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My birthday is December 15, which makes me a Sagittarius. I partially named this blog, Sagittarius Dolly, after my zodiac. So imagine my surprise when I came across a wanna-be Instagram influencer named Jessy Taylor. She got attention when her Instagram account was taken down and she claimed that she called the police because of her deleted Instagram. You really can’t make this shit up! But then she put up this video where she cries about how her Instagram account was taken down after getting thousands of followers and how unfair it was that she has lost her account. But I also found out that she’s a fellow Sagittarius like me when she said this in her video:

“I’m not a hateful person. I’m a Sagittarius… I don’t get jealous. I can’t relate to hateful and jealous people because I’ve never been a hateful jealous person.”

Holy shit! If you think that statement is totally whack, here are some more choice quotes that were transcribed and posted on sites like Dlisted and Jezebel, starting with why she called the police after Instagram deleted her account.

“I felt like it was a homicide,” she said. “Like somebody murdered me and then went online to say, ‘I murdered this girl.’

“I called the police actually and told them about this, and they said you can’t compare a murder to this, and I was like, no, that’s exactly what it felt like.”

I would love to hear any recordings of that 911 call. It probably went something like this:

911 Operator: 911, please state your emergency.

Jessy Taylor: I was murdered.

911: Excuse me?

Jessy: Instagram took down my account and it felt like a homicide. It’s like somebody murdered me.

911: Wait, you’re calling 911 because Instagram took down your account?

Jessy: Yes. Losing my Instagram account feels like somebody had murdered me then went online to say, “I murdered this girl.”

911: Are you serious?

Jessy: Yes I am.

911: You can’t compare a murder to this.

Jessy: Yes I can because losing my Instagram account is like being murdered.

Then there’s her story of how she earned $500,000 as a result of her Instagram account only to lose it very quickly because, in her words, “that money does not last.”

“You go to the Gucci store a few times, you pay a couple of months of rent … I’m not rich like I used to be.”

I understand the rent part because housing in Los Angeles is notoriously expensive. (In fact I have a friend who lived in Los Angeles for a few years while working as an animator and artist in the entertainment industry. He later chose to move closer to his family in the DC area while doing West Coast-based projects via online because the housing there got too expensive for him.) But Gucci?!? It’s not exactly news that Gucci is expensive because it is considered to be a luxury brand. That’s the main reason why I have never purchased anything from Gucci.

She could get a regular day job now that she can’t earn the big bucks from her Instagram account but that’s not in the cards for her.

“I bring nothing to the table…I’m not work material. I will never be work material.”

“I make all of my money online, all of it! And I don’t want to lose that! And I know people like to see me be down, and be like them, be like the 90-percenters–the people that work nine-to-five–THAT IS NOT ME!–I am in LA to not be like that!”

She also mentioned that going back to college is out of the question because she tried that route before and she has student debt from that stint that she hasn’t paid off yet. You’d think that she would’ve used a portion of that $500,000 that she said she earned to pay down that debt before she went on her Gucci shopping spree.

But here’s the question—why did her Instagram account get taken down? If you search around enough, you would find that she has a history of saying racist stuff. In addition she was once accused of pouring Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner into someone else’s bottles of shampoo and conditioner, which caused that person’s skin to break out in a rash. You can learn more about those accusations in this video.

While she never mentioned the Clorox incident in her video, she had this to say about the racism charge.

“That wasn’t from the bottom of my heart. At the time, I didn’t have that many followers, so I thought if I say this, maybe I can get more followers…. It feels like everyone is after me for no reason… What is their legit reason for not liking me? They’ve never met me in person. How can you hate me from a computer? How can you write a paragraph about someone and hate them so much after just seeing a video of them?”

Basically Jessy Taylor is not some innocent victim of an intense cyberbullying effort that caused her to lose her original Instagram account. It’s bad enough that Instagram has become overrun with all kinds of wanna-be influencers who frequently try to reach out to me on my own Instagram account but they end up playing that asinine “Follow/Unfollow” game where they only follow my account long enough for me to follow back in return then unfollow me in an effort to artificially inflate their follow numbers so they can go to potential sponsors and say “See, my account has over 15K followers! You would be wise to let me hawk your products on my Instagram account since I have so many people following me.” But now there is a wanna-be influencer named Jessy Taylor who makes YouTube videos crying about how she has lost her precious Instagram account and everyone is picking on her when, in reality, it seems like she had brought on some of that drama herself.

Right now I’m working on a instructional video on how to avoid getting sucked into someone else’s “Follow/Unfollow” game and Jessy Taylor has provided me with another example on why these wanna-be Instagram influencers are the bane of Instagram itself.

In any case, here’s Jessy’s tearful video where she proclaims that she’s now a broke destitute victim because all those mean people have forced Instagram to get rid of her sole source of income and, man, life is so unfair and everything!

