When You Get Laid Off From Your Job…

When you get laid off from your job (a year in reflection)…

Exploring my personal journey and list of Things to Do and Things NOT to Do.

It’s okay to cry (even if you hated that job anyway)…but you’ve got to stop feeling bad for yourself as soon as possible. Other people will feel bad for you but they’re really just judging you. So get your shit together ASAP.

Do travel if you have the opportunity to get somewhere while you don’t have a current commitment. Go wherever you can. I got laid off in the middle of April 2015 and headed to the west coast the first week of May. Get the F out if you can, it’s great for soul searching.

Do spend your money wisely. You aren’t officially guaranteed any significant amount of money after your severance package runs out (if you were lucky enough to get one) and unemployment money is not even close to enough to allow you to afford to live. Remember: you’re still going to have all the bills you had when you were working full time.

Do eat out every meal for the first few days with your friends and loved ones. I mean – they’ll probably buy your breakfast/lunch/dinner/drinks because you just lost your job and they’re gonna feel bad for you. Just remember to pay it forward if this ever happens to them and when you get a job again in the future.

Don’t continue to eat out every meal to comfort yourself to way too long. It gets WAY too expensive and you’ll get WAY too bloated because of all the salt that’s added to food.

Review what you learned from this job and be thankful for everything it provided. Use all your resources. Revise your resume… a million times. I think I have about 17 copies of my resume and about 52 specific versions of cover letters that I’ve sent to companies saved on my Macbook.

Realize that if people have never asked you “what you do for work?” before, they will immediately start asking you a million fucking times what you do for work. Be prepared to craft an interesting enough response to this annoying question because saying you’re “unemployed” is both boring and makes you look completely unable to be hired. Make sure your crafted response is not longer than a few sentences because in reality the person doesn’t actually care.

*PRO TIP: If you really hate the person who asked you, “What do you do?” or “What are you up to nowadays?” you can fib and tell them you’re “freelancing in NYC and the money & flexibility is amazing,” as you end the conversation and walk away.

Do ask your friends and family for help getting interviews / suggestions of companies to work for – you’ll be surprised by how much they can help.

In the same breath, do not expect ANYTHING to come out of what you ask for help from friends and family. Many people have much less power in the hiring process than they assume to have. It’s not their fault, but people help you much less than they’ll actually tell you.

“Yeah, send me a copy of your resume and I’ll pass it along.”

For some reason, this statement irks me more than anything! It’s a bogus response when a person doesn’t know what else to say… typically if they actually have something for you or know of something or have the power to do something, they would provide a more informative response or detailed information. That being said… my reaction to a statement like this is:

1. Don’t even bother sending a resume because I knew people are insanely unreliable.

2. Actually send a resume. They typically had a pretty negative return on resume investment. But I guess depending on how desperate you are or how bad you want it – it’s always worth a shot! So the better option is to… send it along!

*PRO TIP: Don’t trust strangers from Craigslist in NYC that make you meet them in person at the Ace Hotel in midtown for a “casting call.” Do not pay them $400 for head shots needed for guaranteed work. Especially if her name is Dylan. After her persistence for your payment wears off & if you actually pay her, she’ll literally ghost you and you’ll never hear from her again. (Embarrassingly true story). Ughhh..

Do take time to work on things that you previously never had time for.

Do find things that will bring you joy for very little money. There are so many really rad things to do for very little money or free in this world. Find a friend who’s weird enough / down enough to do different things with you and you’re golden.

Do try to find your passions and re-work your resume so that you can find work in a field that you like.

Don’t take any old job that you know you’re going to hate. You’ll be much more miserable than you were when you didn’t have a job at all. And not having a job is sort of miserable if you aren’t independently wealthy. Or if your parents don’t support your lifestyle with a trust fund or other means of endless cash.

Do network with as many people in your industry (and different industries too!). You should’ve been doing this all along tbh, BUT – if you haven’t reached out to those random people you met at that last networking event – now is the time. NOW is the best time because you actually have the time. Find out what they’re up to, ask them questions, ask for advice or suggestions. Step outside your comfort zone – because it does feel uncomfortable to cold email people. What’s the worst that can happen? Literally – the worst thing probably is – they don’t respond. And honestly, that’s not that bad. Move on to the next person – BYEEEE.

Hang out with every single person you know. It will make you realize who is important to you. Who you decide to see more and were actually happier seeing less of. Who you want to see more of and realize how much you really missed them. Who you didn’t want to see more of, but decided to see more of because you were feeling open and trusted the feelings but ended up just getting your heart blown out, for the fifth time.

