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Posts Tagged ‘unemployment’

  1. What I Learned About Unemployment During My Travels [A Guest Post]

    October 31, 2015 by Lady Unemployed

    To paraphrase Tolstoy, “All employed people are alike; each unemployed person is unemployed in its own way.” To expand on this rather clumsy piece of paraphrasing, employed people of all nations and cultures are the same – happy to be working and getting paid for their work. However, unemployed people differ greatly from one part of the world to another. Or at least that is what I found out during my years in the trade show industry.

    But, I wander. I hate it when people do that and expect their readers (or listeners) to understand what they are talking about without any useful info.

    So, let me start again.

    An Overlong Introduction

    My name is James (not that it really matters) and I have spent more than a decade in the trade show industry. However, the type of service that my colleagues and myself provided were somewhat different from those you normally see in this industry. Namely, we provided something of a liaison services for Australian-based companies that wished to exhibit in markets that are considered to be less-traditional such as Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

    Why those parts of the world?

    Well, for one, these parts of the world provide certain challenges to “outsiders”, challenges that have to do with the history of these parts, the world views people in those areas often share and certain practices that are considered less-than-businesslike in Western cultures. For more on these, check here and here.

    The other reason was that I had been in a relationship with a woman from Eastern Europe (more precisely Serbia) since high school (she is now my wife) and that my colleagues hailed from Central Asia before moving to Australia.

    We were young, we were foolish and we were fearless in that stupid way only 20-something people can be. But this is not a story about the insane situations we found ourselves in regularly and the reasons why we stopped doing what we did.

    This is a story that is more in the line with the theme of the LadyUnemployed site, i.e. the unemployment. More precisely, this is a story about how different cultures we had been in contact with see unemployment and how people of those cultures approach not having employment.

    The Communism Heritage and Apathy

    There is one thing that most of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia have in common – communist past.

    In some places it was full-on communism, like in the better part of Central Asia which was once part of the Soviet Union and in others it was some sort of a “progressive but still quite nearsighted” socialism like in the countries which used to make up Yugoslavia.

    The reason I am mentioning this is that in the “good old days” the governments provided jobs. These jobs may not have been perfect and many people were unhappy, but they were jobs. They knew they will have jobs. Jobs which paid enough for a normal life.

    When the countries were awakened from their communist dreams, in many parts that certain security disappeared as well. In the Balkans, for instance, the replacement has been the most brutal, corrupt form of wild capitalism you can imagine. The jobs are still scarce and most countries yelp under the burden of unemployment.

    In such circumstances, a certain form of apathy can be observed. People with college education cannot hope to get employment in their fields without serious connections and they resort to two solutions – they go west or they try and find employment well below their qualifications.

    Younger generations are often trying to do something about it, improving their knowledge, expanding their skill set, but they are often disheartened by the lack of results. It does not take them long to become as apathetic as the older generations.

    In the end, they accept being officially unemployed, trying to make a living for themselves off the books and off the radar.

    How We Do It In Australia

    I haven’t lived anywhere but in Australia in what we like to call the developed world, so I can only compare this with the unemployment experience Down Under. Which I intend to do.

    For one, that feeling of apathy is virtually unknown in Australia, even among people who come from those parts of the world I have talked about. It has to do with the fact that the sense of meritocracy is much more pronounced and that corruption is not rampant here (at least not to the extent it is in Eastern Europe and Central Asia).

    People know that if they make an effort, they will actually increase their chances of finding employment.

    Moreover, the government itself does everything in its power to help people improve their chances through various government-funded opportunities and courses that are aimed at creating skilled employees. If you want, you can find out more.

    I am not saying that it is all milk and honey in Australia. I have seen plenty of people with incredible skills and more than respectable education fail to find work for a number of reasons. But the biggest difference is that there is always hope and something to strive for.

    Sometimes we need a bit of perspective here in the “west” and I only hope that I have provided at least an iota of insight to help find that perspective. Also, I hope my ramblings haven’t bored you to death.

    AUTHOR: James D. Burbank is a happily married Aussie who is currently on hiatus and blogging about what he’s learned about business on the ground. He is also a big Utah Jazz fan.

  2. Healthy Dose of Reality for College Grads

    May 19, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    For anyone struggling with finding a job after college, this photo is for you. It’s a healthy reality for college grads and one I struggle with (there should be another lane for “unable to find a well-paying, lucrative job”).

    healthy dose of reality for college grads

    Happy “pour-yourself-another-cup-of-coffee” Monday everyone.

  3. A Day in the Life of the Unemployed [An Anonymous Guest Post]

    April 14, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    Here is a new and interesting take on the life of someone unemployed. I know many of you will relate. The rest of this post was written by an anonymous submitter.

