- Posted June 13, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Economy: Are you better off?
Economy: What economy?
In 2006 I graduated with a bachelor’s degree from a four year university in Florida. About four months after getting that diploma in my hand, I found a job with a salary. It wasn’t great, $15 an hour, but it would bring me to a bigger city, renting half a duplex and starting my life. At first my position was challenging and I really enjoyed it. My official title was technical writer. I was basically responsible for writing the drafts of planning documents for various local, state and federal clients. The majority of content of my work was transportation planning and as my major in college was communications, the generally thrilling liberal arts degree, I didn’t know too much about what I was doing. But utilizing the research and study skills I perfected in college, and asking questions, I taught myself what I needed to know to do the job. But time pressed on and I found myself having less and less of an interest in what I was doing. Days, weeks and even months would go by when I literally had less and less to keep me busy at work. I lost interest and despite the steady paycheck, I couldn’t get past 1) the boredom and 2) getting paid for doing nothing. It didn’t seem right to me and I began looking for another position.
So while working for one company that really had no work for me, I began looking for another job, typically on the clock, on my computer at work. I never was told not to do it. I finally got an interview and later a job offer for a position that would pay about $25 an hour. Of course I jumped on that opportunity, moved 200 miles, signed a one-year apartment lease and found myself in a euphoric new life, making more money, working a new job and growing older and wiser. Not so!
Less than three months after I took that new job, I was fired after an innocent discussion I had with co-workers about my sexual orientation leaked to one of the big cheeses. The exact words were, “We feel you’re bad for business.” Devastating to a newly empowered young man, it happened May 2008 and I’ll never forget it. I had about $2000 a month in bills and my income source was gone. I had some money in a 401k and I got a severance package for two weeks pay when I left, but other than that, there was nothing else. So back to the drawing board!
I went home after being fired and freaked out a bit. Called my parents and told them. Bought some liquor and got drunk. The next logical step was to stand up, brush my teeth and find a new job. But I was in South Florida and at the time, the economy was just beginning to tank. Despite what I learned through my work experience over the past two years, my skills were of no use to any employer I contacted. So I went down in style. I sailed for about 5 months in that apartment, letting other less unfortunate souls crash for a few days, keep me company, perhaps chip in to pay to keep the electric on. The details of those 5 months are very vague to me and I’d like to keep it that way. So upon a stack of eviction notices and a few knocks on the door from the landlord, I felt it best for me to get out of dodge. It’s amazing how much stuff you accumulate in a one-bedroom apartment over the course of a few months… especially when you have no money!
I ran back home. Back to the safety of my childhood room, a fridge full of food and two relatively understanding, yet annoyed, parents. Mom and dad were soon to be unemployed too so it was a good time for all.
Other than a few restaurant or sales jobs which all seem to have trouble paying their employees, I haven’t found full-time work. I have a mountain of debt from a car repo, credit cards, unpaid cell phone bills and student loans. I do frequently update my resume and apply for other jobs, but I hear back from about two per year. I’m not sure what to do with my life now. Homeless? Probably. Thanks America!