Columns Jul 8, 2015 at 4:00 am

Broke as Fuck

Steven Weissman


Fair enough. What to say? You do live in a country that prices the free market economy over all else, so vote Socialist?
Being angry about your circumstances is ok, as long as it fuels your desire to improve the situation, as opposed to turning you into a perpetually angry person. Staying stuck on angry wastes the very energy we need to find a way to make our lives better. This is one of life's lessons I learned best by living it.

Pain can be a powerful teacher, but it's one that's best experienced briefly, then move on to whatever's next.
I share much of that frustration, though I'm lucky enough to only hold one job, and not be overdrawn all the time. It's frustrating to know that our parents' generation had it pretty easy, financially speaking. Meanwhile our generation will be lucky if we are ever able to retire at all, let alone purchase a home at some point first.
You are right!!!
Finally! And if you think your republican or democrat candidates are going to help you - they wont. They dont care anymore unless you can pay $5,000 per plate to tell you what you want to hear. Degrees dont even mean crap anymore. Most companies follow governmenal agencies, especially on the West Coast, which over-evalutate the degree and under-valuated common sense. If that werent the case you would have 30, 40, or 50 year old managers, directors, VPs that care more about getting people to work harder for less money, but still cant figure out the difference between a broken computer and a monitor that is off. The same bunch of bottom-line bureaucrats, who care less about the organizations they work for and more about saving their own pay check. It doesn't matter what the industry, Law. Healthcare, Banking, Retail, I've been in them all. Rampant consumerism in this country has turned most into consuming zombies and the rest into slaves. And one of these days as this situation continues to spiral out of control, the laws of nature and mathematics will turn those tables. And its going to be beautiful!
Taken a look at the multiple tax hikes in obamacare (to support it's bloated ass) are a tax slave...and you'd better stop the fuck complaining.
Doesn't a degree from a fancy liberal arts college almost guarantee you'll be standing in line at the unemployment office at some point thinking, "I've got 6 years of modern dance experience and 2 years of tap. I wonder what they've got for me."? Skip college, learn a trade, don't live beyond your means.
Hmm, 4 jobs, work 7 days a week, $12-20 an hour...
Let's just assume 10 hours per job, forty hours a week, at the lowest pay.
$1920 per month minimum. Student loans are capped at 10% of pay.
So you can't live on $1730 a month.
Let me guess, live isn't worth living if not in a apartment on Capitol Hill?
I have a fucking BA from a top liberal-arts college.
There's you problem...
Opps! Closing the underline tag...
#9, where do you think student loans are capped at 10% of pay? Nowhere in any of my student loan paperwork does it say anything like that at all. Not the federal, and certainly not the private. The payment schedule is intiailly based on taking your loan and spreading it out in even payments over the entire repayment term - often 10 to 15 years, including the interest calculated (assuming that all payments are on time). Yes, you CAN opt for income-based repayment, where the monthly payments are DROPPED to under 10% of your monthly income, but that only extends out your repayment timeline, or else there's a baloon in your monthly amount after a certain period of time.

And you forgot about tax withholding, so that $1920 per month? Not actually what you take home. Take out 20% for taxes/medicare/social security/UI, etc. So, post taxation, you take home $1536. Assuming this person has roomates, let's say they pay only $600/mo in rent (which is an insane steal in this town). That lowers their monthly money down to $936. Take out $100 for bus (assuming no car), $50 for phone (a cell phone on minimum plan with email, assuming no internet at home otherwise), $300 for food, and you are now down to under $486 in expendable funds monthly. NOW take out student loans, and assuming they have about 60K in debt, and they're on a reduced monthly payment plan, then yeah, they are broke because that likely easts up almost all of that leftover $486 a month.

Or you can be a douchebag and just assume that poor people are just shitty spenders and deserve their suffering because they're not rich.
This is I,Anonymous. So I take it with a grain of salt. There is NO mention of school loans. Working all those hours and being broke? Uh-Huh. Being on Food Stamps, neh.

Bitch, you're a victim of YOUR OWN bad choices. Getting a Liberal Arts Degree without realizing you'll most likely NOT make a living at what your "Degree" is in shows how stupid you really are.

If you can't afford your life, Tough Titty, Change It.

