Mastercard Is My Co-Pilot

My credit card bill is due today. I usually don’t like to carry a balance on it. I haven’t had an outstanding balance on a credit card in some time, actually. This makes me feel like a good and responsible person. I may be semi-unemployed, but I am not one of those indebted losers, okay? This allows me a shred of dignity because to not pay one’s debts is immoral (unless you’re a bank in need of a bailout in which case it’s fine). This is what Free Market Jesus tells me.

Today, though, I realized that my credit card balance is higher than the amount of money I have in my checking account. I have to start assertively making phone calls to temp agencies next week, I guess.  “Please give me a job emptying the trash at Goldman Sachs or whatever.”

It’s a strange feeling to have categorical proof that you are worth less than nothing.

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7 Responses to Mastercard Is My Co-Pilot

  1. Currer Bell says:

    I’m sorry Post-Academic. It’s so upsetting to have worked so hard, for so long, and to wind up feeling this way. I sincerely hope those knuckle-heads reading your resume wise up to a good thing and offer you a job more suited to your level of talent and skill than trash dumper. Just know that in a few months I may be emptying the bin next to you!

  2. NYC Doctorates without Borders says:

    So sorry about your plight, Post-Academic. If you’d find it helpful, NYC Doctorates without Borders is meeting this Sunday (see our Meetup group for more details). A number of us have found positions through networking with and suggestions from the group.

    Good luck to you!

    Melissa

  3. B says:

    Debt is nothing to be ashamed of. I don’t have any outstanding credit card debt now, but I did for some time. Fortunately, America is still a place where it’s not impossible for an underemployed person (especially one who doesn’t have kids) to *eventually* pay off consumer debt. If anything is the “real” American way anymore, minor consumer debt is it.

    Credit card debt feels to me a bit like moderate drug/alcohol use. People often avoid it and look down on it, or they do it but pretend they don’t. In reality (with credit card debt as with drugs), the feeling of “I did this, and I’m fine,” can be pretty empowering and healthy. It just easy slides into “I’m superman/I never have to pay anything back ever!” if you’re unaware of the fact that you can’t do it forever.

    It seriously bothers me when people think they’re being virtuous or responsible by avoiding debt because it’s an unfortunate concept that many of us have, at some point, been taught to believe in.

    • cm says:

      I still think it is virtuous and responsible to avoid debt…if you at all *can*. I know that in many cases, it is just impossible to avoid it. The problem is there are a large number of Americans who voluntarily go into debt when they absolutely don’t need to, just overspending like mad, and then they wind up losing their houses, etc. So that sort of debt avoidance *is* virtuous and responsible. So there are some subtleties here.

  4. post-ac says:

    Excellent points. Thank you very much for your response. Debt is meant to shame and silence us, when we have no other choice. It’s a tool of social control, definitely.

    • B says:

      Interesting. I never really thought about it as a tool like that. I think you’re right. On one hand, it’s a necessary part of the economy. On another hand, we’re taught to believe that it’s not, and that it’s a weakness. I’m not sure how much of that is intentional PR from power brokers deflecting attention from themselves and how much is just a result of a sloppy society.

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