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February, 2014

  1. “Sometimes there just isn’t a job.” [An Unemployment Story]

    February 28, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    On many levels I can relate to the following story written by a lady with the initials BB. It is a story I know will resonate with so many of you who struggle with recovering from life after graduation.

    It was 1994. I was in French class with my friend Rachel and we started discussing what I should be when I grew up. I was torn between a doctor and a teacher. She suggested being a lawyer. After all, Ally McBeal was on TV and she was cute, rich and successful. If that was what being a lawyer was all about, sign me up. So I decided to be a lawyer. Here I am, 20 years later and I’m a lawyer without a job. This is my story.

    In high school I had to interview a couple of lawyers for a school project. One had her own practice and had inherited clients from her dad. She seemed happy enough. The other thought I was in junior high (the curse of looking young still plagues me) and explained billables and the law firm life. That didn’t seem that great to me. I remember finishing my project thinking I still wanted to be lawyer. There didn’t seem to be any other options.

    In college I studied history. I love history. It was a great major and included lots of reading and writing. I love to read and writing is something I like, but not my favorite thing to do. History majors are often groomed to go into law. Because just like history, law requires a lot of reading and writing. I mean, a lot. As a history major, I tossed around the idea of being a lawyer or teacher. My friends were studying to be teachers and it seemed like fun, but was too creative for me. I didn’t care about wall pictures and coming up with lesson plans. It sounded boring and nothing something I really cared about. So I stuck with law. It seemed to impress people and everyone assured me that I would make a zillion dollars and be rich and cute…just like Ally McBeal.

    So I transferred colleges and studied abroad and studied history and still told everyone I was going to law school. During my senior year before I studied abroad, I took the LSATs. I didn’t do that well. I bought a book and studied for them the best I knew how to do, but it just didn’t click. The logic games I assumed were too math like and who cared anyways. So I took them, got my score, and applied to law schools around the country. Then I left for England and my mom handled my rejection letters. I was wait listed but didn’t really know what that meant, so I applied to some more from abroad. When I got home and had graduated college, I decided a year break was in order.

    During that year break amid law school rejection letters, I worked and tried to defer my undergraduate student loans. I took an archeology course online to offset student loan companies but found that even though I was interested, it just wasn’t for me. So law school was still the plan. I found a guy who was tutoring LSAT students, but the cost to do that was prohibitive. So in exchange for a few private lessons, I timed high school students taking the SATs. I sat for the LSAT again and did marginally better. The guy who tutored me mentioned a school in Michigan who took students who had great undergrad grades but low LSAT scores, just like me. I didn’t know anything about Michigan, but figured I would apply. I got in immediately and decided I was going. I did some preliminary research and figured costs and delayed my entry until the next fall.

    In the fall, I started law school. It was an interesting experience. I don’t want to go too much into that, as there are many books and blogs and articles and speakers about law school. Suffice to say, there are too many lawyers and law school is extremely difficult and unlike anything college could have prepared me for. I did well my first semester, but my second was harder and partly due to a large class load and a promiscuous roommate. I did better after a summer away and moving into my own apartment. I even studied in England again and clerked for a judge. I graduated at the beginning of 2007 and little did I know it, but the economy was about to crash, taking my plans along with it.

    After I graduated, I figured it would be easy to get a job. Most of my classmates and friends were working and some of them hadn’t even passed the bar. I took the bar and passed on the first try. Something that people boast about, but something I have found not be that big of a deal when it comes to landing a job. I contacted a city that I volunteered for after my first year of law school to see if they were hiring. They were indeed hiring for a temporary job. I took it and assumed by the end of the term I was to work, I would have another job lined up. I even interviewed while working never thinking that 7 years later I would be unemployed. No job interview worked out and I continued doing my job, which I now fondly remember as my favorite job in my career.

    The job ended and in the meantime I had decided to move to Los Angeles. I had visited some family and declared that LA was where I belonged. The sun beckoned me, as did the large city life. I took the California bar and passed on the first try. So, I decided to move down to LA and try my luck at finding a job.

