Awesome excerpts are available in Salon from Daisy Hernandez’s upcoming book about working at the New York Times. Spoiler alert: she did not have a great time. The hardest part was trying to negotiate a White Male workspace. “Black boys consistently do badly in school,” her editor told her at one point, when she pitched a story about racism. “It’s like it’s genetic!”
Still, for a long time, getting her dream job meant independence, career advancement, and the kind of financial security her parents desperately wanted for her.
At the Times, people spend their days writing and then get paid every two weeks. It happens even if you disagree with Mr. Flaco or if you write a bad piece that needs tons of editing. You still get paid. So, convinced that this life can’t be mine, I insist on taking my intern paycheck to the bank every two weeks and cashing it. Each time the black teller hands me the stack of hundred dollar bills, I feel that I am real and that this is really happening to me. It is a lesson I learned from my mother.
On Fridays, if she had been paid at the factory, Tía Chuchi would take my sister and me to meet my mother at the bank, where she would be waiting on line with a check, that precious slip of paper in her hand. She would take the money from the bank teller in one swift move, as if someone was going to steal it from her, and then she would move over to the side and count the bills, slipping them into a small envelope the way she would place a pillow in a pillowcase. Those dollars were freedom. We could afford an evening meal at McDonald’s and pasteles, too.
I suppose I could use my old wallet, but it’s full of a life I no longer lead. The owner of that wallet once had an apartment, a full time job, and disposable income, an abundant life that utilized all of the slots.
I have a checking account with Simple, and now that we’ve combined finances it is my “fun money” account. My tagline for them is basically, “Simple: not as bad as most banks, but still a bank, ok?”
I have three different signatures that I use:
• My full name in legible cursive, which I use when signing personal checks and legal documents
• An abbreviated version of my name, which I use when signing anything digitally
• A scribble, which I use when I’m signing receipts for various merchants
Here’s a heartwarming piece of financial news, which I also saw first on Jezebel:
In Russia, when you move into a new home, it is considered good luck if a cat is the first creature to cross the home’s threshold.
Russian bank Sberbank wants to make sure its customers are the luckiest people ever, so it is now loaning out cats to customers who take out new mortgages. You get the cat for two hours, during which time it crosses your threshold and gives you the good luck that all new homeowners deserve.
Even if you don’t speak or read Russian, take the time to check out the bank’s special “cat promotion” website. There’s an adorable video that explains the process:
There’s also a gallery of the 10 available cats and the number of thresholds each of them has crossed. (Yes, there is even a hairless cat for people who have allergies.)
Who here wishes their bank would also loan out cats? There was that time last year where Uber loaned people kittens, but we could all benefit from greater access to the cat loan economy.
Not to mention all that good luck.
Photo: Bob Mical
Everyone’s least favorite bank (just me?) has reached a settlement with the Department of Justice, as the Wall Street Journal reports. It is the biggest effing settlement the U.S. has ever made with a single corporation, and is equal to three years of the bank’s profits.
John Lanchaster wrote a novel called Capital, set in London before and after the 2008 financial crisis. As one would imagine, he learned a lot about finance in the writing of it. He has a very Billfold-y piece in this week’s New Yorker about decoding the alienating language of money: “It is potent and efficient, but also exclusive and excluding.”
I have it set up so that I receive an instant email alert any time I withdrawal more than $100 from an ATM, so you can imagine my horror when I received a few of these messages yesterday while I was at work and not withdrawing money from an ATM.
When we got home, though, I started to freak out. Not freak out because now our money was intertwined and swiftly dwindling and SOMEONE didn’t pay the electric bill for a few months and so one of the first charges was like $200, which was historically something I wouldn’t have been aware of. No, I decided to channel my anxiety of our ever-increasing co-dependence into the fact that this account was HIS account and not mine. I was simply on it.