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May, 2013

  1. How Reddit Can Help During Times of Need

    May 30, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    Need a job? Need food? Need a friend?

    I’m an active Reddit user and I have found a surprisingly helpful (while also not-so-surprisingly rude and obnoxious people at times) community on the well known bookmark website.

    Now, the biggest question – how to use Reddit during your time of need. I’ll preface this by saying that of these Reddit forums – I have requested for a few things – job search assistance and an item or two I needed and I did get leads, but no immediate results. But this doesn’t mean that you couldn’t benefit from these forums.

    1) Random Kindness

    The first one I ever came across is “Random Kindness.” It’s a site to request something you need or want or giveaway or offer something you don’t need or want. There are rules sent in place to avoid scammers (although they do come around on occasion).  I would certainly give this a try if there is something you do need or can’t afford (or if you just need a friend – I’ve seen many requests for postcards, birthday cards, well wishes, etc.).  Also, if there is something you can offer people  – even a pen pal or a birthday card – it will give you warm fuzzy feelings inside.

    2) Ecycle

    I haven’t been around this section that long, but I did just find it recently. I can tell you right now there are more requests than there are offers. I am also not that sure there are many requests that get fulfilled. But you know what? It’s worth a try.

    3) Get Well

    Okay this is another new one I found! I like doing nice things for people and if you want to feel good about yourself, sign up to send a few people cards. Sure, there may be a few fake stories here and there, but as long as you aren’t giving someone thousands of dollars (or any money, really), than just enjoy the kindness.

    4) Off My Chest

    This is a section that I have used once before and you know, it’s really helpful. The people there are respectful for the most part and it’s a fantastic place to rant and rave. Plus, it’s always humbling to read the woes and troubles of others. It reminds you that you are not the only one struggling and to be grateful for what you do have in life.

    5) Assistance

    Okay, this is the place to start. This site has everything you need if you are in need of something – anything. Now, the actual posts are something you may end up ignoring, but I want to direct your attention to the side bar (and don’t look at this site from a mobile device, look at it on a regular browser).  Scroll through and you will find just about everything you need.

    6) Your City

    If you are looking for a job, I highly recommend seeking out your city’s Reddit site and see if they have a section for jobs or something like that. My city hosts a monthly job board where people can post to and I’ve seen other cities that have an entirely separate list for jobs and whatnot. If need a roommate or need a weekend activity idea, it is a place to start.

    7) Hiring

    This is a general job board that you can check out for postings. These seem to be legitimate opportunities for the most part and it’s a pretty decent place to look for work.

    8) Need Advice

    There is something comforting about asking the anonymous internet for advice. This site is for anyone who needs advice – and hey, it’s a place for you to shell it out too.

    Okay, that’s what I wanted to share with everyone! Have you ever found help on Reddit? What forum was most helpful to you?


  2. Blogging and Real Life Demands – A Writing Prompt

    May 27, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    Balance

    See? This is real balance

    In an effort to expand my reach on this blog, I decided to respond to the writing prompt from the community “Trash Can Bloggers.”

    They ask:

    What is your top organizational strategies for staying on task while blogging?

    Uh, organizing?

    Well, for me, I end up making a choice as far as what I can give to my blog. I probably don’t do enough self promotion on various social networking sites. I do write down my ideas when they come along in hopes that they actually end up on my blog.

    So the better question is how can I better handle my blog and real life?

    Well, I didn’t want to make a big announcement but I ended up quitting a ghostwriting job I had since November. I learned from this is that when you are asking something from someone – especially when there is potential money involved – you better have all your ducks in a row. Why? Well, it’s because the other person will be sure to bring out the laundry list of flaws they have kept about you. You know – those things we usually ignore about someone until it’s time to throw it in their face. I am a believer in addressing things as they come, not using things as ammunition when it’s necessary.

    What’s next? Well, I contacted a few people who didn’t pay as well at the time, but I enjoyed writing for them more than when I was a ghostwriter. If luck is in my favor, they will bring me back on. For one in particular, I asked about increasing the rate. If my luck is not in my favor, then neither one will have a spot for me.

    If that does happen, I am trying to find more sponsored opportunities for my blog (my other one under my real name) and maybe I will get lucky and get a response from a writing job I did have.

    So, back to handling blogging and real life better –

    Know my limits. I need to address the struggles you have a lot sooner and to not let it build because it’s only going to go downhill from there and it will not end right.

    Also, I want to commit a little bit more to this blog. We’ll see how it goes money wise and bringing in the extra income I need. I do have a few things up my sleeve for this blog.

    Now it’s your turn – how do you balance real life and blogging demands? 


