New Hobby – Alcohol

So, I spent most of the day crying. I managed to not cry at my desk, but I scheduled some time to go cry in the background. I also completed some job applications, but what is the point? I’m sending these things out, hoping for something to happen, but it hasn’t happened in four years, so why should it happen now? True, I almost got a job offer at a place I could’ve been happy at as a full-time and was happy as a part time, but it did not required any foreign language skills and had nothing to do with Latin America. I thought I would fare better in the Latin America in the U.S., i.e. south Florida, WRONG! I was told, oh, you resume is so great, you speak so many languages, come to South Florida, WRONG!. They only want their own, people who have never left this god-forsaken area. And it’s a disadvantage that I am not exactly Latin American…

So, I didn’t exactly get offered the full-time, but I was being interviewed for it and it seemed very likely. They want me back for a part-time, so I guess they were the only ones who didn’t lie to me. My old boss said he would want me back if I was still unemployed, so he got his wish. I do appreciate his honesty, but what about my wishes? Er, past tense, the wishes that I had, because now I am done with aspiring to be anything. What exactly is the point of that? I down-played everything on my resume and got an interview for a Reservations Manager at a hotel. I chose the hotel because of its’s expensive clientele. I’ve been told that I am easy on the eyes, and sense that is the only thing that I can market these days, why not market it hard? There’s a part of me that regrets turning down an offer to be one of many girlfriends for this unattractive old guy I met at the pool. He had money, or so he said, and he was European and mentioned marriage… Damn you self-esteem and pride for turning down money and European citizenship! *cringe*

I’m a bit buzzed right now, yes. I was saving the cachaça for a happy occasion, but then that requires some type of hope for a better future, so why not use it to make the occasion happy? I feel good. I haven’t felt good in a long time, and it feels good. I wish I could go somewhere, but I know no one to ask, and I can’t drive. Even in this state I know my limits.

But where was I… I have chosen to be atheist, not that wasn’t it… I turned down a job to experience south Florida. FAIL! With a master’s degree, I’m overqualified. By not being Latin American, I’m under-qualified. I do have a job waiting for me beginning January, but I have to move back and I have no money. I mean, I have enough to move back, as a long as I don’t get a demand letter…

The buzz is wearing off… Time for another drink…

Ok. Ice and cachaça is not good. I’ll need to get some fruit juice tomorrow…

So, there’s a position open overseas. I hope to be considered for that, but I was told I have the wrong citizenship. I know someone else who also has the wrong citizenship working in the same city, so why not me? But there it is, it has always been not me. I regret not going for that full-time job, but silly me wanting to use my language skills which are worthless in the US. Also, I was offered the ability to interview for the full-time and I didn’t even apply because I was focused on moving to Florida, a-n-d thought I had no change because I had applied to other full-time jobs in vain. I also think one of the reasons they were interested because I had that I was attending a MSc Economics program. That came up in the interview… maybe I should put that back on, but seriously, I will since I am technically just on a “leave of absence”.

So I believe in God, I guess, but now I am atheist because God does not believe at me. I worked for some conniving bastards who are not number one in their industry, but are still making money, so if God really cared, that would not be so, right? And here I am contemplating living out of my luxury car, which I bought, used, because I basically said f- it. If I am going to be on the brink of poverty because of student loans and dreams, I might as well splurge so people can say it’s because of lavish spending. I love my car. I could live out of it, but I am a female, and I don’t want to be raped. Someone at my last job made a comment about the company raping its franchisees, I think he is still employed. God, maybe now would be a time to step in…

So, still feeling happy off the juice. I want to get some actual juice so I can bring it to work with me to keep me going, or… this can be that aspiration that I need. I can go to work looking forward to the paycheck and the drink, because they paycheck isn’t enough, I need something to make me happy. That’s an idea…

Another so… So, to wrap this up, I’m embracing the effect of alcohol, or specifically, rum, cachaça, and tequila. Plus I need to lost weight to actually get one of these modeling gigs I have been auditioning for, work at the strip club if they’ll teach me to dance, get one of those suggardaddies off the internet, and go to this cattle call interview for the Reservations Manager. The positions is more than respectable, but I know they’re looking for someone pretty and respectable. That’s what they want here. The languages help, and I learned along time ago to hide where I went to college. I did not lie: I went to a specific college within the university, so I just put the college. You can probably deduce now, that it wasn’t Yale or Harvard. But I played the system and got the interview. I downplayed my other positions, emphasizing the customer service, I’ll ask some friends to be the recommenders, and hopefully this works. This worked for Victoria’s Secret, although I disclosed my MA and the job titles. I was also lied to and told I could be on the Manager track that would come two years later… So basically my education counted for nothing. Why was I going to stay at a place that basically told me I wasted money on college?