When you do start a job though after being pseudo unemployed for an entire summer, culture shock will ensue. Be prepared.

Sometimes it takes like 1 week to find a job and sometimes it takes 3.5 months to find a job. Sometimes the job you found after 3.5 months is not viable to sustain your life or support you financially. But you still take this job because it’s something. If this job is not going to support you financially again, do not hesitate to take any and every interview you can get.

*PRO TIP: Beware of what you say in front of co-workers and who you share particular information with (mainly regarding interviews). Also beware that it looks ridiculous when you are constantly going to “doctors appointments.”

Even when your job searching is a completely ridiculous and terrible experience and you go on 25-30+ interviews and second round interviews and meet the CEO interviews in a 9 month period – you may still not find a job. You may find a job that you hate. Or you may find a job that you like. Or you may find a job that will grow to love in time… that’s where I am right now.

Sometimes you have to choose a lower salary with better quality of life to sustain some of your own personal goals. Obviously there is a lot to consider when making career decisions – the choice must be financially viable, but also healthy and your well-being should be a factor you consider.  In the end you’ve got to do what works well for you, what you can afford and where you see yourself moving forward with growth potential and mental clarity. Sometimes it takes being unemployed or being in a place that doesn’t work well for you to see the light.

Talking about money can be difficult conversation for practically every person reading this essay. I’m not going to tell anybody that it’s not difficult. But what I will say is that being more vocal about it really does help. “Ask and you shall receive. Don’t ask and you won’t ever know what you didn’t receive.” – modestly changing biblical quotes, OK? Main takeaway is that it’s a challenge to find people who are looking out for you. You’ve got to look out for yourself. So, do that. Ask for more money. It’s #EqualPayDay today, April 12th, 2016, so let’s celebrate it.

Being laid off at 26 was a challenging time in my life, but the lessons learned and the growth that came along with it was well worth it.

#WorkWorkWorkWorkWorkWork

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The Black & The White.

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So you’re going on a date – should a man always pay?

Danielle’s Take (Dusk & Rubies): 

Okay so to me this is black and white–no fifty shade of gray for me with this topic. I warn you that I am going to sound incredibly old fashioned with this and I am sure a lot of people are going to disagree with me, but that is what The Black & White is all about- sparking discussion. 

 
First Date Protocol: 
 
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He should pay. Short. Simple. I think that the first date can tell you a lot about a person. I know you can’t learn everything from a first encounter, but you can learn enough. If he asked you out, then he needs to follow through. But ladies I also know it is also polite to “offer”, but if your “offer” turns into your treat, then ‘Houston we have a problem’. Ditch him. It will only be trouble from here. 
 

What about After The First Date?

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When should a man stop paying for you? Never. Just because he has wooed you doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be romantic any longer. Just because he has known you for a year, two, maybe eight doesn’t mean he shouldn’t treat you with the same admiration, love, respect etc. So, why should he stop taking you out to dinner?  The answer is he shouldn’t. It’s not as if he can wipe his hands clean and say, “okay I’ve wined her and dined her every Friday night for three months so now I don’t have to anymore”.  Let me ask you this Mr. Hypothetical Guy, what happens when Ms. Hypothetical Girl dumps your butt? Oh, yeah, you have to go through the whole dating, buying dinner, buying drinks thing you were doing all over again, except for someone new. See how this is a never ending cycle? In a recent study, “Research [has] shown…that 84 percent of men and 58 percent of women say men pay for most entertainment expenses — even after they have been dating for some time” (Men Still Paying For Dates…And Women Are Partly Responsible). Meaning, that if you’re still paying for your long term girlfriend you’re in the majority bro.

So where is the issue?

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According to the same study although 84% of men say they pay for most of the expenses, two-thirds of men think women should contribute. Contribute being the key word–not pay ladies. Con-tri-bute. Maybe women can pay for the tip, or buy the dessert if you go someplace after dinner. Maybe women can buy men something nice and thoughtful every now and then…nothing extravagant just something that says, “I’m thinking of you”…like a growler,  his favorite candy, or a couple of nice Polos. But this is a suggestion for someone who is in a committed relationship…don’t start doing this all the time for someone you hardly know when it is too early in the relationship because then it becomes expected behavior, which mean this is now something this person expects you to do, rather than appreciates you for doing it. 