She has since provided this follow-up where she’s calmer but she claims that people hate her because she was once a prostitute.

The issue isn’t the fact that she was once a prostitute. There are plenty of people who have resorted to things they wouldn’t willingly do otherwise because they were financially struggling so bad. The issue is that she seems to be doing crazy stuff—including resorting to racism—because she is such an attention whore that she’s dying for people to pay any kind of attention to her regardless of whether it’s positive attention or negative attention.

By the way, after Jessy’s original crying video went viral, she created a new Instagram account called duhitsjessy, which has gained 15K followers as of this writing (which is a far cry from the 100K followers on her original account). But then, according to this article on Insider.com, Instagram said that it had deleted her original account in error. So now her original jessytaylorduh account with 100K subscribers is now back online along with her newer duhitsjessy account.

You know, instead of following either of her two Instagram accounts, how about following mine instead? At least I provide more content than just selfies.

UPDATE (April 15, 2019): Damn, this person is totally crazy. She has made a few new videos. This one has her announcing that she’s so tired of being labeled racists and having to face the haters in America that she will be moving to the United Kingdom once her lease is up.

I found this one video from a British YouTuber known as MrLewdacris who doesn’t want her in his country.

In this video she announces that Instagram has once again taken down her original account that had 100,000 followers.

Today she released a video where she claimed that a record label had told her to give up her ambition to be a rap artist and become an adult star instead.

If she’s trying to build a brand and a reputation, she’s going about it the wrong way. Sheesh, she makes Kim Kardashian and her family seem classy by comparison!

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A few days ago I got laid off from my day job. I originally started back in January and the business owner was pleased with my work. The only reason why I got laid off is because the work literally dried up.

My day job is with a government contractor whose main job is to make various documents accessible to people with various disabilities (blindness, dyslexia, having to use alternative navigation due to the loss of limbs, etc.). The business owner is calling the various purchase officers only to be told that they have to hold on to their money. Not too long ago Donald Trump had initiated a government shutdown that lasted over a month because he wanted funding for a border wall. Many purchase officers had told the business owner that they fear that Trump may initiate another government shutdown so they are holding on to their funds as much as possible.

I’m sad that I’m laid off because it was among the better jobs I’ve held. I’m hoping that the layoff is just temporary. With the upcoming Easter holiday I’m going to wait until after Easter Sunday to decide whether I should start job hunting again just in case the layoff is temporary and the business owner gets new business.

In the meantime I’m going to take advantage of the enforced downtime by working on promoting my book The Cash-Strapped Person’s Guide to Thriving in the Digital Age since I haven’t had a chance to do much promoting since this job came through just a couple of days before New Year’s Day. I also plan on doing some spring cleaning, taking a look at the tax forms (Tax Day is just around the cornier), and doing some gardening. At least I now have money so I can actually consider buying some plants (like herbs and strawberries).

There are some good things about having a day job, such as having a stream of income so I could afford to buy things like food and gas. But not everything is glamorous and exciting.

One day I sorted through piles of papers that go back decades (including one from 1986). Each pile topped with a Post-It Note represents a different year.

Once I sorted through the paper, I had to box them in order with the most recent year at the top while using gray paper with Post-It Notes to keep the papers divided according to year.

But it’s not all dull servitude at my day job. From time to time I encounter something interesting, such as these two vintage typewriters that are basically there as decorations. (My job uses PCs with Windows 10 installed.)

Those typewriters brought back memories of when I learned how to type on a typewriter. Despite the nostalgia I feel when I see them, there is no way in hell I would ever willingly go back to typewriters. I’ve grown used to just typing as much as I want without having to worry about waiting for a bell so I could hit the carriage return. It’s also way easier to correct an error on a computer than on a typewriter.

Outside of my workplace are a bunch of bird feeders. They have guards on them because they are supposed to deter squirrels, except this particular squirrel has somehow found a way of getting around those guards in order to get to the food. LOL!

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I was at a local CVS Pharmacy recently when I saw a brand new flavor of Peeps. This one is supposed to taste like pancakes and syrup. Seriously!

Peeps

No, I didn’t buy it and try it. I may be adventurous when it comes to Peeps but even I have my limits. LOL!

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This week a major scandal broke where a couple of well-known Hollywood actresses—Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman—were charged in an alleged criminal enterprise to get their children into the top U.S. colleges.

People became further pissed when one of Lori Loughlin’s daughters, a beauty vlogger who goes by the name Olivia Jade, boasted about how she was more interested in partying than studying at the University of Southern California. If Lori Loughlin is really guilty of her role in this scandal, it would be ironic that she went through illegal lengths to get her daughter enrolled at USC even though the girl seems more interested in her beauty vlogging career than in being a college student.