    By this time it was summer 2008 and as everyone can remember, the country’s economy was failing. I started to get nervous, but kept applying for jobs on every website I could find and trying to get temporary legal jobs. I had a couple of those, but they soon ended. And while they were nice for the paycheck, they didn’t beef up my resume or put anything really useful on it. 5 years later, I am trying to get one of those temporary jobs and I still don’t want to do it. The work is mind numbing and awful. They think the pay placates you, but it doesn’t. But I digress.

    By fall 2008, I was volunteering and doing all I could do to find a job. Nothing was working. 2009 came along and I was in the same situation. I networked. I applied online. I went to events and connected with people who I thought could help. Nothing worked. So I decided to move home to my parent’s house and look for work in Seattle. I figured 6 months would be enough time for me to work and move out. Little did I know it would be 2 and a half years before I did.

    The time at my parents was a period of despair. My dad was critically sick and I had no support outside my parents. I was in a rainy city and student loans were bearing down on me. I even went into default on one of my private loans. It was a very bleak time. I couldn’t land any interviews and felt like I would never work again. Funny enough, as I write this, I’m unemployed and the prospect of work seems far, far away.

    Anyways, I started working with my mom in a non-legal and poor paying job just to do something. I was volunteering in a legal capacity but it wasn’t leading to anything. So after 2 years, I decided to try my hand at California again. I packed up my things and worked remotely from my friend’s house near San Francisco. I was applying for jobs in LA and San Francisco and had made some contacts. I loved living in the Bay Area and had one low-paying job lined up as well as an opportunity to learn from a law school alum. Then I was offered a job in LA.

    The job in LA was wrong from the interview until the end 16 months later. I knew taking the job that my boss was slimy and the work wasn’t what I wanted to do. But my mom and friend told me to get over it and take it. They said I wouldn’t be there a long time and it was money and benefits. That was a lesson I learned the hard way. Never let anyone convince you to take a job. Ever. I should have listened to my gut and maybe if I had had, I would still be in San Francisco using the contacts I had and be employed.

    I took the job and moved back to LA. I didn’t want to be in LA or doing the job. I remember calling my friend in tears and telling her I wanted to move back to San Francisco to live with her. She encouraged me that the job would be okay and to keep looking.

    I worked in hell for 16 months. I made a few friends, but slowly lost my mind. I had terrible headaches and was depressed. I finally quit/was laid off my job almost 7 months ago. In that time, I felt guilty for giving up a paying job with benefits and that empty space on my resume. But I healed and became myself again. So that alone has been worth it.

    So here I sit, 7 years ago graduated from law school. No job. No prospect of a job and a mind and email folder full of contacts and ideas.

    I have literally tried everything one who is job seeking can do. I have networked. I have cold-called and emailed and sent old-fashioned snail mail. I have attended countless events. I have paid to attend legal education courses and events in the hopes I would connect with someone. I have scoured the Internet. I have asked everyone, and I mean everyone, including my hairdresser to help. I have done career counseling, not once, not twice but four times. I have gone to both of my undergraduate institutions and my law school for help and advice. I have prayed and prayed and begged on my knees. I have explored alternative careers. I have thought about moving to foreign countries and researched the steps I would take to do so. I have thought about moving to other states and taking more bar exams. I have applied for jobs that I’m over and under qualified for. I seriously have done everything I can think of. There are dozens of books written about how to get a job. I’ve read them. I have hounded people on LinkedIn. If there’s something not on this list, I bet I still have done it. After 7 years, it’s hard to remember every step you’ve taken to achieve something that is still out of reach.

    The point of this is not to discourage anyone but to make myself feel better and also explain to those who say, “But surely there’s a job for you—you’re a lawyer in 2 states!” that sometimes there just isn’t a job. I don’t know what else to do at this point, but to continue to hope and have faith that God will show me the way.


