Tips on how to keep the shirt on your back and getting past the HR department ogres:
1) Free or cheap clothes and stuff. Free clothes: Ask at charities (sometimes food pantry’s give out clothes too), dumpster diving (a good way to get cheap furniture too), relatives and friends cast off’s, and one of the perks of living in a shelter (maybe the only one) is that they give out free clothes. Careful though, the other freebie seekers can get nasty. Cheap clothes: Thrift shops, consignment stores. Hey, I don’t mind the smell, when I can get designer clothes for $3.50 a piece. After a while you’ll develop an eye for the good stuff. Make sure it is in good condition and that the fabric in washable (Dry clean? Not on my budget). Tip: Go at the end of the month or on weekdays, the crowds are thinner.
2) Having no physical address to put on an employment application can be a problem. You looked sharp at the interview and breezed through those tough questions. But now you are worried that the old physical address that you put on the application just won’t cut it. Nothing like having your grumpy ex-landlord’s scrawl over a piece of mail announcing “NO LONGER AT THIS ADDRESS.” You can handle this situation two ways: A) Use a friend’s or relative’s street address on your applications, until you get settled. Or B) Look below the street address line, there sometimes is a mailing address line. Use this for your P.O. Box address. Tell them that your mail delivery person is near retirement and keeps mis-throwing your mail, or that the mail thieves in the neighborhood are making off with your important mail (use this if you don’t care that they know you live in a high-crime area, or hell, you might drum up sympathy). Granted some lazy or mean administrative assistant may “out” you by using the first address on the application. But since you already warned them that your mail situation is dodgy, just breezily state the tiresome reasons for using the second address and leave it at that. To find out more, they would have to go to the street address themselves and check if you really live there. Most people don’t want to go to that trouble and, if they did, you probably wouldn’t want to work for them anyway. How anal.
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