The Job Problem(s)

August 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

Jobs jobs jobs
Money money money
Persistent problems in my life.

I currently work part-time at a restaurant. Clearly that isn’t going to pay rent.

Today I had an interview at the Humane Society which I think went really well. I could even swing my schedule so that I could still work two days at the restaurant while still being full-time at the animal shelter. The problem is that even working full-time at the shelter, I’ll only be making $900 or so each month after taxes. Which is means I could have just applied to AmeriCorps when I first moved home because that’s the same amount of money (or lack there of). Clearly, that isn’t going to work considering my rent is $850 and I’m drowning in bills and late fees because I’ve been unemployed for 8 months.

So I’m fucked. Even if I get that full-time job, I’m fucked.

UAB wouldn’t even interview me for a measly Admissions Counselor job for reasons I still can’t get from the person in charge of hiring for that position. It’s absurd, beyond absurd.

There’s a part-time job that pays something like $14-16/hr that I REALLY REALLY WANT (not just for the money, mind you!) but so far I haven’t heard anything, which doesn’t bode well. That job could significantly help my money problems, though, especially if I was working full-time at the Humane Society and then working two days a week at that part-time job. Like, for serious — I would be doing decently well. I desperately need that part-time job. I’ll email the guy on Monday to check in.

I hate feeling so panicky about money. It’s like someone’s constantly squeezing the air out of your chest, pressing in on all sides. The late fees piling up just makes the light at the end of the tunnel all the more distant. I can’t believe — I CANNOT BELIEVE — it’s taken me this long to get a job. And all I have is a part-time restaurant job for $8/hr and the potential of a second job at a grand $8.50/hr. Just a few years ago, I was enjoying a paycheck of $1,100 every two weeks. Hell, even when I was working part-time at that job, I still earned $770 per paycheck (after taxes, too). Am I a victim of the recession? One of those tragic millenials who busted their asses through college, did all the right things, but still end up back in Mom and Dad’s basement? We worked so hard and all we have to show for it is an eviction notice, an abysmal credit score, an empty bank account, and embarrassed, burdened parents.

Or am I a casualty of hubris? I made the decision to leave Dallas, to leave the museum field. I decided to move back to Birmingham practically on a whim. I got a fantastic apartment that I thought I deserved and wrongly assumed I’d be able to pay for, what with years of experience, a graduate degree, and a shitload of connections in my hometown. I’m a fool, aren’t I. Gambled too big and am about to lose it all. Too late for regrets. Too late for shoulda, woulda, couldas. I made what I thought was a solid, reasonable decision at the time and now I just have to deal with it when I sink with this ship.

I’m trying to remember how I made it financially in Dallas… I only made $8.50 an hour, but somehow stayed afloat. I had a second job, true, but I don’t remember working too terribly much extra. Memory is a foggy thing. I’m probably just messed up in the brain. God, I miss the days of a salary and great benefits. Did my boss make me miserable? Yes. So should I have stayed at that job? No. But dammit, I cry sometimes thinking about all that I gave up in DC. My life could have been so incredibly different from what it is now. But I guess life is always better in our fantasies, isn’t it. Reality isn’t welcome there.

It’s better to focus on the right now and the immediate future, and the right now is pretty gripping anyway. I have some spaghetti left but nothing to go with or on top of it, and I have a frozen pizza in the freezer I’ve been saving. I’m probably going to have to eat it tonight. I’ve also got half a box of raisin bran but I think it’s really old. I’ll save that for more desperate times.

Jason keeps asking me, “If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?” and for the first time in my life, I’ve got absolutely nothing to say. No idea. I just stare at him blankly before telling him I hate that question. I’m so preoccupied with money problems, it’s hard to play pretend like that, pretend like I could ever get a job I might like and can survive on the pay. When people find out I’m looking for a job, they always ask, “What do you want to do?” To which I reply, “Anything. I just really need a job.” It’s true, isn’t it? I’m not out to be picky. I need money in the bank. I need my bank account to not be in the negatives. I’d like to pay my bills on time and buy real food and get wine from the top shelf at Aldi instead of the bottom. That’s what I want.

But that’s not true, is it? There are plenty of jobs I pass over because I know I’ll be bored. I’ve applied to a large number of administrative assistant jobs (which I’ve never been called in for an interview for, I should add) that I secretly hoped I wouldn’t get. I’d rather be poor than hate my job like that. Ah, arrogance. Ah, ambition. I guess I’m not truly a beggar yet.

I just don’t want to be miserable. Is that so much to ask? Is that too much to ask of my life and the world? I just don’t want to be miserable. I don’t want to hate my life for 40+ hours every week because I’m bored out of my skull at a job that pays well but sucks the life and excitement out of me. And of course, I don’t want to keep living paycheck to paycheck or in the constant fear of debt collectors and landlords banging on doors for late rent checks. I don’t want to keep living in the anxiety of the poor, wondering how many meals I can get out of a $5 Little Caesar’s Hot and Ready pizza because I only have $5 to eat on for the week. Why can’t there be a compromise in that? An above-minimum wage job that I don’t mind doing? Does that exist? Do I deserve it? Can I convince someone that I’m not overqualified, or even if I am (because we all know I am), that I plan on staying in that job for a while?

Why can’t I get a decent job? How much longer can this go on.

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