Being Citybroke is about perspective. It’s about seeing glitter in the gutter and a sense of humor when life is giving you everything you don’t exactly want and you’re hanging on for a dream that you sometimes can’t remember.
It’s not sales or survival - it’s an electronic letter from the trenches. It’s what suits who make $60K in at age 24 can’t even imagine. It’s Freedom. It’s Poverty. It’s Broken. It’s Beautiful.

Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year - New Second Jobs.

You might be getting a pay raise in the next half year, but probably not. Unless you have a consuming 9 to 5 (consider yourself very lucky) you ought to consider a second stream of cash-only income to augment your pitiful paycheck.
What to do? What to do?
First, consider every possible second job you could have. You might be a wannabe docent during the week, but why not pet-sit neurotic westies on the weekends while their owners travel? Breaking into new circles might have unforeseen networking benefits, too.
Look at the $ angle and be creative:

  • If you aced your AP tests, consider teaching groups of kids (4?) for $80 an hour for 2 hours on Saturdays. That' a quick hundred and sixty bucks.
  • Do you like home design/improvements? Offer to help your banker buddy pick a great room color and paint their space for a buck fifty and five beers. Room painting can be cathartic and the creative element of designing the space will be cool, too.
  • Be a middleman. Help your artist buddies get their work out there. Talk to coffee shop and bar owners to see if they want sweet free art on display in their joints. Set up a profit-sharing agreements for art that gets sold off the wall and take a little of the top for yourself. Everybody wins.
  • Offer to scan your buddy's mom's old family photos. Help her out by creating a super hi-res photo archive and then tuck them away in acid-free paper and seal them in plastic. That way the kiddies can still view and share great grandpa's baptism pics and the originals are safe. Look at the hours it takes and charge at least $15 an hour. See if her friends want the same thing done and become a personal archivist on weekends. You'll get better at it while your reputation grows and so does your hourly rate.
  • Consider second jobs that might actually help you professionally. If you work in PR consider advising individuals and small growing firms with basic tips about their webites/events etc. If you work in accounting consider helping your entrepreneur buddies with some weekend lessons on cash flow analysis and exit strategies. If youwork in fashion, find some bored rich chicks and collaborate with a tailor to make them custom accessories and clothes. They can pay for you time/talent and help you build a resume.
  • If you are totally type-A, consider being an organizing consultant (a growing field!) and help people manage their stuff by getting rid of excess and encouraging few strategic investments at The Container Store.
  • Mainly, be useful. If you are artistic, design custom baby announcements and shoot the kid, too. New parents are too busy for that stuff.
You might find you like your second job better than your first and that you can make more money. So don't look at a second job as a bad thing, it's a way to help yourself financially and it might help you find your dream job.

Mitt Romney - CB CV

Beginnings: Born into prestigious Mormon family with $ and political roots

In his 20's: Attended Stanford 2 semesters (age 19), spent more than 2 years in France as Mormon missionary then graduated BYU at age 24. Got a MBA/JD from Harvard at 28. Interned for Boston Consulting Group after graduating. Married at age 22 - never divorced
AGE 60 MA Governor

between $190mil and $250 mil
Got his money by: Born rich, but made most of his on dough as a successful businessman. He is the founder and former CEO of Bain Consulting.
Top Contributors:

Goldman Sachs $181,425
Merrill Lynch $147,200
Marriott International $115,000
Source: Wiki (w/ excellent footnotes) and Yahoo Fin, CNN inside politics
Check out his sons' blog Five Brothers. It is slick and interesting. A delightful blend of good-looking Mormon men, Patriots commentary, and brilliant political positioning. Love him or hate him, his marketing machine is ahead of the curve.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Bloomingdales 40% off already reduced sale ends tonight!

Shop online tonight and get an extra 40% off. You'll get the best selection of goods and enjoy almost an extra half off the reduced ticket price.

