Tag Archives: laid-off

Miss Pink Slip’s Out-of-Work Oscars, Part Deux

Yesterday I counted down the first five of 10 movies I think best exemplify the life (for better or worse) of the unemployed. Some of them are inspirational; some are cautionary tales of the highest degree. Here we go with 6-10:

6. American Beauty– Oh, Kevin Spacey and his bitter, sardonic pervy Lester Burnham! As a depressed father living in “perfect” suburbia, Lester is going through a serious mid-life crisis. He is spectacularly fired, then decides to remake his life when he becomes obsessed with his daughter’s nymphet friend played by Mena Suvari. Chaos ensues. For the unemployed, though, all that matters are Lester’s classic responses to his state of loserness: the firing, the drive-thru window debacle (“you are soooo busted”), the confrontation of his wife sleeping with the Real Estate King. But perhaps the best thing for us to recall and repeat to ourselves is what Lester tells tight-ass Carolyn as she’s bitching him out for the 100th time: “I rule!” Yes, Lester, you do rule.

Moral of the story: Well, there shouldn’t really be a moral for this one, but what the hell. Don’t let the “man” push you around!


7. Pretty in Pink – Okay. You’re probably wondering how this made the list. Well, Harry Dean Stanton’s portrayal of Jack Walsh (father of Andie) exemplifies the perpetually out-of-work. There’s really no lesson to be learned here. I just wanted to honor the fact that while the guy couldn’t keep a job to save his soul, he really could pick out a good pink prom dress (which his daughter goes on to make into the most butt-ugly prom dress of all time). I guess everyone’s got talent. No chaos here, unless you count Blane dissing Andie for the prom.

Moral of the story: Be good at something.


8. Fun with Dick and Jane – I have to admit that I’ve never seen this movie, but I know it absolutely represents our current environment. I also know chaos ensues, but I’ll quote from IMDB for a recap: “The day before Globodyne’s stock tanks, a la Enron, and its pension fund evaporates, the corporation’s CEO and CFO set up middle manager Dick Harper to be the public face of the disaster. Jobless, and with no savings, pension, or home equity, Dick and his wife Jane sink slowly into poverty. He looks for work (as do all former Globodyne executives); he even tries day labor with the relatives of their Mexican nanny. A foreclosure notice sends Dick and Jane over the edge into a life of blue-collar crime. Then, as things finally look up, the report of a looming indictment pushes Dick and Jane toward a denouement with the real criminals, the white-collar guys.” (Thanks, J. Hailey via IMDB!) 

Moral of the story: No matter what, criminal activity is not the answer.


9. Kramer vs. Kramer – Dustin Hoffman makes the list twice with this tear-jerker about a workaholic ad man who gets laid-off, then goes home to find out his wife’s leaving him…and their young son, Billy. Chaos ensues (including a great scene with French toast), leaving Ted Kramer to embrace his role as a single father and ultimately realize that family is first in his life. He also has a nasty court battle with wife Joanna (Meryl Streep) that will exhaust you.

Moral of the story: Bad events can often make you realize what’s most important in life.


10. Office Space – This is definitely a case of saving the best for last. “Office Space” is one of my favorite movies of all time, and it fully cemented Ron Livingston’s position in my top five guy list. Plus, I believe it’s one of the only great movies Jennifer Aniston has done. Peter Gibbons is the hero of everyone stuck in a shit job. Unlike most of us, he’s desperately trying to get fired and does everything in his power to do so. What happens? He gets promoted! Genius! Chaos ensues and Peter and his friends move on to a life of white-collar crime. I could go on and on and on, but why? We all know the movie by heart anyway.

Moral of the story: Never steal someone’s red Swingline stapler.

One more moral: If you get laid-off, beating the hell out of a fax machine to the tune of “Still” by Geto Boyz will make you feel like a million bucks.


Did I forget any? I’m sure I have. Let me know your favorites!

Three Tips for Going “Back to School” the Miss Pink Slip Way

As I drove to work yesterday morning, yellow school buwelcome_back_to_school_chalkboardses were again lurching down Atlanta’s roadways, reminding me that kids are heading back to school and the hallowed halls of learning.

When I got laid off, I thought for an entire 10 seconds that maybe I’d go back to school…maybe try for an MBA or go full-force for an MFA. Alas, it was just a fleeting idea. I returned to reality quickly when I realized that would mean student loan debt on top of the credit card bills I was already paying down. 