  3. Underemployed and Barely Getting By – An Unemployment Story

    May 24, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    I received this unemployment story a couple of days ago and I know it will strike a chord with many of you. Our unemployment story today is by Chrissie, who continues to work paycheck  to paycheck, living without health benefits, and continues to get hit regularly with less and less hours at work. She lives in Colorado, where it’s illegal to panhandle and the homeless get fined $1500, if they get caught. I find this horrifying and hits close to home. The rest of this post is written by Chrissie.

    I worked as a CNA for a well known home health agency from 2005-2010 making 15 an hr. In 2007 they dropped my hours from 54hrs a week to 11hrs a week. I lived in fear daily I would end up on the streets. I begged for more hours although this did me no good… no one cared.

    I eventually found a different job at a major hospital and was offered a NA position for 10.67 an hr. This is a HUGE pay cut for someone living pay check to pay check. I accepted it out of fear I would find nothing else. I worked there for 4 years and the first 2 years I worked both jobs (home health and hospital).

    I was promoted to the Unit Secretary in 2009 and was given a pay increase to 13.70 although my hours stayed part time 24hrs a week. I did this for 2 1/2 years until I was informed my hours would be cut again. There were meetings every month explaining we needed to not offer patients shampoo or tooth brushes in order to lower cost. I was horrified that a multimillion dollar hospital would care that much about money over patients. Just horrifying for sure.

    Once again I searched for another job. I was optimistic I would find a full time job within the hospital I worked at; although every interview I went on I was told I was over-qualified or under-qualified and suggested I go to school. I signed up for the tuition assistance and was offered 500 dollars to go to school- what a joke. Nothing was more of a slap in the face from this hospital than that move. I put in my 2 week notice shortly after that.

    I spent the next few months looking for anything I could get my hands on. I was suppose to get a bonus from the hospital but since I put my 2 week notice in before the bonus was announced I didn’t receive it when they handed it out 1 week later. I finally was offered a job at the same place my mother in law worked at. It was over night work watching an elderly man with dementia.

    Since then I’ve applied for well over 2,000 jobs. I’ve attended every interview I was ever called for. I’ve applied for city jobs, government jobs, McDonalds jobs, Wal-mart jobs, Walgreens, Taco Bell, retail stores and all of the above and am either told I am under qualified or over qualified. At this point, I feel helpless as though I will never work full time and the bills keep piling up and up.

    I am so angry about our economic state. I feel as though things are never going to get better. We just need jobs!!! The new VA bill that was passed has put more people out of jobs then has helped. People are laying off employees to make room for these VA people so they can get the right offs. How is this fair?

    I attended art school when I was younger and have artistic skills in which I have put towards creating coloring books for children.  I have sent many submissions out only to be rejected.  I don’t understand how to get my foot in the door with any job.  I feel very lost.  I know what I want to do with my life and what I would enjoy but no one is giving me a chance.  No one cares.  I was told I needed surgery to remove a polyp and yet, I have no insurance and was billed for the post-op visits which amount to well over 600 dollars.  They refuse to do the surgery until I have insurance and I can’t get insurance without a job.  How exactly is this obama health care act helping us?  I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Though I am not unemployed and I thank God daily I’m not’; I am still vastly under-employed. I currently get 18 hrs a week at my job making 11-13 an hr (depending on if I am working nights or days). When hired on I was asked what schedule I was looking for and I told them days and was laughed at as those positions were already filled with individuals that do not have any medical skills (they’re just average folks).

    Obviously this upsets me as I have my CNA, BLS and medical terminology and yet I get less hours then they get. They are getting rid of CNAs in medical fields aside from nursing homes and I don’t understand why? Nurses don’t want to shower patients nor do Doctors. Today I applied for a government job as a medical assistant. I have lost my optimistic mind set and no longer think I will get any job I apply for. At this point I think I have a better chance at winning the Powerball lottery jackpot then I do at finding a full time job, how sad.

     


  4. Freelance Writing – And How to Get Started

    May 22, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    writing in the journal

    I preface this by saying I am by no means an expert on freelance writing. It is a part time job to give me extra income and I’m still learning and making my way through the world of freelance writing. Between you, me, and the cup of coffee beside me, I have a lot to learn. But someone told me recently – and a comment here and there has proved it – that I can use my blog to help others. I want to do just that.

    So…how did I get started? Well, since my blog is fairly anonymous, I have the comfort of full disclosure and I will try to tell you as much as you can about the pay received taking each venue and how long I lasted doing this.

    1) Volunteer Work.

    One of my first tastes of freelance work was when I found a volunteer gig with a non-profit dealing with pets. I went to a meeting or two and I started out by doing research and helping generate content for the newsletter. I don’t think I did much article writing, though. Mostly, this was on the research side, but it was a start.