I wish I could say that I was shocked about this but I’m not. For years I’ve heard white people grouse about affirmative action and how it seems unfair that women and people of color were given preferences in admission to top colleges over whites—especially whites from lower income family. To some point I get the argument that it’s unfair for young white students to pay the price for the racist and sexist actions of other whites prior to their birth (even though they seem oblivious that, despite their lower economic standard, they can still benefit from white privilege in ways that people of color can’t—such as being able to avoid getting racially profiled by the police). And, yes, we need to focus more on intersectionality where people may be privileged in some areas but are still disadvantaged in others.

But I think it’s wrong for lower income whites to be angry about affirmative action when there is another form of preference that is far more pervasive and discriminatory against them. The recent arrests of Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman are just tips of the iceberg for another form of preferential treatment that is frequently given to young students based on their birth. As this tweet from Rolling Stone magazine writer Jamil Smith puts it:

Legacy admission is when someone gets accepted into a certain school on the basis of having at least one relative who previously attended that same school. A lot of times it is accompanied by the family making a generous donation to that school, which increases the person’s chances of being accepted to that school. Many private colleges and universities in the U.S. practice legacy admission, which explains why it’s not unusual for a certain school to have two or more generations from the same family as students and alumni. Unlike this recent scandal, where illegal bribes and outright fraud were involved, legacy admission is perfectly legal and it has long been used by the most elite schools.

My ex-husband is a perfect example of a legacy admission. He was admitted to Oberlin College early in his senior year of high school because his father, mother, and aunt were all Oberlin graduates. (His future step-father was also an Oberlin graduate but my husband didn’t meet him for the first time until long after he graduated from that college.) While his high school classmates in Garden City, New York were scrambling to apply to various colleges and universities during the spring semester, he was able to coast along secure in the knowledge that he was already accepted at a college. I only know this fact because my ex used to tell me this.

Did legacy admission give my ex-husband an unfair advantage over another student who was a hard worker in school and got excellent grades but wasn’t able to attend Oberlin College because he/she didn’t have any relatives who previously attended that school and that slot that could’ve been given to that student was, instead, given to my ex? Absolutely.

Would my ex-husband still have been admitted to Oberlin on the basis of his SAT score and high school transcript had he not had relatives who graduated before him? I used to say yes because for many years I used to consider him to be among the most intelligent and smart people I have ever known. But in the years since he left me for a woman with severe mental health problems, I’m starting to have my doubts. Sure he used to demonstrate his knowledge on a variety of topics, especially when we used to participate in various meetings and discussion groups that were held in our local Unitarian Universalist congregation over the years and they were just as impressed by what he knew as I was. But I’m learning that just because someone can demonstrate book smarts doesn’t mean that the person is equally intelligent in other areas of his/her life. I also don’t know what his high school grades were like or if he could have been admitted to Oberlin based on just his SAT score and his grades since I didn’t start dating him until we were students at the University of Maryland. (I was an undergraduate and he was a graduate student.)

All I know is that in the years since my ex had left me for that other woman then married her only two months after our divorce was final, I have met other people who are just as intelligent as my ex. In some ways they are more intelligent because none of them would ever look at someone who has severe mental health problems and think “Wow, that person is hot and fuckable!” (I still remember that infamous Donald Trump interview with Howard Stern where he said that “deeply troubled” women are “always the best in bed.” Thanks to the current President of the United States, I have some insight on why my ex would leave me for a mentally ill woman.)

As for me, I  was born in Baltimore and grew up in nearby Glen Burnie, both of which were a far cry from my ex’s upbringing in Nassau County on Long Island. Both of my parents only had high school diplomas. My father worked behind the counter of the auto parts division of a car dealership while my mother began her career as a secretary with a life insurance company and she was eventually promoted to the highest level job she ever held—office manager. Attending an expensive name school was out of the question for me and I never got a scholarship or anything like that. My parents ended up taking out a second mortgage in order to pay for my college years. Fortunately I attended university before tuition skyrocketed out of control so my parents only took out a $4,000 loan that was enough to cover tuition, books, room, and board. They were able to pay back that loan in a few years after I graduated then I got married (10 months after I graduated).

If I was a young person today, attending any state school like the University of Maryland would probably be out of the question for me since the average tuition has increased to about $19,000 per year for a public four-year school and $40,000 for a private university.

If you think people being admitted to college based on their parents being alumni is bad enough, there are people like Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who was admitted to Harvard despite being a mediocre high school student after his rich father—who had never attended Harvard himself—made a generous donation to that school. There are also people like George W. Bush who got into Yale because his father and grandfather attended that school and ended up being such a poor student that he received what is known as a Gentleman’s C after his family made generous donations to that school.

