I realize that times change. I didn't have the smooth transition into adult life I should have had: My parents lost their business in 1992 in the last recession that defined politics. In 1993, I was psychologically bullied by certain groups of people at school, including my pro-levy activist art teacher and the female sycophants around her. That year, my parents also forced me to take drivers' ed on top of increasing homework, and were trying to make me attend college at UC-Blue Ash, even though the highway connecting us to Blue Ash wasn't even built yet. The next year, my parents wanted me to get a job and an apartment at 17, even though my lack of high school diploma only allowed me a part-time minimum wage job (nowhere near enough for rent!), and eventually they relented to the point my [late] grandfather cut a door into the next room to double my living quarters in place of getting an apartment.
I graduated in 1995 with an Honors Diploma and a Career Passport, but after I found a great job at Forest Fair Mall, I was abruptly laid off in 1996 when the owner divorced his wife and moved back to Taiwan. I did a year of liberal arts classes at UC-Blue Ash and worked several jobs thereafter, doubling my wages to $10 an hour by 1999. But then I was downsized, and tired of changing jobs, I went back to college at UC-Blue Ash by 2000. I made $15 an hour doing web design for professors, and finished two associate technical degrees by 2004. But the economy wasn't good under Bush Jr. (who I didn't vote for in 2000 OR 2004), and I could only get a job for $11 an hour in 2005. This was enough to pay my bills, but not enough to get a place of my own. Then he laid me off, and I spent 2006 unemployed, and on public assistance for the first time ever, which I scrupulously avoided in the '90s. I did find another job by the end of 2006, but they downsized me by March 2007, and I went back to UC to try for my bachelor's degree.
Immediately, they wanted me to do extra "Breadth of Knowledge" liberal arts classes (probably to create jobs for professors -- I was already a 3.4 GPA student in liberal arts) and then wouldn't transfer my credits in studio drawing to main campus for my B.F.A. in Digital Design. So they wanted me to take 3 years of classes to finish my bachelor's degree. I spent two quarters in a holding pattern at UC-Blue Ash doing "Breadth of Knowledge", then found it difficult to do the 18-credit-hour schedule on main campus in fall 2007, then passed with mostly B's in the next two quarters of 2008. I was doing okay and holding my own at main campus, when suddenly the "Academic Progress Appeals Committee" decided that it would take too many full-time-quarter-equivalents to finish, so they cut off my loans. My parents wouldn't pay a dime for my education, either; they were too busy traveling and saving for their holy Baby Boom retirement. I was so disgusted with this situation I decided to switch colleges, and gave up on UC entirely. [I still have a "Proud Alum" sticker on my car because I was the first student to complete two A.A.B.s in the Art Department at UC-Blue Ash, but I refuse to give money to UC itself until their education finds me a job one day.]
Fortunately, the University of Phoenix had recently started advertising in the Cincinnati area, and they had by now relaxed their requirement that every student has to have a job to attend classes; now they just insist that you have to have "access to a business environment". I started classes in January 2010, initially as a Business major, but switched to Marketing because I couldn't do college-level accounting. I continued to take classes through May 2011, when my undergraduate loans were maxed out, and they expected an estimated $12,000 personal financial contribution to finish my B.S. in Marketing and Sales Communication. Phoenix was far more convenient than UC, and more libertarian because it's a publicly-traded private college, but they charge a lot for tuition because they are private. My father acted offended when I told him that I needed help finishing my baccalaureate (to overcome the prejudice of his generation about college!) but he relented and offered me a private $6,000 loan -- if I first saved $6,000 myself toward Phoenix. Since I had few options at this point in time, I decided to look for a job.
By 2012, I took a job as a Truck Unloader at the local Meijer Supercenter. Although it was a union job (UFCW Local #75), it only paid minimum wage. I lost thirty pounds working the job, but was still overweight, and wasn't making hardly any money to save toward Phoenix. After a year on the job, I was only making $8.25 an hour. I had to take a deferment on my student loans to have any spending money whatsoever. I was so worn out by the job itself that I wasn't using the exercise bike in my second room hardly at all, and never even touched my TriFlex because my body was usually sore. By July 2013, I had enough time accrued that I could take a vacation, and I chose to accompany my parents on their vacation to California. [It was one of very few vacations they were even willing to take me on in the past twenty years; my father had abruptly cut off travel in 1994, claiming "we're going to have to curtail our travels", but for some reason he always had money to take my mother on vacations; and they outright refused to take me on their Chicago vacation in 1997, where we had a good time five years earlier, the year my mother came home to attempt suicide.]
Unfortunately, one of my co-workers who was a taller, arrogant, "alpha male" Marine Reservist assaulted me on the job, after a display of stuffing had toppled over; I guess Marines can't wait to bully someone else, with or without orders. He cursed at me, spit on me with his tobacco-dipping saliva, and shoved me into the trailer we were unloading. After I cleaned myself off, I told a supervisor, and this Marine Reservist was disciplined; as of 2014, he doesn't work at Meijer anymore. Then the supervisor who disciplined him started picking on me; he gave me a 20-minute job out on the floor with water jugs, another 30-40 minutes of stacking more water, then he bitched at me because the whole deal "should have only taken you 20 minutes. You cold milked the time..." said this tattooed black male who looked like he stepped out of a gangsta rap video, who happened to be my Team Leader now at Meijer. By September 25, 2013, I quit Meijer and became unemployed again.
If there wasn't all this discrimination about college, tax credits for corporations to outsource the work we need to survive and succeed, and callousness by family and co-workers, my life would be completely different. Many of you by now may think I am a whiner, but the sad truth is that life in Cincinnati is getting to be hellish. I am thinking about either New Hampshire (where my cousin now lives) or else the U.S. west of the Mississippi (where two of my cousins now live, plus 8 of the 10 states for best job growth are now out West)... Wyoming, Arizona, and Texas appeal the most.
Although there are many Millennials who live with their parents in their 20s, and even some Xers like myself who do so in their 30s, I don't want this to continue after I am 40. There is less of a stigma attached to people who live with their parents, because of the bad economy. But my parents have done terrible things to me unprovoked, and I am not sure whether to stay or to leave. If I stay, there is the faint chance I might recover in the next few years, go back to Phoenix by 2017-18, and finish my third undergraduate degree by 2019-20. By that time, I hope the economy recovers, and that there are enough jobs for people with a college education. If I leave, it will be what Ayn Rand called "a total break with the world of your past." I am worried that I will get myself established at a new location for a few months, then lose my job again, then be back to where I started. Unless, of course, jobs last longer and people are nicer outside of Cincinnati...
Can anyone who is not originally from New Hampshire tell me real-life anecdotes about how New Hampshirites are different from the vile people who inhabit places like Cincinnati?
Thank you for reading this lengthy post, and the favor of your response is requested.