I mean seriously, I just can’t anymore. I can use the alcohol to give me what I need to put on a happy face, and be the pretty, dumb girl, because that’s what people want. People at my job today were talking about my old place of work, they didn’t have all the facts straight, and I thought about saying something, but I held back. I’m supposed to be the admin asst without any aspirations, who didn’t finish college or high school for x, y, z reason and has to be told when to do things despite being able to cuss you out in five or six languages you don’t know and create macros around your ass… So I said nothing, and stayed in my lane… I stayed in character.

Everything else has failed me, so I will allow the alcohol to let me stay in character. It keeps me going. Alcohol, soup, and water is my new diet for happiness and weight loss. And I’m limiting my phone calls. My parents preach this foolishness called hope, and my friend wanted to advice me to gain more work experience instead of getting an MBA while I had my first job at 14 and she had her first in college or after, I have a grad degree and she doesn’t, and the preBusiness advisor at our college was only concerned about my quantitative deficiency. When she asked me about grad school I based it on MY OWN EXPERIENCES IN GRADUATE SCHOOL. Her “advice” was based on her feelings, no doubt corrupted by South Florida, assuming I did not work while in grad school. Yet she got a scholarship to Columbia. So, I guess it’s back to the alcohol, the only thing that makes since, because doing the “right” thing sure as hell doesn’t. FYI, if I got knocked up I would be able to get welfare, but since I do not desire to be a baby-mama, I get penalized for not having a ward for the state to take care of… Food for thought.

Also, I know I veer on the line of bitterness and contempt, which is why I have prescribed myself at least one cup of hard liquor per day to help alleviate those symptoms… indefinitely.


Giving Up

I’m trying to figure out, when would be a good time to throw in the towel. Especially where I am now where I was hoping to be the diamond in the rough because most people don’t leave, employers seem to have low expectations, and there’s chivalry. Unfortunately, with not being from here, I get the resistance to outsiders, low expectations means micromanaging, and chivalry also leads to sexism and stupid comments like you’re not afraid to drive on the highway!? Or, you play basketball!?

I think September 2013 was when I stopped applying to full-time jobs all together. By the end of the year, I was confirmed to start an MSc program in the summer, but that was just a back up plan to get me to the city I wanted to live in. I wasn’t going to get a private loan, so I accepted the federal loan. I took a big risk. I also took a big risk on the stock market/Netflix, and that paid off, but my risk in Brazil is starting to prove less lucrative…

When I moved to my dream city, I don’t think I applied to many places for full time work. This was around May/June 2014. I can’t, physically or mentally, apply to another non-profit in the US. Now they want years of experience working in a developing country. I’m from the inner-city, I can easily go find roughness and poverty close to home. And I’ve heard horror stories about the Peace Corps, not to mention the debt that I have, why go abroad to get sexually harassed when I get sexually harassed here, but have laws that I could stand on? I really can’t work for people, like my last company, who pull requirements out of their asses.

So plan C, is being a temp worker. I’ve done this before. At least I get paid more than minimum wage. My only issue is that I’m not learning marketable skills, I’m working in a role that has no career advancement/development, I’m working for people I should be working alongside (if I wanted to work in a slow-paced environment were people spend a lot of their time gossiping and micromanaging, sticking to the status quo, and paying people to do nothing – or in my case  blog and submit job applications to other people… don’t know what I would’ve done without a computer), I’m being micomanaged, and I have to push myself to not push myself. From my last experience I have learned that in some environments, even if they may say otherwise, their not about improvement. They like the status quo. The like putting forth minimum effort, or just enough of what is needed to get status, pass the buck, or throw someone under the bus. I’m learning to keep my head down and do what is told, and nothing more, pretend that I don’t have a mind of my own. They like that.

So, I have applied to full-time jobs here, and elsewhere. I’m feeling that if I want what I had, I might have to go to cities that are actually known for being more intellectual, even though I did not want to give into that stereotype. I might even have to move back to live with my parents, and that pious pastor can be right: that a woman’s place is in the home and with her parents until she gets married. My independence was rebelliousness that was beat out of me.

