Employment

Borrowed trouble: My 30 days inside a payday loan office

The cursor blinks and a man hovers over my computer. American flag t-shirt, sleeves off — he coughs into his hands and rubs them together. He’s nervous. On my desk lies his bank statement, three pay stubs and a driver’s license. They are the only items he has in the world.

“You can do $200?” he asks. “All I need is $200.”

“I can do $200,” I say, but I’m falsely distracted: I’m typing — clicks and clacks without regard to timing or rhythm. The store is stuffy today. I’m thinking about going home. Or crawling under my desk, holding my knees and rocking. I’m feeling loansome: i.e., the mental weight from a month’s work of digging irresponsible borrowers under insurmountable debt.

“Yeah,” he says, “that all?”

Sam, who sits next to me, swivels over. She reaches to tap my computer screen, making the monitor shake, her chubby finger with a fat force. Where she taps it reads,

TOTAL LOAN AMOUNT APPROVED: ………………. $750.00

Sam turns her head, smiling at me, nodding, as if to say, “Go ahead, Kevin, you got this. I believe in you.” So I swallow. I have to find my voice again, like a shy 12 year old being forced to sing the National Anthem in front of his friends; it’s in there, but it doesn’t want to come out.

Below my computer screen is a motivational sign:

GOAL: 100% of TLA

Next to the letters is a picture of a steaming coffee cup with a pastry.

The man, waiting, now growing impatient to my silence, stretches. He looks to his right, at the signage hanging on the wall. Big, beautiful green letters,

BE A RESPONSIBLE BORROWER, TAKE ONLY WHAT YOU NEED.

“You’re approved for $750,” I say.

He pretends to think about it: “Yeah,” he says. “I’ll take it. All of it.” (more…)

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New Beginnings Abound! (or, Mr. Hungry, my Frightful Friend)

I started a new job today. It’s a mentorship program for at-risk youth in the Rochester City School District. I’m still learning what organization does what, which branch represents which function, and who exactly I’m working for (the U of Rochester, I think), but the building, at least, is labeled the Center for Community Health. Specifically, my program is UR BOLD (Building Outstanding Leadership and Distinction).

A startling statistic I heard today is that only 10% of Black males graduate high school in Rochester (9% Latinos). Crazy, eh? If there was ever a job for a skinny, white, redheaded kid from California… I’m not sure this would be it. However, I’m up for the challenge! I couldn’t be more excited.

The past two or three months I’ve been working as a barista in a local grocery store. The job was okay; I had to wear a goofy hat and listen to my coworkers talk about boy problems while making microwaved breakfast sandwiches. Overall, the job weighed empty on my shoulders. I needed something meaningful.

SIDE NOTE: It doesn’t get more meaningful than coffee; however, this grocery chain isn’t what one would call “speciality” or as I like to call, “good.”

(more…)

The Conundrum of Location Shenanigans (or, A Decade Under the Influence)

The Good News for me: I got a job! The Bad News for leisure: I got a job…

Good news indeed! Yes, very much so—especially when considering my recent exploits of turning down Mr. Ponytail without another viable option. The pay is decent enough, I get to learn something new, and the establishment is conveniently close to my living quarters. It’s a store, but I wont mention the name since my employment is still technically in process. The process, you see, has become a bit of a conundrum.

The wonderful people at my (supposed) new job require a full-background check upon employment. This is fine as I have nothing to hide (my secret-agent/ninja experience was wiped clean from official transcripts). The bummer part? They want ten years of addresses.

Ten years?

I don’t know even know where I live now! Is it Rochester?

My first thought was this: Okay. I can do this. Just track back, right? Rochester, Idaho, California, Idaho… That takes care of this year… Oh Lord. I can’t do this!

I’ve definitely moved around more than the average bear; unless, of course, we’re talking carnival bears. But nevertheless, it’s been a wild ride since high-school ended. My lovely wife pointed out that, stability speaking, I’m in probably the worst ten years of my life: the first ten-years after high-school.

NOTE TO SELF: Next year is my ten-year graduation reunion. Don’t go.

My Ninja Plan of Attack

I have two weeks to complete this background thingamajoo. ASAP would be best. So here’s my plan: Calling on all friends, relatives, and enemies, if you’ve seen me, at all, in the last ten years—any where—let me know where that place* was. *Please include the zip-code. Thank you.

“Kevin, that is not a good plan—at all.”

First of all, who named you Mr. Plandsome? Secondly, yes, I know. It’s a terrible plan. So, three cheers for a new plan! I’ve ordered a credit report, hoping my many addresses will be on it. I’m also open to other suggestions*.

*I accept credit for all good ideas.

Until then, I must keep racking my brain: where the hell have I been these last ten years?

Wish me luck as I go forward.

Thanks for your support, kind readers. You’re the best. Here’s a salute to my (and possibly your) decade under the influence: