Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 205: Burning questions

To stay or to go?
How can we afford to live?
Yet how can we leave?

Intrepid Boyfriend and I are in a bit of a crisis right now. I've lived in Brooklyn for over 5 years; IB for a little more than 3. We love our very small, comparatively affordable apartment. We love our building, which has an elevator, a non-creepy laundry room, and the kind of superintendent that other renters in this city dream about. We love our neighborhood, Kensington, which I think of as Park Slope's secretly hip maiden aunt.

Here are some things I don't love: Our increasingly futile search for even the most humble jobs in the legal field. IB and I thought we had enough in savings to bridge the gap between graduating from law school and finding jobs. Guess what? That gap is more of a chasm, really. I don't love the fact that the only job I have been able to find is a part-time position that is not in my field, and for which I receive an embarrassingly low hourly wage. But the thing I love least of all is being told that said hourly wage, while laughable when measured against rent and student loan payments (forget about groceries, utilities, and transportation) is enough to take us out of the running for any kind of publicly funded health care program. Strike that. The thing I love least of all is this feeling that I am completely powerless to change any of these things.

So, we are faced with a question: How much longer can we live like this? Meaning, how much longer can we afford to live in New York City? It's not a question of refusing to apply for certain jobs as a matter of pride. Neither of us has much pride left, and we get a lot of "we can't hire you because you have too much experience" or "you'll just quit when a law job comes along" when we apply for non-law jobs. We can't even find temp agencies to take us on.

It's starting to look like our only option is to move in with my parents, who live in another part of New York state (about as far as you can get from New York City without leaving the state), and to live there until we can find jobs in another (cheaper) city.

We've made a home here. It's not perfect, but I'm not sure I'm ready to uproot -- especially when the job market doesn't seem much better anywhere else. Is it worth it to pay more than we can afford to live where there are more jobs, but also more recent law grads vying for them? Or is it better to move someplace significantly cheaper where there are fewer jobs, but less competition?

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