The truth is I can’t temp forever.. Well maybe I could, but my bills would never get paid. I certainly can’t apply to any full-time positions in this field because I would have to discard my standard resume and either omit my college degree or lie about it if they’re looking for one.

It’s hard to think that I’m where I would be had I not even graduated from high school, and being where I am and my image, people will and do think that I did not graduate high school. For my pride and their pride (that’s what it is), it is best for them to think that. My supervisor knows that I have a MA, but I don’t believe from where, and if she asks, which I doubt she will, I will have to lie. The woman from the temp agency has seen my degrees, but I don’t think she understands the weight that they carry (in some places) and the cost, because all she had to say was that because I moved around a lot, it would be harder for people to hire me full-time. Where I’m from, people say that attending school in different areas and visiting different areas are in asset, so maybe that is another sign that I might need to leave this city and state…

I had an interview and was asked about my career goals. Honestly, I don’t know what they are. I had said research, writing, and using my languages in the interview, because I was being honest, but I wish I would’ve said it better because the last two are not relevant to that position. I could see myself in that role though and definitely growing within the company, if the company is what they claim to be… At this point, I really just want to be financial stable/secure, and be able to travel. I have not even been fully in the rate race, but I’m already tired of its foolishness. Before college, I thought I was going to law school. I took the LSAT once, it was embarrassing. I bought another prep book yesterday, to use at work while I do nothing and learn nothing, so we’ll see where this goes. In high school I interned at a law firm. I spent a lot of time reading, but when I did something, it was worthwhile. I even got a change to network. I was proactive and drafted a demand letter, and was praised for it. I’m not looking for praise, and I know I make mistakes, I guess I’m just looking for constructive feedback and skill/knowledge development.

Just a moment ago, one of the people in the office came by to see if I had been hired. They’re looking for a permanent person. I told her no, but they are looking for a permanent person. The other temp that was here was only looking for part time and she mentioned the opening and was excited about the $30K. Any money is good, but I would have to move out of my apartment if I took that, and then I might as well go back to my parents home. I would rather go back to my parents’ home, especially since they’re in a city where I could get paid more doing the same thing. I’ve told people no before, but I doubt they will be asking. I have showed up late. I have a problem with that here, yes. It usually happens when I am bored or depressed. I don’t understand why I have to show up so early to do absolutely nothing. It seems to be an image thing. This position is about image. Important people have Administrative Assistants (Secretaries) to schedule meetings for them when they could just use the scheduling assistant in outlook. Process improvement.

I also really don’t like people asking me for where stuff is. That’s my job now, but I have not been here long, and I do not plan on staying. I also did not do what I did to be asked anything other than about things related to translations, political movements, economic development, social changes, or other concepts that require indepth and occassional abstract discussion. To order supplies you go online and place an order, to find where people sit, you look on your computer in the address book…

I admire people who do this because it requires a lot of patience. I really don’t want to do this. It’s exhausting agreeing with everyone everyday, being idle, and not doing anything that requires some form of research.

Transitions Too

First off, let me give my sincerest apologies for the typos. I’ve just been free writing these posts and hoping that the words come together in a cohesive organized fashion.

So I started my new job in July. But, before I get to my first day, when I received the intial offer, based on conversations I had had with the recruiter, I thought I was going to get a signing bonus, and that helped me deal with the fact that I felt I was being underpaid by $10K. I was also hoping to start in June. Well once I got the offer with no bonus, I was distraught. I still had a lot of moving expenses to cover, so I was hoping that this offer would get me over that hurdle. I thought about the offer and realized I had no choice to accept, and resigned to be grateful for a salary that was above average for the area, but low for what I could be offered elsewhere. I was sincerely grateful, but there was just some miscommunication.

I was working in collections. Past tense, yes, as you can tell, I am no longer there. I was fine with working in collections. I put my budget together and looked forward to the end of the year when I would recover from the move. The people I worked alongside with seemed nice, the office was multilingual (the majority owners of the company are also Latin American), and the company is recognized worldwide. I put aside the fact that their product depends on exploiting the inability of poor people to afford more healthy lifestyle choices. (I would occassionally buy the product, but I was trying to actually stay away from it completely.)

