After many unpaid training periods, unreturned phone calls, and awkward interviews I finally found an artist friendly day job. (Applause break) I am working at Starbucks, and if I pass the SAT I will start tutoring students through a community conscious tutoring company called Revolution Prep. So at 25 years old I am working at a coffee shop and studying hard for the SAT. I say that on stage with a lot of self deprecating sarcasm. But the truth is, I’ve never been happier.
I am reliving my adolescence in NYC, with no curfew, liberated from my anxious adolescent self, and pursuing a career doing something I love. I’ve chosen this. I am surrounded by people that believe in me. I am lucky by any measure.
The choices I’m making are coming from a place of privilege. I am privileged to live in a country where microphones can be found in public spaces, and I’m allowed to use them to say whatever I want(offer not available in all clubs, conditions subject to change without notice). I am privileged to be single, childless, and unburdened by debt. Privileged to be healthy and young enough that no one seems upset when they find out my bedroom is also my living room/kitchen/other roommates bed room. My parents support what I’m doing, and they are in a financial position to offer some assistance (for like emergencies, or special occasions, or if Dad answers the phone)
I want to try to articulate my feeling about social status and what I’m not giving up. It’s taken me a long time to find work. Part of the reason is that I was reluctant to apply to jobs if I could imagine my mother saying “that kind of work isn’t for you.” Part of the motivation behind her advice is that she knows I’ve been summarily fired from every restaurant job I’ve ever had. She also paid for my education with the explicit intention of qualifying me to work at the kind of job that require grown up clothes. I have the wardrobe due to several years playing dress up on the debate team, and mock trial.
Of course, my mother is not the only proud Bailey woman. When I decided not to go to law school I stepped off of a lateral career track, but my ego is still very much caught up in all the trappings of upper middle class privilege. I catch myself frequently, and unnecessarily, informing people that “I used to work on campaigns all over the country” and that “I was good at my job.” I still want people to look at me as the kind of person who “could” or maybe even “should” go to law school. It’s hard to get over all that nonsense. But, I’m working on it.