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April, 2013

  1. Like the Time Uncle Leo Opened Jerry’s Package

    April 28, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    The look on the guy’s face when I stuck my foot in my mouth

    So, I have dark humor. Gallow’s humor, so to speak. To give a background of it, I think I developed that edge during the worst of my brother’s mental illness. While there have been some pretty alarming and sad moments, there have also been times when my family and I have laughed – even in the darkest of moments.

    This also means that I make can comments or jokes at the worst times possible – or just make the worst joke in general, no matter what the situation.

    When I was picking up a package at my apartment this afternoon, I came across that very situation.

    I came in and the guy at the front desk was someone who I have joked with before. So, when he was busy in this closet area looking for my delivery, I spotted a couple of large boxes, which looked something like this –

    Yes, they looked something like this.

    I made a joke along the lines of, “Wow, that looks like something out of that Seinfeld episode where Uncle Leo’s eyebrows get burnt off.”

    That, of course, is the PG version of what I said. I probably wouldn’t repeat what I said on my blog as I’m certain I’d end up on some kind of watch list.

    Well, insert horrified expression here.

    I laugh it off and explain myself, but still –

    With that said, I promptly took my own delivery and left the front office.

    There’s a good chance they won’t be renewing my lease.

    Next time I’ll just keep my mouth shut.


  2. How to Kill Time During a (Long, Boring) Meeting

    April 26, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    Double Time

    Aside from clock watching, what do you do during meetings?

    My company is notorious for long meetings. Like, one to two hour long meetings.

    This is horrifying to me as I find them all extremely dull. I’m also not allowed to play with my cell phone during these meetings (I know this, because I got in trouble a few weeks ago for doing so), so that means I’m extremely bored.

    But what do you do during meetings to kill time?

    I figured out things that you can do during meetings that will stimulate the brain and keep you from falling asleep. One idea will actually make you look like you’re paying attention.

    1) Make a to do list.

    I find lists my saving grace in keeping myself organized. So, when I’m in a meeting that I know doesn’t require my full 100% attention, I start making my to do list for the day/night/week/month.

    It puts me ahead of my own schedule and it makes me feel on top of things.

    2) Work on that novel you’ve been meaning to start.

    You know that book you’ve been wanting to write? Well, long, boring meetings are the time to do it. I’ve actually done this and writing your novel during meetings is a great way to make yourself look busy. Also, you will look important. I even had my difficult coworker get jealous and competitive and she started taking notes in the meeting once she saw me writing (oh, how little did she know).

    3) Play games…with yourself.

    Hey, get your head out of the gutter. I mean, really, play games with yourself. Here’s a few I’ve made up (with the help of this list of road trip games I found) –

    Meeting I Spy – so you have a meeting scheduled at 11 am? And it’s supposed to last until 12:30? Well, make a list of 10 to 20 objects  before the meeting, and start play I Spy with yourself. See how many you get. If you get them all, give yourself a prize during your next break (like a treat at the coffee shop or something).

    Where’s the Alphabet – From A to Z, spot all the items in the room that follow the alphabet. Even better if you can memorize the items you’ve discovered.

    Counting game – Start counting all the watches in the room. Next, count the blue pens. Or count the people who scratch their nose during the meeting.

    4) Fantasize.

    Sexual fantasies during a meeting may not be a good idea. But, I often times like to play out ‘what if’ scenarios and imagine what would happen if one of my fantasies happened in the middle of a meeting. If you do this, I do warn that you may get a creepy smile on your face while you fantasize.

    5) Doodle.

    Okay, I’m not much of an artist. I mean, there are only so many large eyed cats I can draw. But actually I’ve heard before that if you doodle, you tend to listen better. So maybe doodling will actually help you in your (long, boring) meeting.

    What do you do during (long, boring) meetings?


  3. Are You Supposed to Keep The Little Strings Inside of Shirts?

    April 24, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    When do you cut the strings?

    I wondered this recently.

    You know those strings inside of shirts and blouses? They are usually under the shoulder of the shirt and doesn’t seem to serve any purpose.

    I have a question…are you supposed to cut those?

    I usually don’t cut them off, mostly because I figured you are supposed to keep them. Kind of like the “do not remove” tag on a mattress. I’ve also been told you can use them to hang them on hangers, which makes sense to me.

    But the weird thing is that I never actually use them for that purpose. So I have purposeless strings dangling inside my blouse.

