Saturday, February 11, 2017

16 Painful Interviews (part 11)

Towards the end of April, I was contacted by the operations manager at the telecom company I interviewed with earlier. They asked me for a list of references. I was careful not to get my hopes up and sent the paperwork to her. After a few more days, they asked me to send some more paperwork and they sent me an award letter to state I’d be starting on with the company in May as a staff accountant.

I thought I would never become an accountant but now I finally had the chance. Eagerly, I took a look at the salary and I would be paid $36600 a year. Immediately, I got the impression that I was hired simply because I offered to do the job for cheaper than anyone else did. Since the median salary for a staff accountant at the time was $45000, I realized I was being paid in the bottom 10% of staff accountants in the country. However, being that I was in no place to negotiate, I was glad just to be making money again. If I stayed there long enough, I was sure I could grow my skill set and maybe get promoted and move up the corporate ladder.

April 2013
For the month of April, I spent a total of $994.86. I went way past budget but I was okay spending the money because I got the news I was hired to be an accountant. My auto insurance was $191 and my health insurance was $41.91. I spent $92.65 on fast food be eating out 20 times. Before starting a new job and commute, I wanted to take care of my car a little bit. I spent $181.14 on two tires to replace my front tires and $30 to get them installed on my car. I bought a bicycle for $100.64 just because I wanted to ride a bicycle from time to time before my job started in May. I spent $10 to enter a skatepark and another $34.93 on wristguards. I spent $26.93 on groceries. I spent $32.82 on new clothes to get ready for my new job. I also spent $43.18 on DVDs.

Friday, February 10, 2017

16 Painful Interviews (part 10)

Without much luck of getting hired, I started considering just picking up a minimum wage job for any sort of work. It wasn’t the worst thing in the world. I had saved up almost $38000 so I was far from starving. I still lived with my parents and had no outstanding debt. I liked the idea of working no more than 20 hours per week and having a commute that I could walk to. If I really wanted to, I could subsist off of a minimum wage for several years and just consider myself partially retired at the age of 24. If I could walk to my job site, I could abandon my car and my yearly expenses would be less than $2000. Sure, it may feel like giving up on life, but really what was worth fighting for anyway? I decided I never wanted to get married of have kids. If that was the case, what was the point of even leaving my parents house? Why not just live with them forever? All I really wanted to do with my life is just skateboard, lift weights, run, and play some video games. With this mindset, I started sending applications to grocery stores and fast food restaurants. During April, I got called in for an interview at a local grocery store.

Since I had applied for the job just by filling out an online application, I didn’t know what the job would be but I safely assumed it would pay only about $7 an hour. I was okay with just stocking shelves or working the cash register. Since it was just a grocery store, I didn’t bother with wearing a suit but I wore a dress shirt with a tie. As soon as I walked into the office, the hiring manager looked over my application and was just wondering what I was doing there. I had a college degree and two years of work experience and I was just applying for a job that consisted of mopping up the floors after the deli. I would have been completely happy with just mopping up the floors after the deli but she kept on trying to talk me out of the position. She kept on repeating the fact that I wouldn’t be making the kind of money I used to make. In turn, I kept telling her that I understood and didn’t need to make a lot of money. Eventually, she recommended that I apply for a management position at the grocery store. It paid closer to my previous salary and the hours were about 50 hours a week. I suspected that she was just trying to get me out of there. Nevertheless, I took the bait and agreed for her to forward my application to a management position. However, I specifically requested that if that management position was not available, I would like to mop up the floors after the deli. That hiring manager never called me back. After 16 job interviews and no prospects of being hired, I came to the conclusion that people just didn’t want me to work. Maybe I just live like a bum with my parents and enjoy the $38000 that I saved up over the previous three years.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

16 Painful Interviews (part 9)

The day finally arrived. It was April 13th, 2013. I looked at my phone and it read that I had zero days of service left. Julia never called me or sent me a message. It was clear that she just didn’t want me anymore and it was very likely that she had someone else. Finally, it was all over. It was all over.

