Share Ideas!


I wanted to create a page specifically for ideas, suggestions, networking possibilities, links to useful websites and anything else to help us, help ourselves. We need to stand together and reach out for one another in these stormy times. Please feel free to post and talk and build our numbers. Together we can grow and have our voices heard. Together we can make a difference.


Comments
  1. phnxrth says:

    I just want to leave comments for the author of this blog. Probably mostly repeats of other comments.

    I know what it is to be on the brink. When it happened I had to pull out all the stops: prayer, relatives, financial loans, being willing to do any kind of menial labor anywhere, anything that looked like some kind of possibility had to be explored. It wasn’t pretty and it lasted for years.

    But that’s how I stayed off the streets during my “on the brink” years. I recovered and so can you. I hated it and at times lost hope and patience and even connections with myself.

    Keep trying to just let the past go. One foot in front of the other. Just keep going.

  2. Bob in Denver says:

    My story is similar to many I’ve read here on this blog. I am almost 54 and have worked in the software development field since I was 16 (I used to write Cobol programs for my high school as an after school intern making $1.60/hour back in 1973). I have several college degrees and worked for 25+ years as an R&D engineer for AT&T/Lucent Bell Labs. I haven’t worked for a paycheck since 2004 and believe that I am no longer employable (overqualified/overaged) unless I were to relocate to India or China. You all have heard the story before…

    During most of my career at Bell Labs I worked as an inventor coming up with new applications and technologies related to computer software. Much of the time I worked independently and had many projects that were turned into real products that exist today (as well as about 9 patents – I say “about” because when I left the company they stopped communicating with me about a few patents that were in the pipeline and I’ve lost track of my (their) intellectual property). Anyway – I’ve spent a lot of time the past few years working on a variety of software projects on my own (literally working in the basement). Pretty much as I did when I worked at Bell Labs except now I don’t get a paycheck or have any benefits ;-))

    I am very skilled at creating software and developing concepts from nothing but I have absolutely no
    skills at promoting or marketing or sales. I have recently come up with something that I believe has some great potential as a commercial internet application but I need to partner with someone (or a small group) who have the complementary skills I do not have in promotion and marketing and sales.
    What is needed is someone with these skills who has a lot of time to invest in working with me to figure out what if any changes are needed in the application and then to figure out how to promote and turn it into a “real” business venture. I do not believe any significant capital investment will be needed beyond the investment of time and energy. This application can be deployed on the internet using a virtual server for about $50/month to get bootstrapped.

    The one application that I have in mind (I have several on my shelves) that may make a good potential new business is a web application that works with a server to create 3D models of residential real estate (i.e., a house/apartment/condo for sale/rent) that are implemented as interactive Flash video files. The 3D models can be interactively manipulated to visualize the property from many perspectives. In addition photographs of the property can be embedded in the 3D model to enhance the visualization. You can add text to provide additional information. There is a lot of other stuff that can be added such as speech or music or guided tours, etc. I would be looking for a marketing savvy partner(s) to help figure out what additional features would be useful.

    As part of this development I’ve created a technique for creating these 3D models that is actually quite easy to use for a non-expert. If you have a paper copy of a 2D floorplan (e.g., from a builder’s sales brochure) or can hand sketch a layout of the property on a sheet of paper and start with that information you can create a 3D model in less than an hour for a typical suburban style house. [I did a complicated 3600 sq ft, 14 room house in less than 2 hours]

    The resulting 3D visualizations of property that are implemented as a single Flash video file could be used anywhere on the internet to promote real estate for sale/rent. They could also be used by people to record their homes design and contents for insurance claims after the home is destroyed. I bet there are other applications of this technology that I haven’t thought of….

    If there is anyone out there who has promotion/marketing/sales skills and who has the time to partner with a techno-geek like myself who has none of those skills (but I can write software like the “Tasmanian devil” ;–)) and who is interested in pursuing some sort of collaboration to create something out of my software – please contact me. I have no expectations of how any such partnership would happen with respect to money or distribution of effort. Everything is open to discussion as far as I am concerned. I do expect that this effort would require as little as 1 or 2 others besides myself and perhaps as much as 4 or 6 people, but not any more than that.

