The System Sucks

I’ve been trying to relocate to Boston for the last couple of months. I have the money to relocate myself, but I did my budgeting and based off my current salary, education, and job experience I am worth (in the jobby job land of job trees) approximately $60,000 take home annually. This is enough to cover my bills (student loan, car, phone, insurance, etc) and rent in a major city, and have money leftover for groceries, unforeseen scenarios, and savings.

I hate money. Let me begin by saying that. I think it is the root of all evil and I also think it is one of the most (unfortunate) important things in this world. I think a lot of the wrong people have the most amount of money and they hoard it and don’t help people who need it. They are in a position of power that puts a choke-hold on the working class and the only two options are suffocation or release – and release doesn’t look prevalent. I think that our country needs to be fixed and worked on from the inside-out but it’s so damn difficult to get there.

So I applied for a job in Boston. They liked me and sent me a pre-recorded video interview (a bit impersonal but whatever, I’m not entirely sure how job applications work anymore. I was in my first job for eight years, and my current job for the last five with a one year space in between where I was a secretary). Combined, I have over 14 years of work experience, almost exclusively in customer relations – eight of those in managerial/team leader/ job trainer positions. At 28 years old, I thought I’d have a leg up in the hiring process. But I’m only 28 years old. And I’ve only been out of college for seven years.

The first interview went surprisingly well and I asked for my desired salary, and they sent me a second interview – a performance task to do. I followed the instructions, completed it and sent it to the assigned email within 24 hours although there was a five day window because I really wanted this job. Two weeks goes by and I reach out to follow up and I am informed that my task was never received by the recruiter. I resent it and apologized and showed them the information and instructions they sent me. They admitted that the wrong email was included in the performance task but thanked me for my speedy response.

That was three weeks ago. I email them twice in this period to follow up on the position. They respond and inform me that they forgot to respond to me and decided to actually not fill the available position, but referred me to another job opening that was $15.30 an hour. In Boston. To a 28 year old with almost 15 years of experience and a bachelor’s degree. I did the math with an income tax/paycheck calculator. Take home was roughly $490 a week. Annually, less than $26,000 a year. A little too much to be eligible for food stamps and not nearly enough to live close to where you work in Boston. Average rent in Boston is $1,400 a month (which, honestly, after two months of searching, seems a bit low to me). That doesn’t account for other bills, utilities, public transportation, emergency fund, etc.

I know. I get it. I didn’t take this job – I didn’t have to take this job and yes it was offered to me in no way other than professional. But there is a problem here where a living wage barely exists and our worth has become determined by our age and how many years we’re out of college rather than our experience. The reality of our world is that millenials are being preached to by their parents to save and invest and buy a house and get property and look at stocks, when we are offered positions that barely – barely – cover the majority of the student loan costs these kids racked up in order to get a degree – in order to get a job – in order to pay back the degree they got. The system is horribly flawed. I feel defeated today.

In the Words of Juvenal

I was involved in a discussion this evening where a white acquaintance spoke out about the arrest of two black men in Philadelphia, stating they were loitering and ultimately pulled the “race card.” Here’s the thing, even if the Starbucks in Philadelphia wasn’t directly racially profiling the two black men who were arrested the issue still exists – and stands firm – of an incredibly unbalanced and obvious injustice towards POC. The public attention and call to sensitivity training is speaking out not just for those two black men, not just for Starbucks, but for the teens at an IHOP in Maine who were requested to pay up front for their meals. It’s for the black man in Iowa accused of stealing his winter coat while in an Old Navy store, simply because the jacket was also from – you guessed it – Old Navy. As a white woman, I cannot know what pressures, fears, and dealings a person of color must go through each day, but I tried to relate by drawing a parallel with the claim of, “not all men,” in regards to sexual harassment and assault. “Not everyone” is not the point. We may not be all racist, but we are blatantly ignorant to the racism that is happening, and I am ashamed. Ashamed of my country, and myself. The more people who are silent to injustice the weaker we become as a nation; no problem is solved without first admitting there is, in fact, a problem. Just because our technology advances regularly doesn’t mean we as a human race is advancing along with it. We use our free will to discriminate and judge people based on appearance, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. We focus on the superficial when we should judge people based on character and integrity – selflessness and kindness – just because our phones are always expected to improve doesn’t mean we can expect to develop without actual effort and self awareness. We want better everything except better selves. We see a shiny new product but not the time and dedication spent to make it greater than before. We can’t simply be handed humility and good character and be true humanitarians without consciously trying. As a country, our views of each other individually are often deplorable. We can get better phones to take better selfies but it doesn’t change our inner ugliness. We can be distracted by flashing advertisements and fashion and sports – new diets, new fast food, new coffee are shoved in our faces and we take it willingly – but feel overwhelmed, and even angered at coming across a raw, beautiful, imperfect human. We often times feel this way because we can’t look at our raw, beautiful, imperfect selves with acceptance, so we distract ourselves. We distract ourselves from the pain, the injustice, the hate, and we lumber on hoping it may just disappear one day. “Give them bread and circuses and they will never revolt.”