The company is not cheap or frugal, they are stingy. They provided no supplies;  you would just take what someone left. That’s was not a problem. I was excited about working together as a team to meet our MBOs and get that end of the year bonus. I am very competitive and I strive to be first. Especially as the only female in that role, I was going to be first. However, first, I took a step back and observed. A shadowed a veteran in the position as I waited for IT to gicve me the access I needed. It took them a month. They didn’t respond to emails, those that said they would assist did not respond to emails. The culture was pretty much unless you are important within the company what you have to say does not matter, especially if you are new and a female. To those essentially not from the Northeast, I can be brasive. I felt that I was being hustled too, also part of the company culture, and I felt that I had been lied to about the “teamwork” at the company. They guy I was shadowing also advised that it was best to keep my head down, I should have listened – but I really couldn’t, and that I should be more assertive. I’m not one to pretend I know something when I don’t. I ask questions. Asking questions and understanding the full process was frowned upon (especially since very few people knew what the process, policies, and procedures were). I was trying to collect money from one client and she was asking about a trace number. I tried to but her in touch with AR, asking them to supply the information that she needed because that was not my area and I had no idea what she was talking about. There was silence on the other end. Eventually the women in AR said she did not respond because she did not understand… Ok.

The guy I was shadowing also suggested I push back a little more. In retrospect, I don’t know whether he was being helpful or whether it was a ploy to get me let go. But that’s the enivronment that company fosters, one where you cannot trust your team, you have to look over your shoulder, and you make sure you are not the last one holding the ball. I was warned by people when I had applied to the company last year, but I figured it could never hurt to try, especially since there are very few worlwide companies based in my “dream” city (not sure if I want to be here anymore). There were no good things said before I got there or when I was there. It was about the money, and there was soooo much gossiping going on. That was really foreign to me.

But so, I took the reigns. First I attended a quarterly meeting, found out a family member had passed, and then I decided that the slowness and confusion at the office needed to end, and I was going to focus on getting that bonus. I don’t miss deadlines. (I might have missed some.) But I didn’t go to the schools that I went to, and learn the languages that I did while missing deadlines and not being results driven, one of the company’s mantras. I get results. I was going to have the highest collection numbers, and all my accounts were going to be reconciled by the end of the year, because I could do that. Our collections goal was 95%, but I could go past that. After the quarterly meeting I saw how much the 1st place field performer got, and I wanted that. I needed that.

I put the experience aside after how long it took for me to get the tools I needed to do my job. For being so results driven, the company sure did not do much to provide me with the tools to do my job and not just sit there twittling my thumbs. One of my colleague’s said they like to just throw you in there to see how you do. I had given IT space, but several requests went in for the same thing, and the first ones were even from the higher ups. They were supposed to clone another ID, which they had done in the past, but they weren’t able to do it now for whatever reason, and they did not communicate that. They did not say they needed more information, they ignored it. Then once the ticket was assigned, they only addressed one request. I did say thank you along they way as I got help, but I realized I needed to have a more heavy-hand and really push them for quality and follow-through. They just wanted the ticket out of their queue. Another time, they said they were waiting for approval. The first two times, IT gave me the names of whom I could follow up with. One of them was one of my supervisors (reading and responding to emails was not something of value there), and the other was someone who had an away message on and instructed the receiver of that email to contact someone else for immediate needs! Did IT acknowledge that email, no! It just sat in purgatory…

I got quicker results when I was more direct, which came as I got a better understanding of the process with no help from my boss who was in the field and gave no feedback. This was the trial period, so maybe it was normal to not provide feedback? I had contracting positions that were longer and with more respected companies and they provided feedback: constructive criticism, and praise. Most of what my boss said was why don’t you do it like the other guy, this is not what I got before, as the people there. So I spent more time communicating with AR and with people at the headquarters, because when I pushed them, I got answers. My vibe from my boss was that he just wanted to be left alone and wished I was a guy, particularly that other guy. I sensed a lot of whining, and it appeared that for being a mostly male environment, a lot of them needed to grow a pair. (Pardon my French).

