Alex in Transit(ion)

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$394.10

That was the amount of my paycheck today. Usually I don’t gloat about these things. Yet after receiving $161.80 from New York State Unemployment every single week since November 15th, I was ecstatic to hold a check in my hands that was rewarding me for a hard day’s work. Although I would have been elated to receive $161.80 every week when I was in high school or college, I found out you can’t do much with $161.80 in the real world, even when you’re living with your parents. First thing I’m doing is that I’m paying for my car insurance, knock off some credit card payments, and get a haircut. I need to save up the rest because I get paid two weeks from now.

(notice that the little brother’s room is still as classy as ever and the Maxim shrine is growing like wildfire. Look at the top of the windows. And the Solo Cup from Monday’s picture is still there. Kid’s turning 18 on Sunday.)

Honestly, that’s the beauty of 30 for 30. I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but you’re not allowed to shop during the challenge. Yesterday, I wrote how much I wanted to re-create Matt Berninger’s look  and I thought that I wouldn’t be able to until 30 for 30 was over because I needed a tie. I decided to attempt to tie my scarf in a way that made it look like a tie. This is honestly one of my favorite outfits I’ve created so far for 30 for 30. The only thing I would change about it is that I wish I was able to wear it with leggings but leggings aren’t exactly appropriate when you’re working at a law firm. This is also a very awkward pose. Then again, I’m a very awkward person to begin with so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that as I was trying to figure out a cool pose, I tripped over myself, noticed that the self timer was going off and it was either now or never. The result is this picture.

  • Vest- New York and Company
  • White Button Up- New York and Company
  • Jeans- American Eagle
  • Moccasins- Minnetonka
  • Belt- Gap
  • Scarf- Maxwell’s, the variety shop every kid from Oneonta visits at least once during their college career.

This weekend, I don’t feel bad that I’m not in Albany and missing the nightlife. Why? I’m still sick right now. If I was living in Albany, I’d be doing what I’m doing right now at home. Staying in. It feels awesome.


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Chapter Two of Life in Transit(ion): I have a job in Albany.

Through hell or high water, I will be an Albany resident by January. 

I wrote that back in November. For a long time, I thought that it was just a pipe dream. For those of you who read this journal (I hate the word “blog”), you have seen me struggle emotionally and hit new personal strides during my unemployment. 

Was this one of the worst things that happened to me? No. It wasn’t. Even when I when I couldn’t sleep, thought that I was unworthy of being hired, thought that I was stuck in Sullivan County for the rest of my life, saw my dog get run over, woke up one morning to find out that only hours of having such an amazing conversation… that someone I really cared about got into a lot of trouble, mutually ended a long distance relationship, saw two of my family members battle cancer, saw a family member get laid off, found out that my brother has this lump in his jaw and after a MRI and a CAT scan the doctors still don’t know what it is…we’ll find out on Wednesday about how to proceed, saw my social life die because I’m the only one left in the SC, kept in contact with the outside world through Facebook, twitter, and Tumblr, dealt with the insane bureaucracy that is NYS unemployment, and have someone tell me to my face while I was applying for a job “if you were so good, how come you’re laid off”…it still wasn’t the worst thing that happened to me.

Because from November 3rd to January 27th, I realized I am surrounded by so many people who love and care about me so much that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to make me smile again. I don’t know what I did to deserve that, but jeepers thank you all so much. You all know who you are. Whether you let me kick back a couple of days to stay in your apartment, shared a beverage with me, found me a job, made me laugh, listened to me when I was sad…you all rock. I’m never going to forget that. 

I found love for Sullivan County again. I decided to go out and volunteer because it was better than staying home doing nothing. It was short but one of the best experiences of my life. 

Thank you everyone =D

Now you may be wondering about the new jay-oh-bee. I’m really excited. I’m interning at a lobbying firm in Albany! I really don’t care that it’s only 20 hours a week, I get paid well and seriously…I thought that the next job I was going to get was going to put my political career to a screeching halt because the market is D-E-A-D, DEAD. There is nothing better than getting paid to do something you’re passionate about because you’re willing to whatever it takes.

Even if you have NO idea what to do about your living situation. The next two months are going to be interesting, to say the least. In April, I plan to move in with one of my friends. We have our eyes on, what Craigslist makes it seem to be, an awesome apartment. I want to live with her, it will be an amazing time, and I hated living by myself. Not to mention- it’s a LOT cheaper. I can’t afford to live by myself. You see, I had no idea that I was going to get hired so quick and I would have been out of my mind to turn down the offer. Rest assured, things will be figured out. If I have to commute from home, I will. I don’t care about the money. If it has to be used as gas money, so be it, the internship means that much to me. 