    6:46- Wake up even though the alarm clock is never on anymore-later than usual and regardless of the time you went to bed.

    6:48-Lay there and decide if it was all a bad dream; then realize that unfortunately it was not. Be brought to alert state by rising concerns.

    7:00- Get up slowly, throw on whatever (it doesn’t really matter, probably workout clothes), make the bed, talk to the dogs, reviewing the sleep patterns of the night-out loud to the dogs. Realize they cannot answer.

    7:15-Check the various devices, shocked NOT to see the usual 100 + emails and issues awaiting you. Just a few ads and emails from the few people that still think your opinion matters. Touch base with your adorable daughter. Miss her. Feel proud of all that she is despite your own myriad failures.

    8:00-Take the dogs out slowly and walk them longer than usual. The dogs like this. Notice people, leaves, bugs, workers, cracks in the sidewalk, and finger marks on doors that you never noticed before. The dogs like this too. Give them each a little kiss as they lick your ankles.

    8:30-(this can be switched with 9:00) Make and eat a yummy breakfast of eggs and tomatoes, and tea. Take your time. Wash up. Read your daily intentions as you have for at least 20 years, and wonder why none of them seem to be true just now.

    9:00- Exercise (jog) for at least a half hour. Actually have time to sweat, stretch, and think, while listening to music. This part is pretty cool. Wonder why you ever let this go. Would things have turned out differently if you had stayed in shape?

    9:30-Notice the freckles and moles on arms and legs. Good God, when did so many appear?

    10:00-Shower, or not yet. Maybe surf the web for a while. Watch the Today Show. Think how cool it would be to wake up in NYC. See if adorable daughter has responded, maybe send her another text. In the shower, take your time. Open your mouth and say AHHHH as the drops gurgle into your throat. Put whatever clothes on that you want. No makeup at all.

    11:00- Look for and apply to jobs. Take several hours for this. Feel alternate rage, fear, frustration, excitement, hope, and confusion. In between, surf the web, or check in with the TV. The TV has become your greatest ally. See your life as a TV drama, and pretend it will have a happy TV ending. Realize that TV distracts, informs, amuses, and generally assures you that you are still part of the human race. Schedule any Skype or phone call interviews. Do them as scheduled, not having to dress from the waist down for Skype. Find this amusing.

    3:00- Cook. Take your time. Make the best “from scratch” tomato sauce with chicken that you have ever seen. Feel like Julia Childs. Remember that she failed many times (but always had a rich husband; you don’t).

    4:00-Shop like you have money to spend. Feel guilty because you have no money to spend. Rediscover the library. All that stuff for free. God Bless them.

    4:30-Get into the blame game. Blame your x-employer, everyone around him, your x-spouse, the government, your parents, your extended family, and your “would-be” friends who must have betrayed you, and your age and your health. They will all be sorry one day. Hate everyone and everything, and wonder what you did to deserve this terrible fate. Feel fear. Blame yourself, which is the scariest blame of all. Realize that you love to play the victim, and how that is so lame. You really are a jerk, and deserve all of this. Knock it off. Realize that blame and guilt are USELESS. Never blame the dogs.
    5:00- Walk the dogs again. They like this. Sit in the sun with them. Forget what day it is. Actually forget what day it is. This seems impossible. Is it normal or are you losing your mind?

    5:30- Enjoy your sauce. Write pages in your journal about how you feel. Clean, do a wash, read, whatever you feel like doing. Get a little bit scared. Look at the bank account. Pay bills. Calculate for the 25th time how long your money will last. Recalculate. Realize that you are OK for 6 months. Don’t believe it. Recalculate.

    6:30-Back on computer and job searching. More TV; in fact TV is on more than not.

    6:40-Fold laundry; maybe even iron. Imagine that- you have not ever ironed when employed. Maybe this doesn’t completely suck. Start to pack for some interviews that are more than a week away. Yes, I said more than a week away.

    7:00-Think about going to the very most remote village in the world and teaching war torn children, or any other career that actually means something in this world. Realize that this is a big opportunity to become NEW. EMBRACE THAT!

    8:00-Check in with the adorable daughter or wonderful sibling who has been there just like me, and keeps my head on straight. Hear from the other good sibling whose husband has been there too.

    NOTE: Of course, there are occasional social engagements interspersed; however it is quickly realized that most of your social life had something to do with the people connected to work, and seeing any of them is impossible right now…. Your life seems to have vanished into thin air….

    9:00- Walk the dogs. They like this. Stop electronic devices. Eat yogurt which works as a sleeping pill. Drink a boatload of water. More TV, more reading, more fear. Despise commercials. Feel they are numbing your brain. They are. Find new appreciation and understanding of the phrase “couch potato”.