You want to portray yourself as a "Victim" of your own bad choices. We don't care. If we did, we'd send money, or happy thoughts your way. Or both. But we're not.

Sucks to be you. Glad I'm not you.
I empathize with you. I remember being too poor to afford a package of ramen when I was in my 20's and making "pancakes" out of flour and water for dinner.

My best advice to you is to get an entry level office job at a big company and work your ass off until you are promoted. By the time you are 30 (I assume you are around 24), you should have been promoted enough times to be living comfortably. Don't work for non-profits, look for places like law firms or hospitals. As a fancy liberal arts major, you should be a better communicator than many of your colleagues, and this will be helpful. I found my first office job through an employment agency, since I had no office skills or experience at all.

Yes, it won't lead to your dream job, or even an interesting one, but sometimes being financially stable is what matters most. And once you have that stability, you have more feedom to pursue a career you actually like.

Marrying or moving in with someone and having a dual income doesn't hurt, either (not that you should ever do that for money).
@6 - osage2112 WTF are you talking about? I prepare payroll for a living and federal payroll taxes haven't changed in many years. What are you smoking, or more likely what faux facts are you reading? Links to *real* Obamacare based tax hikes or you're lying out your illusioned ass. And you don't get to say that income tax rates count, they're *still* lower than when Reagan took office AND now many, many more folks can actually afford health insurance. OMG how awful that those you feel are undeserving (poor choices) might get healthcare. Who do you shill for exactly?

On the article itself, this could be me. And to chastise me for making bad liberal arts degree decision, please recall that for my age group and until about 10 years ago the get-a-good-job bible preached 'get a degree' over everything else. So, go back and get retrained you say? I can't afford the time off to go back to school, and if I could, where do I get the money for tuition? I make just too much to qualify for any assistance anywhere, but if my 1998 car breaks down or I need a root canal I'm fucked. No car? Lose job(s). And the poor don't need dental care anyway, right?

For all y'all who simply and knee-jerkedly blame the author for poor choices I'm calling you out as the laziest trolls on the web. No literal understanding, certainly no empathy, no workable solutions, simply blame others in order to feel superior. Wastes of skin... Statistics don't lie, most folks in poverty won't escape it. They aren't all making poor choices. Take a look at reality and perhaps join the conversation with solutions instead of blame. Blame is a waste of hot air, does nothing and accomplishes even less.
@ 13 - Thrill Killer. OK, picture this: your plummeting to the earth because a car ran you off a high bridge. Now, just stop yourself from falling. You made the choice to be on the bridge so it's all your fault, right? No one else should have to lift a finger to assist since you were there voluntarily. And you can just reach your arms out and flap, I'm sure that'd solve everything.

So you're OK with business raking in billions in profits off labor paid so little that they require tax-subsidized assistance just to eat? You tell 'em just go get a better job. Should they lose their job to risk an interview somewhere (have to fake sick for time off?) What if their job search so far has turned up only positions with the same poverty wages? Why is it OK to literally impoverish people (low wages keep people poor) while blaming them for their situation? Your lack of insight speaks volumes. Almost as loudly as your privileged attitude. Lordy I pity any offspring you may have.
Liberal Arts degrees get a bad rap. Lots of successful people do just fine in the grown up world with BAs in non professional, non technical fields. If you think the only path to a livable paycheck is through a CS or Accounting degree, or through an MD or JD, then you are probably just talking to Programmers and Accountants or Docs, or maybe just listening to one of my dad's "what are you going to do with your life" rants from back in the 80's.

The truth is that Liberal Arts majors are more well rounded and better at interacting and communicating with their colleagues than their technical counterparts, making better salesmen, creative thinkers, and leaders. They do tend to struggle a bit right out of college, because they have to break into some field or other, and to be fair the techies/professionals don't typically have this problem.

However, if you are lazy, obnoxious, or profanity prone (OP?), or choose dumb places to work with no opportunity to progress, you will have a harder time making that Comparative Studies BA work for you than if you are a code slinging BSCS.

I say: drop the f-bomb dropping, hang in there, and you will eventually be glad you got an interesting degree. They make for better cocktail party conversation anyway.
Here in Australia they describe the acronym for BA as "bugger all". The other one is "What did the arts graduate say to the engineering graduate?". Answer: "would you like fries with that?"