    Alright, that’s all I have to say about the matter.

    And yes, I wrote about a post about this.


  4. Monday Rant – The Blog Hop

    April 22, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    It’s Monday again! It’s probably going to be a long week. Sorry for my absence last Monday…I received some pretty rough news – my mom lost her job. A lot of stress last week as we both deal with it and learn to work through it.

    Work related issues…well, much of the same. Wednesday, I have four hours worth of meetings. Last Friday, I also realized I am facing the same disrespect I have handled since starting this job. But truly, I am glad to have a job.

    Anyways…I decided to change things up for today’s Monday rant! I want to invite my reader’s with blogs to show off their blogs as well as rant with me.

    We’ll see how this goes…I’ve been told in more ways than one that I need to grow my blog. This is just one of my many attempts!

    I want to keep it simple, so I’ll only ask you to do two things…

    1) Post your rant in the comments.

    2) Then, post your blog link to the widget below.

    Pretty simple right? Or, if you want to write a blog post for your Monday rant instead, you can post that too!

    Okay ranters – what’s your gripe today? (I’m hoping the widget appears below!)


  5. Vote for Me for one of BlogHer’s ‘Voices of the Year’?

    April 14, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    I have no idea why I’m doing this and you guys are the only ones that know that I am. But on a lark, I decided to submit one of my posts to the BlogHer ‘Voices of the Year’ Conference.

    I submitted my post entitled, “The Sadness of Trauma (And My Brother’s Mental Illness)” published back in February.

    I would have no idea what I would say if I won – I mean, my blog is anonymous and this involves me going out into a public place to talk about my blog. What would I tell my job?

    Anyways, one step at a time. I may not win at all, but I figured, what’s the fun in not trying?

    If you could take the time, go to BlogHer and vote for my submission. You do have to create an account with BlogHer to vote.

    In the meantime, I’ll try not to spaz over the fact that I made a mistake in my submission. Yup, I won’t freak, I promise.


  6. Are You An Effective Worrier?

    April 12, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

     
    No Worries

     I am a worrier. I have been told one too many times that I worry too much. In my opinion, and my perception, I worry with basis. Now, that basis for my worry, may be unfounded to others. I’ve often been told, “I think you’re exaggerating this a bit” or “I don’t think it’s meant like that; you worry too much.”

    I recently found a couple of articles online that tell me – people who are pessimists – including those of us who are worriers – live longer than the optimist. I never thought of myself as a pessimist, but maybe I am.

    The bigger question is though – are you an effective worrier?

    The last thing I need is to worry about worrying, but here’s how I try to be effective at worrying.

    1) Do something about it.

    A few of months ago, I worried that a mole under my right arm, may have something wrong with it. I’ve had it my whole life, but it was on a weird spot on my body, because clothes constantly would scrape against it, and I was beginning to pay attention to it too much.

    So yes, I was worried. Did it look like a cancerous mole? Probably not.

    Would an optimist tell me not to worry about it? Not sure, maybe, maybe not.

    But what I did was get an appointment with a doctor and got my mole removed. No, it wasn’t cancerous, but to me? You can’t be too safe with things like that.

    2) Plan for it.

    No, I don’t mean to build an underground bunker for whenever the sun collides with the earth. Nor do I mean for you to go out and buy 1,000 cans of baked beans in preparation for when the zombie apocalypse happens.

    I think we all can have long term worries that can impact our day to day happiness and peacefulness.

    While I know we all need to “let that stuff go,” I do think that you can ease your own worries by planning ahead.

    Worry about retirement? Start saving. Worry you’ll never make it to college/grad school/certificate program? Start researching how you COULD make it happen and start planning.

    For me, I try to make an effort to save just a little money each paycheck for those just in case moments. Like when I overspend at the mall and I start to worry about overdrafts. Things like that.

    Other situations too…like knowing where the nearest hospital is with the 24 hour emergency room. Buying cold and flu medicine before you get sick. Knowing where a nearby food bank is. Writing down all of your credit card information and your bank’s contact information in case your cards ever get stolen.

    Learn how to use your worry to your benefit. And no, I still don’t think you need that underground bunker.

    3) Imagine yourself handling it.

    I’m not the type that will ever tell a friend to stop worrying. Or to tell someone, “Wow, you need to do yoga/get laid/go on vacation/take a chill pill.” Sure, those things may need to happen, but downplaying someone’s fears just pisses them off.

