The Most Depressing Thing I’ve Ever Seen

The Social Security Administration sent me a statement today.

IMG_1664You’re seeing that right.

Since 2003, I have made less than $75,000. Through my entire adult life, I have made less than $75,000. To really explain these numbers, let’s look closer.

2002 was the year I got my first job, at a Burger King, but I was essentially fired from it once they found out that my dad was an assistant manager. It took quite a while before they “transferred” me to Popeye’s Chicken, but it wasn’t even a transfer, at the end of the day–it was just BK firing me, and Popeye’s hiring me somewhere further down the road. I started there in 2004.

In early 2005, I quit and started working at a Domino’s Pizza. The next few years actually weren’t half bad, and the tips that came under the table made the $9,000 in wages a lot easier to work with. Around this time, I was living with my soon-to-be wife, and she worked various temp jobs, so I wasn’t the sole income. In 2007, I entered college and started working as a janitor at one of the casinos. I did that through midway 2009, where I was fired (as I’ve discussed before) and forced to drop out of college weeks from graduation.

I spent all of 2010 looking for a job and doing under-the-table work that I could find–anything and everything, as I sought a real job. Most of the work I did was through an I.T. contractor, and also under the table. Though it was untaxed, the figures were about $8000 for 2010 and about $7000 for 2011. In the tail end of 2011, I was completely unemployed and the oddjobs had pretty much dried up. I also left my ex-wife and refocused on school. I survived solely on the Pell Grant, which paid for my college, books, and my living expenses, netting me basically $200 a month which meant that I had to subsist on roughly $50 a week. I was able to, but holy shit, was it difficult.

In December of 2012, I graduated college.

No one can take this from me.

No one can take this from me.

It took me about five months, as a new college graduate, to find a job working at a Radioshack–part time, as a sales associate. After I had been there about four months, Harrah’s Casino called me and offered me a job as a slot tech. I’d interviewed with them nine months before, and expected to never hear from them again. With a pay raise up to $13.50 hour from the minimum wage I was making, on top of benefits and being fulltime, I obviously took the job. During the 5 months between graduation and trying to find a job, I started my own company, and was moderately successful with it. Even though working for Harrah’s meant putting my company on hold, I gladly seized the opportunity.

Five months after I started with Harrah’s Casino Tunica, they announced that they were closing, and we were all going to be out of work. I refocused my efforts on my company, because I knew already how extraordinarily difficult it is to get a job here–years of experience had taught me that, and my college degree didn’t seem to be doing me any favors. My company went from moderately successful to very successful, though I was able to write off nearly everything as a business expense (thus–no taxable income for 2014).

In spring of 2015, the figurative tornado hit. I closed my company and moved to Vegas. I was promptly stabbed in the back and forced to return, where I’ve been searching for employment since and trying desperately to rebuild some income. Given that I received a $100 check last Tuesday, and that’s all I’ve received, I must admit I’ve been unsuccessful. Why they haven’t yet filed away the $895 that I did pay in this year, I don’t know, but the 2015 figure should be $9000 or so.

That’s my full financial history, with the unimportant bits chopped out, leading to me earning less than $75,000 for a few primary reasons: the main one being that there are simply no jobs here, even for a college graduate with years of management experience, years of experience in the I.T. field, and years of business management.

Looking at this basically makes me cry, as it means that I need roughly 5% of all the money I’ve ever earned in my entire life to move, and that’s such an enormous goal to me that despair threatens to creep up on me every second.

I’ve got to get somewhere that I can get a job. That’s really just all there is to it.

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