“Really New York?!” No, “Really Des Moines?!”

The "Sign" that is getting Des Moinesians in a tizzy (Andrea Laug)

See this sign above?  This was taken on May 21, 2011, by Andrea Laug.  Andrea is a great friend of mine.  She moved to New York City two years to take a job at a salon after graduating from Aveda in West Des Moines.  She posted this picture on her Facebook page.  I sarcastically posted a comment saying “Booo!” in jest.  I thought it was funny.

Apparently for a few folks in Des Moines, they don’t see it that way.

In fact, this sign is a non-story, but it is a story because some Des Moinesians can’t help but to act offended.  Note I didn’t write “feel offended.”  Feel and act are different actions.

New Yorkers have been known to be the brunt of jokes longer than Iowa has been a state (okay, I’m stretching that a bit).  For as much crap as they get, if anyone saw a similar sign and it had “New York” and not “Des Moines” on there, their response would be “fugetaboutit!”  Most New Yorkers would scoff or laugh at it, and then brush it off and go on with their lives.

Des Moines, on the other hand…

…is acting like someone walked up to them and asked if their Mom was a Cougar.

“Really, New York?!”

No, “Really, Des Moines?!” Do we have to overreact to everything emotionally?  Hell, I have a bigger issue on how the headline was written on Radio Iowa‘s blog.  Then again, I’m no journalist or headline writer. 

Sorry, but I don’t buy the notion that NYC was dogging us out.  In fact, it helps Des Moines and its profile.  How many New Yorkers have heard of Des Moines, outside of every four years when the caucuses roll into town?  Secondly, as Suzanne Hull pointed out to me while I was writing this, “No P.R. is good P.R..”  I have good friends who offered their comments to this story on different sites.  I could not disagree with them more on this.  That sign was not put up to “intentionally” demean Des Moines.  To suggest that it is, I think it’s ludicrious. 

If you can’t laugh at yourself and let this go, then that’s a “you” problem, as ESPN’s Colin Cowherd would say. 

This “story” is an non-issue.  Des Moines, take a chill pill and relax.  We are who we are.  Much like New Yorkers, you take it or leave it.  They don’t care if you don’t like them, but they sure as hell wouldn’t be stopping in their tracks and whine about it.

Let it go.

Plus, Andrea should get credit for finding the sign first and then taking a picture of it. 


Have you received the “letter” yet?

No, not this letter. A letter from Iowa Workforce Development, telling you to show up or lose your benefits.

This morning, the “Get It Done” girl, Suzanne Hull, sunk her teeth into Iowa Works, or the agency to be formerly known as Iowa Workforce Development.  Recently, IWD has sent out letters to unemployed workers advising them to attend re-employment customized classes.  Failure to do so will result in losing your unemployment benefits.


Suzanne and the Unemployed in Des Moines group was able to get the ear, literally, of a representative from IWD last week and voiced their concerns and questions about their experiences with IWD and what they feel should be fixed.

There are some issues and problems that IWD needs to address, if they ever get around to addressing it.  If you have had past experiences with Iowa Workforce Development, what were they and how would you like to see changed with IWD?

No Handballs Allowed

As Jesse Gavin would say, "Be Orange!", like the Dutch! Click to read how these girls became big news at the World Cup.

Today, I have a couple of things to say about the World Cup, but I have some thank yous to hand out, if you don’t mind.

I want to thank Suzanne Hull a.k.a. “The Get-It Done Girl” and the force behind “Unemployed in Des Moines” for linking my blog to her site and forwarding it to her readers and fans.  Suzanne is passionate about how the unemployed are adapting and finding ways to be gainfully employed again here in Des Moines.  A second thank you to Joe Burkland of “The Learning Curve”, who posted a link in the comment section under Friday’s “Do not pass go…” blog entry.

Finally, to all of the readers out there, including you Charlie, thank you for your continued readership!

Soccer has never been a sport that I follow much, but over the past three years, I’ve started to follow the European leagues and international friendlies.  I’ve watched more World Cup matches than I have in the last three World Cups combined (1998, ’02, and ’06).  Does that make me a rabid fan?  No.  It makes me a casual fan who appreciates good futbol and my willingness to learn the nuances of the sport.

Despite USA losing to Ghana, USA did an admirable job and did not embarrass themselves in the way they did in ’98 and France did in this tournament.  Leave to the French to wave the white flag and say “we surrender.” What an utterly pathetic performance and conduct.  While we’re at it, let’s stop the incessant questions of “will USA’s performance help soccer here become big?” Nothing will push the three most watched and played sports in America out of the way (American football, baseball, basketball).  That’s reality that we have to accept, whether it’s a popular thought or not.

