The recession is the best form of birth control

cute worried baby

Nom nom nom! What? Oh yes, the recession.

Grandparents and ovulating women over the age of 22, avert your eyes. Actually, you may want to sit down for this one.

The number of babies born in the United States dropped 2.6 percent last year, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. And nope, it’s not good old-fashioned women’s lib or those free condoms handed out on the subway that’s causing the decline.

“The birth rate is falling because of the Great Recession. When people are unsure of their financial future, they tend to postpone having children,” Andrew Cherlin, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins University told CNN.

Nearly half of low- and middle-income women surveyed a year ago by the Guttmacher Institute said they wanted to delay pregnancy or limit the number of children they have because of money concerns, according to the Associated Press. Even more proof? The U.S. birth rate has been declining since the start of the economic downturn in late 2007.

This makes loads of sense. Diapers don’t come cheap. Neither does advanced squash for toddlers.

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Your exciting new job opportunity awaits (hint: flexibility’s a plus)

stripper shoes

Job applicants should be fans of flattering men for money and pole dancing for exercise.

If, like millions of people in America, you find yourself out of a job, stripping might be a lucrative career for the young and nimble out there!

The first academic research project into lap dancing by Dr Teela Sanders and Kate Hardy from the University of Leeds discovered that most strippers had at least completed a further education course, while one in four had undergraduate degrees. This means that for many of the ladies working that pole, their profession was a conscious choice with a lack of better options, like for example, blogging.

Unemployed new graduates – mainly with arts degrees – were also dancing because they could not find graduate jobs and found that lap dancing paid much better than bar work. Continue reading

How to date in the recession without revealing your inner cheap ass

jessica rabbit

Experts say hiding certain unseemly qualities, like say passing yourself off as Jessica Rabbit in your pofile pic, will help you find a life mate one day.

The recession has given love a particularly hard time these past few years. (See “Reason #468 why the recession is ruining your love life“). And a few months back, in a clever ploy to get people to remember who they are, online savings bank ING Direct surveyed 1,000 people on which words would come to mind if someone was fixing them up on a blind date with someone described as — god I almost vommed typing this — “frugal.”

Shocker: only 3.7% found that sexy.

Now as someone who has professed her willingness to marry a total stranger for his health insurance benefits, I probably shouldn’t comment on this. But anyway, 15% picked “boring” and 27% chose “stingy.”

Concerned by these sad statistics, NYT money columnist Ron Lieber decided to ask some random online daters for advice. How do you avoid the dreaded F-word? The answer, another shocker: Do what you do regarding everything else in dating profiles. Lie. Continue reading

The Steven Slater Phenomenon explained

steven slater jet blue flight attendant

All hail the hero of the overworked, underpaid working class.

By now, the folk tale of Steven Slater is probably being told in inspiring sing-song at campfires around the nation.

After a passenger on a Jet Blue flight allegedly cursed him out and slammed an overhead bin on his head, Slater did what most of us only dream of doing: he not only told that bitch off (“To the passenger who called me a m—-f—er, f—- you. I’ve been in the business 28 years. I’ve had it. That’s it”), but also took an exit route that we could only imagine happening in the throes of a Gossip Girl episode: he employed the emergency exit and slid down the inflatable slide with two beers in tow.

Yet for all the hoopla, there were also a lot of raised eyebrows: how could anyone quit a well-paying job in this economy? For all of you tsking tsking, Daniel Gross at Slate debunks that misguided thinking and explains why “more and more workers are unhappy”: Continue reading

Avoid these schools unless you have at least $400 million in the bank

student loan debt

This poor kid isn't trying to do his elementary math homework with the help of the cash in his mom's wallet: he's trying to figure out how many years of fake photos he'll have to pose in to pay for one semester of college.

The Washington Post Company released some sobering stats about how expensive an education has become. The Chronicle of Education released a similar report last year that showed university prices steadily growing. This is particularly depressing given that, as you can see, a college degree (even one that can provoke impressed oohs and aahs) isn’t really worth that much anymore. And yet, the number of kids taking out loans has been the highest in nine years.

So you can take your US News & World statistics and shove it. In a far more useful ranking system, Gawker crunched their numbers and revealed the top ten universities that will land you in the highest student debt. See the schools to avoid, no matter how awesome their lavish cafeterias are supposed to be, after the jump: Continue reading

Watch America become a wasteland of unemployment

If unemployment claims rising to the highest level since November doesn’t put you in the right partying mood, this visual graph of the nation’s growing unemployment numbers will sure do the trick. Don’t forget your flask this weekend!

(Thanks, HuffPo.)

UPDATE: Good point, Despondent! Things are even more depressing! The real unemployment rate — when you factor in people who have given up looking for jobs or underemployed folks working part-time or less — is closer to 20%, which Salon pointed out back in October.

Wait, househusbands may not be the golden ticket young girls always dreamed of

prostitute

This is your unemployed hubby on his "job interview."

Earlier on this blog, we extolled the kickass scenario some lucky wives find themselves in: due to the recession, male breadwinners have become unemployed househusbands who take care of the kids, cook dinner for you, clean the apartment, and help you kick off your stilettos after a hard day of work.

But according to a recent study on infidelity, men who are financially dependent on their wives and live-in girlfriends are five times more likely to cheat than those who made the same amount of money.