I also have to find a part time job too. 

So yeah. Life’s going to be very interesting until April. It will all work out though.

I’m sure of it.

All I ask of you is one thing: please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism — it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.

-Conan O’Brien

Ever since I’ve lived by that, things have been good.


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the dream apartment. part two of many. (windows)

The downside about renting an apartment or living in a college dorm is, more often than not, you can’t paint your room. Unless you decorate, you are stuck looking at the same white walls all day long. Personally, I can’t do that. I love color and whimsical decorations. As I mentioned before, I really couldn’t do a lot with my Albany apartment because I didn’t have the income to decorate, but next time around I really want to focus on that. My college dorm rooms always had decorations from wall to wall and I always thought that the RAs were going to call me out because in hindsight, it really was one big fire hazard. Then again, I think the kids who couldn’t properly cook popcorn were more of a danger to my residence hall than my tapestry could ever be. 

Although the economy isn’t doing anyone any favors, you can still shop around and draw some inspiration in order to find decorations that you’ll be happy with! 

This curtain is from Urban Outfitters and costs $32-38 (depending on your window size). If you want a pair, you’ll have to throw down $64-76. I absolutely adore these curtains but I also have to be realistic- I probably won’t be able to afford them just yet until I land myself a jay-oh-bee that will let me indulge a little bit. Sooooo…let’s continue on this journey.

These curtains are from Ikea and are $14.99 for the PAIR. The print is still whimsical and although they’re white…if I wanted them to be green, I could just buy some Rit Dye and upcycle them! 

(by the way, the Rit Dye website has an AWESOME color matching tool so you can achieve your perfect color). 

See! Although I love those curtains from Urban Outfitters, you just have to look around and even if it’s going to take a little elbow grease- you can still get what you want! If I got the pair of Urban Outfitters curtains, the bill would be an easy $64 bucks for the pair without tax. But! If I got the Ikea curtains, it’s $14.99 for the pair, $4 for the dye…and it comes to $18.99 without tax. You save $45.01!

You can now use that money on other things! 

Such as these adorable curtain tie backs from Urban Outfitters! They are 2 for $24 which is an AWESOME deal and looks so much better than anything you could have purchased from Ikea, Pottery Barn, or Crate and Barrel. 

So let’s see how we did here…the curtains from Urban Outfitters that I really wanted would have come to a total of $64-76 without tax. I already determined that the my curtain project would cost $18.99 without tax, which would save me $45.01. Now with these curtain tie backs, I still save $21.01! 

To top the whole window off, you can hang a mobile in the center of the curtain rod. Some say it’s a fire hazard, I say it’s charming. You can purchase this darling mobile from Etsy or make your own. I will probably be making my own- it’s just more fun that way =D

This is how we can still have nice things ;D


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chasing your childhood dreams. doing things that scare you. and in the end, it will be worth it.

I applied to my first New York City job today. 

Maybe unemployment isn’t so bad after all. If nothing else, it makes you soul search and figure out what you really want to do. 

I would like to work. I don’t want a job that sucks my soul out each day. I want to get up every morning feeling excited that I’m about to do something that I enjoy and I’m helping to make a difference. Even more so- I want to see what I’m truly capable of. I feel like working on the campaign was just a start. I want to dig a little deeper. As I volunteer in the office, I find how much I enjoy public service and helping out the constituents. It’s so rewarding and makes me realize that I really did choose the right majors. 

There is nothing I want more in this world than be able to return to Albany and live my old life again. I miss it like crazy. I miss my friends. I miss everything I used to do there. I’ve been trying hard to get back to work there, but I haven’t found anything yet. A friend and I talked about living together and I would be thrilled to have her as my roommate. I think we’d have so much fun. My youth leadership group is there. Then reality hits me in the face. The blow stings because I would love to go to UAlbany to receive my Master’s in Public Administration and work during the day and go to school at night. I couldn’t ask for anything better- to make money and attend a top ranked school at low price. 

Yet if I can’t find a job…this can’t happen.

So…that’s why I need to look at other markets. It scares me like crazy because of course I want to go back to what’s safe and familiar to me. If I do move to NYC, DC, or Boston, I’m going to have to start all over again. That fear is what has held me back. Then, over the last couple of weeks, I’ve received some great advice- without even asking for it!

1. Skip work, find a “job” that pays you to “volunteer.”

2. You have so many friends you just haven’t met yet waiting for you in NYC!!

3. You got places to go that you’ll need help driving to.

Not to mention my dad and my aunt are extremely supportive of me moving to NYC and DC. They said it would be the best thing that could happen.

I know that things are really uncertain right now but I have faith that with my friends and family behind my back- things will fall into place.

