Monthly Archives: May 2011

How To Eat The Elephant: A Survival Tip For The Unemployed

Here is today’s Finance Friday tip for the unemployed. Mix work with pleasure on the cheap.

Here are a few tips that helped me after years of looking for permanent work.

#1 – Keep eating the elephant.
Understand this is going to take awhile but you’ll get there. The way to eat an elephant is to start with a single bite. You need to keep moving forward, keep trying new things, keep sending out resumes, call recruiters, call your friends, let people know you are looking and don’t be prideful.

#2 – Make looking for work your job.
One of the great ways to avoid depression is to have a schedule. Wake up before 7am. Sit yourself at the computer and put in at least four solid hours of sending resumes into the Black Hole of Hell. Yes, that means Craig’s List, company websites, etc. Not just your dream job but any and all jobs you can do. Then take a break, stretch your legs and spend another hour doing work related tasks. These can be putting items on Ebay to sell for some extra dough, reworking your cover letter or figuring out what you are really good at. And speaking of what you are really good at…

#3 – What do you love?
Believe it or not, a down turn in the economy is a perfect time to go into business for yourself. What do you love to do and how can you make money doing it? It’s not as wacky as you might think and if you are your own boss, you won’t have to make up stupid, fake illnesses if you want to play hooky and go to Disneyland.

#4 – Take it easy once a week.
One of the best ways to help beat depression is to get outside. Take a walk, go to a park, treat yourself to something inexpensive as a treat. You can buy a small scoop of ice cream or have a latte. I know in the Bay Area, all the museums are free the first Tuesday of each month. There are websites you can google that list free movie screenings, discounts on services and other fun things to do in your area. If you want a laugh about life without work, I highly recommend watching Odd Todd cartoons – There were times when I thought this guy was watching me and knew every dirty secret of my out of work life.

So get out, breathe some air, work hard and every day say out loud five things you are grateful for. It helps. Trust me, I’m a doctor. At least I play one on television.

Forgive Me, The Dog Ate My Homework

I know, it’s Whack-A-Doodle Wednesday and I’m a hoser. I just started a new job (go me!) but my writing has suffered as I have been learning a new system. I’m also in Victorville today. Yes, Victorville. I’m teaching 7th graders about that serial wife murderer, King Henry the eighth. Good times! I have a really great blog idea but it will have to wait until next Wednesday. I promise I will write in the airport on my way home.

To tide you over here is a picture of Zacaton – the world’s deepest sink hole.

Why? Why not. Actually I was playing Scrabble…. sorry, “Words With Friends”, on my iphone and I played this for at least 45 points. I just want to show that this is indeed a real word. Though to be honest, I admit there are times when I’m goofing off and find out that my idiot word is actually a real one.

So now that I’ve put something here as a placeholder, I’m going to finish packing and try to get some writing done.

Who am I kidding? I’m going to watch the TiVo finale of Celebrity Apprentice and drink Hanger One Vodka shots. I really promise, no dog chewed papers next week.

Bathrooms Around The World – Pt. 2

Monday Morning Funnies continues with my examination of various bathrooms from all points of the globe. So let’s get started!
Pick your panties and you know where you can pee. But what if you’re a man who secretly (or openly) wears thongs? Does that mean you pee in the thong bathroom?

These doors are a bit confusing. According to the illustrations, they not only tell you where to go but how to go. I can’t speak for the men but I just can’t see the pelvic thrust thing working. I mean, men piddle all over the place even when they are trying to aim. As for the women, I have never in my entire life peed like this. Wait, I take it back. There was that one time in the Presidio in the tall grass but I can guarantee, you don’t pee in a forward stream like the illustration shows. You piss on your shoes, especially in that crouching tiger pose.

Now this is a bathroom sign I can get behind. Very simple but chic and modern. I also dig the fact that the blue metal chick has no waist.

You have to love the Europeans! The whimsy, the story, the art, the oddity of creepy fairy tales. So the wolf/bunny/dog must have been drinking a lot of water or beer because you need a great deal of pressure to create that kind of arch. However Red has my vote for freaky bathroom habits of the year. I will even ignore the need to relive yourself without removing your little red underthings but pissing straight backwards is a feat.