Why are you buying a boat together?
(The boat is symbolic for anything really). Now, I know a lot of couples who are unmarried, but split everything down the middle. If they go on vacation: they split it, if they buy a boat: they split it, if they buy a puppy: they split it, and if they rent an apartment they each pay half of the rent. Everything is right down the middle, so it’s fair right? Well, what happens if you are the two to split up. Now you have invested all this time and money into something that you only own a part of. And, what happens if he makes more than you? Should you still pay half when half leaves you unable to save money for yourself? This is when I start to hear my mother’s voice in my head and my old-fashion Italian values start to come to the surface. I was taught, as I am sure many other women were, that a man should know you can take care of yourself, but wants to take care of you anyway. I think that it takes a very special guy to be this for a woman, and I don’t think there are a lot of men out there like this.
If he wants a boat, great! You shouldn’t be paying for it. Hey, maybe you want to contribute pay for the gas, or buy the life jackets, or help clean it up. Then, that’s great. But you don’t have to pay for half of that boat. I think people should tread lightly when buying an expensive item together if you aren’t in a steady relationship, or engaged. How would you feel if your ex got your puppy when you split and then his dog became his next girlfriend’s dog? Not good. I’ve seen this happen. Now on to the apartment, don’t pay half–contribute. Buy groceries, pay for cable, netflix, hulu plus, a land line however you want to contribute, but you don’t have to pay half. I know this is a shocker because so many people do split rent on apartments and you know what that’s fine for some people, but just know it’s also not your only option.
 
When it comes to finances be upfront. 
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I am a very straight forward person. And to avoid as much confrontation as possible I speak my mind. If I love something, like something, hate something I say it. Sometimes I wish I wouldn’t but I have always needed to express myself. He knows that when we go out to dinner he is paying. But I too keep this in mind, I have never ordered the most expensive thing on the menu. I usually order a meal that costs less or equal to his and I try to choose a restaurant in his price range. We also take turns choosing restaurants so everyone always gets to eat what they want or crave. We don’t go out too often, probably to a nice dinner once a week, so that the bills don’t pile up. 
 
I leave you with this thought–just something to think about…
 

It has never been proven, at least I don’t think it has, but it seems to me that the way that first date goes is how the relationship will progress. If he pays then he will most likely be the sole provider, while if you pay then you may continue to be the sole provider. So the question is, do you want to be the provider?

Ashley’s Take (LifeLooksBetterinBlack):

Should a guy always pay?

No.

I am not the type of person who likes to wait or expects people to give me things. I do what I want when I want and I hate waiting – no patience.

I would rather not wait around at a bar and flirt with a man and convince him to buy a drink for me. I would rather not give him the expectation that the $12.00 drink I just made him buy for me is going to allow him an “in” with me. No thanks. I’ll buy my own $12.00 Ketel & Club with limes and take it from here.

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Do I think that buying me dinner is something that you should do if you’re taking me out on a first date? Definitely. Do I expect it? I guess… Will I freak out if it doesn’t happen? Nope. I don’t freak out about something like this because I don’t even give a shit. I would never go out to a dinner if I couldn’t afford it. (Neither should you). I would never request to go somewhere, not expect to pay for it. I would also never ask somebody of the opposite sex that I was interested in to go out to dinner with me if I didn’t expect to pay for them…

I’ve been in situations where I’ve felt guilty asking a guy to take me out to dinner to where I want to specifically go. If you don’t want to pay for something that’s out of your range – don’t ask me where I want to go to eat because I’m probably going to tell you something that you’re not going to like or that is potentially out of your price range. Rude? I just don’t think so. I also don’t expect you to pay. I’ll split dinner with you every time I go out because I’m like that. Literally, do not care. I’ll also order whatever I want not basing my selection on price or quantity because I want what I want and I don’t care who’s watching. I’m not embarrassed in front of a waiter or a maitre’d because I’ve been one and I am one. People who serve you, don’t judge who’s paying – they don’t care either. They will judge your tip – so if you’re out with me and you don’t over tip – I’ll feel extremely embarrassed. Then I’ll go out of my way to over tip and make you feel extremely embarrassed because you suck. Don’t even try it. I’ll never speak to you again. It’s over. Rule: If you don’t know – ask.

you are what you eat

So like, I don’t care if you’re going to pay for my dinner every time. Especially after being in a relationship with somebody. With all my relationships (friendships & romantic), all money always comes out in the wash. I buy something for you, you buy something for me. Dinners? Lunches? Coffee? Juices? Whatever I see at the store and want to buy for you because it reminds me of you? Whatever. I’m not really counting and if I am, it’s because you suck. I practice this throughout all of my relationships – if I owe you money because you bought me a drink at a bar – I’ll buy your next one. DUH – come on. If you’re sweating spending $ on me for dinner – I don’t want to be your friend, at all — especially not your girlfriend. If you don’t sweat it, I won’t either. If you want to pay for my dinner every single time – go right ahead. I’ll recoup by buying you something really awesome every once in awhile. And bring your mother flowers. 

