A reader writes:
Last September, with $10k in the bank, I quit my stressful-but-profitable paralegal job, moved out of my parents' house in Connecticut (the poor half) for the third time and got an apartment in New Hampshire, to be closer to my girlfriend. I spent three months being mostly unemployed, tutoring a few kids for $15 a week, and sending out resumes for office positions. I even got a few interviews, but nothing panned out. For Christmas, I got a seasonal retail job, where I still am today, at federal minimum wage and 20 hours a week.
My savings are gone. Of all the things I lost in this not-too-smart move, I miss my health coverage the most; my year-old eyeglasses are pretty much useless, and since running out of Lipitor in October, I get weekly angina attacks.
I'm 28, by the way.
And my girlfriend? She's still living with her not-quite-ex, since they can't afford court fees to divorce after two years of nominal separation, and they can't sell the house either.
She's worried about her job (marketing) because advertising is the first thing to go when corporations have to cut costs; she's got seniority, but that also means she makes the most per hour, and they can hire a kid out of college for almost nothing compared to what she makes.
Her transgendered wife loses jobs regularly, and we know it's because she's transitioned and still definitely not passable, but what can you do when legislators keep quoting the Bible instead of the Constitution? Their daughter will be going to college in two years, hopefully on soccer scholarships, but who knows? Right now, they've taken on new car payments so she'll be able to drive herself to practice if Mama gets the opportunity to work overtime. We're talking about me moving in with them once my lease is up; the almost-ex is resistant, but it's not like the McMansion doesn't have enough room... especially once I sell all my books, spare computers and shoes.
All that said, I'm actually feeling pretty good still. I'm good at a lot of things, I'm using my "downtime" to learn new skills (anyone need a Drupal programmer?) and brush up old ones (I'll crochet you a sweater!), and I'm not nearly as spoiled as a lot of my peers. I'm thinking about taking my tutoring to the extreme and offering "catch up/get ahead" summer school in a few months, if nothing else turns up before then. And I may finally lose that last stubborn 25 pounds by doing all my cooking at home! I am still looking forward to having enough money for a huge wedding in a few years, and if we're really lucky I'll be able to have it in NH instead of Massachusetts.
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