Monday, March 14, 2005


Hard to believe that it is almost half-way through March already. Where did February go? Spring and Fall are my two favorite times of year because although you want to hold on to every ounce of every beautiful day, you can't. They slip out of your fingers, only to be replaced by a never-ending winter (in NH) or an unbelievably hot summer (in TX). Their fleeting beauty is what makes them the most memorable of the seasons.

You know, for a single pregnant woman, I write about the weather a lot. I wonder what that means.....Well, the fax machine has been ringing off the hook here at the office. The head boss posted an ad in the paper for an administrative assistant and the poor folks of Houston have been jumping at the chance. There must easily be 100 applicants already.

Fortunately, I don't have to do that anymore. My job search has come to an exciting end. Late on Friday I e-mailed the woman I will eventually be working with and she called my cell phone soon after. She told me that one of the reasons that the agency took so long to get back to me with their decision was because they needed to get approval to rewrite their AmeriCorps grant. Based on my previous grant-writing experience in Mongolia and my finance work, they wanted to include those skills in the grant. So, I will now be working as a housing counselor for low-income, first-time home buyers and researching the opening of the agency's Lending Department. Cool, huh? I was pretty stoked......although I'm such a sucker for substantive work with no pay. Since this is considered a "volunteer" position, you might be thinking that I'm crazy for accepting it, but let's compare it to my current job:

Current Pay: $1,100 a month after taxes
New gig: $800 a month

Current health benefits: $0
New gig: Doesn't include any prenatal or delivery costs for Peanut, but will include him and I once he is born and he is no longer classified as a "preexisiting condition".

Current child care support: $0
New gig: $300 a month

Current education reimbursement: $0
New gig: $5,000 after one year of service.

All and all, not bad. As I told one of my interviewers on the phone: "It's hard to live at the poverty level, whether you're choosing to or whether you're trying to get out of it. Either way, it's hard." The educational reimbursement will cut my student loans almost in half and the experience that I'll gain from doing lending and credit analysis will help me work in the international micro-lending field (for an explanation of micro-lending check out this agency or even these folks). Well, that is the plan at least.

I'm more amazed that an agency is willing to take a risk to hire a six-month pregnant woman. By the time I go to the preservice orientation, I'll be closer to seven months a long and I'll feel sorry for anyone that they put in a hotel room with me in Austin, TX. I go pee at least five times a night. At least in Austin I won't have to put up a mosquito net and go renegade on the blood-sucking bastards with old copies of Newsweek, like I had to in Darkhan, Mongolia, just to get a decent night's sleep. Domestic non-profit work does have its benefits.

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