Now this one is my favorite. Just picture this… you are at a fabulous party, drinking one martini after the other. You feel amazing, almost like you are floating on air. You need to make a pit stop before you can get back to the party and have another drink. You open the bathroom door, step inside and look down. Yes, you are drunk and now about to plunge to your death… or are you? Yes, what brilliant, twisted genius came up with this painted floor?

Next Monday, we will finish up the bathroom art and congratulation on surviving the “End of the World” everyone!

Finance Fridays – Networking and Does It Work?

All the time I was out of work, I heard you need to network to find a job. I was never good at talking to strangers and thought this key to employment would be beyond my grasp. Networking is a great way to get a job but most people don’t understand how it works. Allow me to explain.

You can go to mixers and seminars, nibbling spray cheese on crackers with a bunch of strangers, handing out business cards and hoping it might lead to something. Honestly, you have a better chance of getting a free latte just handed to you at Starbucks. Is it possible? Sure. Does it happen that way most of the time? Nope.

So what does work? Real relationships. Let your friends and family know you are looking and what you are looking for. Any lead they send you, look into it. I got a wonderful three-month temp assignment at Adobe because a friend was going on maternity leave and recommended me. I got my current position because another friend knew I was looking and submitted my resume. Employers are more apt to interview and hire people who are known by respected employees.

What should you avoid? Being an ass. I know I hate it when I recommend someone for a position and they behave like a horses rear-end. It makes me look bad and I can tell you I will never put myself out for them again. Practice humility. TImes are tough. Learn that lofty might not be in the cards for you at this moment. Do not discount opportunities. You never know who you might meet and where that relationship will lead. There are times you need to make a leap in your life and situations act like steeping stones to the next level. Do not turn your nose up at the opportunities. It can mean the difference between stepping to the next phase or having to climb.

Idiot Cultists Through HIstory

or “What are you doing on Sunday when all the whack jobs depart?”

I have lived through many “End of Days” scenarios, all the while mocking those who put stock in this idiocy. I was there for the great Harmonic Convergence of 1987. A few of my co-workers stayed home that day. What happened the next day? Nothing happened, nothing at all. Except me mocking them mercilessly.

The world was supposed to end on New Years Even when the calendar turned to the year 2000. All the computers were suppose to die. We would return to the stone age and dogs and cats would live together in harmony. I was the Y2K coordinator for a bank and a technology company. I set up their emergency plan and procedures. What happened when the clock struck twelve? Nothing.

Then people said the millennium was really 2001. Fine, so when the year turned from 2000 to 2001, what happened? Nothing.

I was there for that “All the planets are lining up in a straight line and we are all going to die” scenario of 2009. What happened? Nothing happened. No flooding, no frogs raining from the skies, no alien invasion. Nothing.

People have been predicting the return of Jesus, the arrival of aliens, the rise of Chthulu for ages. What do I think will happen on Saturday? Nothing. What I want to know is what this whack-a-doodle nut job, who has been putting up billboards all over town promising the end of the world, is going to do on Sunday?

I guess he can say “Ooops, sorry.” but he has used that excuse before the last time he predicted the end of the world a few years back. Now, head cases the world over are going to expect “the rapture” come Saturday and will be very disappointed come Sunday.
They are going to expect to be whisked off to heaven by magic to live with Jesus. Honestly, who wants to hang out with these people? No one, Supreme Being or not.

I don’t know about you but I’m going to spend a relaxing day at home on Saturday and will have a nice brunch on Sunday. If the idiots get raptured up to the Mothership, I will celebrate since there will be less idiots in the world. If nothing happens, then I will mock them… again however that is starting to get old. Perhaps I will just enjoy myself and let them deal with the dark ages superstition of their life. So very sad.

Bathrooms Around The World – Pt 1

Today for the Monday Morning Funnies, I wanted to take a look at toilets from around the world. It’s amazing how clever people can be when marking bathrooms. Now this unisex sign does get the urgency of the task across.

