Well, now I've joined the ranks of the unemployed. Great.
I was working on a team with a psycho for a boss. She had already fired 2 others and she's only been there maybe 6 months. She was getting really mean to a few others on the team before I started working there. Actually, they thought she was homophobic because she fired a gay guy and she was coming down hard on a few lesbians. I guess when I started and she decided to hate on me, that proved that she's equal opportunity, gay or straight. More on her and my sad story below...
I'll be honest about why I'm writing this here. I want your help. I need your help. Details below, but the help I'm asking for isn't all monetary, and I'm hoping that I can turn progressive activism into a full-time job for me in the long run. I'm just not there yet and I'm scared that I can't pay the rent after next month.
My third day on the job - my birthday - she started hating me. She didn't like anything I said, the clothes I wore, the fact that I have to wear polarized sunglasses in the office to prevent migraines, or that I was late to several meetings. I 'fess up to the being late part. That was bad. I'm sorry.
But lately she started accusing me of billing for hours I didn't work. And that's a lie. A flat out lie. And she said, yesterday, that I was being demeaning to my team members - which is also a lie. We were a very cohesive team - I appreciated them and they appreciated me.
So yesterday she fired me.
I can go into more details about the job, but why bother. Long story short is that I like the work I do and I'm good at it, but I hate offices. Hate them. I get migraines from the fluorescent lights in offices. I have to sit there in pain all the time.
I run a blog, as many of you know, at http://www.lavidalocavore.org that covers progressive politics and sustainable food and agriculture. The site's had more success thus far than I ever would have dreamed. The NY Times blog even linked to us once!
Not only that, but my connections within the political and sustainable food/ag communities have grown substantially. Suddenly, I've got connections to Senators, and I hear insider DC rumors, and things like that. It's overwhelming to me that I've got that kind of access now - although admittedly, it's not great access... I'm no Abramoff or anything... but it's incredible for a lone blogger who has only been at this for a few years.
And because of that, I feel like I've got an incredible opportunity to help push our movement forward. Of course, I'm not doing it alone. Every step of the way, this community has been my family. You've been the emotional support and love I've needed from the start, and so many individual bloggers have written diaries and comments that have taught me many valuable things or led me to books and websites and people I wouldn't have discovered otherwise. I am where I am today because of this community, and I am grateful.
You might also know I have a book in the works. It will be out in July and it's about sustainable food/ag and politics. It's called Recipe for America. My hunch is that I'll spend more money promoting it than I'll make on the books that are sold. But I want to get the ideas out there - writing the book was never about the money. It couldn't be - it's too much effort for far too little money. I'd make many times more money working at Wal-Mart than by writing my book.
Right now, I'm at what could be a turning point. I'm unemployed, and broke. I could use this as an opportunity to pursue a full-time job as a progressive activist/blogger/writer. Or I could go back to the field I was in getting a cushy paycheck, working in an office, and generally hating my life from about 8am-5pm M-F.
I paid March rent. Mid-month, I'll owe $450 for my car. I was a dumbass and bought a Prius in November because the job I just left required a big commute. I calculate that I saved 100 gallons of gas by getting the Prius. But I owe $17k on the stupid thing, and the payments are $450/mo.
Rent's $1225 (I live in San Diego - it's expensive) and I just moved in here 2 mos ago and put down an $850 deposit that I don't want to lose. I don't know yet what my prospects are for selling the car or moving to a cheaper place. I don't know if I can do it or if it's worth it.
I assume I'll be able to pay the Visa bill this month in full. I'll be able to pay the car this month. And I'll have just enough left over for April rent. Then I'm at zero. That's all the money I've got. I'll try for unemployment but I was fired not laid off. (UPDATE: People in the comments say it's likely I'll get unemployment. Although I'm scared that if I try to supplement that with writing income - will they cut me off unemployment if I make $250 on a freelance article? Because that's not good... guess I'll find that out.)
I have job leads for the field that I've been working in. I don't know how quickly I can get a job - typically it takes about 2 mos to do that. But what happens if I get a job where I can't blog? Right now I spend literally hours a day researching and writing on my blog. And it's paying off. It really is. Traffic's been increasing on my site, and I even got my first advertisement (and only one so far).
Today I went to therapy (which I'll have to stop or scale back on now that money's a thing, even though I'm still dealing with the repercussions of my brother's death) and the therapist made a good point that going back into another job like the one I left isn't true to my Authentic Self. No, it isn't. And it's not what I want. But - unfortunately - food and shelter are necessities.
So here's where I'm at: if I can make the activism thing work full time, I'll do it. If not, back to my old field. I'll probably do a duel job search thing, looking for opportunities in both things at once. But right now I'm up a creek and I'm scared. That's why I'm asking for help.
There are 2 ways you can help me monetarily, and countless ways you can help with no money at all. The money thing is easy. Go to my site and send me some cash via PayPal (or, to avoid the paypal fee being taken out, email me and I'll give you my address to send a check). Or, perhaps better yet, you can advertise on my site.
The advertising rates are low on my site - $15-$30/week right now. I'll increase them if average site traffic goes up. If you're willing to send a few bucks my way anyway, why not advertise on my site? You can advertise your blog, your diary series, your website, an issue you care about, good luck wishes for your favorite basketball team, anything. It's a few bucks, and my site traffic ranges from about 400-1600 visits a day. It's a very targeted audience too - people who care about sustainable food and politics.
Or, just help bring traffic to my blog so that it's more attractive to advertisers. You can link to me, email my blog to friends, regularly email diaries on my blog you like to friends, follow my blog on Twitter at http://twitter.com/... - anything you can do to help my traffic numbers is great.
The other thing you could do that I would appreciate is if you could write diaries or leave comments on my blog. I put my heart into the blog every day but the strength of DailyKos is in its diversity and I look forward to having more voices on my blog too. Several people regularly write and comment now but the more, the better. Great content on the blog will help me attract traffic.
Last, if you know of any way I can make a few bucks, let me know. If you can put me in touch with magazine editors, or any group that might need some consulting services, I'd be grateful. I'm not married to the topic of food policy either. I've spent 5 years working in health care and have detailed knowledge of that industry, which is timely now that Obama's talking about health care reform. And my job before those 5 years was in the financial sector, so I can write about that somewhat intelligently too.
Thanks everyone for being my family and for any help you can give. I'm scared, but I hope I can make this work instead of going back into a job that gives me daily headaches.
UPDATE: Just want to say thanks for all of the kindness and generosity expressed here. I feel bad even asking this of anyone because I know how many others are out there who are in need too, perhaps worse than I. But I hope this will not be a gift but rather an investment in the progressive cause. And I will gladly redouble my efforts to get news and truth out about progressive issues as best I am able.