But is it wage theft?

In my maniacal search for things to say yes to and for ways to try to raise money to

  1. Pay off my student loans
  2. Pay off my car loans
  3. Raise money for travel

I applied to an online job for a company based in the US/UK. I for some reason thought it would be similar to another job I have currently that requires me to check emails 2-3 times per hour while I work on other freelance projects. This one was way more pressure and stress though. I had to be honest with the supervisor and let her know that I underestimated the commitment necessary and that unfortunately I’d have to give a two-week notice, or that I could work until they found someone else, etc. Understandably they were angry, as I would be.

So this company gave me lesser duties in my last days and the former supervisor told me it would take a while to process my invoice but didn’t tell me how long it would be. I was also asked to invoice for one week (I had previously been asked to invoice for one week as well, for a total of two weeks). In total I worked about 2 weeks and 4 days as well as doing an unpaid trial (bad idea). Today I was told I wouldn’t get paid for my last week of work because I hadn’t done enough for the company. However, the position I did for this company seems to have a high turnover rate, and it seems that although people consistently quit this job, they’re used to it.

Plus, the job is back on the Buenos Aires Craigslist. They could have at least told me I couldn’t work them if they hadn’t intended to pay me instead of making me wait almost a week to say something–especially since I haven’t received anything from them. This company hasn’t responded to email requesting clarification as to when exactly they’re paying me for the two weeks of work for which they have an invoice and now I’m confused about whether or not I will get paid for one week, two weeks or not at all.

(And yeah I know this whole post seems lofty but I’ve learned to never divulge names in situations like this for retaliatory purposes).

We all take chances. I bit off more than I could chew and at least I admitted this to them and offered to work for a longer period even though it was a high-pressure environment. No one ever said corporates have a sense of morals though. My former activist within is calling this wage theft. My bank account is picketing.

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On hunger and gratitude

Yesterday my friend and I curated an art show. We had been talking about it for months and it finally happened. I wanted to enjoy it but I’ve had a pretty bad set of months. It is in these times that one realizes who their real friends are and help can come from really unexpected places.

This week I basically ran out of money because I had to pay my expensive rent and things in Buenos Aires are getting ridiculously expensive. The gas was shut down in my building for no good reason so I haven’t been able to cook in about 2 days and people in BA are telling this could actually last for months. I applied to an email handler job that I lasted only two weeks because it paid very little and stressed me out a lot. My old MacBook Pro that I bought in 2012 basically works but it’s very slow and a friend that I hadn’t seen in a few months decided to let me borrow his and then pay for it if it’s working out for me—a very nice thing to do.

My friends listened to me panic about not being able to pay off my car, which is the US and I haven’t used in 3 years. Once again I didn’t have the money to pay for this. Today a friend let me use her kitchen and friends of mine–some whom I had known for a while others I just met–showed up to me and friend’s art event. I was in such a terrible mood and my stress levels were very high but now that I’ve spent the day just listening to music and finally cooking a hot meal I feel so grateful. I just wish I were better at showing it.

Keep in touch with your ex-crushes folks, if they feel sorry enough for you, they will actually help you. And also, keep your friends close and give them as many hugs as you can.

The day I decided to have no expectations

Much of the fears I want to face have to do with things like public speaking, talking to people I don’t know, starting on creative projects (where I’ll inevitably end up exposing myself far more than I think I am), and heights. But many of these fears also have to do with men because this is what happens when you are a cisgender heterosexual woman.

Over the years I’ve held myself up to some pretty tough standards and have wound up incredibly disappointed in myself any time I’ve failed to live up to them. I’ve also just realized how much this was affect my love life and the consequent dry spells because I’ve doing the same with partners. I’ve been cold and unkind to too many nice people and I’m trying to practice having no expectations. This doesn’t mean some guy can just be rude to me or that he can be an asshole, but what it does mean is that no one is perfect and I can’t allow myself to be a version of themselves that I expect.

I’ve written extensively about bad experiences with men and I’m sure that for some men I’ve been their bad experience with a woman. It’s a tough thing to admit but I’m sure it’s true. Such things happen because I fear being truly myself in a world that teaches women we should be too stupid, but not that much, pretty, but not shallow, and to hold on to a barrage of opinions that in the end shouldn’t matter to the kind of men we really want to attract in the long run.

Too many times I’ve probably said no to perfectly nice guys that I might like in the end because I was afraid: afraid I’d be the one to fall in love, afraid they wouldn’t like me once they truly got to know me, or because of some arbitrary reason I invented then and there. My expectations were too high for me to live up and there was simply no way anyone could live up to them if I–the arbiter of Expectations–couldn’t.

And then there were moments when I felt someone was just right but I acted against my own interests because I didn’t feel good enough. I made them think I only wanted to be friends and did everything I could to scare them away because I was afraid I wasn’t good enough for them.

This is the type of behavior I want to change. I feel ashamed that it’s taken me almost 3o years to recognize in myself, and I hope that not having expectations will allow me to get to know people as they are and give them a chance. Perhaps if I can change this pattern within myself I can at least feel more at peace. No one has to become a romantic partner or even friend as a result, but people can be heard at least once or maybe even twice, as opposed to being shut out for a stupid reason. I just hope I can pull through when I get the chance to practice this new pattern.

Things really do change when you say yes more often

Despite the hardships of this experiment Ido feel a difference in what it’s done for my confidence. There were many times when I felt unworthy of many things: job prospects, talking to certain men, being friends with certain people, going to events alone, or anything else I could think of.