CityBroke Candidate Profiles: When they were young, how they made their $, how much they've got and their top 3 donors.

When Conrad Black was first arrested for stealing huge amounts of money from his [then] company, Hollinger International, I was working as an editorial assistant for a British newspaper. One of the journalists shrugged at the news and said, "People just don't change much from who they are in their youth." He explained that as a teenager Black had been expelled from his prep school for selling exam papers. Being born into a very affluent Canadian family, he had no need for the money. He just didn't give a damn about the rules.
In light of this story, it isn't so shocking that later in life he'd treat his company like a personal piggy bank. He always did what he wanted knowing that the consequences would never fit the crime.
He was sentenced to 6.5 years in prison in December 2007 for his conviction on three counts of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice (Associated Press, December 10, 2007.)

CityBroke CV's
I don't care who candidates dated in college or what they smoked or they snorted. I am more interested in whether they
were they a self-involved d-bag or a decent person I wouldn't mind sharing a cube wall with. I'm also looking for signs that indicative of principle and a desire to serve. We'll report what candidates were doing in their 20's, how they made their money and how much they are worth. So for any of the candidates that I think matter, I'll be putting together a CB CV. Rudy "I'm a huge fake" Guiliani will not be profiled.

Hillary Clinton - CB CV
Beginnings: Grew up middle class in Illinois.

Her 20's: Graduated Wellesley undergrad. Attended Yale Law and became an attorney. Civil rights activist and advocate for education reform. Married Bill Clinton at age 22 - never divorced
Currently AGE 60 NY Senator

Worth: $39.9 MILLION
Got money by: Lawyering, Authoring, Investments
Top 3 Contributors** according to
DLA Piper $356,100*
Goldman Sachs $350,050
Morgan Stanley $323,550
*DLA Piper is a massive law firm
**The organizations themselves did not donate , rather the money came from the organization's PAC, its individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.
Source: Wiki,,

Friday, December 21, 2007

Office Ethics Sliding Again

The Ethics Resource Center is reporting that business ethics are back down to pre-Enron levels. (Hey - that could be because those ratfinks got off so easy! Although I bet Ken Lay is sorry now.) According to Patricia Harned, president of the ERC, "56 percent of 1,929 respondents at a broad range of companies said they witnessed ethical misconduct on the job within the past year." [as quoted by the Christian Science Monitor]
What does it takes for schools and companies to prioritize a culture of high moral standards? Better question: is it even their job to inculcate students and employees with a basic understanding and appreciation of right and wrong?
I say yes. When you join a company you align yourself with its mission statement. If its only goal is to profit regardless of ethical considerations, then that company is a bad corporate citizen and a second-rate employer. Hour for hour - your job is your life. Whether you are cutting lawns or interest rates, your job ought to have dignity. If your company doesn't care about ethics, and you are a thinking honest person, then you are going to die a little each day at work. Or maybe you'll get sucked into the gray or, more likely, you'll only work hard enough not to get fired.
Check out "Bad Behavior Goes Back to Work" [when you visit an ad for The Economist pops up - are they affiliated?]

Useful Financial Planning Website? is sponsored the the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and The Ad Council. It's supposed to give tools to young broke folks so that they can one day understand how money operates. Lessons on credit, savings, budgets etc.
Getting started, I check out its recommended sister site: It has a wheel of lifestages that a clueless consumer can click on to learn about what they should already know at their age and circumstance. I just got referred here by feedthepig and the closest thing I can find to where I am at is "career," "entreprenuer" or "life crisis." -Okay pig, you know I exist. Where's the one for a check-to-check twenty-something?
So I check out "careers." None of the links worked. Disappointing. I'm calling these guys. I did. We'll be in touch. Nice lady.
Back to business. I was able to get "Establishing a Financial Safety Net Started" to wake up finally. It begins with a good question: "How much is enough?" Their answer: 3-6 months of living expenses should be tucked away for a rainy day.
Hmm...If your paycheck is tiny, the bad news is that your incoming $ probably matches your outgoing $. Therefore, saving is tough. The good news is that used are used to be poor so your "living expenses" are fixed and low.
I did the math and after subtracting what I pay to work 9-5 (clothes, subway etc) I need about 9 grand to get by for 6 months. See - I'm broke so you could sponsor me and I'd cost about the same as a UNICEF kid. Bonus.
I'm awaiting Feedthepig's reply, but I will keep you posted about more useful article and tools.

