Anxious about life; need advice/ideas

I’m 27, single female, living with a roommate in NYC (Queens), working part-time at a retail place.

Our hours were cut at work. Last week I worked three days (12 hours) and this week is also three days, 15 hours. That’s at 10/hr with small bonuses for upselling certain products. I’ve begged for more hours, and tried picking up shifts at other stores. No one has anything available.

To make things worse, I’ve been fighting bed bugs AGAIN and its been tough going this time. The landlords have been spraying but after a month of spraying and them coming back and spraying and them coming back, I broke down and bought a Packtite ($300+) and a mattress cover and pillow cover that are bed bug proof ($80). This depleted my savings massively, especially after I paid rent ($650) and my summer energy bill AND my federal income tax payment (due to circumstances beyond my control, my payment didn’t go through back in April and they allowed me to pay late, without penalties).

I can cover this month’s rent but I’m not sure what I can do about next month. If things continue this way I’ll make about $800 this month – I’ve been taking home about $1200, with a gross income of 1400+. My mother is living on unemployment and staying with my brother and his girlfriend in Florida (the house belongs to his GF). I have no family I can turn to with any means to help me. Some of my friends are trying to find me jobs and have chipped in on little things, taking me out to eat, that kinda thing and I’m SO grateful. One girl I don’t even know that well gave me ten bucks tonight so I could buy a couple groceries. My friend S has already given me money in the past and I dunno if I can go to him again, hat in hand.

I already applied for food stamps and was turned down. I’m going to go try again. Metroplus (NY Medicaid) recently dropped me and informed me I make too much money. I plan to call them back next month for another interview once I get my lower checks.

Staring at my bank account, I’m seriously considering putting everything in storage and checking into a homeless shelter. I still have my (pathetic) job, I could lock my purse there at night and go to the shelter to sleep. I’m on the verge of tears just thinking about it though. I’ve been wanting to move for awhile but I’m not sure how I can come up with a deposit at this point. I could always ask my mom to sell my car (which is in Florida with her) but I’d rather she and my brother had an extra vehicle in case one of theirs dies.

So here’s what I’m planning to do in the next day or two:
– Go talk to the manager of the Walgreens around the corner from where I live and try to pick up a second PT job there;
– Call HR at my job and get them to stop taking taxes out of my check so I’ll get a little more every month.
– Get my stuff together again for food stamps.
– Get some food at the local food bank.

– Get another job (full-time or a second part-time)
– Sell the Packtite on Amazon used for a bit less than what I paid for it

– Beg S or another of my friends to let me stay with them awhile till I can get some more money together
– Beg my asshole ex-boss for my old job back (I’d make more money, but I’d be working 6 days a week in a highly stressful environment)

– Put my stuff in storage
– Check into a homeless shelter

– Beg my brother’s GF to let me stay with them in FL
– Hope and pray a branch of my store down there has a opening for me and I can transfer

It’s too soon to commit to a plan, like the storage/shelter thing. You’re doing a good job of listing possibilities and continue the “scatter-shot” thinking; a surprising solution might leap out at you.

You say you’ve been thinking about moving. Does that mean away from NY or somewhere within NY? If you want to stay in your area, I’d say you have a good handle on help available. Here locally, the Dept. of Children and Families also help people out and have further info about immediate resources. Not sure what it would be called in NY.
Also, if you want to stay there:

Would it be plausible for your roommate to float you for November? Might be easier than looking for a new one who might not work out and it would give you more time.

Yes, apply everywhere within walking distance or one bus ride away.

Did you pay “S” back? If so, he might be willing to help out again.

Beg for your old job back, if you really want to stay.

If you’re considering moving to another state, is FL where you want to go? Is there anyplace else that interests you if you had the freedom to choose? (You do.) If FL is your best bet, what’s the girlfriend like? Already having your car there to get to and from work is a plus but doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. Could you and your mom eventually get a place together?

Those are just some ideas. Don’t know it they help or not but from what you’ve said you do have some family and friends. The middle of the night is a good time to feel utterly alone—but you’re not. We’re here, too, and I hope you post again soon.

Hey, if you need food assistance, you can look for food pantries here:

There are a number of sites in Queens.

Mississippienne, have you heard of Task Rabbit?

