Saturday, April 17, 2010

Why I will not end up like the lady I saw in the subway station coming back from the ballet, who had a sign saying "I am homeless and have five cats and AIDS":
  1. I am not homeless, yet.
  2. I do not have five cats.  I do not even have one cat.  I have three dogs, but they are stuffed animals.
  3. I do not have AIDS.
  4. Arithmetic.  I have a checking account, which contains enough money for me to live on for three or four months.  Also I have other monies, although they are hard or strongly inadvisable to spend, on which I could live for at least two years.  And credit cards; I could build up debt if I needed to.
  5. Right now, at least, I have a job.  I get paid once a month.  I am almost certain to get paid at the end of this month.  I am supposed to get paid  for three months after that, assuming I don't leave or get fired.  I think I will be fired when my boss finds a new researcher, but I think he is likely to give me a full month's notice.
  6. I have parents.  My parents have an indeterminate amount of money, certainly enough to buy groceries for me to eat, and a house with extra bedrooms.  It would be unpleasant to have to live with them, but preferable to living in the subway.
  7. I have friends.  In New York and in other locations.  Some would probably let me stay with them, or rent me a room in their house or apartment for far less than it costs to live in New York.
  8. There is COBRA, right?  So I would not get sick and die?  It costs a lot of money, but it is better than getting sick and dying.
  9. On a more practical level, I have a college degree.  I have a couple of degrees, actually.  Probably more degrees than the cat lady.  Also skills of some sort, I think.
  10. Yes.  Skills.  I can program a computer, kind of.  I am not a bad writer.  Technical things need to be written.  I was a receptionist one summer, and I am okay at answering phones with lots of lines.  I could be like Pam in The Office.  We have similar hair, and I actually really like her wardrobe in the first couple seasons.  Also, I know lots of useless things... I could be a tutor, or I could teach SAT prep classes.  I think I know someone who used to do that.  
There is not a real danger of me turning into the homeless cat lady.  A lot of things would have to go very far wrong for that to happen (although I bet the homeless cat lady would have thought so too, before she was a homeless cat lady).

But there is a real danger of other things.  Like of not having a job.  I have never not had a job.  I have never really had a job, either.  But I've never had nothing.  There is a danger of failing.  I have lived my life in such a way as to minimize that danger, or at least minimize my perception of that danger.  There is a danger of screwing up, of disappointing people, of getting rejected.  There is a danger of being a failure.  I am not supposed to be a failure.  You do not think this because you know me from my blog, where I am a failure all the time, but actually there are a whole group of people who think I am smart and competent and successful, or at least there used to be.  There is a danger that I will not be able to convince anyone else that this is the sort of person I can be.  There is a danger that I am so unlikeable that nobody who interviews me will want to hire me.  I could turn out to be too fat to work in the private sector - every single professional woman in this city is a solid two dress sizes smaller than me, which is actually quite a lot of dress sizes considering that I am not huge - or not know how to put on makeup properly (I cannot even curl my eyelashes without a major incident).  My programming skills could not be good enough.  Somebody asked me at an interview what is my favorite kind of math, and I don't know any math.  I said differential equations, which used to be true, but I have forgotten them.  Also topology.  But this was years ago.  What if I am just not as smart as I used to be?  What if my mother is right and I'm not cut out for a real job?  What if the private sector is for men and women who know how to deal with them?  What if the problem is that I don't wear nail polish?  Am I supposed to wear nail polish?  How do people learn how to shake hands?  Maybe my suits don't fit right, or I'm wearing the wrong tops and accessories with them.  I do not know what a hash table is, and I think I am supposed to.  I have business cards now, but who do I give them to?  What is the reason any company should hire me?  What on earth do I have to bring to the job?  No company has ever hired me.  Maybe I interview badly, or my cover letter is awful, or I am secretly giving off "don't hire me" vibes.  Obviously I am.  I have no more interviews lined up.  What if I am doing something wrong, and I don't know what it is?


  1. You can live in our lower level. You'd have your own half bath (in the utility room) and if you help unpack the remaining boxes you could have your own spot in the garage. But, I'd actually write a pro/con list for subway vs. SD. I'm not sure which would win.

    I hope you get some good job leads soon!

  2. Well, SD is cleaner. Thank the subway, but also probably than everywhere else in New York. :)