Roommates from Hell: Updates from This Semester

Well it’s the end of the semester, which means the students are all on the move. It’s been a wild semester, with the five of us sharing the house. Just to re-cap some of the strangest drama and experiences from the last few months:

  • I walked into the kitchen multiple times to find AC sitting on the floor with a giant knife that looked more like a small machette, chopping ridiculously large amounts of cabbage.
  • UG used a frying pan! We finally got him to stop just reheating leftovers in the fridge, and he started making his own food to go with the giant pots of rice he was always burning on the stove. Unfortunately, he never cleaned the damn frying pan, instead letting it sit there with leftover fat and oil in it for days at a time. I watched him try to clean it the other day: he put it under running (cold) water, pushed old food bits out with his fingers, and then put it back on the stove.
  • I randonly came home a few times to find my livingroom packed full of people, all guests of DG. I never really minded that he always had people coming over, but our neighbour (who is like the badass granny everyone needs in their life) got pretty damn pissed. His friends were throwing all their food wrappers and garbage on her lawn. She damn near charged into the house once to scream at all the roommates.
  • We finally got a second fridge!
  • The second fridge broke. No one bothered to clear out their rotting food from it. Jeff had to put on his Army-issued gas mask in order to clean it out without puking. After that, I went from getting half a shelf in the fridge (plus sharing the top shelf for large items, the door for all the condiments, and the vegetable crisper) to getting one third of a shelf if I was lucky, and barely enough room on the top shelf to put a carton of milk and bottle of wine.
  • Jeff and I got through out break-up ok. He’s dating a really sweet young girl who goes to the university here. She’s messaged me on Facebook a bunch of times, and we talk whenever she’s over (we actually have a lot of common interests). And I found the most amazingly wonderful man I could ever hope to meet, who I am ridiculously crazy about in a way I’ve never felt about anyone else before.
  • No one besides me mopped. Ever.
  • No one but me vacuumed the common areas. Ever.
  • No one but me cleaned the bathrooms. Ever.
  • No one but me cleaned the laundry room. Ever.
  • My new amazing boyfriend helped me clean up our kitchen quite a bit, since no one else ever helped. He was the only person to do any real deep cleaning around here besides me. And he doesn’t even live here.

So it’s been an interesting semester here. AC finished her in-class work last week, and went home to be with her husband and son while she finished her final papers. She’s set to come back here in the fall though, and left her treadmill behind to claim her space.

UG just left this house for the last time a few minutes ago. He came to my room to say goodbye (and to see the cat, of course). He had a friend helping him move (a friend who would not stop singing loudly all afternoon while I tried to work), and somehow wound up with multiple bags of garbage needing to be taken out. I think that, of all the randoms we’ve had come through this house in the years I’ve been here, he’s been my favourite. He was mostly respectful, kept to himself, and never bothered me. True, he never did clean anything, and he left boogers on the shower walls. But he was a hell of a lot better than some of the trash I’ve seen come through here.

DG is leaving here by the end of this month. He’s already packed up his BBQ and moved it to a friend’s place.He has so much stuff, though, it’s been spilling out into the common areas since the day he moved in. I have no clue how he’s going to pack it all and move it out of here!

And then there’s Jeff. He’s agreed to become the house manager for a friend who had to move away for work, but didn’t want to sell his income property. So, at the end of this month, he’s moving out too. We made a run to the liquor store to pick up some boxes (I work there, so I know where all the best ones are hidden for moving), and he’s going to start packing up his stuff. Soon. He swears it. Problem is, between all his clothes, his books, his army gear, and the random stuff he’s collected over the years living here…….. well, he has a lot of freakin stuff!  It’s going to take some supreme organizational skills to pull this off…….. thankfully, he still has me here.

Yeppers Sunshine, it looks like I’m not going anywhere just yet. They’ve cut my hours quite a bit at work the last few months, so I’ve eaten through most of my savings just to keep a roof over my head (and those savings were meant for 1st and last on a new roof over my head). I’m trying to find a second job, and have had no luck there. So once again, everyone is moving on with their lives but me. While everyone moves forward, I’m stuck in limbo for god knows how long.  And it’s really starting to get to me.