I want to get into public service.

It’s time to make the connections.

I’m willing to work.

Because I want to make a difference.

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I had a weird dream last night. I dreamed that I was at my mom’s house and suddenly, I panicked because I had to get to work in Potsdam. I started freaking out because I had no idea how I would be able to get to Potsdam because it’s 6 hours away from Callicoon Center. I was so scared because I didn’t confirm my volunteers and what was I ever going to tell my boss? Then I woke up and I realized…

Wait. It’s January.

There aren’t any elections going on.

There isn’t any campaigning to do.

My contract ended. I’m unemployed.

I moved back home in November.

I came to the conclusion that my subconscious really misses working.


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Take Your Passion and Make It Happen: A Way to Overcome The Dismal Economy and Realize Your Dreams

Yes we can.

Yep. That’s a line from the Obama campaign but I feel that we, the unemployed and underemployed youth, can also use it to motivate ourselves. 

On Wednesday, I said that I was looking forward to yesterday because, for the first time since November 2nd, I will be in a work environment in which I will be doing something that I love.

I was right. I’m going to be a receptionist at the office and I start on Tuesday! Although it’s a volunteer position, I can’t even tell you how much I treasure this opportunity. I remembered why I love politics- because it gives me a chance to help people. I’m sure you all out there have reasons why you love your passions.

Unfortunately, with the way things are, a lot of us aren’t getting the chance to get paid to do what we love- including yours truly. I’ll be dead honest right now- I don’t know many people who graduated with me, regardless of what college they went to, who are working full time within their fields. Because of this, it is SO easy to be:

1. Discouraged

2. Frustrated

3. Depressed

IT DOESN’T NEED TO BE THAT WAY THOUGH. IT’S GOING TO TAKE A LITTLE ELBOW GREASE BUT YES WE CAN GET THROUGH THIS!

My friend, JOC, pointed me to this fabulous blog: Coming of Age in a Crap Economy. It tackles topics from Making the Best of a Shitty Job to How to Love Living at Home. It’s not written by some 45 year old self-help guru who has already made millions…it’s written by an English Literature major who graduated from the Class of 2009 who, from her bio, has yet to receive a full-time job offer. Seriously- check out that girl’s bio…she is my age (23) and has accomplished SO MUCH. Based on what she’s done- I would hire her in a heartbeat! However, just like you, me, and a lot of other people we know…she can’t get a job either.

So where am I going with this? In order to survive unemployment or underemployment…here’s a tip.

GIVE YOURSELF THE FUTURE YOU DESERVE, NOT THE ONE YOU THINK YOU’RE ENTITLED TO.

It’s been well documented that there is a growing sense of entitlement among young people today. I have certainly seen that in my classrooms.

Graduating seniors have this notion that they should be hired because of their creative brilliance. Too many are unhappy with the idea of starting at the bottom.

My advice has always been: “You ought to be thrilled you got a job in the mailroom. And when you get there, here’s what you do: Be really great at sorting mail.”

No one wants to hear someone say: “I’m not good at sorting mail because this job is beneath me.” No job should be beneath us. And if you can’t (or won’t) sort mail, where is the proof that you can do anything?

-Randy Pausch

I wish I could have had the privilege to take a class with this man. He is truly an inspiration to me, especially now. 

Simply having a degree cannot give you a job these days. Having that awesome internship cannot give you a job these days. Stop thinking because you have a degree in X and that since you have X experience that you are entitled to an awesome job.

If you sit there and whine about how things shouldn’t be this way, that you’ve worked so hard in the past, and that you’re done paying your dues…where is that going to get you? Nowhere. Why? Because you sat there whining! In this economy, throw out the notion that “you paid your dues” and “you’re entitled to a better future.” I’m pretty sure the people who had jobs for 20 years and then got laid off because of budget cuts feel that they also paid their dues and are entitled to a better future. 

Instead work towards the future you deserve. There’s a saying: God helps those who help themselves. If you’re not religious, just substitute “God” for “Life,” and it will mean the same thing. The economy may change. The job market may change. Yet from what I’ve seen- prospective employers always love someone who’s willing to take the initiative. This is your time to be creative and show what you’ve really got.

We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.

-Randy Pausch

Yes we can.

TAKE YOUR PASSION AND MAKE IT HAPPEN

Yes, that’s a line from the Flashdance theme song. Not going to lie, this is my go-to song when I’m feeling really inspired and when I want things to happen. 

