We Deserve More

Once I got this new job that I love, I thought I’d pay it forward by helping others who have also been struggle to find decent work. I put in a referral for an acquaintance of mine from college for a job on the opposite coast from where she was located. Yet, after about two weeks I saw that they declined to interview her. I was disappointed. She has much more experience in this field than I do, and is willing to take less money. Between the college she went to, her background, and the referral, she should have at least gotten an interview. Yeah, she applied to a job on the opposite coast, but she has family there and was more than willing to relocate. I mean, are recruiters that close-minded to think that people do not have connections in different cities and are not willing to relocate on their own dime? This seems to be the case in Florida, but I have lowered my expectations for Florida-based companies, but I expect more from the west coast and the mid/northeast.

So when my friend saw that she was not selected for an interview, she called to follow-up with me. She said exactly what I thought, that will all she had going for her, she should have at least gotten an interview. Why no interview? She had a few positions where she was only with a company for a few months, but she has only been out of college for 5 years. She also went to a top 10 school. There is no doubt in my mind that she excelled where she went and probably learned in a few months what it would take an average person to learn in a year. I found out later that the recruiter left the company kind of abruptly. Considering potential internal communication issues, I thought it possible that the application got lost in the shuffle, so I worked with her to help her reapply.

I say all this to explain why I am not only disappointed, but also frustrated and angry. She should have at least gotten an interview. That’s exactly how I felt after I applied for hundreds of jobs and received no response: I should’ve at least gotten an interview, especially in a state with generally low standards that they broadcast to the world.

There are intelligent people everywhere, at all types of schools who work hard and work smart, yes. They shouldn’t be excluded just because they did not go to a “top” school. However, at those “top” schools, the intelligence metric is skewed towards the higher end, so if the general market is saturated with mostly average applicants, the top candidates should get an interview. A nice rejection email will not even suffice. So why don’t we get the interview? Recruiters feel intimidated (especially with the female applicants or minority applicants), recruiters/employers are cheap and assume we’ll ask for a lot of money (I ask for more now because I had bills that are past-due and I’m a little bitter. Back when I was chasing non-profits, I would have been fine with mid 30ks – mid 40Ks.), or hiring is done internally. In Florida, another issue is that people do not understand the school rankings, most likely because most of the people recruiting are not from the U.S. and come from cultures where simply going to school in the U.S. gives high class status, and also for some very strange reason, Florida is regarded as some type of Mecca where everyone is flocking to: Latin Americans, yes, Americans, no.

Since moving to Florida… I have been told that I am under-qualified to be an Administrative Assistant by the same person who had trouble making an international phone call and was more interested in hearing about my program at an un-ranked Florida state school than my undergraduate degree, and recently when I mentioned wanting to get a Ph.D. at a private university here to someone who attended the undergraduate school, the guy said it was a good school at then dropped its ranking in an obvious attempt to solicit a reaction. When you round the number you get #50. My undergrad is ranked higher. I said nothing. What was I supposed to say? What was he assuming? I was just trying to talk about the program, not the ranking…

So suffice it to say, Florida is a very special case, a twilight zone. But, going back to my prior point, when you make certain achievements in life, you deserve to sit at the table, and in this case, be granted an interview.

In getting back to the title of this piece, for me, my disappointment, frustration, and anger begins with myself and my peers not getting and interview and ends with being lumped together alongside of and compared to those who by our standards do not have the same intellectual capacity or even the desire to acquire it. The last time I felt above average was in middle school and then I would go home and my parents would give me impossible problems to solve and I felt challenged. From high school to (most of) graduate school I didn’t feel unique, and then after graduating, I felt my brain was dying for the most part of the time. Now, I feel like I am being told to slow down so others can catch up… maybe they need to move a little faster…? I had a few classes in college where I was falling behind. It was frustrating, yes, but I learned from it, and certainly did not try to slow others down because of me, and the professor certainly did not slow down for us slower students either.