Here is a clever example of anatomical rope use.

I suppose in this country, it’s perfectly acceptable for men to peep on women while they pee. I think if that is the case, the women should charge extra or at least get heavy items to chuck at the mens heads.

I like this sign personally. It reminds me of various parties I’ve been too.

Now for the grand finale. This is a woman entering a public toilet in Houston, TX.

And here is what the toilet looks like from the inside. Yes, it’s two-way glass. You can pee or read a magazine while you watch the mass of humanity outside but they can not see you. Perhaps this will satisfy the urges for the exhibitionist Texan bathroom goers. Personally, this would freak me out.

Do Not Shave Your Privates While Driving (in case you need reminding)

So today for Whack-A-Doodle Wednesday I want to talk about Megan Mariah Barnes and how she caused a car accident last March by shaving her pubes while driving. You heard me right. She was shaving her pubic area while driving a car. Here is a picture of the offender so we can all mock her.

According to news reports and the Florida Highway Patrol, the two-car crash occurred when 37-year-old Megan decided it would be a good idea to shave her bikini area while driving. To make this even weirder, she was not alone in the car. Her ex-husband was in the passenger seat steering while she shaved and worked the pedals.

Let that sink in for a minute. If she had to shave her pubes right then and there, why couldn’t she just pull over and have him drive while she shaved? Oh no, she had to speed down the highway landscaping her bush while her ex-hubby steered. Needless to say, the stupid cow allegedly rear-ended another car when he slowed down to make a legal turn ahead of her. Did they stop? Hell no! There was shaving to be done! They drove another half mile before being pulled over by police.

It seems that Miss Barnes was already driving with a suspended license, just one day after she was convicted of a DUI charge. She was charged in this incident with reckless driving, driving with a revoked license, leaving the scene of a crash with injuries, and driving without insurance. Explain to me again why she isn’t doing five years in prison.

To make this even more bizarre, she was shaving for a date with her boyfriend who she was meeting in Key West. What the ex-husband was doing in the car is open for speculation.

What I want to know is how? I mean, I don’t understand the why part of this equation but the how is even more mystifying. Was she wearing a skirt? Was she not wearing anything at all from the waist down? Let’s just go with a skirt or else my eyes will start to bleed again. The dynamics of doing this while driving just defy logic, good sense and physics.

You have a razor. Razors are sharp. If they weren’t, you would just be running a dull butter knife over your hair and that would defeat the purpose. We all know that roads have bumps and dips and at times you need to stomp on the brakes when the guy in front of you is driving like an ass or a kid runs into the street. How do you shave your kitty without giving yourself a clitoridectomy? Why didn’t she do this before she left the house? If she had to do it in transit, couldn’t she have pulled off the road and parked in an alley or other lonely place frequented by $10 hookers and crack addicts? Honestly, I kind of hope she did give herself a cliterectomy. After all, female circumcision seems like a just reward for this kind of stupid.

The Ancient Evil of Squirrels and Crows

As you may or may not know, squirrels have it out for me. It started when I stopped putting Skippy Chunky Peanut Butter on my fence and the rodent retaliated by trying to make off with my thong. (You can read all the details in my upcoming book by SWM Press – The Squirrel Stole My Thong And Other Reasons I’m Still Single.) I see that squirrels have been cozying up to humans, trying to gain their trust for centuries as the painting by Holbein illustrates. However it also shows another sinister presence lurking in the background – the crow.

Do crows have it out for me? No but evidently they have it out for my sister and now my cat. Granted, she would gladly kill it and eat it if she could. She already stalks, kills and eats any flying insect that manages to get into the house. However this one crow has been tormenting her for the past week and I wonder if it’s the crow she lunged at nearly a fortnight ago.

My sister has informed me that now only is a crow stalking her because she screamed at it but it has enlisted it’s friends to torment her as well. Needless to say, I thought she was sniffing mimiograph paper again. However she pointed to a scientific study that suggests crows not only can identify people who piss them off but can spread that information to other crows and enlist their help in tormenting their tormentors. Say that three times fast.