Legacy admissions and making postsecondary education very expensive both combine to shut out intelligent people who could otherwise excel and thrive at those schools but they were unfortunate enough to not have been born into upper middle or the wealthy classes. In turn, it ensures that businesses will continue to hire mediocre college graduates who used their wealth and connections to get ahead at the expense of hiring an intelligent person who could have been better suited for the job but either lacks a bachelor’s degree or didn’t attend the big name schools like Harvard, Yale, and Wharton. It also results in a lack of social mobility where people cannot reach their fullest potential and the United States becomes a less dynamic nation with less innovation as a result.

UPDATE (March 23, 2019): There’s an interesting article I found that expands further on what I wrote in this post that has this provocative title: From the Admissions Scandal to Chelsea Clinton to Meghan McCain, Legacies are the Enemy. I definitely recommend reading this because it delves into how legacies have contributed to the fucked up mess that the U.S. is currently in now.

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I’m only writing this post because I’ve seen so much bad advice out there from so-called self-proclaimed “experts” on how to land a job. I followed some of this advice myself only to have it go nowhere. First I’ll mention what did NOT work for me.

Getting good grades and doing well in school: My parents used to preach that mantra while telling me that getting good grades is more important than even having friends. While I think that doing enough work so you won’t flunk school is important, I found out that most employers don’t give a damn if you were the high school/college valedictorian or were a straight-A student all through school or you got a perfect score on your SAT. I’ve had some job interviews that completely dismissed my extra-curricular activities (especially on the college level or even the post-college volunteer work I had done in my church or community) as not being enough experience even if these activities were directly related to the job I was applying for. I’ve worked with managers over the years who didn’t seem knowledgeable about the job that they were doing and they only got the job not because of their education but because they knew the CEO or some other upper level manager. Or these managers had gotten their college degrees from the so-called “name” universities like Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton while ignoring someone who may have been more qualified for the job but that person only had an MBA from a state school like the University of Maryland.

I also think my parents were wrong on how unimportant making friends were. (My mother especially was always telling me about how having nice things were more important than having friends.) I found out the hard way that the key to landing a job is not based on what you know, it’s based on who you know. This explains why I’ve seen so many unqualified people get hired for jobs they have no business landing simply because these people belong to the same country club as the CEO or are golfing buddies with an upper-level manager or were college roommates with the Senior Vice President. My mother forced me to take two years of typing in high school because she said I’ll land a job faster only to find out that most companies I’ve interviewed for could have cared less about that fact. If I had kids, I would place even more emphasis on teaching them how to make friends than making the honor roll at school.

Indeed.com: Like I wrote in my recently published book, The Cash-Strapped Person’s Guide to Thriving in the Digital Age, Indeed.com aggregates job listings but the big problem is that many of those listings are out of date. Indeed.com lets you apply to jobs through its website and you can also upload your resume on that site as well so employers could find you.

I uploaded my resume on Indeed.com and I got a response from an employment agency in Baltimore where they needed to interview me for a job that they had me in mind for. So I went there only to discover after the interviewing process that their client wants a temp but the temp agency had to provide a list of 10 names to that client, the client will select three names, the client will interview those three finalists and then select one person. The agency only wanted me just so I could be a name on that list. I was so angry over being misled that I ignored all further calls from that agency.

I sent my resume to the various job listings through Indeed.com only to have it go through a proverbial black hole and never heard back from anyone. That method resulted in one interview where I didn’t get the job but seven months later that same place contacted me offering me a coupon in order to entice me into buying something from them.

Attending networking events through the local American Jobs Center: I went to several of these events and the only job I got as a result was a two-night gig as an extra at the taping of a TV special featuring financial expert Ric Edelman. These networking events announced that there could be recruiters mixed among those looking for work so we were encouraged to bring business cards and resumes. However, most of those events I went to either had no recruiters at all or there would only be one recruiter among 30-40 people looking for work. I stopped going to these events after I went to one last year with the same result—only one recruiter present with 30 other people looking for work.

LinkedIn: I would go to seminars at the local American Jobs Center where I was told that LinkedIn was the key to finding a new job. Except that didn’t happen for me. I tried signing up to LinkedIn’s ProFinder only to get rejected simply because no one whom I worked for in the past had gotten around to writing a recommendation for me on that site. I tried getting people whom I done work for in the past to write recommendations for me but they never got around to doing it and I can’t force someone else to write something for me. The big irony is that the last few jobs I’ve landed—including my current job—were with people who rarely use LinkedIn.