That said, there has to be a way to cut costs. Share houses, live further out, move......
@16, your lack of sticking to the facts at hand, Speaks Volumes.

First off, you're assuming the story is true. Because it's another I,Anonymous.

#2. the lack of any context within the "Article" speaks for itself.

#3. A person who has 4 part time jobs and can't live, needs to find another life.

#4. I do not believe much of what is said in I,Anonymous articles. If you believe it. Contact The Stranger and offer to help the Poor Young Thing. If not, STFU.

#5. I can't picture myself on a Bridge. As I don't own a car.

#6. "So you're OK with business raking in billions in profits off labor paid so little that they require tax-subsidized assistance just to eat?.....YES!

#7. I bet this person wishes they were working for one of those big businesses right now.

#8. #7 is contingent that the OP is even true.

#9. If you've read this column for the last 3 months. Then you know that it's been lacking in credibility as of late.

#10. "Lordy I pity any offspring you may have.".......I think the same of you. Because reading how you think. And how stupid it is. I already know that "Your Offspring" will be living at home when they're in their mid twenties after getting Liberal Arts Degrees. Because you supported a, most likely fictitious article in a weak journalistic paper some years before.

You'll be sitting in your kitchen table. Staring into your cup of coffee. Wondering why you ever told your kids that they can go for a Lib Arts Degree. As they, at age 26, are playing video games in your living room. In the middle of the day.

#11. Good Luck with that train of thought.
Even the agnostic / atheist in me can't help but think, "There, but for the grace of God, go I".

I do believe in "making my own luck", but, at times, misfortune can sucker punch any of us.

Maybe you cocky f^@#s will dodge that bullet. I certainly hope so. Under the circumstances, your lack of insight probably wouldn’t serve you well.
@14 has the best plan if the age assumption for anon is correct. It gets better.
The truth is that Liberal Arts majors are more well rounded and better at interacting and communicating with...
...people at Starbucks.
@20 - Boy are you a self-important narcissistic prick. Do you fap while looking in the mirror?
After the third expletive I quit reading your rant.
as it turns out, a BA from a "top liberal-arts college" ain't worth shit, which you probably would known by age 10 if you hadn't grown up in a nice, white, two-parent home.
@9 student loans are absolutely not capped at 10% of pay. I'm paying something closer to 25% of my take home, and my loans are 100% federal and I'm on the IBR plan.

I've mentioned this in other threads, but even though the payment is rough, having that degree has made me WAAAAY more money than I would have otherwise, so it's completely worth it. Still by far the best investment I've ever made.
Looks like you fucked up....and are well on your way to being a complete dumbfuck as well as a whiny little bitch
@5: Yep---the grossly overfed pigs at the top will realize that they can't eat money.
@3 "It's frustrating to know that our parents' generation had it pretty easy, financially speaking." No, some of us had lower expectations and lived within our means. My 30 year old daughter makes half what I do but still feels compelled to spend more on a car, phone, cable, eating out, cameras and bicycles than I do. But don't worry, plenty of your parents contemporaries are just as unwilling to voluntarily limit their consumption.
I run a business. I love liberal arts grads from top colleges. They can communicate, manage complexity and deal with the various requirements of the job. Starting pay is 35-40K with benefits and it goes up quickly with time and experience. I hire for brains and attitude. The LW may be lacking in number two and needs to look in the mirror as to what is blocking him/her.

And by the way, Metro is hiring drivers at 30-40 an hour or so once trained. There are construction sites all over town, apprenticeships and more in many trades. The degree is just fine but if you did not get one that has a defined path post-grad, like engineering, you need to create one, as well as your own luck.You are the problem and appear to be a pitiful fuck, not the economy. Hopefully if under 26 you are on your parents' insurance policy and might be able to get some good therapy.
Seattle is starting to feel downright feudal in some aspects, only the new gentry sport key card badges. I love it. If you don't spend your days day drinking from the well-stocked mini fridge at work and doing all your business while sitting on a beanbag chair with your company's logo on it, you literally are just intrinsically worthless and probably genetically inferior.

There's no time or place for sympathy or compassion. If you made an Objectively Incorrect Decision in your late teens/early twenties and went for a non-STEM degree, you're expendable. The best you can hope for is to breed slightly less expendable children, though they will still carry your inferior servant genes so it will be very hard for them. Hopefully, you are at least attractive enough to attract a mate with superior intrinsic qualities, though that is unlikely due to your diet of cheap food and hardship.