Before you throw your pay stubs in your deadbeat husband’s face, you should remember that cheating is still a rare occurrence, the head researcher told NPR’s health blog. Continue reading

Why I Have A Job: the American Studies major who tiptoed her way into employment

alex

This is what happy employment looks like.

Name: Alexandria

Major(s): American Studies and English

What I do all day: I’m a contract writer for a weekly newspaper, and I work from home. I wake up whenever the trucks start unloading outside my apartment (usually around 10). If I don’t have a story to work on, I read blogs, call contacts, check social calendars, and talk to friends in order to figure out what to write about next. If I’m already working on a story, I usually spend a big chunk of the day researching and reporting and interviewing subjects and writing.

What I would rather be doing all day: I am still stunned they pay me to do this. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do!

Where I found this job: I was an intern in my last semester of college.

Why they hired me as opposed to hundreds of other overqualified Ivy league grads: A few weeks before my internship ended, I said hello to an editor who’d been away for much of the time I’d been interning, so we hadn’t met before. When I introduced myself, she said “I’ve heard you’re good. You should march into the editor’s office and demand a job. Most women wouldn’t do that, but a man would, and you should.” So I did! (Although I think it was more of a tiptoe than a march, and more of a polite inquiry than a demand.) Continue reading

The recession has forced alcohol down your throats

don draper picture

I will use any damn excuse to post a picture of Jon Hamm in a suit. You're welcome.

The hottest new recession accessory? A flask in your pocket!

According to a new Gallup poll, we’ve all become Don Drapers: 67% of Americans are getting drunkypants, the most since 1985.

And of those drinking their sadness away, most are doing it in the privacy of their own home instead of some swanky bar. Continue reading

Unemployed law school grad goes on hunger strike

ethan haines tee shirt

Each $20 purchase will help support at least one law school grad's Ramen Noodles dinner.

When I was a young overachiever, my parents once hoped that, like all book-smart JAPs with attitude, I would make the family proud and join the ranks of well-paying society with nothing more than my ability to talk fast and memorize hundreds of pages of jargon: I would go to law school.

Years later when I discovered how much work that would be, I dashed their hopes and dreams and instead pursued the lowlier profession of writer blogger somewhat employed web assistant. Turns out, mom and dad, I was right!

In this economy, even lawyers can’t get jobs! And Ethan Haines, an ’09 law school grad, is fed up with it. So he did what any unemployed JD would do: start a hunger strike. Continue reading

Unemployed men are one apron string away from becoming real housewives

husband

Some lucky ladies already have this hunky jobless maid to themselves for FREE.

In a great piece for the New York Observer, fellow Columbia grad Alex Symonds (hi!) chronicles a trend she noticed among the male unemployed: jobless and aimless, they are turning into the reverse June Cleavers of 2010: buying groceries for their wives, taking care of their kids, and meticulously cleaning smudgy surfaces all over the house.

We’ve noticed this domesticated male epidemic already. And once or twice before. It’s not very new, but Symonds brings a deeper level of sophistication to the stats and notices that men are not only taking over all the housework, but also feeling a similar sense of ennui Betty Friedan chronicled among the ’50s women chained to their kitchens in The Feminine Mystique. Continue reading

In this economy, “education is basically worthless”*

stack of books

Books have never seemed so useless. (I was a comparative literature major, natch).

In what should be one of the most depressing articles of joblessness to date (a far cry from last year’s perky portrayal of blond twins performing on subways while pursuing the American Dream in New York), the NYT profiles a woman known as a “99er”: a poor soul who has exhausted the maximum 99 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits without any luck in finding a new job. And before Republicans Ben Stein anyone starts claiming that it’s her own lazy fault, take note: almost 1.4 million people were out of work for 99 weeks or more, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I really hope the Times at least took her out to dinner during the interviews, because, damn, her life seems to be one week short of turning tricks on the street. Let’s recap: Continue reading

Stop Thinking You’re A Jobless Lowlife

couch potato

This photo has been doctored with sepia undertones to mask the identity of this poor, fine-grade specimen of unemployed male.

Unemployed of the world unite: You have nothing to lose but your pot belly!

There is no greater blow to your self-esteem than losing your job. Thanks to all of that menacing free time, you’re more likely to ruminate on how shitty your life is going, how much your wife hates you now, and what a shell of a man you’ve become. (I imagine women on the other hand, like myself, just weep and eat themselves fat while updating their resumes). Clinical Professor of Psychology Robert L. Leahy, Ph.D points out a toxic thread among the unemployed: self-loathing.

British psychologists Adrian Wells and Costas Papageorgiou have found that people who ruminate actually think that they will figure things out, solve a problem and avoid making the same mistake in the future. Of course, there may be some truth that ruminating may “give you closure” or lead to solutions—but excessive rumination simply makes you more depressed.

As it turns out, sulking is not going to lead you to any kind of productive revelation that will magically transform you into a resume-churning member of society by morning.

As Yale psychologist Susan Nolen-Hoeksema has shown, rumination leads to depression and keeps you depressed. People who ruminate withdraw from the real world, often isolating themselves from other people. When you ruminate you are almost always focused on something negative—what is going on in your head. It adds to your sense of helplessness and makes you feel worse.

See the helpful tips from the PhD, who’s conveniently pimping out his new book on depression at Psychology Today, after the jump.

Continue reading