  2. Sound of Silence [My Ode to the Job Search]

    February 27, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    I don’t know about anyone else but what’s worse than bad interviews, awkward phone conversations, and the overall feeling of begging…is the silence of a phone that will not ring.

    So today I present to you, my ode to the job search –


  3. The Underemployed by Taryn Cooper

    February 26, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    I am so glad to share this story because it offers such a unique, eye opening perspective on the current state of affairs. I encourage you to email me your story so I can share it with my readers.

    “A measure of employment and labor utilization in the economy that looks at how well the labor force is being utilized in terms of skills, experience and availability to work. Labor that falls under the underemployment classification includes those workers that are highly skilled but working in low paying jobs, workers that are highly skilled but work in low skill jobs and part-time workers that would prefer to be full-time. This is different from unemployment in that the individual is working but isn’t working at their full capability.” — Definition of Underemployment by Investopedia.

    I am a student of finance and economics. I find the science and the art equally as fascinating. Yet, I was not a traditional student, as I do not own a degree in those fields, but I was a student on the fly. Mostly because I went to college a hundred years ago (in technology years), and I was an English literature major.

    You see when I graduated, I had to do things like look up job listings in the classifieds. I had to physically print out and mail my resumes out to human resources departments in response. (I did not, however, have to walk a mile in the snow to school, barefoot.) It used to be that you got a job based on the soft skills one possessed, and a company would invest in educating their human capital.

    The landscape of the job market has changed dramatically since I graduated, craptacular economy notwithstanding.

    Though I may describe an era that seems long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, I’m only in my 30s. I don’t just have a bachelor of arts degree, I also earned a masters degree about seven years ago. When the real estate market was booming, and everyone was buying houses, I was gainfully employed. Then the market went into the crapper. I went from being unemployed to a contract worker to now one of the ranks what we call the “underemployed.”

    Let me repeat. I am a 30-something year old woman. I have two degrees, including one advanced degree that I earned not too long ago. I worked at a top tier investment bank on the merger and acquisition desk for eight years, and I have a total ten years of experience in financial services. Yet I’m certain that because of this pedigree, my name is mud for jobs (especially since the types of jobs I had, mostly in back office, support and marketing), and now I feel as though I am being age-discriminated too. I am told I am “overqualified” for jobs which begs the question, would they rather have someone “underqualified” for the role? Or is “overqualified” as nice way of saying I’m too old, and they can hire new graduates for a fraction and they won’t complain? (I think the latter).

    I had to not only start a home-based business (don’t knock it till you try it), but I also had to take a part-time job on a retail floor doing some brand marketing. So now I’m in a position that I am overqualified for a job that I work for a lot less money than jobs for which I am qualified.

    In short — I have joined the ranks of the underemployed. Investopedia describes a person as having an engineering degree working as a pizza delivery guy. I feel as though there are many like me out there, we are being silenced for many different reasons, or perhaps being silent for reasons like shame.

    Though is there shame in taking a job that doesn’t pay as much or give you “full time hours”? Or is it because you work, and everyone feels like they’re making a meaningful contribution to society?

    I know many people like me. At the store, I work with many of them. In the home based business networks, I know many walks of life trying to earn extra money because the economy has hit them in many other ways.

    The common thread is that we’ve either left, been laid off or jobs no longer exist in our home industries.

    I work with a woman who worked in law for 20 years and is now a floor rep at a retail store about 30 hours a week.

    My cousin worked in the same industry as I did basically, and he too is working in a completely different industry, selling cars.

    Another woman at the store ran a chain of gyms and lost her job several years ago. Now she teaches classes for a higher dollar amount per hour at the store.

    Someone I used to work with in finance moved west, but is now working in a job that is entirely commission based. If you like those types of jobs, that’s one thing. But it’s more than just survival now. The landscape is changing.

    But the common thread you see here is that most of these jobs have no growth opportunities. I won’t be a manager or a supervisor because there are no real roles for me to grow into. But mostly I’ve put my eggs in the basket of growing my side business into a full time career.

