I recently changed my blog title from a Hunter S. Thompson quote “When the going gets weird, the weird turns pro” to “Overworked and Underpaid: Livin’ the Dream in the Post-College Recession”. Though I respect and like Hunter S. Thompson on top of sharing a nickname with him (Gonzo), I don’t really feel like we share a similar point of view. So I changed it to something more relatible and relevant to me.
I work 3 jobs and freelance on the side, oh and I’m curating a film series for a local theater. On the average day I have to be at more than one jobs. I bounce across town, borrowing cars, hopping on buses or peddling my ass off. If you don’t know: (1)I work at the University of Texas at Austin Department of Radio-TV-Film’s Production Resource Center, fondly called the Cage, as the Director. Here I work to help and assist Production students with their shorts, specifically casting, crewing, locations, grants, paperwork and film festivals. (2)I work at Reel Women is a non-profit organization in Austin, Texas that provides a local support system for filmmakers, especial but not exclusively women at all levels of experience in the film and video industries. I am the Executive Administrative Assistant (whatever that means) doing a little of everything ranging from marketing, social media, maintaining the website, managing membership, fundraising, project managing etc. (3) I also work for the Austin Film Society as a Filmmaking Mentor. I go to a high school (Travis HS) twice a week and run an after-school film club where students can make and learn about films. (4) And when I can I work/freelance, mostly as a Production Assistant, for Upstream Visuals which is a commercial production company in town.
I wake up around 8 or 9am do the work thing and around 7pm when I get home I throw dinner together and try to unwind and wait for my sweetie to get home for some cuddling and hopefully movie watching. This varies. John and I actually don’t really get a chance to see each other as much as this suggests. Also when I get home, I usually do more work. It’s hard to say how many hours a work per week. Some weeks are heavy than others with Reel Women events or prep work for my class. I guess on average, if you didn’t count the prep work for my class or editing I do for my various jobs, I work about 35 hours per week. If you count travel time, I’m living a 40 hour a week work life. This is actually really good because I’m making a decent amount of money. They say you are suppose to make 3 times your rent in your monthly salary and with these jobs I do. This is a big deal for me because it means I start providing for myself and allow my mom to stop giving me money and start saving for herself. I’m starting to feel a little more like a grown-up. My good friend Amy always tells me to “dress for the life I want” (I know she probably isn’t the first to say this but she’s the first to tell this to me have it stick) so I am even dressing more like a young professional, and not a college student that just fell out of bed. I’m feeling pretty good even though I’m usually pretty tired.
I feel like I’m succeeding in this economy as a twenty-something. Unfortunately for me and my peers, we graduated college at the worst time. Unemployment is at a record high. It’s hard to find a job and once you have one, the reality is at any moment you could lose it. That first year after I graduated I was only working like 10 hours a week at UT in the Cage and I was putting in on average about 25 applications and resumes a week and still did not have any luck. I discovered that the best way to deal with everything was to volunteer my time and get an unpaid internship, Hello Reel Women. This internship led to a paid position after a month or two. They pay me as much as I was making at Kerbey Lane Cafe (without tips) as a hostess but I believe in my work so I don’t mind. I know a lot of people that are working crappy jobs that have nothing to do with their college degrees. I may not be making a lot of money but I have 3+ jobs that all pertain to my Bachelor’s in Science degree in Radio-Television-Film Production with a Concentration in Women and Gender Studies.
The one down side is I don’t have any health benefits because I’m spread across a few jobs. I had to get on Medicaid but Texas has a special Medicaid for women called the Women’s Health Program that covers my OBGYN stuff and emergency room visits, which is good. Also not having a car can really get me down because it leaves me relying on other people, mainly my mom and John, who both basically live with me in my tiny apartment. I do the best with what I have but these things tend to add to my stress. Speaking of, have you ever noticed desserts is stressed backwards? I heard some stupid ad on that radio that pointed this out to me because they were talking about how the best way to deal with being stressed is desserts. Man, I could go for some cheesecake right about now. I digress…
So all-n-all I honestly feel like I’m livin’ the dream. Everything seems to be going for me right now. I have a lot of flexibility with my jobs, I have reliable jobs, I’m in good health, I have people that love me and I’m doing what I love. For all these reasons, I changed the title of my blog. so there.