Friday, June 5, 2009

Finding work as a an extra

NPR's Business Story of the Day on June 3, In Hollywood, Too Many Extras, talked about how the movie industry was flooded with new extras who want to supplement their income or break into movie acting by playing an extra.

"9 out of 10 new extras don't make it a year." Could that be because they can't depend on the income, or because they don't make it into an A-list film?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream by Adam Shepard

Adam Shepard read Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting by in America and had a Gen-Y hissy fit that hard work and gumption could no longer realize the American dream. After college he decided to embark on a year long experience to see if he could make it with just $25 and his own willingness to work. He was determined to find a place to live and have substantial savings, $2500, at the end of his year long experiment. Scratch Beginnings describes his efforts: living in a homeless shelter, his struggles to find work that wasn't exploitative--his experiences with day labor companies are interesting reading--and to find work that he could do.

I have to admit, I didn't want to like Shepard's book. I find the solution, don't give up, work real, real hard and The Man will make you employee of the month, a bit simplistic. I also found out about this book through John Stossel's The Middle Class is Doing Just Fine, Thank You, which included a very mean-spirited interview with Barbara Ehrenreich stuttering and Stossel pontificating. Yes, the middle class is fine--on credit. And look how that panned out.

What I liked about Shepard's style was his self-deprecation, his willingness to describe his conflicts with his co-workers, which seemed to undermine his efforts to just get along and work hard, and the description of his roommate who exploits Shepard's need to keep his car running. What I found a bit grating was his tendency to hero worship, though he seems to become aware that it is occasionally misplaced. Though I disagree with his conclusion, that hard work alone could get a person out of poverty, but a living wage and some dignity won't. He didn't seem to realize that his parents' illnesses would have derailed his dream--perhaps temporarily, since he seems to be admirably resilient--and that similar repeated setbacks can knock the fight out of anyone.

But the message of his book is to be resilient, to show grit and spirit, and he argues, from his lived experience, that squandering the minimum makes people unworthy of an extra helping. He does make a compelling case that if you stay put, are patient, learn from others, put their wisdom into practice, save money and stay in reasonably good health, then you can begin to realize the "American Dream".

If you can hold on to it isn't included in this book.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


TweetMyJobs is a Twitter-based job posting and resume uploading service. Employers can post jobs to the appropriate channel--geographic or industry-based--and job seekers can twitterize their resumes, making them accessible to service using employers. You can refer to their why choose us page to decide if they have enough postings in the industry you are trying to find work or workers in.

There is a fee for employers to post, very small, like .99 for a one-day posting, but does this mean the job is no longer searchable in Twitter stream after the day has passed, or that they tweet 3 days in a row?

TweetMyJobs might be something to try if they have postings in your target sector, they have postings in your area, and you are willing to get tweets on your cell phone.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Long term unemployed numbers grow (from NPR)

The Business Story of the Day from NPR was the long term unemployed numbers grow outlines some of the issues about long term unemployment and its consequences:

  • more college grads are affected; it isn't blue collar workers alone
  • employers are skeptical about hiring people who have had a significant gap in their resumes. I wish this one wasn't true.
  • are the long term unemployed, who just stop looking, still counted as "unemployed". According to Surviving a Layoff by Lita Epstein, "Some estimate the jobless rate in this country to be closer to 10 percent if one considers the under-employed and those who have given up looking" (p.x).
I urge job seekers to fearlessly account for the gap, either on their resume or during their interview, and for HR managers to have some compassion and really listen to them when they explain. You could be next HR person: get some good karma.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Where are all the green jobs?

If you have patrons coming into the library wondering about "green jobs"--when they are coming and where to find them--BNET has a post recommending three different websites that post green jobs.