    The last guest post on Lady (Un)Employed talked about how there are many hard-working individuals out there who deserve a little more respect than having people judge us by thinking we just want hand outs. And I agree with that. I’m sure that underemployed people fear that judgment every day. In fact, I took a job that pays essentially 10% of the last highest salary I had working on Wall Street just so I could tell people that I have a job (but also let’s be fair: it’s so I can pay some bills that got high too). In New York City, that aint paying the rent. I’m one of the lucky ones: I have a husband who adores me, and is able to support the both of us while I carve out this path of doing several things, like eBay selling, part time in retail, blogging and doing my wellness business. We call these “slash careers,” and I’m seeing a lot of that too. Mostly because of the changing landscape of business and employment.

    Yet, I feel as though if I qualified for unemployment and collected (my benefits ran out after my last job), I’d be judged. Yet, I made more collecting unemployment than I do at the store.

    What you’ll see from the underemployed though is we’re willing to adapt. That’s something your resume won’t say. The Catch-22 is there, concurrently. The underemployed typically take these part-time or low-paying or low-skill jobs to buy time, put that “empty space” on your resume to rest, but at the same time, taking a job that’s part-time/low-paying/low-skill is the Catch-22.

    There’s that saying that once you’ve settled for less than you expected, you get less than you settled for.
    Forgive me for being a little cynical. While I like the way the unemployment numbers are going, let’s face facts: the world the way it used to be isn’t coming back. However, we’ve proven time and again that the next great industry is right around the corner, and hiring will be back and everyone will have jobs, and there will be a car in every garage (if you should have one) and a chicken in every pot (as long as you are not a vegetarian).

    I feel as though the underemployed are in a different boat. That there is that fear of pigeonholing ourselves into these part-time jobs that we won’t get out of them.

    I’m no spring chicken, but I am way too young to have to worry about this stuff, like wondering if I’ll ever work again. Then I snap out of it and look at the opportunities around me and think, that I used to believe that when one door closes, another one opens. I still do, to some extent.

    Yet, for a culture that ties so much of ones individual personality and worth to what they do, it’s easy to see why the underemployed are so underrepresented. If you are underemployed, you’re certainly not talking about it. It’s almost more taboo than not having a job at all.

    By Taryn Cooper
    Cofounder of Coop Dee Ville and Founder of Gal For All Seasons
    Twitter @TarynitupNY


  4. A Billion Entrepreneuers – A Crowd Funded Film

    February 24, 2014 by Lady Unemployed


    This is a sponsored post. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.

    Recently I talked about the ways we can get ourselves out of this economic, joblessness and underemployed rut. One of the ways we can do this is by helping people start their own business.

    When I found out about this opportunity to talk about a movie that believes in exactly this same solution, I jumped at the chance to share this with my readers. I hope in same way you find this as inspiring as I do.

    Before I get into further details, take a look at this video –

    What I love about this movie and this project is that it follows a variety of people who have ideas that they want to turn into a business. If we start making “entrepreneurship” attainable and not so out of reach for the everyday, regular person, I think more of us would get in line for that.

    I truly believe this movie falls right in line with my idea of “teaching people to fish.” We need to learn how to fish to get by these days. The regular jobs that pay well and hire people regularly don’t exist anymore. It seems like you are either underemployed, low paid, or not employed at all.

    I really believe in this movie and in this cause I highly recommend you check this film out and see how you can become a part of this movement.

    To fund this movie, go to their IndieGoGo page at –

    http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/abethemovie

    To subscribe to their cause and join the movement, visit this website and subscribe – http://www.abillionentrepreneurs.com/join-the-movement/

    Thank you to A Billion Entrepreneurs for sponsoring this post.


  5. Should Bankruptcy Wipe Out Student Loans?

    February 20, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    Student loan debt has been in the news recently and is apparently the source of a lot of the nation’s debt crisis. According to an article with Times Union, there is efforts to reduce the interest on student loans to a fixed 4%.