Still, I feel like I’m always in need of continuing education. I’ve been wanting to learn more about art, photography and writing – all subjects that can be covered outside those ivy-covered walls. So I’ve decided to go back to school the Miss Pink Slip way. How? It’s pretty simple:

  • Books – I have spent $$$ on books over the years and have dozens of volumes on art, writing, history, etc. Many of them have barely been cracked. It’s time for me to put them to use…by actually reading them! If you don’t own books on topics you want to study, by all means get yourself to the library and find anything you want for free
  • Online courses– Almost anything you want to study is available online in some format. Whether it’s an e-learning feature on your local college’s Web site, Wikipedia or YouTube, just surf the ‘net. You can find information on anything from the history of the Peloponnesian War to the rules of rugby to how to dice an onion. Some Web sites I’m checking out for courses include learnthat.com (free), Mediabistro(paid) and Better Photo (paid).  Look up “online classes”, your desired topic and go
  • Community classes – Pour over your city’s free weekly (such as Atlanta’s Creative Loafing) to discover free or minimal cost events and courses. Attend Toastmasters or a local business mixer. Check out museums, churches and universities. Most colleges offer continuing studies programs each semester. For a fee, you can immerse yourself in the worlds of art, business, film, history, tennis and anything else you can imagine

Whether you have money to dedicate or not a dime to your name, you can continue learning and bettering yourself. And if you’re searching for a job, any of these activities can only help expand your perspective, enrich your network and open up new avenues for your life.

I’m excited about going “back to school”–how about you? Got any other helpful sites you’d like to share?

Introducing the Miss Pink Slip Mix Tape!

Oh, I love a mix tape. Don’t you? I think I still have one frommixtapemy high school boyfriend filled with Material Issue, The Smithereens and The Cult. Ahhhh….

The first rule about a mix tape is that there’s always an occasion for a mix tape. It’s a personal soundtrack featuring your own theme songs. When I got laid off, all I could think of were tunes that reflected my existence. When I was shocked, then pissed, there was 80’s alternative angst. When melancholy, there was Fergie. And on the climb up, some certifiable cheese worthy of any chick flick. I sang every song at the top of my lungs, sometimes in my car on the way back from a networking event or in my apartment after a bottle of “I feel sorry for myself” vino.

Now that warm, festive weather is upon us, I want to debut my Miss Pink Slip Mix Tape. I hope you enjoy it and download a few of these tunes for your own enjoyment! You’ll go through the requisite roller coaster of emotions and, hopefully, end up in a happy place. After all, isn’t that the end goal of all mix tapes?

1.       State of Shock                                                         The Jacksons

2.       Kiss Off                                                                   Violent Femmes

3.   Somebody’s Crying                                                  Chris Isaak

4.       Big Cry                                                                     Sara Evans

5.       I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues              Elton John

6.       You’ve Got a Friend                                                 Carole King

7.   Big Girls Don’t Cry                                                   Fergie

8.   You Can’t Always Get What You Want                    The Rolling Stones

9.       Birth, School. Work, Death                                      The Godfathers

10.    Under Pressure                                                        David Bowie (w/ Queen)

11.    Tomorrow                                                                Aileen Quinn (“Annie”)

12.   Respect                                                                    Aretha Franklin

13.   Hit Me With Your Best Shot                                     Pat Benetar

14.   Livin’ on a Prayer                                                     Bon Jovi

15.   Holding Out for a Hero                                            Bonnie Tyler

16. New Attitude                                                            Patti LaBelle  

17.  I’m Every Woman                                                     Chaka Kahn

18.  She Works Hard for the Money                               Donna Summer

19.   9 to 5                                                                        Dolly Parton

20.   I Will Survive                                                            Gloria Gaynor

21. You Really Got Me                                                    Van Halen

22.   Don’t Stop Believin’                                                  Journey

23.   I Have Confidence                                                    Julie Andrews (Maria, “The Sound of Music”)

24. 25 Miles                                                                    Edwin Starr

25.   Happy Girl                                                                Martina McBride

26.   Good Vibrations                                                       Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch

27.   Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough                                Michael Jackson

28.   Superman                                                                 R.E.M.

29.   Time for Me To Fly                                                   REO Speedwagon

30.   It’s A Great Day to Be Alive                                     Travis Tritt
31. We Are The Champions                                      Queen

Have I forgotten one of your favorites?

