Thursday, May 20, 2004

Making $en$e without Dollar$

If I told you how much money I make, you'd start me a UNICEF fund.

I haven't gotten a raise in four years. When I tell my friends this, I'm embarrassed. It reveals obvious flaws in the areas of assertiveness, initiative, get-up-and-go--basically a lack of balls.

But honestly it's not for lack of effort, I had my first annual review in four years last month. And what praises my manager offered! They read like fortune cookies:

You have an excellent work ethic.
You possess good leadership qualities.
Realize the influence you have over others; take more of a leadership role.

But you think she offered me a leadership position? Some leadership funds?

Four years, I tell you. I don't have to tell you about the increase in gas prices. (Did I mention that it took me a half-hour to travel 1/10 of a mile in my return commute yesterday?) I probably shouldn't have to tell you about the increase in my rent. Of course, there's the 45% increase in City of Atlanta residents' water bills. You get the picture.

I don't mean to vilify my manager. She's just mouthing the words of her manager, who mouths the words of his manager, who mouths the words of his manager, etc. It's all very demoralizing. What it all boils down to is this: If I want a pay increase, I have to increase myself.

In other financial news, I happened to check my checking account balance on-line. It's NEGATIVE! I haven't bounced a check in years! And there are 11 days left before I get paid again.

So, I went through the previous transactions and it appears that a merchant where I did some outlet-mall shopping this past weekend double-billed me for my purchase!

I called my bank, who referred me to a 1-800 number, who informed me of the procedure for filing a check-card dispute, and they said it takes 10 BUSINESS DAYS TO PROCESS!!! This would leave me with no money for 10 f*cking days!

So I backtracked to call the merchant and it turns out that they are "aware of the problem"; it was "company-wide and everyone who made a credit/debit-card purchase on Sunday was double-billed." Is that supposed to make me feel better? What the hell!

They said they are processing all of the refunds/credits and should have it corrected in 3-5 business days. 3-5 business days! How about I just come back and return everything I bought. How about that? If I could have afforded twice-as-much sh*t, I would have bought twice-as-much sh*t. Aaaargh!!!!

And just when I was complaining about my lack of funds! Is this the stuff of which great poetry is made? This is the pits. I've gotta find another gig. Anybody hiring?

I'm not going to let this ruin my day. What it does is reinforce the notion of self-determination. I am a writer. I live to write. And until I fully embrace and actualize this idea, I will continue to be poor--financially poor and emotionally poor.

The next major project on the horizon is applying to grad school. I've been putting off composing my statement of purpose for like three months. I've stopped and started and started and stopped. Tonight, I will complete and first draft, for better or for worse. I've just got to get on with this thing.

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