Tag Archives: employment

Post Grad by Day, Gamer by Night


By bowski477
(Bowski477 is a guest writer, from aesthetically-pleezin.com)

You can’t always get what you want.

That seems to be the theme song to my post-grad life. I graduated with a degree in English from Salem State University in 2010, and I currently work for a hospice care facility in Massachusetts. It’s not the field I went to school for, but it’s a job. More importantly, it’s a paying job.

With the economy being as tough at it is, and jobs being scarce in most fields, I am lucky enough to have a stable job with benefits. I know that many of my former classmates cannot say the same thing. But just because I work in a different field doesn’t mean my degree is being wasted. When my work day is done, I’m a different person. I’m a gamer and a blogger; and while neither of them pays, they’re still classified as jobs.

Gaming is more than a hobby for me. It’s a passion. Two years ago I decided to spread the word about my passion for gaming. I started my very first blog, Aesthetically-Pleezin.com. It was somewhere that I could put all of my thoughts about the gaming world and show them to other gamers. I made new friends with similar gaming interests, and I got their take on the things I was writing. I wasn’t afraid to make my opinions known to the gaming community.

Soon I found myself in Los Angeles listening to the top men at Treyarch debut their then up and coming game Call of Duty: Black Ops. I thought, I am just a goldfish in the giant ocean that is the gaming community, yet there I was listening to actual developers show off their new game. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.

The trip went by so fast, and I had to return to the “real world” where no one called me by my Xbox Live gamer tag, and no one knew what the hell a “noob” was. But a new opportunity came knocking a few months later. A new gaming site was just getting off the ground, and the fact that I had a degree in English made me a good candidate for the position of Editor-in-Chief.

I joined the staff of IRBGamer.com. It doesn’t pay, but like my personal blog, I love working on it. It’s another place I can use the talent I learned in college and mix it with the passion I have for the gaming community.

What are my hopes for the future? Well, ideally I would hope to someday get paid to write about games, so that I could pour all of my potential into what I love to do. But until that time, I do have bills and plenty of student loans to pay. Being jobless is not an option for me. Not having a job in my chosen field is a small sacrifice I have to make at this point in my life. But that doesn’t mean things have to stay this way. I’m getting my name out in the gaming community and trying to get noticed. Life maybe short, but I’m not really in a big rush. My opportunity will come, and I’ll be ready to grab it when it does.

Have questions for bowski477?  Feel free to comment!

Businesses That Won’t Bounce Back


By sendmeonmyway101

I was unnerved when Borders went bankrupt.

Well, not as unnerved as a Borders employee should have been. Mostly because I would be graduating and leaving the store for greener post-grad pastures (seems my pastures are as green as Borders future).

Don’t misread – especially any of my fellow borders alum. Because I loved my job – it was by far one of the most pleasant work experiences I have ever had. Everyone got along with each other; the majority of the customers were sensible and fun people (same could be said for my fellow employees). If every Borders store operated the way our store operated, I don’t see how they could have declared bankruptcy.

Our store survived the initial batch of closings because we were small, and we were a staple in the community. The only other bookstore in town was a Half-Off-All-the-Time mess, in a closet of a store. Our Barnes and Nobles competitor was more than half a mile outside of town. We were it.

Now all of the Borders stores are closing, and a lot of good people are losing their jobs. And Borders isn’t the only one – following a merger with First Niagara, HSBC recently announced their intentions to lay off 30,000 people. And these 30,000 people are being laid off to make room for 15,000 people in the emerging markets. What does that mean?

Emerging market = Asia, Brazil, Argentina and … Mexico? No comment.

The point is that with chains such as Borders or Blockbuster downsizing or closing, we college grads are facing more competition from experienced members of previous generations than they themselves faced. Not to mention how little a Bachelor’s degree actually means anymore.

I’ve been out job hunting, and the majority of jobs are seeking candidates with more years of experience than most people will get just from sitting in a classroom. I consider myself very lucky, in that I had two professors urging me in all the right directions, so I received experience while I was in school. But hey – I’m still unemployed, and finding employment is by the far the most frustrating, exhilarating, and mind-numbing experience a grad can face.

