Tag Archives: jobs

Filling the Gap


For a lot of people struggling in this economy, there are gaps. Gaps between the monthly paycheck and the monthly rent. Gaps between what we’d like to spend and what we are able to spend. Gaps created by too few hours and too low salaries. Gaps between the lives we want and the lives we have.

Now some of these gaps can be lessened by the adjustment of expectations. Goodness knows I’ve done my fair share of wants vs. needs charts; downsizing in favor of a more reasonable lifestyle, but at a certain point I
can’t cut back on the needs column any more (i.e. bills, food, good books…).

In my continued searches through a frustrating job market, I have noted the presence of some interesting opportunities to ‘fill the gap.’ Ways to make that extra bit of money finish out the month; or if you’re like me,
ways to make some money instead of none.

The most obvious of these fillers has been employed (pun intended) by workers of all types for years—the part-time job.

Whether it’s bartending nights or selling shoes on Saturdays, a part-time job is a good way to fill the gap. Scheduling is flexible, And it can also be a nice way to do something different a few days a week, in case your real job (or non-job) drives you bananas. As previously mentioned, I have been searching for a few part-time gigs to fill out my weeks and amp up my bank account. A few days ago I applied to a bakery in my neighborhood, so fingers crossed on that one.

Another ‘filler’ that suits me in particular are sites like gather.com or skyword.com, where writers can contribute articles with limited time pressure and be paid based on how the contribution draws in readers—more readers, more cash. This is especially helpful because it lends even more freedom from scheduling constraints, so if my free time is at 3am then that’s the time I use to get paid for writing. There’s also a relatively uncapped earning potential depending on the number and popularity of articles written. If I have lots of time to write a bunch of really engaging articles, I can earn quite a bit.

For those who are slightly less journalistically inclined I have also recently discovered a site called taskrabbit.com, a nifty idea that allows people with extra time to run errands for those without it. Need your groceries picked up, or you house cleaned, hire a task rabbit; a whole range of tasks for people with varied skills and extra time looking to turn those assets into cash. I don’t know about anyone else but I love this
idea. I signed up to be a task rabbit yesterday and am waiting to be approved sI can choose my first assignment. Perhaps someone out there needs me to make hem tea and read them a book…

My final source for odd jobs is the ever trusty craigslist. They have a section labeled ‘gigs’ that ijust bursting with small, one-time/ temporary jobs waiting for people with the time, talent, and inclination to get them done. If I remember correctly, that is how I found out about and started writing for this blog. It’s at least
worth a look.

These are the opportunities I’ve happened upon so far in my search but I’m sure this isn’t the end of the list. Someone before me discovered that sometimes people end up with more free time than they know what to do with and is out there trying to help us make use of these idle hands. To help fill the gaps, as it were. At the moment all I have is gap so hopefully using these strategies will help me keep my head above water as the real search continues.

The Ups and Downs of Finding a Job


In response to my last post, where I claimed I was finally feeling settled into my new home, the universe decided to take me down a notch.

Up until now, my job search has been pretty relaxed. I sift through the postings on all of the job boards I can find, trying to find something remotely related to what I want to do. When I see something, I apply. My boyfriend is very supportive, and our savings are healthy enough that we’re not financially desperate yet, so I feel like I have a little bit of time to put into finding the right job for me.

I spent six years working in the service industry, all through high school and college. I worked as a dishwasher for a nunnery, a caller for market research, a grocery store cashier, and more. I know better than to expect to land my dream job right away, but after all of the jobs I’ve had so far, I’d be happy now with a position that allows me to grow professionally and doesn’t make me dread going to work every day. I want a career, not just a job.

I’ve faced a few problems. First, there aren’t a lot of journalism jobs. The pool becomes even smaller with the fact that I’m not willing to move away from my partner for a job (insert cliché about love here). I’ve tried to get around this by looking for any position that wants someone with great communication skills or knowledge of public relations. But this leads to the second problem: nearly every job, even the “entry level” ones, wants someone with at least a year’s worth of experience.

After four weeks of looking and several rejections, I came across a job that was as close to perfect as I could hope. It was a reporting job with a weekly newspaper for a nearby community, and they encouraged everyone to apply. So I fixed up my resume, wrote one of my best cover letters to date, attached two writing samples and sent it all along.

