Sunday, December 27, 2009

20 Tips For Surving the Recession

1. Buy women's dress pants and jeans at Goodwill. No one can tell the difference. Plus jeans are better when they've been through the washer a hundred times. Also, best place to buy men's dress shirts and ties. I've even found some YSL and Oscar de la Renta ties there. My bf is a well dressed man.
2. Make your coffee at home, get your tacos to go. Coffee is a ridiculous thing to pay for. And it takes 2 minutes to make at home. Tacos on the other hand are best made by the pros. And the only cost 85 cents a piece.
3. Take the recession as a time to learn to cook more & better. Eating out is a luxury nowadays.
4. Take your lunch to work. If your eat out every lunch you're spending at least $40 a week on lunch. Think how much meat you can stock your freezer with for that much.
5. This goes back to #3 - make double portions at dinner so you have leftovers the next day for lunch.
6. Get Netflix and stop going to the movies. Or get familiar with newsgroups. We just hooked up our netflix to our tv. Now we don't even have to wait on the mailman.
7. Take advantage of the free afternoons at the local museum. The Witte and SAMA are on Tuesday, McNay on Thursday. Gets you out of the house when you have no money to spend on dinner, drinks, etc.
8. Drink at home. A bottle of wine at a restaurant is $45, the same bottle is $10.99 at HEB. You do the math. Same goes with beer. A few downtown bars actually charge $5 for a bottle of Coors Light. I was born at night, but not last night.
9. Skip the sodas at the grocery store. They aren't good for you anyway. Stock up on coffee and tea and frozen juice.
10. Buy frozen vegetables instead of fresh. My brother, the chef, would roll his eyes but it stings when you spend your last $10 on fresh veggies and you don't get around to cooking in time and you have to throw them in the garbage can.
11. Resist the temptation to go eat out. Yes, you spent all day at work and you don't want to cook. Things like mac & cheese come in real handy at times like these.
12. Reward yourself, on occasion, with something small. Like going out for ice cream.
13. Walk. Which is great when you live downtown, maybe not so much in other areas of town.
14. Have a leftovers night. Throwing away food is a sin.
15. No matter how down you get on yourself or situation, remember that there are people right now trying to get a good night sleep on the street in San Antonio and it's pretty cold out there.
16. Take your vitamins and drink lots of OJ. Not all of us have health insurance, can pay out of pocket for a doctor's visit, etc. And we don't want you to get us sick either.
17. Read more. The basement at Central Library is where they keep all the books they want to sell. Way cheaper than Half Price Books. Most items are bwtween $1-$2.
18. Instead of meeting friends out for drinks or dinner, invite them over - but remind them to bring a six-pack or bottle of vino too. I'm not unicef unfortunately. I'm happy to cook and mix the drinks, but I can't afford to foot the whole bill.
19. Don't pay for some fancy gym membership. Run. The riverwalk is a GREAT place to run. Not the touristy areas though.
20. Be thankful for what do you have.

Get Ready, Reset, Go!

I start my new job tomorrow. That's right, my NEW job. In case you missed the tweet Christmas morning I got an email offering the position I had interviewed for last Monday. I will be serving as an office manager for a medical device firm here in San Antonio. I finally will be making decent money after a ten month search and some wrong turns.

2009 sure has been a rocky year, but I always reserve the power to hit the "reset" button. Starting over is usually scary, often painful, but all too often a necessity. However, I have found that starting over gives you another chance. Staying in a bad situation does not.

This time, I am happy to say, nothing is scary about starting something new. I have spent the last ten months on getting educated about what it's like trying to make it in the USA. Not easy. Most employers think we still have slave labor here and think of us as worker #1 or worker #2 than Grace who is working on her Political Science degree and has a background in Non-profits.

The journey is not over yet, I will be finishing my degree this semester on top of working full-time. The task is a bit daunting but I'm tired of saying I almost have a degree in Poli-Sci and a minor in business. In my next life I will take all the boring classes first. That way when I'm ending my college career the fun ones are all the last ones - and not Spanish IV.