I don’t know the science behind it, but I am aware that four out of six of my friends (or two out of three, if you want to simplify things) are either registered for grad school, or planning to attend after graduation. OK, so my friend pool is relatively small, but it doesn’t change the fact that the growing trend is to attend grad school. Which means more student loans – fueling an already loan-centered, debt stressed economy. And let’s not even go into how grad students will be paying more in their loans following the recent debt deal laid out by Washington.

To break things down – economy is bad. Companies close. Good people out of jobs – competing with inexperienced college grads. Grads return to school hoping to graduate again with a more stable economy and job market. Student loans and the high cost of education support a society’s poor decisions to buy first, and pay later.

Now, before you start firing your keyboards and accusing this blog of inaccurately depicting social events, American society, or even financial situations, I have to point out that I know nothing about finances (I prefer to leave that to the people who know what they’re doing … of course, the people who know what they’re doing have already failed in preventing all the things they were supposed to prevent, so maybe they’re as knowledgeable as I), and everything mentioned here is only my impression of what’s happening.

A sign of market end times for future students and graduates? Or a time for change? You be the judge.

(Check out Mustang Daily’s article, Graduate school: to go, or not to go?)

If I Have Teenagers, They’re Being Shipped to Boarding School


By sendmeonmyway101

OK, OK, I know that one does not have “a teenager” without first having a child. And before that you have the baby – I know how this thing works. But for some reason I never understood how a cute child could deform so horribly into the vacuous stomached, mood swingin’, attitude flinging, sex-craved, shoe throwing, demon-out-of-hell teenager.

That is, until I had to live with one.

My youngest brother, Michael, is sixteen. He’s a redhead (and the whole redhead = scary temper thing? It’s absolutely true). He’s also a lazy night owl with no sense of responsibility. He won’t do dishes because he’s terrified of touching any left-over food. He gets huffy if anything you ask him to do outside takes longer than fifteen minutes – it’s like he’s afraid of the outdoors. And he fights me on everything.

Back in June, I argued with him for an hour about getting out of the house and going to the beach. What follows is the brunt of our conversation, repeated and rephrased at least thirty times.

“I don’t like the beach.”

“You loved it when you were three.”

“Yea … because I was three.”

“Get changed, you’re going.”

“You never listen to what I want.”

“You’re not staying here. I’m asking you to do one thing this summer – one thing. Go to the beach with us.”

“Yea, well if we have a car accident on the way there, and I’m the only one that dies, you’re going to regret making me go.”

“If I leave you here and a psycho murderer breaks into the house and kills you while I’m gone, then I’m going to regret leaving you here. Get ready.”

“I’ll kill him before he kills me.”

Never mind the flaws in his logic (what’s he going to do, throw his DS at a potential psycho?), arguing with Michael is like arguing with Swiss cheese – it goes through the holes, bounces around, comes out the other end and remains completely unmoved.

I have to be on his case about putting his clothes away, keeping his room neat, taking showers (the boy went two weeks following the fourth of July without bathing), and going to bed at a reasonable time so that when his friends call at two in the afternoon, he’s actually awake to hang out.

When did I become his mother? And, more importantly, when will he stop smacking me with his slippers when he doesn’t like what I say?

Teenagers. My Mom thinks she’s sneaky, but I figured it out. That’s why learning experience #4 as an SHD: Someone else can raise them.

Am I overreacting? It’s very likely. Michael has his good days, and his days when he makes me laugh – like going on about what voice actor did what character – I have no idea what he’s talking about, but I love that he’s so passionate about voice acting. And OK, so maybe the teeanger isn’t as frightening as I first made it sound. Besides, he’s almost seventeen, and he’s already mellowed out so much since this teenager business first started. It can’t last much longer, right?

Still, if both my parents made it through all of our teenager years, they may have more balls than I give them credit for. Or than I do, for that matter (but, you know, I’m a girl).

He didn't last long outside

The Obvious Downside


By sendmeonmyway101

I had hoped to get a few more postings about the positives of being a Stay at Home Daughter – Constantly clean house, free time, energy, and there are more, sure – but I have once again come face to face with the obvious downside.