I’ve stopped worrying so much about the past and have started living in the present more, which is one thing I wanted. This week there were two opportunities I was able to get thanks to this project (all out of the blue, too!):

foto 2 (7)I had to make a presentation on behalf of some students from the United Arab Emirates because they were unable to get their visas to come to Argentina in time for a conference. They paid me to do this work. The thing is, I saw the ad on Craigslist and it seemed so crazy I applied thinking I might not get it. However, I did and got to make a few bucks. I don’t know much about the Petroleum industry and had to study the topic a bit before presenting but I did an ok enough job.

There was also another admin assistant job I got which I was also afraid I wouldn’t get because the company was quite big and pays in USD. Spots in jobs like this are highly coveted in Buenos Aires but I just applied, had two interviews and was offered the job this morning.

But there was yet another change.

foto 1 (8)

I had worked really hard to get over my crush because I had to accept that it was never going to happen. I then moved into this new studio where I’m living and found a piece of a letter I wrote him. I thought I had destroyed them all (ok, so there were two total and one poem that went missing). When I saw it I simply sealed it with this sticker. I guess a part of me wanted to believe that I was keeping it because it showed I was still capable of getting butterflies in my stomach for someone, but it became a dead weight.

It felt like Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart, except instead of a ringing coming from under the floorboards it was coming from the drawer I had kept the letter in. Today was a particularly slow work day and as I was sweeping the floor I had a strange feeling as I walked past that drawer. I decided the letter is what had been bothering me.

My former crush knows where my old apartment is and he would come over to parties and dinners I would invite him to, so there were a lot of memories of him there and I often felt a bit of heart break when looking at corners he had sat on or conversations we had had in my kitchen. I remembered that he knew exactly where everything was in my old apartment and would often help himself to what he found there (which I was ok with because he’s still a friend, and I let all my friends do this). However, he still hasn’t been to my new little studio and I decided that keeping the letter is like keeping a part of a past that can’t be changed. It was like having a piece of that heartbreak in my drawer and it wasn’t allowing me to fully move on and let go. So I cut the letter into tiny pieces today and threw them in the garbage.

Letting go and allowing no strings to be attached to these events is a part of something that’s changed because of this experience. It had been a long time since I had feelings for anyone because I wouldn’t let myself after so many negative past experiences with men. I literally, actually channeled my religious upbringing and said a little prayer of gratitude for him, for letting me know I could still care.

Feeling like I could give up on this….

I actually feel as though I’m running out of things to say yes to. Perhaps it’s because since moving in this new little studio I have to work to socialize with people, which affects what options may be there. Or maybe I’m just not challenging myself enough.

Whatever it is, I feel that the year of yes is starting to become a burden. Tomorrow is June. Half the year is almost gone and I’m not sure what’s changed since I began this experiment. I’m hoping I can start seeing the point of this again because I really do want to stick with it until December 21st, when summer begins here again.

Saying yes to myself….

Buenos Aires is host to many crazy landlords and other situations that make it compete with NYC in terms of chaos and craziness. When my roommates and I were kicked out of our old apartment–which was incidentally where my friends and I always threw our parties/get togethers–I found a small studio that was rented by an acquaintance. Though the cost was high and I knew I’d have to work super hard to pay for it I decided it would have to do.

I’ve always wanted to live on my own and I hadn’t slept in a big bed ever since December 2013, when I left the apartment that was paid for by my contract job. At the time I had the money to make the down payment, the owner of this apartment is very nice, and it’s perfect for one person. Plus, it’s still in the same neighborhood in which I was living. I had always wanted to live alone before age 30 so I’m glad I got the chance. I feel extremely grateful, but of course… I gotta hustle.

 

Moves and other things

If you’re an expat in Buenos Aires (and an immigrant/expat anywhere in the world) you WILL run into shitty landlords. I’ve had plenty of these:

  • In San Telmo one landlord would come over with his girlfriend, smoke weed all day, take showers that lasted up to two hours, and walked around in his underwear.
  • In Belgrano I had a roommate once asked me to cough less in my sleep even though it wasn’t something I could really help thanks to bronchitis.

But this case is far worse here in Palermo. I was paying 4000 pesos for a fully furnished room when I was suddenly told I could either pay the same and they’d stick another bed in my room because I could share it OR I could pay 8000 pesos and stay alone, PLUS give another deposit.

Of course I’m leaving this apartment. There are a lot of memories here because one of my really good friends lived here and I had already been here to so many dinners, chats, and parties. Naturally my friends and I are saying goodbye to this simple space because it was a home to all of us.

In an unrelated note, I made up a manifesto about men in general. Over my time here I’ve had about seven men just randomly kiss me without my consent. (One I was sort of ok with so let’s make it six then). I get hook-up culture and when you’re younger and in college it’s sort of ok. It’s also ok if you’re any age and it happens to be your thing, but it isn’t mine.

I haven’t been actively pursuing a relationship but I know that I would want it to start in a way that involves talking, maybe being friends with and just letting things flow. It’s really common in Argentina for guys to just kiss you after hitting on you and then asking if you want to have sex with them. I don’t judge women who are ok with this, it just means they have a different set of values when it comes to this and they’re happy with this. Not me.

I’ve been told by one guy here (consistently, I might add) that I’m a difficult woman. In my defense he was one of those guys and he wanted to take me home with him on what happened to be one of the shittiest days/months of my life. There’s no way he would’ve enjoyed being with me when I was that much of an emotional and financial wreck. Even though I owe him no explanations I tried to once and he laughed in my face.

I’ve decided I deserve better than this. For the rest of my time here I’m just going to focus on friendships, both with men and women, of course. I’m never going to adjust to the dating culture here. I don’t care for dating apps and realized that I have to make the foundation for the things I want. In the end, I was stupid enough to actually fall for one of these guys and the universe didn’t conspire in my favor but at least I know that I deserve to be liked/loved/asked out for who I am on the inside and not just what someone wants to get out of me physically.