Starting At The Bottom

There’s a rap song my uncle likes with that lyric… Huh.

Anyway, there is a subreddit for employees of the company I now work for, though it’s not very active. I replied to one topic that asked if anyone enjoys their job (the person who posted the question does not, though they’d started only a week prior to asking, and it’s their first job ever). Most of the users who commented expressed disliking the job, though that doesn’t surprise me because the company itself has a terrible reputation. My location is good, however, and I enjoy it, so I added my own comment. Unfortunately, there was a user who doesn’t think I should like it:

I’m sorry but leaving the jobs you got from a degree to start a bottom level manual labor at Amazon doesn’t seem like the best decision…if you already have a degree apply for higher levels, it doesn’t make sense to waste a degree on a entry level job anyone can do, imo.

This is stupidly funny to me for more reasons than I care to count, mainly being if it’s a job anyone can do, why are so many people complaining? Putting that aside, this person thinks they know the best decision the life of a total stranger. Sounds like my family, actually.

It’s worth noting this user apparently didn’t read my full original comment because he/she had the idea I voluntarily left the former jobs. At least, read everything before giving unasked for advice. My reply was as follows:

As I said, [company] pays more than both of those jobs [I was fired from], so it’s not a decision I regret, especially since both bored the living hell out of me anyway and one proved to be the adult rendition of high school. “Anyone can do” retail too, yet I fucking can’t stand it.

I don’t really care about being at the bottom level. It’s more satisfying than the other jobs because I don’t have to pretend to be busy for almost nine hours. I actually am busy (and I work for six unless I choose otherwise; I hate long hours). School isn’t going anywhere, and neither is my “degree” that proved to be more of a waste (I really don’t give a shit about it at this point) of my time and money. If I’d known high school clique and seat warming jobs were all I’d get from it, I never would’ve pursued it. I didn’t voluntarily leave. I got fired, one of which, as I said, was for not having a new BFF within four days. But that’s a much better environment… /s

Obviously, some people enjoy office jobs and that’s cool. To each, their own. I, however, do not. I don’t like pretending to be busy and I’d rather my job not depend on how fast I make friends (ironically, I have made friends at [company]).

I haven’t even hit ninety days at [company] (79 days), so I’m not comfortable applying for something higher yet. I’d rather stick around for at least a year before I do. I’m also not a fan of management in any industry (management positions have too much stress and too many restrictions), so even if I wanted a higher position, that’d be out.

No job is a waste if you actually like it.

I’ve yet to receive a reply, and I doubt I will. It seems to stun people others may not share their view what of life’s goals should be for each and every person. While I doubt I’ll stay at this company for the rest of my life, I’m happy with it now and I’m not looking for a new job or another position. Frankly, I wish it were more common to recognize everyone lives a different life and sees things differently, and what’s a bad decision for one person may be better for someone else. Someone’s life choices don’t have to make sense to you. They’re not yours and they’re not affecting you.

Do not use your life to judge’s someone else’s. You have your life. Let them be with theirs.

EDIT: The user did reply, and to sum his responses, he doesn’t consider himself an asshole for telling someone they should live their life according to his standards. Of course. Well, that’s part for the course for Reddit. Or really, for humans in general. If one job made someone miserable, it must make everyone miserable. Isn’t that called “crabs in a bucket”?

Money Can’t Replace Time

“You’re getting paid for this.”

So, what?

One thing I have never had tolerance for: the idea getting paid means you should be content devoting every minute of your time to work, whether or not it’s necessary.

Apparently, no one remembers it’s (almost) always possible to get more money, but time can never be replaced.

Baby, you’re all that I want
When you’re lying here in my arms
I’m finding it hard to believe
We’re in heaven

This doesn’t mean I don’t ever work overtime or I’ll never clock back in for a while if something pops up. But there are some days I am ready to go home! I don’t live to work. Yes, while at a job, I want to work, but after my shift ends, my work is done. I’ll have other shifts to make more money, and it’ll be the same money. But I’ll never have the same day or night.

Sure, I usually spend my time out of work catching up on sleep or surfing the internet. But I also make plans. I write silly fan fiction. I talk to my friends. I meet with my boyfriend.

And love is all that I need
And I found it there in your heart
It isn’t too hard to see
We’re in heaven

I’ve talked many times about how that last activity has changed my life. Yes, that’s including the awful times. Until we live together, it will never feel like enough, and when we do, it possibly still won’t. Money makes time spent together more fun, but it does not replace it outright.

In fact, though I enjoy traveling with him, my favorite times with him are when we’re in bed with each other. I love to wake up next him (snoring and all 😛 ). There’s not enough money to replace the few times I can do that.

