Tag Archives: unemployment

Creepy, annoying or brilliant marketing?

About a month ago, I opened my mailbox and found a thick white envelope addressed to me with no return address. At first I thought that the label was machine printed junk mail some jackass marketer disguised as a hand-written personalized letter to me, but upon closer inspection I realized it wasn’t. Someone actually took the time to hand-address this envelope. Then I got sketched out. I didn’t recognize the hand-writing and there was no return address so this letter had to be laced with something bad. (Paranoia, another long term side-effect of unemployment). But then I thought “what if someone died and left all their money to me?” So there I stood on my porch in my house pants holding this non-descript letter thinking “poison or money?” 

I decided to chance it, ripped open the envelope and unfolded a full page (8 1/2 x 11 college ruled) hand-written letter. Getting excited and starting to dream about all the things I could do with this new-found money, I started reading. “Dear neighbor…blah, blah, God’s kingdom, blah, evil-doers, hell, fire, prayer…” and then it went on to quote verses and chapters from the bible trying to recruit me to join. After picking my jaw up off the ground, a number of thoughts rushed into my mind, including:

  • You have to be kidding me…now they’re coming at me via the U.S. Postal Service and they are spending money on stamps in this economic climate?
  • What happened to the street crew that used to knock on my door, did they get laid off or something? I enjoyed answering the door as a recovering Catholic sporting level 1 house pants, fully packed black undereye bags with a wine-glass in hand before noon.
  • What happened to their silent prayers for me and when did I get labeled as an evil-doer? Is this because of my effing swearing problem? 

Creepy, annoying or brilliant marketing?  I’d have to say I personally experienced two of the three and I’m going to describe it to you as if I am tasting fine wine (why not, I am bored). The letter opened with notes of creepy and as the words danced across my palate, flirting with my nerves was a strong sense of annoyance, but the experience ultimately finished with joyful amusement at the thought of everything funny I could do with that letter.  While I doubt that one of their campaign goals was amusement, spreading awareness was probably on the list and I helped build on that because that letter ultimately got tucked into the sleeping bag cover of my visiting sister. Next time she unrolls her sleeping bag, she’ll be made aware, likely get weirded out, and then laugh realizing it was me (because I did something like this before with a VHS Jesus-tape that was left on my porch…hmm…is someone trying to tell me something?).

As for brilliant marketing, a friend suggested this idea to me a couple weeks ago saying “pretend your favorite clothing designer hand wrote and personalized a full page letter to you, wouldn’t that be exciting?” Despite my lack of style so much so that I’m worried Stacy and Clinton of What Not to Wear may show up at my door anyday, my friend is right. If the person sending this letter had been anyone other than this marketer, perhaps I’d have experienced that excitement. Guess in my case, their targeting was slightly off.

Disclaimer. I realize that talking about religion is a taboo subject, but I just thought this particular story was an interesting example of an average consumer’s reaction to mailbox marketing. I don’t think any one religion is better than another.

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Filed under Marketing, Random thoughts

I’m fucked. I’m fine. The unemployment mood tracker

Today I thought it would be fun to chart my moods swings over the past several months of unemployment.  As you can see from the below, it’s been very up and down, but upon closer analysis I’ve actually uncovered some interesting tidbits. 

The "I'm Fine. I'm Fucked" Unemployment Mood Tracker

  1. My insomnia started when I was in my “fuck-you pink-slip” high phase, which as it turns out was likely fueled by high levels of cortisol running through my body. How did I know my cortisol was crazy? Well, there was the obvious physical evidence (a flourishing muffin top), but to rule out ice cream consumption as the main cause of the muffin top growth spurt, my chiropractor suggested I take a saliva stress test to measure biochemical imbalances. As it turns out, my cortisol levels were three times higher than normal at bedtime, which explains my inability to sleep. No sleep exacerbates anxiety. Anxiety means cortisol. Cortisol and ice cream feeds the muffin top that in turn gets me all hopped up on shitty foods (and caffeine) that prevent sleep. Wee…what a fun cycle!! My naturopath, who interpreted the results of the stress test, used words like “adrenal fatigue” and “pre-diabetic conditions” so now I’m in the process of making a complete lifestyle change (diet, exercise, meditation, etc.) because the alternative doesn’t sound pleasant.
  2. The chart also indicates that despite efforts to reduce cortisol levels the past two months by using the natural remedies above (which are slow), maybe the best medicine came in the form of actually make a decision about my future.  Could all this soul-searching over the summer have been more stressful than getting a pink-slip or having a job that I didn’t enjoy? All signs point to yes.
  3. And finally, did switching to decaf actually improve my ability to make a decision about the direction of my future? I don’t have any scientific evidence that this is the case, but I can’t help but think it did. Caffeine is known to feed anxiety and when you’re sleep deprived and anxious, making an informed and rational decision is close to impossible. Instead, you seek solace in ice cream. 