I've lived here my whole life, always dreaded the inevitability of a massive earthquake or a volcanic eruption. But now I welcome the idea of complete destruction. We badge-bearing gentry will escape into the sky on wings made of Competitive Benefits, while the ungrateful serving class will drown in a flood of fire and silt.

OK, so let's take a moment to ponder why, overall, the situation will be getting worse:…

Hey guys

The real lesson is

Many degrees - and almost all of them from "top" liberal-arts schools

do not exist to benefit society

high schools and middle schools and elementary schools exist to benefit society. An english degree or music or art degree exists to benefit the degree holder. To affirm how smart you are, to congratulate your creativity. But they do not exist to benefit anyone else. That is why you are broke now, you got a self-centered degree that appeals to self-centered 18 year olds. You are wondering why you are poor now but you cannot upsell a cell phone plan at a mall kiosk, a job that 17-year olds can do. You cannot build a house or a chair or a bird feeder. You can't code a "hello, world" app, let alone Uber for Farmer's Markets.

What skills do you have that could possible benefit anyone else?
@ 30 - Yes, shame on people for having nice families! Only shitheads should have kids!
Anon, you are a whiner and people hate whiners. Self-pity is a very unattractive quality. Torrents of F-bombs make your letter incomprehensible and annoying. To demonstrate frustration in an informal setting, one or two WELL-PLACED "fucks" are way more effective than sputtering word salads of meaningless profanity.

Work on your style and being less bitter, and you might root out something better for yourself. And if you don't, at least you won't be bitter.
@42 Oh yeah, and how exactly does a degree in business give you skills to benefit other people? Most people in my circle of friends have liberal arts degrees and do things that help people directly, like working with children/teens or counselling. One person I know assists immigrant children with adaptation. I have a liberal arts degree with a very specific skill set. I'm good at what I do. I would make a far worse doctor, engineer or manager.
"I have a fucking BA from a top liberal-arts college."

Describe, in detail, the product or service your degree taught you to produce that will encourage me to open my wallet and give you money because this service/product will improve my life somehow or provide some amusement/recreation?

I'll wait.
Dear Anon,
That sucks. Go back to school for something high tech like web development or do MCSE. Biotech is another great choice as is Engineereing. Liberal Arts not so much. It's not too late.
I'm irritated at the prepinderance of comments that assign the author total responsibility for their [sic] outcome or none. Our system works just well enough that if you're white and present as middle-class, working steadily will likely result in better outcomes than not...but time and chance happeneth to all.

For that matter, even if you rebuke, try at least to pretend not to enjoy deriding the Loser, if not out of decency then out of self-respect for when it's your turn...and if you think it could never be your turn, you are more deluded than a canonical art history major. (Many act as if Calvin's Elect and Preterite were real, and correspond to economic outcomes.)

In this connexion, I'm irked at calling the poster's choices 'bad' as if outcomes were completely or even usually predeterminedly knowable; true, some bets are more likely to pay off than others, but all are bets, and there is a range of probabilities of pay-out (let's say 90%-50%) that could be deemed 'responsible', weighing risk and pay-out (e.g., dropping-out of Harvard to start your high-tech company when you were born rich).

Don't let people off the hook too readily, but have some rachmones.
You sound angry...are you having a bad day? Surely your degree from a top liberal arts school taught you that projecting fault onto others isn't going to help you win any argument. Honestly blaming someone else for your financial shortcomings when you're clearly an intelligent, educated, and (in the grand scheme of things) highly privileged person falls flat. Many people who don't have business degrees figure out ways to use their craft to earn a living. Stop bitching about your situation and try and change it. Ultimately, your attitude is extremely off-putting and makes you sound entitled..
@47, As one who used to be in the game a bunch of years ago, Biotech is sorely lacking in employment around the Seattle area, particularly with the departure of Amgen. One of the Community Colleges did away with their Biotech program because of declining enrollment and 70 percent of the grads unable to get work. Biotech may be a good choice in other parts of the country--Bay Area, if you can afford to find a place to live and the New England States--but not so much around here.
How old are you, and what is your degree? If you are less than 25 years old, or have an idiotic degree, I have no sympathy.
Back in the day I got two years of totally free tuition thanks to the City University of New York, and another two years of an almost free ride at an excellent liberal arts college thanks to generous scholarships. Every college student deserves what I got, but instead college grads are the new sharecroppers, and that makes me extremely angry.
I have a BA from a top liberal arts college*. All of my friends from college (obviously) have BAs from a top liberal arts college, too. My majors were art and English with a minor in art history. Recipe for complete employment disaster, right?