The Cost of Life

Flat out – the price of being a female is much more than the pricetag of being a male. At least being a female like myself – active, healthy (mostly), likes to have fun, goes out far too much & is in her 20’s.

I’ve discovered that I really need to work on SAVING $$$. Saving money for my future. Saving money so that I can do all of the things that I really really REALLY want to do in my life.

Comparatively speaking, I’d say that since a young age, females are basically forced to spend more money on the daily than men are. This is simply due to the way of American society. Maintenance. 

If you’re a dude and you’re good looking, YOU’RE REALLY FUCKING BLESSED AND REALLY FUCKING GOOD LOOKING. 

If you’re a female and you’re good looking, you’ve got so many things that are taken into consideration – you’re good at doing make-up, your hair looks nice, your nails are clean & polished, your clothing looks nice, your skin looks great. Being that men don’t wear make-up, hardly do much to take care of their skin, shave (depending…) and their “hairstyle” usually takes under 1 minute to complete after getting out of the shower (debatable) – if they’re hot, they’re hot. Men have very little interference with their actual being of beauty. With that being said – if they’re good looking, they have really. got. it. going. on.

You know when you see celebrities on the cover of InTouch Magazine or OK! Magazine and they look absolutely heinous & awful?! Or the article is featured as “Celebs without Makeup – SHOCKING!” because they’re not as pretty as they’re made out to be. These articles are 99% of the time photos of women. Because 2013’s “Sexiest Man Alive” Adam Levine or Jake Gyllenhaal, Matthew McConaughey & Ryan Gosling are just that good. They don’t need makeup to look better – they’re just that freakin’ HOT! Forget about coming from the perspective of a female thinking males are hot – I think females are “hot” too and I will 100% attest to the beauty/hotness/sexiness of any female that deserves it. But it definitely costs her a LOT more than it costs Adam Levine.

Consider the following: since puberty, females have had to spend $ on feminine hygiene products (EW, I know. But honestly – shit’s expensive!). Maintaining beauty is expensive. Make-up is expensive. I spend too much $ on make-up so I’m a different case, but whether you’re drugstore shopping or department store shopping for make-up, you’re still spending money here. Skin care products: face wash, body wash, acne? (if you’ve ever had it, I don’t know?) anti-aging products as you get a little older, under eye cream, moisturizer, toners, the list goes on and on. Hair products: Shampoo, Conditioner, Brush, blow dryer, straightener, curling iron/wand, hair cuts & hair color is $$$$. Razors / Waxing / Laser Hair Removal – $ / $$ / $$$$. MANICURES & PEDICURES! – at the absolute cheapest you’re doing this yourself ($7 Essie nail polish, nail file $.99, Base Coat $5, Top Coat $5) – you can use these several times, but likely you won’t so you’re total spend is $18. If you’re me, you get a manicure every week. $8 plus tip. You get pedicures every other week in the summer (sometimes more) $15-$18+ plus tip. And I buy my own nail polish all the time as well because I like to have it and sometimes I BYOB to the salon. More $. Females also spend ungodly amounts of money on accessories. (Bags, jewelry, scarves, other random items).

Shoes.

Clothing – because being seen in photos in the same outfit more than once is social. fucking. suicide. Trends in fashion and in other aspects of life (like food, health, working out) are followed on a much stronger level by females than males. Trends are expensive because they’re ever changing and growing into something new. New new new. Girls are constantly chasing the next new “IT” item.

So girls start this whole process at around the age of 11-12 (sometimes younger). Guys that do care about grooming & their presentation usually do not start this until they’re a bit older. So if you were a guy that cared about your clothes, your hair, your skin, your sneakers, etc., you probably started this process a little bit later in life like late middle school or early high school. At this point, your parents were likely supporting you and taking care of whatever you may have wanted or needed. Not saying that females don’t have this going on because they do, but there’s MUCH MORE to take into consideration here.