    If you are trying to break out into freelance writing, this may be a good place to start. You are basically getting real world experience that you can present when you are applying to paying gigs and you may just seem like an expert in the long run because of that experience.. Plus, this gives you a reference to use  (if you need one for freelance work; so far, I haven’t needed one). Not to mention, this helps you get a few writing samples under your belt and this does matter in the long run.

    Where to find volunteer work: Visit sites like VolunteerMatch.org and Idealist.org. You can also seek out opportunities that doesn’t require you to leave the comfort of your home. Use search terms like “virtual” or “remote”  when looking for writing gigs. 

    2) Content Mills.

    If you aren’t familiar with “content mills,” it’s basically sites that you write for where you get money based on people who click on ads placed on the site. The one I used was called HubPages, which is the only one I have used so far. I liked it because it had a good community of people and a clean interface that was easy to use.

    One benefit of this is another way for you to get a few writing samples, which do matter in terms of getting better paying writing jobs. I have also heard that many writers get a decent income from writing for these sites.

    3) Blogging.

    I don’t mean having your own blog (that’s a post for another day). I mean blogging for someone else. I have two experiences with this – one paid, one unpaid. The one paid opportunity gave me $5.00 a post and I wrote 3 to 5 times a week for them. I had my own little author biography in the post and a link to my personal blog. I blogged for this opportunity for about 7 or 8 months.

    The benefit is the extra income. $5 per post isn’t much, but it was a great start for me. I found this opportunity through oDesk.com. After I started getting more familiar with blogging opportunities and where to find them, I realized there were sites like BloggingPro and FreelanceWritingGigs.com that revealed better paying opportunities for me. It also improved my writing skills and my ease and ability creating content for someone else. It also looked good on my resume.

    4) Where I’m At Now

    Here’s where I’m at now – I am writing for an SEO Company and I make about $25.00/post. This may not be much, but it’s better than what I made writing for a content mill and definitely better than $5/post. I’m getting to the point though where I want to do less work for more money and I’m venturing out and trying different things (more on that in a different post).  The downside? It’s ghostwriting and I don’t get credit for the posts that do go live. There was a long journey of acceptance to get to this point and I still have mixed feelings about it.

    But how did I find the current gig?

    Well, somewhere in between using those sites I linked up before (see BloggingPro and FreelanceWritingGigs) as well as using another site called Business2Blogger.com. The link I just gave you is more geared towards people who run their own blog and looking for either sponsored posts or products to review. I do see the occasional job on there and that is how I found my present opportunity.

    Now…how about where I’m at now?  I’m experiencing the new learning phase of pitching to a company and asking if they need help with social networking or building their blog back up. This is another learning experience for me and so far, I haven’t received any response.  I have also started making a little extra money with my own blog (not this one). But these avenues are posts for another day.

    Anyways, if you are trying to get started with freelance writing, this is just how it is working for me. Some people have different stories to tell on how they broke out into the field and I can’t say that my avenue is the best. Considering I work full time and it isn’t exactly the right time for me to get my byline in a local newspaper (not a conversation I want to have with my current employer), I would say this works pretty good for me right now.

    Can I answer any questions you may have? If you are in the freelance writing field, how did you get started?

     


  5. The Dog-Eat-Dog World of Setting Rates for Freelance Work

    May 19, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    The past few weeks I’ve been making an active effort to pursue freelance work. Mostly, because I am not getting paid enough at work to get by.

    The past two weeks I’ve also come across rudeness, high demand, and expectations for free work. I’ve received rude emails demanding I work for free and another email demanding I lower my rate because all I write are “puff” pieces and how dare I charge so much just being the kind of writer I am?

    The professionals I’ve come across makes me realize how important it is to educate myself on the freelance world, gain confidence in my work, and stick to my principles on rate. Figuring out what to charge is my biggest hurdle. I either charge too low or I’m charging too high.

    So I went in search of some online advice and decided to share what I found –

    Popular (but bad) Freelancing Advice You Should Ignore

    How to Price Your Services as a Freelance Writer (I found the comment section to be of most interest to me)

    The Complete Guide to Setting and Negotiating Freelance Rates

    Do you have any advice on breaking out into the freelance world?


  6. 9 Years Without a Job – An Unemployment Story

    May 15, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    One of the best parts of this blog – and one of the most humbling – is hearing the stories from those who are unemployed or have their own unemployment story to share. I received this story from Emma Asante, a blogger at My Sidekick and MeShe agreed for me to share her details and I hope that by doing so, one of my readers can reach out and lend a hand.  The rest of this post is written by Emma.

    After a relationship breakdown, I gave up my job to become a full time parent. My daughter was not much older than a year and my main priority was just to make sure she was taken care of. Obviously with no income, I put in a claim for benefits. At the time, I figured It would be a couple of months and I would find something, sort out some childcare and get back on my feet.

    This was about 9 years ago!