Guess what? I have always had a decent- to well-paying full-time job. Through a burst bubble and a grand recession, I've managed to stay employed and always make enough money to pay the rent, then buy a house, then sell that house and buy another. I have always had new, if not extravagant, cars that I drive for 6-8 years and then sell and buy another new car. In my 20s I sometimes did side jobs to help pay the bills, but that was it.

You know what else? This is basically true of 90% of the people I went to college with, too. Almost none of us work in whatever field we majored in (few people do), but we all learned enough to be good critical thinkers, good communicators, and really good fucking employees.

Now I own a business and I have friends who own businesses and others who hire people. And you know what I and many of them love? Liberal arts students. Because I can teach you to do any task as long as someone else trained you to think. Outside of a very few specialized fields, that's all you really need.

Is this economy bullshit? Yes. And are too few people paid too much and too many paid too little? Goddamn right. But the OP has all the tools he or she needs to do just fine and has a head start on most, so s/he needs to quit the fucking whining. And the commenters who are deriding liberal arts degrees have absolutely no clue what they're talking about.

*By the way, I paid for that education myself, so before anyone goes off on some bullshit rant about my rich (they were not) white (they were) parents putting me through school or some shit... decide instead to shut the fuck up, because I worked my ass off to pay my way through college and paid student loans into my late 30s.
heroes like us just did the heavy lifting of raising the minimum wage for losers like you!

oh, wait. you already make 20? i guess in this one case someones pay was lowered.
tough tiddlywinks slave!
Why does such a person live in Seattle?

A guy working at am/pm can have a good life, in Wyoming.

Good answer, @55! Problem solved!

I mean, until everybody moves to Wyoming, anyway, and then Wyoming becomes super expensive.
The economy requires both luck and persistence in launching an actual career.

Rich kids have the cushion of Daddy's money, as well as a much better list of contacts.

I'm near the end of my varied career, grew up in a penniless family, but other than my starter job, never got one by mailing out resumés, it was all done through contacts at work, and being nice to people whom at the time I had no specific reason to be nice to.

I'd like to know how visible an array of tattoos this Anonywhinger is sporting. Great way to express your commitment to being in the permanent underclass, along with saying 'fuck' a lot.
Learn a trade, dipshit.
i anonymous fiction + comments section = SOLID FUCKING GOLD.
You had me al the way until the tattoo comment, @57.

Fewer than 50% of people under the age of 50 give a shit one way or another about tattoos. This is even more true on the coasts. You can see some of the numbers from the Pew Research poll on this (among other things). And remember, that's a national poll. In Seattle, those numbers will be way more skewed toward "don't give a shit." And they will continue to skew as the population ages.

If you're not hiring someone because they have a tattoo, you're probably missing out on some awesome employees. Your loss.

"from a top liberal-arts college"

One of your issues is likely that you think that anyone cares about this but yourself.
'MURKA !!! 😐
i went back to school at 30 for a STEM degree. i got up at 6am, went to school, went to work, went to school at lunch break, went back to work, and often didn't get home until 9pm or later. i'm still in debt and it was exhausting... but no part of me regrets it. it sounds like the part-time work you have now is not fulfilling or meaningful on a level which justifies the constant financial stress and panic. the prospect of working in an industry which isn't your passion may not be thrilling, but the day-to-day life stress of a missed paycheck potentially resulting in homelessness is not particularly thrilling either. it's possibly to find tech jobs which are meaningful or at least interesting... not every role is sitting behind a screen coding for 8 hours a day (which can be meaningful or interesting to some, i'm just saying that the most well-known role is not the only available role in tech.) there are also some not-very-glamorous fulltime jobs which you would likely find boring but which would fund further education or technical training or at the very least provide reliable quality healthcare and rent-paying. one of my roommates has an arts degree and currently delivers mail. it may not be her childhood dream, but a child rarely dreams of visiting the food bank or turning the sound off on your phone to avoid collection calls either. ;(
So according to the wisdom of SLOG if our culture wants Liberal Art - art, dance, movies music or poetry - that shit should just materialize out of the aether by magic?