Job Fairs: I tried going to a couple of them with my resume in hand only to have no luck in finding work. I remember turning in my resume with a temp agency that was at this one particular job fair. The woman gave me her business card. When I attempted a followup call, I was scheduled for an interview. So I brought another copy of my resume to that temp agency. I met with a different recruiter from the woman who was at the job fair. She scanned my resume and told me that there was no work for me. My job interview lasted just fifteen minutes. Shoot, she could have told me that there was no work available for me over the phone when I did my followup call since they already had a copy of the resume that I handed to them at the job fair.

Meetup.com: I was also told by the American Jobs Center that Meetup.com was another way to network with people and possibly land a job. Here’s the thing I learned—my ability to network depended on where a certain meetup was held and how many people attended. I’ve attended meetups that were held in bars during Happy Hour and the noise level was so high that I couldn’t even talk to anyone without shouting at the top of my lungs. I go to the weekly animation meetup at the Greenbelt Makerspace but that one is relatively quiet compared to being at a noisy bar during Happy Hour. I once went to a meetup that was held in the basement of a library and that one was nice. (I should think about attending more meetups at that location in the future, but I digress.) While Meetup.com is a useful tool, one has to look at where that meetup is held and decide whether that event would be one to go to or just a colossal waste of time.

Craigslist: I had friends telling me that Craigslist is a great resource for finding jobs. I got one job through that site that turned out to be short-lived for me because, even though I liked the work, the organization was incredibly dysfunction and toxic and many of the problems stemmed from the business owner herself. I’ve applied to other jobs through there only to get ignored. Then there are the jobs that seem very suspicious. I recall seeing one job listing looking for writers where I was sent to this website that had a video that automatically started the minute I arrived at that site (which is always a bad sign). That video was rambling about how I could do writing jobs using this software that’s so amazing that all I needed to do was to just type in three keywords and that software will automatically generate an article. I kept on thinking if this software was so wonderful that it will automatically generate articles using keywords, why do the people behind this site need to hire anybody.

So those methods didn’t work for me, even though they were recommended by parents, friends, or so-called “experts.” Now I’ll go into one method that used to work for me but doesn’t anymore.

Temp agencies. There was a time when temp agencies was the way to go for finding work. The one advantage was that you could earn a paycheck quickly while getting a view of the various work environments you were sent to. It was through a temporary assignment from a temp agency that I landed a permanent job in the corporate offices of a now-defunct computer reseller where I lasted six years until I was laid off just a few months after the CEO sold the company to one of its competitors (and that competitor would later be sold to someone else). Back in 2016, after I left my job with a startup that ultimately went nowhere (mainly because I wasn’t getting paid and that check didn’t arrive until six months later), I decided to go the temp agency route again only to find out that they now have a different way of hiring people seems to be more focused on turning away more people than hiring them. Instead of calling them, setting up an interview, and going through some tests to make sure I have some basic business skills (like math and basic English grammar), most temp agencies will tell someone who calls them to apply through the website. I would send my resume into a certain agency’s website. Whenever I made a followup call, I would get someone to tell me to do a job search on the website, if I find a position I was interested in, I would send my resume to the email address on that position, then the assigned recruiter would decide if I really was qualified then call me. I tried doing that only to get zero response.

There was one temp agency that is so awful to deal with that I don’t know how it stays in business. I would call that agency, a receptionist would patch me through to a recruiter’s number then get a voice mail. I would leave a message and the recruiter would not even call back. I would call that temp agency again and it would be the same result. All I know is that now that I’m employed again, if the business owner ever needs to hire more workers through a temp agency, I will tell her NOT to even consider that temp agency. The lesson here, folks, is that a job searcher could one day turn into a hiring person and if you treat that person like garbage, that person will NOT do business with you.

Now I’ll go into the methods that actually worked for me.

Classified ads in the local newspaper: The local American Jobs Center kept on saying that using this method is outdated and no longer works. Yet last year I used this method to get one job where I worked with the executor of his late aunt’s estate. (It didn’t last long for me because I was promised full-time hours and they never materialized beyond the 18 hours per week in the four months that I was working.) I also answered another ad where I did some work for a therapist. I still do the occasional job for her when she needs the help. I found that using the small community newspapers worked the best for me because they tend to be more hyperlocal with smaller circulations than The Washington Post. This method isn’t perfect because several weeks will go by with no new Help Wanted ads but it doesn’t hurt to scan these local newspapers (if you have one in your town).

Taking classes in person. Since I’ve received my bachelor’s degree, I’ve taken classes over the years in an effort to gain new job skills and better myself in the hopes of landing better paying work. The one advantage of this method is that you get to meet people who may be instrumental in helping you land your next job. I know it’s not feasible for everyone because it requires time (including commuting to and from class as well as doing any required work outside of the classroom) and money to pull it off. But this method led me to my latest day job.

