Unemployed, and saving my own pennies, I found a way to donate a little bit to those less fortunate than myself.  What I don’t understand is how people who live with the luxuries of personal trainers, nannies, dog walkers and Maseratis (yes, I’m serious!) can’t give a box of pasta or can of soup to the needy. Get it together America!

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?

How’d You Get THAT From My Resume?

Information Security Analyst. Licensed Practical Nurse. Project Engineer. Screen Printer. Speech-Language Pathologist. Intern.

Do any of these scream Public Relations / Communications professional to you? Yeah, me neither. But for some reason, they always seem to pop up in my daily job alerts.

I subscribe to a lot of job boards that automatically send you searches each day in an effort to “weed out” the jobs that don’t match your skill set or preferred job type. I have tailored these alerts time and again to meet my specific criteria.  After a year of job hunting, I have come to the conclusion that these saved job searches are a piece of crap.

I don’t know how anything in my resume would qualify me to be an Information Security Analyst. My specialties are internal and external communications, writing, and media strategies; not cyber threats and computer technology.  C’mon CareerBuilder, get your act together!

While there might be some similarities in the words in my resume and the professions listed above (can anyone say COMMUNICATIONS?), doesn’t nearly everyone have communications in their resume these days? Don’t we all possess communications skills in one way or another? Interpersonal, oral, visual, written, etc.? In this day of technological advancement, isn’t there some tool that can separate these jobs from one another? I mean, are the nurse, screen printer and project engineer getting my PR listings?

The job hunt is a daily struggle in and of itself.  The last thing any jobless person needs is a worthless job alert.  So to all the career sites out there that send automated job alerts, please do your due diligence to the unemployed and send the right jobs to your subscribers or don’t send any at all!

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!

Today is HAPPO – NYC PR Pro Ready for Action!

I’m selling myself for Help a PR Pro Out Day (HAPPO), taking place on February 19 and April 30. Everything else I have done to find a job hasn’t worked so maybe this will help me and all my creative PR friends find jobs again and we’ll live happily ever after.

So for all you employers out there looking for a talented PR professional with nearly 10 years experience in communications, public relations and writing, you have come to the right place. Here I am! Hire me!

Most recently, I worked with the American Red Cross of Northern New Jersey as the Director of Communications.  I experienced things in this role that I never thought imaginable. I traveled to disaster ravaged areas in a public affairs role, meeting with local and national media to deliver the message of the Red Cross. I was humbled by families who were impacted by disaster and built bonds with colleagues from across the nation.  I was N.J.’s lead spokesperson during two of the most notable aviation disasters in the northeast: US Airways flight 1549 on the Hudson River and Continental Airlines flight 3407 in Buffalo. I watched miracles and heartbreak occur within a month of one another.  And then they eliminated my department.

Whether I was on the ground or behind a desk, it was my job to make sure the mission of the organization was relayed to the public. I built a department from nothing. It was a challenge but something I am so proud of.  I did everything PR related.  Press releases, media interviews, collateral materials, editorial web content, fundraising and crisis communications, strategic planning, managing umbrella chapters’ communications; should I keep going?

Prior to joining a non-profit, which was a life-long dream, I worked with agencies in New York City handling the day-to-day duties of public relations.

In addition to my work in non-profit and media/entertainment, my industry experience spans corporate, beauty, fashion and consumer. I am also a contributing writer with a local newspaper in Essex County, New Jersey and a writer for Examiner.com

What I love about PR is bringing groundbreaking news or technology into the lives of everyday people. I like seeing an idea that seems lifeless suddenly grow leaps and bounds, all because of careful execution, determination and skill. I miss that. I miss being a part of that. Help bring me back there!

I’m on LinkedIn and Twitter and you can read my inner workings here. I look forward to hearing from you. And thanks for helping out this community. It’s been a rough year for our industry.

Why Finding a Job is a Lot Like Dating

I have come to the conclusion that finding a job is like dating. While I am not on the market for a man, I am for a job and have been for some time. And I recently realized how looking for a full-time career is just like looking for a mate.

Think about it. When you are on the prowl for a job, you try hard to find something that suits you just perfectly. An occupation you can see yourself in for a few years, accomplish goals, learn new things, have some fun. When you finally find something that might be the right fit, you make a move. You apply online, network through friends or former colleagues, make some calls, meet up for drinks; basically, you look for a way to get hooked up.  You’ve made the first move. And then you wait. You wait for an email, a phone call, some form of communication.

It’s on – they want to set a date. For an interview that is. You pick out your prettiest outfit, make sure your hair is in place and pull out those fabulous pair of shoes that have been sitting in the closet since you got laid off. You’re on time, even a little early to show your enthusiasm and dependability. You want this person to know you are a keeper! The interview goes great and they tell you the words every candidate hates to hear, “We’ll be in touch.”

You do your due diligence. You send a grand-spanking thank you note, expressing your extreme interest in the job. You make sure you aren’t too forward, as to not scare the potential suitor off, but enough to show your excitement. And then you wait again. Every time the phone rings, you hope it’s that employer. Whenever you open your email, it’s the only thing you can think about. Days become weeks and there’s no response. You reach out and send a friendly hello to remind them of your sparkling personality and interest in them. Still, nothing.

And then it’s over. Somehow you find out it didn’t work out. Through an email, a friend, it really doesn’t matter at that point. They wanted to be with someone else. You weren’t the right fit, you didn’t have the qualities they were looking for, but it was great meeting you and they are sure you’ll find someone else. All that time, energy and hope, flushed away on another company that didn’t want to be with you. But this has happened before. You’ve been dealt this hand time and again, especially in this market. It just wasn’t meant to be.  Don’t get discouraged. All it means is this job wasn’t for you and the right one is still out there waiting for you. Go get ’em tiger!