Tag Archives: out of work

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!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqJ8zxV7Cjw

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnBjDZ5WRME 

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubWVznIj_xg&feature=related

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmyfOquda-M

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.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gujp3PxkkNg&feature=related

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

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Cheap Fast-Food Eats for 2010

I can’t lie–I love an Egg McMuffin. It’s my favorite fast-food breakfast next to the Chick-fil-A chicken biscuit. However, the chicken biscuit adds more pounds to my ass than an Egg McMuffin, so…

In today’s story by Bruce Horovitz for USA Today, Bruce announces that McDonald’s, Burger King and Taco Bell are unveiling huge values for the New Year. This should be welcome news to all of us who are watching our wallets but still need to get out of the house for a quick treat.

When we were out of work, my UPiC (Unemployed Partner in Crime) Shelley and I used to walk to McDonald’s for a double cheeseburger meal. Sadly, it made our day.

McDonald’s is adding a dollar breakfast menu (yes, beloved McMuffin is on there!), Taco Bell unveils an 89-cent Beefy 5-Layer Burrito and Burger King adds a $1 chicken sandwich. These are just a few of the items coming to your local drive-thru in 2010.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2009-12-10-cheapeats10_ST_N.htm

5 Easy Things You Can Do For Your Unemployed BFF

When I was in the thick of unemployment, I couldn’t afford to go out to eat or have beers with my friends. I was also stressed most of the time and pre-occupied with where my next buck was coming from. I kept hearing people ask, “I know she can’t afford to go out, but we miss seeing her” or “She won’t even let us buy her a glass of wine”. In addition to all that, I often didn’t shower or change out of my pajamas.

When at the mercy of the unemployment office, the jobless can get sensitive about taking money from others, no matter how well-intended. It’s called pride. Pride can also cause them to slowly feel disengaged from their circle of friends. So what can you, a gainfully employed person, do to show that out-of-work pal that she’s not out of luck or out of love?

  1. Invite him/her over for dinner – An invitation for a home-cooked meal is a low-key way to make your friend get dressed and leave the house without spending money. Also, my UPiC (Unemployed Partner-In-Crime) and I used to make dinner for each other. We got to eat well by sharing the expense, and we had something fun to socialize over
  2. Drop by with an inexpensive bottle of wine – They may not let you buy drinks while out at the local watering hole, but home is a different matter. And go cheap so they don’t feel like they owe you
  3. Grab her for a walk or jog – A good gab session coupled with exercise is a great way to socialize, boost endorphins, get out of the house and loosen stress 
  4. Give the gift of flowers – I’m not talking bouquetboflbs from 1-800 Flowers. I’m talking deli/grocery store blossoms. And before you think you’re too good for them, I once saw George Stephanopoulus darting across 14th Street in NYC carrying deli daisies (presumably for his fabulous wife Alexandra Wentworth). Brightly colored bouquets can help cheer up any job hunter or the job hunter’s cave (read: home)
  5. Just listen – No advice. No contacts. No “what I would do if I were you…” (even though I assume you will have gone through that exercise already). Just bend your ear for a while, offer a calming smile instead of tips and end your visit with a big hug or word of encouragement

How do I know these things work? Because my friends are awesome, and they helped make unemployment bearable for me!

Josh and Reva Join the Unemployment Line

josh-and-revaI never watched it (more of a “Y&R” fan myself), but “Guiding Light” is ending today after 72 years on the air! Unfortunately, that means legends like Robert Newman (“Josh”) and Kim Zimmer (“Reva”) will be joining millions of unemployed Americans in the hunt for new work.

Wonder which daytime serial is next. Will Peter Reckell (“Bo”), Kristian Alfonso (“Hope”) and the cast of “Days of Our Lives” be next?

http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20304400,00.html

MPS Responds to WSJ Story: “Silencing the Voice That Says You’re a Fraud”

I totally saw myself in Melinda Beck’s article titled “Silencing the Voice That Says You’re a Fraud” on Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal‘s Health section.