    If you are interested in talking about this I’ll show you what I have created thus far… please contact me via this website.

    Thanks in advance for listening to me ramble on,
    …bob…

    • SVP says:

      Bob, what an incredible history and solid experience! I am even more discouraged about jobs prospects if someone with your pedigree is having difficulty finding a safe place to land. Haha~
      I have a long history in IT hardware installs and implementation, but no programming experience. I’m just not ‘wired’ in that respect; much to my detriment.
      I think your concept is definitely viable and very marketable. I will do what I can to promote your suggestions and skills.
      Never have reservations about telling your story here. We are in this together and are helping one another out of this deep hole. Keep coming. Keep posting. Let us know how the fight is going and I personally wish you the very best of luck. And should you find the need for a weathered photographer for conceptual framework, keep me in mind.

      Scott

    • benilaw says:

      Bob,
      Wow, what a cool idea! I wish I had these technical skills that you have! Though I’m an attorney, I do have some PR/Marketing sense/skills. One obvious place to market this 3d home application is to the real estate pros – the agents/brokers. Maybe partner with major real estate companies like Re Max so that their agents can show it to their homebuyer clients. Maybe structure a deal (contract) with them so that you can earn a portion of the commission for every sale resulting from the use of the application.

      Another place to market this application is with the home security industry. Companies like Sloman Shield, ADT/Broadview security could maybe include this application with their products (again, tout the benefits of having this for insurance purposes – like if there is a home invasion, burglary, etc.). You can enter into a contract where you get a percentage of the sales of the application with their security products.

      You should get a patent for this application. Once you have it, you need to go to trade shows that these companies attend, find ways to network and meet with the key people who make the decision to enter into partnerships, joint ventures, etc. Find out if if there is anything similar in the market. Do market research – focus groups, online surveys through existing survey companies, etc. You can do ad campaigns on tv but internet marketing is also really big these days. The key is to figure out who would buy this product. Who is your target market? Homeowners only? Can this be applied to commercial properties? Now, you have a bigger market and the latter may be more interested due to the security issues discussed above. Find out if there are blogs that talk about home/building security and maybe introduce your product there as well.

    • Bob in Denver says:

      Thanks benilaw for the advice and suggestions. Your remarks are well thought out and logical but unfortunately do not work in today’s corporate centric world. The main problem is that corporations will not entertain an idea of any sort from a mere individual who is working on a technology solution by himself. If you can’t show up with a team like Don Draper and the fictional characters from “Mad Men” to make a professional pitch or point to a set of websites that have thousands of listings per month none of the organizations you mentioned will let you in the door. I’ve tried this route for several years on this project and others and all such efforts were complete failures. The good old days when two guys like Hewlett and Packard could start building electronic gadgets in their garage and turn it into a major corporation are long gone.

      Unlike Al Gore, I really am one of thousands of individuals who actually did participate in the creation of the internet. All of the communications technologies that I worked on facilitated the ability for American corporations to easily outsource just about any information processing task. The internet has made my career, my wife’s career and that of hundreds of thousands of my former colleagues disappear. Talk about bad Kharma … I should have thought a little more about what I was doing when I worked on Electronic Switching System technology in the 70s and eliminated the careers of thousands of telephone operators and telephone receptionists. What difference does it make if your job is replaced by a machine or a low cost employee in a third world country? The result is the same.

      I had once hoped that the internet could be the great equalizer that would enable a lone character such as myself to develop, showcase and deploy a new idea. This has failed as well. There is a lack of trust (much of it appropriate in my opinion) that exists where the internet is viewed as the domain of frauds, cons and nut cases. Business activity still requires the personal or professional relationship and as I remarked above, more now than ever, an unknown with an idea or a concept who doesn’t have a “personal network” is completely blocked out of any kind of interaction. Even worse if you don’t have the personality of a “salesman” who can pitch any idea to anyone. All my attempts to partner with someone who has those skills have failed, primarily I believe, because of a lack of trust that cannot be breached over the internet.

