I have a confession to make.
I am that friend. You know the one…always griping on social media about bills, money, trying to sell whatever random shit she can. Constantly stressed to the max about how to get more month out of her paycheck. I know how it looks…I don’t care. Mostly.
On one hand, it’s one of the reasons I have not been that active on social media this year, but on the other, I am not ashamed of my poverty. At some point, I can’t really hide it. There are only so many times I can decline joining a friend for dinner, or avoid letting them into (even near) my house, or just smiling and nodding when friends talk about vacations.
This post isn’t about bringing more attention to that, however, as it is about the relief in sight. Though this is a discussion I’m saving for another time, the long and short of it is that I just was not one of the lucky ones when I graduated college, and then befell a series of intense hardships right when my career was picking up.
For five years now, a bit longer than I’ve lived in California, I’ve gone from working class to below the poverty line, and all I’ve wanted the past few years is a break. Some kind of opportunity. I have no family, credit, or any resource to fall back on. Everything about my survival is my responsibility and mine alone. A job with a half-decent salary or benefits I can actually both afford and use would be the sweetest glass of water in a desert.
The hows and whys aren’t really a part of this conversation, though. The point is that: that break showed up. A beacon in a dusty mirage.
But I can’t take it. At least, I’m not sure if I should.
After a mixed-blessing of a layoff in July, I joined a talent agency as an admin on a part-time basis in Culver City. It was a perfect combination of everything I had to offer and wanted in a job. Stability, a great environment, a place that utilizes all my skills to date, and not full time out of the gate.
I have learned to embrace the benefits of part-time work; it gives me time to take care of my body, my daily duties, my dog, my life. It has done wonders for my mental health. I am more stable because I can divide my day up better between responsibilities and things for myself, whatever they are. All those studies and theories that say we should not be working 40 or more hours a week…I think they’re on to something.
But the reality remains that my credit score is in the tank, I have no hope of moving and finding a better place to live, and I’m anxious to move forward with my life. I need an additional source of income, and I have been trying the darndest to do that with my writing. So many starts and stops in my life, but I think I am finally on to something that will eventually pay off in the long run.
This is when another opportunity opens up. A position on the Westside at a venue, something hands-on. They’re looking for long-term leaders who have exactly the kind of experience I have, they are compatible with my daytime schedule, and it would pay more than my current job. Together…I would be making over twice what I do now.
But … it would be seven days a week. And, combined, my salary would still not be over forty thousand dollars, which is laughably poor in Los Angeles. Besides pissing on the fire of my student loans, it’s hard to see what other benefit that income would have. I’d have no fewer than three 15-hour days a week. It would give me just enough to pack up and relocate; I’ve been enviously eyeing spare rooms in Culver City and Palms for the better part of a month knowing I would never pass the credit check but looking all the same.
And I have Czar to contend with, and how precarious his situation is. What would happen if I moved? Would he be okay? Would I wait until his time came, then saved up money for a deposit, and then moved? That could be a year from now. The guilt eats at me; if he was not around it would not be a question and I would take it without question, regardless of my living situation.
It’s all so tempting. When stress hits, I hit the pavement–I’m a workaholic. I know how to dig myself out of poverty but forgive me if I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt, then got screwed and shit upon all over again with nothing to show for it. Is it worth it?
But this all comes right when I’m finding my footing as a writer, figuring things out, laying out a real plan I can actually adhere to. Taking this opportunity, if it’s offered (I have only interviewed once so far) would likely undo all of that.
It’s not a guarantee yet, but I hear opportunity knocking. And I think it’s at the wrong door.
I don’t sell ad space, but writing costs me a lot of time and resources. Consider my memoir, NORDISCO, which is available directly on this site or through Amazon. If you would like to support my work in other ways, click here, or follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Thank you and best wishes!