I think the worst part of all this is, Jeff has been managing this house for years. The cable and internet are in his name, he’s always handled the lawn maintenance (I’m allergic to freshly cut grass and break out in hives), and he’s been in charge of getting new stuff when things break (like right now, we have to get new recycling bins). There are 8 days left in this month, and I have no clue what is happening with any of that.  I don’t know if I have to get internet for the entire house, or if I’m responsible for going out and buying things like recycling bins and garbage cans for the house. Luckily, my amazingly awesome boyfriend has offered to come over and cut the lawn for me. But the rest is just…… in limbo.

I hope none of you are in a state of limbo right now, Sunshine. If you are, drop me a line or leave a comment. We can be miserable together.

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What You’ll Hear While Job Hunting

Well Sunshine, my job hunt continues. Yes, I still have my part-time job, but that is TOTALLY not paying the bills. This week, I was scheduled for a grand total of ZERO hours. Next week, I’m lucky enough to get 8 hours. And the following week….. it’s back down to zero. Pretty sad, eh? If it wasn’t for my tax return, I wouldn’t be able to pay my rent and bills this month, and that scares me. I’ve been trying so had to pick up shifts, or find something a little more….. well, career-like.

But, that’s the way things go for me right now. And boy, do people have opinions on all of that!  Out of curiosity, I asked a question on Facebook the other day: if you could picture me in any job, any career, any profession, what would it be?

Of course, there were a few joke answers on there (otherwise, I would SO totally be a new Spice Girl), and a few “do X, so I can live vicariously through you” replies. Nothing earth shattering, nothing really out of the ordinary. Until, I called my mother.

Holy jumping jackrabbit turds, was she pissed at the answers I got!

“A Spice Girl? How the hell is that supposed to help you? And a hard-hitting journalist? You’re too old to start getting into something like that! What the hell is wrong with people?!?!?!”

These people were just offering suggestions. And to be honest, the journalist one really intrigued me. Coming out of high school, I had wanted to go to journalism school and travel the world writing about conflict and social justice issues.

But, everyone has an opinion on what you should be doing during your job hunt. And, at least to them, everyone’s opinion is right. You’ll hear the same things over and over again, just phrased differently.

“Well if you’re looking for a job, I hear McDonald’s/Burger King/7-11 is hiring. Go there if you’re desperate.”

You know what? I have. And you know what else? I didn’t get the job there. There are enough people who are students, or who have been working these jobs since high school and have years of experience, or who have certain qualifications that I don’t have that are applying for these jobs, that most of our resumes won’t even get a second glance.

And some people just don’t get that. They think that, because you are willing to work, you can just walk out your front door and find any job. Must be nice living in their strange little realities, eh?

“What the hell are you applying at McDonald’s/Burger King/7-11 for? Didn’t you just spend all those years in school getting a damn degree?”

Oddly, I find it’s the same damn people asking the first question that ask this one too. Admit it, if you went into post secondary schooling at any level, you had a small army of people (family members, guidance counsellors, TV personalities, teachers………) telling you that you needed to keep going to school, or else you would wind up working at some sort of “McJob”.

Well, we all went to school like they said. And you know what? A whole damn lot of us STILL need to get these McJobs just to pay the bills. Yes, we have degrees, diplomas, certificates, and hours of training in various things. But you can’t just show your landlord your degree and expect them to let you live there for free. We need money to pay bills, and jobs to make money.

Still, there are people out there who think that, because you went to school, you shouldn’t NEED to work one of these jobs that they look down on. You have an education!  You’re above that!

Except we’re not. There are a lot of us who will wind up in these jobs, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

“So you didn’t apply at McDonald’s/Burger King/7-11? What, you think you’re too good for a job in a place like that?”

This is something I’ve heard at least a hundred times now. Personally, there are some jobs that I will not apply for. It’s not because I think I’m above them, or I’m too good for them, or that they’re shit jobs. There are certain jobs I don’t apply for because I know I would be shitty at them.

I know for a fact that I make a horrible janitor. I worked as one a few summers ago, and was let go after only four shifts. I can mop floors, and sweep, and wash windows just find. But I was dealing with puke, and moldy food, and an allergic reaction to a cleaning chemical. I was probably just the worst person anyone could ever hire for that job. So now I know not ti apply for janitorial jobs at all.