    As I sit writing this, I just think what the hell went wrong? How did a few months turn into 6, then a year, then 2, then before I knew it I’m sitting here knowing that 9 years have passed but yet nothing has changed. I’m still struggling to pay for basic necessities. Rarely able to afford any nice luxuries, never had a holiday and at times had to choose between spending the last few pound in my bank account on gas or food.

    How did things get like this? I have gone from being on income support, to being “forced” onto job seekers allowance where I have fortnightly signings and get penalized like a naughty child if I don’t mark down every little thing I have done in relation to looking for  work.

    I seem to have lost my way and the longer I am out of work, the harder it is to get back into it. I am nothing more than a statistic now that I am unemployed and I will always be in that category of the typical single mum claiming benefits. No one cares that I am daily trawling the internet  looking for available jobs. No one cares that I go to an interview for the highly “unskilled” position or “frozen produce replenishment” (which is just a fancy way of saying freezer filler) only to be told that the other person I was interviewing with was more qualified for the role.

    I know I have little or no chance when applying for jobs, given that I left school before sitting my exams so have no formal qualifications. That and the long gap in employment hardly leaves an employer eager to learn more about me. I was even told that I was too old to go to college and that if I chose to study I would relinquish my right to my benefits. I just feel worthless and it is a near impossible task to try and sell yourself to an employer when you feel you have nothing to sell.

    Is this all I have to look forward to?

    Another 10 years of doing nothing and barely scraping by? My daughter is now 10 years old and I want her to be proud of her mum. But all she sees is a daily struggle making ends meet. I could easily say that this will be the year things change but believe me, as quickly as I say it, the year comes to an end and its January again.

    I know that most of the (working) people would read this and think I was just a typical lazy single parent that would rather sit around getting paid for nothing. That’s just the way society thinks. But I want nothing more than to be able to sign off and start earning for myself. I know that with employment will come self worth and confidence and I am just praying for that one day that someone will look past the piece of paper and give me a chance to be a hardworking successful person that I can be.


  7. 2013 – A Year of Joblessness, Death, and Bizarre Intuition

    May 13, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    My Financial Advisor

    If this writing thing doesn’t work out, maybe I should become a psychic.

    If you are wondering where I’ve been the past couple of weeks or why my posts have been sporadic, I owe you an apology. I don’t mean to drop off the place of our virtual planet we have here, and yet, I don’t think I could have written a single post these past few weeks, considering all that’s happened.

    To give some background, around last August or October, I had a deep gut feeling that something would happen before, during, or after April of 2013. I couldn’t shake it, and I didn’t really know from what direction I could expect it. I knew it would be big though and I’ve never been so specific about an intuition as I was last year. I also felt that what would hit was that feeling of – nothing would ever feel the same again.

    Well, I was right.

    I thought it may be health related – and that’s when I ran off to the doctor with back to back appointments in January to check out a few concerns I had going on with my body.

    Nope, nothing there.

    I thought it may be my job. I do have a weird habit of quitting jobs in the spring. Yet, here I am, rounding the bend towards a year, and things are as calm as I could expect from this job. No, not my dream job, but I’m still here.

    And then March rolled around.

    Well, my oldest brother has been out of work over a year. And without few opportunities in our state coming his way, he decided to move at a drop of a hat. It was very sudden and still a little shocking. But I know the direction he is going now is something he needed to do and I just hope he finds better success there than he ever did heere.

    Then April happened.

    My mom lost her job. This came as a total shock as well and was the last thing either one of us expected.

    It was sad to hear my mom share this news and to see that moment happen to her. I know she will come out on top though, she has a lot of drive and determination (hey, where do you think I get it from?)!

    Then…May.

    I found out in last weekend that my father died.  To give some background, I haven’t spoke my father since I was 6. It’s been 20 years since I’ve seen him and within that time, he sent me a letter maybe once or twice. I never did hold a lot of hatred or grudges towards him, but he was abusive to me and I had no interest in seeing him.

    But he died a little over a week ago. It was weird hearing the news and I did get sad a little bit. Mostly sad because I knew that I was losing the only father I’ll ever have, that on his death bed he had no interest in reaching out to me, and that he never wanted to acknowledge what he did to me. So, a lot of mixed emotions went on.

    I’m fine now and I certainly didn’t get sad long. But it was weird hearing that news.

    So…

    If you are wondering why I’ve been so absent lately, well there you have it. The past few months have been – just as I felt – life changing.  Things as they were before, won’t be the same again. And so far, it’s just been a weird, weird year. Although I have an interesting feeling, some good may be lurking around the corner.

    And I guess all I can say is – listen to your intuition and if it won’t leave you alone about something – hold on tight for an odd, odd ride.

     


  8. Protected: I Don’t Like Insult Humor at Work

    May 3, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

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