I feel that I am being told to slow down, and even indirectly being held back because they’re little for me to learn from those in my same role. In our initial training, we did some things in Excel (my mother does everything in Excel, so she made me learn it) and this one guy could not find the “sort” feature. Ok, maybe he did not learn it, but I consider that to be basic Excel/Office, and so did my brother who is an Excel pro and makes fun of my minimal knowledge (not in a mean way), which compared to the guy at the office is probably advanced… Anyways, there’s the issue of him not knowing where the “sort” feature was, not searching for it, and not asking someone, another Florida thing, with the machismo (“gag”). So, I know Macros/VBA because I went on YouTube. I did this lovely Microsoft Office test where I had to create a Macro, which I did, by following the directions. This other lady comes out and says it was asking me to do stuff I had never seen… Follow the DAMN directions!

My other colleagues do not appear to be familiar with checking email regularly… We get things through Outlook that they don’t see until late, I was scheduling the meetings, and then this other person just copied and pasted directly into the Macro and not the function bar, repeatedly. Do something once, or twice, okay, but then troubleshoot and do something differently. Ironically, the stuff that I know in Outlook is more in line with being an Administrative Assistant (you know, the thing I was under-qualified for), but somethings I just happened upon by being curious. In high school, when we first got our email accounts, we went over email etiquette. Until Facebook happened I was checking everything daily, and now I’ll look through it, but only my work emails usually get a response during the week, and then on the weekends, good luck.

So maybe they don’t know these things, but while they figure it out, I can be promoted and given more money, not told to slow down while people learn things that I learned years ago. And then the issue with troubleshooting. My high school, college, and parents taught me to be analytical, and I guess I was probably born inquisitive too. I cannot not be analytical, which is why my writing tends to go in multiple directions at a time because I see various topics that can be further explained or further analyzed. I cannot not ask questions. I cannot not solve problems (I love jigsaw puzzles by the way). I do not understand people who need constant instruction and cannot take the information given and run with it. I do not understand people who cannot isolate the variables to determine the cause either on their own or with others. It is basically a higher level of thinking that I was surrounded by that I need near me again so I can stop coming home and being shocked by how little people actually know how to do. Well, I guess this also speaks to the gap in education quality between institutions and regions, but that’s a separate topic.

Again, back to the point of this post. My job is amazing because of the company and the people I work with you are all very nice. I actually get along with the Managers and the people not on my team a bit better. The concept of networking seems to be lost on some… We had very comprehensive training and there is all sorts of information we can reference and people we can contact if we have any questions, but ultimately, we were given the tools and told to run with it. There was this new training recently that was more lecture-based, more European/Latin America style, so I am going to have to review the information on my own. There was no PowerPoint presentation. I feel like that really makes me sound like a spoiled, privileged American, but presentations should have PowerPoints with key takeaways. You doing something and me watching you is horrible for me and not the environment that I am used to, and arguably an environment that has proved to be the most successful.

So continuing on from that last point, I feel that it will be therapeutic for me to tell the recruiters who did not get back to me and my former employer who proved there is hell on earth exactly how I am feeling at my new billion dollar company that makes them look like fools playing in the dirt. My parents would advise against is, but the Scorpio in me is telling me I should do it. It would be smug, Bill Maher-style, but I will feel good once I write it. I did this 3 times already. One I actually regret, and another I really don’t. The third ons is not worth mentioning. For the one I regret, I misread the email… The recruiter was checking in with all applicants saying that they need more time to review the applications. I misread it, and said something like, “Thank you for letting me know and for helping me realize that now is the best time for me to move.” My moving deadline was either before or at the same time they intended to make their decision. For the other one, it was a top management company looking for bilingual Spanish speakers with Portuguese being a plus, for their Latin America team. They emphasized that the person must have a university degree from a top university. This is in Florida, and I am really sensing that here, “top university” is synonymous with Florida college/university. So, they sent me an email saying I wasn’t going further in the application, and I responded, in Portuguese, telling them they are going to have a hard time finding someone better. They’re still looking…

I most likely will write back to those recruiters who wasted my time asking for foolish things like a high school transcript. But in the next post, I will write what I want to say to the worst company/management I have every worked for. My intention is not to send it, but I make no promises.

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Less is More

I was going to write this post yesterday, under the title of “The Devil You Know vs. The Devil You Don’t”, but as I stopped procrastinating on my job applications, another idea came to mind.

