My Sallie Mae loans have come out of forbearance and the first payment is due January 8. I am actually glad to be paying it. I can’t believe it has been a whole year today since I lost my old job. In February, March and April I was so discouraged, I was sure that I wouldn’t make it through; that I would ever find another job. I was convinced that I would have to go back to waiting tables and bartending for my full time income.
Losing my job was devastating to me for several reasons. I went back to college at age 26 (I went when I was 17 for a year) with two kids, no familial support, in a strange town. I had to rely on my wits, various social programs, blind faith and a drive to never have to wait tables or work in a casino again.
When I finished my Bachelor’s I was all gung ho thinking plum job offers would be rolling in, and I could have my pick of assignments. Actually for me, the only paying offer I received was to manage a three states away Waffle House. This was based more on me having eight years of restaurant experience, than on my degree. I spent two days crying because I was sure that I deserved more than to work in a damn restaurant again. I had just spent three years studying Political Science, pre-law, and sociology and the only serious offer I had was the Waffle House?!?
I couldn’t believe my luck. I kept applying everywhere and for anything that wouldn’t send me back to the restaurants that I was trying to escape. I got nothing, I barely got interviews. I decided maybe I needed a new venue that New Orleans wasn’t big enough for me. Katrina decided it for me for sure.
Unfortunately where I ended up was no better in terms of job prospects. Eight months I toiled away working dead end job after dead end job in retail and as a customer service representative. Never making enough to cover the all the bills in the same month, I was always just short even when working two jobs at certain points. It was during this time I begin reading PF books, surfing the net and watching anything I could on eliminating debt.
So when I took the chance to move to DC, I had little faith in finding a job that would pay me well after I adjusted for the cost of living. My first job in the DC area was basically a customer service rep but at almost three times the pay I had received before. It also had benefits – medical, dental, vision and a 401K. At the previous rep job I had to work there eighteen months before I received half of those perks that I got from day one at the new job.
My next job almost doubled my salary again. I did the math once I started my previous job I was making a little over four and a half times my hourly salary. This convinced me that I was right in going back to school. I paid Sallie Mae grudgingly though. I didn’t appreciate the new opportunities my degree had brought to me. Then it was all taken away from me. I was very close to spiraling into a depression I made not have been able to climb out of without the assistance of drugs and counseling.
I know now especially as I look back over the last year and my struggle to find full time employment while working half dozen temp jobs that I really cannot hate Sallie Mae.