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Posts Tagged ‘smcrva’

Me: [Sleeping] Zzz… Zzz… Zzz...

Dog: [Resting his head on the bed mere inches from my slumbering face] Siiiiigggghhhhh.

Me: Zzz… Zzz…

Cat: [Jumps up on the bed, then on top of me and walks the entire length of my body, from toe to head and begins to nibble on my nose].

Me: Zzz… Zzz… ZzOUCH! [Opening my eyes, all I can see is orange and brown fur and feel something cold and wet inside my mouth. It’s the dog’s nose]. DAAAAMMMMMMMM IITTTTTTTTTT!

[Dog and Cat high-five each other and bolt out of my bedroom]

Me: [mumbling] …wake me up… nose in my mouth… stupid cat face… dog ass all up in my business… trying get some sleep… stupid jerk animals…

I gruffly throw the covers aside and sit up. Rubbing my eyes, I turn my head over my right shoulder to check the clock.

Neck: *CRRRRRIIIICCCKK*

Wincing in pain and unable to return my head to forward-facing position, I hear the muffled giggles of Dog and Cat from the hallway outside my bedroom. It’s 8:32 AM.

I throw on a smokey t-shirt from last night. I pee. I make coffee. I open the back door and step out of the way of the stampeding dog and cat who cautiously, excitedly dart past me like children afraid of being spanked and with you-can’t-catch-me giggles. Jerks.

I drink my coffee from my favorite Buffalo Sabres mug and stare out the back window as I try to massage my neck with my free hand. I watch my pets chew on sticks, pee on bushes and rambunctiously chase each other around the yard trying to bite the other’s tail.

I think about last night and how grateful I am to live in a city where our online community backs up the internet chitchat and holds informative and fun social networking events. The Richmond chapter of Social Media Club had another great turnout. The topic of using social media in your local business’s marketing strategy was something that, I think, a lot of attendees found very informative. Of course, the real fun took place afterwards at Mekong Restaurant, where we enjoyed delicious (and complimentary – thanks, An) Belgian beers and Vietnamese food. I was talking with a fellow freelancer and newcomer to the SMCRVA-scene about how our online community has grown into an actual professional and social network that can generate real business for people like us. Writers talk to marketers. Marketers talk to business owners. Business owners talk to the web developers. It’s not only a great vehicle for shameless self-promotion, but also the perfect place to find collaborative partners with similar interests.

The professional side of networking eventually gave way to the hash brown side of networking when some of us rolled up to the Waffle House. Of course, HashBrownNetworking always gives way to EmbassySuitesNetworking, which is the perfect and most ridiculously awesome way to cap off the night. The gossip flies and the wine flows like wine. Or like beer. No, the beer flows like wine. Whatever. I think we need to have a week-long convention. Vegas, anyone?

But where was I? Ah, yes. Stupid Dog and Cat are now pawing at the door.

Me: No, sorry. I don’t want whatever you’re selling.

Dog: Let us in!

Me: What? No, sorry. I’m not interested.

Cat: Not funny!

Me: No, thank you. I don’t want any.

Dog: C’MON!

Cat: I’m hungry!

Me: Sorry. Can’t hear you. Please get off my property.

[Now we’re just staring at each other through the window]

Me: Okay. Bye.

I walk away and pour myself more coffee. I’m thinking about the articles I need to start writing. I’m thinking about how much I enjoy my life right now. Still broke, still *technically* unemployed, but really feel as if I’m on the right track, career-wise.

This is Day 142, folks. Muffled barks and meows coming from the back door.

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I have lived in the great city of Richmond for nine years. In the last 100 days, I have met more people and made more professional and social connections than I have in the all the years past. This is all due to my unemployment, and mostly because of this blog and social networking functions like SMCRVA.

In this blog post, I’m going to give you some healthy advice on how to successfully kick unemployment’s ass and get through the tough times like when all your friends are going out to eat but you can’t go because you need the extra money to pay for the internet access so you can send out more résumés. Basically, I’m going to recap the last 100 days of my life. Here we go:

I was shaking when I came home mid-shift from work that day. It was a Wednesday. I had been working nights, so I told my wife I just wanted to watch Lost (best show EVAR) and we’d talk about it afterwards. I may have been in a state of shock because it was totally unexpected and I had not anticipated having such a conversation with my supervisor. When the show was over, we turned off the TV and talked. There were tears. Not on my end. Money was already tight and we were barely squeaking by with a steady paycheck. Our minds immediately went into worst-case scenario mode. I swear, we almost starting packing that night because we just couldn’t see ourselves making rent. Anyway – we decided then and there to put our personal plans on hold and focus on me landing a job and her becoming a teacher.