    I think a huge part of a worrier’s life is the fact that they fear not being able to handle the worst. Sometimes I think that is where I come from.

    If you worry too much, or you know someone who does, walk through their (or your) fears. So, what happens if you lose your job? What if you do get in trouble? What if you get sick? What if someone you love does get hurt? What if you do become homeless?

    Talk this out with yourself and imagine that you have handled these situations. That you have actually handled your worst fear.

    Maybe what optimists worry about is that those of us who worry too much will let the worry dominate our lives. It can actually, because that’s where disorders come in and other issues where our own mental health is affected.

    Try not too worry too much about worrying. If you are a worrier like me, and you haven’t yet gone overboard with it, try to become an effective worrier. I think if you manage the things you worry about well enough, your worries may rise and fall a lot quicker.

    And no, you still shouldn’t build that underground bunker.

    Do you worry too much? Or are you the “don’t worry so much” type? Have you ever used your worry to your benefit?


  7. Top 8 Ways to Maximize LinkedIn and Gain More Exposure

    April 10, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    You may recall my post a few weeks ago about why I thought LinkedIn didn’t work. Well, someone called me out on that and let me know that LinkedIn did work! And I invited her to write a post for me about that – and I love being proved wrong. Thank you Kesha for the amazing advice!

    After 7500+ connections, having been on the first page in the Search Results for my keyword, and receiving calls out of the blue from people wanting to do business with me, I have to say LinkedIn is worth its weight in gold! 

    I remember when I first learned of LinkedIn. I didn’t put too much stock in it because I thought it was just for people looking for a job. 

    After a bit of searching around and learning more – even attending webinars and reading books about LinkedIn, I quickly found it to be an awesome resource for cultivating a career.

    So I’d like to provide my 2, 3, heck even 10 cents on how I’ve benefited from THE largest professional network online today! 

    What’s Your Goal?

    LinkedIn can be used in a number of ways so the very first thing you want to do is understand your goals for using the network in the first place. Looking for a job? Looking to boost your business presence? Simply looking for connections?

     Your goals will determine how you use the many elements and features of the service.

     Note: I’ve used it to maximize my web design business presence so my experience is from that perspective.

    Maximizing Your LinkedIn Presence

    I don’t claim to know the algorithm LinkedIn uses but the following elements can surely help you gain more connections, more leads, and more opportunities.

    1. Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

     First and foremost, you need to capture attention. Your headline is the first thing people see so you may as well make it good. In addition, a good headline can help give you a better position in the LinkedIn search engine and gain the attention of visitors to your profile.

     Tracy Gold advises to not just put your job title by itself in your headline. “If you’re a job seeker, use ‘Talented [Your Profession] Seeking New Opportunity’ not ‘Unemployed.’ Students, use ‘Aspiring [Your Profession] Seeking Internship’ not ‘Student at [Your University],” Tracy shares.

     Ultimately, just make sure it’s concise and says what you want to portray. Remember, this is your first impression! 

     I decided to just add a few titles in the headline field. 

     

    In addition, I added a tagline after my name with a keyword. This helps me stand out a bit further in the search results as can be seen here. 

     

    LI search results

    2. Say Cheese

     Did you know that adding a profile picture makes your profile 7 times more likely to be found in searches?

    If your headline is your first impression, your photo is a close second. People connect with people and this is true on any of the online networks, including Facebook and Twitter. 

    You want to have a professional headshot (or something close to it). The goal is for people to be able to clearly see your shining smile and lovable face. Don’t use your company logo or a picture of your beloved cat. Mr. Bigglesworth may be cute and all but he probably won’t help land you the job or opportunity you’re looking for. J

     3. Long story, well, long…

    Next, fill out your summary until you can’t fill it out anymore. Okay, you don’t have to go that far. However, you do have ample space to write a very rich one. Show your true awesomeness here and describe how you help people, what you’ve done to enrich others in your field, how you’ve helped your last employer land a million dollar contract, how you leapt tall buildings in a single bound, etc.

    Even further, describe your personality, talk about the types of people you help, and much more. You can pretty much do anything in your summary to hopefully keep visitors to your profile wanting to read more.

     4. The More The Merrier

    I’m sure you understand the value of a large network, both professionally and personally. Well, it’s no different on LinkedIn. Connect with as many people as you can. I know some people keep their profiles private or only connect with people they know. However, that limits your ability to really expand your presence and connect with new people, which is one of the main purposes of using the service.

