Online begging…yay or nay?

Fair readers, I need your advice and input. If you read my previous post you are aware that a nasty virus seems to have rendered my trusty 3.5 year old laptop not very usable. I was already on borrowed time with my baby but now it is literally knocking at death’s door. Boo hoo. I have a mini netbook I bought a while back but as I have learned it’s too damn small to be useful for daily work and writing, or maybe its the fact I am getting old. Therefore my age is preventing me from seeing the screen well. I don’t know….

In any event I need a new computer, I use my baby for work and writing, both the blog and my columns that run in the local paper. Obviously I don’t get paid for this blog but I do get paid for my column so a fully functioning computer is essential. Now I have not talked frugality in a while but lets just say slamming down at least $1200 for a Mac is not in the budget and probably won’t be for at least another 5-6 months.

I had pretty much resigned my self to the fact that it would be a while before I had a new computer until I came across a well-known blogger who is holding a fundraiser. Actually I know a few bloggers who have used their blogs as a vehicle to solicit money and then it hit me…hey I could do that? I have to be honest though the idea leaves me feeling a little uneasy. On the other hand I have thrown spare change at causes and I know a little bit of change from a lot of folks can add up.

So I am asking you, what do you think about bloggers and others online who hit you up for money? Is it tacky or a great and ingenious way to avoid debt for a good cause?  Better yet if a sista went that route might you considering helping out? Or maybe I should see if the local strip club needs a black woman with a potbelly.

I have so much to say but…..

Hello dear readers! I am actually anxious to get back to a regular blogging schedule, it seems this blogging thing actually helps me to clear out the bits and pieces of shit I hold in my mind. However a few nights ago I was doing some surfing, actually I was on twitter, clicked on a link and….fuck, I caught a virus! My primary computer which I might prize more than anything aside from my kids and the Spousal Unit is fucked the fuck up.

Looks like I caught something called Ativir, anyway it basically fucked up my browser so it no longer works and long story short it’s going to be a moment before I have my computer back to normal. Thankfully I have a backup netbook but I must say that bitch is fucking tiny and its hard to use or maybe it’s that my ass is getting old. Anyhoo, I hope to be back up and running soon, however if you just need to know what’s happening in my world, follow me on Twitter.

Get a job!

Being unemployed when you don’t wish to be unemployed is generally one of those things that ranks up there as being a life shattering event or at the very least pretty damn uncomfortable. I know because I speak from experience. It was on July 3, 2007 I was let go from my teaching gig and to say I didn’t see it coming was an understatement. I had been teaching business classes at a local for profit career school, the type that many non traditional students tend to go to when they are looking to change careers or upgrade their skills. The department that I was a part of,  was deemed to be unprofitable so the powers to be decided to kill it and well that left a sista without a job.

The timing could not have been worse because just a few months before I was let go, the Spousal Unit lost several of his freelance clients and my salary had been plugging in the cracks. Thankfully I was eligible for unemployment insurance benefits but they were roughly about $850 a month which was substantially less than I had earned as an adjunct teacher but hey I was thankful for what I got. That said, after taking a few weeks to be depressed and lick my wounds I got on the grind and it took damn near 17 months to land a new job as the director of a small non profit that paid less than my teaching gig. I went back to work a few days after the United States elected Barack Obama, as I joke there was a spirit of change in the air because my Black ass being hired to run an agency that deals with rural poor whites was definitely a conversation starter. I can’t even tell you the number of times I was introduced as the new director and there was an uncomfortable or curious pause. Thankfully everyone got over it and almost 2 years later I am still at this job.

Point that I am trying to make though is that I lost my job before the official start of the recession and it took over a year to find a job. I actually exhausted my unemployment benefits and started hustling, doing grant writing for small agencies and even doing workshops. I often greatly discounted my prices just so that I could earn some money. But the fact is during that period of time if it had not been for the assistance of my father in law, this blog would be called Black Girl in Arizona because almost certainly we would have lost our house and ended up living either with him or in one of his rental houses out in that way too hot, too sunny state.

If you lost your job though in the midst of the great recession though, chances are you are facing down some real hard times, hell you might even be one of the 99’ers like this woman. In case you don’t feel like clicking that would be folks who have received extended unemployment benefit’s for 99 weeks and for some of these folks the bennies are over but guess what? They still have no job. Not surprising when the fact is for every one job opening there are 5 applicants, mathematically that means there are not enough jobs for every person who wants or needs a job.

However it was after reading this article that I felt inspired to write, since based off the comments and I must say if you have some time please read not only the article but the comments. There are many who feel that any college educated American who is still jobless after 2 years must be a bum. Wow! I don’t know about you but I rarely even see signs at the local fast food joints stating that they are looking for help. The few times I hit up the job sites I see few openings that if I were looking for a job, which would even be suitable for me. Some think if you are jobless maybe you should offer to babysit, or do lawn work…anything to earn some cash. Great idea but generally one needs the aptitude and or tools to hang up their shingle besides in the new era of frugality that is taking over the nation many of us are doing are own shit. Normally at least once a year I hire someone to do the heavy yard work, not this year, the Spousal Unit is doing the bushes. Yep, they are crooked but guess what it saves a few cents.

The sad reality is while some of us are still living in a bubble where jobs and money are plentiful for some of us that is not reality. There are many more folks like this woman and my Dad out there who are literally a moment away from homelessness. Thankfully my Dad’s short term dilemma is solved though right now we are looking at the long term solutions.

What we need aside from the government to really address the real economic crisis on the ground is compassion and understanding that most of us are only a few checks or 6 months away from homelessness. While the hubby and I are doing ok at the moment, fact is our savings is insufficient and since the man is a contract worker at the moment should his major gig end he would not qualify for unemployment insurance benefits and we would be screwed.

To those who say unemployment benefits discourage people from taking jobs, I say really? I remember in late 2007 being newly unemployed, sending out a good 25 resumes a week, scouting the jobs sites, emailing and calling and just being frustrated and bored. So I decided maybe a holiday job at Macy’s would be nice. Well I went to the group interview and was offered a position that paid minimum wage, something like $7.25 an hour at that time, no set schedule (kidlet was about 2.5 at the time and with her in childcare I needed a schedule that worked around that) required I wear certain clothes and at the interview they were trying to convince me and the others that we should open a Macy’s account so that we could use the discount they gave employees. Um…this is a minimum wage paying job, why the hell do I need a credit card? Sadly the younger women in the group interview were eager to fill out the form so they could get a card and charge the clothes they would need to work there. Well I mulled it over but when training day came and after I realized the job would impact my unemployment benefits so I would either make less or exactly the same thing as I was getting on unemployment I said thanks but no thanks.

I imagine to some this admission makes me a slacker but at that point I still had benefits and taking a job that was nowhere near my career field and could put me in a worse financial place seemed like a bad idea. I wanted to work but let’s be real!  Besides what if I got calls for real jobs but was scheduled to work? In my mind I am sorry but it’s a no brainer.

Nope, what we need are some services and systems in place that help the long term unemployed just because a person loses their job does not mean they should lose their dignity. As a nation we have plenty o money to keep fighting wars, how about we bring those troops home and invest that money in the citizens in this country?