Well, there’s the recap of  the “summer of Keri.” Wasn’t that a fun ride?

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Filed under Diet, Health and Exercise, Mental Health, Sleep trouble

McDonald’s billboard ad targeting unemployed?

McDonald's Billboard Ad Targets Unemployed

McDonald's Billboard Ad Targets Unemployed

You may have seen this McDonald’s billboard ad on the north side of the bridge heading east towards I-5 from West Seattle and I am fairly confident that this ad campaign is targeting the unemployed.  “Three reasons to put your pants on.” Who else could it be targeting, nudists? As an unemployed person, these are the three reasons why I am offended:

  1. They are called “house pants” not just pants, McDonald’s – get your facts straight! And you should be forewarned – all levels of house pants are considered appropriate attire for drive thrus so be prepared to see everything from airstream trailer printed flannel to holey work out pants. Oh and one last thing – these pants usually come strapped to some unshowered insomniac speaking a language you don’t understand -so watch out!
  2. This type of food is not allowed in the Muffin Top Reduction Program and just because we might be packin’ a muffin top, doesn’t mean they actually like your cheap greasy ass food. In fact, mine prefers ice cream!
  3. Unemployed people are rarely up before 10:30 when breakfast at your establishment supposedly ends (or is it 11…cuz nobody seems to know!), so this ad isn’t going to bring in a bunch of unemployed people…UNLESS you start serving bloody mary’s. Then, we may roll in hungover to get one of those and an Egg McMuffin.

So, next time you’re planning your ad campaigns and want to target unemployed people, consider hiring me as a consultant ($65/hr). I am after all an expert on the unemployed creature.

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Filed under Life, Rants, Slightly amusing

Goodbye unemployment

Don’t panic! I’m still a lady of leisure which means that you will continue to read stories about my muffin top in house pants! However, a handful of LOL crew members are saying goodbye to unemployment. Within the last month, four people got jobs which means they get to wake up early, shower daily and collect a decent paycheck – congrats! I can’t remember what it’s like to shower daily, but having four less stinky people in the world wandering the streets in Snuggies has to be a good thing!

Anyway, one of the newly employed in our crew wrote a little piece about what she learned during unemployment and I thought I’d share it will all of you. Enjoy.

Goodbye Unemployment: A Valediction. I have been employed for about three weeks now and it looks like it is going to stick. So, I figured it’s time to officially bid adieu to unemployment, homage style. A-hem.

What I learned while unemployed

The lessons of unemployment were frustrating at times, but ultimately fruitful. It’s true that necessity is the mother of invention, and unemployment was nothing if not a season of mandatory ingenuity. I learned to reach for my library card instead of my debit card. I expressed shock and awe to find that the rubber stamp library of my youth was now a self-scanning, multimedia haven of ways to humor oneself. I learned that lo and behold, West Seattle wasn’t all stroller mommies and cycle dads, and that there were more than a few fun, young, fascinating single ladies like myself ready to paint Alki red at a moment’s notice. I learned that it would take three times longer to find a new job than I thought it would. I learned how much my fiance loves me when I had to lean on him for financial support. I learned there is no financial substitute for feel-good moments like the natural beauty of Lincoln Park, the adrenaline of a bike ride, or the endorphins from a great deep conversation with a close girlfriend. I learned nights in playing board games or going for a walk can be a lot more fun than a fancy dinner out, especially when it is somewhere snobby and overpriced like Saltys. On the flipside, I learned you don’t have to sacrifice style for budget (thanks Sazerac and Cafe Presse). I learned to actually use the stuff I had by learning more about the capabilities of my digital camera and my mac, rather than adding new bewildering technologies to my life. I learned to find lost treasures in my closet and create fresh styles from old clothes rather than purchase new things. I learned volunteering can be just as fancy and thrilling as going out (wooh ArtsWest). I learned that your life passion doesn’t have to be all-consuming, and that just because I quit my last job to write a book doesn’t mean I can’t do a new little job on the side. I learned that you don’t have to save yourself for the perfect job. Settle for a job that’s less-bad than your last one. Most importantly, I learned that you are not your job. Many employed people are just as miserable, listless and frustrated as unemployed people. And no matter what job you end up taking, you’re still you. It’s your friends, your family, your personality, and your hobbies that define you, not your working gig. Last of all, I learned that Coming to America never gets old. Never.

