Grant-funded jobs make up a bulk of the social work career. Grants can last any length of time and be for any number of positions, services, or expertise. My job was one of those grant-funded jobs. Many agencies lose grants, but sometimes grants are long-lasting. My agency had been receiving a grant from the grant organization for almost a decade. They had three different grants that every year the agency would apply for and receive. This year was different. This year the grant never came. My agency reached out to the organization, and the organization stated they never received our grant application.
At this point, I should tell you that 99.9% of the high dollar grant funding organizations complete their grant applications through an online portal so you can watch the process of the application. The grant organization my agency went to was the .1%; they accept grant applications through emails. Safe, reliable, and secure? No.
Now my agency was not going to take it lying down. Our IT department checked and confirmed that the email with all three grant applications was sent and received to their email (aka did not bounce back). Head management went through the grievance process of the grant organization and continues to fight them. In the meantime, my agency couldn’t afford to pay the three positions’ salaries that were funded by the grant, which means that this Friday, after moving over 700 miles for the job, I will be considered unemployed. Great timing with everything right now, but it was not my agency’s fault.
However, this is not the end of my story with this agency. There is more to tell…
After 27.42 years of living in Texas, I moved out of the state. I moved to Kansas City, Missouri. I moved for my new job as a Relationship Advocate. What I really did was move for a girl.
Now I know I shouldn’t move for a girl, that I should have moved for the job and that it’s better to have the stability of the job over the love of a girl. I told myself that I moved for the job. Part of me did. I knew the job was a new experience; it’s a job that is nowhere else in the country. I mean Relationships Advocate; where else can you find a job title like that. My responsibility is to advocate for healthy relationships for youth in a local Kansas City, Missouri, homeless shelter. I left my current job for a better job; it was a win for me.
But damn it! I moved for her. I could not handle being 742 miles away from her anymore. I wanted to be 10 inches away from her. Now this move wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. We had talked about it for a while, and I had planned to wait until January 2020 to move to Kansas City. That way I could spend the holidays with my family. Unfortunately, fate had a different idea. With my grandfather’s death in November, my parents ended up staying in New Jersey and are not planning on coming back to Texas for a few more weeks. It was then that I decided to move out of Texas earlier than expected and start living my life in Missouri.
Today, I start the journey to the rest of my life. Let’s see what happens.
My parents married when my mom was 24, and my dad was 26. I looked up to them as I grew up and had this fantasy in my head that I would be married when I was 24 like my mom and life would be sunshine and rainbows. Well, I’m 26 years old, and I’ve never been married.
When smartphones came out, online dating became easier. The first time I set up an online dating account I was 16. A decade later I am still doing it. My photos and bios on the sites have changed as I grew up and matured. As I evolved so did the dating apps. There’s an app for hook-ups, fetishes, religious partnerships, and affairs. In my desperate attempts to find love and connection that would blossom into a lifetime marriage, I went on them all. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
After being on so many sites at once (upwards of double digits) I got to the point that I needed to step up my game and get serious. I upgraded my Bumble account for a month last August then crossed my fingers. 28 days into my “premium” month I was matched with a girl in Kansas City. I had burned and shot down so many times that I thought ‘What’s the harm in talking to this girl? It would be good practice!’ Little did I know that the 742 miles that separated us would help us to create the best relationship either of us has ever had.
Seven months later I am still talking to that girl. Don’t get me wrong; I love this girl, but the distance is rough with a capital ROUGH! Somehow we make it work. Every day starts with a text to the other person and ends with a video chat. Now don’t start thinking ‘have they even met?’ Yes, we’ve met! She’s met my parents and friends, and I met her friends, and I am scheduled to meet her parents at her brother’s wedding this year. This winter I plan on moving to Kansas City to make a real “go” of the relationship. She is still in graduate school for social work, so her moving is not an option; my life is just easier to move.
Being a stay-at-home-daughter may come to an end this year.
My 26th year alive was one of those years that you look back on and say “I survived.”
It was a massive roller coaster that I grew exponentially from, but I would never want to do again.
It started off with me in massive debt that my roommates were terrific at supporting me through and understanding even when I pushed them away. A month into my 26th year, I was “involuntarily separated” from a job where I loved working with my clients, and they enjoyed working with me. Where I had a supervisor that saw my energy and client commitment as a hindrance to my work performance and instead of working with me, she got rid of me. I was devastated, if you had asked any of my clients about my work with them, they would sing my praises. Many parents of my clients attempted to reach out to me after my departure, but due to my social work licensing and ethical boundaries of my profession I could not communicate with them. No being able to say goodbye to people I had spent the last year and a half in their life attempting to improve it no matter what it costs, was heart-wrenching.
After that, I took a leap. I looked into an amazing non-profit organization in Austin that was well known for their continual innovations in their social services. Less than a month after being “involuntarily separated” I was hired as a part-time employee at this amazing non-profit at their youth homeless shelter. Granted I was apprehensive; I have worked direct care with teenagers before and that turned into a hot mess. This place was different! I left my work at work and my home at home. This place was perfect for my personality. They let me use my energy to improve the workplace not just for the clients, but for the staff. Less than 3 months into employment I was awarded the company-wide “Gratitude Award” something that very few part-time employees ever see. I felt at “home” at the company. When they saw my flaws in the workplace they worked with me to improve myself, they didn’t throw me aside, they made me feel like a part of a team and a part of a family all in one.
While applying for this job I also applied for graduate school. I got accepted into SUNY-Cortland’s online Recreation Therapy Certificate program. It won’t end in a masters, but it will end in me being a qualified Recreation Therapist to be able to work in Texas. Classes started in January, and I instantly fell in love with the field.
The ending of my 26th year of life isn’t so happy. Just days before I went on vacation for my birthday, I hit a pothole with my car. I popped one tire and got a bubble in one. Both tires were replaced. My driver side seat belt also locked up and would not expand or retract; the dealership told me that I was in an accident so they would not replace the seat belt for free. I wasn’t in an accident; my car fell off the jack while I was changing my tire. They didn’t care; I took the car to the mechanic by the house and had it completely replaced. My roommates went above and beyond again. For me, my vacation started on the day my car was taken to the local mechanic. I ended up being hundreds of miles away when my roommate took my car from the mechanic to the tire shop to get my tires aligned. That’s where he found that 3 of my rims were no longer circular, but ovals. He took it upon himself to go back to the place where I had gotten my tires and reamed them for their shoddy workmanship. When I returned from my 4-day vacation, I found a new driver side seat belt and four new matte black rims on my car.
In conclusion, my past year was only survivable by the sheer love and patience that my roommates showed me. They will forever be my favorite roommates.