I’m over seventy, I’ve been out of the workplace since 2008, and my work was always work-work to support the work I really wanted to do (acting and then writing), which (lots and lots of) work has never made me a penny. Except for SAG group looping, odd work known only to insiders. My degree plus thirty hours graduate work was in French and literature. I taught as a T.A., I married and taught French in a middle school, I left my husband and from then on worked as a waitress in joints from haute cuisine to Greek diners, and then as a proofreader in law firms, New York, then LA, and for a while as a proofreader/editor at The Hollywood Reporter.
I was at the Reporter when their CEO came to visit and announced we were branding upscale—yes I saw it, when it changed from a paper representing the whole of the industry to one that had a “brand.” UPSCALE. Now, it’s big and glossy with rich people ads for rich people in the biz, like we needed another upscale anything anywhere! At the same time, they pushed most of us out by making us quit, and tried to get away with not honoring unemployment or accumulated moneys. I forced them to honor mine by not quitting (no matter how they made me uncomfortable) and I got the small and part-time pension that had grown in my account. Now dear workers, there are no such things. You get zero anything if you are part-time, and full time, you have to buy your own plans and call it some acronym, and when the market fails, so does your pension. Very few young people remember LAWS THAT PROTECTED WORKERS. In fact, I would venture to say that no young people remember them. The kids I worked with at the time thought Ayn Rand was really cool and those new personal savings acronyms were dandy. And now, the king of the deal is president. I hope you all like what you have wrought. Wroughten? Wroughted? You know what I mean.
I DIGRESS! I want to work. But when I go online to employment sites the categories are rigid and un-evolved. They are like those prepackaged questionnaires of sites or reps that want to know your opinion, except the choices of voicing your opinion are limited to their idea of what they want you to say. Such as, Do you prefer Death Or Obamacare? Which is more important to you: Killing the environment or battering baby seals to death? And then at the end of it, you must give money.
Oh my, what I would give to sit across from a human being who would ask me about my experiences, how I work best, how I could help someone, how my volunteer work prepared me to be good at some services. (And why do I still seem so young? Ha.) I’d love to sit across from someone who would understand my sense of humor, or if not, send me to someone who would. No one is responding to the ads I’ve placed on the neighborhood sites, saying I could tutor you in beginning French or advanced English, that I can proofread or edit papers for you, help you with your writing of stories, screenplays or a novel. Or I could just visit and read to you, or help you go to the grocery store. Too broad, too all over the place, too much not in a box? I just want to work.
Sadly, somehow, I never connected the doing of what I love, my acting, thinking and writing, with getting paid. The reasons for that are many and varied and cultural and familial and go on and on. That problem of not believing— I'm working on it every day.