*EYE* personally think this story has everything: drama! surprise! humor! tragedy!
It’s long though. There are probably 87 other things you should probably be doing instead.
Let’s go back to May when I was gainfully employed and literally the most productive person at my job…
So here’s the thing about being really good at your job: you have a lot of free time. Every one in my office had a lot of free time to shoot the shit or waste time on Facebook or take nine hundred smoke breaks, but I had the most because I was the fastest. It is what it is — I was the youngest, the most tech-savvy, and the fastest on the keyboard. Whatever you give me to do, I could do in half the time as anyone else. Fortunately, I’m great at filling up time and whenever my boss called me into his office, I’d first think “omg I’m about to be fired” but then he’d tell me how great I was and give me a new job responsibility. I would frequently be tasked with finishing other people’s work because mine was perfect and finished ahead of schedule.
I knew sales were down, not because I was on the accounting team, but because I’m nosey and not stupid. I could see they were down about 25% but like I said, I was the best at my job. I’m safe right? Wrong.
One day around lunchtime, my boss’s boss came by my desk and told me to follow her to the VP’s office. Deadass I thought I was about to be promoted for being amazing, until I got to her office and there were two other employees from my team in the room.
What are y’all doing here in my promotion meeting? Y’all celebrating with me? Brought some cupcakes or something?
As soon as the VP started talking, I knew I was being let go.
“Sales have been down…”
“We’ve had to make some cutbacks across the company…”
So instead of making a smart economic decision based on which employees are making the most money, they decided to let go of the last 16 people hired because they didn’t want to have difficult conversations about performance with their buddies who had been on the job for fifteen years.
And that’s how I got fired from the first job I ever liked, the first position where I knew without a doubt that I was doing an excellent job with absolutely zero criticism of my performance from my boss, ever. They can all choke.
I don’t know if y’all know this about depression, but minor setbacks are the end of the world. Losing a job feels like the big asteroid is four hours away. Hot girl summer ended before it even started.
I got home that day and my roommate was yelling on the phone as usual.
Back in February, I moved to Brooklyn for the first time in a decade because I needed a change. I was super unhappy living in Harlem, I was tired of the crowds 24/7, the noise, the high rent, the endless delays waiting on the train at 125th Street. I told a guy at work I was looking to move and he said his friend was moving out of an apartment in Prospect Heights. I went by, met the roommate who was staying, and our little 15-minute interview/apartment viewing turned into two hours of hanging out on the couch. Great! Sounds like a good fit. He was intense, but I’m fine in the presence of intense personalities because mine is so dry. Let’s call my roommate Matt.
Things I found out about Matt after moving in:
- He’s an out-of-work actor who doesn’t work other than act. Do you know how annoying that is? Every other actor I know waits tables or works security or delivers packages. Matt sits around all day watching Netflix.
- He yells. A lot. About everything. Not at me, but TO me. Every day. Just yelling about his shitty day and his shitty life where he’s always the tragic victim up against the world.
Anyway, so Matt is yelling on the phone and I went to my room and closed the door. A few minutes later he came in to tell me that the internet would be cut off in ten days because of “those assholes at Spectrum.” THOSE assholes. I’m sure.
I pieced together what happened from bits and pieces of his rants. Years ago, during a period where the internet was slow, Matt called customer service and yelled about it. He got forwarded up the chain and yelled at enough people until he finally got his problem resolved.
Wait, that’s not it.
He got forwarded up the chain and yelled at enough people until a supervisor finally said “you’ve abused our customer service people enough and we’re cutting off your Internet so you never have to call here again.” I’ve worked in customer service for almost 15 years. I’ve been called names, threatened, and narrowly avoided projectiles. I can’t imagine how much yelling and cussing that would have to be directed at me for a manager to say ENOUGH! Whatever that level is, that’s what Matt did.
Still, he needed internet and he didn’t want to pay extra for a better service, so he called Spectrum again and used his brother’s phone number instead. They didn’t flag the address — because there are three apartments there — so the new phone number didn’t raise any issues. Everything was fine for a few years, until May when the service was slowing down and obviously Matt couldn’t handle that, being that he’s an out-of-work actor on the couch all day streaming Netflix. He called and yelled and at some point, he let it slip when they asked for a callback number, and he gave them his real number instead of his brother’s number. It flagged and bye bye internet.
Now I’m living with an angry out of work actor playing the perpetual victim with no internet while I try to find a new job. Every first interview is a phone interview. I suck at phone interviews. Therefore, it’s been a very long summer, looking for coffeeshops with free internet to set up shop for a few hours at a time so I can apply for jobs and answer emails.
Let’s switch gears! Y’all know Travis:
Travis and I have been talking off & on about moving in together for the past six years, but the timing was always off. Or we were fighting. He lives in a three bedroom with our other friend, and the third room was being sublet by a guy who [redacted to preserve that guy’s privacy, but it’s really dramatic] so the room was going to be vacant on August 1st.
I hate my roommate! Travis needs one! Sounds great!
I told Matt sometime around mid-June that I would be moving out August 1st. I only had to give him a 30 day notice, but since I already knew I was moving, might as well be nice and let him start looking, right? Wrong. My previously mildly annoying roommate turned into a mega asshole roommate instead. Whereas he would normally make a smoothie at the reasonable hour of 4pm, now he would make them at 1 or 2 in the morning on a kitchen cart parked in the hallway. Instead of behaving like a reasonable person showing a room to strangers and coordinating with the current roommate, he would text me half an hour before someone was going to show up and expect me to leave the apartment so it wouldn’t be awkward.
Have you ever woken up at 9am butt naked to your roommate and a perfect stranger looking at your closet space? I have! He text me at 8am to tell me someone was coming to look at the room, and when I didn’t answer, instead of rescheduling he just let himself and the stranger into my room since the bedrooms don’t lock.