      Now it seems that the “big” telecom players are working to make the internet even more difficult and inhospitable for an individual by thwarting the concept of “net neutrality” As one who knows the dynamics of internet communications fairly well I believe the loss of net neutrality is a very, very big deal and will only strengthen the power of large corporations to run the economy, politics and policies of this country. This is an increasingly sad state of affairs on many levels for our society. Everywhere I look it seems as if the politics of the day are proposing to do exactly the opposite of what is necessary to repair our broken economy. The new right wing conservative agenda seems to want America to look like the 19th century societies portrayed in the writings of Charles Dickens.

      So anyway, thanks for letting me ramble on with this bit of catharsis. I will throw this particular idea onto the shelf and there it will sit with all the other “neat stuff” I have done over the past few years. I am much more fortunate than others who have reported on this website because I don’t have the financial stresses that many are experiencing. In my case, chronic health issues and disability led me to expect unemployment over 20 years ago so I planned for a loss of income a long time ago (while I was earning a good salary) and saved for a long time while my peers were spending. That being said I’d trade all my savings for the good health I used to have in a heartbeat… but that is another story for another time and place.

      thanks to all for listening,
      …bob…

    • Galt Society says:

      Hi Bob … Interesting. Ping me at dan at galt society dot com. I have two potential things in mind.

  3. Vic says:

    I was laid off in 2001 for nine months. During my job search I applied for jobs I knew nothing about because I was in dire straits. After taking a civil servant exam in Stockton, CA., based on an ad I saw in the Stockton Record newspaper, I was called in for an interview for a Wastewater Operator position. I interviewed and was hired some weeks later.

    Mind you I was previously a white collar project manager who had an MBA degree. As things turned out, the job is not only satisfying but is a job that :

    0) Needs only a high school education to get started
    1) Cant be outsourced
    2) Cant be automated
    3) Is not dependent on sales
    4) Has no competition
    5) Is needed in boom times or recessions…….. because it involves public safety
    6) One needs only to read one text book and pass one exam to be job ready

    I’m just mentioning this because I read the news a lot and never here opportunities in this field being mentioned. Yes, the work may be unpleasant at times, and there are rotating shifts, but there are jobs out there and it is a great career where there is no
    age discrimination at job entry and no one will try to nudge you out when you reach 70………….because they cant find enough replacements.

    I hope this info is helpful.

    Vic

    • Julie Hicks says:

      OMG – I did the same thing. I’m a Business Systems Analyst by trade, education, years experience, etc., but after one job was off-shored to India and another was laid off due to major stakeholders pulling out of development of a financial software application, I found myself out of work for 10 months at the height of the current recession/depression. I applied for a position requiring only a high school degree, despite having two college degrees myself.

      Today, I work alongside 20 somethings doing a job I never dreamed I would be doing. I work in a call center as a collector, of all things. To keep this short I’ll just say that I work for an awesome company, have awesome benefits, and earn less than half what I did just three short years ago. But I’m happy with where I am – I’m content, and we’re getting by. We never lived beyond our means in the first place, although I did myself have a car repossessed as a result of the financial turmoil of the past two years. We have our home – been here 15 years – and I’ve accepted that I probably will never again work as a BSA.

      But I’m employed full time. You simply must be adaptable in today’s work environment. Nothing is forever. There’s no room for ego. Humility is the name of the game.

  4. benilaw says:

    Hello all:
    Based on a post from svp333 stating that someone asked him to let me know that they wanted to be in touch with me, I’m wondering if there is enough interest for forums/messageboard or some other way that posters can communicate directly with each other.

    Obviously, people probably wouldn’t want to share their contact info openly but it would be easier for us all to be able to directly communicate with each other without a middleman through private messaging on a forum/messageboard (I’ve seen this option on other message boards/forums).