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Filed under Life, Random thoughts

Make this your “Summer of George”

Seinfeld fans out there know what I’m talking about, but for those of you who don’t, watch the video clip below. Most days Seinfeld character, George Castanza, is overflowing with useless information except in this episode where George gets laid off and decides that he’s going to make this the “Summer of George.” That he’s really going to do something with this time off and he’s going to taste the fruits and let the juices drip down his chin.

Maybe we should all follow in the footsteps of George. Why not? We’ll never get this time back and the minute we step back into our employed lives (wherever that may be), we don’t want to be kicking ourselves saying “I wish I had done more with my time off.”  It doesn’t mean we don’t still job hunt. It just means that we need to try to have a life outside the job-search and quit worrying the hell out of the day.

So what’s stopping you from making this YOUR “Summer of George?”

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Filed under Life, Sanity tips

Side-effects of unemployment

Early-stage side-effects: 

  1. The first human encounter of the day turns human deprived unemployed people into dogs reacting to their owner’s return home.  You’ll be greeted with rapid fire verbal diarrhea (human barking) describing in detail every single minute of our day, including showering. Our fast and furious tail wagging is displayed as jumping, clapping and possibly moon-walking. And, there’s a chance of us peeing on the floor and jumping up to lick your face because “oh my god, the humans are home! Humans, humans, humans, weeeee!”
  2. Going unshowered and wearing the same pair of house pants (or house shorts) for days on end.
  3. You become the “go to” person for your entire family and your “honey-do” list grows in size.
  4. Crying spells, laughing spells, crying spells,  laughing spells.
  5. Sleeping like shit.

Late-stage side-effects: 

  1. Still sleeping like shit.
  2. CRS (can’t remember shit) disease slowly develops making you forget things like what day of the week it is (and sometimes what month).
  3. You find yourself shirtless at a bar by noon on a Tuesday.
  4. Sipping wine at noon while doing laundry.
  5. You become progressively tardy. 
  6. You develop A.D.D. (unless you already had it). For example, you start working on your resume, then stop and get up to do something (but you can’t remember what it was because you have #1) so you walk over to the fridge and open it, as if the answer is inside. After staring at the contents of your fridge, you remember that you have to go grocery shopping, turn around leaving the fridge door open to go find a piece of paper and pen on your desk. Then, you sit down at your desk and start to read and respond to emails. Twenty minutes later your cell phone rings, so you walk back to the kitchen to answer the phone and see your fridge door open, then think to yourself “I wonder who left that open?” You shut the door and go grocery shopping.
  7. Paranoia and procrastination.
  8. Eating ice cream with a fork because as much as you like to think of yourself as innovative and resourceful, it’s really that you’ve become too lazy to wash a spoon.
  9. You employed friends start calling in sick just so they can experience a day in the life of an LOL and you decide to start charging admission.
  10. You get excited about jobs that don’t pay much on Craigs List, like the one below for a Bacontern (Marketing Intern for J&D foods). “What’s that? I get to wear a bacon costume? Rad! That’s much cooler than the gorilla costume I wanted to purchase…oh the fun I’d have this summer…”

Bacontern (marketing internship for Bacon Salt/Baconnaise)

Want a boring internship? Go work for a bank or an accounting firm. Want a fun internship that will set you on the path to a righteous marketing career? You’ve just found that and more.