I don’t know if y’all know this about depression, but all of ^^that^^ up there is not helpful!
Anyway, back to the job search.
I’m great at second interviews. Anytime I’ve ever landed a second interview, I’ve been offered the job. The problem is the phone screening. As some of you may know, my resume doesn’t say “Rafi D’Angelo” because that reads as “brown man” and most of my work experience is white woman jobs. I’m not going to tell you what my resume says because I don’t want a prospective employer to be able to google it, but I realized a few years ago when I was looking for a job, that if I put a white woman’s name on it, I got a lot more calls and emails from recruiters. If the first interview is in person, I can charm them into forgetting I’m not a white woman. If the first interview is by phone, that’s a more difficult hurdle to jump over. Add that to the unfortunate tendency for very slow, lengthy, drawn-out hiring processes for white collar jobs, and I was still unemployed in mid-July, almost two months after being fired.
Now let’s talk about how shitty unemployment is!
When you get fired, you apply for unemployment. You give your answers, the state verifies that with your employer, and then you get your benefits based on how much money you used to make. There was no problem with my unemployment application and everything was as it should be…except for my part time job.
I started working at a clothing store last October because I wanted a part time job to get me through the holidays when I tend to be even more depressed than usual watching my friends post cute pictures with their parents and siblings. Instead of spending all of November and December eating my feelings, I figured I should get a cute lil part-time job, make some money, flirt with some co-workers, buy some new clothes at a deep discount, and keep my mind off of how sad my life is.
Seasonal employees get fired on January 15th, but obviously I’m good at retail — I was the assistant manager of a Gap store in college — so they kept me on to work 3 or 4 days a month so I could continue to use my discount until the next holiday season.
The State of New York said I’m not unemployed because I have a job. At a retail store. Even though I lost a salaried position at a publishing company. At one point, I gave the lady a hypothetical scenario as such:
“So if I made $200,000 a year working at a bank and $3,000 a year working at a fruit stand, but I lost the job at the bank, I wouldn’t qualify for unemployment because I still work at a fruit stand?”
“But if I previously made $1000 for working all day and now I would make $50 for working three hours, does that count as having a job?
“So I should quit the job at the store so I can qualify for unemployment?”
Unemployment is based on your last position, and if you quit your last position, you don’t qualify for unemployment.
“So what should I do?”
Ask your job if they will give you more hours.
Needless to say, that’s not how retail hours work, especially for someone who was only being kept on to work less than 15 hours a month just for the discount because they like you and want you to come back for holiday. When I tell you I ran out of money fast? I mean I ran out of money FAST. I used up all my savings and the kindness of strangers to pay a tax bill I didn’t know I had. I went into summer running on fumes anyway, and now I don’t qualify for unemployment because I fold t-shirts three times a month.
By mid-July I was ready to take any job, and so I did. I got a job at a luxury travel agency, a job I had basically done before years ago when I was working at Quintessentially Concierge, the kind of job I quit because my soul was dying at work every day being forced to cater to rich entitled white people.
On my first day on the job, the girl training me called poor people “riff-raff.”
Back in May, I applied for an events & fundraising position at a non-profit and I thought my phone interview had gone well, but they never got back to me. They got back to me the week I accepted the travel agency job and they scheduled a second interview the Monday I started training with the rich kids. I left work, went to the subway, and it was so hot I just started sobbing. I was tired, I was exhausted, I was frustrated, I was HOT, and I guess it had all been building up, and I stood there for a good five minutes with the floodgates open.
But guess what? I put myself together, went to my interview, and positively SMASHED it. I knew I had that job before they shook my hand and said “we’ll let you know.” They did indeed call me the next day to offer me a position while I was eating lunch with my borderline-Republican trainer at my new job. I politely told them it wasn’t a good fit and it was better that I realized sooner rather than later, and I was outta there.
The non-profit told me I could start the next day or I could start August 15th. They were in the middle of planning and throwing a fundraising gala, so I could start immediately and hit the ground running, or I could wait until after the big shindig and have a more traditional onboarding process.
Earlier this year, Travis decided to celebrate his 30th birthday in Montreal, so we all paid for our late-July vacation in April. However, the travel agency wouldn’t let me start after my scheduled vacation, so I figured I’d just lose the money I’d already spent as opposed to lose the JOB I’d just gotten, and I told the boys I couldn’t go on the trip. Here’s the non-profit giving me the option to start AFTER the trip.
But I’d been out of work for too long and I couldn’t afford to wait until September for a paycheck, not when I have to move in August. So, that’s sad, but at least I landed a great job! Throwing events to make the world a better place?
I told everybody about my new job so they’d be happy for me, but one friend was definitely disturbed by my new position. Here’s a rough transcript of how our conversation went.
Me: I got a job!
Bill: Doing what?
Me: Events and fundraising for a non-profit!
Bill: Oh wow that sounds perfect for you. What’s the non-profit?
Me: It’s for autism called [redacted for my privacy, but I’ll tell you if I know you]
Bill: I’m just gonna assume you didn’t look them up before you applied…
Me: No why?
Bill: They’re anti-vaxxers looking for a cure. You’re basically raising money to prove how vaccines cause autism.
That trip to Canada was already paid for so I most certainly did go celebrate Travis’s birthday with him because I was not about to show up all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to help ruin the world.
SO THAT’S HOW MY SUMMER IS GOING. My birthday is coming up and all I have to look forward to is a job where I get to ask rich people to give us money to feed the public more lies that will definitely lead to kids dying from diseases that were almost eradicated decades ago.
Anyway. If you were wondering where I was this summer, that’s where I was. If you wanna donate to my terrible summer, feel free. This is about the time of year where I ask for birthday drinks, so we’re just gonna combine those together to save time.