I still have several weeks until I get a paycheck, so the next few are going to be tight. But I am very grateful to have finally found this opportunity after so many dead ends and wrong turns. I would say it was a comedy of errors but there has been nothing funny about the stress, the bills, the groceries, etc. Times are tough. I'm looking forward to sunnier skies ahead.

Friday, December 25, 2009

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Well I never heard from those interviews. But it's Christmas Week and offices close early and what not. But bills need to be paid. Lucky for me, one of my girlfriends has an opening for a cashier. I start Tuesday at 10:45. Feels good to have a paycheck to look forward to. I think that's the best Christmas present I could have gotten. But the two Beatles records I got (Rubber Soul & Abbey Road) really are the best Christmas presents. Damn I love The Beatles. And I love feeling that I got a job.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Think I've Been Stood Up

My interview that I lost my restaurant gig over on Monday was supposed to call me by Wednesday. It's 2:57 p.m. the day before Christmas Eve. I doubt anyone is still in the office, or that I'll be receiving a phone call. Why did I swear off smoking (again) yesterday?

My stomach is tied in knots and my heart is pounding. This job could have really put life back in order for me. Plus, I thought the interview had gone REALLY well. Ugh, I feel awful. And disheartened. And frustrated. And blue. Merry effing Christmas.

I got stood up in college and I told the motherfucker off the next time he called me. i don't think that approach is going to work. And I might not get the chance. Oh hell, what to do now? My persistence is wearing thin.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Matter Of Class

This evening, I went to a big sushi dinner at the local sushi hotspot with my boyfriend and his closest friend and his fiance. It was a big group of us, fourteen, and one waiter waiting on us. I have to say, he did pretty good. We had excellent service and the food (Godai's) was fabulous.

One of the guys in the group apparently was not as impressed. I found his reactions very interesting. When he received his plate he complained that the sushi rolls were too large. The waiter responded saying "that's how the come bro". The young man was offended the waiter referred to him in such a casual manner. I was shocked!

The restaurant we were at was very casual and we were about the same age as the waiter, what was the big deal? What made us at the table so different than the guy waiting on us? It really got me thinking about class and how we perceive each other. Obviously, having just finished a stint waiting tables I was offended at the guy's reaction. But it bothered me more than just that.

Having been on a few interviews in the past several days, I have been doing a lot of talking about myself. One thing the interviewer always picks up on is the time I spent as a union organizer. I get mixed reactions to it but always many questions. Earlier today I found myself explaining why I had worked as a union organizer to the owner of a high-brow staffing agency here in San Antonio.

She tested me on my "pitch" as she called it and took the role of a worker deciding whether or not to be in a union. I rattled off a dozen questions about her life. Doesn't really matter. She has a thriving 20 year old business and is considered the best recruiter in the city. She has no idea what it's like to raise a family on $17,000 a year. Neither do I for that matter. But I have heard all the stories first hand. I guess the difference is that I give a shit.

Waiting tables is tough, cutting lawns is tough, making it in this world takes a lot of balls and a lot of tears. I do not see a difference between this Mercedes-driving-beougousie and the guy that brought me my sushi tonight. They both put a lot of effort and energy into their work. But we ususally don't see things that way do we?

I suppose I feel a little bitter towards those with wealth since my exodus from my hotel job. A few days before resigning, I went to a Christmas party at the owner's home. It was a lovely party filled with a very diverse crowd. Some of them were wearing fur coats that cost my yearly salary. That kind of stings. Especially because I was so grossly underpaid. I felt something come over me that was all too familiar from my union days. Disrespect.

Disrespect was the most common reason I got from workers about their jobs. I suppose I have been very lucky to have gotten so far in life without feeling this. Trying so hard to be successful at this job and not getting anything in return made me feel devalued. And what felt worse was that I was not the only one getting this treatment. Everyone was. Either the owners were out of touch with what it took to get by in this city or they simply did not care. I would lean towards the not caring.

Class warfare is something we pretend is not around. We ignore it and try to be "politcally correct". But I can't help but feel like the ones that have the most don't want the rest of us to get our hands on it. Think about the Bush tax cuts, the so called "death tax", trickle-down economics and corporate welfare. They sure make it easy on themselves, don't they?

