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this title space for rent...
cheap
by katherine l (aka clevertitania) (@CleverTitania)
10.20.11
news

For the record - I do not think I'm above ANY job or ANYONE who does them. Just because I am several years removed from the stage of considering $10 an hour a massive windfall doesn't mean I think I am any better than whoever is checking me out at the grocery store, whether it's a teenage boy or a middle aged woman. I am no better than any person who's ever waited on, served, assisted or rung me up.

That said...

My current situation feels demeaning. I have one part time job that pays very well (but only slightly above average for the work I do). I have a second part-time job that pays a few dollars less than I would be accustomed to making. And then there's the third part-time job, the one I took in order to make sure the property tax bill gets paid this year. I've said that more than once, on social media and basically every single time I mention the third job. And in fairness, there are two reasons I keep clarifying WHY I took the third job and why it is only temporary.

The first reason is that I don't want anyone imagining I am the kind of person who actually likes to work or who has some great work ethic. I'm not. Seriously. Sure, I work hard when I'm doing a job, but I'd happily not work for the rest of my life. If I won the lottery I wouldn't even give notice - Ok I might for the one job I do from home anyway. But everyone else will get an, "I'm sorry but I'm massively wealthy now so I'm not coming in again ever. Buh-bye." Well maybe not quite that David Spade, but you get the idea.

The second reason is really closer to the first than I realized when I started writing this. Because once again it's about misconceptions and perceptions. Misrepresenting myself as a worker-bee, that's more akin to not wanting to brag about something that's not even true. But the second reason is tougher to swallow.

I shouldn't have to be doing this, and I hate people thinking that I should. I've spent 15 years working my way OUT of making 25 cents above minimum wage. And today I spent four hours at one job making what the other job would've paid in about an hour and a half. That makes me angry, and it makes me angrier that people see me doing it. Not because I'm better than running a register or facing shelves, but because I worked hard to make a life that's better than minimum wage can provide.

So I spend 4 hours on my feet, doing the best I can at a job that requires a fraction of my brain power (not that I'm sure that's not also true for most of the people working there, I'm quite certain it is), and hating that a hundred people watched me doing that job and don't know I once ran an computer security team for an enormous international company. They don't know I had a remote team in Europe, or used to regularly interface with people in Australia, South America and Asia - that once upon a time, before the downsizing began, I wore business casual and had a micro-chipped ID card instead of a polo-shirt and a paper name-tag in a plastic shield.

And yes, it feels degrading.

But because the hours I can get are limited on the two jobs that pay a reasonable amount of money, I have to take work that I know will be plentiful over the next two months... even if it pays less than $2 an hour more than what I made at my high school fast-food job.

And we know hours are not hard to come by at a retail store around the holidays, ESPECIALLY the retail store I'm working at. So in order to pay off one bill by December 31st I have turned my work life into a crazy word problem.

The salary at job A is equal to three times the salary at job C. The salary at job C is equal to one-half of the salary at job B plus 2 dollars. If only the salaries at jobs A and B are double digit numbers...

What the hell has happened to your life?


This is what the economy has wrought folks. This is what people across the country are doing just to keep themselves afloat. I'm not going to comment on who's ultimately responsible (if you say Obama expect a General Ignorance horn to go off though), but this is where we are. People can't even work a normal 40 hour week, at a job they've worked hard to excel at, and pay their bills anymore. People have to work 60 hours, at a job(s) below their skillset, to be lucky if there's even enough money to pay the bills.

I'm not going to turn this into an economic path debate, because there are people who have time to watch the news and read articles making their points on that subject. Believe me though, I wish I had time to #OccupyWallStreet, I really truly do. I haven't even watched The Daily Show in a month. I was 6 episodes behind on QI until this weekend! Heck it took me 3 days to even find out how Steve Jobs died. I'm SO out of the loop.

But I will say this to anyone in a position to affect change: This election cycle is not going to be about procreational rights, gay-marriage, the war(s), reverse racism or even drug decriminalization. It's going to be about jobs and money. Mind you, I don't mean how much money the government is spending, because the worse things get the less any of us give a rats ass about the federal deficit. It's going to be about making sure that most people have enough money to pay their bills and still grab a burger once in a while. The only companies we want to see laying off now are bill collector phone banks - I wanna hear crickets in those aisles. You want to win in 2012 - create (not just promise to) good-paying jobs

Because no one should have to feel like this. No one should have to spend most of their life working to get out of the bottom tax bracket only to fall back in after 3 years of job hunting. That's not the way things are supposed to be.

And I haven't even mentioned the new online classes I'm taking in a couple of weeks, so that I can do something to get my resume more attention. Is it any wonder I haven't written anything significant in months? Three jobs and classes - I'm starting to sound like some Alfre Woodard character in a heartwarming film about one mother's struggle. I hate when my life resembles an LMN movie. But on the up-side, this is one of those times having little social life comes in handy.


ABOUT KATHERINE L (AKA CLEVERTITANIA)

When I grow up, I want to be; whoever Joss Whedon wants to be, when he grows up. I am a writer because it's the first thing I want to do when I wake up in the morning; aside from eating and using the lavatory of course. My work includes screenplays, short stories, film/TV/music reviews and socio-political commentary. The last one is a fancy way of saying I like to shoot my mouth off on many topics. I excel at using $1.50 words. They gone up, thanks to inflation. Isn't our economy awesome?

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COMMENTS

sandra thompson
10.23.11 @ 9:26a

We are the 99%. We need to recruit as many of us as possible and join our brothers and sisters in the streets. I ;think we'd all agree that you have an exemption. Since I retired and no longer have any money for my favourite causes, I have become a volunteer, most often on the phonebanking detail. I'm actually looking for a part time job, but most employers don't want a 77 year old even with a master's degree and a glorious resume. Good luck to all of us.

katherine (aka clevertitania)
10.23.11 @ 12:24p

Yes Sandra, I admit I have to give myself an exemption from a lot of current political activity (I have several 'pet' causes that are on fire at the moment) and I hate it. But if I were to try and fold more in I probably would drop every ball I'm juggling. I did try to use my time on unemployment well though, by getting involved in projects in between scouring job ads. The first summer I worked on the local Pride Fest and last fall I took my kid to the Rally to Restore Sanity.

But since unemployment ran out this spring, I don't have the luxury anymore. Here's hoping what you guys are doing ends up helping the people in my position - and worse, considering I at least managed to get my house out of foreclosure a few months back. Many others haven't been so lucky.



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