    For example if people want to post resumes for fellow posters to review, critique, provide feedback, it can be done through a messageboard/forum WITHOUT including contact info for privacy reasons and then if people know of someone who needs someone with those skills/education, they can send private messages to each other.

    It’s great to share stories and know you’re not alone…now let’s be more proactive in helping each other find work!

    • SVP333 says:

      benilaw,

      I agree completely and on page one I’ve asked readers here if they’d be open to posting resumes here along with a short bio. I will create the page once I’ve gotten 5 positive responses. I’m a little limited here on WordPress to offer IM or chat interfaces, so be aware that I’m looking into this idea. That was where I wanted to take this site in the 1st place, but wanted to see what the response level might be. Our site here has only been in existence for just over a month now and if you’ll bear with me and invite others…I promise to make this a community of strong, skilled unemployed and underemployed folks looking to stand again.
      I was very happy to facilitate that connection for you.
      And should anyone else feel the need, please enter your email when you post a comment. It won’t be public, yet I will be able to have it in my database to make contacting you much easier.

      • benilaw says:

        Thanks Scott. I just think your idea of creating this website is so great and I really think it could be a wonderful community for all of the unemployed since the employed really do not get our pain unless they were once in our shoes.
        Thanks again for putting me in touch with one of the other posters. We have been emailing each other back and forth. :)

      • benilaw says:

        I almost forgot – totally keep forgetting that is is a WordPress hosted site and thus, there are limitations on what you can do! I made the suggestion based on the thought that playing the middleman might become burdensome for you.

        • SVP333 says:

          It was a great idea! I had hoped to add these features at some point anyway to help out more. I’m doing what I can to work around the limitations and restrictions so it’s a process.
          Ultimately, I hope to be able to just let the site run on its own should I face the inevitable boot to the streets. That way I’ll feel as though I’ve left at least something as a touchstone behind for those that need to be lifted up and heard.

  5. Michael says:

    Hi!
    I read your story on the HP homepage. Although on a rational level I always knew that was the danger about “The American Dream”/”From rags to riches” and although I was raised with a very different mindset, it still – somehow, I can’t explain – disheartens me somewhat.
    Anyways, and it surely is no more than a straw, I’d still like to point you at an idea/ ressource. For a fact I know that there are currently something like 18.000 vacancies in IT jobs here in Germany we can’t fill.
    Funny enough, although most of these jobs requiere good skill in English language as secondary skills (degrees/ qualifications etc. being the primary requierements) there is – to my knowledge – no English language database to search for these opportunities. But I can provide two bits of information/ links to our federal office in charge:

    http://www.arbeitsagentur.de/nn_426134/EN/zentraler-Content/Arbeiten/Arbeit-in-Deutschland-EN.html

    For a description of the general terms. Sounds more harsh than it actually is. Put into practice, the process is that you send an application to a company, if they want to recruit you, they have to make a statement to the federal authority that A) you fit into the job and B) they couldn’t find someone else (which is likely with 18K vacancies).

    What I can provide in addition is a phone/ mail contact to the federal agency in charge who maybe can provide much better information on opportunities/ vacancies:

    Info-Center der ZAV
    Telefon: 0228/713 1313
    Fax: 0228/713-270-1400
    Email: zav-auslandsvermittlung@arbeitsagentur.de
    Zentrale Auslands- und Fachvermittlung (ZAV)
    Villemombler Straße 76
    53123 Bonn

    While one can find these information pretty much only if one understands German language, it is quite different when being/ working here. Especially in highly skilled or ‘academic’ environments, almost every German of my generation is easily capable to communicate in English. We are taught that from fifth grade onward at the latest.

    It is just an idea I wanted to share.

    Good luck and best wishes!

