It’s hard not to think about all the things that I could’ve done differently, but now I am in a better place. I am still struggling financially, but at least I enjoy what I do, the people I work with, and have steady cash flow. I wish I could’ve gotten here sooner, and I wish I could tell those people off who insulted me. I might just do that… (I heard that SNL overlooked Stephen Colbert and Jim Carey…) I could just send an email that says thank you for not calling me back so that I could work for a billion dollar company that makes your revenue look like lunch money…I’ll think about it.
Unfortunately, my feelings regarding towards Florida and mostly south Florida have not changed. I think they have actually been validated due to an article published in a Tampa news paper stating the state has agreed to lower achievement expectations based on race — as if the public school system in Florida is anything to be proud of, I guess unless you are from Latin America (http://tampa.cbslocal.com/2012/10/12/florida-passes-plan-for-racially-based-academic-goals/) — and my new job where all the higher level and non customer service positions are interestingly located outside of Florida, and in the Global North.
Regarding the article, which I actually thought was from 2014 and not 2012, this is all I have to say: Not surprising. I will be surprised when decisions are made based on sound empirical evidence and decision-makers stop thinking within a vacuum. I had to turn off a political discussion on the news the other day, attempting to be Meet the Press, because a woman quoted her source as “the internet”… If no one is vying to understand and emulate your educational model, then maybe there might be just a few other educational models out there that can be considered, maybe just a little. I mean, what if they were to consider looking into the educational models of this little unknown area far up north called New York. I hear they have a similar multiracial demographic in one of their smaller cities by the same name. The state might not be as established or well-known as Florida, and certainly people don’t consider it to have anything that could rival major cities in Florida, but I think they might be able to find a little something to work with.
In regards to my job, it is actually in an international affairs related field and I get to use Spanish and French on a daily basis! In fact, I am the only one on the team who speaks French! Also, it’s in the private sector and there appears to be genuine opportunity for growth. Another shocker, the job description was accurate, unlike that last place where I was called Business Analyst but was more Collections Agent/Customer Service Rep. Oh, and by the way, that company’s revenue has taken a hit, they’re overall revenue is only 1/4 of the revenue for my new company, which is in the billions, and I contacted the Department of Labor about them not sending my my COBRA information, so they should be hit with a fine of at least $100/day since my last day. Maybe that’s why the recruiter was checking out my résumé… 🙂 But on to the new job. The pay is low. It’s high for the area and if you went to state school, but as Florida is not the center of the universe from me, I cannot really join my colleagues in gushing over the salary and finally being able to give up their second job. This is what I made in grad school, without a degree, I declined two interviews for jobs that would pay me about $30K more — one maybe in the state of Florida, the other definitely not — but even with the higher cost of living I would still actually have a savings, and now I also have to look for a second job and possible relocation. The jobs I applied to right before I committed to this one appear to still be open, and if they’re still there in a month, all bets might be off…
In December 2014, I was ready to leave Florida and never look back. Neither my parents nor I had the money to fly me back home for the holidays so I was seriously about to spend Christmas by myself in this state that I am indifferent too (when it’s cold and people speak to me in English, its value to me plummets.) I could not do that. I sold the last of my stocks and got a one way ticket home. Right after I bought my plane ticket, I heard from the company I am at now, only a few weeks after I applied. I actually gave then the full résumé, except I left out my certificate in Chinese because it wasn’t really relevant. I played up translation and language skills because that appeared to be the tipping point, but now I am concerned by boss might think that that is my background… Anyways, I was supposed to have the last interview right before my flight, but it got changed, and I went north. I was there for two weeks before I did the last interview and received an offer. I lowered my salary expectations by $5K so I could get in the door, but I was told that there was potential. And the reviews on Glassdoor are amazing! As is the company. The low salary is a BIG issue though. The two companies who would’ve paid me more contacted me for interviews after I had verbally committed to my current job, but I did not have time to wait for a paycheck, and I was also curious to see where this would go. So, here I am back in Florida.
After this month, I will have been here longer than I was at that hellhole that I worked at when I first got here, and even the place I worked at through the temp agency. I met people at both those places who had a warped since of self, and just sometimes I wanted to be like, are you serious!? Now I want to be like who’s the one excelling in fast-paced environments will high revenue now. I’m still thinking about that email… It wouldn’t be beneath me because I am a Scorpio and I am human. I would channel Bill Maher’s smugness in my email. Anyways… My lease is up at then end of May and I have bills to pay. I am not going to pay a premium to sign a short-term lease, so I have to figure out where I want to be and where I can be. I would love to stay with the company, but all the opportunities for growth are elsewhere if I want to overcome the Florida ceiling. I might be able to negotiate staying here for one of the positions I am looking at, but then do I really want to stay here?
Honestly, for $15-$20K more and maybe also an analytical role, I could make it work, at least until I get engaged/married. I connected with someone the other day who is about to get married and he said that he could not raise his children here, and I completely agree. I came here for the weather, the beach, Latin America, cost of living, and to meet a multilingual foreigner (not fresh off the boat; Americanized), but I honestly do not want my children to be subject to the low standards and delusions of south Florida. (I also really want my daughters to go to my middle school/high school.)
UCF, UF, or one of these large Florida state schools was included in some list of public ivies. I found that list and understood why some people actually refer to then as Ivy League schools. But why do they do that? I mean I know why, but they are really serious about it. Always be proud of where you went to school if you must, honestly, I have mixed feelings about most places I attended, but don’t be disillusioned because then you look/sound ridiculous. “Pretentious” was an abstract concept until I got here… I did not go to an Ivy League school just to be clear. I’m always amused when I talk to my friend who went to MIT about the “Ivy League” Florida schools here by their acronyms and she has no idea what I am talking about. I do feel bad about this deep down, somewhere, but it helps me keep things in perspective. Everyone around here knows was MIT stands for, or at least has heard of MIT, but I have to tell her what USF, UCF, FIU, and FAU is, or for fun, I just make her guess… And then FIU has these new entry standards for their graduate school that would actually make her ineligible to apply, lol, while she actually got into Brown and Vandi. When I drive and think about things here, I just go WTF and just move on because my brain hurts after awhile. Cambridge has a cutoff like FIU, but they’re Cambridge, they can do that. When you have degrees that are known to be well transferable outside of the city/locale of your college, you can do that, it’s annoying, yes, but you have that established reputation.
So, so far Florida is more ridiculous than not #FakeorFlorida, but I am still here because I got a job and because of the multilingualism. I think I also might be here because my very self challenges the general population’s perception of who I should be, and it amuses me when I cause them confusion. I think that’s also the same reason why I must leave at some point. Probably just for my sanity: I can’t work with pretentious people, those who embrace the status quo, have a warped sense of self, and believe in strict gender roles. I guess I should also mention that my company is not based in Florida.