Then the rest of the field team. They said let them know if I needed them to follow up with the franchisees in the field. I did, and conversations were spotty. It was mostly email, again the emails that no one really reads. As the merger approached, I guess that was when the conversations were less. Right before then I wanted to quit and regretted not having continued to submit applications in June as I waited for my July start date.. I was grateful to be done with the job application process, or so I thought…

So most of the franchisees were cool. This one lady was fussing, literally whining about how it had been two weeks since she got a response. It had been less than a week, I was on bereavement, and she conveniently omitted my response emails from her chain with her whining. She was one of those women whose husbands allow them to play around with the business although they lack common sense, skill, and the aptitde to acquire those things. I have nothing against rich people, the elite, etc. The ones that I know who have more clout than that lady and are much more respectable. So the field guy who works with her followed up with me, which I appreciated. He wasn’t cc’d on all the emails, so I sent them to him and explained that she was lying about the response time and new it. I took his advice and tried to cc them on the emails going forward. As some of them sat on documents I was told to collect, I wasn’t cc’d though… Also this one field guy let everyone else call him Bill, but for me I had to address him by William… He was cordial to me for the most part though, except this time when we were dealing with a difficult franchisee and he wanted me to get the policy so we could be clear and present a unified front so his credibility wouldn’t be messed up. No one cared about my credibility as I “followed up” (those annoying words that everyone used without being specific and being sure that they were talking to the right person), and I should have been more concerned. BILL was there before I was, so he should’ve already known the policy. And the way he was talking to me was as if I was his assistant. Even when I was let go I held my tongue, but with my experiences and connections, I really could have put him in his place…

I would contact franchisees about documents we needed and they would say they already turned them in and clearly highlighted the organizational and communication issues we were having. This one woman did not double check the status of the documents that she would email to everyone and say were pending… I met with her though and we got some clarity and I felt better about working for her. Right at the end of August I knew the process better than most people, and that was an issue.

July numbers were 99.1. My boss said he was surpised they were that high because he thought it was going to be impacted by something else. In August July numbers went to 98.1. AR applied open balances incorrectly, didn’t tell me they were applied at the end of the month, and didn’t work to get them paid because the collection numbers aren’t within their scope. Yes, it’s not within their scope, but they need to act with more discretion because of the impact on the company, and the so-called “team”. My boss was not aware of anything that was going on, and I don’t really think he cared much anyways. I was going to find the problem and fix it, which I did and now those jerks are benefitting from my hard work.

I worked early mornings and in the evenings. All they were concerned about was that they did not see me at my desk at 9:30am, when I was told I could work from home. The office was chaotic and unorganized. People would just find people to do things, even if they were the wrong people, and then I felt that I was intentionally being sabatoged, so I worked from home more to get the work done and get that bonus.

I worked so hard to correct what had impacted the July numbers, and got it fixed. It was impacting August numbers too. Everyone’s August numbers were low at the middle of the month. At the end of the month, there was still one guy with low August numbers, but mine were the highes at 99.8%. I was told a deadline. One franchisee had an Aug 29th deadline, and he represented the majority of my account. I was told to “follow-up”. I said it wasn’t due yet, so what should I do? I was handling it, but it seemed that they wanted something else, and I was trying to figure out if the deadline had changed or if the policy dictated something otherwise. They probably didn’t get this, because their minds probably resorted to she needs extra support. The only thing I needed was for people to shut up, calm down, and do things right the first damn time.

The numbers for all the regions were also affected in August because of one of our larger franchisees, in my area, but mananged by the guy who was formerly in my role. I don’t think the field team knew that, and I think they blamed me. The guy said he was going to handle it, and he did. In the end, by the deadline, all the numbers were there. In the middle of August, I felt that I was being forced out. I was out for bereavement and I had some people ask me if I was on vacation. I went to lunch with some people and there was some gossip, which surprised me, so I have no doubt that people gossiped about me. They did it in high school. I could have announced the family loss, but I didn’t want to talk about it because it was personal, and because I didn’t know the people at work well enough. Maybe deep down inside I also wanted to see what would happen, to see if people actually knew their own policy. My boss had actually said “take all the time that you need”. I didn’t take that literally, but I was also wondering why he would say that if it wasn’t true. I’m more of a literal person, and at all the other places I have worked at in my field there was more of saying what you mean and meaning what you say, and also integrity. I was supposed to edit some slides too at some point, and it said for field team, since I wasn’t on the field team, I didn’t work on that. I wasn’t trying to step on anyone’s toes, and I had other things I could be working on.