Dear MPS: Should I Bite The Hand That Fed Me a Pink Slip?

A reader needs YOUR help! Please weigh in on her dilemma.

Dear Miss Pink Slip,

Now they want me back???

It’s been about three months since I was laid off. From hearing the words “we’re cutting back, and we won’t be able to afford your salary” to the roller coaster of emotions that followed, it’s been one of the most difficult experiences of my life. First, I wondered, “why me? Do they value me less than my colleagues?” Then, I began scanning the job sites religiously, looking for something…anything was better than scrapping by on a measly unemployment check that doesn’t even cover the mortgage. After three months of relentless job searching and networking, I’ve scored a couple interviews, but still no full-time gig. I’ve felt sad, depressed, anxious, nervous, helpless and finally, after a few months of going through all the emotions, I’ve come to a place where I’m actually…should I really say it…happy!

I’ve learned to enjoy the small things again, like cooking, organizing my closet, watching “Oprah”, working out, spending time with my family, actually getting a good night sleep — all the things I was constantly trying to fit into my schedule to no avail when I had a full-time job. I’ve also had time to do some soul searching and realized I was really unhappy. My former boss was, well…in three words, “Devil Wears Prada”. I worked crazy hours and I felt unappreciated. I was burned out, to say the least.

I’ve finally come to a place where I’m thankful I was laid off. I’ve been doing freelance work and even considering starting my own business. Then, today, I get a phone call from my former boss: 

“How are you? We miss you around here! It’s not the same without you.” Blah, blah, blah. This is what your previous employer is supposed to say, right? And of course it feels good to be missed since you wonder if they even thought twice about laying you off. Then she dropped the bomb: “We’d love for you to come back and help us. Can you work on a part-time basis?”

Now I’m stuck between continuing to collect my unemployment check while searching for a job I actually like, doing some freelance work and seeing if I can develop that into a business, or returning to a job I hate because, to put it bluntly, I need the $$. I mean, it’s part-time, so I could continue to do some freelance work, right? But, after three months, I’m actually happy. Do I put up with the emotional turmoil and drama that comes along with the job for the paycheck? Then, of course, there’s the question: does part-time really mean part-time or will it turn into full-time with part-time pay? If that happened, I’d have to put my foot down and possibly quit, which would mean I’m not eligible for unemployment benefits. It’s like the boyfriend you know you shouldn’t go back to, but the sex is so good.

I’m torn. Any advice would be much appreciated.

MPS Newsstand: Atlanta Magazine June 2009

The 06June09Good

  • The cover – It’s all about jobs, baby!
  • From the Editor – a kind reminder that this rough economic time, too, shall pass
  • Story on Andy from “The Office”, pp. 19-20. Did you know he’s from Atlanta? The actor, not Andy. That guy makes me laugh my ass off.
  • The Jobs section – pp. 55 -65. Everything from how to find a job to networking to top growing area industries to higher ed, psychology and unemployment 101. It addresses how to keep the job you have, too.
  • Entrepreneurs “Come in We’re Open”, pp. 70 – 85

The Bad

  • Review of Restaurant Eugene. The restaurant is apparently incredible. But couldn’t you review it in an issue that’s not all about jobs and people having no money? It’s not like we can afford to go. 🙂 But we want to!
  • Same with the cocktail story on pp. 46-47. I’m out to find a deal on Bud Light, not what ridiculously expensive drink I can get at the W.
  • Gorgeous home features. I’m jealous.

The Ugly

  • News that Atlanta is the 10th most “unhappy” major U.S. city (even BEFORE the recession). Isn’t that like kicking us while we’re down?

The Verdict: Four Pink Slips. Great stories and useful, applicable information on jobs and the recession. Well worth the purchase.

Recessed, Depressed and Need a Big Cry? Enlist a Friend and Let It Flow

I think it’s safe to say if you’ve lost your job or are close to someone who’s been laid off, you’ve experienced some tears. And you’ve probably tried to fight them back. Well, Psychology Today tells us if we borrow a buddy’s shoulder and and unleash the flood gates, we might feel better!

According to Psychology Today‘s June issue (on stands now), 88.8 percent of people feel better after crying. Also, Sophie Kerszberg writes, “weep on a friend’s shoulder and you might share a smile afterward. Sob alone and you may be left with your problem and a tear-soaked pillow for your troubles.”

