Monthly Archives: August 2011

Vacation Tips for the Unemployed

I am going on vacation. Although, when I titled this post I felt that  “vacation for the unemployed” was sort of an oxymoron. If you’re unemployed, what are you taking a vacation from? Not from working, that’s for sure.

You actually need a vacation from the depression of not working and because you feel bad that you’re still living for free at a friend’s house. Why not give your friend a vacation from you?

So I am headed to FL tomorrow and thought I would share my tips for taking a vacation as an unemployed person. Unemployed people have to do extensive planning because while we obviously have the luxury of time we do not have the luxury of money.

Tip #1: Choose a vacation destination where you have family and/or friends that you can crash with for free. Preferably choose a place with both and then you can take a longer vacation because you can stay with family 1/2 of the time and friends the other 1/2 of the time. If you don’t have friends in a nice vacation area then start making some. It’s not hard these days with the internet and you have plenty of free time to devote to building an online friendship.

Tip #2: Transportation can be tricky if you don’t have a car. If you do have a car, gas can be expensive. This leaves you a few options; walking or taking a bus. I’m assuming you’re going to go with the latter so I’ll say that I’ve found buses that are very reasonably priced and although it may take you 8 hrs to make a 4.5 hr trip (this happened to me last weekend) you are still better off than walking the whole way.

Tip #3: Since you can’t afford any new “vacation clothes” I would suggest taking a vacation in an opposite climate from the one in which you’re currently living. For instance, D.C. is starting to get chilly so when I go to FL I’ll get to wear really summery clothes that feel new because it’s been awhile since I’ve worn them. Also, if you’re vacation by yourself no one at your destination will know that you have worn all the clothes in your wardrobe multiple times! If you’re wardrobe is pretty slim because of low funds just tell people at your destination that you “packed light.”

Tip #4: Be sure to be a polite wonderful guest wherever you’re staying. While your welcome may be wearing down at your “home” (aka friend’s house you’re indefinitely crashing at) you are a visitor to the people on you’re vacation. So, suck up to your vacation friends and maybe you will have another place to go after you have been booted out of your “home.”

There you go! Those are my words of wisdom. I hope all of you wonderful unemployed people out there take advantage of your unemployed situation and take a vacation. Trust me, you need it!

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Stages of Unemployment

At first unemployment feels like this:

Then, after a few months unemployment feels like this:

But just remember that when…

To see more funny cat pictures go here!


Can Someone Help Me Understand?

Something I find incredibly frustrating is that while the economy is struggling and college grads can’t find jobs the prices for education are going up. This seems ridiculous to me!

A college education is no longer the secure investment it used to be. This article from the New York Post explains the situation in more detail how student loans will be the next debt bubble to burst.

Financial advisers often refer to educational debt as “good debt” because college graduates make far more on average than nongraduates.

But not all degrees provide an equal return on investment. A degree in chemical engineering, for example, produces an average starting salary of $64,500. Someone with a degree in culinary arts, however, can expect to start out making less than $30,000 — a salary they might get without a degree. Yet despite such differences, the government subsidizes loans as if all majors were equally valuable.

The job market, while tough for all, is even tougher for recent college grads. A study showed that among 2010 graduates, only 56 percent had managed to hold at least one job by this past spring. No wonder defaults are on the rise.

So can anyone please tell me why tuition costs are rising?


Acing a Job Interview

I wish that I could tell you how to ace a job interview from personal experience but I’m going to leave it to the experts. I found this article in Bloomberg Businessweek that offered eight job interview tips that will help you win a job!

This tip really caught my eye in reference to my recent Walmart post,

Up From McDonald’s

Twenty-plus years ago, I interviewed John for a client-service job. We were both 21; John had just graduated from college, and was working as a crew member at McDonald’s (MCD). “Tell me about McDonald’s,” I said, and John jumped into an explanation of the company’s supply chain: “It’s incredible,” he said. “They know exactly what each store sold on each shift yesterday, so the distribution center sends us just the items we need, based on projected sales for today. The feedback mechanisms are impressive. It’s an incredibly efficient information flow.” John used his ringside seat to study the operation in a situation where many of his colleagues merely flipped burgers. He saw the bigger picture, paid attention to the critical points where service and profitability were made or broken for the restaurant, and used the job interview to share what he knew. John got the client-service job, and today runs a research organization.

The lesson: You can get altitude on your business from any vantage point. Don’t just complete the tasks assigned to you. Use your perch as a place from which to learn the business, and be able to talk about what you know.

 


Incredible

We have all heard about the unemployment numbers climbing up but somehow it’s just different when you can actually see it happening with your own eyes.

Here is a map visualization of the climbing unemployment rate from January 2007 to February 2011. This map was created using the unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


The Unglamorous Life

I am one of those people who has delusions of grandeur for my life. I like to imagine myself head to toe in Prada walking down the city streets to my glamorous job. This job brings me power, popularity, or a huge salary. Preferably all three. As I walk around with these visions in my head, I can easily change the soundtrack to my life  on my iPod to fit any one of these aspects. All I need is a camera crew and a Sarah Jessica Parker narration.

Unfortunately, this is not my reality. The life of an unemployed 20-somethings is extremely unglamorous. I’m writing this post because,

#1 I know many people have gone through this situation
#2 Many of my fellow 20-somethings are in the same boat
#3 I feel the need to vent
#4 I’m shamelessly looking for a little sympathy here!

I’ll begin with my unglamorous wardrobe. My clothes are far from Prada and, while they are decently made, I am constantly pushing up the sleeves of my Gap sweater to hide the little hole on the shoulder. I walk with a slight wobble because I’m afraid that the heel on my over-worn shoe might snap off at any minute. This is not exactly the kind of image I like to imagine.

Another unglamorous thing is my living situation. I live with family friends completely off of their charity. No feelings of empowerment there, although it is a great lesson in humility. Even though they have been kind and wonderful to me, I am constantly stressed that I will be in their way or inconveniencing them. I tip toe around and turn the volume down so low on my laptop I can hardly hear it.

Applying for jobs is also extremely unglamorous. Yes, I know everyone has to do it but I sometimes wonder if the interviewers even remember what it feels like. You get looked at up and down and judged on the hole in your sweater or the scuff marks on your shoes. You sit there, knowing your future is in their hands and they stare coldly at your resume and make you defend all the accomplishments you have been so proud of and worked so hard for.

No, I am not out on the street or starving (although restaurant food is officially off the menu) but the humiliation, stress and rejection is starting to wear me down. I spent years working hard in school and working in extremely unglamorous part-time jobs. I made people blizzards at Dairy Queen and would leave work covered head to toe in ice cream but I didn’t mind because I thought that working hard would give me the chance to achieve my dreams of a glamorous life. I sat at home “unglamorously” studying while my friends went to bars and keg parties in high school and college. I did this because I thought a high GPA would help me achieve a glamorous life in the future.

I sit here and I see my delusions of grandeur slowly disappearing before my eyes and no matter how hard I try to reach out and grab a hold of that life, it’s completely out of my power.

Thank you for bearing with me and listening to me complain. I look forward to your sweet sympathetic comments or your extremely motivational comments which let me know that I am just whining and that everyone goes through my situation. Either way, I love to hear from you!


Bad News

In an effort to keep all unemployed 20-somethings informed on the latest unemployment news, I’m sharing this article.

Apparently, a former White House economist has come out and said that he doesn’t believe unemployment will drop below 8% until after 2012. Scary!

Sorry about the bad news. I hope this unemployment cartoon will make you feel a little better!