The hardest part of being a writer isn't the writing itself—it's the long slog while waiting for other people to agree to pay you for the pleasure. I always knew I wanted to write, but a childhood of watching my schoolteacher mother have to go on strikes every summer to keep funding made me gun-shy of getting a degree where my only fallback seemed to be teaching. So I opted for the Michael Crichton plan: I'd become a doctor, get rich, and then write. I then went through three years of getting a microbiology degree before getting sidetracked and moving across the country with no job skills.
Here's a list of [...]
Jake Smith is a name I've made up for the person who sent me this email: I'm a physician in my early forties. I make $450-500K. I read a lot about finance and I know that technically I am in the 1%, but I don't feel rich at all. I don't know if it was the way I was raised or because for a time I was living paycheck to paycheck or if it's because I have three kids (and hence, eventually will have three tuitions to pay), but I don't feel wealthy yet. Maybe it's because I live in an affluent suburb of a big city and most of [...]
My brother and I have been standing in line—we are the line—for 10 minutes while the man in front of us sets up his payments for four otter pops and one sucker.
He is paying with Tashlumim. Real old-fashioned credit. There are tons of little stores like this all over the country—single owner, providing a few blocks with 16-, 20- or 24-hour access to fundamental groceries: bread, hummus, milk, cottage cheese. And yes, otter pops and suckers. These stores are neighborhood institutions, neighbors helping neighbors. Hence the Tashlumim.
After it's been settled, with a "Shabbat shalom, hamud," we're up. we pay for our chocolate milk with cash, but we don't [...]
Almost two years ago, I performed one of my sporadic online bank balance checks, cringing at the damage I knew I inflicted the weekend prior. To my horror, five hundred dollars were missing. I have a shopping problem, but I’m nowhere near that crazy.
I opened up the statement and scanned the charges, sifting out the activity that was most definitely mine. Clothes, yes. Bars, yes. Six visits to different gas stations in two days? Me thinks not.
I immediately called up Chase Bank to report the fraud. The customer service rep on the other end was calm and helpful—she’d heard this story before. All I needed to do was [...]
After graduating college, I pulled together a poetry tour of the East Coast with three friends. We couch-surfed and split small sums from homemade book sales and venue entry fees. Our biggest check—$2,000—came from working with a small city's public library. That money made it possible for us to break even after a month on the road, but only just. It was a start, we thought.
Years later, one friend is in graduate school for archival science; another is in school to become a Unitarian Universalist minister; and the third works at cash-for-gold stand in the mall. I schedule appointments at the office of a moving company.
None of us [...]
Last year, my husband and I cracked the $100,000 income barrier, a mark my parents didn't hit until they were well into their 40s—at least, I think they didn't. I suppose all those trips they took to food pantries when I was a kid could have simply been a cover, masking my family's secret hidden wealth.
Our combined $102,000 puts us just into the top 20 percent of households in the country, according to U.S. Census data. We are indisputably comfortably well-off, solidly lower-upper- or higher-middle-class depending on your point of view. While we don't spend much (we're too weighed down by crazy levels of student debt and a [...]
Summer internship season is nearly upon us, and for young "professionals," this means living out of a suitcase, crashing on someone's couch, and navigating a huge and terrible city where you know no one…at least for a little bit.
The "jobs" don't come to you, so you gotta go to the "jobs." This is how you live in the big city for work and no profit.
1. Pack judiciously. Bring unwrinkleable work clothes (knits are best, but if you roll your wovens/silks they won't get too awful looking), not too many pairs of shoes (3 is plenty), and extra underwear. Don't forget things like deodorant. Put the things you'll need [...]