I moved to D.C. in December 2013, with the intention of moving to Florida in May/June 2014. I also decided that I would stop applying for full-time jobs because of the agony it caused me. And as I was copying and pasting across résumés and cover letters, and revising my LinkedIn profile I felt myself becoming more and more depressed and realized why I had stopped trying.

I don’t like the Washington DC metro area. I have family here and we would come here a lot over the summers, and it does have its charms, but it’s just not a good fit. I only came because I was offered a job, and because I had to get out of Boston where I was being harassed by a Trinidadian mother who spent her days being a religious hypocrite, a busy-body, and one of those people who feels they have all this wisdom when in fact at above a half a century they have the intelligence of a naive child still in elementary school. (I don’t mean to be harsh, but she is very cruel and represents the things I detest most in this world.) But back to DC…

DC has jobs, but it also has segregation, ego, arrogance without qualifications, men with goat beards, and an over-priced housing market. It’s pretentious and I pay $1295/mo for a small studio in which the cable doesn’t work because snow melts into the cable boxes, there’s a draft from the window and the melting snow creates mold and flushes insects through, and in the summer there is a major bug problem as they all come up through the cracks in the floor covered by the rug. And this is in Arlington Country, one of the most expensive in the nation, and I am not living in the projects. This is “prime real estate.” By comparison, I can/will pay $1275/mo for a 1 bedroom in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, FL, about 10 mins from the beach. It’s managed by the same company that manages the apartment I’m currently in, ironically. (The transfer process was nice, and while they do have some crappy places, they have some nice ones too.) With the apartment I’m in now, they clearly feel that less means more profit for them, which they can get away with in Arlington, VA. Also, I can expect to make as much as I’m making here, but that’s a whole different conversation.

While I had every intention of leaving Washington, DC, I decided to do a quick search on jobs. I only found two that matched what I was looking for, so that reaffirmed my belief that D.C. does not have jobs for me. I applied to the two that I found and am giving them two weeks to get back to me; so far, I have heard back from one, a rejection. Why two weeks? Based on my experience, that is all the time HR needs to decide if a candidate will be a good fit. If HR has a basic understanding of how to add value to a company, then they will be pro-active in pursuing a candidate before they’re hired by someone else. So if you don’t hear anything within two weeks, then they’re not interested; it’s like dating, even though you shouldn’t wait two weeks for that. If you hear back after two weeks, then you know that their HR is lacking. I heard back from an internship after I had already switched to my second job in DC, yet I applied to both at the same time. Even if the need for a new hire wasn’t as great, if people do they’re job well, then they’ll try to secure someone for the spot, like with apartments, you want full occupancy.

So the one company I heard back from in DC responded saying they were very impressed with my résumé, etc., etc. After the job market crash, it was the norm for employers not to respond to candidates, not even with a mass email, now I feel some are trying to engage with responses at least mentioning something positive about the résumé. If I wanted their opinion on my résumé, I would have asked for it. What I was looking for was a job. I was flown in for another interview where the guy said I was smarter than him and said I would be great for one of those top consulting firms. He was a nice guy, I was flattered, but what I wanted was a job, not flattery. And the consulting firms were not looking for someone like me because my GPA was not a least a 3.7, and now I’m too “specialized.”

With the job interview that I was flown in for, after I had a phone interview with some random HR person over the phone and didn’t get called back for the next round, I called the number they had provided to speak with someone. I was polite about it. The only thing snarky I said was that I could do PowerPoint in my sleep. During the phone interview, the person was asking routine questions that lacked substance, and it was clear she did not know what the requirements were. She couldn’t even test my Spanish or Portuguese. Just like Excel, languages have to be learned, and frankly its a lot easier to learn Excel at an advanced level than it is to learn Spanish or Portuguese. I asked my mother to teach me pivot tables just for the interview.

