When you’re young, queer and poor you make money by busing tables, making coffee or serving food. You can submit to horrors of the American Mall and sell over-priced lotions and clothes made in India…you can sell pot and adderall in gentrified neighborhoods to hipsters with trust funds or you can sell your body to married men down on Broadway or on the East Side across the Mississippi. You can move back home with your parents who want you to stop this faggot shit and take on God and get a good job and a wife…you can have a mental meltdown at 2 A.M. drunk on white wine rambling about the depravity of the capitalist system….you could take on an unpaid internship and hope and pray that it leads to a real paycheck…you could go to graduate school or law school but first you have to pay off a huge student loan to get your college to release a fucking transcript only to take out ANOTHER loan and ANOTHER loan and ANOTHER loan.
I’m 24 and queer and poor. Yesterday, I had 7cents in my bank account.
I graduated from college with a degree in journalism from Mizzou in 2009. When I graduated, I spent the first year out of school constantly applying for jobs. Some were professional-beat reporters for random small town papers across the country, communication management positions at progressive, democratic or LGBTQ related non-profits and campaigns. Others were totally RANDOM-retail sales associate, barista, burrito maker, front desk attendant, stock boy.
Most of the time I never heard anything back from my applications but even in that first year I got several phone and skype interviews for communication and reporter positions across the country. The interviews always went well and I even a couple second and third interviews but the results were always “We’re sorry but we’ve chosen another canidate”…and that was if they decided to even call me back. (I loved it when ”PROFESSIONALS” would forget to let me know that they had chosen someone else)
I moved back home for a summer but quickly realized that staying there would do more damage than good to my psyche so I decided to move to St. Louis with no money and no job.
Here, I’ve managed to find two jobs that I can honestly say I love. I work part time for an event photography company and I also work for the city’s only LGBTQ publication as their associate editor and as a features writer. The jobs are great but they don’t even come close to giving me a living wage.
I’m constantly broke and falling behind on my loan re-payments. I’m looking for a third job… maybe a serving gig or another retail job. I don’t think I am entitled to a job. I’m not better or more worthy of employment than anyone else. All I want is to make a liveable wage and do what I’ve always wanted to do since I was a kid and that is TO WRITE.
Being unemployed in your 20s is hell but I guess the best advice I could give someone is to do what you love and don’t settle for just “A JOB”… ya, you may have to sell some fries to make some coins but if you have a passion don’t forfeit it because your only other option is regret and who the fuck wants that?