The first couple of weeks were spent glued to the computer, updating my résumé and sending it out to any company that would accept it. I heard nothing for a long time. I started writing this blog on Thursday morning, on Day 1 of my unemployment. I gained a few readers right off the bat, probably because of the facebook and twitter updates linking to the posts. These readers were mostly local and through them I was electronically introduced to even more local people, who became twitter followers and linkedin connections. My professional network had started to grow, even though I didn’t have a profession to network.

Going to face-to-face networking events and “tweetups” (yeah, I hate that word, too), gave me the opportunity to hand out some self-made business cards promoting my writing/blogging/marketing/designing/whateverelseIcando. I got a gig writing some articles on a freelance basis for an SEO company, which in turn, gave me the writing samples I needed so I could send them out to other companies looking to hire freelance writers. Still, the money gained from the freelance writing is not even coming close to what I was pulling down at my former job. But it’s keeping me busy and gives me a reason to wake up and accomplish a goal – knocking out an article (or two) by noon.

I also scored a part time job at the mall through a former coworker who works weekends at the retail establishment for the extra scratch and the discount on cargo shorts. The job is easy, but it is paying about the same as what I was making at Subway in college. So far, I’ve probably made negative $234 dollars, because of the gas it burns for me to get there and the money I had to spend on clothes to wear while working.

Let’s not forget the wife in all of this. My wife is the hardest working and most driven woman I have ever met. She has never turned down an opportunity to make $3 or $300. She wakes up at 6am and sometimes won’t return home until after midnight. All in the name of paying a car payment or being able to buy us a can of soup. I cannot even begin to explain the guilt I feel for the fact that she is constantly working. Baby sitting, running a day camp, slingin’ brunch & bloody marys – she does it all. I can’t wait for her to get placed in a great school so she can concentrate on being a teacher. She’s going to rock the fingerpaints and macaroni art like a modern-day Frida Kahlo. Except without the whole unibrow thing.

So we’ve endured the past 100 days. We’re surviving. I haven’t stopped sending out résumés, and I’ve gained a little more freelance work. I’m still networking like a champ, professionally and socially. It’s because of the social networking that I have the freelance jobs and one of the two interviews I had yesterday. I have a follow up interview this afternoon. I have another interview on Monday. I will give more details later, but two of those three interviews are for jobs that are not in Richmond. One of them (the follow up) is actually quite far from Richmond. Doesn’t hurt to feel them out and see what they can offer, right? Right.

So how does one survive 100 days of unemployment? By treating every day like your job is to find a job. By meeting the right people who can put you in touch with companies that may need your assistance – even for a small side job. By reluctantly but gratefully accepting the charity of your family. By resigning yourself to doing any work that is thrown your way, including part-time retail malljobs. By eating Ramen and sacrificing the beer. By focusing every day on the type of work you WANT to do and actually doing it either for fun or for minimal profit – just to keep you sharp for when that sweet job comes a’courtin’. And it will.

This is Day 100, folks. Still spend a good portion of my day clicking through the job boards. Managing life on a strict budget. Making great connections. Hopefully taking the necessary steps to ensure this blog doesn’t reach a 200 Days edition.

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Internet people can drink. Did you know that? They can totally drink. I saw them last night. They were drinking and smoking and listening to panel discussions and arguing about how awesome Rush Limbaugh is (what?) and they were social networking. In real life. It’s like if twitter and facebook were a brick and mortar building. It was totally like that. Especially with all the poking and nudging.

The crowd was diverse. Well, not ethnically. Lotsa whiteys. But each person had reasons for attending. Mine, of course, was to shmooze it up with people whom I could hypnotize into paying me buckets of money. I’m not sure I succeeded, but I did hand out a shload of business cards and have developed carpal tunnel from all the vigorous hand-shaking. Some folks were there to promote their business. Some came to find business. Some were genuinely interested in the panel discussion about social media and it’s impact on journalism (I was). Some came hoping to figure out the identity of TheCheckoutGirl. Some just wanted to hang out and socialize with the spectacular Rivah City online community.