The company that responded to my last attempt at finding employment in DC related to my interest and skills by basically saying I was overqualified received a response email in English and French. The job was related to security issues in Haiti, but ironically, they did not mention anything about knowing Creole. That should have been a sign there that they were already quite limited in their understanding of the basics of the country and the Latin American and Caribbean region. They could have also been assuming that few people know Creole, which is true, because in the DC area someone who knows a foreign language well (reading, writing, and speaking) is very hard to find. I should have at least gotten an interview, so I just described the candidate they chose who probably over-stated his language skills, and then I offered my foreign language services. I provided the French in the email so they could have something to use to actually test his skills. (I went for an interview once where the level of French for the person who tested me where so basic, that I talked faster and threw in some complex pronouns so it would end quicker as she would realize that she was not able to evaluate me. I was very disappointed. This was a non-profit in DC.) I did not say anything to them about that.

I wrote another response email in Portuguese to a consulting firm looking for people who were multilingual. These people clearly have no one to test the skills they desire. While they say they want someone who’s skilled in areas they are not, the candidate can’t be too impressive because that will mess with their ego.

I don’t find my résumé impressive. I don’t find anyone’s résumé impressive. What my résumé shows are my interests, and the jobs I took related to my interests so I could find some enjoyment between 9-5 as I worked to live, to create the lifestyle I want, and increase my investment portfolio so that one day I will not have to work for people who are egotistical and narcissistic. All I want is money and happiness, and probably in that order, especially since I have already done a good amount of traveling which gave me happiness, so now it’s about the money.

So people, acquaintances and recruiters, have said positive things about my résumé, but yet I’m not getting hired for a full-time job, so how about they tell me what part of my résumé screams I do not deserve a full-time job. That information would be useful, because that is the point of the résumé, to get a job, not to impress people. On my own, I have come to the conclusion, that my résumé is too impressive. My cousin told me my intelligence was intimidating. She’s about the age of HR recruiters, so I’ve decided to go with less being more, especially with the Florida market with people placing Associate Degree as a requirement when BK has even decided to put a BA as a recruitment for cashiers.

So in my résumé, I include what they want to hear. I did that before with key words, but now I have to omit the education. I don’t want them to be impressed, I want them to be comfortable. I can’t give myself a male name because that would be unethical, so I have to strive for comfort and sticking with the status quo in the other areas. Plus, my first MA is not really relevant except to say that I am educated, which has done very little to help me find a job. At this point, it’s weighing me down. I should sue for a faulty product.

This is not the first time that I realized that less is more. A friend of mine had gone to the Middlebury Language Schools twice and applied to the Peace Scholarship both times. She speaks Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, and some Italian and Arabic, so, the first time she talked about using language to connect with people on a deeper level to allow for connection. She did not get the scholarship. She told me that the recipients seem to be pretty homogenous and some of them had ideas that they never followed through on. So two years later, she decided to be a little more artistic and push for some emotion.

She’s black and from the inner city, but her parents are upper middle-class, like in the category without an end number and just the “& over”, and they both went to MIT. The income wasn’t enough to pay for her elite college and living expenses though, and Middlebury did not know anything about her parents income/background. Some people get intrigued when they find out she’s from the inner city and confused if they hear her parents went to MIT. So she used some of that. I should also mention she went to a private middle school and high school. She said her passion for languages and relating to people clearly got her no where, so she played the race card. She talked about the constant struggle of trying to pursue her education while being surrounded by gangs and violence as she grew up in the inner city. (They were nearby, just like serial killers in the suburb, but she did not spend her days running and ducking from them.) Then, she got wait-listed for the scholarship. If she had only talked about starting a coop for single mothers in the inner city and some place in subsaharan Africa, without a business plan, she probably would have received the scholarship.

So the conclusion is: for money, fit the stereotype. The job application process is not the time to be you and try to alter the status quo, say what they want to hear. Nuance is not their fortée; simple is better. That’s what being a good fit is all about, there’s a silhouette that you have to fill, which has nothing to do with being ambitious and trying new things, I mean clearly because I have been looking at places with a multinational focus, but yet they continue to hire people who don’t have an appreciatiation for multiculturalism.