    I can’t remember what my percentage is, but this article made me wonder something….

    Should bankruptcy wipe out student loans?

    I have mixed feelings about this and wanted to ask what people thought. I may have a post to follow in the next few days with some ideas on how to decrease student loans in other ways.

    But first –

    Should we be able to wipe out student loans if we file bankruptcy? Would that help or hurt?

     


  6. “We deserve a little more respect than being labeled lazy and looking for a handout.” [An Unemployment Story]

    February 16, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    The following email was sent to me about a week ago and every word resonated. It speaks to the nature of job searching right now and what is available and how unbalanced the solutions are. This was written by John Fusto who gave me permission to use his story and mention his name. The rest of this post is written by him and unchanged by me.

    There is something uniquely insidious to the soul of the white-collar professional from the loss of a job in this day. Don’t get me wrong, an out-of-work plumber or construction worker has a family to care for, bills to pay, and lies awake at night fending off the same grotesque nightmares I do. In broad strokes, we are the same, and live the same unemployment nightmare. But our life, and our fall differ in kind:

    The professional’s dreams begin way back in high school, starting with our college acceptance letters, then graduation with so much promise and unlimited opportunity, our family’s pride beaming at us in cap and gown, armed with advanced and expensive degrees to make it all happen. Then come our marriages, our first job in our profession, our student loans paid, our circle of friends formed from our professions, our homes purchased, our children raised, as we progress into our careers. Some ambitions are realized, we accomplish goals, personally and professionally. We take pride in our lives, where we’ve been, where we’re going. Our life was not an entitlement, but it was earned. And the unraveling of this life is ghoulish, our expectations from the life we planned and worked years for, our professions, and worst of all, our identities have vanished.
    ,
    I’m 54. I was a lawyer for 27 years, at one time an Assistant Attorney General. My last position was as a Vice-President and Senior Trial Counsel for a Fortune 500 company. I was jettisoned, without severance, last February. I knew intuitively from that day that life would unravel at shocking velocity.

    Why? Because we’re not stupid. We’ve worked for corporations, we know how they think. We know they “create” profit by cutting expenses (us), we know the world is getting younger and cheaper, we know that, at our age, we are the most expendable. We’ve seen it happen to others, we’ve read the stories. We live in fear of writing one ourselves. Like now.

    My profession is not unique in this sense: At a certain age, you are no longer wanted. You put forth every logical reason to convince otherwise–No, I will certainly work for less than my previous salary, I have a world of experience that can both help you and help the younger, less experienced, my gratitude for having this job will make me as dedicated an employee as you could hope for. No one’s listening.

    Piece by piece, like a Jenga game, my life came apart from that day. First on the chopping block, the apartment. No money, no rent. An old high school friend graciously allowed me to stay in his son’s bedroom. Next, the dog, since having to crash with various friends and family is not conducive to also housing a dog that, though I loved him to pieces, was a bit of a handful. Then telling my daughter she could no longer attend the college she had been happily ensconced in for the past two years. Follow-up with dodging phone calls with strange area codes (collection agencies are adept at this), then the collapse of a credit rating built over a lifetime.

    On to networking, calling friends, blah, blah, blah. After a few weeks of sympathetic sentiments, most simply moved on, either because of their getting on with their lives, or, I suspect, I became an unpleasant reminder, a symbol, of just what could happen to them, even in their most smug sense of their own security.

    Next up, job websites, with their trite and banal tips from “experts” as to why I am not getting offers. “You must expand your networking circles!” they exclaim with utter fatuousness, all the while mocking me with links to “How to increase your salary negotiating leverage.” Wow, I’ll file that away for when I want to squeeze that extra 50k on my next offer.

    So yesterday, for the third time, extending unemployment failed to, shall we say, hold the interest of that august body of Supremely Rich and Arrogant White Men We Have Come To Call The US Senate. My days of lying on the couch and eating bon bons (why they use that as a description is beyond me, and none too funny either) came to an end. On $328 per week, bon bons.