When I worked for the union I would get retorts about my work (from rich white folk) that the people I was trying to help wanted to be in a poor situation because they were too lazy to make something out of themselves. My arguement was that these workers were a product of their environment and the poor state of our public education. The education you get on the Southside is not the same education you get at Alamo Heights. Which high school would you guess has more graduates that go on to college?

Well this sure has turned into a long rant. I guess my point is that we need to stop looking at each other as different. Work is work. Whether you're waiting tables or running a multi-million dollar company, we are a nation of workers. That goes beyond just rich people and poor people. We let all this bullshit like tea parties and Cowboys games distract us. Marx said "workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains". Maybe if we stop dividing ourselves into having or not having we'll stop assigning classes to people as if some people were actually more important than others. We are all just workers.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Another One Bites The Dust

So I lost my job at the restaurant. However, my interview went really well. I have another interview tomorrow. However, I really want the one I interviewed for today. You don't often hear people go on and on about ethics and transparency - especially on job interviews. This company seems to have a vision that goes beyond the bottom line. That's a quality that is, unfortunately, very difficult to find.

This year's employment odyssey has gotten me into some strange situations. I turned down a job that would have taken me out of Texas, I got laid off, and I spent 7 months of my life working at a rich guy's tax shelter disguised as a hotel. I would say this year has had more downs than ups. But I'm feeling hopeful.

Waiting tables was a good lesson in humility and helped pay some bills. I am looking forward to a real salary and some of the things I have been missing during my sojourn from real employment. Like haircuts, trips to Marble Slab, and Target splurges. Having "hit the skids" so to speak, I will not take those luxuries for granted in the future. That is, if I get one of these jobs. Otherwise, it's back to waiting tables for me. Luckily, downtown San Antonio has a plethora of restaurants and the industry always has high turnover.

What to do? What to do?

I have a problem. I have a job interview today at 3p.m., for a "real" job, and the restaurant changed the schedule on me and now my shift is right when my interview is. I can (a) not show up for my shift and get fired and get to my interview on time or (b) go to work and miss my interview. I tried to call the restaurant manager and she's not returning my call. Fuck.

Got to love the restaurant business. Everything is always your fault and you get yelled at on a daily basis. Yesterday I was having to kiss ass because I had gotten a migraine and had to miss work the day before. Today, they messed up my schedule and I will get fired and I had to do all that ass kissing for nothing.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

20 Things I Have Learned Waiting Tables

1. Mexicans are the ones cooking all your meals when you're eating out, so be nicer to them, they work harder than you do. And yes they deserve to stay in this country, so just leave them alone already.
2. Some people rely on a bus to get to work, you probably don't. Be thankful.
3. Just because we wait tables does not mean that we are not smart, did not go to college, or are failures in the game of life. Be careful who you stiff, you might end up in our shoes one day.
4. Even though you drive a Mercedes, have a important looking American Express card, and wear a nice suit. Guess what: I did not put my lipstick on this morning praying that you would walk into my restaurant. Get over yourself.
5. It takes a lot of different people, from different classes, races, backgrounds, and educations to make this country work. It takes that much just to make a restaurant work. Everyone is important
6. Our differences are what makes us interesting. And American. I love the fact that I am living in San Antonio and learning what it's like to grow up in Iran.
7. Worrying about getting sick is really stressful. Every time you eat out, the people who are serving you your cokes and breadsticks do not have healthcare and 90% of them cannot afford to go to the doctor if they get sick. They also cannot afford to miss work. They also do not get sick days. Do the math. Get sick = stay home = miss work = get fired
8. If you want something done perfect, be prepared to wait a little bit. The perfect bloody mary takes at least 3-4 minutes to make. Patience is a virtue.
9. I'm sorry, I don't know what you ordered the last time you were in here. I've only been here a week. I have no idea who you are. Use your brain. It's there to help you.
10. No I do not feel belittled that you have a nice job, we are the same age, you work for my boyfriend's firm, and the last time you saw me I had some glamorous job and now I'm waiting tables. I'm over it and am actually amused that you are finding yourself feeling so self-important right now. The joke is on you.
11. It is customary to tip a waiter between 10-15%. Just in case you didn't know, minimum wage for tipped jobs is $2.13 hour. Women are always the worst tippers. Unless they have waited tables before. We can tell.
12. Economics is the most important class you can take in college. Let me say this again, economics is the most important class you can take in college.
13. If you are typically a picky eater, or not the adventurous type, ordering something you can't pronounce has the disadvantage of not always being what you expect. Read the menu.
14. Cream of Broccoli soup is Cream of Broccoli soup. It tastes like pureed broccoli. You should expect this from the name.
15. I firmly believe that everyone should wait tables once in their life. Preferably in high school or college. You will learn way more working at a restaurant that at some fancy internship. Trust me, I've done both.
16. The waitstaff probably IS talking about you behind your back.
17. Intro to Communication is the second most important class you can take in college. I am amazed at how poorly people communicate. Ordering food should be so simple. You communicate to me, I communicate to kitchen, you get what you communicated to me. I do not read minds.
18. Saying 'thank you' is not just a lackadaisical figure of speech. It actually means something. When I tell you thank you, it's because your tip helps me put food on my table and helps pay my bills.
19. We all make mistakes. Relax.
20. The people at the gas station, bringing you water with extra lemons, checking your tickets stub at the movie theater, they are real people. It's ok to interact with them. They are humans just like you.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Badejun Polo