     More connections equals more eyeballs on your profile, which in turn could lead to more opportunities for you in the long run.

     5. The SEO Game

     Whether you’ve heard of SEO – Search Engine Optimization –or not, let me tell you that it will do you a world of good to learn more about it and use it to your advantage.

     One of the ways I’ve “SEO’d” my profile is to take a handful of keywords that pertain to my business AND those which I think people would type into a search engine to find me and made sure I sprinkled them throughout my profile. Now, pay attention – I said sprinkle, not drench.

    Some LinkedIn “experts” will tell you to litter your profile with keywords so much so that your profile looks like a bunch of garbage. This is usually called stuffing, which could negatively impact your visibility and perceived value.

    Here is an example of what I mean:

    LI keyword stuffing

    Really? Please don’t do this! Use your keywords in such a way that your profile is readable and clear by your visitors but still packs a punch with your chosen keywords. 

    6. We’re Better In Groups 

    LinkedIn Groups feature is great! Not only can you find like minded people to connect with but you can also share your expertise in these groups by answering questions, helping others, and posting some of your great content from your website or blog when relevant. As you bring value to the group’s community, more people will want to know who you are and/or connect with you further. 

    There are thousands of groups on LinkedIn so just do some digging around. I have no doubt you’ll find a group that matches your interests.

    Can’t find the exact group you’re looking for? Hey, you can even start your own group and create your own rules!

     7. Get a A+! 

    Who doesn’t want an A? Well, on LinkedIn, it’s pretty simple. All you have to do is complete your profile 100%.  Now, they’ve changed the criteria for a 100% complete profile since I started but here’s what I’ve found.

    LinkedIn itself has shared that users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through their network. 

    Big deal? Heck yeah! 

    So to get to 100% (at the time of this writing):

    • Add your skills – you need at least 5 but you can add up to 50. Go for the gamut here! Whatever you think you are skilled at, add it.
    • Add at least 50 connections  – the quickest way is to find people you know using the Search feature or import your contacts from your email account.
    • Add your current and previous positions and give thorough descriptions of your roles –  Unemployed? Well, you won’t have a current position but here is a post with tips on what you can do instead. Add a picture
    • Add your Industry and postal code
    • Add your education

    Basically, don’t leave empty fields!

    8. Endorsements 

    Now, I will tell you that I’m still pretty much new on the Endorsements feature. It’s one of the newer features on LinkedIn supposedly to give credit to your connections and, likewise, they to you. 

    You can pretty much think of it as a “Like” for a connection’s skills. However, it’s been crazy because it’s way too easy to endorse someone which means you get all types of people who don’t even know you endorsing you for skills. 

    At this point, if it’s a skill I want to be ranked for, I’ll accept the endorsement and have it added to my profile. 

    In turn, LinkedIn provides you the opportunity to endorse your connections. 

    LI endorsements

    As you can see, it’s very easy to simply click Endorse all when I don’t know them well enough to do so. How do I know that Raven is great at Copywriting??? 

    Others have stated that endorsing people is like giving them a compliment but to me they aren’t as credible as the Recommendations feature because you can’t really vouch for every single connection unless you’ve directly worked with them.

    I’m a bit torn on this feature because I’ve heard through the grapevine that using Endorsements helps you rank higher in LinkedIn’s search engine (I’m sure this feature is calculated in LinkedIn’s search algorithm somehow!) and increases the Skills part of your profile so I definitely want to use it more. 

    So I’m looking to understand Endorsements a bit better myself. In the meantime, I thank some of my Endorsers (strategically starting conversations with new people) for the love!

    Your Turn! 

    Regardless of your goals, most of these items will apply. So pop over to LinkedIn and spruce up your profile to expand your presence. You never know who’s watching and how someone could ultimately benefit you in the long run!

    How do you use LinkedIn? 

    ======

     kesha brown photo

    Kesha is a Personal Excellence Adviser and Web Designer who believes we should be a Fruit Loop in a world full of Cheerios and life is more interesting when you dare to be YOU. She also writes, speaks, and can easily be bribed with Oreos. Connect with her over at UncommonChick.com or on Twitter and don’t forget LinkedIn!


  8. Monday Rant – What’s Your Gripe?

    April 8, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    I’m actually having an awful day today. It’s the sort of day where I can’t seem to do anything right and I’m going to hear about it all day.

