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.

I am not done

I have been turned down by – if I’m keeping a vague count – probably 50 or so literary agencies all over the country. I’ve been writing – or if I’m being honest – trying to write books for the past seven or so years. I’ve grown accustomed to rejection letters and passive “we’re so busy here or else we’d give you better feedback” emails that I feel like recently I submit my work just to pass time. I have filled out countless applications, wrote query after query, prayed, hoped, cried, and sometimes practically begged for a chance. I want an agent to take a chance on me and be pleasantly surprised in the same way I took a chance on myself in my early 20’s. I want someone to see me and say, “Hey, she probably works well under pressure, ” or, “Hey, she probably takes criticism well,” and I want to shake that person’s hand and look them in the face and say that I won’t let them down.

In the end, I’m doing what I’ve been doing for the sake of getting out my story. I take years and years of suppressed memories and thoughts and regrets and throw them down line after line for no one other than myself, and I think realizing that what I’m doing is for me is what encourages me to continue filling out query after query and expecting a hearty “No thank you.” The market is over-saturated and the world is over-populated and for some reason I hold onto a shred of hope that something I say will help someone else somewhere even if I’m never published because I’ve seen it happen on more than one occasion just by verbal interaction. I’ve been writing since I could write and I’ve been talking non stop since I could form a sentence. Some people are simply born to be certain things and I think I was born to be a writer.

I’m not sure if my mother’s addiction, my abusive household, her death, my father’s mental illness, or my own personal turmoil was destined to happen because I was somehow destined to share my stories, but I am sharing my stories and my life regardless of my platform. My soap box has not yet caved in. My heart is still beating. I am not finished. I have learned in this process and cycle of application and rejection that I own my past and my truth and I am no longer ashamed of where I come from because I see exactly who the fuck I am and honestly? If that’s as far as I’m meant to go, so be it. Just let me know if I helped someone.