I love telling this story just because it’s an example that in life, anything is possible. I feel really blessed that this happened to me because seriously- when does stuff like this happen? In April and May, I had this wonderful temporary job as a receptionist. The contract ran out though and I found myself unemployed for a second time in 2010. I didn’t let it bring me down, even with a rent check looming and bills to pay, I decided that I was going to create my own destiny. Since I couldn’t find a political job, I signed up to volunteer on a political campaign so I could get some experience in the field. I had the time of my life. I was so excited whenever my friend D asked me if I could help out. Eventually, I did get a non-political office job within the month of June. But I’ll tell you- I always looked forward to clocking out because nothing made me happier than going down to the campaign office and stuffing envelopes or making phone calls. One day while I was volunteering, my friends at the campaign did a wonderful thing for me- they forwarded my resume to campaigns who were hiring. The rest is history.

If it worked before, I’d like to see if it could work again. I decided to make Sullivan County my little Albany. I want to make this something more. Right now, I’m on unemployment and I’ll say this- I’m really thankful for the money I receive because I haven’t asked my parents to take care of my bills. They don’t deserve to take care of my burdens. While I’m on unemployment, I really want to find the job that I’ll be happy with and will give me financial security. When I score another interview, I want to show my prospective employer that I didn’t just sit down and wait for life to happen to me- that I took charge of my life and searched for opportunities within my field…even if they are volunteer positions. I’m going to contact a couple more offices tomorrow to see if I can volunteer there too! My dreams are so precious to me. I’ll do anything to make them happen.

Anyone can do this. It’s honestly as simple as making a phone call. Whether you’re unemployed or underemployed- ask yourself this question: what do you want to do as a career? When you have that figured out, look at your surroundings. Are there any local businesses around that may give you some good experience to jumpstart your career? If there are, ask if you can volunteer! Even if you’re underemployed, you can still see if you can work things out. See if something could fit in with your work schedule. Even if it means working more hours, look at it as an investment in your dreams. You could be one step closer to launching your career!

HOLD FAST TO HOPE

Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.

-The Shawshank Redemption

Above all- this is the most important thing. It’s not going to be like this forever. If you feel like having a bad day, by all means, have a bad day. If you feel confused, let yourself be confused. It’s better to let yourself feel these feelings than hold them inside of you. Don’t let them take over your life though. We are still so young. We have our whole lives ahead of us. Let us not be remembered as the forgotten generation. Let us be the Greatest Generation v.2.0. After all, it wasn’t until after The Great Depression that The Greatest Generation  came about. We’re more than what our circumstances are giving us. 

We can do it.

Yes we can.

Say it louder.

Yes we can!

I still can’t hear you!

YES WE CAN!

I will leave you with this song. It always makes me optimistic.

Matt and Kim- Daylight

We cut the legs off of our pants
Threw our shoes into the ocean
Sit back and wave through the daylight
Sit back and wave through the daylight

Slip and slide on subway grates
These shoes are poor mans ice skates
Fall through like change in the daylight
Fall through like change in the daylight

I miss yellow lines in my roads
Some color on monochrome
Maybe I’ll paint them in myself
Maybe I’ll paint them in myself

These sidewalks liquid then stone
Building walls and an old pay phone
It rings like all through the daylight
It rings like all through the daylight

And in the daylight we can hitchhike to Maine
I hope that someday I’ll see without these frames
And in the daylight I don’t pick up my phone
Because in the daylight anywhere feels like home

I have five clocks in my life
And only one has the time right
I’ll just unplug it for today
I’ll just unplug it for today

Open hydrant rolled down windows
This car might make a good old boat
And float down grand street in daylight
And float down grand street in daylight

And with just half of a sunburn
New yellow lines that I earned
Step back and here comes the night time
Step back and here comes the night time

And in the daylight we can hitchhike to Maine
I hope that someday I’ll see without these frames
And in the daylight I don’t pick up my phone
Because in the daylight anywhere feels like home


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insomnialex

One of the things that I dislike about winter is that you can’t see a proper sunrise. I love the spring and summer because you can wake up at 5 AM and the sky is already getting bright!

There’s only 40 minutes until 5 AM. The sun won’t be up til 7 AM. I know this because I don’t have a job, I live with my parents, and my priorities only stretch as far as looking for jobs, collecting unemployment, and studying for the LSAT.

I miss being up this late at night with my roommates. Mischa and I would camp out in the common room with our laptops, play Something Corporate, eat Taco Bell, and work on our theses. God that was so much fun. Or when we would come back from the bars, order Domino’s, and feel like shit the next morning because we ate Domino’s at 4AM but hey! It seemed like a good idea at the time. Or coming back from the bars in Albany. I miss Albany. To be honest, and it may sound pathetic, I think the reason why I want to go back to school is so I can pull a decent all nighter again. 

I feel like watching The Big Lebowski.