I don’t get paid. Well, aside from the allowance my parents give me (which I earn from keeping up on the housework). This hasn’t been too much of a problem lately, because I had money left over from graduation and tax returns. But I realized my car is up for inspection, and it is NOT going to pass. Why? Funny story.

When I was at school there was a big winter storm, and the stress of snow on my car windshield one night left a very vibrant scar. Long, and in the absolutely wrong place, my car will not pass inspection until it’s repaired; repairs that will cost who knows how much (I’ll get an estimate tomorrow); repairs that this chick-y cannot afford, which shamefully means borrowing more money from the ‘rents.

Suddenly, being a Stay at Home Daughter blows. But before PGP (Post-Graduation Panic) could kick in, I met up with an old high school friend today, and she’s given me hope. OK, so she hasn’t led me in the right direction for a job, but her tale of carrying on five jobs at once with no days off for over two months has motivated me.

It’s not that I haven’t been trying to find a job. Since graduation in May (and even before), I’ve probably sent out resumes, cover letters and applications to fifty places (honestly, I stopped keeping track after twenty-five). I’ve only had two job interviews, and both have been at least three hours from home, and unsuccessful. Following my last interview, I was so certain that the call-back would be positive, that I didn’t bother applying anywhere else. I did get a call, but it was nowhere near positive and I was back to Square One. This was last Friday, and I would have started looking again, but a visit from a friend this past week has taken up most of my time and energy, and when I did think about job hunting, my mind said – he’ll be gone in a week. Then it will be OK.

I returned from my coffee break today determined. I essentially have four months to find a job, before my student loans kick in. Worst comes to worst, I can do some tutoring at the local colleges, as well as continue mooching off my parents while keeping up on housework. But let’s be realistic – it wouldn’t hurt to have a steady pay check. My current internships are nice, but they don’t pay the bills – or car repairs.

So, now I’m off to once again search for a job! Hopefully with some success this time.

On the plus side, USA Today promises a better year in job hunting for college grads, so I guess I have that to look forward to when I go to sleep at night.

Lessons From a Fish Killer


By sendmeonmyway101
ORIGINALLY POSTED Saturday, July 30th

When I was nine, I spent a weekend with one of my aunts. She lived in a small, but clean apartment. Two bedrooms, dining room in the kitchen, and a small living room. Everything was white – the walls, the carpet; even the shelves, stuffed full of pristine Precious Moments ceramics and Seraphin Classic Angels, were made of clear glass, stained white from the paint chips in the background.

My aunt lived alone. She was divorced, and her two kids were fully grown. She collected Beanie Babies – at least thirty sat on the spare bed. We had to move them out of the way so I had a place to stay.

What really stands out in my memory about that weekend was not the white walls, the ceramic statues, or even the Beanie Babies. It wasn’t the breakfasts we had, or our trip on the eerie canal barge. It was her aquarium.

My aunt had an aquarium full of angelfish. I’d seen pet fish before – one of my uncles had an aquarium ten times the size of this one, and with a larger variety. But for some reason I left my aunt’s that Sunday convinced that having fish like that – elegant and sweet (after all, they were called angelfish, that had to mean something) – was a sign of being an adult.

Keep in mind that I was nine and I found logic in things that wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to normal people (OK, I still make logic out of things that are absolutely illogical).  Still, the need to have my own aquarium full of angelfish stuck.

I’ve been talking about getting a fish or two for about a month now. I’ve been a Stay at Home Daughter (SHD, but not to be confused with Stay At Home Dad) since May. I may not have my own place, or even a job (updating Tumblr accounts and writing unpaid articles for online magazines don’t really count), but I figured it was time to get my fish. Perhaps it’s a responsibility thing – I can’t exactly forget to feed the cat because he never lets me forget that it’s dinner. If I haven’t changed his litter box, he pees on my bed (needless to say, his litter box has been changed every day). With fish – it’s all about taking care of them.

Would I have eventually gone through with it? Who knows? But my options were pretty much eliminated Thursday when I came home and my brother, Kyle, had bought me a ten gallon aquarium.

WOW.

