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Day 47 — Valueless Networking

ANN’S NOTE: Finding yourself often means looking back on your life. I looked back on this trip, but I’m not going to write about it now—too reflective and emotional at this moment except for an entry tomorrow. For today, I will hand off to you an entry that was the genesis of Girl On the Brink.

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At 5:30 PM, I threw on my coat and grabbed a few business cards I had made for my volunteer work. My ex and I headed down the street to a networking party sponsored by a recruiting company at a Mexican restaurant, the same one where I saw an employee lock its garbage cans out back.

I asked a wetback (in the back) if it was to keep out the homeless. But he said people were coming late at night and filling up the dumpsters with their own trash, which kept the lids from closing and attracted rats, not the homeless, as I had originally thought. He said the restaurant got a $1,000 ticket, and then he corrected himself and said $5,000. Thousand-dollar tickets for not keeping your garbage lid closed sounded unrealistic. Maybe he meant 1,000 pesos.

When we got there, we signed in, wrote our name on Hello badges and headed to the bar with a plastic token to get a free drink. It didn’t take us long to realize that there were more sellers than buyers in the room. Nobody had a job. Where were the recruiters, the sponsors of this event? They weren’t talking to any of us, that’s for sure.

My ex met a woman who attends networking parties for a living. She’s never gotten a job out of any of them. She was with her brother, also unemployed. I met an unemployed gay guy. My luck. We both met an unemployed fine-arts writer, and she had a master’s degree.

Since we were all unemployed, we had plenty to talk about. The big conversation topic once we got past introducing ourselves was how much money each of us had in the bank and what happens to our resumes once we use one of those online application forms. Then, we moved on to how long we thought we’d be able to last until financial ruin.

It took forever before the waiters set out platters of free food—chips, salsa, cheese and more chips. Olé!

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