"The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result

of living a full life and having no time. It is on the contrary born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything else- we are the busiest people in the world."

Eric Hoffer

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Office Xmas Party Survival Tips

Now every company is different - so you are going have to use your skills to test "what is going to fly." Here are few little survival tips for newbies:
1) Sabotage - Know when it is occuring. Has someone been kindly filling your glass every 2 minutes? Is the chick who wanted your job asking you tricky questions in front of management? Solution: Eat some bread or run!
2) Wierdness - It happens. Suddenly Bob and Sherry from accounting seem to be talking about more than checks and balances. Dimwitted Carl and Tony think that their raised eyebrow references to "dance class" are totally below the radar. Solution: Eat some bread and run!
3) Beyond the buzz - It's hard being broke and being able to decline free fancy alcohol. (Tip - eat as much as you drink OR drink less!) When you start to feel like your boss is a good guy and your coworkers are actually pretty cool, just run. You are wasted.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

These are the cheap seats, not Mount Sinai

A great quote from Orson Welles, “I have the terrible feeling that, because I am wearing a white beard and am sitting in the back of the theatre, you expect me to tell you the truth about something. These are the cheap seats, not Mount Sinai.”

Well, I don't wear a white beard, but I can tell you the truth about something; the theater in New York is really getting to be a rip-off. "No shit!" you say, since I've heard around town this has been a reality for some time. But I just experienced it first hand when I purchased
(for the first time, having tricked my parents into buying me my dramatic experiences up until now) a ticket (for the "cheap seats") to see Claire Danes in Pygmalion.

I'm not complaining about the show - it was good if you can ignore the annoying, high-pitched dramatic screens coming from Claire Dane's mouth. However, we paid $60 for "partial visibility", which meant I had partial visibility, and my roommate had 1/4 visibility. It was like a little square of thespians through the black outline of many heads. (Which is funny because I was sitting behind two I was watching thespians between the heads of two lesbians. Anyway...)

So, I ask $60 (1 week's groceries, 1 month supply cat food, 2 nights at the bar, 4 cab rides home) really worth it for a crappy view at an 'ish good show? I could see The Hold Steady 2 times plus drinks for that!

Now, I would pay $60 for "partial view" seats to see Claire Danes reenact My So-Called Life on a musical.

When you're traveling this holiday season, check your valuables.

That's right, dude, slip it in the belly of your plane. Or, you could end up like the 64-year old man who almost killed himself this morning chugging vodka. He tried to get on a plane with a bottle of vodka and refused to surrender his liquid gold to airport secuirty. He downed most of the bottle "and was quickly unable to stand or otherwise function, police said." The man missed his flight, but is likely to fully recover. Read More "Man in Dresden nearly dies after chugging vodka he refused to surrender to airport security."

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cities aggressively court yuspies. "Young Urban Single Professionals"

Because young-single-wage-donkeys are good for business.
- Yuspies happily work too much for too little.
- no Mat leave, minimal health care expenses, don't go to public schools, spend most of their earnings and pay taxes with the rest.
"These college-educated, never-married 25- to 39-year-olds are the dream demographic for any human resources person...For governments, Yuspies are an open wallet. Smaller households mean fewer municipal needs. "No kids means no use of public schools, but singles pay the same homeowner taxes," says Thomas Coleman, head of the advocacy group Unmarried America. "Fewer cars mean less use of roads." Young singles claim few tax breaks, and "there's less use of the emergency services at hospitals," continues Coleman, ticking down his list. No divorce or child-support proceedings mean less use of the courts." Check out this USA today article that talks about how other cities are desperate to get us in their city limits.
I am looking forward to any initiaitives that NYC might have to "woo yuspies." City sponsored happy hours, gym memberships, age-based museum passes and subsidized air travel would be a start.

