Sep 30, 2013 by



Next to family, our colleagues often become our second families, rife with problems with co-workers and bosses.  More, given the state of the economy, the workplace has changed its look and attidude. Downsizing is rampant, and those of us who thought we were secure are now scouting Want Ads! Many of those unemployed are forced to find new career avenues, frequently home and computer-based. Let’s look …



Dear Marnie: I am one of many individuals who have been laid off from work.  I am not ashamed or embarrassed; rather, I am frustrated about the difficulty finding a job.  My employed friends, however, treat me as if I should feel embarrassed.  I am married and my spouse makes enough money that we can survive without my second income.  So, I bide my time trying to make new connections, research new companies, write new cover letters, volunteering, and working on house projects.  Here is the problem.  Whenever my husband and I get together with friends, they quiz me on my job status, ask insensitive questions, or make rude statements.  It has gotten to the point where I avoid my friends because I do not want to address the inevitable questions: “So what do you do with all that free time?” (in a disapproving tone).  Or when presented with a creative project I have made for a friend, “Gee, someone has too much free time on her hands …” Marnie, how do I respond to my friends, and can you tell readers how to treat a friend who is unemployed and searching? – Losing Friends in NC

MARNIE SAYS: My highest kudos to you.  On the friend front – hold onto your spear and get a food taster.

Getting It!  Your Personal Strategy:


*You’re not only doing the job search right, you’re doing it full-time.  “Looking” is a job. It’s an all-consuming one and far more stressful than having one.


*About “the friends”:   Before I get all snarky, let’s figure out what’s behind their  numbnecked remarks.

– They’re jealous.  If they need to work and you don’t. Your ability to take the time to do it right, along with your failure to panic (never mind faux painting the kitchen and designing gifties) is making them verdant.   They’re picking on your “privilege.”

– They’re quaking.   Your reversal of fortune may have landed smack in the middle of their latent fear.  So they’re minimilizing, trivializing or making idiotic attempts  to get all jaunty about your job loss.

Either way, the one thing they’re not doing, is getting it!


*Responding to “the friends”:

Them:  “What do you do with all the free time, lucky you, blah blah …”

You:   “I’m actively looking for a job.  Let me tell you what that involves  …”  Then lay out your schedule.

Them:  “Nice gift you crocheted.  Gee, someone has free time.”

You:  “Hardly free.  This represents x number of hours and dollars of job-hunting time.”

The Big Finish:  “Here’s what you can do to help!”

*What to ask of friends (and the way to treat a friend who’s been laid-off.)

– Connections, connections, connections.  Everybody knows somebody who has a dentist with a patient who lives next door to Donald Trump’s (whomever) brother’s barber, or belongs to organizations with big do’s and bigger names.  You want those names. You want those invites.  You want intros and information.  Interviews are better.  Especially after your friends have made you sound like a cross between  Madeline Albright and Wonder Woman.

– Get in the muck, hands-on.  There’s copying to be done, resume updating, research.   Volunteers?

– Cheerleading and confidence building.  Respect for the odious task of job-hunting, plus optimism is a minimum daily requirement to ask and give a friend.


Here are my final words, brave warrior:  “Some day, you may be there, too. The greatest joy is to make success possible for another.”   Amen.




Marnie: I recently quit my job to start my own business. When I made the decision, I had complete support from my bf. We knew it would take approximately a year for my business to really get off the ground.  Though he agreed to help me financially, I find I’m unable to ask him for the money I need.  I’ve always taken care of myself and can’t seem to talk to him about this. I’ve used up my savings and don’t know how I’ll pay next month’s rent,  yet I can’t seem to tell him I need help! — L.A. “Entrepreneur”

MARNIE SAYS: First, I salute anyone with the courage to give up an “if it’s Monday it must be meatloaf” life, even if it means developing an uncommon fondness for Hamburger Helper. But, silly goose, your will was noble, but your way was dicey. As I get a migraine breaking a roll of pennies, I checked with marketing guru and CEO of BluBlocker Sunglasses, Joe Sugarman.

Getting It!  Your Personal Strategy:

*Diagnose the Doom. You agreed to a fall-back plan that gave you eczema: your boyfriend. Ask yourself, what’s scaring you? My hunch is you fear once you’re in his wallet, you’ll be wedged in there like a year-old pizza coupon. (We’ll skip the “why-didn’t-you-think-of-this-before-you-gave-up-your-day-job” part.)


*You could change “lenders.” Banks and private investors will cough up bucks for worthy ventures based on collateral, a business plan, and a track record.  Without collateral, you have to borrow high risk capital and give a good chunk of your business away.


*Turned down?  Go to those you know. Sugarman suggests offering them the chance to double their money from the first profits, after which you own the business.  “Who could resist a deal like that?” he adds. (The man is a tycoon. Believe him.)  If you go with family or other intimates (like cousin Harry or “the boyfriend”) insist on a pure business deal. They’re investors.

–Make it clear on paper, not napkins.

—Make it separate. Fax paper and feather nighties go on different credit cards.

—Make it fair. Investors don’t get a glow-in-the-dark logo key ring and you don’t give up your first born if you go belly up. Sugarman suggests you tell them that if the business fails, you’ll send them a check every month until they’re paid back


With ground rules in place, if (heaven forbid!) the biz bombs, this plan will  up your chances of tidying up without mucking up your relationship or your credit rating.




Marnie girl: I have a problem, and I know I have myself to blame.  I have a “career” manager.  He has certain important connections, that have proven beneficial.  Several years ago, we had a dispute over money.  He “misappropriated” my funds (he fell on some tough times, etc.)   Eventually, he made it up and we reconciled, but I’m uneasy.  Let me say, I now handle my own money, taxes, etc.  We are currently in a sizeable contract.  To request the company we’re dealing with to send the checks to me would be a grave breach of protocol.   I’ve taken some steps to safeguard myself, e.g.:  insisting on a separate bank account for this contract, but I’m due for another sizeable payment soon, which I need, and I’m concerned. Any ideas? – Once Fooled, Shame on Me.

MARNIE SAYS: Yes.  And now  those who abhor a small truth-stretch may wish to tune out. All gone?  OK.  (Now, for those of you still reading, try not to get yourself into bone-headed relationships with crooks. Sheesh!)


Getting It!  Your Personal Strategy:

*We’re going to do a little PP (pre-emptive prevarication).  If you can, make it the truth, please. Invent (or better yet, find) a financial middle-man, woman, whomever.


*Look for a pedigree that involves three letters (as in IRS).  An ex-3-letter person who’s gone civie as a financial consultant is very nice.


*Starting now, over latte, casually mention to your manager that you’re considering having a Ms3 Letter handle your finances.  After all, “who better to take care of headaches, then someone trained by an agency that gives them …?”  (Chuckle, sip.)


*Add, Ms3Letter will want the check the very day it arrives because you intend to be in good hands with your bank, your bill collectors – and the Treasury Bureau.


Your manager will probably air shuttle it to you.  Here’s why.  Any pro who’d dupe you may well have a few dangling issues with 3-letter agencies.  All you may need do, is get a middle-man and add a little “tri” to your “angle.”


P.S.:  If you’re positively forced to invent Ms3Letter, think of this strategy as a way of saving MrLightFingers from his own worst impulses.





photo credit: purprin via photopin cc

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