Or is it that those who study and train to do these things should just live lives of utter poverty so you can have music, movies, art and books?

Or I guess only rich asshole trust fund babies get to be dancers, writers and movie makers? So then all our creative culture comes from exactly the same place and is dull as shit.

Or maybe all you entitled do-nothings just think the products culture should be free for you because making art is just so fun and easy.

Or I suppose art should be the product of some sort of Mad Max Thunderdome of viscous natural selection where only the fit survive to produce art.

Do I have this right?

What an awful world you judgmental "great-life-choice" piles of shit on SLOG want for your selves. And you know you're probably going to get it.
@18 is dead-on. There are plenty of people working in good jobs for successful companies who have liberal-arts degrees. They do project management, sales and sales support, creative work, PR, administrative support, training, teaching, paralegal work, recruiting, social media, etc.

The fact is, a lot of employers would prefer a smart, well-spoken liberal-arts grad who is a quick study and can learn things over some dullard who managed in accounting just because there are a lot of jobs in the field.

Not saying it's easy: If you didn't do internships and make contacts in college it's that much more difficult. But there are hundreds of thousands of success stories out there.
I'm not a 'just follow your dream' person, since dreams can be orthogonal to reality, but I think one should give one's dreams some weight in (for an example) picking one's major. Other people, due to fear or having been brow-beaten by parents, make a 'completely practical' choice they regret a little or a lot, and by deriding someone else who made an Official Mistake by picking a less-than-immediately-useful major they are able to reässure themselves that they chose correctly. ...or they can't stand the thought that someone else got to do something they didn't, inducing a resentiment-fuelled need for that someone to be punished for it.

(And some people are just generally gluttons for punishment...just not theirs...and anyone the least bit transgressive can be an acceptable target.)
Most of the liberal arts colleges simply pass out the degrees so long as you attend class and pay the tuition. Get a degree in business administration and it can lead somewhere but be prepared to start at the very bottom for very low and very long hours; you will get a prestigious title of assistant manager though. Math and science, well that involves harder study and it isn't taught very well in most grade and secondary schools. Social studies, over blown and too too many majors. Art history, now there's a thought.
The fact is when you are just out of college wherever you go you'll be starting at the bottom making low pay; just ask a Stranger intern about the great pay they receive. It helps if you learn something useful too, blending trade skills with education.
There is one hope though, if you can hold out try for a civil job. You won't get rich but the pay and benefits aren't too bad and the work is easy. Also, go to an area with a smaller population, less competition, lower living expenses and an chance at real experience. Then you can move back to Seattle and be just too cool for words.
I have friends who get by on one job at ~$15 an hour and are happier than this guy. I wonder if he might find happiness if he reassessed the market in which he shops for it.
I'm in the same boat. My ship is sinking and I went to college for STEM.
Let me give you a bit of my background. Let's start, I'm in my mid-30's. I taught myself basic web coding a while back (HTML, CSS, some JS.)
From HS, I went to vocational School for Culinary Arts. I got a job working as a waiter. A couple years later. I went back to vocational training school for Computer Tech. I got a job doing technical support (tier 2 and tier 3 support). Got laid off with 500 other people. I then got a job doing customer service 150 miles away. I moved up into a specialized role that used a bit of my technical skills along with customer service. I accepted a job with a large medical company doing technical support for medical software for two years. I got laid off. Then, I went to Seattle Central Community College for Network Design and Administration. I completed all of the IT class requirements for the degree. I even took classes in HTML/CSS, C# and Java as my extra electives. I got a job after college as a Help Desk Technician where I was actually doing the duties that would be more closely listed as a System / Network / Help Desk Administrator for 2.5 years. I was doing pretty much everything that you would expect an IT department to do. I was looking for a new job for 16 months. I took the first job that I could find. If you think just getting a "STEM" job is going to fix your financial issues. I regret to inform you that you're mistaken. There are lots of individuals out there in the IT field that are financially "fucked" as well. Or maybe, I'm just one of the random IT people that is in some screwed up boat.
This is my actual monthly budget (all numbers are rounded up to the nearest $5.00 except power. I owe around $260.00 on that plus my current charges.):
Rate $19.30 (0.30 per hour pay raise from my old job.)
Gross $3,088.00
Take Out -$864.64
Take Home $2,223.36
Rent -$1,265.00
Power -$100.00
Phone -$90.00
Cable/Internet -$125.00
(Debt 1) -$100.00 (fixed payment amount)
(Debt 2) -$200.00 (fixed payment amount)
Renters -$40.00
EoE Coverage -$40.00
Bus -$100.00
Food (approx) -$300.00
Misc Spending -$150.00
Gym $0.00
Car $0.00
Car Ins $0.00
Retirement $0.00
Saving/Emergency $500 Cash
End of Month -$286.64