I just got home from the lunch shift. A little slow, but still tiring. And full on Persian food which is my newest culinary discovery. Yesterday I was really stressed out, but today I feel ok. I have a job, I got a free meal, my belly is full and my pockets have twenties is them.

I'm not on top, but certainly not on bottom. My father called on the walk home from the restaurant to see how I was doing. I told him I was working, nearly everyday, and I was making some money and my fridge was full. As I said this, I looked across Saint Mary's Avenue in downtown San Antonio and saw the small groups of homeless people huddled in the entrances to abandoned buildings. I don't have it so bad. And I feel very thankful.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

St. Jude, Protector of the Hopeless

Trip to the grocery store this morning almost left me in tears. I was all prepared with my stack of coupons and grocery list. It seems like everything is so expensive right now. But I think that's because I have a lot less cash flow coming through. It is stressful looking at all the meat and trying to figure out what's the best deal for your buck with all these prices staring at you.

I nearly lost it when I couldn't find the bars of soap. Not next to the body wash, or shampoo, or shaving cream. After walking around the aisle several times I finally found someone that worked there who told my bars of soap where on the aisle with insecticide and cat food. Of course it is, why didn't I put two and two together?

Right when I felt the tears welling up I found myself walking past the Jesus candles. Although I am not a Catholic, an agnostic really, I looked at all the santos until I found St. Jude Patron Saint of the Hopeless. When I got home I read the prayer on the back and did the sign of the cross. Can't hurt, right? Not to be irreverent, I did find comfort in the fact that I am not the only one that feels hopeless. It's the same reason I wear a St. Rita pendent around my neck that I never take off.

But Mr. Jude, if you do really have it in with the Big Guy put a good word in for me. I want a job. I want work that matters in the big scheme of things. I want to feel useful. And I want to get out of the grocery store with my sanity intact. Amen.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Father Knows Best

I didn't start writing this blog to constantly vent my current frustrations. Ok, well I did a little bit. But mostly because I find there are so many people in the same boat as me. So what do you do when the economy is tanked, you're broke, and there are no jobs? What my Dad has been telling me all along: finish your degree.

I used to hate it that my parents were always right. I am typically rebellious. Although I don't even have my ears pierced (pretty straight laced, right?), I always do the opposite of what they tell me to do. My Dad doesn't say anything and let's me make my own decision. It's called learning the hard way. I have learned many things the hard way.

I've been so focused on making it on my own I've completely forgotten to finish that damn degree. And the fact is that I can't make it on my own. Not right now. Maybe that piece of paper will help. Maybe two pieces of paper will help. But it seems that I'm fighting a losing battle. Time to regroup and develop new strategy. I'm 28 but I can start my life over new whenever I want.

Can I Stop & Get Directions?

Sometimes I throw up my hands and wonder where the fuck my life is going! My yearly net pay has fallen every year since I left college. I recently left a dead end job that where I was grossly underpaid to see what else was out there. There is not much out there.

