linklings, the stimulus effect on the job market edition

World Class Traffic Jam

An unscientific observation here:  it seems to me that the job market is perking up.
I don’t know if the activity is picking up because I’m trying harder (doubt it), the seeds I planted months ago are finally sprouting or whether external factors (like the stimulus) are kicking in.  I am getting more calls and more leads and finally starting to talk directly to some companies, rather than just headhunters (and recruiters are starting to call me rather than the other way around).  Signing up for TheLadders may have helped a lot.

One of the things that I’ve hoped for that hasn’t seemed to materialize is a pickup in the consulting market. I’m resigned to the fact that if we want to move to Florida and buy a home I’m going to have a far easier time securing a mortgage and building our somewhat-depleted cash reserves back up with regular job.  In addition, finding consulting work is tough in a new town.  Taking a job would be a lifestyle shift, but since my alternative income remains stuck at about 10-15% of my “real income” I think it may be necessary.  Of course, in a lower cost of living town my alternative income (which will travel with me, being mostly web- or investment-based) might be more like 20% of my necessary level of income.  It will be interesting to see.

Save Money on Television:  Bubelah has started rolling her eyes when I mention this, but between Netflix’s Watch Instantly feature (and the Roku Digital Video Player, the nifty device that plays both Netflix videos and Video On Demand), hulu, youtube, and digital TV (get a coupon if you don’t have one already) I am wondering how much longer we need cable or satellite at all.

Investing in Your Most Valuable Asset – Invest in Yourself:  At this point it seems to me that money “invested” (i.e. spent) on anything other than improving yourself is a risky venture.  Education and health will always be good bets, though.

A Frugal Diet, Or A Frugal Lifestyle:  I never thought of frugality in exactly this way, but it’s a good metaphor:  making little tweaks here and there that can be reversed once times are better is more like dieting.  Deciding to live a more frugal lifestyle is a lifestyle change, not something you do until you have a little bit more free cash flow.

Preparing My Income Tax Return: How I Organize My Tax Documents:  Some good tips for next year, although if you aren’t organized for this year it’s probably too late to get started now.

Credit Karma Free Credit Score Service Can Help You in This Economic Environment: An Interview with CEO Ken Lin:  It’s good to see a new player in the credit score market.  Watch the only movie that ever featured the credit score companies as villains here.

Save Money by Not Flushing the Toilet?:  Our common bathroom is right next to our kids’ rooms, and we got in the habit of not flushing overnight once they are sleeping (at least as long as it’s, ah, #1).  I don’t know how much difference it really makes in terms of savings on the cost of water, but it can’t hurt.  Skipping a flush here and there – as long as it doesn’t stink up the bathroom – is no big deal.

The Great Homeowner Bailout:  A few highlights of what’s coming up in bailout world.  CNBC must be frothing.

Getting Started in Real Estate Investing:   Now is probably the time to do this, but I think people will enter this world much more soberly and cautiously this time around.

Six Places to Spend More Money: Similar to the point about investing in yourself above, there are times – even now – when it’s OK to spend a little bit of money.

And here’s a disturbing article:

…Jefferson Duarte of Rice University in Houston, Texas, and his colleagues are suggesting that one of a person’s most telling moral features, his creditworthiness, can also be seen in his face.

photo credit: joiseyshowaa

middle age is realising you’ll never realise your dreams?: Having just crossed over the halfway hump myself, I certainly don’t think that I’ve given up on my dreams, but I do realize that at some point I’ll have to quit dawdling on some of them. Riding horseback through the Gobi, drinking mare’s milk and sleeping in a yurt is something I would rather do when I’m a bit younger than, say, 75.