So, I'll say... If you go to college for a STEM degree. You need to focus on software development if you want to get a STEM career.
THIS IS WHY WE NEED BERNIE! #FeelTheBern #Bernie2016
the armed forces have great benefits and decent pay. you already have a degree, so you join as an officer. they help you cover some/most of your college costs and you can possibly learn a new trade too.
I remember writing down my expenses vs my take-home pay from my three jobs and crying out of desperation. I was a college graduate but still without a "career". All I can say, is it DOES get better. Get out of your comfort zone and be open to new experiences.... You might just find yourself staring at a slew of opportunities. Hang in there!!
The consensus seems to be that, in order to be happy, you need to pay attention to market forces when you choose what to study in college. The forces of capitalism have created a system where you can only be happy if you throw away your dreams and study the fields that are in demand. Earning the money your parents did is the baseline and everyone should be paid more. Money is the measure of both happiness and self worth.

There was a documentary I caught for about 5 minutes where they were talking to a man in a community where paper money was just recently introduced as a way to track value without the constraints of bartering directly with the person whose product you need. The economy had recently dropped and had apparently hit them earlier and stuck with them longer than the rest of the country. They asked, "do you prefer money or trading?" He said, "I like money, but it's not as valuable now as it was before. It's better to go direct." The swap he made between goods or services not being as valuable as they were when the economy was good and his idea that it was the money losing its value blew my mind a little. Sort of obvious in a financial science sense, but it caught me off guard.

The other day Mudede blogged about some guy on First Hill who wrote about how everything he worked so hard for – his degree, his condo, his job that he hates but puts in his time because that's how you buy happiness – turned to shit because there were homeless people on drugs in his neighborhood. He was paying good money for his happiness and now these human beings who never earned anything were ruining it by being in the neighborhood where the services they need are offered.

He had to witness some sort of act in a park that he didn't like and needed more space for cars. And he had earned it by obeying the rules, being on time, and paying a shitload of money to live near downtown.

Charles said something to the effect of, "isn't there something beautiful about being happy living on the streets?" The comments were all what you'd expect.

I can't think of a way to put it more succinctly than he did, but there just seems to be so much confusion about where happiness comes from. If you went to college to get a computer science degree because you knew it was the most promising for success on the financial scale, you're going to find a good degree of dissatisfaction with your career. The money you can make if you can be good at it without having a passion for it will go a long way toward making you think you feel passion, I think.

Still I'm unsure what satisfaction people get from their career if they don't do what they're passionate about. How do you even find your career if passion isn't guiding you. A friend puts himself through school working crappy jobs because he's passionate about going to school and he's fucking happy. A previous coworker did an amazing job editing an online newsletter for Windows and passionately pursued photography in her other 16 hours of the day. My sister teaches kindergarten and loves being a mom and nothing I've ever seen her do seems like she felt like politics or some kind of ominous-ism was the reason for it. She didn't even go to college.

Who here is happy? What could you lose, knowing you'll never recover it for the rest of your life, that would preclude you from ever being happy again? Would being Donald Trump change that?
I'm one of those folks from the previous generation who had it easy. I can't believe how absolutely shitty today's economic environment is compared to when I got out of school. The economic center of this country has shifted radically from the working middle class to the finance sector and corporate profits.

Not that we don't need both of those, but they used to be a reflection of the health of the middle class. Now, they've morphed into a parasitic black hole that sucks up a much greater chunk of GDP. It's not right, and it's not a plan for long-term survival of our society.

