Things are looking very bad right now, but I’m not giving up. I can’t give up because of the dogs. If it weren’t for them, truthfully, I don’t know. I’ve had a tough life and I don’t see it getting any easier. And I’m tired of fighting. So damn tired.
To be honest, when I got so sick last month that I thought I might die, once I got over being scared, it was almost a relief. Not because I want to die. I don’t. But because dying would put an end to all the pain and misery and worry and stress and fear and the constant struggle just to survive another month.
Obviously I’m still here, but that doesn’t mean I’m all better. I try to ignore the pain as best I can. I can’t afford to be sick and I certainly can’t afford time off to take care of myself.
While I have no freelance work at this time, I have been able to find a job. Not a good job, mind you. No, it’s another contract job. No benefits. Part-time. I’ll be lucky to pick up twenty hours a week and I’ll make less than $10 per hour. Before taxes. Speaking of which, we were able to get an extension on filing our tax returns. We don’t have a penny to spare right now, let alone the hundreds of dollars we owe the IRS in self-employment tax.
Now, it’s true that the 15.3% we owe is really just FICA (payroll) tax for the self-employed, but that doesn’t change the fact that:
- These taxes are horribly regressive.
- Tax credits/deductions for working poor people are woefully inadequate; that’s especially true for working poor people without (human) dependents.
- We don’t make enough money to cover our rent, food, and bills, so there’s certainly nothing left over for taxes.
Anyway, back to my new job. I’ll be doing work for one of the largest and most profitable corporations in the US, but rather than hire me directly (perhaps with a decent salary and benefits), they have put a third party in charge of hiring independent contractors. This, of course, is part of a larger trend. Why deal with employees who expect benefits, bathroom and lunch breaks, sick leave, etc., when you can hire the same people as independent contractors and pay them only for the time they actually spend working?
I’m about to complete my nine days of unpaid training. Yes, you read that right. Unpaid. During these nine days, we’ve had to pass a battery of tests, and everyone in the small group of people who made the initial cut is incredibly nervous about messing up and losing out on this “opportunity.” The words “I really need this job” were uttered a lot this week. These are all bright, articulate, college-educated people and they’re desperate for a part-time job that pays $9.50 an hour and offers no benefits. No wonder the Powers That Be aren’t motivated to do anything about the unemployment/underemployment situation. This is working out great for them!
My beloved Balou is very, very sick. We didn’t expect him to make it through the night, but he’s still here. I don’t know how much longer. I hope he’s not in too much pain. I can’t allow myself to think about what’s happening to him or I’ll break down and start sobbing uncontrollably. Other than stay with him as much as possible, I’m afraid there is nothing I can do to help him now. And I have one more test to pass. Gotta stay focused. Somehow.
This is why the phrase “shared sacrifice” makes me want to punch someone. There’s nothing “shared” about “sacrifice” in this country (or most countries, I suspect). If you’re rich, you never have to sacrifice. If you’re poor, all you do is sacrifice.
I hate that I had to spend what was probably the last week of my beloved boy’s life training for a low-wage job I may only be able to work for a few weeks. Because, at this point, we won’t be able to pay our rent and will be evicted. And no home means no job, at least in this case.
So why even bother? Because, what else am I going to do? Give up? If (enough) money does come in from somewhere, this job, inadequate as it is, at least gives us something to build on. Unfortunately not too many people read this blog anymore (can’t say I blame them, given the lack of regular posts) and I realize most of you are also hurting financially in this economy.
If you’re a blogger with a more sizable audience (or, for that matter, if you’re friends with such a blogger), I’d really appreciate it if you/they would mention our situation. Whatever you feel you can do to help.