Working Full-Time as a Part-Time Employee

I’ve been interviewing prospective freshmen for my alma mater, and I don’t wish I was them, but I wonder if I used to be that hopeful. I know the college process is beyond stressful now, and where you go and what your GPA is will determine whether you get that entry level analyst jobs, or end up flipping burgers at Burger King, a position that now requires a college degree. I don’t want to be a college freshman and know that, I like how I was thinking that college was about exploring my interests, as naive as that was. It was less stressful.

So these students, or at least most of them, were very ambitions. They talked about contributing to the greater good by working for non-profits or the Peace Corps, they talked about unifying countries, and creating their own businesses. I remember on one of my scholarship applications, to Wake Forest actually, where I wrote about wanting to start a homeless shelter that was self-sustainable, and served as like a transition house out of homelessness. I saw a similar concept on 60 minutes. I could put the business plan together and start fundraising, but seeing as no one thinks I’m fit for a full-time job, would they really invest in this goodwill endeavor? And then how can I even help the homeless when the only reason I wasn’t homeless was because I moved back home for about 15 months? A side note: I did not receive any scholarship offer from Wake Forest, and they wanted me to pay just as much to attend their school over a top 10 school, so pretty much, that’s why I said “no” to their admissions offer.

So I used to be just as hopeful as those students were when I was their age. It was refreshing to see that, and I believe that they can accomplish their goals. Most of them were guys, all of them were white, so they had that going for them. They would get into good schools, and all they needed to do is get an A- GPA. I probably would still like to open that homeless shelter eventually. Deep down inside I still feel the desire to help others, and hope for the future, if I didn’t I probably would have already committed suicide, because that’s when it usually happens, at the very end when all other options have been exhausted.

Right now, my focus is being content in the space that I am in. I am trying to stay in the present, and not plan or think too far ahead. I am also working on being less ambitious, because when your expectations aren’t as high, the fall is not as great.

Over the summer I temped for a little bit, which helped me to realize that I could make the money I needed without working full-time. It’s all about the profit margin: hire someone who’s more than qualified as a temp, and you can save a lot of money while getting a more than qualified employee. Funny story: for one job I did, I was calling parents reminding them to submit applications for a new school. I got to speak in Spanish, Portuguese, and French, so that was nice. (My coworkers were impressed too.) I also thought the school was pretty interesting and liked being able to speak with parents about it. I absolutely did not like being on the phone all day. Some hiring manager there took me aside and suggested I apply to the Office Manger position. I asked her what type of commitment she was looking for, and she said about 2 years, and I said I would think about it. She was a bit shocked, and my mother said she was probably wondering why a temp would turn down a full-time job. I had plans to move to Florida, and as I said I did not like being on the phone all day.

I considered it, but it wasn’t the job I was looking for, or the right location, so there are two strikes. I would have to apply, it’s not like they were offering me the job even though they already had my resume, and by that point thinking about having to write another job application would literally make me sick to my stomach. Also, what would be the benefits? In thinking about it now, I guess I could’ve just applied, got it, and then quit when I wanted to, but I liked them so I didn’t want to do that. The pay would’ve been decent, not really enough to maintain a good work life balance (the cost of living in Boston is well above the nations average). I would’ve had benefits, but I can get that on my own with ObamaCare. I was living rent free too, so I didn’t need to show any income to qualify for housing. In hindsight, I should’ve just applied and if I got it just quit when I wanted, but pretended to be interested career development and growing within the organization, blah, blah, blah.

My contact at the temp agency was really good this time around. She would call pretty frequently. I had tried them out for a month or so before grad school and never heard from anybody. So this person even called me when I was out of the state on “vacation”. I got a two week job as a Teaching Assistant, and I just didn’t know how my having another job would impact my relationship with the temp agency, so I kept it to myself. Again, I was working with bright-eyed, hopeful teenagers, and that was refreshing. I did it because I do enjoy teaching, I would like it on the side in some way, which I am working on a bit now. To be honest, it feels nice also to be appreciated for the things i am passionate about and for people to at least occasionally think it has some merit. I mean I’m not looking for praise, but to be grouped together with someone who thinks the singular of “españoles” is “españole” and to be passed over for a job with the State Department that was given to someone who majored in Public Diplomacy and claims fluency in Spanish, but who could not converse in the language in Cuba and is one of the most culturally insensitive people I have ever known, but then have an attentive audience, even if it’s just kids, gives me a moment to appreciate again what I have accomplished.

