That Horrible Day In September – A Lesson In Solidarity

Everywhere I look I seem to be reminded of Sept 11th; World Trade Center Tower 1 will soon be the tallest building in Manhattan again; its one year after the tracking down and killing of Osama bin Laden; their are threats of some kind of anniversary attack – al Qaeda likes anniversaries.  Also, newspaper headlines seem to change day to day about al Qaeda being decimated and unable to attack us; to al Qaeda still a threat.  Plus I am going on an International flight tomorrow, and they are still interested in aircrafts.  I think 9/11 affected the entire country but I think different people were affected differently. The closer you were to the actual Twin Towers the more affected you were.  I am not talking about the people who died or had loved ones that died I am talking about the rest of us who are left behind to deal with something we never even considered – terrorism in the US.

Back in 2001 we were living in Battery Park City; for those that don’t know Manhattan well BPC is a thriving neighborhood in Manhattan, it happens to be on a landfill.  The landfill that BPC sits on was actually created by the dirt that was left over from digging deep enough to create the foundation on the Twin Towers.  I remember that Tuesday morning like it was yesterday, it was one of those days that was the perfect day, sunny, nice temp, no humidity, perfect.  I was at work when I heard about the first plane hitting one of the towers; I quickly tried to find out what was going on online but there was nothing.  I was in midtown but my partner was at home that morning, our apartment was about 3 blocks from the towers.  My partner heard the first plane go into the building – at the time he had no idea what the noise was.  At work we all gathered around one of the TVs and watched live as the second plane hit the second tower.  The mayor then told everyone to leave Manhattan; I had no where to go because they weren’t letting anyone come downtown.  Then one tower fell, then the other.  It was completely shocking that this happened, in our city, in our country and blocks from our apartment.  My partner was evacuated by boat to NJ where they had tents and beds set up.  At the time I was working for a global media company, HR kept sending out emails saying every office in the world was closing, except ours in midtown – because some of us had no place to go. A good friend of mine kept calling and telling me to come over.  I finally did.  The next few days I think we were all just mesmerized.  How could this happen?  How could I live in the greatest city in the world and be told you can’t go back to your apartment because the entire area is a crime scene.  We couldn’t go back home for 2 solid weeks.  Mind you, I left for work just wearing a suit, I had to buy new clothes every day.  Once we were able to go back we had to show ID to get in the ‘protected zone’, one of the US Navy War ships was in the waters in lower Manhattan; there were US Military all over the place.  I wish we all had camera phone back then to see what a scene it was.  Slowly life got back to normal but we both were, I think everyone was, a little jumpy, ok  extremely jumpy.

What all of this leaves me thinking about is the solidarity there was in Washington and the entire country then.  I’d like to see that solidarity come back and do whats right for our country.  One of Osama’s main goals was to economically bankrupt the US.  Its time to stop the squabbling and back and forth BS and start solving the problems we have.

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I Make My Own Rules And It’s Always Worked For Me

Its an interesting thought, what do you do with your blog and twitter accounts when you are out of the country?  At work all voicemails and emails would state I  was away and who to contact in my absence, but what do you do on here.  I am thinking its like everything else, you make your own rules; I like making my own rules and that is exactly what I have done since I started tweeting and blogging.  I heard lots of warnings, don’t say anything political, don’t give too much information out hiring managers might use that against you.  I have read that your tweets should be at least 30 minutes apart; that you should have 2 to 4 every hour; and all sorts of other things.  Again, I made up my own rules and I tweet when I see information that I think my followers might find useful.  I mean don’t get me wrong I don’t over tweet, I hate seeing people do that so I don’t make other people subject to seeing a stream of tweets from me.

Come to think of it, making my own rules is a theme thats run through my life; I have always done it, always followed my instincts.  I can’t remember regretting any decisions I have made.  And just to be clear making up my own rules does not include making up my own laws, I meant more in an interpersonal way.  So, anyway the reason I won’t be around next tuesday thru sunday is because I am going to Manchester England.  I am really looking forward to being in new surroundings, getting out of this brownstone, being totally disconnected from everything online. No thinking about sending out resumes, no visiting that lame LinkedIn site.  I will miss tweeting, I have really gotten to like it.  There is a great community in the twitter-verse of nice people, helpful people and kind people.  I am sure not everyone is like that, but the people I have encountered all have been.