No, it was not over. It would never be over. We would never interact, but I would still keep thinking about her. Growing up, I’ve always had the problem of getting hung up on the last girl or the girl that I grew the closest to. During 2006, I developed a crush on this girl in high school. Her name was Cindy and we started to grow close during the last semester of high school we shared. During that time, I started to grow into a stronger body and felt more confident about myself. I read a book about picking up women. Also, the class we shared was a theater class. I had a hidden talent for making people laugh and drawing attention to myself on stage. Because of this, I got the attention of a few girls in that class and they really liked me. But I didn’t care about them, except for Cindy. I looked forward to sixth period every day and I looked forward to having the chance to spend time with her. I did everything I could to build up the sexual tension with her and flirt with her. She even said she considered dumping her prom date in order to go with me. But, I had no end game. Eventually, I let everything fall to pieces. We both went to the same college but I couldn’t make anything happen. Even though I wanted her so much, I couldn’t have her. Despite that, I thought about her almost daily from 2006 until … I got to better know Julia. Cindy was on my mind daily for at least five years. Losing Julia would be like a phantom pain that wouldn’t really go away.

But to treat the phantom pain, I played a couple of video games. There was a franchise I had been following since 2008 about a lone soldier that sneaks into enemy bases to destroy nuclear equipped walking tanks. The last installment was released in 2010 but news was released in 2012 that said another game was being developed. A few trailers were released and I’d watch these trailers almost daily. A new trailer was released in April and it was incredibly tragic. The lone soldier was flying in a helicopter only to see his base of operations being destroyed and sinking into the ocean. After touching down to rescue a few men, he finds himself in a hospital falling into a coma. After waking up, he struggles to sneak out the hospital while an army infiltrates to kill everyone inside. The soldier and one other guy manage to steal an ambulance and crash their way out of the hot zone. All of this was done while he was missing an arm and had a hunk of shrapnel lodged in his head. It was an emotionally charged trailer. I desperately awaited a release date.

March 2013
For the month of March, I spent a total of $482.46. It was the first month I ever kept my expenses below $500. My premium for car insurance was $191. My premium for health insurance was $41.91. I spent $88 on gas by filling up my tank 4 times. I spent $55.78 on fast food by eating out 13 times. I spent $24 on restaurants by eating with some friends. I spent $23.53 on groceries. I spent $26.46 on clothes.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

16 Painful Interviews (part 8)

Social Security and Medicare are funded equally by the employer and employee. Currently, 7.5% is paid by both the employee and employer. This is the FICA withholding on most paychecks. These two programs are going to be the programs that will eventually bankrupt and destroy America. The current demographics of America show an aging population and pretty soon, most baby boomers will retire and start withdrawing benefits. Back with the program was launched, there were about 15 workers paying into social security for every one person that was withdrawing benefits. However today, there are only about two or three workers paying into the program for every one  beneficiary. Currently, the federal government spends $900 billion a year on social security and over $1 trillion a year on Medicare/Medicaid. Currently, the federal government doesn’t take in enough tax money to cover all of federal spending. Each year, the federal government runs a deficit of at least $500 billion. These programs are unsustainable and the administrations openly admit it. On every social security statement a citizen gets, there is a sentence that explains that the program will not be able to pay out 100% of the benefits promised by about the year of 2038 without significant changes to the system. I’ve been told that people under the age of 45 should not count on getting anything from social security.

At the current trajectory, men in the millennial generation will pay 7.5% of their wages for a benefit they will probably never get to enjoy. Even if the programs are still in place by the year 2050, they will be significantly more inadequate than they are today. For this reason, I think the FICA should be renamed the KTBBA tax. Keep the Baby Boomers Alive tax is a more honest name for the program. These two programs stole our futures before the day we were even born.

