That refrigerator looks EXACTLY like the one in an ex-boyfriend's apartment. At some point, I was curious and looked up the date the building was constructed. Sometime in the 1960s. I'm pretty sure none of the appliances or bathroom had been updated since. He was, at least, paying a very low rent for a decently-sized 1BR in a very nice part of brownstone Brooklyn two blocks from the subway. He ate only takeout. He made pasta made 10 times in the 5 years I knew him in that apartment.
As one humanities PhD to another: thank you. This was great, and rings true on a lot of levels.
@halloliebchen That sounds very rough. And somewhat familiar. I taught English to the same types of students in Germany back in the late 90s (I am an Old). At least back then, I was making 25-30DM for each teaching unit, and cost of living was cheap, so I actually lived very, very well. I've probably never had that good a life (financially), in fact, and I have now had many "real" office jobs. I look back on those days fondly. The school I taught at was also really nice (I was hooked up through a college connection.) I probably also got lucky with most of my students, although I did have run-ins with some asshole-y businessmen, so I can completely imagine the horrors you describe. Because I spoke fluent German, I usually had the absolute beginner classes, and those were mostly older secretaries and the like (all the young or upper-middle-class types spoke solid English already), and they were generally very appreciative and friendly. I also enrolled as a part-time student at the university-- back in the days when there really were no fees to speak of-- so that's how I managed my residency permit, and it also got me the cheap Semester-Ticket for public transportation and health insurance. I wonder if that work-around is still an option, or if increased university fees and the like make that untenable?
@sea ermine Get out! Get out however you can! I have nothing helpful to add beside saying don't let misplaced loyalty or whatever to your current job prevent you from getting something better. I ridiculously stayed in a horrible job for too long because I didn't want to disappoint other people; older me wants to slap young me. If you have paid time off, as someone else said, just say, "I need Tuesday off." Don't overexplain. Don't even bother lying or making up an excuse. Just say, "I am taking Tuesday off." Take the time you have earned without apology or explanation.
Oh HELL no. I used to live in Vienna. It's a lovely place to visit, quite frankly, a horrible place to live as a foreigner (NB, I speak fluent German.) I've lived a variety of places in the U.S. and Europe, and Vienna was by far the most xenophobic and closed society I have experienced firsthand. At least that was balanced out by a high quality of life, defined by a high standard of living (rent, food) accessible at a low income. (I rarely ate out, because that is expensive, but if you cook, fresh ingredients are magnificent and cheap. Housing can also be very affordable-- note I live in New York now, and previously lived in Boston-- if you aren't wedded to a super hip district. I lived 15 minutes from the city center in a decidedly uncool neighborhood and paid almost nothing, aside from horrific broker's fees.) It's a beautiful place to visit, though.
I'm actually an art historian (with a PhD). And, yeah, a skilled tradesperson makes way more money than I do, especially in someplace like New York. Unfortunately, I have no handy or practical skills, so it's not like I'm going to be making the move to a high-earning welding career anytime soon.
@Stina Oh, yes, the fear of turkey neck. I've always been very good about wearing sunscreen and skincare on my face, but I have neglected my neck, and maybe I'm being overly critical, but I think it shows. I'm also fearful of sagging jowls, which kind of runs in my family, and have been restraining myself from buying some firming goop for my neck. And while there seemed to be some comments on other sites about how much money she spends, is there something completely out of whack with my spending that I was surprised how low the amount was? She's Martha fucking Stewart, after all, so I'm surprised she's not rubbing herself in vats of millions of diamonds to exfoliate. Many of those serums and creams will last several months even with fairly regular use. If I totaled what I use, I'm afraid it wouldn't be all that much lower (and I don't have Martha Stewart money to blow.) My collection of NARS lip pencils alone probably could have funded a plane ticket someplace cool, but then again, day-to-day life would have been less colorful and fun. I re-up my Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair about once every three or four months, so I'm spending apparently $250 or so a year on that alone. But I have a Clarins oil that I bought last year, for $50, and I've used maybe 1/4 of the bottle.
@LookUponMyWorks Agreeing that Virgin is great. I have the $35 plan (300 minutes, I think?, plus unlimited text and data), which works out to $38 with all taxes and fees where I'm at. I briefly contemplated switching plans/providers, but Virgin really is the cheapest for someone like me who doesn't talk a lot. My only quibble: the selection of phones could be better-- and I wish I could buy an unlocked phone elsewhere and slip in a SIM card, but I don't care all that much about such things in the end. But, do not be suckered into getting the Kyocera phone, no matter how cheap it is, even if you are a cheapskate who doesn't care about having a decent phone. I went through two replacements (the second started malfunctioning after a week.) The HTC phone that is currently offered is quite nice: I've had really fast 4G speeds and no issues with coverage.
My personal anecdata supports this based on my experience at various art world parties, galleries, and the like. Clearly I had to be important if I dared to show up so schlubby. Or, there's some sort of broke-person solidarity. Waiters have been very good about keeping me well supplied in champagne and canapes when I'm wearing work boots. Also, there's that old distinction between New Money (rolex/fur) and the old, don't give a shit New Englanders or aristocrats. There was something comparing Prince Harry's sort of girlfriend, who is from a fancy family, to K-Mid recently. I haven't tried it at academic conferences: my peers tend to be not terribly well dressed as a general rule, aside from the grad students oozing fear and desperation in their suits. And since I sometimes do actual manual labor at work, I enjoy putting on a very nice dress and shoes when I know I won't have to move a crate. But then again, I'm also not a superstar in my field, so...
I am desperate to have a studio of my own-- I want my own kitchen and my own bathroom, damn it!-- but nothing is more demoralizing than looking at listings in New York. I feel like the biggest loser in the world. :(