Also, I am an eternal optimist; I feel doing things my way, making my own rules will bring me to the place I need to be; the success and doing something that inspires me!  Anyway, Happy Friday, don’t forget to visit Hire Friday if you are looking for a job or a recruiter.   #HireFriday

Applying For Jobs Online – A Lose/Lose Proposition

Since being unemployed one of the resources I use is applying for jobs online.  There are many job boards out there, some want you to pay, some are easier or harder to use than others.  One of the better ones in indeed.com; its an aggregate site that pulls job openings from all over the web.  After doing searches you can decide which jobs to apply for.  Now I have been looking for work for two years and I have seen the same companies with the same open position for 2 solid years; how thats possible is a mystery to me.  Once you find a job to apply for the real torture begins.  Back in the day you would apply for a job by submitting your resume and a cover letter online.  Now each and every company insists that you register with their website before applying for the job.  This registration process literally takes over a half hour; for each job you apply to.  The questions that are asked are endless, and its extremely frustrating.  There are a few different companies that have the registration platform that hiring companies use; these are even more frustrating because they don’t recognize that you have already registered so they have you re-register (another 30 mins lost) then when you get to the end of this re registration process an error message comes up and says that email is already registered.  Then you can go back to the beginning of the process and request that your password be sent to you.  I tend to use the same password for these recruiting sites; however some have certain requirements, like you must use at least one capital letter and one special character *&^%$#@.  You would think you were registering for FBI security clearance.  This process the hiring companies make you go through is extremely frustrating since it takes so long to just apply for a job.  Another thing I have seen recently are security questions they make you fill out; your first car, your first grade teachers name, pets name.  Now not to sound paranoid but those are questions that help people steal your identity.  That makes me very uncomfortable so I try to give false answers to those questions.

This way of applying for a job is a lose/lose situation for both job seekers and hiring companies.  I just outlined why its a losing proposition for the job seeker; but more importantly its a losing proposition for each and every hiring company out there.  The best talent won’t put themselves through this, companies are going to lose out on the best and the brightest because of such arduous processes.  One day the pendulum will go the other way and it will be companies looking for talent and they will be the ones at a great loss.  The best way to get our economy and country back on track is having the best and brightest workers.  Our hiring system is broken and needs a complete overhaul.

The Matrix Awards — Women Who Changed The World

Today I had the privilege  of going the the Matrix Awards; the purpose of this event is to honor exceptional Women in Communications; Women who actually changed the world and its a charity event that gives scholarships to young women to go to school.  This is my third year going, its held every April since 1970 at the Waldorf = Astoria.  Each woman who is nominated for an award chooses someone to introduce them.  Its really a fantastic event in that it celebrates the women of today and also gives the women of tomorrow a chance to excel.  Sitting in the audience it was great fun to see the best of the best in a casual setting and being themselves, unguarded and more natural then you see them on TV.  In past years I have seen Brian Williams, Oprah, Gayle (I was actually on the elevator with her), Betty White, Valerie Harper, Rosie O’Donnell and Tom Hanks. This year was especially fun with Peggy Noonan, Leslie Stahl, Katie Couric, Tyra Banks, Ann Curry, Barbara Walters, Glenn Close, Maria Cuomo Cole, Meredith Vieira and US Senator Kristen GillinBrand.  Like I said, the way it works is 8 women are nominated and then those 8 women choose people to introduce them.  In previous years Gayle King was nominated and choose Oprah to introduce her.  Who better to bring down the house than Oprah!  And all of this is to raise money for a charity for younger women to go to school to learn more about communications.  Its such a nice thing when big ‘stars’ come out to help other people.  I can report today that Katie Couric is very funny, she was introducing Tyra Banks.  Tyra was really an inspiration as to what someone can accomplish; her many careers, leaving modeling ‘on top’ addressing the weight issues of women, she really was an inspiration.  Seeing Barbara Walters there was a thrill, Barbara is a trail blazer for many women and she was funny, humble and had great things to say.  Leslie Stahl, a pro amongst pros, introducing one of my favorites Peggy Noonan was extremely fun to watch.  Leslie Stahl as everyone knows is a trailblazer for women in journalism, she is really an A+, she was there to introduce Peggy Noonan.  Peggy was a speech writer for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and probably has written more iconic phrases than anyone in history (‘Read my Lips’ the Space Shuttle in 1986); and now she has her own weekly column in The Wall Street Journal.  Peggy’s speech was excellent, she is such a professional, hard working modest woman, a true inspiration.  She said something that made Glenn Close laugh and Peggy said ‘I made Glenn Close laugh, those are words I have never said before.’  Glenn Close’s acceptance speech was great, she can’t escape her game changing role in Fatal Attraction and is really a pro’s pro!  Hearing her and all of the other women speak was a lot of fun.  The fact they were all there as a charity event to raise money for the next generation of women in communications is a wonderful and altruistic thing for them to have done.  To me it was very exciting to see these ultra famous women being candid, funny and having a good time. If you want more information or want to donate please go to http://www.nywici.org/

