Tuesday, February 23, 2016

It's Not So Sunny In Philadelphia

For the last few days, I've been focusing on looking for work in Philly. It's not going well.

Indeed, the amazing speed at which companies are responding to my inquiries with "Thanks, but no thanks." form letters is truly stunning. One company got back to me within six hours of the time I applied, another in four and a half hours, probably a new record. Out of the six resumes I've sent out so far over the last couple of days, five have already gotten back to me to inform me that they're not even interested enough to interview me.

I'd like to say this is surprising, but it's really not. These days, when a Google search is standard procedure for any applicant, I've come to believe that I'm a victim of my own notoriety. For example, if you put my name into Google, three themes will come up in the approximately 6,400 responses: My writing, my radio show, and my trans identity.

The trans thing is still an issue even after all these years, but there's more to it than just that. On the net my identity isn't just that of a trans woman, but of a trans journalist and mediamaker. For many employers, hat's a double strike right there. What that says to a potential employer is that the job I'm applying for (so far), isn't my real vocation and that I have no intention of making it my career. At the age of 53, being as well-known and well-established in one career as I am, even at my level, is enough for an employer to assume that once a job in my preferred field does become available I'll jump ship and take that job, meaning that whatever time and money they spend training me will be wasted and they'll just have to start over again.

If I'm to be truly honest, they're probably right. Not that I necessarily expect to be offered a fulltime media job anytime soon, but hey, you never know, right? And if I were offered such a job, I'd most likely jump at the chance. It's what I love doing, and who doesn't want to work fulltime doing what they love?

Fortunately, I'm not struggling financially at this point. I can afford to take the time to find that right job, in or out of media. I can finish writing my book. I can pay the rent and feed myself. That said, it doesn't mean I'm not concerned. I have enough to get by on for now, but without some sort of regular income that's not going to be the case forever. I'll likely run out of money long before I die, unless something unforeseen happens like my book becomes a bestseller or I score that dream media job, neither of which I can realistically count on.

Of course, that's where the anxiety kicks in. I've been on Wellbutrin for a while now, and it's been effective in keeping my depression under control for the most part, but all is not sunshine and rainbows in Beckyland right now. I'm glad, very glad, that I have Xanax for when I need it. I don't take it all that often, but when I need it, I really need it.

The sense of security I had living in Jersey is gone. Intellectually I understand that I'm not going to be in a situation where I have to be concerned about possibly being on the street anytime in the near future, but emotionally...it's a very different story.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do just yet. One thing I'm sure I'm not going to do is let my fears get in the way of doing everything I can to resolve it. Above all, I know I have one, maybe two, marketable skills and I'm going to do my best to leverage them as much as I can to make myself as financially secure as possible. At this point, unless and until something else comes along, it's really all I can do. If I can establish a regular fulltime income I think I'll be fine with what I have, but unless and until I do, the clock is ticking...loudly.

Welcome to the life of a single, middle-aged, underemployed trans woman. Before I transitioned, I never really fully understood why women place such a premium on security in their lives and relationships. I get it now, totally.

I've got the life I always wanted, but not the life I dream of. Not yet anyway.