This portal judges my past self for her first-job-hunt days. I was not a fun person to be around at the point that I decided I needed to make my own money – not from my parents – and was not yet able to make it. I questioned Subway employees during their lunch rush. I committed faux-pas like telling my library interview that I was waiting on an answer from McDonald’s and had heard I could get more hours there, but if I didn’t get that job I’d love to work at the library. I got neither job, of course. Even Arby’s turned me down the first time: the best I could come up with for why I wanted to work there was that I “liked their windows”.
Like a typical teenager, I looked to my parents for someone to blame. Since my mother was the breadwinner, I guess she was the logical target in this case. I wanted two expensive trips in one year – my choir (Bel Canto) was going to New York to sing in Carnegie Hall and my high school band was going to Disneyland. For the first time I could remember, my mother didn’t think she’d be able to afford it all, and I was not receptive to this “new” concern about debt. Because I was trying so hard to get a job, she did end up paying for both trips in the end. Having now experienced financial stress over far less debt and zero dependents, I can wag a disapproving finger at my teenage attitude. My regret was expressed a few years after the incident, through my online poetry course – an assignment called “confessional”.
My mother made money I needed for trips,
That year there were two: one choir, one band,
Because of our debt, she could not give me both.
What’s a high school kid like me to do?
I searched a job market that screamed for “experience,”
Leaving resumes everywhere describing I’d none.
My mom drove me home from failed interviews.
We parked on Quinn street and she tried to console.
My bitter young heart would not hear a word,
I said what I’d now pay it all to erase:
“I shouldn’t be stuck with the money we have,
I’m not the one who messed it up.”
No words harsh enough describe my act then,
One thoughtless thought I spoke aloud.
Ignorant, thankless, I delivered the hurt
To the mother who loved me so well all my life.