So back in Boston, I went back with a consulting firm that I had started with in the spring. It was an on-call position and there was a lot of cold-calling. I wasn’t enjoying it and I wasn’t cutting it. They met my asking price, and I got paid more for my languages, but the hours weren’t consistent. So I had a temp job with the local government, and left the consulting firm for benefits, and consistent hours. That’s probably when it started to be more about the money.

The temp job with the state government turned into a seasonal position to go through until the end of winter. I was processing unemployment insurance as a glorified customer service representative. (Note: the demographics of those applying is not what people would think, and certain people actually don’t apply because of fear of the government.) What I learned from that experience: the local government will hire anyone and they’d rather higher internally than recruit, probably to save money, but some people are being overpaid. What I also learned: there are stupid people in this world, plenty of customer services reps do not know what they’re talking about, I loathe headsets and will never wear one again in my life. To sum it up: I hated my job. I did enjoy using Spanish and Portuguese, and even providing the written translations that the Mass government failed to provide. I got paid well, I guess, less than with the consulting firm, but I got overtime and benefits, but picking up trash for $7/hour was more enjoyable. Management was horrendous, my manager would sigh whenever anyone asked him a question. Oh, and I had tried to negotiate my salary and was denied, lol. We were getting $14/hr as temps, so I think the assumption there was $21.57 was a step up for people who had been temping for years maybe and don’t have a college degree. I had actually applied for the full-time equivalent of the position and never heard anything. While I was there I applied to two different positions within the state government, one in legal, primarily because it was interesting, and another in health because it paid more. I interviewed with the one in health pretty much because they were told to interview me, but I failed at it because I talked about analysis, which was in the job description, but all they do is data entry.

But the highlight of my time there was when I left. I think the next time I will be this happy might be when China becomes the world’s largest economy. So in the call center, where I was working, we had “phone police”. You had to press a certain button depending on what you were doing. I wasn’t bothered at first, I think because all they cared about was numbers, and I was meeting the numbers in English and Spanish. I might have been applying for jobs at the same time, but doing what I did did not required a lot of brain power. One time the guy came around and asked about why I wasn’t on a call. I said I was doing a translation and he went away. This was like a week or so before I left. I had just applied for a job that was hiring immediately in a location far from the disappointment of Boston. I got a call on a Friday. I recognized the number, put myself on lunch at 10:30, and was told I go the job! I could not contain myself. I confirmed the salary, now since it’s about the money I should at least make more than what I did before, but I hated my job at the time, and being in Boston, so I was somewhat flexible. The salary, er, hourly rate, was perfect. I had found out I got accepted to school for the summer, so the timing was perfect too, the job ends just before then. Of course the phone police comes over. He said what he said. I said ok, and logged off the box. He was a nice guy, took his job way too seriously, and could’ve been focusing on the people who clearly weren’t doing their work, so I let it go. I went to my “wonderful” manager, and said I’m moving. I had thought about telling him what I thought of him, but that would’ve been a waste of my breath, and that’s who he is and he probably won’t ever change. I was giving him my badge, and he said I might want to keep it if I come in on Monday. I said nope, I’ll just use my vacation time. He let me put it in for that Friday. He asked for an email to send to HR, and there I explained that I got another job, which probably explains the hold up with transferring my retirement funds, that and not giving 2 weeks notice. But what did they expect with hiring all the temps in my group, even the ones who were surprising failing at the job by low and high standards, not letting me negotiate my salary, the horrible management, and harassing me with the phone police. I left and I breathed a sigh of relief and prepared to move the following week.

My job now is great. It’s in DC. I am completely against the cost of living here, even though it is better than Boston. It’s capitalist at it’s best. Southerners are fascinated by DC and northerners feel they can fix the government, so everyone, but me, really wants to be here, and that helps to drive rent up because of the demand, then the jobs, and the new apartments also help drive the rent prices up, and then even the cheaply made becomes ridiculously expensive. I though, am happy to be out of Boston, further south, better compensated for my work, and without a headset.