Good advice. Now grab a Kleenex and get on with it.

**This is a good issue. I’ll be reviewing it later for MPS Newsstand.

Guest Blogger: Simone Grant – Just the Kick I Needed

I was laid off a few weeks ago from a job I really didn’t want or like.  I know that in this economic climate we’re all supposed to be happy for whatever work we have.  And I was.  So happy for it that I let that happiness blind me to the truth.  Which was, that I was wasting my time there.

You see, I left my “real” job 18 months ago so that I could take on less challenging work and achieve a better work/life balance.  The hope was that I’d ultimately find a way to transition into becoming a writer.  That was the plan.  And it was a good plan.  Until I realized I’d still need to pay the bills.

So I found myself a silly little day job to pay the bills and coasted along happily, not challenging myself much. Not rocking the boat any more than I already had.  Just happy the bills were being paid and that I had a little spare time each week to write.

Clearly the universe had other plans. 

I was a wreck for about 48 hrs after I got the news.  I pretended I was fine with it, but I wasn’t.  But then I quickly got moving and started writing like a demon, sending out pitches and applying to every blogger type job I could find.. 

And now I’m freelancing.  Writing and being paid to write.  And I have a couple of really interesting creative projects that I’m working on.  Am I making as much money as I was before?  No, not even close.  But maybe I will be in a few months.   Besides, I have things that are far more valuable now.  Freedom and time and the ability to work in my pajamas and pursue my passions.  None of which would have been possible if I hadn’t gotten laid off..  Seems like a fair trade to me.

by Simone Grant
Sex, Lies and Dating in the City

BREAKING NEWS: Breathing is the Answer to Unemployment Stress

Early this morning, I was sitting in a production room doing my best not to mess up. This was the first time I was undertaking a key task in my new job and was under the watchful eye of my boss (who’s awesome, BTW). However, my back immediately began to stiffen, I got more jittery (the third Diet Coke didn’t help) and my panic button was blinking, just waiting to be pushed. It was the same feeling I got almost every other day of unemployment. Then, I remembered something very simple. I hadn’t breathed! Not though my mouth, nose, ears, nothing!

I closed my eyes and drew a deep breath through my nose, letting the immediate calm wash over. I blew out through my mouth, careful to exhale every trace of breath in my body. I took another, then another. Slowly, surely. It was like being miserably hot and sweaty and jumping into a refreshingly cool swimming pool. Bliss…well, maybe a decent amount of calm ensued.

Sometimes we forget that the most obvious solutions to our problems are right in front of us and neither cost anything nor require anyone’s help. I had to remind myself of this each day after I found out I was getting laid off. Each time I sat in a chair waiting for an informational interview or anticipating the arrival of a random friend-of-a-friend with whom I was connecting for coffee (which I don’t even drink!).  I’m surprised I didn’t put Post-Its all over my apartment with “Breathe” screaming out from the neon yellow paper.

So next time you’re freaking out about your next job interview, your unemployment check that hasn’t arrived, work leads or paying the rent, please just breathe. Smile while you’re doing it. I promise it helps! You’ll be glad you did.

**Disclaimer: In the same vein as “no animals were harmed during the making of this film”, I’d like to say that I was not under the influence of Faith Hill’s “Breathe” or Anna Nalick’s “Just Breathe” during the writing of this blog post. Nor was I listening to the British super pop trio Breathe. Just wanted to make that clear.

This Just In: National Unemployment at 8.9%; Men Losing More Jobs Than Women


The government just announced that the national unemployment rate has taken a leap from 8.5 percent to 8.9 percent and that 539,000 jobs were lost last month. It also reported that more men than women are losing their jobs due to hard-hit, male-dominated industries such as construction and finance.

Honestly, I know more women than men that are laid off. I guess that’s obviously my little microcosm. Regardless, the stink continues and we must persevere in keeping ourselves up, confident and steadfast. Pink Slippers, stand tall. Something’s coming soon! I just know it!

Melissa Rivers: How NOT to Take the News You’ve Been Let Go

celeb-app-ep6-riversTake a lesson from the “class” act of Joan and Melissa Rivers.
Even if it’s on TV, even if it’s bloviator Donald Trump and “The Celebrity Apprentice”, even if  you were raised in a barn (read: Hollywood), this is not how you exit a job from which you’ve just been laid off or fired.