    For the record, $328 put some food on my table, enabled me to contribute to the households of friends and family who put me up, put some gas in the car, paid my monthly phone bill and car insurance, and not a fucking thing else. Lying on the couch eating bon bons? I spend my day looking at job websites, wondering how to convince someone that “my skills from my previous position are easily transferable” to the job requirements that in no way conform to my experience.

    Lately I peruse web-based news fixated on stories about unemployment benefits, and read readers’ comments on what a lazy slob I am. Or how, as per Donald Trump, I should move to North Dakota because, apparently that’s where the jobs are. Or how I should change careers, which for most of us, is like making a hard right with a battleship. Or my new favorite, take a job, ANY job. Like what? The twenty-two year old manager at Wendys will think having a 54 year old lawyer manning the drive-thru window is just the perfect fit. The rest of the day, and certainly night, is fending off despair and hopelessness. Is it really possible I may never actually have f/k/a a job again?

    Look, I have been, and continue to be, blessed. I’ve had a good run, have a few friends and family who really love me, and a beautiful daughter I adore. But I know the run has ended. There will be no soft retirement, nothing resembling the life I once had. I am reduced to praying that $328 per week in benefits will be restored. If not, at which point I ponder the musical question with grim seriousness: How did my middle-class youth cum middle-class, middle-aged adult teeter on the brink of homelessness? With a fucking law degree?

    And one other thing for the record: I worked since I was 13, paid more in tips than some of the knuckleheads who blather that I am on “welfare” and want a handout have in taxes. I did good work, much of it in public service, raised a family, and built a good life, on my own. I think we deserve a little more respect than being labeled lazy and looking for a handout.


  7. My Dream Valentine’s Day (As Played Out for Someone Else)

    February 14, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    Think of the Valentine’s Day you always dream of.

    For me, it probably consists of something along the lines of my hot Fireman boyfriend showing up in his firetruck to deliver me flowers in front of the entire company.

    No, not all men can pull off big romantic gestures like this, but you know? This type of Valentine’s Day would be my dream come true.

    And guess what?

    It happened today.

    For some other woman in my office.

    Happy Singles Awareness Day Everyone!


  8. Coworker Hell Turned Joblessness Hell [An Anonymous Unemployment Story]

    February 7, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    I wanted to post this story especially because I have been here before and so have a lot of people. Sometimes you just can’t stay at a job no matter how much you want it to work. When you reach that breaking point though and have to leave, there is a massive struggle to recover. I know that first hand. The rest of this post is written by an anonymous submitter who granted me permission to submit her story. I haven’t changed any word she sent me.

    I stepped away from a job several months ago because a troubled, unhappy co-worker was making my daily life hell. I let her problems become mine, instead of brushing off her anger. Leaving was a stupid decision – I know that now.

    I have never had trouble getting interviews before & typically get an offer if I get an interview, but all that has changed & I’m not sure why. I’ve had a couple of interviews, but mostly I’ve had phone screens. Every one of these left me feeling we would move forward to an offer. They tell me all the right things – that I have what they’re looking for in terms of qualifications, credentials and attitude. Then, I either hear nothing or I get a polite note saying they’ve decided another candidate is a better fit. The sheer law of averages should have worked in my favor at least once.

    One recruiter was so adamant about moving forward that I was sure I would get the interview and the offer. He said he would have the security officer call me to prep me for the clearance process (as this job called for getting a clearance). The security person called just a few minutes later & started by asking for my birth date, including the year. I didn’t feel I could decline since I knew a clearance would require that. The next day I got the brush off e-mail. I couldn’t help but feel they used that tactic to get my age & then I was out. My age is just a number and belies all that I have to contribute.

    My best theory is that they are finding younger & cheaper candidates. (I’ve stressed that money is not an issue, that the right position is most important, but so far it has not helped.) I am a high energy, reliable employee, but I’ve somehow ended up without a paycheck & it feels awful.(My husband joked that maybe the troubled co-worker had black-balled me but I’m not that paranoid & she could not have that kind of power.)