I do, however, possess a job. A low-paying one, but I am not one of the many unemployed. But this is definitely a temporary endeavor. I'm impressed with the restaurant, it's food, but not it's traffic. I came home today and looked for office jobs on the internet.

So where to now? I never expected to be here. I'm 28 and waiting tables. I'm feeling a bit depressed. Trying to figure out what the fuck I did wrong. I am actively trying to dig myself out of this hole. What direction do I dig in? Anyone got a clue?

This is exhausting. I feel like Charlie Brown with the storm cloud over my head. Good grief! I keep hearing that Diana Ross song from Mahogany, the one that goes "do you know where you're going to? To you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to? Do you know?" Well Miss Ross, the answer is an emphatic NO with two snaps.

An Off Night?

I worked the night shift last night. I was hoping to come home with some good tips, but alas, I only made $45. The rush ended at 8 p.m. A little disappointing. Hopefully, today goes better.

I'm getting to know my co-workers. I'm not the only college educated server it turns out. One guy was a double major in English and Business. I asked him why he didn't have a "real" job and he's waiting for his writing to pan out. He explained that waiting tables gives him a lot of time to get writing done. He's giving it two years before turning to the corporate world.

I was also told that I might want to get a second job. I really didn't want to hear that. Only $45 but on the whole I was tipped at about 18% which isn't bad. They told me the weather had something to do with it. San Antonians don't like to go out to eat when it's cold outside apparently. When I got home, I got on Craigslist and sent out a bunch of resumes for some office jobs. At least those wages don't depend on the weather.

I'm not feeling so chipper this morning. Not having second thoughts about quitting the hotel job, but discovering this isn't going to be as easy as I'd hoped. But the good thing about waiting tables is that when it's busy the time flies by and then I'm home again. Contemplating my future and reading the economic news. At least I'll get some more reading done.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Out of Balance

In case anyone was wondering, first day on the job was great. Waiting tables has not changed much since 2005. Short walk from my loft. Everyone was really friendly. Pretty laid back owner. I received the honor of being the oldest server at 28 years old. That would have really annoyed the old Grace. Now, older = smarter so they better watch out as I fly right past them.

I keep on thinking about my descent that has lead me to wait tables. Sure, I should have finished my degree already. Just two classes to go. But even if I had done that, my job prospects wouldn't be that much different. What does this mean when college educated people can't get jobs? I would conjecture that it is because this recession has greatly weakened the middle class. I'm not middle class anymore. I am a college educated waitress.

I don't think people are giving this recession enough thought. This economic state that we are in is going to affect is greatly in the long run. This morning in Paul Krugman's NYT column he said we'd lost 8 million jobs since the recession began and at the rate we are adding new jobs it would take us 5 years for employment to get back to pre-recession rates. Wow. I really hope that doesn't mean I'll be waiting tables for five years.

It just seems like the world has turned on it's head. Having an education was supposed to mean you could get a good job. I can't. I've been trying since last February. I can't make more than $12 an hour. It's really frustrating! If it really takes the job market five years to get back in order, will there be any middle class left?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Morning of Truth

I start my new job waiting tables this morning at 10 a.m. sharp. I will be "shadowing" another server and making minimum wage and new tips as I learn the ways of the restaurant. I hope they have the confidence in me that I can write down the answers to the questions I ask people. Such as "What would you like to eat" and turn in the answers to the kitchen.

I have to admit I'm just a tad nervous. I was so surprised to get hired after one day of unemployment I'm a little afraid it isn't for real and I will be desperately ransacking craigslist ads by the end of the day. Yes, seven years of college and I will be waiting tables. Here's a joke for ya: What does the Liberal Arts major say after college? Would you like fries with that?

I'm not letting my descent from white collar to blue collar phase me though. I am in survival mode. I have bills to pay. I can smile and be cheerful and take a Camus approach to it all. What did he say? Enjoy the absurdity of life? Something of that order. My mother always told me growing up (in her ever evangelistic way) that to be a light in the world you have to be in the world but not OF the world. I have to keep all that is bad, and unfair, and unjust from getting to me and breaking me down.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Call It Luck

I had an interview this morning and got hired! No, not in my actual field. But it is a job. And only 3 blocks from my apartment. I will be waiting tables at a Mediterranean cafe on the northern end of the River Walk. They don't serve breakfast so I'll get to sleep in which will be a nice change from the 5:30 a.m. wake-up I've been getting for the last 7 months.