Hire Friday — The Kindness of Strangers

I have been a regular on twitter for a few months now, my @GinsburgJobs account has over 1,800 follower (that’s very exciting for me!); twitter has its own language and its own abbreviations.  I have always known about #FF which means follow friday; this is when people recommend other people to follow.  I recently found out about  Hire Friday, or #HireFriday #HFChat.  I checked it out today and was really surprised what I found.  First I saw a lot of talk about how to negotiate salaries and some other topics that did not pertain to me, then I noticed a lot of people posting that anyone looking for a job should post their profile because the people chatting want to help people get hired.  I tweeted to someone I didn’t really know and asked her how this works.  She tweeted me back a bit later and told me don’t worry she would highlight my profile and make sure everyone saw it.  Then someone else I know on twitter sent out a tweet to her 2,000 followers about checking me out.  These precise details might not be clear to many who aren’t familiar with tweeting, but these details are not the point of this story.

The kindness of strangers on twitter blows my mind.  The woman who is going to post my profile was doing this completely for my benefit; she works in HR somewhere in Ohio and she wants to get my profile/resume in front of someone here in NY that might hire me.  She sees an unemployed stranger and reaches out to help.  I think the goodness in people is completely underrated.  I have been so impressed by the altruistic nature of so many of the people I have met on twitter.  People who just want to help.  People whose motives are giving other people a leg up, advice, a contact.  It’s really a remarkable thing.  Now not everyone on twitter is like this, that’s for sure, but I have met more than a handful of people who freely give their wisdom, advice and want nothing in return for it.  To me the fact that a guy from Canada knows I am looking for a job so he points me towards these discussions, a woman from Ohio is trying to make me more visible to get hired, another woman, I forget where she is from gave me advice someone gave her:  tweet what you know, not what you need.  It really is a great community of people, especially the hiring part.  A stranger taking an interest in my finding a job?   Where would you find something like that.  I am just so touched by the kindness of the people I have met; the people who have read my blog and written nice personal and thoughtful responses.  In a world where all you hear about is bad news, partisan bickering, hate talk and prejudice its so nice to come to a world where people are nice people are helpful, and they just real want to help.

I think these examples speak volumes of a much bigger picture.  I think people deep down are good natured and all want the same things in life.  I think the people in the Tea Party probably want most of the same things people in the Occupy Movement want; I think we are all more alike than we realize.  For me, I thank all of the people I converse with, the ones that help me, the ones I hopefully am helping.  So lets hope next weeks Hire Friday gives me some leads!

Tough Love, Job Hunting, Unemployed

I was just reading a few posts and DMs on my twitter account talking about how job seekers need tough love.  Hearing this flabbergasted me, especially since it was coming from Monster.com.  They have some kind of blog that is for job seekers so they must have to have new content to put out there, but to say unemployed people need tough love?  That is such a ridiculous statement I barely have words for it.  Is sending out thousands of resumes, going on countless interviews, countless networking events not torture enough?  I think there are people who think unemployment is great, you get a check from the government for 93 weeks and you can just coast and live the high life.  What a crock of shit that is.  First off, what the unemployment insurance pays is so paltry that you can barely live off of it.  Knowing its not enough and also not going to last forever is an unsettling thought that provokes tremendous anxiety.  Do people really think that unemployed people are living the high life being unemployed, that its a prolonged vacation?  Maybe they just need some tough love and they will get a job.

Isn’t it common knowledge that people would rather be working than not working?  Does not the average person, company, congressperson not realize that peoples goals are to work.  Work provides more than money; it offers self confidence, sense of purpose and a reason to get up in the morning.  This economy is like nothing we have ever seen, I have said its the Great Depression II and I firmly believe that.  But for someone to say people enjoy unemployment and are taking advantage of it is ridiculous.  I do know there is a small minority of people who do take advantage, I am talking about the people that were gainfully employed their whole lives and now find themselves unable to find work.  Tough Love = Ridiculous.  Monster, I thought u were a leader as I now see you aren’t.

Its not tough love that the unemployed need, its a break.  Its to have the luck of right time right place kind of thing.  To blame the unemployed people on lack of jobs is ludicrous. I believe in complete honesty and openness.  We will get through this crisis but its going to take a while.  Monster.com should be ashamed of themselves for implying in anyway that the unemployed just need a push, tough love; what they are saying is that it is their fault they are unemployed.  This is an outrage and completely irresponsible.