Just to stay alive…how come? In 500 words or less we share our work horror stories. Send yours to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out my latest work horror story: 9-5: That time you spill a pitcher of margaritas on someone who doesn’t drink on opening night of *said* restaurant.
That time I flew to DC for a job and became temporarily homeless.
It was the spring after I graduated college. I had spent my entire life and collegiate career in Nebraska. I was in a “Boy Bye” situation aka I NEEDED TO LEAVE MY HOMETOWN. I put my well known neediness to good use and harassed the good church people (so bad, in fact, a woman at the front desk later told me she ran down the halls yelling, “LORD WILL SOMEBODY JUST GIVE THIS CHILD A JOB!!”).
My persistence paid off.
APPLICATION SENT<CLICK< SUBMIT<APPLICATION ACCEPTED<WOOHOO!
Just one minor small detail, no biggie: MONEY. How would I be paid and oh yeah where was I going to sleep at night? They told me my compensation was $800 a month. No worries Jesus was poor so this was fine, right? Oh and then after a lengthy Nebraska nice email about lodging (aka where am I going to live on this salary?) my boss emailed back to say: Oh DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT, you can stay with me and my husband.
FLIGHT BOOK<CLICKED SUBMIT (thank you UMW)<BAGS PACKED< CHECK<FEET ON DC GROUND<BOOMED IT.
I walked down the cobbled streets of Capitol Hill like the Star-To-Be in Annie, past the supreme court, past the protestors outside the supreme Court, pressed buzzered-doors:
BAGS DROPPED<SMILE UP.
After my meet n greet (aka here’s your desk, here’s the copier) I asked my boss, “Ok, sooooooooo whats the plan (aka help me I’m poor). No response. So I ask again, more directly, “So when should I bring over my stuff?” She looked at me and said, face straight as the dawn, “I never said that you could stay with me” (aka I talked to my husband after I told you yes and he said no).
HEART SUNK<BAGS DROPPED<EYES BLARING AS BIG AS HEADLIGHTS.
“OK” I said,
“So where am I suppose to live?” She said, “Let me do some checking.” Yeah, that would be great I thought.
At the time I had not developed, my Grown Woman hip check but then like a miracle my Lean in Moment before Lean in was a thing: “Well I’m going to need to figure this out NOW…and if I don’t have lodging I’m going to need $900 a month instead of $800.” She looked at me again with her stare, that complacent boss stare, “I dunno what to tell you.” So I walked down the hall and found a beautiful woman, the office of the same woman who called me, rightfully so, CHILD, and she looked at me plain and said, “Oh honey, you don’t have a place to live? Get out of here-WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Make your calls.”
So I did just that.
And just like the scene with Blanche pinned down in her craziness, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”
I slept on a couch, on a mattress on the floor, in a dorm room, in a community living house and then at the top of a three story mansion and she increased my check by $100.