@Andrew Simone@twitter The job market is pretty crappy in St. Louis in my experience, but it's true the cost of living is fairly low. I admit I never did figure out how to balance multiple part-time jobs and I stopped trying. (I have never been able to get a truly consistent work schedule at any job it St. Louis.) Another point for St. Louis though--the zoo is free!
Thank you for writing this piece. When I graduated from college I had a really hard time finding steady employment and making ends meet. Even getting retail jobs was tough, but eventually I managed to get into clerical jobs and move on to administrative assisting (Wow!) I was lucky that while I was struggling to keep my head above water my parents were A. Able and B. Willing to help me out with money. (I have also moved back in with them a couple times, but that is no longer an option.) Ultimately I've ended up going back to school, which is a huge risk in terms of taking on another mountain of debt, but should open a lot more doors for me if I work hard enough. Again, I'm lucky to be in a position where I can do this. While I haven't had to fall back on government assistance programs, I'm always so, so glad that they're there, because my situation wouldn't have to be very much different for me to have needed them. It's not something to feel ashamed of, but it's so easy to feel like an absolute failure when you can't make it on your own, even though you know you're really trying. I do think that taking help when you need it, though, can keep you from falling into an even worse situation. If you're a person who, (like me), worries about being a burden, this is a useful thing to consider when you feel guilty about asking for assistance.