Funny thing is that 6 or 7 months ago I would not have deigned to wait tables again. Now that I've barely been getting by I can't wait to start. I welcome a job where I actually get back what I put in. And I think I'm the only female on staff. More tips for me.

I still have a LONG way to go though. The real tips are on the tourist part of the river. (Yes, and Dick's Last Resort IS my last resort) And I really want an office job so I don't have to work weekends. I really hate working weekends. And after that, I'll finally find a non-profit job that pays well and I will live happily ever after. But right now, what can I get you to drink?

Marx at 3 a.m.

Woke up at 3 a.m. not able to sleep. I have a job interview in the morning at ten at a downtown restaurant. I can actually make more money waiting tables than managing a hotel right now. Earlier, I watched a documentary on the rise of Argentinian factory co-operatives. I keep wondering why we can't do that here in the United States.

Occasionally I come across bumper stickers that say "think globally, act locally" and I wonder how many items in my house are made by Americans and sustain American industrialism. As I sit here typing away on my Dell PC, I know it is an American company, but all the parts are made elsewhere. My Dell mouse says the all too familiar phrase "made in China". There is something seriously wrong here. And it isn't just our ridiculous trade deficit with China. Aren't we the people who invented the automobile, the light bulb, the telephone, the computer, and post-it notes? Have we run out of good ideas?

But apparently we need China because we are a consumer-crazed, materialistic, addictive society that would rather buy cheap, "durable" goods from another country rather than invest in our own. Think of Wal-mart on the day after Thanksgiving. People getting shot over who took the last Xbox. We are nuts. I worked retail all through college and I can tell you that hearing Christmas music and seeing people flick each other off over parking spots at the mall makes me so disgusted. I honestly HATE Christmas music because it reminds me how insane, rude, and selfish people get around the holidays.

This Capitalism thing is not working. I don't know many people I would consider "middle class" anymore. We are now the bourgeois and the proletariats. I am a proletariat. My parents we not. My grandparents were born proletariats and became bourgeoisie. I remember visiting Mexico City as a young teenager and being told that the country was all messed up because there were only very rich people and very poor people and nothing in between. San Antonio sure does resemble Mexico City.

We are out of balance. Communism stifles human creativity and our need to be an inventive and takes away freedom of choice. Capitalism is a dog eat dog world where most get eaten and a very small few grow enormously fat and consumed with greed. What is next? Where will the next shift be? Who will rise up to be the next Karl Marx or John Maynard Keyes? We need new ideas. We need new ideas before our country falls behind and we are all stuck in the past. Like Afghanistan. Only with Wal-marts on every corner instead of herds of goats.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Biting the Bullet

So I did it. And I behaved myself. Resignation letter was simple and to the point. Not biting, accusatory, or a good ass kicking. Felt free for maybe an hour. Now faced with unemployment which is not fun. Finding a new job is a full-time job.

I don't know whether I feel disappointed because I put up with sub-par pay for so long when I knew better. Or disappointed that I really poured my heart into the job and got nothing back in return, other than a pat on the back at the company Christmas party.

I'm just disgusted with the greed in this country. The lack of caring we have for other people. We feel no responsibility for our fellow man or our community in general. The shit keeps hitting the fan and we put up with it or ignore it. The Middle Class is disappearing. A family cannot get by on one paycheck like they could in the 1950's. Credit Cards all have us by the balls. Yet we keep getting more of them for some reason.

I'm scared, yet I do not feel regret. I've been up a creek without a paddle before. Too many times in fact, but I'm still here. Still chipping away. Hoping for a break. I weather change a lot better than I have in the past. But I think what's really getting me is the non-appreciation. The hours I spent on my day off making things perfect. The amount of effort I put into that job to get back nothing astounds me.

I wonder if the American Dream exists. Did it ever exist or was it a marketing ploy devised by some Mad Men? As I watch people walking out of the Greyhound bus terminal across from my building and the homeless people that sleep on the street below - I wonder what opportunities they had. What dreams that never took off.

