My job as the community advocate at an independent living center, a nonprofit organization that serves people with disabilities, had been deteriorating since our wonderful progressive director left three years earlier, but I never imagined it would come to this.
So why is my Ivy League diploma written in Latin still gathering dust on the shelf? In part because of the part of it you might actually understand: MCMLXXXV. (That's 1985.) But by no means is that the whole story. My B.A. doesn't seem to matter as much as my A.A. (Autistic Adult).
The A.A. puts up all kinds of barriers, like the place in San Francisco that expected me to drive. For a policy position. And then there's the interview, which neurotypicals (our word for the rest of you) use to screen each other out. When I go in there, it's like Tim Tebow stepping into the batter's box against Max Scherzer. (This actually happened during spring training. St. Timmeh whiffed, of course.)
I figured I was saved when the equivalent of my old job opened up at the sister agency in the next county. Hardly. Why get someone with fifteen years of experience when you can have a young person of color instead? It's reached the point where, when I heard of a former colleague's death the other day, my first thought was "What was his job again?"
The unemployment ran out at the end of last year. Thanks, repukes! I do have savings, but do not wish to burn through them in my 50s. Any suggestions from the floor are welcome. I've even thought about cat-sitting professionally, but can't figure out how to build up a clientele.
Neighborhood gigs might be found at Nextdoor, an app that brings neighbors together via local gossip, freelance gigs (lots of pet sitting and handymen opps) and garage-sale-type stuff. There must be groups in the South Bay.
That's hardly a long-term plan but it's a start and a way to promote your skills. I've been freelancing for 21 years (was laid off) and have kept going through word-of-mouth referrals and very little promotion. Had to learn a ton of new stuff, of course. And yes, I had some very lean years. However, I'm very impressed how rapidly this new "gig economy" is growing and that even I'm still relevant at my advanced age. Give it a go. Good luck and keep us in the loop.
I'm on Nextdoor. I just saw a possible cat-sitting gig there this week, but she found someone. I will be traveling to Oakland next week to cohabit with two felines for the better part of a week, but Mo and Zazie are grandfathered; I've sat for them twice before and wouldn't dream of charging their roommates Christian and Susannah.