Unemployment and the Cost of Not Trying Too Hard to Work

It’s time to clean up around here, and as such, I am officially packing up 2008. This consists of putting all items of interest from 2008 in a box, marking it prominently with the year, and putting it on the top shelf of the closet. It’s amazing what a single box contains, ticket stubs for movies, concerts, receipts from road trips when the gas prices were ridiculous, and other assorted pocket litter. And the memories it all brings up when opened again in the future. I also gather up my things to prepare for taxes, since with the investment into real estate, I actually have an accountant I go see, rather than doing it myself or visiting H&R Block.

And I just tallied how much I actually earned in 2008 once I became jobless. For the four months that I actually attempted to work (September through December) it came to $707.73. One paycheck came from working as a studio audience member, through a temp agency, the only job I have gotten through a temp agency this go round, despite being registered with at least four at this point. Another was working as a poll worker for the historic November 4th election. (Aren’t all elections historic to some degree or another?) Another was pulling jury duty. Two other gigs were working for various friends, helping organize their workplaces, catching up on tasks they would prefer not doing themselves. And finally, the coat check girl gig on New Year’s Eve, though one could argue that actually was pay in the new year 2009. And that was through responding to a Craig’s List ad. All in all, for not trying very hard to get a job or earn income, $700 isn’t that bad. Over four months, it is pretty pathetic, but we won’t get into that. I actually worked more hours than that, beginning at the end of November with my tutoring gig helping two sisters through the No Child Left Behind program, but since I won’t begin to get paid for that until March, it doesn’t figure into any of these calculations. I wonder if the Federal government who is funding it, or LA Unified School District, who is administering it, has those figures on their books as being calculated as part of 2008 or 2009? Is it part of the budget of when actually worked, or when paid? Or does it not matter to them, since it is all part of the same academic year’s budget?

Now, if only earning $700 in four months were something I could actually live off of! That would be a trick, the fine art of living marginally, I do believe. Obviously I am living off of something other than what I am earning. Running these figures is actually good, making me aware of the reality of my situation in concrete terms. Maybe I should be trying a lot harder to find an actual job with a steady income. Maybe indeed. But having the down-time to putter has been awfully nice, a welcome respite from the corporate world and an hour long commute to the Westside to go 12 miles. I haven’t come to any conclusions about what I want to do with my life, or how I want to be earning my income, but regardless, it seems like it is time to dive back into the world of the full time employed rather than the aimless and meandering.

In the meantime, it is Monday, and time to go tutoring at the public library once again…

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