    Anyways…

    I’m sure your day is worse than mine or just as bad, so let’s commiserate together!

    What your rant today?


  9. My Thoughts on Always Liking Who You Are

    April 5, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    You know what?

    I really like my boobs. They’re really pretty great.

    I came upon this realization within the last few weeks, for some reason. It came upon the heals of me seeing the doctor a few weeks ago and having to get weighed. I hate weighing myself and it isn’t something I do on my own time. And when I did, that number on the scale shocked me and I couldn’t believe I weighed so much.

    In my defense, I’m about 5’10, so I carry weight pretty easily. But still…I didn’t like the number I saw.

    Rather than get upset, I told myself a few things –

    First, I do know that I need to lose weight. Realistically, I’d like to lose at least 15 pounds.

    Second, I still like how I look anyway.

    Yes, ladies and gentleman, I need to lose weight, but I still love how I look. My boobs in particular. I have to say as of lately, it’s my favorite body part on myself. In fact, I have a favorite bra brand that I plan on buying more of, once I have the money (I particularly love the t-shirt bra by B*Tempted). I could have gotten bogged down with the hideous number on the scale, but I chose not too. I am loving and embracing myself and all parts of me, no matter what.

    I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist. Nor am I a dietician nor a physical trainer. My expertise on weight loss and self confidence comes from my own experiences, the lessons and wisdom my mom has passed along to me, and everything I’ve read in women’s fashion magazines.

    But to me, no matter what you look like, I think you need to love who you are first. Choose your favorite body part and embrace it and show it off (without breaking laws, of course), whether it’s your smile, your hair, your curves, your legs, your butt, your arms, your back…I mean there are so many body parts that we can love and embrace. I think becoming a better you starts there – you must love who you are.

    Then, once you do, go boldly (and safely) into becoming a healthier self.

    Have you ever re-discovered a physical characteristic of yourself that you now love even more? What is your favorite physical feature of yourself?


  10. Are Cubicle Workers Part of a Dying Trend?

    April 3, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    A few weeks ago I came across an article on Yahoo that talked about quitting your job. And one quote that suck with me was, “If you’re stuck in a cubicle you have a target on your back…the CEO is looking to cut you out…”

    Hmm…so far, I’ve held three jobs that took place in a cubicle. This also isn’t the first time I’ve been told that the standard hourly job will get you nowhere in your career. I’m very aware of this at my last job where I had a good chunk of free time most days.

    All of this made me wonder something…are cubicle workers part of a dying trend?

    If you are a little on the web savvy side, you may have already heard of sites like oDesk and Elance that basically outsources jobs to the virtual worker (who usually works for less money and no benefits). These are our cheaper competitors in the job market. I am fairly certain – without any real proof, of course – that the job that inspired LadyUnemployed, who laid me off back in 2012, used one of these sites to find my replacement. I feel this in part because I do know they outsourced certain positions before I left.

    If my current employer hired a third party and asked them…what ways can we save money in our company? I know if I was that third party, I would look for positions that could be moved to a cheaper worker found on these outsourcing platforms, such as oDesk. Mine would be one of these positions.

    The article I found on Yahoo encouraged you to build up a side business in order to truly launch your own career. I’ve thought about this and I’m doing what I can, of course. With the blog under my real name (not this one), I have found a few leads where I can make some money through offering ad space to even offering my social networking skills. I’m thinking of expanding my own skill set by taking classes, but it’s been a slow start.

    My fear is this – there is safety in not changing things and never taking risks. In that safety, is comfort. And there, we find a strange happiness and contentment, where we may find ourselves on a never ending cycle of things never changing. On bad days, it gets to us and we dip our toe in the pond of risk, hoping we catch a bite.

    Sure, someone stopping by this article can tell me, “Hey, at least you have a job! Quit complaining! Grow up!”

    Okay, I get that. And I am glad I have a job. I don’t need (or want) to get laid off again, though. And neither should anyone else. We’ve come to a point in our society, though, where it’s an employer’s market. The employees who walk in the door are no longer valuable. We are warm bodies in the seat who should just be glad we are there. For that reason, none of us can get comfortable, simply because for today we have a job. Because tomorrow it may not be there and we need to prepare ourselves for that.

    Have you ever escaped the rate race of an hourly position? What was the turning point for you? How did you get started?