As I matured, I wanted specific things. My parents would basically tell me, “No Ash, you don’t need this new shirt you just got a new shirt last weekend. No you don’t need another pair of shoes because you already have 17 pairs in your closet and only wear 3 of them. No, you don’t need to try that makeup because you’re a beautiful young lady and shouldn’t be spending money on makeup anyway!” Thanks Bobby & Judy, but I want those things anyway so I guess I’ll get a job and spend the money that I make on the extra things that I want and don’t need so that way I don’t have to hear you complain about things that I want. K?! Great. NOT!

Now, I’ve developed this really awful habit of working an excess amount to have an excess amount of $ so that I can spend it on excess things that I want. I’ve carried this process through for far too long.  I bet this gives mixed feelings for many – I don’t care though. Maybe some people were better at saving money than I was because they didn’t care about things that I cared about? Maybe they were better at saving because their parents didn’t allow them to spend their money on things they wanted? Or their parents just bought them whatever they wanted? They were better about saving because they weren’t addicted to fashion/trends/being a fly betch?

For me – it’s a never ending cycle. This process has spiraled into how I live today – not really enough money in my savings account for my “later-in-life” goals (working on it though —- my later in life goals are unreal as you could possibly imagine…). But I do have a really great outfit for tomorrow night along with fabulous plans for tomorrow night & next weekend Wednesday.

high maintenance

UGH it’s expensive being a betch.

M.I.L.K.

Sometimes in your life the smallest pieces of advice that you receive can stick with you for the longest time. Sophomore year of college, one of my girlfriends taught me about “MILK.” Clever little acronym to help girls to remember what they need!

Every time you go out you must remember milk!

milk-carton

(Cutest picture of “milk” I could find on the Internet without grossing anybody out! Also soooo wish it was Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk – much more my style).

Money

ID

Lipgloss

Keys

(& iPhone – given! Although during the time I heard this, it was Blackberry! ahhh).

This is my last minute checklist as I’m heading out the door – every. single. time. Whether I’m home or at a friend’s house or really anywhere that I’m planning on heading out for the night I always do a quick run-down. I’ve updated the adorable acronym to MILKI – but not for my iPhone, for my insulin pump. COOL.

Hope you never forget this little tidbit while you’re heading out tonight with your friends!

17 Green Things

Getting in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day & month, I’ve compiled a list of all green things that I’m currently obsessed with. Hope you enjoy and get a little green love spirit in your life during the month of March.

1. Mint Leaves in Water 

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Adds a little bit of flavor to your typically boring water bottle & has great health benefits as well. Great for digestive tract and for IBS sufferers (me), great for skin, nausea, muscle pain and fresh breath!

2. Frozen Green Grapes

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Sweet little snack that can help with diet cravings – pretend it’s like ice cream or something?!

3. Essie Nail Polish: Mojito Madness

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Essie has a few really chic greens for the month of March. Mint Candy Apple is another fave!

4. Green Beans 

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Easy & healthy dinner option.

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5. Green Sandals

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These are cute from Nine West would be cute with a white or ivory sun dress and a camel colored bag during the summer.

6. Green Eggs

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Scrambled eggs & avocado – one of my favorite breakfasts! No carbs, protein and healthy fats. Add S&P, a little hot sauce or Sriracha and you’re golden.

7. iMessage Icon

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Doesn’t this make you kind of happy?

8. Cucumber Eye Wraps

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Help out those tired eyes – I’ve done these a few times and I don’t exactly see how it helps but it makes me feel pretty good while I’m doing so and gives a sense of relaxation. I’m about that life.

9. Green Sour Patch Kids

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Green is overall a great flavored kid! I’m obsessed with SPK – it’s bad.

10. Green hair!! Kidding – but this Davines Shampoo & Conditioner combination is fantastic!

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Infused with Spinach Extract and great for damaged hair! I use this and highly recommend. Smells fantastic too!

11. Eminence Stone Crop Gel Wash 

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Another organic product I use daily – Eminence is amazing – great for sensitive skin and all natural. Leaves skin super smooth & soft.

12. Money 

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Make that paperrrrr BETCH!

13. Green Beanie

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Love this neon green beanie from Urban Outfitters.

14. Patron Silver – Need I say more? Tequila is delicious.

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15. Green Dress 

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Dress from Piperlime – Tinley Road.

16. Green Smoothie

green smoothie

Homemade green smoothies are gratifying and sometimes delicious, sometimes just ‘healthy.’ Robek’s in Plainview has great juices & smoothies!

17. Green Nike’s 

nike frees

Happy St. Patrick’s Day & Month. Green it up! xo

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