As I said, this is just a temporary position. I’ve come to grips with that. I have been looking at full-time positions near my new school, which is in a state far from DC, and have remained somewhat hopeful. Based on my experiences in the past year, I know that I can survive on just temporary assignments, so I’m wondering what I would actually gain from working full-time. It would pretty much be the job security, at least on paper, because I’m done with the government and non-profits, so the private sector can let you go whenever they want. That security would be nice, but again at this point I become sick when I think about writing another job application. I actually applied for some temp positions and internships for the summer. One place got back to me, about a full-time position in the DC area, that I didn’t even apply to. The money’s nice, so I guess I would be stupid not to stay for that. I had applied to them right out of grad school I think, unless I’m confusing them with another company, and was hesitant about applying to them again, never heard anything, and thought it would be nice to string them along. So I haven’t heard from them yet, it’s only been a day, but I’m not holding my breath. Even thinking about the possibility that something could come of that is a waste of energy that I’d rather use for something else. And at this point I don’t need the job. I have money coming in, loans are deferred, I was able to get rid of all ties to Bank of America finally, and I happen to have a decent investment portfolio. I would very much love to tell the companies/organizations that overlooked me just because my degree doesn’t end in “S” or say “Economics” to: [insert expletive here].

So that brings me to the title of this message. I keep thinking I’ve been out of school for a while. It has been a good amount of time, but it hasn’t even been 2 years yet, and I have not gone without money. I think what probably threw me was the expectation that degrees from more than good programs, an above 3.0 GPA, foreign language skills, work experience, a book, and some decent networking would have led to a full-time job by now, and having to live at home or be homeless. I’m glad the living at home is done with. Plan C/D is unemployment insurance, and I can actually give people decent advice on how to “handle” that process. So I can get what I need by doing part-time, investing some of what I earn, and going back to school if the job market is a bust yet again. I am actually moving to Florida which is where I need to be to work on my languages. I want to be in a place where people look at you sideways because you don’t know Spanish and not because you actually know it well. And I do think about the loans, and other people think about the loans, but I’m convinced that no one owes more than me, and actually, putting my undervalued intelligence to good use, there are completely legal ways around that. So right now, I’ll just coast and be. I’m off the depressants so I have to be more mindful of my highs and lows, and I have what I need. It’s not ideal, but it could be worse, and it has been worse.

What’s wrong with making $135K…over 3 months?

At Goldman, the Average Pay for Three Months is $135,594

So I came across this article in Bloomberg Businessweek discussing how the average pay at Goldman Sachs for 3 months is around $135K, and I immediately thought: so, what’s the problem?

As someone who has been unemployed and underemployed — despite my qualifications — based on comments from the fellow unemployed and others who sympathize, I feel that I am supposed to be outraged that they are making so much and I can only make $8.50/hour (and then only if I don’t disclose all of my degrees and experiences because if I did I would be overqualified for that part-time job and not hired). But I am not outraged. Instead, I congratulate them for picking the right major, Economics, being excellent at brown-nosing with the right people, and sticking to their selfish beliefs despite a majority preference for altruism. That takes comittment.

But sarcasm aside, if they’re qualified to make that much, then go ahead. The problem arises when there are more barriers for other qualified individuals to also make that much or at least come close. $8.50/hour is not coming close. Hiring graduate students as unpaid interns is not closing the gap. Offering to pay them on a contract basis is not providing them with a career advancing opportunity after graduate school. They can’t rent an apartment. Project-by-project employment provides no financial stability. And if you’re like me and never get called about a project, then you never even see a paycheck. And then there’s the lack of benefits… It’s been several months since I’ve had dental, and since I do not play any extreme sports, I think I’ll be ok.

So if the average salary is around $135K, the questions I want answered are:

– How many recent graduate school graduates have been hired full-time? On a contract basis?

– If hired full-time, are they being paid what they’re worth or what the company’s willing to give (less) since the market is saturated with qualified candidates?

– Did you hire the cheaper candidate or the most qualified one?

– Did you hire your best friend’s son, or the person who was most qualified? But wait, I already know the answer to that one…