So Kyle, a friend of mine and I piled into the jeep and headed to the pet store to pick out some fish for our tank. We bought one angelfish (I was insistent) named Toby, one cherry barb (Bosco), one red-tailed black variatus (Bingo), and a red-belly x-ray tetra (X-ray, of course). We picked up food, a filter, and a heater (they’re all tropical).

It’s Saturday, and only Toby, is left. What have I learned from this experience?

  1. If I hang onto the dream of having an aquarium full of angelfish for fourteen years, and when I finally get an aquarium with full of fish other than angelfish, and every one dies save for the lone angelfish, then maybe it’s a good idea to only buy angelfish
  2. I’m not good at keeping small pets alive
  3. Filters are dangerous
  4. Fish are stupid

But more importantly, my uncle with the large aquarium gave me a few pointers. For starters, the filter should be covered with a breathable cloth, so the fish don’t get suction cupped into it. Also, after cleaning the aquarium it’s important to add water conditioner.

Finally, he reminded me that bubbles are an excellent source of oxygen for fish, and necessary. The way I figure, if Toby can make it through the next week after following my uncle’s advice, I’ll consider getting more fish.

It Ain’t No Green Thumb


By sendmeonmyway101
ORIGINALLY POSTED Saturday, July 23rd

The inside of our house looks GREAT. I keep the sink relatively empty (my whole life the sink has constantly been over flowing with dishes), I sweep twice a week, the cat box is always clean, the dogs are let out, junk mail no longer piles up on the end tables. I keep on top of my brothers about keeping their rooms clean. Laundry is done, dust and dog hair is wiped away. All in all, I’d say my lack of a career has been a positive influence on our usually hectic house.

So I have decided to take on our backyard.

I haven’t been much of an outdoors girl since the summer following eighth grade, when we got a computer and the internet suddenly seemed more interesting than exploring reality (Fear not, I now run on a healthy balance of virtual living and sunshine), but the ‘rents were out of town, and I figured an organized backyard would be a pleasant surprise for them.

Despite the latest heat wave (which puts a new spin on the term ‘swamp ass’), I stepped into the sun around 10 am, armed with a cowgirl hat, so many coatings of sunscreen that I was sparkling like a Stephanie Meyer vamp, and my computer for a little music. My pathetic plan consisted of eventually mowing; disemboweling the weeds growing between the stone slabs of our walkway, and clearing out what was once the garden (the leftover, bare branches of what had once been a rose bush is barely visible beneath weeds and the rubble from roof repairs).

My Dad used to be on top of this stuff. But all the passion he put into gardening has been replaced with his latest hobby: remodeling the house. The backyard doesn’t look horrible, but I’ve once again been fantasizing about my future home, and I decided that it couldn’t hurt to learn a little more about upkeep.

After half an hour of yanking on weeds, I came to the conclusion that protecting my face and skin from sunburns was nice, but I needed to put more thought into this gardening business. I needed garbage bags, and I needed to figure out what to do with all the rocks piling up on the stone walkway. Most importantly, though, I had to come to the realization that the likelihood of this rose bush coming back to life any time soon could only rival the likelihood of Disney TV gaining substance. The flower bed was cleared out, but it was far from pretty.

Here Are a Few Gardening Tips:

  1. Weeds and overcrowding in flower beds should probably be taken care of in early spring
  2.  Pruning should also be done every year, and followed-up on at least three or four times throughout the summer
  3.  When you put on a new roof, make sure all debris is picked up immediately following the project
  4.  If you happen to be working for several hours before your younger brother points out that there’s a HUGE hornet’s nest right over your head, don’t freak out. It’s not like taking notice of it changes the fact that it’s been there the whole time, and so far nothing’s happened (And knocking down a bee/wasp/hornet nest without a professional should be delayed until the fall, when the nest is deserted)

By the end of the night, the dead rose bush was cleared of weeds and garbage, the tiles on the walkway were finally visible, the lawn was mowed, weeds were pulled out from around the fence, and Michael and I pulled out the hammock and Tiki Torch (We were also going to bring out the swing, but it’s too worn from the weather – a project for another time). The perfect end to an exhausting day was sitting out under the stars and sipping on pink lemonade.

For more tips on gardening, check out: myezgardeningtips.wordpress.com

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