Archive | May, 2010

Your Memorial Day To Do List

31 May

I love America, because it's so cute.


  1. Love America.
  2. Watch a crappy small town parade, featuring overweight volunteer firefighters and overexcited children riding on pick-up trucks.
  3. Binge on greasy barbecue chicken, potato salad, and cole slaw and hope you don’t have a coronary.
  4. Shop.
  5. Repeat on July 4th.


  1. Read an unemployment blog written by someone who lolls about in pajamas til noon.

So go on out there and commemorate those soldiers who died in service.  Happy Memorial Day!


Let’s all move to Wyoming!

29 May

Hey everybody! Look at this fancy pants graph that The Economic Policy Institute just released.

Having spent the last 18 weeks (and counting) in Florida, complaining about my unemployment and eating an offensive amount of packaged breakfast danishes, it seems like an accurate, if dismal, report.

Traveling Away

28 May

Good morning, ladies and gents!

I am headed to South America and therefore won’t be posting for the next few weeks. Good thing Sarah has a number of guest authors lined up to keep this blog acookin’! But I should mention that travel seems to be the prescription advice for many graduation speakers this year. Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, speaking at Middlebury’s commencement, told students to travel to experience the world. Christiane Amanpour said the same, encouraging students to take a year off:

Beyond the armies and treasure of the United States deployed to these places, they need armies of people like you who are graduating today, civilians wielding … high ideals, smart ideas, smartly deployed to really make development work

But the common complaint from graduates I am hearing this is: I don’t have money to just travel the world. And I’m surprised that speakers don’t address this. They wax idealistic about the benefits of travel but really, how do you make traveling work for you? It doesn’t take a ton of money to travel, but it does take some thought and often a small pot of money to get started. Professional world traveler Nora Dunn combines being cheap and working for accommodation to get by on $14,000 per year. Chris Guillebeau is a frequent flyer master (or arbitrager) and has lots of practical ways to make it work too.

To be clear, travel post-grad is not the same as study abroad and frankly shouldn’t be the same.

Peace out until mid-June,


The What-If Gremlin

27 May

The What-If Gremlin

There is a monster that jobseekers fear

A terrible thing that impedes your career.

The What-If Gremlin, that is his name,

Makes screwing you over his favorite game.

The What-If Gremlin lurks in your mind,

Feeding off your doubts, so he’s surely well-dined.

If you have any major decisions to make

The Gremlin makes you think they’re all a mistake.

He whispers…

What If you hate this job?”

What If you get that second interview?”

What If you move in a couple a months?”

What If this won’t look good on your resume?”

What If you won’t make friends there?”

What If the pay isn’t good enough?”

These whispers get louder, and start to make sense.

Soon you’ll find that the doubts grow intense,

So you turn down the position,

Falling into the What-If Gremlin’s submission.

And so you’ve been reduced to a sniveling blob

Loathing your inability to land a good job.

You think you’re pathetic, that your resume’s shit,

When really, The What-If Gremlin is just a mean git.

It thrives on your worries; no srsly, it’s true.

Jobhunt confusion gives him power anew.

It’s like spinach to Popeye, iron fortified,

and he exposes your qualms, eight times amplified.

BUT WAIT! The What-If Gremlin can be beat!

It takes courage and resolve, and it’s quite the feat,

But finding that job is worth anything, right?

So buck up your bootstraps,  and hold on tight.

The What-If Gremlin loves the future, you see.

He spews about things that could happen, but aren’t current reality.

It’s true, you could get that interview, and you could in fact move,

But that’s not happening now, so you’ve gotta just go with the groove.

Live in the moment. What’s happening now?

Questions of “what if” you just can’t allow

Remember your present options, for they’re all you have.

Remember this and you’ll be hired to join some cool office staff.

But say you forget it, and the What If Gremlin holds on,

continuing to whisper doubts into your ear with such brawn.

Here’s this secret weapon that’ll definitely work

Called the Shake It Off Dance, it’ll get rid of that jerk.

Shake it to the left, shake it right

Shake it, shake it, shake it, you’ll be quite the sight.

Shake off those fears and that stupid Gremlin too.

Shake it so hard you feel like you’ve got to go poo.

The What If Gremlin will be flung from your head,

Never to return, and will crawl away half-dead.

You’ve defeated him, and you’ve gained control of your life.

Never again to suffer from his strife.


When searching for jobs, go by what exists

And not by what may be

Never ask, “But what if that or what if this?”

A job will be a guarantee. (Maybe)

Breaking: Vlog Part 2 on Being a Grown-up

26 May

Breaking: Video Blog Post on “What’re You Doing Now?”

25 May

2010 Grads, Listen Up

20 May

Today’s On Point radio sesh with Tom Ashbrook was all about “2010 grads on the job chase.” Enlightening stuff, if you have an hour to listen. But actually, if you’ve been following the conversation on recent grad employment, nothing in that radio show will be news to you. Two grads are looking for work, one in HR and one in PR/journalism but really was just confused. They had an “expert” on employment talk about networking and Tom remarked at how only one in four 2010 grads will have a job on graduation day. I encourage you to look in the comments for some very specific shout-outs to the liberal arts. Some highlights from the comments:

“I’m surprised at the high number of liberal arts majors we still see graduating from college.” It really is surprising. Especially considering the sticker price of those degrees. You know, perhaps America should take a page from the European system. For instance, no college and separate law school for 7 years total. Just one integrated program for 4-5 years and you are done with a professional degree. And something needs to be done about the cost.

From a well-employed software engineer, I think that liberal arts is where it is at. Most anyone who is a recent graduate does not know enough to really be productive in a job – they are going to have to learn the job on the job. They need to have the breadth of experience and desire to learn that comes from reading and thinking about math, science, literature, politics, etc.

Liberal Arts: is an “education” not a “degree” and teaches one to think/analyze/adapt; not everyone is cut out for this path, but it is a fabulous foundation for any career. It is also over-priced for most so consider good ol’ state U for a better deal. Work the faculty and alumni relationships hard and it will provide you a handsome ROI!