This study was reported in the New York Times so I have to give it some credence. I mean, it wasn’t the National Inquirer or the Daily Mail. Now this study doesn’t go into feline recognition but considering Dr. Marzluff’s findings, I’m willing to make the leap.

Fortunately, I’m on the birds good side and intend to keep it that way. Having a rat in a stylish fur coat after me is enough for this lifetime. I guess my cat and my sister are on their own.

Finance Fridays – How To Survive Being Laid Off, Part 1

Well after many years of contract work, I will be starting my first full time job in a little over a week. Since I know there are still a lot of people out there looking for work, I thought I would dedicate Friday’s to some strategies I have felt helpful.

First let’s talk about the elephant in the room, Depression. Guess what? It’s normal, it happens, move forward. You are allowed to feel sorry for yourself for one day every two weeks. Go wild, eat a pint of ice cream or all the chocolate soft centers from the Easter basket, then pull up your big kid pants and knock it off.

You need to understand that life isn’t fair. No one is going to knock on your door and hand you a dream job. Let that sink in for a minute. No one is going to knock on your door and hand you a dream job. You need to go out and look. This is a depressing exercise in and of itself but just keep powering through it. Understand that sending three hundred resumes a month into the black hole of death with no response is normal. But here is the up side, getting a job is like playing the lottery. You have to apply to win. So choose to be a winner! Understand that your job now is finding a job and that means actively looking for a job. Dedicate at least 4-5 hours each work day looking for work.

Also understand that work is work. NO job is beneath you. Do you like eating? Do you like a roof over your head? Then take what you can get even if it isn’t up to your standards of what you think you “should” have. You never know what doors may be opened on a path you had previously not considered before. Sitting at home, chatting on Facebook and eating gummy worms day in and day out will not get you employed.

Get outside! A good way to lift your spirits is to take a walk outdoors. It costs you nothing and helps recharge your creative batteries.

Invest in yourself! One of the big movements in this economy is the growth of home business. What do you like to do? What are you able to do? What are you passionate about? There are many things you can market via Craig’s List and other avenues to bring in some extra money. Examples: handyman, house sitter, dog walker, tutor, music teacher, personal chef or making various crafts on Etsy. Seriously consider what kind of business you are and promote that. It gives you something to occupy your mind, teaches you new skills and brings in some extra cash.

NOTE: While planning is all well and good, you must actually move forward with your idea in order to be effective. Having a notebook full of ideas you never executed, wastes your time. Your time is valuable. You are investing in yourself, remember? You are worth it and you need to have faith in you. Just remember that when you feel down and bad, find the one small thing that will move you forward. You need to be your own best friend, cheerleader and boss. You need to have faith in you and your work ethic then go out and make it happen!

Next Friday – Networking (What is it, how to do it, does it work, should I bother)

Everyone should read these, there have never been truer words spoken.

Osama, Kitties and Ennui

I am exhausted. Yesterday I was teaching, today I am teaching, yesterday I had to write this but I am so brain-dead I can’t even think of a topic for Whack-A-Doodle Wednesday.

The news has been so full of Osama this and Osama that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he’s not breathing air anymore but I didn’t go out and throw a party. I tried that once when I though an evil person I knew was dead It was Midnight Margarita madness and then… I found out he really wasn’t dead. Mistaken identity. I was bummed and determined not to make that mistake again. It’s a bit embarrassing.

I know there have been many things written about people’s behaviour over the past few days. I’m honestly just too hormonal and tired to care much. I was annoyed I had to watch the finale of one show on Hulu because it was preempted. It gave me flashbacks to the Gulf War (part one) where Saddam (may he rot in Hell) kept preempting Dark Shadows! I blame the cancellation of that revival single-handedly on Saddam and that stupid war. I’m still not over it.

So what wacky thing do I have for today? Hmmmmm, I got nothing. I tried looking up videos of funny dogs, funny cats, funny kids. nothing is wacky enough.

Wait! Here is my stand by – The Mean Kitty Song. Now THIS is the kind of fighting I will get behind!