So with the merger, there were talks of layoffs. It had happened before. I was warned before getting there, and once there. I had a sixth sense about this. It was creepy. I was determined to be perfect, or at least be number one by the end of August. I worked long hours, mostly from home, and I think had I not been at home, they would have let me go sooner. First, I had called my boss to check in, he didn’t answer. He wasn’t available the previous week either, so I was a bit suspicious to be honest. I was told that the numbers were the lowest they had ever been, that people complained about my attendance, and that the franchisses complained. I was calm, but I asked about the numbers and pointed out that they were 99.8%. My boss repeated that the numbers were the lowest they had ever been in the last 15 months. He sounded like a broken record. My mother who has a MBA and worked for a more profitable company said that with mergers, companies have to be careful with how they let people go. But from that conversation, I sensed the BS. Then the HR person said it’s a results-driven place. I looked at her with a blank face and I also said I guess that I could be honest about everyone telling me not to work there since I was already out the door. All I was focused on was the results, and I ignored the brown-nosing. As I wanted to leave anyway, at least this way I was still getting my vacation time. They almost lef me with the bill on the corporate card though, and didn’t let me send in the death certificate to waive at least the fligh change fee.

That was a learning experience. It was my first hostile work environment. Beyond that though, in matrix organizations (I actively avoid them now), I should be more proactive in communicating with my boss, especially, and any other field members. I need to kind of brag/say what I have been doing each step of the way with regards to what they have asked of me. And also, its really not good to be desparate for any job, having options is better. I should develop a poker face, and unfortunately also talk more about my credentials, especially in places like this when more respect and response is given to those with that status. I hate the last one though, and hate environments like that. Everyone has a job to do, so everyone should be responsive, and not intimidated. Like my last boss longed for his all guy team, I now long for being around people who don’t micromanage, are more intellectual, are team players, are truly resuls-oriented, are concerned about adequate training, and are not intimidated. I had all that a companies/organizations that were more impressive than the last one I was at, and in areas that were less superficial and known for having workers who are about providing quality work while meeting tight deadlines.

Thankfully that this is but one spec out of all the places that I have worked, which if I were to be graded for all the jobs I’ve had would still put me in the high 90s, at a 99.8% perhaps… It would be so great to have stayed at number 1 for August, and have a chance to show my smug look.

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.

From Then Until Now

So many things to say, but where to begin… I just could not bring myself to write for the past month. I had thought I was doing well, but today, with so much on my plate between housework, job applications, and planning for an upcoming trip, I’m feeling a bit unmotivated.

In the past month, I’ve had two jobs and started taking anti-depressants, the social worker I’ve been seeing says that they help to level out my emotions/feelings. I have been using what I learned in AP Bio to process what’s happening to the neurons and I think they have helped. I think with the medication I was able to get out of my head and focus on other things, be happier about life, and be able to encourage others. For a while I did not have crying spells, I cried a little today, but nothing near like what happened before. That reminded me too that the pills cannot solve everything. What they have done is help me to be more open to and accepting of life. I was even able to have a spiritual breakthrough and am glad to report that I no longer have thoughts of suicide. But now where do I go from here…

Now, it’s just a few days over a year since I graduated with my Masters degree. I was actually looking at some pictures with my parents the other day, and we were all so happy. I’m grateful for the accomplishment, the experience, and the people I have met, but I had hoped it would make it easier for me to get a job, which it has not. Statistically speaking, it has made it harder. I have a specialized advanced degree and at most 2 years experience in a market looking for more experienced workers, or people with just a Bachelors. That’s frustrating, and causes some anxiety, but because of the pills, my reaction is more mellowed out.

What boggles my mind is all the steps I took to ensure that by now I would be gainfully employed, with benefits, preparing for another trip to Brazil, to only be at this point and see that those steps taken were in vain.

My senior year in college, I was so sure that I was going to graduate school that I did not start looking for full-time jobs until around March. My peers had interviews setup in the fall and by spring knew where they would be working full time the following fall, with benefits. Most of them went into investment banking and consulting, where they are now, and then there’s me.

I had gone to career fairs on campus since my junior year, maybe even my sophomore year, looking specifically for internships. My senior year I went back to the fair and was just focusing on finding an internship for the summer. So I got a head start on the job search, and was on LinkedIn by senior year if not before, but then I got the graduate school rejections, the scholarships rejections, all at the same time. This was March, and I started looking harder for jobs.