    Michael

  6. JZ says:

    I am in the business of recruiting English teachers for countries like China, Thailand etc, who consistently have a high demand of native English speakers from countries like the US and the UK. I’ve seen through my work that the demand for opportunities like these from overseas have grown drastically from underemployed folks in the US. When kids cannot find a job after graduating from college, instead of working odd jobs and crashing in their parent’s basement, why not travel to parts of the world where they can make a living just by being a native English speaker while gaining experiences and creating networks through interactions with people from all over the world. Same goes for laid off teachers or other folks who can’t seem to find a break here in the US. I would say this option is not for people with families and mortgages to pay etc. Most of these jobs offer a salary that’s not comparable to the standard of living in the US-anywhere from $800-1500 a month(plus freelance work opportunities to supplement this income). The good thing is most living expense is covered, such as housing/medical insurance etc. so the money they make will just be spending money, and the livng cost is significantly lower so one can live very comfortably off of this salary and it’s very possible save up thousands of dollars each year for when they are ready to get back to the US. I think this is a underlooked at opportunity from the underemployed population here.

    • Julie Hicks says:

      Wow – I wish I could take advantage of this opportunity, but I have a family and a mortgage. If I were right of college again for the first time, single, no children, I’d jump on the offer to travel abroad and teach English. It sounds exciting and perfect for older folks whose children are grown and young people right out of college!

  7. Blueskyseas says:

    There was a study reported on the local and national (abc cbd nbc) news saying “Money can buy happiness…to a point” stating emotional well-being increases with income until you hit $75,000. After that the increase was in feelings of “success”. Just an interesting thought.

  8. svp333 says:

    These suggestions are from Benita and I thank her for offering them to us. Great ideas and thoughts!
    —————————————————————————————————————————
    Hello all:
    I’ve read a lot of stories and wow, I hate to say it – but it makes me feel a little better about my own situation.

    Since so many people have lost unemployment/don’t qualify for that or SSI, SSDI, welfare, etc., I thought of starting a post on frugality and see if we can all find ways of cutting down costs for each other.

    Here is my list:
    For books – go to the library (I’m on goodreads.com and when I find books I want to read, I make a list and hunt it down at the library – gone are the days of barnes & noble).

    Grocery shopping -coupons – tons of websites where you can find coupons and maybe trade with friends & family. When I lived alone as a student, I seriously made meals out of whatever was on sale for the week. I could survive on $20 or less per week plus I cooked in bulk to avoid eating out.

    Travel – look for discounts (i.e. Triple A, College Alumni Association, professional association) and try to find groups of people to travel with to get a group discount

    Clothes – thrift stores and also swap with friends and family (during college, my class held a “rags to riches” event which drew a decent turnout)

    Movies – instead of paying $ 9-10 bucks or waiting for DVD to come out, why not go on a Sunday and catch the $2 matinee? You’ll be with the senior citizens but so what?

    Restaurants – try to eat out sparingly but when you do, go out during special promotions and deals (again you might find coupons and check out the Entertainment book in your area for deals).

    Transportation – get rid of the excess cars! Form carpools or better yet, if available, take public transportation (trains, buses) whenever possible. It’s more green anyway. If it’s a short distance, try walking (poor person’s best exercise since it’s free).

    Gym memberships – sign up ONLY if you really will utilize your membership. It can be expensive. Otherwise, invest in some inexpensive equipment such as 3 lb free weights). Go for a daily walk/jog.

    Materialistic consumption – DO NOT buy right away. If you really can’t live without it, HAVE A PLAN for paying for it (i.e. rework your budget), shop around to compare prices, wait for sales, etc. If you head to the mall to window shop DO NOT carry the plastic – leave debit/credit cards alone. This will lessen the likelihood of impulsive buying. Also eat before going out to avoid buying expensive junky fast food.

    Also – gifts – either gift-cards (I’m a huge fan of these) or why not shop throughout the year during the major sales? Where is the rule that Christmas gifts must be bought in Nov. or Dec? If there is a good deal during Easter, Memorial Day, 4th July, Labor Day, why not buy gifts at that time? You’ll finish early and avoid the last-minute impulse buying and stress. Have a list ready of people you want/need to buy gifts for and keep an eye out for things they could use/like throughout the year. This will save time and money!

    How do these suggestions sound? Post with your own suggestions on how to live frugally and still have a life!

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