Back in the early 1990s I was towards the end of my six-year stint working in the corporate offices of that now-defunct computer reseller. Things were so chaotic in that corporation with frequent layoffs and reorganizations that I sensed that I had no future with that company. (Which turned out to be correct in my case since I got laid off.) At the time the World Wide Web was in its infancy and there were all kinds of computer technologies that were springing up, some of which were leading to career paths that didn’t even exist just a few years earlier. I read that desktop publishing was the next big hot field.

I found out that George Washington University had a non-credit division, known as the Continuing Education Program, where it offered certificates and desktop publishing was among them. While the money for each class was expensive (I think it was around the $200-300 per class), money was no object at the time because I was married to a man who worked at a well-paying job at NASA and he agreed that I should take desktop publishing classes.

Each class in the desktop publishing program lasted eight weeks. I remember that I had to take around 10 classes in order to get the desktop publishing certificate. I found the first five classes or so to be really interesting because I was learning new concepts and skills. The last five classes were annoying because even though those classes were supposed to be advanced, they basically regurgitated what I had already learned in the earlier classes and I felt like I was wasting time and money being taught things I had already learned. My husband pressured me to continue going to the classes just so I would get that desktop publishing certificate.

Some teachers in that program were better than others. One of them was a woman whom I felt was an excellent teacher and I had her for about two or three of the classes I took in that program. She had her own design firm so she was able to use her knowledge to teach desktop publishing classes. We got along well together.

Well, anyway, I got that desktop publishing certificate and I called the teacher for advice on finding work in that field. I took that advice only to discover that many employers could have cared less about the fact that I had a desktop publishing certificate from George Washington University. Some places I interviewed at seemed to totally scoff at my certificate.

I ended up using my newfound desktop publishing skills by volunteering with my church to help out with its newsletter for a few years when it had to forgo hiring an administrator because of tight finances. I also did the occasional desktop publishing work for other groups, my most recent effort was the monthly events calendar I did for the New Deal Cafe for a few months from fall, 2017 through early January, 2018.

I remember last year when I was working for that executor of his late aunt’s estate and he noticed that I had never gotten a master’s degree or any other advanced degree beyond my bachelor’s. When I mentioned that certificate in desktop publishing, he said something to the effect that it seemed like a waste of time. I agreed with him even though I told him that desktop publishing was once touted as the next big red-hot thing in business, which was why I had gone for that certificate in the first place.

But then it turned out that the certificate was a savvy move on my part in the long run. After I received that certificate and unsuccessfully attempted to break into that field as a desktop publishing professional, I had moved on with my life and I lost contact with that teacher. Fast forward a few years later when I was divorced, jobless, and broke. I had a friend move in with me just so we could split costs. He works at the public library in Takoma Park. One evening during the 10-day break between Christmas and New Year’s Day he came home telling me that someone he knows stopped by the library. They were talking since they haven’t seen each other in a while and she told him that she needs help with doing administrative stuff with her business. When he gave me the woman’s name, I nearly flipped because it was the same woman whom I had as a teacher when I was taking desktop publishing classes at George Washington University.

So I met with her in person and she recognized me from among her former students. I learned through her that George Washington University had discontinued its desktop publishing program a couple of years after I received my certificate but she still teaches and she even has the occasional class in the basement of her home (where she runs her business). We’ve hit it off and I’m now working for her on a trial basis.

So far things are working out but I’ve learned a long time ago not to take things for granted. Things that seem stable now could suddenly go away, such as what happened with my marriage when my husband went from being a loving person to someone who showed disdain for me like I was a piece of used toilet paper who should be flushed down the toilet.

The biggest irony is that it was my then-husband who pressured me into finishing the classes so I could get that certificate. If I was still married to him, I would have told him about how I’m now working for my former desktop publishing teacher and he would have said something like, “Aren’t you glad I pressured you into finishing that certificate? I was right, you know!” I would have responded, “Yes, you were right and I’m glad you pressured me into finishing that certificate program instead of dropping out.”

Instead my husband decided to run away from home back in late 2011 (just three months after I had hip surgery). Then he put me through months of pure hell as he refused to talk to me other than to demand that we separate our finances in order to keep with this schedule he had in his mind and he also said that we must get a divorce. He still kept up with that behavior after friends told me that he left me for a woman with severe mental health problems, whom he married just two months after our divorce was final. It’s all here in this post, which still remains among my most-read blog posts of all time.

After all the hell he put me through, there is no way in hell I’ll ever tell him how he was right about me completing the desktop publishing certificate. He doesn’t deserve to know. In fact, I’m so adamant about this that I have not made a Facebook post about this because I’m still Facebook friends with a couple of his relatives and a few friends who have remained in contact with him. (I have a few longtime friends who have confided in me that they no longer socialize with him because they have become so alienated by his behavior since he left me.) I don’t want any of them to see such a post on Facebook then turn around and tell him. At least with this blog I know he no longer reads it so I’m safe with posting this information here.