Free Stuff you shuld know about.

You know those friends who are always paying a fraction of what you pay for things you have to buy but do not want to research? Well, if this resonates with you, check out BusinessWeek's just announced 101 web freebies. From free (ad sales business model) software and virus protection to BBC sponsored French lessons. Check it out.

Home iPod speaker system for $19.99

Altec Lansing IMMINI inMotion Portable Audio Speakers for iPod mini or nano usually retails at $130. That's $110 more.
Check it out.

Take this personality test.

It's a hit around the office. Myers Briggs Free online test

There are 16 types of persons according to this personality theory. My favorite thing about this sort of analysis is that they get into all your wierd hangups. They even will predict messy desk versus clean desk as well as what you are like at work and at play.

Great for watercooler fodder.

Finding your dream job

starts with asking the right questions. Liz Ryan asks some good ones in this BusinessWeek article:

"Typically, the more mature (heavy equipment manufacturing, for instance) the more conservative the corporate culture will be. How flat vs. how tiered an organization do I desire? If there are 14 levels of management between me and the CEO, my experience at work will be drastically different from how it will be if there are two. How "left-brain" vs. "right-brain" an organization do I want?"

wiki snack- Steve Jobs: bastard/college dropout. Picks fights/has good design sense.

According to Wikipedia:

- Jobs is currently the Walt Disney Company's largest shareholder.
- One week after birth, Jobs was put up for adoption by his unmarried mother.
- In 1972, Jobs lasted one semester at Reed College in Portland Oregon.
- Jobs had a public war of words with Dell Computer CEO Michael Dell, starting when Jobs first criticized Dell for making "un-innovative beige boxes."
- When Jobs spoke at the Stanford Commencement, he spoke frankly about his opinions on entrepreneurship, work, and life: "You’ve got to find what you love." ( the video at and the text can be found here)
"Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Cheap xmas Gift: College Football Gear for the Nostalgic Wage Slave

Remember the good old days? Well, somebody you care about likes to revisit his Glory Days around the clock. Get your Dad or brother or boyfriend a cosy and cheap ($29.99) hoody with their alums colors and emblem.
They also have monopoly games built around universities like "Michinopoly" as well as baby pacifiers in team colors. They have a lot of stuff on sale and can definitely deliver by Christmas.
Check it out Football Fanatics online

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. "

Annie Dillard

If you know someone who got rich on the internet this is fun to watch.

Forget Nyquil - Glug Honey!

Scientists are reporting that test subjects "who received a small dose of buckwheat honey before bedtime slept better and coughed less than those who received either a common over-the-counter cough suppressant." Honey is cheaper than cough syrup and won't leave you groggy. So stock up on honey before your winter cough kicks in. Read more on

Rupert Murdoch buys Top Prayer Site

News Corp expects newly aquired Beliefnet to really "blow up" during the impending financial downturn. News Corp is also in the process of aquiring, and divcorce360.

Monday, December 3, 2007

$5 for Hearst Mags

Now here's a great (and cheap) gift that keeps on giving. Hearst is offering $5 year long subscriptions on most of their publications like Esquire, Cosmo, Popular Mechanics. The perfect Christmas gift!

Go here Hearst $5 Sale

Daily Candy Sample Sales

If you have money - check it out.

What: Derek Lam
Why: Femme dresses, were $1,850, now $600; sweaters, were $650, now $200.
When: Dec. 6 & 7. Thurs. & Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: 601 W. 26th St., b/t Eleventh...