It’s basically a site where you can sign up to perform odd jobs and chores for people willing to pay. I looked at it a while back, but they weren’t in my city at that time. From when I looked at it about a year ago, the sign up procedure was pretty straight forward. They now have a more involved sign up, but I don’t remember it involving a fee.

Once you’re in, you can take jobs as often as you like, and you can take them on very short notice. It might help fill in the gap.

Sell the car. Use the funds to keep yourself afloat long enough to fall into another job, hopefully.

Do you want to live in Florida? Why isn’t looking into a job at a branch there, on your list?

Have you considered renting out your room for a month? Maybe you could crash on your couch during that time?

I also wanted to mention that this is the perfect time for a seasonal job. It’s a lot easier to face balls-to-the-wall 7 day workweeks when you know it’s only for a limited time.

Macy’s is hiring seasonal employee right now at Herald Square, in multiple positions. Go to this site
and select NY as your state, then, “New York - NY” from the city drop down.

Is there a particular reason you find yourself in NYC? It doesn’t seem to be a career investment, as you are working long hours in retail (well, looking to work longer hours in retail), unless you’re deep diving into an arts or music scene on the side. The cost of living here is pretty high, even with a roommate and living in Queens. Though as you mention, you’re somewhat painted into a corner in that it costs money to move.

If you’re working 12-15 hours a week I’d definitely say you should either get a second part time job, or a better, full time job. I know, easier said than done.

From reading your posts on history you seem well educated and a good writer. What’s your educational background? Do you have any foreign (non-English) language skills?

Check your pm’s. I sent you a detailed list of legitimate work at home jobs as well as a few quick leads just to get some cash! So sorry you’re facing this awful situation.

This is what jumped out at me. I notice your Plans A-C all have you staying in NYC, which is a notoriously expensive place to live. What’s keeping you in NYC? Are you there because you really want to live there (or are hoping to pursue some opportunity that’s only available there), or is it just the difficulty in moving elsewhere?

Like elbows said, sell the car; you can’t afford to worry about someone else (even your Mom) having a backup car when you can’t afford to keep a roof over your own head, and it’s better to do it before you need the money right NOW after all, if you want to get a fair price. Sell anything else you don’t need, and buy yourself time to find work.

You’re awesome, I’m sure you can find something.

Did you **read **the list??

I don’t need to be reminded how expensive NYC is. However, I don’t see how anyone can expect me to make a go of it somewhere else with no job, no apartment, and $200 to my name. What am I supposed to do, pick a random spot and show up with a suitcase? Should I sleep in some bushes in Kansas City? What do y’all expect me to do. At least here I have friends and a job, no matter how crappy.

A support system already in place is worth its weight in gold when it supports you. I speak from experience.

Sell the car. No question. Is there somewhere nearby that buys plasma? It’s immediate cash in your pocket.

What’s a Packtite? Since they’ve failed to completely remove the bedbugs can you firmly ask your landlords to pay you back for what you’ve had to splash out due to their failed efforts?

Your writing is fantastic. I’m going to brainstorm right along w/ you on how to make that work for you in some immediate fashion.

When I cleaned houses I never went hungry; likewise when working in a restaurant. Are you in good physical shape and have a neighborhood where folks can afford to hire house cleaning help?

When you have any cash, buy staples like rice or beans, something you can get a lot for cheap. Ethnic markets are great for this - Indo-Pak stores will have a good selection of dal that’s usually inexpensive, for example.

You’re not the only NYC Doper in dire straits; maybe you can reach out to others and see how you can pool skills, talent and resources to lift each other up. Check your PM’s.

The various Halloween stores in town are hiring help for this month.
Halloween Adventure and Abracadabra are hiring now. There will be plenty of stores that only exist for the month of October.

I can’t find it but I did pass an art supply store, between 14th and 23rd between 5th and 8th that had a now hiring sign in front of it about a week ago.

My bad, I simply did not read, ‘hope and pray there’s a job in a Florida branch’, as equal to, ‘looking into job, at branch, in Florida’. They still seem, not quite the same thing, to me.

Anyway, Good Luck!

Let’s not forget that the economy is worse almost everywhere than NYC. Hiring signs are quite common here; other places… not so much. Florida? REALLY not so much.

What you need is a good old fahioned NYC under-the-table cash side hustle*. In your neighborhood, there’s probably almost limitless demand for tutoring. College essay season is coming up. Post some flyers, you can get $20 an hour, easy, to brainstorm and edit.
*Side hustle: a legal, profitable, but intermittent source of funds.
Usage: My actor friend works as a receptionist, but she has this side hustle as a practice patient at the medical school.