Instead my roommate is the one who knows this even though he had nothing to do with my decision to finish that desktop publishing certificate all those years ago. Meanwhile my ex will remain unaware that he was right about me finishing that certificate.

So the moral of my post is to not just rely on the experts alone when it comes to finding a new job because sometimes their advice is not worth a hill of beans. And continue to keep your current friendships while trying to make new friends because knowing people is the bigger key to finding a job than having the perfect grades or being a know-it-all about a variety of different topics.

UPDATE (February 21, 2019): For another perspective on the job search process, I came across this link on why landing a new job have become so difficult despite the frequent economic reports saying that employers are desperate for new workers but there is a shortage. This link says it all about how fucked up the job search process have become: Employers can’t Find Workers, So They’re Making It Harder to Get a Job.

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The 2020 elections aren’t until next year but it hasn’t stopped some people from publicly announcing that he/she is running, such as Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris.

The most ludicrous candidate so far has to be former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz. He’s running for president even though he has never served in the military nor have he ever been elected to a lower office. Hmmmm, where have I heard that one before? Oh, yes, the current occupant of the White House got elected in 2016 as the first president who had never served in the military or held a lower office.

And look how well that turned out so far with so many of his underlings being indicted and there was that federal government shutdown that lasted for a month. (The government is open at the moment but only for three weeks, which means we will all face Trump’s crazy shenanigans soon.)

What’s more, Howard Schultz has announced that he is running as an independent. Shades of Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996! Also shades of Donald Trump in 2000! (Most people tend to forget this but Donald Trump previously ran for president on the Reform Party platform—the political party that was founded by Ross Perot. His campaign ended up going nowhere and he didn’t even consider running again until 2011, when he simply flirted with the idea by reaching out to the birthers who were convinced that Barack Obama was really born in Kenya instead of Hawaii. But then he ran for real in 2016 and won.)

While I’ll admit that Howard Schultz would be a step up from Donald Trump (as far as I know, he had never gone through multiple bankruptcies and he was instrumental in opening Starbucks cafes all over the world and turning that brand name into a household word), I think enough is enough with business people with zero political experience thinking that they can run for president and expect to win.

I take a dim view on Howard Schultz for the same reason why I refused to join on the brief “Oprah for President” bandwagon that formed after she gave a rousing speech at the Golden Gloves last year. As John Dean, who was Richard Nixon’s lawyer during the Watergate scandal, puts it so eloquently on Twitter:

Howard Schultz should just stick with coffee and leave politics alone.

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For many years (or at least for the last 153 years) it has been a tradition for Necco to put out a line of Valentine’s Day candy known as Sweethearts. They are basically tiny heart-shaped candies that have little messages on them like “Love You” or “Hug Me” or “Kiss Me” or “You Rock.” They were only on sale through Valentine’s Day then the stores would have massive discounts on the candy starting on February 15 just so they could clear out the stock.

My parents used to buy Sweethearts for me when I was growing up. As an adult, my then-husband and I would buy each other the candy and we would give hearts to each other with an appropriate message (like if one of us wanted a kiss, one of us would present the “Kiss Me” heart then kiss each other). After my marriage ended I continued to buy a box or two for myself and just eat them out of a sense of tradition.

This year is different. There will be no Sweethearts candy on the shelves this year. That’s due to the fact that Necco went out of business last July. An investment firm bought the remnants of Necco in an auction and it proceeded to sell the Necco wafer brand and Sweethearts to the Spangler Candy Company a few months later. Spangler didn’t have the time needed to produce the Sweethearts so the company decided to wait until next year before producing its own Sweethearts.

Of course there was hype over the fact that people were somehow going to have lousy Valentine’s Day celebrations because they can’t buy Sweethearts. I think it’s overblown mainly because there’s plenty of other candy available (especially chocolates in heart-shaped cardboard boxes). In addition, I was in a local Giant supermarket last week when I found out that Brach’s had stepped up to the plate and it came out with its own version of Sweethearts. Brach’s version is called Conversation Hearts and it is priced just as cheaply as the original Sweethearts.

I bought a box for the heck of it. Looking at the candy, I have to admit that the writing is faint and tends to be off-center compared to Sweethearts. But I found the taste to be nearly identical to Sweethearts. I think those who are Sweethearts-deprived will find the Brach’s version to be an adequate substitute for this year.

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It’s been a bizarre news day. First political strategist and longtime Trump friend Roger Stone gets arrested at 6 a.m. outside of his home. Then, just a few hours later, Trump agreed to re-open the federal government without getting money for his border wall first. Here’s the bad news: The government will only be open for three weeks unless Trump decides to just drop his demand for that wall and go on with business as usual.

