It occurred to me the other day that it's been over two years since I used a credit card. In that time, money's been tight. My journey back to full-time employment after being laid off in 2009 landed me short salary-wise of where I needed to be to live reasonably in my current situation. So it's been two years of no credit cards, worrying about every $10 expenditure, and squeaking into payday.
I'm a director. Not a working director, though. I have to have a day job.
What I look for in a day job is that it's not too mentally taxing and doesn't require too much overtime. And that it covers my bills. Post economic downturn, it doesn't seem like this exists anymore at the level I was at previously. Or at least I couldn't find it. So I took a promotion. Now my job is really hard and requires shit-tons of overtime. I'm struggling to find time for my directing work, and it feels like a horrible mistake. Maybe it was.
But I had two really good reasons for taking the promotion, and I need to keep them in mind:
1. I need to pay less rent, and I don't have any money to move. Less rent means I can make less and have more flexibility. Living in my own apartment has serious advantages, artistically speaking and health-wise, but ultimately, they don't trump the flexibility of being able to make less money, which would have allowed me to pass on the promotion and stay in a job I loved that allowed me time to work on my directing. But now I have the ability to save money to move and change my situation.
2. I read an article about female directors, and every woman they mentioned was successful in another way before they got an opportunity to direct. Could my continued insistance on staying down the totem pool at my day job be hurting my chances of ever becoming a working director? Perhaps people in power are more likely to believe men can just jump into directing, but they don't believe it of women. Something clicked in my brain, and I decided to stop resisting the push up the day-job ladder.
Now I have no credit cards and some cash flow. I'm on to the next financial lesson. Saving and making choices about what to buy and what not to buy now that I have more money to spend. It's just as hard as the last lesson, and I go into stores with an odd sense that I am surrounded by people not living the way I do, as I find myself buying a $50 hard drive with very little angst about food and gas money and running out of money before payday. Surrounded by so much consumption and so much charging it up. Do they ever pay it back? I couldn't.
On the horizon, the decision about whether to reestablish credit after bankruptcy. For now, the answer is no. I can't handle credit, and I'm disgusted by a system that only works if you open yourself up to becoming a slave to it again. The credit score has got to be one of the greatest scams on humanity in our history. We complain about taxes, and yet we line up to pay them every month to the banking industry.
I live in the real world, of course, but for now at least, I still resist jumping back onto that merry-go-round. And I think a lot about money. I always have.
I have a particularly brilliant friend who also thinks a lot about money. And unlike the title of my post, she is coming for money right now with a Kickstarter for her Future Of Money TV Series. I really want to see this series get made, because Heathervescent is a supersmart futurist and because I've loved her previous work. Check out this awesome vignette she wrote and produced:
I love that Heather focuses on the positive aspects of technology in our future. And I know her Future of Money TV Series will be fascinating and well-produced.
I'm practicing my new financial skills by upping my pledge today to $25. This represents a cost I can afford, but much less than I would like to give. If you think a lot about money, can you please give some of yours to my friend Heather for her series? It's going to really cool, and I really want to see where she thinks we and our money are going in the future.
The Future of Money TV Series Kickstarter has only 10 days left to raise $16K. Please check it out today and pledge today.
Meanwhile, it's Monday morning for me. Another day, another dollar. Still figuring out how to manage it all.