Melinda’s piece discusses your harsh inner critic and how said critic can – ironically – lead many to be successful. But is also a symptom of depression, fear and anxiety. I attest this can be true.

I’m an eating disorder survivor and that inner critic kept me at it for years. At the same time, I was an honor student, class president, head cheerleader — all the annoying things you think of when you think of success (…and Tracy Flick. I know.).  It continued into my college years and even into my career.

It’s at the career point where this critic can really sabatoge you. Funny enough, some psychologists say they have patients who think their inner critic is the secret to their success.

If you’re out of work, you might be intimate friends with this bitchy inner critic. You might feel like you’ll never work again. Or that you don’t have the goods to compete out there. Believe me, I’ve done it!

When I was revamping my resume, I felt, like the piece says, a total fraud. Even though I knew I’d achieved all of what my resume said I did, having to position it in the most successful way possible made me feel like I had no business including the information at all. Like someone was going to call me out and I’d have no answers for the questions and be left there looking like an idiot. Of course, it wasn’t true. I was being ridiculous.

If you’re feeling this way and it’s hindering your job search progress or success in general, please check out Melinda’s article. She also includes a handy “How self-critical are you?” quiz. And we love quizzes!

The article does note that there are healthy and unhealthy versions of this “fraud” mentality. See my related post on “faking it ’til you make it“. I think this approach is merely pumping yourself up in a positive way:  http://tinyurl.com/n5paoj

What do you think?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124511712673817527.html

Look to the Stars if You’re in Need of Reinvention

I’m going to comment on my own post from yesterday about television upfronts, cancellations and actors getting the pink slip.

Just want to say that although we may experience twinges of schadenfreude when it comes to the “out of work actor”, these folks in entertainment are genius at reinvention and will always come up with solutions for survival.  We should look to them for inspiration.

TV pilot doesn’t get picked up? Movie roles not coming in? Well, write a book! Make an exercise video! Host a reality show! Create a handbag/jewelry/clothing/lingerie line. It all brings in the $$$. Granted, these are celebrity solutions, but your own “exercise video” is out there.

So, if you’re looking for a little reinvention, embrace these three tips I’ve learned from the stars. They could be very helpful to you in times of recession and unemployment:

  1. Act the part. No matter how bad the situation is, keep your chin up, smile and act confident. Nothing’s going to lick you! And as Scarlett O’Hara famously said, “Tomorrow is another day”
  2. Create a dream team. Just like celebs have publicists, agents, managers, stylists, life coaches, etc., you should take their lead and put together your own support team. Call on friends who are great at networking, self-promotion, organization, brainstorming and image. Most importantly, enlist spiritual friends and others you can lean on psychologically and emotionally
  3. Get creative. Leverage your other talents and interests. Believe me, you have them, and God gave them to you to use! Maybe this is the time to uncover your photography interests, your desire to give back through non-profits, your dormant creative writing ability, whatever. Try something new! You might find you’re good at it; and, it could help bring in the dough

Get Thee a UPiC: A Salute to My Unemployed Partner-in-Crime

I’ve only mentioned my UPiC once on the blog, but I have to give her a proper shout-out. Don’t know if I would have survived the last two months of joblessness without her.

Some days, we’re the only people each of us sees. We drink cheap red wine and Coors Light at home together while watching “The Office” reruns on TBS, we take lunch breaks to the cheap Mexican joint when we have a little extra cash and we brainstorm all sorts of  ridiculous ideas for earning money. We keep tabs on each other throughout the day via email and cell in order to squash any insecure or nervy feelings you get from having no job and no money.

All this may sound a little needy, but it’s needy in the best possible way. You’d be shocked how much you need to vent when you’re out of work.

If you don’t have a UPiC, I suggest you find one. Now. Go on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn; attend a MeetUp group for job seekers, randomly poll people at Starbucks, whatever. I met a couple of fellow unemployed girls for coffee on Wednesday morning, and it was so therapeutic. Whaddya know? I’m not crazy after all!

Thanks, UPiC. You’re the best!