I was saddened by the rejections from graduate school, and especially the scholarship rejections. At this point, I feel like I’m glossing over some things, but I just don’t want to dwell on that time anymore. I didn’t read the fine print on some of the applications that said don’t apply for a Masters in Latin American Studies if you already have an undergraduate degree in Latin American Studies. I was mostly agitated by myself for missing that when I’m usually very good a spotting the fine print, and wasting my money, or should I say opening up a credit card just to pay for those applications. So then I was finally wait-listed at one school, accepted, but broke. I got money for a summer study program, and actually got money for that, and then found out I got a part-time job by the end of that program to help pay for expenses in grad school, so that was definitely the silver lining. At this point, I was definitely optimistic about my future despite the other rejections I had faced. I had more than managed before, so why not now?

I was determined to do better in graduate school: higher GPA and have a jump on the job search. I had a job in government and a 3.5 GPA at the school that waitlisted me. When I graduated and my GPA dropped to a 3.3 because of administrative error and over-ambition on my part, I found out that most of my peers had 3.8 GPAs. What did I do wrong? I took Arabic, a summer course, and worked full-time, and also trusted the wrong administrative person. Some people can juggle a lot of responsibilities, but that is not me. But looking back, it’s kind of funny how the thing that I enjoy, languages, has also led to more anguish. I don’t know if I have already mentioned this, but I have approached the CIA and the NSA, and they are not interested… despite the languages.

But going back to graduate school…

I started looking for jobs either the summer before my last year or the fall of my last year. If it wasn’t the summer, then it was definitely the fall. The big name placed I applied to are: CFR, Brookings, NDI, and the Woodrow Wilson Center. I applied to other places as well, well over a hundred since then. I applied to places that showed up on LinkedIn, and I networked, or tried to network through there. It does irk me when people my own age don’t respond, but then again, they are gainfully employed… And probably not the best people to network with anyways because they have little pull. I got no response from CFR or Brookings. Oh, and I applied to the Freedom House and got no response from them, ever. I found out that they’re a sucky place to work at though, and pretty homogenous for a group interested in equal rights and opportunity, as is the Center for Global Development. I applied to them more recently. The World Affairs Council is also another place that does not respond to people. My thing is, if I can get to the president of a top 10 university, and get a letter from the NSA or JP Morgan saying they’ve picked another candidate, why can’t the World Affairs Council or the Center for Global Development do the same? Limited resources, maybe, but it shouldn’t be that complicated to send a group email.

So the time I spent with NDI was interesting. They contacted me for an interview while I was in Cuba, and then was just after submitting my application online, no networking. I said I was in Cuba, and we set up another time to talk when I got back to the States. My first encounter with them was for an internship just after college. I got to the second to last stage, and they decided to go with someone else. I was cool with that. I ended up studying a language over the summer, and then later getting a job, or jobs, that paid more and lasted more than a summer.

So I interviewed with someone from NDI for a full-time position around January/February of my last year in graduate school. There was a portion in Spanish. Easy. They asked what my availability was, and I said I was writing a thesis, so part-time until May. They said we want someone full-time now, and decided to move on to other candidates. I reached out to that person again when I saw other openings a little before I graduated, as she said I should, and no response. And then I applied for an internship for the fall, in addition to a full-time position. Again, no networking. I got an interview for the internship only.

I saw the interview more as practice, and after conversing with one person in French, I saw it as a joke. My French is advanced and has been better, but the girl who interviewed me, I’d probably put her at intermediate, and she was supposed to judge my ability. I did not trip her up intentionally, but I tend to speak more formally in my interviews and I could tell she was having some challenges. A friend of mine joked that she would intentionally use more complicate French just to get the interview over with. Wow. So I got the internship, but I was waiting to hear back from another job, and I also would not be able to afford rent with what they were providing, it was mostly the later, so I turned them down. I have not looked back. After 2-3 years I’ve had enough of them and other similar international non-profits like Freedom House, and those other two in NDI’s cohort.

So, of course the other job I was hoping for I did not get. I actually ended up connecting with the person who did get it on LinkedIn, before I knew she got the job. They actually changed the title around. She’s a native Chinese speaker too, so I can’t compete with that. I’m being serious here. I had no hard feelings, disappointment? yes, but no animosity. I was still in good spirits and thought I’m good at finding jobs that pay, not the most enjoyable ones, but I can get by, so I went door-to-door and dropped off cards, resumes, and applications.

