Being unemployed sucks. Big time. Of course, I have had periods of unemployment before (8 months is the longest; I am not far behind this time around…7 ½ months and counting) but there is a difference between periods of unemployment and being unemployed….mainly, income. I am not rich, but I have always had an income coming in. UI payments, the ads and once I even had a serious savings account. Having an income while unemployed allowed me to still live a life: once upon a time, I had a car (thanks to the sweetest rental deal in history); there was shopping, lunches and dinners out wherever I wanted and movies. If I needed to go to the grocery store, I could. And did. Needed a dose of Mommy love? Greyhound, here I come. I had great conversations and funny stories because while I was not working, I was still a part of everyday life.
This time around, there is none of that. All of the resources have dried up. I am working on month #3 with nothing steady coming in. Currently wondering if I can sue Pudgy for breach of contract and my exes for alienation of affection. Groceries are running low. I cannot even renew the ads (which have yielded absolutely nothing lately) because it costs $23 to do so and I have MAYBE $23 total in the bank. The ads are no guarantee of income (as stated above) and I cannot frivolously spend my entire income on a maybe. It’s scary. It’s so scary, Crazy Neighbor is fixing me lunches and actually making sense. I cannot go anywhere unless I have a groupon for it and even then, it has to be takeout because I have no money to tip servers. Shopping is via HSN and only because they raised my credit limit. I wish they sold groceries or allowed cash advances. I am seriously debating between cigarettes and medication at this point and I am the first to admit that is really fucked up….not that it’s either/or but the fact that I am thinking it IS either/or. The gas station is offering to give me credit should I need it to get my cigarettes. Even more fucked-upness. Outings are with Downstairs Neighbor or Hangout Buddy where I am treated. I did have an amazing evening with Preacher’s Wife and The Baby Daddy where I was able to groupon. Brief aside: I love those ladies and love even more that they reminded me fucked up comes in all shapes, sizes and situations. That’s all I can say on the topic.
The job market is tough whether you are in it or trying to get back in. And my job search is beyond words at this point. Seriously, WHEN did a minimum salary of $31000 become TOO MUCH to ask for? Especially for a mid-level job seeker with my skills set? Telling you, the job market is not what it used to be. I wonder about the validity of the thank you note to the interviewer as not one person has bothered to respond to my thoughtfulness. Not one. That is SO rude. The only exception is the non-profit recruiter who stays in touch with me on a weekly basis and tries to find me assignments that pay what I seek. No success yet but he tries. But I haven’t given up. Yet. I started expanding my search to include IT jobs….I don’t know a lot but I know enough, have almost 2 years IT experience and a quick learner. I have been entry level before…I can do it again if it comes with a livable wage. And I don’t even need to live large…just live.
I already know the wages offered are tied to be the biggest obstacle…simply no way can I even exist off $10.29-$13.00/hour. No way….transportation, groceries and medication alone will eat that up. What about rent, other bills, laundry, toiletries? How will I buy my lipstick and pantyhose? As dire as the financial situation is now, I do hold onto to my dwindling dollars and resources by staying indoors. Telling you, every time I leave the house, I am spending money even if it is just bus fare. I said in my last blog post that I was ready to turn the page to a new chapter…trust me, that had nothing to do with a man in my life. I need a job, to be social again, to feel a part of productive society. A job with a livable wage will turn the page. A man is secondary at this point.
The other big obstacle is the actual search. This job search has made me pull my hair out. The perfect on paper jobs that I am totally qualified for yet am always rejected for. The submissions that generated fleeting interest but no follow through (yes, talking to you SAIC, American Diabetes Association and World Bank); agencies that treat my repeated submissions as if I had slept with their husband, ran over their dog and kidnapped their children (Beacon Hill Staffing, Legal Placements) and the agencies that just outright used me for quota meeting and number crunching. The reputable agencies with false listings and the outright scammers and spammers. The scammer/spammer aspect has been a prevalent theme this time around. The “agencies” with the hijacked websites, random email address formats and phone numbers that originate in India. The company that posted a permanent executive assistant position and even extended an interview. An interview which did not require me to bring or even have a resume.
The office had a prestigious address but the office itself was a dump. I lived in better crackhouses. Mismatched chairs (the one I chose broke when I sat in it); the carpet was frayed and disgustingly stained. No phone system (everyone made outgoing calls on personal cell phones…and by everyone I mean the three women who were the staff) and no HVAC system…fans on the floor. It was haphazardly decorated with a bookcase filled with 10 year old NY Times fiction bestsellers, the broken down chairs and a desk or two. Oh, and the rolling garment rack. No office supplies (the receptionist kept asking folks if they had an ink pen) and no one on “staff” had a name, only a title: Assistant Manager and Receptionist. I was told that executive assistant job was actually an account executive and I was to go door to door complete with an in-house presentation, collecting money for an unknown (thinking they mean fraudulent) non-profit. The Assistant Manager and I both agreed that I would not be a good fit.
Yes, the job search this time around has been one huge headache what with standing my ground on the company being both legitimate and offering a livable wage but a sista finally caught a break. I start work on Monday!!! YAY ME!!! It is a short term contract (approximately 3 months) with a federal government agency with Judges, lawyers and Presidential appointees where I get to build on my IT skills set AND earn a very livable wage. AND did I mention I now have a security clearance? Low level but a clearance of any type can make a difference in this town. I can only thank God for this opportunity. Seriously. I am also going to thank the recruiter who reached out to me for the opportunity. This recruiter I am taking to lunch when I get paid and then I am going to ask her to marry me. She told me the original wage offer was at least $2-$3 below what the men on the team were making. Me, being so happy it wasn’t another $12.50 offer said I was fine with it; after all, I am entry level IT. She responded that the JOB was entry level…experience be damned. If others were getting paid more to do the same job I was, I would get the same pay they did.
As excited as I am (for more reasons than the obvious), I am also nervous. I am going to be the IT tech (have I mentioned I am not a tech? Junior tech at best) and I won’t have my team around me. I am going amongst strangers with only a little bit of skill and experience but a lot of bravado and NO ONE wears the confidence mask better than me. I plan to listen, pay attention and take a lot of notes. I am going to make this the best learning experience and one thing I plan to do is update the resume as soon as possible and keep the search going. Not wanting or needing another break and to start over from scratch. I will keep you updated on the job and continuing search.
Going to wrap this up now…it’s late and I still have lots to do this weekend. Employment documentation needs to be completed, scanned and emailed. Outfits need to be picked out, I need to get back on a regular sleep schedule and money needs to be found/begged for/borrowed. How ironic now that I have a job to pay me a livable wage, I cannot afford to go to work. Just one more punch to roll with. Thinking I am qualified to do that at least.
As always, thanks for stopping past and reading and as usual….enjoy your day!