I met a lot of these folks at last month’s event, but this one had almost double the attendees, so I had some meetin’ & greetin’ to do. You know what was cool? I got recognized, like TWICE. They were all, “Hi, Matt! How’s the job search?” and I was all “What?! Are you the one in the black car outside my house with the sunglasses and the ear-piece? Because I am not too proud to wear a tinfoil hat in public.” Then I remembered I have this blog and there might be a few people who read it. Okay, a COUPLE people who read it.

Then I was told by one of my twitterfriends that my blog may be hurting my chances of finding a job. I think she felt bad for telling me that, but I appreciate her honesty. Basically, what she was trying to say is that SHE wouldn’t hire me because she thinks I’m a jerk. That kind of hurt, because seriously, I’ve toned down a lot of what I say and really have tried to make these unemployment updates readable and funny without being vulgar. Which is really hard to do, because I’m a Vulgar McVulgartin in real life.

I was walking a delicate line of trying not to be TOO social (you know, trying to find a job and all) and still having fun with the troublemakers and cool kids. I think I handled myself in a professional and respectable manner. Until the after party.

Sticky Rice. Love that place. The troublemakers I mentioned? They were at Sticky Rice. It was Tuesday karaoke night to boot, so you know I gave a little Sister Christian. (My staple, Bust A Move, never made it into the rotation for some reason. I think the DJ was mad at me for screaming into the mic the first time ’round). Anywhoo, it was a great time hanging out with the awesome folks that may or may not have included the Richmond Blogging and Alternative Journalism Elite. You know who you are – and nights like last night are the reason why you need to hire me. Because I can throw down with you guys like a pro. Or I’ll just blog about all the crazy stuff you did, blackmail-style. I’m not above that. Desperate times call for blahblahblah. Also, I got to hang out with the Jessica Rabbit of tech and PR blogs, who is a sorta-famous writer/videographer/critiquer for a nationally recognized website (among other things). Very happy to have chatted with her about industry-stuff. Or about aliens and robots. I can’t really remember. It’s all kind of hazy.

Will a job come out of this? Maybe. Okay, probably not. But it’s good to get to know the people in the community who have the pull to put me in touch with someone who may need my talent and expertise and charm and wit and MOTORIN’ screaming ability.

This is Day 56, folks. SMCRVA? Let’s do this again next month. Yeah. Next month. My hangover should be gone by then.

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It’s Tuesday, so you know what that means: I’m sitting in my office staring at a plate that contains the remnants of some sort of taco-ish foodstuffs, waiting for my phone to vibrate me out of my coma of boredom. If I really focus, I can telepathically convince some hiring manager that they need to call me RIGHT NOW and offer me a job. Sort of like I used to do in Jr. High with girls I liked. ‘Memba that, ladies? When you’d all of a sudden get the urge to ring me up and invite me over for dinner with your family and maybe afterwards we could hang out in your room and listen to your Bel Biv Divoe cassette? Then make out a little bit. Do you remember that? Sorry for invading your mindspace.

Tonight is the big SMCRVA event. This one will have almost double the attendance as the event last month. It’s a nice opportunity to hand out some cards and so some networking with the big-dogs in the Richmond business scene. Plus, $15 for an open bar and food? When I’m not shoving my face I’ll be schmoozin’ it up with some people who will want to hire me based purely on my wit, talent and charm. Or based on how many cocktail weenies I can put down in one sitting. A lot.

I feel like I’ve got my finger in many pies right now, but none of them are money pies. I was talking to a friend yesterday about about the things that I really enjoy doing, and how I wish that there were some way for my hobbies to pay off. Because, as superficial and materialistic as it sounds, money is one of the most important things to me at this point in my life. Let’s face it – I’m 30, married, renting a house and unemployed. I’d like to be 31, married, kid(s), the owner of a home and gainfully employed. And have super strength. Or invisibility. Or both. Yeah, both.

Hey, I’m working towards my goals. This is just a bump in the road, right? I may have to put the kids and the home and the super powers off for a while until I find a job that will allow me to have those things, but I’ll get there. And when I do, I’m still going to have a blog that talks about cocktail weenies and finger-pies.

This is Day 55, folks. Makin’ out to Bel Biv Divoe’s Poison. Getting ready for tonight’s networking event after I sit, invisibly, in the neighbors’ house and watch them quietly eat dinner then argue about how he never does the dishes or vacuums.

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