This life is normal to me, I know what I have to do to survive, but that doesn’t mean that I like it. In starting a new job you have to think about not about your situation but also about the feelings and ideas of others. I have debated telling my employer that I am homeless but I don’t know how it will be taken and I also have to think about my reputation as a new employee. If you start out by showing your problems, people are not going to want to deal with you after a while because they think that you come with too much baggage, I say this from experience. It does not mean that I will never tell my employers about my situation, I just have to get to know them a little better.
What I have learned from the past is that people come with preconceived notions, I come with them too. The images of the homeless are everywhere and they are all usually negative, that guy lying on the street with a bottle in his hand. How do you overcome that stereotype? I know from experience that people judge the homeless harshly, I was in that boat. I decided that I would rather say sorry later than have to explain now. I’m not saying that lying is an easy thing to do, I wonder on a daily basis – who will find out and what will they say if they do. All of us like to believe that we are good-hearted individuals and if we saw someone in a really bad place we would help them, but that’s pie-in-the-sky thinking. Most of us when we see homeless individuals we feel that they should be doing something more with their time and that they should try harder to get off the streets, even though we have no idea about how they got on the streets to begin with. We also have no idea what they are currently doing to get themselves off of the streets, they may be on a million waiting lists for housing that are taking forever. In my case, it took me 7 months to get into the shelter were I am staying. We are so quick to assume though that the person has never tried and their life is just one of wasted opportunities.
I feel guilt everyday because I don’t discuss my situation but in the end I am learning to re-think my situation in a way that states that I have a right to keep certain things in my life private, if it does not effect my employer. I’m sure that there are things in my employers past that they have not told me and do not want to tell me and I am ok with that, they have a right to their privacy as well. In this day and age we encourage people to be an open book and to share with others, we say that if a person is honest and open we will be able to accept what they tell us about themselves. That’s just not how life works and I’m living proof.
So I will go to work and I will discuss the weather, movies, books and work, but when asked where I live, I will simply say Denver. It’s just another day in the real world, the one I live and now work in.