I interviewed with G by Guess which I was very relaxed about, it was a group interview and I was asked about how honest I was. I have a clearance and my fingerprints are on-file, I will be found out. I interviewed with Sunglasses Hut, the guy was nice, but the interview was poorly structured. I had a great interview at Victoria’s Secret and then worked there for about 3 months until I had enough money to get by and couldn’t deal with it. None of my experience transferred, I was hoping for at least a supervisor position especially given the quality of some of the supervisors and managers there, and there was no room for even just a little growth. I also had interviews coming up for full-time jobs that I had hoped would amount to something, but they didn’t.

After Victoria’s Secret I lived off of some money I earned translating, and then went back looking for a right now job. Wow, that wasn’t really too long ago… I went on LinkedIn and looked for internships, I applied for a MA in Economics at two schools at the last minute. I had to take the GRE again and ended up missing the first one because I tried to cut myself the day before and was taken to the emergency room and was still trying to recover from that on the day of the test. It was after I tried to cut myself that I started seeing the social worker.

I went to visit my brother for a little bit and applied to this contracting job I found on LinkedIn. Thankfully, and to my surprise, I was hired within a week. It’s in management consulting and the company’s actually kind of a big deal, which I didn’t know until after I started. Since it’s contracting though, there are no benefits and I’m hired when there’s a project available. I panicked when I didn’t hear anything for two weeks and took another dead end job. I had to wear a uniform. Most of the people i worked with were nice, but there were some I could do without. Also, there was too much down time, and some silly formalities. I would motivate myself to go to work and then about the perks, but at the end of the day I would just cry as I drove home. I would then sit in the car for a little bit and just cry. I would think about driving off the road, or into a pole, and just cry some more. I should also say that I was misinformed that there were opportunities for growth. They also messed up my paycheck and tried to say it was my fault, after I had left.

I couldn’t get out of bed one day, so I called in a quit. That is not my nature at all, but I had to do it. And then the next day I heard from the management consulting firm and also realized that I should have just called the staffing agency back.

When I couldn’t get out of bed the day I quit my last job, and then was just rocking and crying in my room the next day, I called my doctor’s office to talk about anti-depressants. We had talked about it before, but I just felt that all of my feelings and thoughts were out of control. There was nothing I could do to make myself go numb and just stop feeling, stop hoping, and stop dreaming, so I had hoped the anti-depressants would help to keep me at a more steady state, which they have.

I am in a better state of mind. No more suicidal thoughts because the medication allowed me to be open to a spiritual breakthrough. I had my hopes up over the past few days about jobs I saw, but later found do not exist, and cried just a few hours ago, but I can feel sad. Now, I can also move on. Why? Because life just is. Right now it mostly sucks for me, especially when I think about where I used to be, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I have a trip coming up that I can focus on, and then a 3 week job, and then after that, who knows. I’ll have to do something because I’ll run out of money again, but that’s my life now and I can accept it without breaking down into tears. People are always looking to hire people on a daily basis for less than they are worth, so I can go to the staffing agency and work for anal, incompetent managers stuffing envelopes while making $11/hour. I live with my parents and don’t pay rent, I’m far from my friends, and my loans are in deferral, so I don’t really have any additional expenses. My credit cards will never get paid off though, but that’s more a nuisance because I don’t need the credit right now. And as far as the management consulting job goes, it’s a lot of cold-calling, which I’m not really skilled at. I have tried, and done well at times, and they have been patient with me, but it is not a good fit, so I’m not sure how long it will last. Either way, I have a trip to focus on a maybe meet someone who can rescue me from this, and I’ll just try to get more skilled at living day to day.

“What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore and then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?” – Langston Hughes

This is my first post after months of procrastination. I am 25 and jobless. I have been for almost a year despite having a Masters degree from a top 10 school in international affairs, a bachelors from a top 10 school overall, being fluent in four languages, and having had various jobs from groundskeeper to consultant since I was 14 years old. I feel like a failure and think that employers look at my application and wonder what is wrong with me because I have yet to be hired.

Since this blog is an opportunity to explore all those issues, those that myself and others are facing, I won’t address them all right now. I feel the poem above summarizes my emotions throughout this never-ending journey as at this point it’s not a matter of if, but rather when I will reach my breaking point…and I have come close.

Dream Deferred