You know yourself, there are some jobs that you know you just can’t do well. Some people can’t work an assembly line job, or an office job, or a groundskeeping job. If you know you’ll be shitty at it, and most likely get fired for not being able to do your job, then why apply?  Taking the time to apply for that job just takes away time from aply for jobs you’d actually be good at.

“You know, it’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know!”

That’s great. Well, I know you. What are you doing to help me find a job?

In the last few weeks, I have had this stupid phrase uttered to me dozens of times, by dozens of well-meaning people. How many of them have actually tried to help me so far? One. Just one. She’s my boyfriend’s mom, and I’ve never even met her in person. But she asked some friends and family in the area, and found somewhere that may be hiring soon, told me who to ask for there, and told them a bit about me. The other 20+ people who have said this to me have done NOTHING to help, even when I asked.

And I know what some of you are thinking: well it’s not their job to find a job for you. And you’re right, it’s not. But if someone is going to say something like this, then they should be willing to help you in some way. I myself do not have a lot of networking contacts locally that I can put friends in touch with. But I have gone to enough resume and cover letter workshops, read resume books, and attended mock interviewss to be of some sort of help to people.

“Any luck with the job hunt?”

Again, I know some people are just trying to be nice and make pleasant conversation. But if I did have any luck lately, would I still be job hunting?

“Back in my day……….”

These are the worst. Honestly, if one of your older relatives starts his or her advice with “back in my day” or “when I was young”, just start singing songs in your head and nod your head from time to time so they think you’re listening. Then, when they finally zip their damn yappers, just say something like, “I’ll keep that in mind, thanks for the advice”.

You see, back in the day here, you could finish high school and just walk into one of the car plants or the shops that supply the plants, and get a job. I have quite a few relatives and family friends who did just that. If that wasn’t your thing, then you went out for a few days with some resumes, passed them out to a few dozen places, and waited for them to call you.

Nowadays, to even be considered for the car plant here as a Temporary Part-Time worker, you have to be a full time college or university student. And even then, there are dozens of rules about how many hours you can work, and you get cut off after a certain age. The same opportunities aren’t around. Most places won’t even look at a paper resume: you have to apply through email or their website. Job hunting is at least 80% online now. Even the local newspaper here isn’t much help. I can remember when I fininshed high school, and you could just walk through the mall looking for “Help Wanted” signs, or check the classified section of the newspaper. Now the classifed section is maybe 8 ads on a good day, and you have to go through the mall’s website, which takes you to the websites for stores that are hiring, and apply through there.

Pounding the pavement to get a job just isn’t done anymore. But you’ll still hear older people tell you to “just get out there, pound the pavement, put your resume out there.” Of course, these are the same people who type with 4 fingers and call to ask you how use The Googles.

“Well why don’t you just go back to school. Take something practical.”

I wish it were that easy! With my degree and experience, I would love to be able to afford to go back to college, maybe get into the Paralegal program. But the almost $60,000 in student loan debt I have is kinda stopping me.

Retraining and getting more schooling is damn expensive these days. You used to be able to work part-time all year and afford to pay off your tuition. These days, unless you’re lucky and either have a damn good job already or get a metric butload of scholarships, you can forget about that. Tuition is so damn expensive, it’s out of reach for a lot of people. And even if you can afford to go back, what do you take? The job markets are so saturated these days, you need experience more than education to break into pretty much anything.

 

 

Basically, everyone has a damn opinion on why you haven’t found a job yet, and they’re all experts in giving job hunting advice. At least, they all think so. You are going to hear the same crap over and over and over, no matter how little any of it helps you.

Don’t let it get you down though, Sunshine. These people, for the most part, mean well. They honestly think they are helping you. Try not to focus too much on them. Nod your head, thank them for their advice, and you do what you need to do to get yourself out there. Focus on the people who are actually helpful, the ones who give you a little hope that there is a job out there just waiting for you to apply. These are the people, the diamonds in the rough, that will be there when your nerves are shot, you just want to curl up in a ball and cry, and you feel like the world’s biggest failure. These are the people who will cheer you up, hug you, let you vent, help you figure out your next step, and will never once say, “You know, when I was a lad we pounded the pavement for days looking for work” when you’ve been looking for a real job for months. These are the people to keep close.

Happy hunting Sunshine!