What do I do for a living?

Whenever people complain about college being worthless, a common retort is to ask what their major was and subsequently argue that they chose the wrong major.

A lot of people really dog on young people with “liberal arts degrees”. When they do, I’m often confused. My degree came from the section of my university called CLASS- College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, but my degree is way more on the social science side of the spectrum than the liberal arts side. My major was psychology with an emphasis on Human Development and Family Services. After graduation, I sought to work in a non-profit. Surprisingly (to me, anyway) all of the non-profits were seeking either executive directors with tons of experience, or volunteers. There were two problems with that- I didn’t have enough experience to be the executive director of anything, and I kind of needed to get paid. I ended up working in a public school as a title 1 aide and made minimum wage. (Yes, you do make minimum wage sometimes, despite having a degree.) It was only 5 months later that the state cut funding for that school due to poor performance. Half of the kids were failing their grade, and the school had been on probation with the state for two years.

A month later, the student loan bills arrived!

I ended up suicidal, with an actual plan. I drove my daughter Evita to her dad and stepmom’s house. It was his weekend to have her anyway. I asked to go to her room and let her show me around her room. When I hugged her goodbye, she told me I was the best mama in the world. That’s when I knew I couldn’t go through with it. Instead of going home to carry out my plan, I drove to the county hospital where I spent 4 days in the psychiatric ward. Ironic how I went from being a psych student to a psych patient.

The following month, I became a CPS caseworker. I was proud. This is the only job I’ve ever had that required a degree. I worked there just short of 1 year before I could no longer handle the corruption. The corruption was huge enough to want to become a whistleblower, but with a child of my own, I was afraid of retaliation and decided that any whistleblowing efforts would have to wait until she turns 18.

I took medical leave before I quit and checked into an inpatient clinic for severe anxiety, depression and panic disorder for two weeks. I wanted to do it before leaving CPS, so the state health insurance would pay for it. When I got out, I gave two weeks’ notice.

It was then, in the summer of 2015 that I started working for elderly and disabled adults in their homes. It was also then that I got into the on-demand food delivery apps. I’m on the platform for two companies, but there are several I could also join. One of the platforms allows “instant pay”, that is, click a button and get paid on your earnings card immediately. The earnings card can be used to make purchases (and get cash back with the purchase) and to pay bills using its 16 digit visa number or the assigned account and routing numbers. The other platform I deliver food for does not have instant pay, but you do get paid about three days later. This company, unlike the first one, allows you to work in any city they operate in without notifying anyone. Just travel to that city and log in.

The on-demand food delivery apps are strictly commissions and tips. There is no wage. You are not an employee, you are an independent contractor. (A 1099 is issued at tax time instead of a W-2). There is also no schedule. You literally work whenever you want to. Just make sure you are in the delivery zone, log in, and wait for delivery requests. Some people have fought these companies and said we should be employees, but I vehemently disagree with that opinion. If we were employees, yes we’d be guaranteed minimum wage, but that’s all we’d make. The customers would be discouraged from tipping, and oh hell no. They would also control our schedules if we were employees. There would be no “work whenever”. That would not be fair to those of us who have regular jobs and need a way to make extra money any time we want to.

Speaking of my regular job, I love it. I have worked with children since I was basically a kid myself, but working with elderly and disabled adults is a similar but completely different ballgame. For one thing, it’s way more peaceful. A million screaming children Vs. just chillin with an old person. You do for them everything you’d do for yourself. It’s common sense really. Yea, you do have to occasionally wipe ass, but like I said, I have worked with children for years before this. I am used to wiping ass.

This field is in VERY high demand. Because of the high demand level, the wages are competitive. When my boss says jump and I say how high, my paychecks look sweet.

I have also done this for two families under the table. One of them would pay me *very* well to live in with his disabled wife while he went on fishing trips. Another was just a couple hours here and there. I found these families through care.com, but eventually care became inundated with scammers and phishers.

I’m definitely not using my degree. But I enjoy all three of my jobs for different reasons. If I was depending on using my degree, I’d be dead in a ditch somewhere.