Soccer is a “niche” sport, like hockey.  Fans who love the sport will follow it from start to end.  Casual fans, not so much.  It has to take something monumental, like the World Cup, to get the casual fan’s interest.  Trust me, there are fans who don’t like football, baseball, or hoops, so it goes both ways.

Former Argentine great and World Cup coach Diego Maradona (right) with his protege star, Lionel Messi (left).

If there is one thing that casual fans are in total agreement of, and that is the “flopping” in matches.  I understand that using injury time is a strategic tool in buying extra time to score, or if a player is really injured.  Casual fans “hate” it and would like for soccer players to stop making a mockery of the sport. It’s bad enough one sport, basketball, has a cache of “floppers” crumbling to the floor on a ticky-tack foul.  Must there be two sports that has these posers? Die hard soccer fans will disagree with the casual fan and argue what I said earlier about taking advantage of stoppage time.

Anyway, I’m going to continue watching the World Cup.  I had planned on watching even if the U.S. didn’t advance further.  I love watching the thug-like, mobster-suit wearing “Hand of God” extraordinaire Diego Maradona and his Argentina squad, the fast and quick-to-the-ball Ghanians, and of course the orange mob of the Netherlands.  My fellow alumni from Wartburg might have figured out what I have an affection for the Dutch, besides the lovely women at the top of this blog. (Be Orange!)

Until then, my friends, flip on the telly, and enjoy hearing this…

Friendly assist in helping unemployeds

Need tips to gain an advantage in the interview and your resume? Below are some tips to help out.

A good friend of mine, Suzanne Hull owns and operates her business, Contemporary Business Solutions, which assist organizations in create efficiencies by offering a variety of services on a virtual, as-needed basis.  She also has a blog called “Unemployed in Des Moines” that has become a popular site and meeting place for unemployed workers in the Des Moines area to go to for support and to refine their skills and job searches.

Suzanne Hull runs Contemporary Business Solutions and "Unemployed in Des Moines."

If you are a fan of hers, you may have noticed that “Unemployed” has been down for the past few days.  Apparently, her host site, for some unexplained reason, has knocked her website out for a loop.

As she works on getting that fixed, I’m going to give her a friendly assist today and post some interesting points and insights about how to get a “leg-up” on the career/job search.

Liz Ryan is one of the leading workplace advisors in the U.S., ‘the voice of the new-millennium workplace.’ Liz works with employers, universities and Human Resources thought leaders on the changing nature of work and employment.  Her column, courtesy of Yahoo HotJobs, lists the 10 phrases or sentences that could sink your resume and your chance to get your foot through the door with hiring managers.

-Mark Riddix, who writes for Investopedia, offers 7 things you should say in an interview to get their interviewer’s attention and interest.

-And finally, Jim Rendon of SmartMoney.com, finds the skinny on what Human Resources will never say to anyone, but themselves, when it comes to hiring and handling things in the workplace.

Is it better to stay unemployed?

To take a temp job or not to take a temp job, that is the question.

The Christian Science Monitor published a story on Tuesday about the difficult choice for the unemployed to either find work or stay unemployed.  If someone decides to get a part-time job, then they will lose their unemployed benefits based on a recalculating system that is used.  The impression that the unemployed has is that they’re better off being unemployed than pick up part-time work.

An example of how states recalculate the amount of benefits you can receive is displayed here:

Connecticut’s formula for part-time workers is to take two-thirds of their gross salary (in her case $130 a week, which is $87) and subtract that amount from $39, which would be her weekly benefit based on the part-time job. This gives her a negative $48, or no benefit at all.

It has been said in numerous networking circles that if your unemployment benefits is about to expire, you can continue to call in and your benefits will be extended while you are finding full-time work.  So, should you call in your part-time earnings for fear of losing your unemployment benefit all together?

The thought of telling someone who is seeking work that it’s better not to get part-time work and sit at home is a blow to the psyche to those who want to get back on their feet.  Currently, the number of full-time jobs are at a premium, and yet a number of part-time jobs are popping up.  The part-time work may not help cover most things, but mentally, it gives people a self-esteem boost.  It puts them back on their feet and doing something.

You may have to think twice before taking that part-time gig at your nearby coffeehouse.

What do those who are unemployed and seeking work feel about this story?  Do you think it’s unfair that you could lose any or all of your unemployment if you take a 3-hour barista gig at Java Joe’s twice a week?

I’m sure that my friend, Suzanne Hull, who runs Unemployed in Des Moines, will offer her opinion and give some tips on how to deal with this situation if it happens to you.