Jobby Job

I haven’t had a full-time, on the books job in almost six years.

Even though money has been tight and my spending habits have changed, I was pretty happy. I didn’t suffer from Sunday night dread. I didn’t come home exhausted and annoyed. I didn’t feel hopeless.

Perhaps I’ve just never worked at the right place or had the right attitude, but the whole 9-5 thing hasn’t gone well for me. It sort of sickens me to be a cog in a wheel, spending time and energy doing something pointless just to not have the time and energy to do the things I want. I’m a good, hard worker. But if I only have two hours of work in an eight hour day, if a guy who spends most of his time at “business lunches” and golfing with potential clients is making 1,000 times more than me, if I have to jump through hoops of fire to get a day off, I don’t really see the point in living like this, save for the fact that I need money.

I’m not sure how long I could have floated by on part-time nannying. Maybe I would have gotten tired of never having new clothes or sick days or not being able to take a vacation. Maybe not.

But I don’t have that choice anymore.

It’s probably the most selfish I’ve felt so far to not want to find a 40 hour a week job (which, lets face it, is more like 50 when you count the commute). And yet the idea of not being able to provide for my kid makes me feel like I should be applying for jobs every hour of the day. He’s growing out of his clothes every second. Our stash of gifted diapers is gone. Soon we’ll be feeding him solid food, so my free breast milk will no longer be enough.

I broke out in a sweat when I realized I was running low on toothpaste, face wash and soap all at the same time. Even though I know my parents wouldn’t let me go without the basics, I can’t keep relying on their generosity when I’m a smart, able bodied person that needs to suck it up and get back into the real world.

My resume looks terrible. At best, I could say I’m trying to “re-enter the work place” and at worst, beg for an entry-level job, all the while playing down the fact that I’ve been a supervisor twice at two different times.

I’m open to nannying, but the instability means I can’t be a breadwinner, even if I wanted to.

Some days I feel fine. I have a roof over my head, a shirt on my back, hot water, good food, and a loving, supportive environment. Other days I feel like I’m going to be stuck in my parents basement for the rest of my life and while that may not be the worst case scenario, it’s too much of a “failure” for me to handle.

Mostly because I don’t want my son to look at me that way.

So yeah. I may be the person prepping your grande latte, finding you a dressing room, or taking your order.

If I’m lucky.



Old Enough for Allowance

Miss Spoken will be a year old this May! We’re a little blown away and very excited to celebrate our birthday with you. As part of this, we wanted to tell you about a change in format.

Starting with this month’s show, we’ll be accepting a suggested donation of $5. All of it will go to our readers. The reasons for this are simple.

  • We value their time, energy, and creativity, and believe it’s worth something tangible.
  • We think you feel that way too.

It’s suggested. You can cheap out and we won’t give you side-eye. Your presence is our present, to use the worst phrase ever, and we understand being broke. But if you can spare one fancy beer and like what we’re doing, this is a great way to show it.

See you on the 27th. There will be cupcakes.


Getting Real About What You Owe

A couple of years ago, xoJane challenged its readers to “Show Us Your Debt” — put what they owed on a sign and on the website. These posts were part my inspiration behind June’s theme of Debt. I liked xoJane’s idea of being honest and matter-of-fact about something common to many of us, but often considered shameful, something to be never spoken of or tucked under the rug.

My story is about straight-up old student loan and credit card debt, but like most cases where you need to pay something back it’s about much more: secrecy, dishonesty, family, and old habits dying hard. The stories we’ll feature at our show next week differ in terms of what is owed, but are often equally complex in terms of motivation, behavior, and consequences debt inspires. Man, that sounded like a bad book review. What I meant to say was: Debt is often personal, rarely easy, and persists long after it’s been paid. Come to the show to find out how.


Cash Only

We’re going to be talking all about debt for our June 18th show, so to hear more about my situation, be sure to check it out!

<Shameless plug over.>

I don’t have a bank account. Or a credit card.

I use cash and I have an American Express debit card which I’ve put exactly zero dollars on.

In some ways, it feels great. I know exactly how much money I have at all times and when it’s gone, it’s gone. I’ve never been able to budget in my life, but when you have nothing to fall back on, figuring out how to manage is an exercise in survival.

You have no idea how many times I’ve had to just suck it up and wait for the bus because I couldn’t just flag down the next available cab. Or how a day/night out will come to an end because I didn’t bring enough money with me. I’ve walked into a restaurant, assessed I couldn’t afford lunch and walked out.

I can’t use Uber. I can’t open a tab at a bar. I can’t buy anything online, or reserve hotel rooms or purchase plane tickets.

I can’t rent a movie from Redbox. I have to carry seventy-two quarters with me if I borrow my roommate’s car and need to park.

But I’m never bothered when a place is cash only. It’s not hard to deal with a group check. I can typically make change for a $20.

And as much as I loathe Ventra, it is a bit easier being able to load cash on to a machine instead of buying passes at a currency exchange or grocery store.

Overall though, it feels a little too off the grid sometimes. I’m not the sort of person who thinks we should all stuff our money in our mattresses (well, maybe I am). And credit, as evil as it is, is the only way to prove I’m worthy of renting an apartment, buying a car or getting more credit.

I suppose this will have to change if I ever get a job where I get a real paycheck.