I didn’t mean that you should hightail it out of NYC, just wondering what drew you here in the first place. I guess it’s tangential to your present situation though; as you point out, you’re here now, and you’ve been here for a while (with friends and a job). It was intended more as a question of where your home base is - you mentioned your mother and brother in FL, and to me Plan D would be the most natural one (certainly one I myself would pursue before considering a homeless shelter!). But that’s without considering how easy it would be to get a job there versus in NYC (apparently not easy), and also glossing over the fact that the imposition is largely on not your brother, but your brother’s GF.

I’d echo the sentiment that you are underemployed for your writing skills. I guess that’s far from uncommon these days, but in a world full of unemployed 20-somethings with college degrees, you still stand out to me in terms of writing ability. As Hello Again points out, if you write well and have a certifiable background in writing to get you in the door, you may be able to find a freelancing gig related to writing or editing (or even ghostwriting, if your ethics permit that).

Another reason I asked why you’re in NYC in the first place is to try to figure out if you’re looking to establish some kind of long term career here, or in a particular industry. I know this thread is about you being at the end of your rope and you’re thinking very short term here, but I wouldn’t want to offer help or advice toward something geared towards locking you down for the foreseeable future doing something you don’t want to do long term.

I second the task rabbit suggestion. My husband did that for a while when he was unemployed and the money helped keep us stable while he found a permanent job.

I also recommend going online and applying for part time work with all of the major companies you can think of that you have access to by subway or bus. For example, the people who give out free samples at Costco make like $11 or $12 an hour and there is a Costco off of the 4/5/6 in Manhattan that always has hiring signs for their sample people. Home Depot, Macy’s, Whole Foods, etc. are all going to pay a decent wage for part time work and are big enough that you should be able to apply for jobs online at 1 a.m. in your underpants if you feel the need.

You can also check out which is a bartering site. While this won’t help you make any money you could look and see if someone is willing to rent a room to you for free in exchange for cleaning and cooking or something like that.

This is also why I asked if you had any non-English language skills. If you knew any Spanish, or for some reason Chinese or Korean, and have as demonstrably (and ideally college-degree-certifiably) excellent writing skills as you evince here on the SDMB, you could either freelance or try to hook up with one of the many tutoring schools around Queens. Not just college essay season but also the NYC SHSAT exam is coming up (the “specialized high school exam” that serves as the single standardized test for admission to most of the city’s top public high schools), the Hunter College HS exam in January features an in-exam essay, and the SAT now has an essay component as well.

Even if you are an English monoglot you could try to hook up with something like that, since obviously these tests and essays are all in English. It’s just that having some level of proficiency in a non-English language would probably greatly improve your chances.

Thinking outside the box here…

It’s now October, and I imagine UPS is ramping up their seasonal help. I don’t know enough about your location (or the locations of their hubs and centers) to tell if it’s a reasonable commute, but they’re a pretty good gig when you need reliable income and regular hours. (usually weekdays only)

Around here they do quite a bit of hiring for the Christmas season, and they keep some of the good workers after the season’s over. My eldest hired on for xmas, and ended up staying with them for 3 years. It was part-time (4 hours/nite), but paid roughly the same as full time minimum wage, plus they provided full medical benefits even for part-timers.

The first week was rough, due to the physical nature of the job, but after that he said it was like being paid for a 4-hour aerobic workout every weeknight. Most young folks wouldn’t have too much trouble acclimating to the work.

Feel free to PM, or ask here in the thread if you have any questions. I’ll pass them on to my youngster and report the answers.

Best of luck.

First of all, that sucks…I’m sorry you’re in this spot. Even if you’re not of a particularly religious bent, I would think about reaching out to nearby churches…here’s the link to the Queens UU church, where you will find some fabulous, giving, non-judgmental-in-the-extreme folks.

Once you’ve got your short term situation handled, may I make a suggestion? If you continue like you are, you’ll find yourself in this situation repeatedly. You have to get a marketable skill of some sort, and that means school. The good news about that is that as an independent adult student, you’re eligible for boatloads of student grants and loans. You’ll have resources to live for however long it takes to complete school, and you’ll be making sure this never happens to you again.