If I couldn’t spread peace abroad, I had a sillier more off the wall idea. I thought about joining the Mormon religion and see if I could be deployed as an elder and spread the gospel to other countries. I’d feel like an absolute reprehensible jerk for using a religion to my own selfish means, however I liked the idea of free room and board. This idea didn’t last long as later I found out that Mormon missionaries do not go on these trips for free. A neighbor of mine told me that he spend $10000 to spread the gospel to communities in Argentina.

April arrived, and I was called in for a job interview as a staff accountant. The job I applied to did not list a salary but I assumed the range would be around $45000. The interesting thing about this interview was that it was held at a hotel. I never attended an interview that was not held at the job site. I was interviewed by the CFO and the Marketing Director of the company and I was grateful that I didn’t have to deal with anyone from human resources. So, the interview progressed and I did my best to engage both of them. We reviewed my resume and I asked them questions about how employees were successful at their organization. As a company, they specialized in telecommunications. As they catered to an international market, their flagship product was to sell prepaid phone service to end customers that wanted to make phone calls internationally. Their other strong product was to let customers recharge mobile phones. As the interview continued, I wanted to show that I could add as much value to the company. I made sure to ask them what sort of certifications would an accountant pursue to bring value to the company. Shortly after, they asked me what I was expecting for compensation. I stated that I was expecting a salary of $45000 because that was the median income for a staff accountant. In a desperate gamble, I stated that I was actually grateful making the salary from my previous job which was the equivalent of almost $37000 per year. The interview concluded shortly afterwards with no indication of taking a written assessment. I thought it was a little odd but I didn’t bother to ask about it as I had no faith in passing it. I did ask if they interviewed candidates multiple times and they said there would be no need for another interview. I took that as an indication that they were not impressed by my performance and would just pass me over for the position. For this reason, I didn’t even bother to follow up with them or call them back.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

16 Painful Interviews (part 7)

Should I chose to go spread peace, I’d knock out two years of my life and not have to worry about expenses and make a few thousand dollars along the way. There were some negative aspects though. I couldn’t chose which country I would be assigned to so I could have been located somewhere kind of dangerous. I could be mauled by a lion, hit with a spear by a crazy native, or bitten by a venomous critter. Most likely, I would probably have to try to learn a second language to where I would be located. Lastly, I’d have to go 27 months without skateboarding or lifting weights. Spending one month alone not practicing would destroy any man’s capabilities in either and 27 months would be devastating. However, despite all the negatives, I thought it might be a fun idea. If I couldn’t find work by the time my unemployment benefits ran out, I’d go and take the chance overbroad. I’d might as well use the federal government to my advantage as much as possible. It was kind of an awkward situation.

During my time unemployed, I had a lot of free time to look up videos concerning politics. I watched a lot of videos that were sort of related to the alternative right and had very conservative points to view. It was during this period of time in which my disdain for the federal government started to grow. It may sound hypocritical for me to criticise the government. After all, I was collecting unemployment benefits. However, I like to make the same argument that Ayn Rand did. I’m just stealing back what was stolen from me. To reject that opportunity would just be dumb.

Unemployment insurance was set up by the federal government to protect people for a little while in case they lost their job. As a principal, I dislike the idea of deferring your responsibility to a third party. The reason for this is that no third party will ever know your needs as well as you do and no third party will ever be able to take care of your needs as well as you do. Unemployment benefits cause a moral panic because it is a tool that allows people to defer building up adequate savings in the case they ever lost their job. In other words, unemployment benefits encourage people not to save and live paycheck to paycheck. The moral panic the program creates is not why I hate it so much. The true reason I hate unemployment benefits is how the program is funded.

Unemployment benefits is funded mostly by American businesses. Employers have to pay extra taxes and comply with extra regulations just to stay in business and hire employees. Without those extra taxes and regulations, business would have more money and thus more options. More businesses might be created and current businesses could employ more people or pay the employees more money. Alternatively, the business might even focus more money on investments or operations to develop better products and services to the end customers. With less regulations, we would have a stronger and more prosperous economy. However, government programs like unemployment benefits pale in comparison to Social Security and Medicare.