Less than a week later, I got a call for an interview. It was for a reporting job at a different publication within the same media company. The office was further away than the original position I had applied for, but it didn’t matter. Reporting jobs are hard to come by, so I was elated that I had earned an interview at all, and I felt confident that by showing up well prepared I could sell myself as a great employee.

For 24 hours, I was a delightful wreck. I was nervous and excited and anxious and eager.

The night before the interview, I received a call saying that it had been cancelled. I tried not to let my disappointment show in my voice as the hiring manager explained that the company had decided not to fill the position at this time. He reassured me he would call me when the company changed its mind, and I thanked him sincerely.

After we hung up, my boyfriend asked me who had called. I felt stupid for starting to cry while answering him, but I couldn’t stop myself. It had been such a high getting that first call and it was heartbreaking to get the second.

Starting your career is hard. It means not only knowing what you want, but knowing where to look to find it. It means getting very comfortable writing cover letters. It means having a dozen different versions of your resume saved to your computer. It means being patient but not lazy. It means getting used to rejection. It means not getting your hopes too high while not losing hope all together.

Adventures in Redecorating


By Nicole Hosette

Moving blows. I’ve moved more times in the past four years than I care to count – into dorms, back home for the summer, into apartments, out of apartments. At least for those moves my parents (and their arsenal of Dodge vehicles perfect for hauling) were only 90 miles away. “Why yes Nicole, we’ll come out today to get a load of boxes, and then we’ll take you out to dinner!”

My parents were equally awesome when it came to moving from Iowa to Massachusetts – they supplied me with boxes, rented and drove a Budget truck to move mine and my boyfriend’s stuff out of our apartment in Iowa City and into their garage an hour and a half away, and then hitched a trailer to their Durango and made the 1,200 mile trip with us to Massachusetts (and the 1,200 mile trip back to Iowa). Because of all of their help, we saved at least a thousand dollars in moving costs and countless hours in frustration.

But there were still things that my parents couldn’t help me with – trips to Goodwill with clothes purged from our closet, packing up two years’ worth of accumulated junk, and cleaning every corner of our filthy apartment. And we were all on our own when it came to setting up our new place.

We were blessed with a pretty neat apartment in Iowa City. While it was a glorified studio with a curtain strung up between the living room and bedroom, it had tons of storage. There were two huge built-in bookshelves in the living room, and a wall full of built-in cupboards in the bedroom that were perfect for clothes, extra sheets and towels, cleaning supplies, and general crap with no other place to go. And all of this was on top of two pretty big closets. This made up for the cracks in the walls and hardwood floors that needed refinishing a decade ago.

So when we got to our apartment in Massachusetts, we were both pleased and disappointed. It had been recently painted, the hardwood floors were gorgeous, and the bathroom had been redone. But its three closets supplied less space than the two we had in Iowa City, and there were no built-in anythings. Plus, while we gained an office, we lost space in both the bedroom and living room.

Now we have the task of figuring out where to put…everything. We both had waaaaay too many books and one tiny bookcase. While we each have
our own closet now, my closet still doesn’t have enough space for me to hang all of my tops. We’re storing extra sheets and towels in a filing cabinet we found on the curb around the corner.

While this isn’t my first apartment, it feels like it is. I have never had to put this much thought into storage solutions or decorating, cruising Target and IKEA’s websites trying to decide who has the cheaper closet rod or which bookshelf would fit best in the living room.

In theory, this should be fun. Online shopping as a productive activity – who doesn’t like the thought of that? But it is frustrating, having an image in your head of exactly what you’re looking for and not being able to find something similar that fits your budget.

Now that we’ve been in Massachusetts for nearly three weeks, we’ve had enough time to get the basics, including one very tall bookshelf. We’re down to two boxes of random stuff that still need to be put away, but overall, we’re mostly unpacked. It’s not a perfect set up, but we’re getting closer.

These are absolutely insignificant problems. But right now, I still don’t have a job. I spend a lot of time in my home, and that’s exactly what I want it to be – a home. I want to be comfortable and happy here, not stressed out by clutter.

So fellow post-grad, if you haven’t found yourself here yet, you will.

A bit of advice – it totally helps to have a cat that makes you forget about the mess, your homesickness, and that “hopeless” job search. Trust me.

FOR REDECORATING TIPS, CHECK OUT THESE SITES!
Decorating on a Budget
Green Redecorating On a Budget
Interior Decorating Adding New Decor on a Budget

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