Here’s the thing, for two years both Trump and the Republican Party dominated both the White House and both houses of Congress. He could have easily gotten his wall project funded and started during those first two years since he had sympathetic lawmakers who would have gone along with whatever he wanted. However he didn’t do anything until after the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives after last year’s mid-term elections then he started to demand money for his wall. (It’s also the same wall that he campaigned on, telling supporters that he would make Mexico pay for it. Of course he soon dropped his plan to somehow extract the money from Mexico once he moved to the White House.)

The biggest irony is that in December both parties had agreed on a funding bill that would keep the government open without providing any money for a border wall. Trump was ready to sign that bill until he heard a few commentators on Fox News criticizing him for not demanding money to fund his wall and, before you know it, Donald Trump pulled these stupid shenanigans that had ruined a lot of people’s Christmas and New Year’s celebrations and left a lot of federal employees and government contractors on the financial edge as they began to dread missing paying bills and worrying about how they could afford to buy food.

With this temporary agreement, Donald Trump has signed the same bill that he would’ve signed in December (the one that didn’t provide border wall funding). Had he just signed that original bill, all that pain and anxiety felt by so many people could’ve been avoided. As Senator Bernie Sanders puts it:

The bad news is that this agreement is only for three weeks so it’s possible that this drama will happen all over again. The big irony is that Donald Trump originally made his name on the national level back in the 1980s with his book The Art of the Deal and he pretty much showed the world how much of a dealmaker he really is. I’m sorry but threatening others unless you get your own way is something that toddlers do—not expert dealmakers. This irony is the main reason why The Art of the Deal is currently trending on Twitter. As actor Mark Hamill puts it so succinctly:

What’s really bad about all this is the damage he has inflicted on the economy, especially in the Washington, DC area where I live. This article spells out how the impact of the longest shutdown in U.S. history could have an adverse affect on the DC economy for many years. If Donald Trump was a real man and not such a narcissist, he would have a special televised speech from the Oval Office admitting that he was naive when he ran for president and he is definitely in over his head because he lacks actual experience in holding elected office before being elected president. Then he should end his talk by announcing that he is resigning effective immediately. He needs to do what Richard Nixon did back in 1974 and just get out of the White House before he harms this country any further. If he genuinely cared about this country he would do it.

However I’m not going to hold my breath that he’ll actually resign anytime soon.

UPDATE (January 26, 2019): Tony Schwartz, the original ghostwriter of Trump’s The Art of the Deal book, issued this statement on Twitter:

Last Friday was the annual anti-abortion March for Life protest in Washington, DC. On the same day there was an unrelated protest that also happened in DC called the Indigenous People’s March. When the two different groups met on the mall, this viral video featuring the jeering students from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky made the rounds all over social media. The smirking kid wearing the red “Make America Great Again” from Donald Trump’s campaign now says that he wasn’t disrespecting that Native American drummer. He claims that he was trying to defuse the situation.

Except these kids from the all-male high school weren’t exactly model citizens at that march. Apparently before that standoff with that Native American drummer (who also happens to be a Vietnam War veteran) these same students were caught on video saying “It’s not rape if you enjoy it!

Even before that March for Life incident that school had problems ranging from that school’s star basketball player being accused of rape to having students appear in blackface at games where the opposing team had African American players.

Even if you’re inclined to believe that smirking kid’s claim that he was defusing the situation, just watching the video will make you question that kid’s statement.

I hate to say it but standing in front of someone wearing a red Make America Great Again hat while arrogantly smirking is NOT how you defuse the situation. If I had been a teen who was caught on camera doing something similar to what Nick Sandmann did, the one thing my parents would NOT have done is hire a PR firm trying to make excuses for me. What really would’ve happened instead is that my parents would have yelled at me about how I had not only disgraced and embarrassed myself but I also disgraced and embarrassed my whole family. Then they would have grounded me for at least a week (if not longer).

Besides, if you really want to know the REAL way of defusing a potentially explosive situation, take a look at this video I shot seven years ago back when the Occupy Wall Street movement was still going strong and its local Occupy DC chapter held a day-long event on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol Building called Occupy Congress. This incident happened during one of the teach-in workshops where the facilitators paused for questions and comments from the participants. This one man gave a very long and rambling comment that I had a hard time following. His speech went on for several minutes. One of the facilitators finally told the man that they needed to move on with the teach-in. The man’s friend suddenly went ballistic and began yelling and screaming. I immediately shot some footage with my cell phone. This man was so belligerent that it was obvious that he was itching for a fight. At one point he even pulled off his shirt even though the event took place in Washington, DC in January. Fortunately no violence broke out so no one was hurt and it was due to the volunteer peacekeepers who did everything to prevent a fight from happening. And they did it without wearing arrogant smirks. Here is the video.

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