Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

#42-and-a-half: Over to you…

In Homeworking, Jobseeking, Kids, Tales, Tips on April 26, 2010 at 10:56 am

So I’ve been banging on about me, but what about you?

It would be really interesting to hear everyone else’s experiences of being unemployed, under-employed, job searching, home working, being made redundant, feeling bored of looking after children, thinking of going back to work, or thinking of jumping ship.

Do you have any tips to pass on? Any observations to share? Spleen to vent?

Visual entries also welcome.

In the best traditions of the current exploitative jobs market, I can’t actually pay anyone to write anything of course – I just thought it would be fun.

You can remain anonymous, or plug your own websites/Twitter accounts/Facebook groups/CV to your heart’s content.

There’s no way I’m letting you all become administrators of this blog, so I’m thinking you could send me something via this Facebook group, email me if you already know me personally, or put something in the comments below that I’ll cut and paste into a proper blog entry.

[If you are more blog-minded than me and have a better solution as to how to make this work, please let me know!]

#26 Ideas to inspire you

In Jobseeking, Tips on January 18, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Another month, another round of redundancies, this time more of my ex-colleagues . Luckily they’re all excellent, talented people who will fare much better than the title they’re leaving.

But at some point after going from an intense, exciting job in the centre of ‘the world’s second most exciting city’ (according to the book I edited last year, ‘The World’s Greatest Cities’) to sitting at home in their slippers (see post #7) even they will need a project.

Unfortunately, ‘a project’ is not the same thing as ‘an income’. For that you’ll need ‘a job’ (see post #11), ie a random means of getting money which may, or may not, be related to your interests and ambitions. In the current climate, probably not.

‘A project’ on the other hand will allow you to use your brain, creativity and talents. It will furnish you with fulfillment and make you the envy of friends who still have ‘a job’ and therefore no time or energy to take on ‘a project’ because they are too busy doing all the work of the people their company made redundant.

For example, I’ve just read about woman who has suspended her full time job-search and will be cycling to the world cup instead. If you want to go with her, you can email her on joinmecycle2sa@gmail.com.

Or you can try something more sedate. Here are just a few of the impressive things my friends have been up to that inspired me to get off my own gently expanding arse:

Starting a community garden

Launching a little coffee van business

Setting up a Saturday stall at Greenwich Market

Setting up an independent Manchester publishing house, Nightjar Press

Podcasting for petrolheads

Setting up London gay literary salon Polari

Taking over their local toyshop and turning it into a local cooperative

Writing and illustrating roleplay games

Setting up a street theatre company

Retraining as a midwife

Producing and playing at their own music nights

Organising penguin tours and creating the award-winning Sea Cabbage Cafe in the Falklands

At least three people who’ve got the funding together and are making/have just made films (guys, if you give me some links I’ll put them up)

…and I’m sure lots more that I’ve missed (but will add when I remember them!)

Hopefully some of these will eventually turn into ‘a job’ or some sort of moneyspinner; but even if they don’t they’ve provided their instigators with an outlet, and the community with something more.

For most people, the fatal mistake is to waste too much time deliberating about exactly which of their many brilliant ideas they are actively going to pursue. That way they end up doing nothing. Stick a pin in a list. Roll a dice. Pull bits of paper from a hat. Tippex™ them onto the back of snails and race them…

In no time you’ll be far too busy to worry about the fact that you’re skint.

#19 Gifts for the Doley in your life

In Down and Out, Tips on December 21, 2009 at 11:14 am
A few topical gifts for the Doley in your life:
Technically I suppose we should all be either sending charity cards to help other people, or e-cards to help the environment, or better still e-charity cards such as those from Shelter. (I especially like the one where you can click on the reindeers’ noses to hear them whistle Once in Royal David’s City.)
However, these from Manchester-based design group peddling  Christmas by Colour seem to sum up the prevailing mood.  Or at least the red one does. Sadly the C100 M75 Y2 K17 (dark blue) Mayfair and Park Lane card may be more appropriate next year. £3.95 for a pack of 6 or £11.95 for two packs of each set.
And because they are produced by just a samll independent northern design outfit trying to make their way in a harsh world, they could be argued to be a charitable cause.
Mrs Scrooge by Carol Ann Duffy, illustrated by Posy Simmonds (£4.99 Pan Macmillan)

The uplifting little tale of cuddly eco-warrior Mrs Scrooge  that will make you appreciate Christmas and good poetry. Some of Mrs Scrooge’s husbandry might feel familiar to those who’ve also been watching the pennies this year:

‘She hated waste, consumerism, Mrs Scrooge foraged

in the London parks for chestnuts, mushrooms, blackberries,

ate leftovers, recycled, mended, passed on, purchased secondhand,

turned the heating down and put on layers, walked everywhere,

drank tap-water, used public libraries, possessed a wind-up radio,

switched of lights, lit candles (darkness is cheap and Mrs Scrooge

liked it) and would not spend one penny on a plastic bag.’

Make do and Mend. An updated version of the Wartime classic from (who else?) the people’s republic of  John Lewis. I quite like the tips about cleaning your shoes with banana skins, freezing leftover wine (as if) for cooking, keeping tomatoes in the fruit bowl, and using mint as fly repellent, but perhaps the most middle class tip must be :

‘To shift stubborn deposits at the bottom of wine decanter, add crushed eggshells and a little water, swill briskly, turn out and rinse well.’ Doesn’t say whether the eggs should be barn laid or from which bird. Organic duck eggs ok?

Proof that socialist principles are not incompatible with a bourgeois lifestyle. Sadly they’d sold out yesterday when I went to buy a job lot for friends.

Why Not Socialism? GA Cohen Princeton University Press (£10.99)

Possibly the clearest argument for socialism, beautifully and wittily written, especially the chapter setting out the case for socialism in terms of a camping trip. Plus, it allows anyone down on their luck to parade newly-imposed lifestyle choices (such as state education or public transport) and political and ethical badges of honour. It’s a huge loss that leading political philosopher ‘Jerry’ Cohen died unexpectedly  of a stroke in August, just before this book was published. But brilliantly titled works such as If You’re An Egalitarian, How Come You’re So Rich? live on.

Cuffs, wrist warmers, finger-and-thumbless gloves… whatever you want to call them, these allow you to keep typing through winter without having to give in and put the central heating on. One friend I gave them to says it’s a bit like wearing a long-sleeved studenty jumper, without having to be a student. They are also achingly on-trend (according to a piece I read in the Standard). I got mine (cashmere, pink) for a tenner from my friend Lou who has a Saturday stall at Greenwich Market. See, again selflessly helping the independent designer/maker.

Home-made marmalade, £2. Not made in my home, obviously, but bought at the school Christmas fair. Comfortingly homely with a hint of bitterness – unemployed life embodied in a condiment.