In college I read Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America". He often described our gregarious sense of individualism. And also being a Texan, I see that here in my home state 200 years later. Our robust individualism has left us without a sense of community. We are a cold, collection of strangers who rarely go out of our way for someone else. We look to the government of congress to fix the mess, but fail to realize we ARE the mess.

So I have sent out 2 dozens resumes over the past 24 hours. We'll see what happens. I have two interviews tomorrow. I am just looking for money in my bank account at the moment. I'm tired - of so many things. Mainly of feeling that the things that matter to me, matter to no one else.

Don't Lose Your Nerve Now!

I just woke up and am having second thoughts about quitting my job. Unemployment is 10.2%! I must be crazy! Must tap into the anger I have over getting paid as much as a Starbucks barista to do the job of three people - revenue manager, front desk agent, and PR person. Oh, and I get paid half of the market wage for my job. Ok, that does it.

Someone told me recently, while I was complaining about my job, that the employers have everyone by the balls right now. With a bad economy and a very tough job market, we NEED to work. Like panicked sheep we will let ourselves get suckered into bad situations our of fear that we won't be able to put food on the table.

Well FUCK THAT! I am a person with goals and ambitions and my power will not be diminished by some greedy rich people who get away with paying me nothing. There is more to life than dollars and cents. This is my LIFE and I refuse to waste it for another second. Fuck all these business owners and CEOs who we allow to take our time and our work and refuse to pay us enough to live on. While I am worried about how I'm going to put food on the table, the President of the company walks in with an $8,000 purse. And they tell me they can't afford to pay me a decent wage!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bamboozled and Furious

Not too long ago, I had my dream job. I lived and breathed it. It was exactly what I wanted to do after college. Nine months later, my career path is at a dead end along with my sanity. Dream job moved on to another state, I wanted to stay where I was. I was certain I would be able to find another non-profit job in a matter of weeks. But I didn't.

I got a temporary job so I could earn some income while I continued to search for one in the non-profit sector. I got laid off after 1 month because of the economy. In a panic, I accepted a position at a hotel. I thought it might be interesting, but most of all I just needed a paycheck. When I found out it only paid $7.50 I quit. They called me back offering a dollar more an hour and the title of Revenue Manager. I just had to put up with making $8.50 an hour for 90 days of "assessment time" until I got a real salary and benefits. I accepted. Idiot.

I waited out the 90 days. Wrote up a salary proposal and pitched them my ideas and what I wanted in salary. They offer they came back with was 25k plus commission bonus. They promised the numbers would get better as winter approached. It has not. I have not made one bonus check. After taxes and my health care costs, I take home $9.63 an hour. I barely have enough money to pay the bills and buy groceries. I am dependent on my boyfriend for the roof I have over my head. (Good thing he's a wonderful guy.)

It feels humiliating to be in this position. I am a smart, creative person. I have an education. I am a very hard worker. I have not been able to get a job in the non-profit sector after nine months of trying. I studied political science in college because I am interested in people, communities, and societies. I want a job that makes a difference. Every morning, I walk to work and pass dozens of homeless people in downtown San Antonio and feel a pang of guilt as I trudge to my job at the four star hotel. Some people help those that need it, I help people who would like more towels and a wake-up call at 7 a.m.

The people I work for (privately owned, I will NOT work for a corporation) have a main business that is extremely successful. The hotel is not. It dawned on me day before yesterday that there was no reason to hold on to a business that has not profited in five years. However, the owner is a very adept business man. So why would he hold onto this tanking business? Then it hit me - for the tax write-off. I have been duped! I have no bonus checks in my future! The hotel is not there to make money, it is there to save the main business money. I have spent 7 months of my life on bullshit. I am furious.

Tomorrow, I will write an amazing resignation letter that will really stick it to the man. And I will go find a better paying job, perhaps waiting tables for a little while until I can get a "real" job. A job I can be proud of and that makes a difference. I would rather wait tables than be a sucker for these rich people completely out of touch with reality. I will not be defeated. I will not take no for an answer. I will never sell out. Take this job and shove it!