We’re Justin and Dave, the two guys behind Bacon Salt® and Baconnaise®. And we’re on a mission to make everything taste like bacon. It’s an exciting time here at J&D’s Foods as our products are now in over 12,000 grocery stores around the country

We’re currently looking for a summer intern to be be the living embodiment of Bacon (often in a 7 foot tall strip of bacon costume) for a summer. We know, we know – getting dressed up as a mascot sounds like the most humiliating thing a human being can be subjected to. The reality is that it’s like being a deity, a celebrity and a superhero in one. Just imagine if Brad Pitt, Snoop Dogg and Superman walked into a room.Women swoon. Men admire you. Children adore you. People line up for pictures. The press takes your picture. Believe us when we say that this is not an oversell.

To qualify, you must:

  • Be awesome
  • Love bacon
  • Know how to have fun
  • Know when to stop (as the great David St. Hubbins once said, “It really is a fine line between clever and stupid.” We prefer clever.)
  • Be outgoing and fun
  • Be smart as hell
  • Be sane and mentally stable (despite what it may sound like, we’re actually serious about this)
  • Have a great sense of humor

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Filed under Diet, Health and Exercise, Life, Slightly amusing

Passion! It’s passion, people!

About a month ago, one of my fellow unemployed creativites did something very out of the box. She spammed every creative agency she knew in Seattle, pitching her product (the product is her of course, she’s jobless). And guess what? It worked, she got the interview! You know why it worked? Because she was passionate about working for that company, passionate about her product, passionate about writing creative stuff and all of this spewed forth in her email pitch. According to a smart guy I know, passion is apparently the key to getting interviews and differentiating yourself in this job market. Now, she didn’t get the job because as it turns out, there really wasn’t a job available and these ass clowns just brought her in for sheer entertainment purposes, but that’s a story for another time.

So anyway – yeah –  it’s this passion thing that will land you the job I guess! I know, duh Keri, right? But you see, I haven’t been super passionate about my job in a very long time and my resume highlights all the boring details of my passionless career.  And that’s just it. My resume is freaking boring as hell and does absolutely nothing to showcase my interests, passion, energy or creativity. Which is fine, I suppose if I want to land a job that’s ultimately going to bore me to death, force me to color inside the lines and suck out my soul! And sadly enough, these are all the types of jobs that I am seeing online, which as you know don’t interest me.

Now before I continue with this thought, I want to compare my resume to my blog for a minute because I think it’s important. (Prepare yourself, you are about to witness “a-mother-f*ing-a-ha” moment people! )When I got laid off from my job at Microsoft, I felt like a no talent ass clown wearing house pants and growing a muffin top. Then, I did something crazy and started blogging about this experience and a funny thing happened. I discovered a new talent and a new passion – creative writing. Yes, I knew I could communicate since I came from a PR/marketing background (with some project management sprinkled in), but I really didn’t know that I could WRITE, write and here’s what I mean by that.

People who’ve met me and have heard me verbally tell my crazy stories have told me that when they read my blog, they can actually hear me talking and see my mannerisms. I had no idea I could do this! None at all and this my friends is the first “a-ha moment” and now…wait, wait for it! Here’s the other and it goes back to that passion thing.

While I haven’t been getting job interviews (just the one!), strangely enough I’ve been getting media interviews. Why? Probably because my blog is different and it’s over-flowing with the real-deal Keri, the one I know well and have a love hate relationship with. The irreverant one that rolls unscripted, who’s naturally off-the-cuff. The one who’s dreaming up random inventions or ideas about nothing and everything all at once. The interesting one, the out-of-the box creativite who’s drawing outside the lines and loving it. The passionate me. So it seems there are two completely different candidates (both in the same body!). We have the resume Keri (a lifeless being, who’s been going through the motions) and the blog Keri (an energetic, determined and passionate woman who’s reinventing herself so she can make a personally meaningful difference on this earth). Now, who would you hire?

Thankfully I got that gift of the pink-slip, took a chance on blogging and uncovered this new writing passion. And, thanks to my blog and my outgoing personality, I’ve also discovered that I really like networking and helping people who are jobless find themselves, find a job or when all else fails, to simply find humor in their house pants. I like what I am doing and I’m not making a dime. Isn’t that interesting.

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Filed under Career changes, Job search tips, Life