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June 25, 2009

Best apartment rate? And some much needed advice?

June 25. Day 360.

My dad and stepmom are going to France, and they asked me to help them book a hotel or apartment. They're on a tight budget, and they want a kitchen, so I went for the Craigslist approach.

Rather than query 20 apartment renters separately, I opted for a more efficient approach. I grouped together all the listings that matched most of my criteria and sent a mass email.

I am interested in renting a studio apartment for 10 days between the dates of July 11 or 12, and July 21 or 22.

It is for my father and stepmother. (They are unfamiliar with Craigslist, so I offered to help them find something.)

Their budget for 10 days is around 250 euros per week. They would pay cash at the beginning.

Is your apartment available in that period?

If so, would you please email me a photo of the bed, bathroom and kitchen, or give a website where these items are clearly visible. Also please tell me the address, and list the name(s) of the nearest metro stop(s)? Finally, if it is on the 4th floor or higher, is there a lift?

If it is occupied then, it is available at any later time? They may be able to shift their vacation to August instead.

Merci, bien a vous,

La Roxy
Got some answers with prices around my target. Yay.

Bon voyage!

Next, I asked for advice about yesterday's job offer. I got a tutoring gig that pays $40 per hour, or around $25 factoring in travel time and preparation.

I asked three people their input and they were unanimous: Don't take the job.

Mr. A said I need to be writing my dissertation, and the last months are the most grueling. He knows. He's been there. He also reminded me that I don't NEED NEED the money. If I couldn't cover the rent or had a family to feed it was one thing. But I have the basics taken care of. Do I really want to drive across the city just to pay for coffee? Isn't there a better job out there? What's the rush?

Eau, my friend in DC who visited a few months ago, who previously advised my sister to demand better pay in a similar situation, said I should be charging way more given I almost have a PhD from a top school and I've been tutoring for 15 years. I stammered it's tough times, people can't afford to pay a lot these days, and she listed half a dozen friends with less experience who are earning at least triple what I am charging. Ouch.

My grandma told me to skip the job and be a student. Then apply for jobs with all my might. But don't do things half way.

I think they all had good points. So my instincts were right -- I way undersold myself. I'm still thinking about it, but I'm leaning toward calling her back and either asking for more money, or turning it down entirely...

Gained: A preliminary room in Paris for my dad and stepmom. And advice from The Three Wisepersons.
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