Trials and tribulations: Financial edition

Financial troubles are something we all deal with at some point, and lately I’ve been having an unfortunate few months. I moved from Michigan to North Carolina in October, and since then I’ve been struggling to keep things together. My girlfriend is very supportive, but I can only stretch things so far.

When I moved to NC, I had a plan to get a job in retail again. Soon after I arrived, though, things started falling down hill. The holiday seasons were coming up quick, and I assumed I could get a temporary job in retail or food service. Apparently all the seasonal help had been hired already; I hadn’t received a single call from any of the companies I applied to. Fortunately, I had a backup plan.

Around December, I decided to start doing some freelance web gigs. I was able to net 2 customers, one of which I hoped would be a long-term client. I designed some content for a couple of people on a freelancing website, which was nice. Fed me for a couple weeks, and helped me pay my phone bill. A little while later, I met someone who was looking to build a niche social network. Things seemed hopeful. He was willing to pay me every couple weeks for development, and we settled on a price that could support me for a while. After he gave me the first check, he pulled out of the deal. He put his project on hold, and my life with it.

Shortly after I lost the gig, I decided to get a student loan. It was enough money to take classes for IT certifications, and I thought that it would make things easier; I wouldn’t have to pay anything until I’m out of school. I figured, “Hey, if I can get papers saying I’m capable of working to a certain standard, I’ll have no problem getting a job.” Things were going good. I’m currently Microsoft certified, thanks to some of the lessons I’ve been taking. I started applying to some jobs, but as before, nobody was hiring. Some time last month I received a call from Macintyre. She told me she received a letter of delinquency saying I was a couple months behind payment.

That’s when things started getting really edgy. I owed $360 to a company I thought wouldn’t bother me until I was out of school (and hopefully employed). I was threatened with court, and I spent hours on the phone trying to work out a deal. My parents and my girlfriend all pitched in to help me out of the ditch I’d dug for myself, but for the time being I’m still unemployed. I’ve been applying everywhere, and I’ve only recently received a call to come in for an interview.

Yesterday, around 3 in the afternoon, I received a call from a nearby county office. I applied to them a month or two ago. I thought it was a lost cause, to be honest. Turns out, they need a web designer. I’m going in for an interview next Wednesday. I’m not gonna hold my breath on it, but I’m really hopeful for this position. Best-case scenario, I’ll be working a pretty good job. Worst-case, I’ll be deep in debt, jobless, and my relationship will be under a lot of financial stress.

Here’s to hoping for the best. World… wish me luck, and sorry for the novel.

Job hunting.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my career choices lately. In the past, I’ve worked in the food industry (in a pizza kitchen), in retail (let’s call the store EverythingMart), and I’ve done a bit of freelance work here and there. Nothing really seems to be fulfilling to me.

I love the freelance work, as I’ve been doing web development/design, but it’s definitely not something I can do steadily. I don’t have enough of a name to pick up the kind of clientele I’d need to sustain myself. Honestly, I can’t really consider it anything more than just a hobby. I have no formal education, a very limited portfolio, and the skills of an amateur. Family and friends think I’m some kind of wizard for being able to do what I do, but it’s pretty rudimentary stuff.

Something I’ve been pursuing lately is a career in IT. I’m currently attending classes to learn the materials necessary to get my certifications, and so far I’ve earned two of them (on the fast track to a third). As far as jobs go, most things are service desk; which is fine, except I prefer working with the hardware. I’ve always loved tearing down computers, rebuilding them, and making custom builds to sell to friends. Honestly, I think this might be the best choice of career for me. The hours are regular, the pay’s pretty decent.

To be honest, though, I’m not sure it’s entirely worth it. It’s been 6 months, I’ve had 1 interview, no job, and I’m about ready to give up.