That Time I Was Disqualified for a Hot Dog Survey

Because being unemployed will make you do strange things (like eat an entire layer cake while watching a Vanderpump Rules marathon), I recently answered an email survey that offered cold hard cash (OK, a check most likely) in exchange for my thoughts on certain food items. Of course, before I got to the taste-testing phase, I had to check off how frequently I purchased the products in question.

Wanting to respond honestly as any good consumer should, I admitted that I don't buy instant coffee nor instant rice, even though I knew I might be blowing my chance to make a cool $50 for eating (which I love, see above) foods I didn't have to pay for myself.

Unfortunately, my candor limited me to just frozen desserts and hot dogs. I typically don't purchase the latter but my son recently tossed a package into our cart at Trader Joe's after no fewer than five "Please, Mom!!!"s. And because they were being bagged for me by a friendly hipster in a Hawaiian shirt, who sa…

‘Seeing’ Other People: Enough With the Skype Already

Sensing that my job was in jeopardy last spring, I began applying for new positions hoping to land something before my impending lay off occurred. When a friend sent a link to an opening that seemed perfect, I submitted my resume and received an email from the business owner soon after. Along with the usual pleasantries expressing his interest in chatting further, this entrepreneur wrote something that offended my sensibilities, “What’s your Skype handle?” he wanted to know.

Ugh. It’s not that I’m unfamiliar with the online video chat service, but I’d really hoped the rest of the process could be handled over the phone or, if it went that far, in an old-fashioned, face-to-face sit down. Yet I’ve learned that more frequently employers are using this method for the initial screening, not just a late-in-the-game final step in the hiring process.

Sure, I understand that this medium is far more convenient than actually going through the motions of locating an office building, introducing …

Fresh Starts & Auto Parts

Let me just get right down to it: I was laid off yesterday.

While I was surprised, I can't say I was completely shocked as, in this position and the one I held before it, I'd watched my colleagues randomly terminated in the name of streamlining and "increased productivity." (Huh?)

The funny thing is this: Recently a few friends had asked me how work was going and I responded by saying things seemed to be "OK," "Pretty status quo," and the ironic "Haven't had any lay-offs lately!" Guess I spoke too soon.

Just weeks shy of my three-year anniversary at the job that pulled me out of the depths of despair when my husband and I were simultaneously out of work, four colleagues and I were dismissed amid yet another "restructuring."

I was sitting at my dining room table just before noon, working and considering what I might have for lunch when I received the news that my services were no longer required -- which, let me tell you, …

My New Side Hustle

Many new career-related endeavors are born out of ambition. My new side gig is flourishing out of sheer laziness, as paradoxical as that might sound. Let me explain: I never intended to become a legit ticket scalper and yet here I am -- up $250 this month -- without even leaving my home.

Before you say, "Geez, Liz, you've really hit rock bottom," press the pause button on your sympathy for one sec and allow me to share how this all came about.

Travel with me for a moment back to 1985: A 14-year-old sits on her grandparents' sun porch surrounded by her cousins. They pass a cable box the size of a bulldog back and forth though they never change the channel. They want their MTV. While the teen is momentarily intrigued by VJ Mark Goodman, his deep voice, curly hair, and music knowledge infinitely appealing, she develops a serious girl crush on 'Til Tuesday frontwoman Aimee Mann.

The fact that this doe-eyed gal, not more than 25 at the time, can play guitar, pull off…

A Reversal of Fortune

Step right up, folks, our ride is about to begin ... again. Unfortunately, shortly after celebrating his one-year anniversary with a new company, my husband was let go. (Cue the screaming.)

There had been some "restructuring" (why is that word often the death knell for so many?) which occurred mid-winter and while it wasn't without its challenges, he was trying to make the best of it.

We knew things weren't great when the much-ballyhooed holiday party was cancelled back in December without much notice. Next, a move to a nicer building was put on hold indefinitely. Then, little by little, colleagues started to slip away and my husband wasn't sure if their departures were voluntary. (Spoiler alert: They weren't.)  The cryptic emails that followed their abrupt disappearances went a little something like this:

"Dan is no longer with the company. Let's wish him well in all his future endeavors!" and were sent out only after Dan's cubicle was stri…

A Thought Leader ... Who Me? & A Bit About UpScored

A few months ago, Elise Runde Voss, chief executive officer of UpScored reached out to me after reading my piece on how networking helped my husband get back to work after being laid-off. In her email, she referred to me as "a thought leader in career development and progression." Now before I go any further, as a woman who can barely get her kids to wear long pants in a blizzard, I was beyond flattered, so naturally, I wanted to hear what else she had to say.

Her new endeavor, UpScored, is a career discovery platform that connects professionals to their best career prospects. As someone who struggled with finding a job for far longer than I'd have liked, I was intrigued and wanted to learn more.

Fortunately, I had the pleasure of speaking with the entrepreneur who is determined to streamline the job search (and hiring) process. I highly recommend checking out the site. I did -- for research purposes, of course -- and was pretty impressed and surprised by how user-friend…

Where I've Been

A few friends have asked if I've given up writing this blog. While I definitely hadn’t intended to, I haven't had much free time lately. As I've mentioned in other posts, I've been freelancing whenever and wherever I have the opportunity. 

Initially, I felt like I couldn't turn down any work in case one of us found ourselves unexpectedly out of work again. Then, I just kept it up because I enjoyed having an opportunity to write on a variety of different topics. Now, I’m doing it more than ever because I found myself in need of a big ole influx of cash. Let me explain. 

In November, my husband and I went to a fundraising event which we attend every year. In the name of a worthy cause, I often find myself spending the silent auction portion of the evening bidding on items we definitely don’t need. Think: shopping carts/chair caddies you can take to the beach (??), skydiving lessons, a bouquet of fast food gift cards … you get the idea. 

But when it comes to the live auc…