    11:00- Go to bed because sleep is a relief from all this, although you may have bad dreams. Feel the fear; it sets in at night. Be glad the dogs are there. You are not completely alone. Wish they could talk. Talk for them.

    Somewhere realize that things could change, things must change, and things will change….soon.

  4. 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.


    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.

  5. The Effect of Unemployment: Remembering Who We Are [An Anonymous Guest Post]

    October 28, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    I love when people take a leap of faith and write me about their thoughts of unemployment. If you would like to write a post for my blog, please send me an email at It can remain anonymous. The rest of this post is written by an anonymous submitter.


    Unemployment can affect individuals in a way that is much more profound than many people may realise. Of course, not having a job means not earning money, and consequently there are many practical and economic problems which are not to be under-estimated.

    However, it is the way it can affect you mentally that I feel needs to be highlighted. This is the hidden part of the unemployment=unhappiness equation that is not helped with a £71 government cheque. It is a insidious black cloud that can hang over people who are looking for work, and it often goes unnoticed. It affects each person differently but can be both subtle and debilitating.

    Personally, for someone whose self-image was linked strongly to my job and career, it was easy to start to lose sight of my identity. I thought ‘If I am not working as a designer, then am I still a designer? Or creative? What am I now?’ If you are in this position then you have to re-structure your way of looking at yourself and the world. You have to re-program the way you perceive not only yourself, but others, in a world where society puts people into boxes – ‘Professional’, ‘Blue Collar’, ‘Creative’. You have to remind yourself that you are an individual made up of an un-definable number of unique traits and characteristics, and are not just a label. You have so many talents and idiosyncrasies; you are not just defined by your job. However it can be hard to move the focus away from your career when you live in a world where the second question people tend to ask is ‘What do you do?’. We all know they don’t mean ‘what do you do for fun?’ but really ‘what do you do for WORK?’. This leads you to ask yourself –

    What DO I do?

    If I was a designer before but haven’t done it in a year, is that still what I am?

    Or can I be something different?

    Or, am I nothing because nobody seems to want to employ me?

    The answer to the last question is obviously no, you are not nothing, but I am demonstrating how easy it can be to think that way when you are confronted with that question for the 100th time. After many months of job hunting, it can get harder and harder to tough it out. It is quite easy at first, but each time the question ‘What do you do?’ is asked it becomes more meaningful, each time you doubt yourself a little more.

    Most people would find it easy to understand how someone who has been out of work can lose some self-esteem when it comes to their career. But I think that what a lot of people don’t realise is that it can also affect your self-esteem throughout the other areas of your life as well. The self-doubt goes beyond the workplace, and seeps into how you feel about yourself in general.

    If you can break through the darkness however, I think that there is some healthy self-exploration that can be made in this time. You can take advantage of the negatives and actually get a step ahead of everyone else. Being in this position can help you to break free from the boxes that people love to put you in. It stops you asking the same question of ‘what do you do?’ when you meet someone new, and pushes you to be more inventive with your small talk – maybe you will learn something about who the person really is and not just how they earn money. I don’t want to discount people who really do live for their jobs, these people are defined by what they do for a living, and want it this way. Though equally, the same argument can still be made – a musician might have a lot more too them than their music. They might have a passion for silent movies, love skiing, and volunteer with old people every week….

    When I talked to someone about the things I had been struggling with, he asked me what I thought my intrinsic qualities were. I was at a loss. All I could think of was the list of key skills on my CV, but this wasn’t what he meant. He meant the unique and special qualities that I have as a person, and which speak about who I really am, and make me, well….me. It scared me that I wasn’t really sure. I had become so caught up in trying to sell myself to employers, that I had lost sight of the truth of who I was. It made me realise how easy it is to forget the qualities that you don’t put on your resume – ‘Always writes something nice in birthday cards’, ‘Dances the robot really badly’, ‘Shows what she is thinking through the expressions on her face’. These are some of the silly little things that make me who I am. And just because I won’t be publicising them to potential employers, doesn’t mean I should forget them, or be any less proud of them, or think that they are any less part of me than having ‘a good attention to detail’. Hell, I’d rather be known for an hilariously bad robot than for meeting deadlines anyway….

    Employers – don’t employ people because you feel sorry for them, but do open your mind and give people a chance. If someone has the appropriate transferable skills but hasn’t worked in that industry before, think ‘do they have they passion?’ ‘Do they really want it?’, maybe they could actually bring something new to the table and provide fresh insights.

