Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The End & The Beginning

A week ago things were great. I had a job that I loved, I had snagged a temporary public relations position at a large beauty company. The job was fun. I mean really fun. I worked with a team of 7 great people.

Honestly I couldn't believe how nice these girls were. I was so nervous the first day - the girls were all so cute. I remember the first girl I met was a little shy - I took it for standoffish - I thought, "that figures, some pretty girl who's bitchy & working in P.R. for a make-up company." I couldn't have been more wrong. These were the nicest, warmest, people. After the first month, I was asked if I would like to consider staying on permanently. I said, "Absolutely!" I mean really - great people and a fun job - what more could you ask for? So the wheels were set in motion, all was going well. There were a few hurdles that made this take a while - five months to be exact - one of them being, the company was on a hiring freeze, but I felt assured that this would be overcome as there was a big push to have me stay and they were "building a case for why they needed an outside hire."

Everyday I loved my job more - gossip about our models, getting paid to keep up on celebrity gossip, planning product launch events, organizing galas, arranging photo shoots for magazines & working with stylists, photographers, makeup artists. It couldn't be better. This was a dream come true. After having spent the first part of my working career doing less than glamorous sales & education events, this was the equivalent of going from school cafeteria food to daily lunch at Per Se.

But alas it was too good to be true. The company, much like the majority of companies out there right now, had suffered 6% sales drops vs. the last year's quarter - not a huge drop, but the company had to show that they were doing something about it - and that something was let go of all temporary workers the Friday before the earnings call. So with 2 hours notice I was let go on a Friday afternoon. No severance (of course).

Now this predicament was all of my own making. I mean come on - I shouldn't have put all my hopes in one basket. I hadn't looked for a job in five months even though I knew I was in a temporary position. It was just that I was clinging to this temporary job that I thought would become permanent. I just liked it SO much!

So I did what anyone would do. I sent a text to my boyfriend saying, "I need a hug!"

"I'm all arms." he replied, "Tell me when and where."

Over the weekend I worked really hard at stuffing my nervousness over being unemployed (in the highest-cost-of-living city in the United States) down into my stomach, pretending it hadn't happened & each time my fears would pop out again I would freak out and then stuff them down again. Finally on Sunday I told Ben (the boyfriend), "I don't know what to do, I'm so scared that I'm going to be unemployable for life & I'm never going to amount to anything."

I know, it sounds like such silliness when I write it down - of course I can go get a job at McDonald's, I just don't want to! Besides, how would I support myself on that kind of income?

So Ben walked me outside sat me down in the garden and said, "Why don't you think of all the things you can do now that you've never thought you had time to do before? You know, instead of taking a Spanish Class, like you've been planning, what if you went to a Spanish speaking country and learned really fast?"

"Right! Because I have a lot of money for travel. You know I've just been socking it away." I said sarcastically.

"No really," he said, "you know you could go somewhere like Guatemala and they have Spanish classes that are like $400 a month and you get 4 hours a day of class - then you can do whatever you like with the rest of your time."

I came up with all the excuses I could in my head - if I was getting paid for excuses, I wouldn't need to look for a job. But when it all came down to it, the cost of living seems so cheap in Central America that if I am half way careful with money, I could end up having an amazing experience that I would remember forever.

After mulling it over in my head all day, I discussed it with my sister (all big life things have to be discussed with her) and then said that night, "I think I'm gonna do it!"

One of the good things about living in New York is there's no need for a car -which means, no overhead. I have a 294 square foot apartment. That's all I have to worry about - if I sublet my apartment, I wouldn't have to worry about any financial responsibilities. So put everything else on hold, gym, phone, etc. & you're good to go. So I put the apartment on Craigslist, it went within 2 hours.

So now I'm committed. There can be no second thoughts I'm leaving for Central America - with no job, no Spanish language skills, I can't come back if it doesn't work out - because I now have no home in New York until the sublet is up July 17th.

The Unemployed, Non-Latino, non-Spanish Speaking, Gay guy is going to Guatemala. No second thoughts. It's all done.

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