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.
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.