Now, pay attention. It's political. If you continue to eschew the political process, you're just going to get more of the same. We need to reverse course, crush Grover Norquist and Republican anti-tax, anti-government, anti-protectionist policies. We're a middle-class country with increasingly third-world economic policies.

I managed to save enough money for a very comfortable stress-free retirement. I want to be able to spend that retirement in peace, not in a country falling apart in every way. That's why I'm supporting Bernie Sanders now, but will absolutely be voting Democratic regardless.

The Republicans, their policies, economics, unholy religious alliances, and candidates are working against you. And, if you don't vote, you're giving them a free ride. Stick a clothespin on your nose if you need to, but vote Democratic. And, if you don't like the candidates the Dems put up, then register as a member of the party and vote in the primaries for better candidates. Stay away from this process, as distasteful as it might be, at your own peril. And, until hell freezes over and we get some other sort of parliamentary government, there are only two parties that have any structural chance of winning control, so don't even dream of third parties.
Please read #14. I think it is about the most practical advice you are going to get. Work to live, don't live to work. That can mean taking a job that may not be as fulfilling as you'd hoped, but it affords you the ability to spend all the rest of your waking hours following your bliss.
Thank you, @64.
Dang flying monkey, with all your troll/shill seem to be a troll/shill yo own sef.

"Loving all the unregistered anti-Sawant troll hate."
Hey numbskulls - mathematics and science are liberal arts as well.
Wow - you know what, we live in a GREAT country where I have been able to take my hobby and start my own business very successfully. FUCK SOCIALISM. AND FUCK PEOPLE LIKE YOU who do nothing but complain and take shit for granted. No wonder your life sucks
Some people positively relish the prospect of being on top of a dung-heap, others of us couldn't be content. (Others could live with it if they thought it were fairly arrived-at---I don't care about that, since I'm against misery on principle and because it could happen to me, so any set of rules near-guarantying it for some are bad rules.)
@45 Will Ginnie,
I do not have a business degree

But I do have a small business that I run on the side.
It makes enough profit that I'm able to employ a friend of mine (who has a PhD in the History of the Mexican-American War) part time, doubling his income.

Stock traders are useless, I agree. There was once value in brokering deals, but no longer. However, that is not the fate of most MBA's.
Props to the very few people on this thread who aren't complete assholes.
I love love love all the assumptions people pull from such a short paragraph. You must be young, too old, too stupid, have kids, spend poorly, didn't read the tarot cards right. WTF people. May no one ever extend an ounce of sympthathy to you should you be upset about something. Having the pleasure of KNOWING the person who posted this, all the assumptions here are hilariously off base. But we surely don't want to act like there are real life people suffering with these issues, now do we? We'll just call the a whiny bitch and feel real good about ourselves. Kudos.
I'm with 83 and 84...

Everyone seems intent on insisting the author is useless based on the reasoning that if she/he was more useful she would be getting paid and have no cause it complain.

The problem with this is that she is in fact useful (in this narrow, purely financial sense; since when does how much money you make have anything to do with your societal value? Examples abound disproving this... Donald trump for prez, anyone) and this is proven even in that narrow $$$only vein by the fact that not one but several companies value her time to pay good money for it.

So, throwing out the idea that she is inherently deserving of destitution due to a lack of value and/or laziness, you can get to the actual complaint: that she is working his/her ass off and still facing the existential threat of poverty.

Debate that issue, the hard one, instead of just puffing out your chests and shitting on everyone else for your own egos, assholes.
Anon, I feel for you. Ignore the idiots with no empathy. There are many people in your situation, but there are a few things that might help:

1-If you haven't done so already, use a spreadsheet to make a budget. Make sure you have credit or debit cards that will refuse a purchase or withdraw instead of having you go overlimit and then charging you for it. A little embarrassment at the register is worth avoiding those awful charges. About once a week go over the budget to see how you are doing and if there is anything you can cut out or cut down on. Set priorities. That last thing you want is for what little money you have to go to bank fees.
2- Think about future plans. Do any of those 4 jobs have room for advancement? Is there anything you can do to improve your situation within the next 5 years? Sometimes people get permanent employment that started out through temp work at a temp work agency, but it depends on what is in your area. Everyone will tell you networking is important, too, although I'm not sure how to do this myself. But sometimes people find good opportunities through friends or friends of friends.
3- Vote your economic interests.

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