    Friends and family, your role here isn’t so much about helping with the job hunt, or paying the rent (although no doubt this help will be needed!). You are there to support the person – the real person that is inside of this situation. They may be lost, or just at a loss. They might have forgotten who they are, or what they are trying to achieve. You need to remind them of the things that make them unique, and I am not just referring to the traits that make them attractive to potential employers. I am talking about the reasons why you love them, why they are in your life, and why they couldn’t be replaced. Because sometimes it can be as simple as that to help us remember who we

  6. Unemployment – The Thing You Can’t Just Get Rid Of

    October 14, 2013 by Lady Unemployed

    My mom said, “Unemployment is the only thing you can’t just get rid of – if this was a man, I would have broken up him already.”

    And my mom is right! She’s been out of work six moths now and if this was a relationship, it would have been a rotten one.

    If you think of it, when you are unemployed, you are basically begging someone to like you, getting very little in return, having plans and hopes dashed and taken away, and constantly having to look and be your best without any promise of a good outcome.

    Unemployment makes for a bad relationship and it’s time that we all had “the talk” with unemployment.

  7. Ahhh! Help! I’m Still Single!!!

    July 17, 2012 by Lady Unemployed

    Why is it when you have one problem going on in your life, other problems arise and seem to shine just a bit brighter?


    The brightening problem of singlehood.

    Like I’ve said before, I’m single. And at the ripe age of 25, this means that I get to see a ton of Facebook status updates on marriages, engagements, weddings and new babies from the people I went to high school with. And lately, I find this slightly depressing.

    Over the past few years, I’ve dated and had sort-of-getting-off-the-ground relationships, but nothing that went anywhere.  Although I would love to be dating a great guy right now, so far that doesn’t seem to be in the stars.And since I am not employed right now, I don’t feel like it’s a very good selling point to say, “Hi, I’m Evelyn (my name isn’t really Evelyn, but for my blog’s anonymity sake, I’m Evelyn). Hi, I’m Evelyn, and I’m unemployed. This means you get to pay for dinner, movie, and anything else that we decide to go out and do together.”

    Although that is a general expectation even if I was working right now, I have been out with cheap guys and I like to know I have extra cash in case I come across this type.


    Back to the single thing.

    Don't Panic Badge

    My reminder.

    Right now when I wake up to the panic of seeing my left hand sans wedding ring, I keep telling myself that my priority right now is finding a job. Worry about the other stuff later. Find a job first. Man later. Job. Man. Job. Man.


    My actual left hand. Without a wedding ring.

    Or unless you are anything like my assh*le friend from last week, the man should come first. And then the job. But no, right now, for me, it’s the reverse. Job. Then a man (and not just any man either. I’m not the desperate type. Which may or may not be my problem. But let’s focus. Job first, people).

    Until one or the other gets fixed for me, I plan on staying away from Facebook.


  8. The Ups and Downs of Unemployment

    June 30, 2012 by Lady Unemployed

    Alright, so I know I’ve been a bad blogger. Rule # 1 for the Blogosphere is to not drop off the face of the planet without notice.

    And this week has been one hell of a roller coaster.

    Just yesterday I prepared in my head and extremely cynical posts about how much I hate being unemployed and how I’ll probably never work again.

    And on top of that, on my way home yesterday I realized that the unemployment department sent me yet another form to respond to and how I need to report my activities since being unemployed. Basically, they just wanted me to give over a quart of blood and promise my future first born child.

    So, yesterday, my mood was like this:


    This is me yesterday.


    And I woke up so stressed and freaking out. I wanted to just to pout, cry and throw a fit.  I also worried a lot too. I kept worrying that I would have to pay back my unemployment checks for some reason and maybe I’d be put in jail…

    Meanwhile my mom kept trying to convince me that I have nothing to worry about and that I had done nothing wrong.

    But still.

    I wondered.

    Prisoner 625385 Mugshot

    My worst fear – me behind bars. Except I hope I pose this well for my mug shot.

    And so with all of that going through my mind, I did the deed

    I called the unemployment department and expected to get this person on the phone, of course —


    Cave troll as corporate bully

    The person from the unemployment department (well, what I expected).

    And when I called, the issue wasn’t so bad after all.

    I was shocked! I was on the phone less than a half hour (much better than the last time).  And the overall experience was pleasant. I’m actually not in fear anymore.

    Now, about the job prospects.

    I have an interview on Monday! I’m really excited. The last job I talked about didn’t pan out, tragically (no, no interesting post for that one…sigh)  And I feel like the interview I have Monday will turn into…gasp…an actual job.

    So this week was a major roller coaster for me, as you can tell. My ups and downs. And now I feel like this –

    Happy 042

    Yay! Happy!

    And also, like this –

    mishima:alguna cosa em diu que sí

    I need a nap.

    Have a great weekend everyone! And next week I’ll be back posting on Tuesday and Thursday as usual! Also, let me know how things are going in your lives as well, I want to know!