    I’m grateful my husband has a good job, but I want to contribute for at least another decade. I’m doing volunteer work at our local library – it feels good to be needed – but I’m a highly qualified administrative professional. I can’t believe there’s not a company out there that will give me a chance to show I’m still capable.


  9. 5 Ideas to Help the Unemployed and Underemployed

    February 1, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    I think these days a lot of the people who are struggling the most financially fall under two categories:

    1) You are having trouble finding permanent, full time employment.

    or

    2) You have a job, but you are barely making ends meet.

    Or some combination of the two.

    There are ways out of this if we could all start thinking outside the box. I don’t mean to sound like I’m describing a pollyanna bullsh*t solution where I may as well have a banner on my blog that bleats out a scam of “this is how I made my first million.” I mean, real solutions that should be implemented by a non-profit, government, or some other group. Or just everyday, regular people like us.

    And I want there to be solutions for adults. Not just the young. But for adults at any age. Adults with or without kids. Because my thinking is if you can help out the adult, you are also helping out their kids, too (if they happen to have any). And even if they don’t have kids, you are also helping out the overall happy factor that seems to be lacking in our society these days. You are helping out a future consumer. A future shopper. A future “let’s go out to dinner and improve the local economy.”

    So, here’s a few ideas I had in mind –

    1) Help people start their own business.

    No, I don’t mean free crap seminars that puff you up with horsecrap motivation that only deflates the second you leave. I mean, there should be a place where an ordinary you and me can walk into and say, “I want to start a business.” and there be someone on the other side that you can sit with, share some ideas with, and figure out a way to get the idea off the ground. Let it be like a version of “Shark Tank,” the show where rich people fund profitable products and ideas. Well, take that off a major network and bring that to cities everywhere.

    Because in reality, there may be some ideas I have rolling around in my head or even just the concept of owning a business, but it’s hard to do that when I don’t know what I’m doing. I’d like to talk with someone who can handhold me through the entire process. And not someone who will charge $150 an hour for consulting work.

    Get real people to own their own company and you will have found that person a job.

    2) Give tax credits for businesses who hire the long-term unemployed.

    I’ve talked about this before and I stand by what I said – give companies a tax credit for hiring the unemployed. Simple as that – give companies a motivation to hire the long-term unemployed. No, lengthy unemployment shouldn’t even be a factor. But it is and we need to fix that.

    3) Free software and skill classes.

    Okay, yes, libraries do offer basic excel and word classes and so do some unemployment centers. It’s a start. But what about things like Adobe Photoshop. Or Quickbooks. Or teaching people how to sew or knit and how to sell their items to Etsy. Or design their own websites so maybe one day they can sell web design services.

    Think about situations like the guy who taught a guy who was homeless how to code.It’s less about how much money we make in society. Yes, that’s a major part of it, but what about that expression – give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.

    We need to start teaching more people how to fish.

    4) Bring more communities together – outside of Craigslist.

    If you go to Craigslist, you will find a mass of postings from people within your city. Some people selling items or some offering housing or some looking for jobs. That’s fine and good and all. But what about your neighbors around you? The people who live near you. How do you know if they are selling something or if their company was hiring or if they need someone to babysit Friday night?

    Maybe this is because I live in a big city, but their is less and less of a community feeling to where I live and I think if we brought neighborhoods together, we would find helping each other beneficial. Start bringing communities together. Heck, bring back good ole fashioned paper classifieds. Start a classified section for your block or apartment complex. Let’s become a community together instead of the isolated society we have become.

    5) Make random acts of kindness really cool.

    I think in every city or county there needs to be a center for random acts of kindness. People who come together to do kind things. No, not once a year around Christmas. But going out and doing things to make people’s lives happier. Make kindness matter. Make it the next cool thing. Make helping people – anyone – the next hottest thing to do. No, this has nothing to do with employment or underemployment – not really – but somehow, I think the two relate.