Oh, once in your life, you find someone
Who will turn your world around
Bring you up when you’re feeling down

There’s not enough money to replace the fewer chances I’ve had to spend with my friends, who I hope to have for a long time, if not for life. I’ve met some through my retail job, which is why I don’t entirely hate it, but that still isn’t enough for me to want to spend most of my time at work if it’s unnecessary.

I’ve read no one on their deathbed wishes they worked more. I doubt that’s true. There are probably some people out there who died wish they had a bigger career, or something similar. I doubt I’ll be one of them. I think the person who wishes they spent more time with their loved ones, even if I spent every waking moment with them. Or made more memories. Or had more pictures. Say what you will about my generation (Gen Y/Millennials) and the current one (Gen Z/the iGeneration), but I take a lot of pictures and I don’t regret it. No, I’m not snapping my camera every minute of the day, but I love having the reminders. Physical photos are still awesome though, and I plan to print some pictures out and put them in a photo album I bought at my retail job.

Yeah, nothing could change what you mean to me
Oh, there’s lots that I could say
But just hold me now
‘Cause our love will light the way

I know so many people will call me “foolish” or insist “I know nothing about life” because of ideals I have like this. I know very well life isn’t a fairytale, though some people do get to live that life (like my co-worker who found the love of her life at 14 and became a parent at 17; at age 20, they’re still together and she’s clearly happy). The good news is all fairytales are different. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Disney (though I’ve learned many), it’s that when things reach the very worst, they can still get better. Life isn’t Disney, so sometimes, it will get worse… but not always.

I simply like to hope they get better. If only because I want another day with the ones I love most.

It’s cliche to say, but love – platonic and romantic – is powerful. You can’t pay your bills or your taxes with it, but it makes the time we spend on this Earth not so bad.

And that’s as fair a trade-off as anyone can get.

You’re all that I want
You’re all that I need

(And let’s just say every so often, I’m reminded why time is precious. We’re not here forever.)

Why I No Longer Want A Career

Short answer: I have a work ethic.

Much longer answer: I was fired from a job, not for being incompetent or breaking the law or violating their policy, but for… not making friends. I was never unfriendly or unkind or cold to anyone, but the experienced hires decided I was too “weird”, I didn’t “fit in” with them, and since they weren’t all my new BFFs within the four days I worked, I was let go. Despite the numerous times this job was emphasized as being “life and death” (a description I now know is severely exaggerated), my inability to create instant lifelong friendships and preference to prioritize learning how to do my job competently was deemed grounds for letting me go.

As a child, I wanted to become a veterinarian because I loved animals. I learned as a teenager an adoration of animals is far from enough to consider that career. This is similar. I would say as a teenager I wanted a career, and though I never cared for being part of the “big wigs”, I wanted to be high above entry-level with a long resume of worthwhile skills and a job that allowed to never again worry about money.

What have I learned now as an adult? The job is irrelevant. It’s the management I need to be most concerned with. After nearly three years in retail, and poor management in three different industries (customer service, IT, and security), and managers who are all too obviously on a power play (my boyfriend recently told me of how he was yelled at for something he didn’t do, and yelled at again when he proved he wasn’t at fault; I have too many similar experiences), I have decided I want absolutely nothing to do with a career of any kind.

I want a job that pays well, has good management, has benefits, has a consistent schedule, and has a minimum of two days off. That’s it.

It doesn’t need to be a career. I don’t want it to be a career. If this is what I must deal with – if the being part of the “in crowd” is more important doing your job well and correctly, especially in the early days – I’m content to have an ordinary, nothing special job. Similarly, this is also why even if I had the needed personality for retail, I’d utterly refuse to enter management. I do not ever want to become like the management I’ve dealt with. Never do I want to believe it’s okay to behave aggressively toward those hierarchically beneath me, never do I want to yell at someone solely because I can and allow authoritative power to blind me to treating others fairly, and I absolutely do not want to decide someone’s work ethic is a bad quality (lack of work ethic is bad). I am no saint, nor will I ever be, but I can avoid becoming what I hate and I fear any step into management would force me against my morals. I will not compromise those beliefs for anything.

My new dream is to live with my boyfriend in a comfortable and spacious apartment, and to be home with him as much as possible. Because of all the stress I’ve dealt with, and all the needless experiences I have in my memory I can never burn, my relationship with him is one of the few experiences that consistently proves to be worth fighting for. It seems a career requires me to sacrifice kindness, fairness, and humility, and I am not willing to do that. I suppose there is a reason for the expression “money is the root of all evil”, and it’s very evident, but though I am not flawless, I will not allow a career to change who I am or change me into someone I hate.

Life: The Most Complicated Race

“Life isn’t a race. Everyone goes at their own pace.”

I never found either of those phrases comforting. To me, they seemed like something to say for the sake of making someone who’s behind feel better. After all, why would anyone say those things to someone who’s ahead? It’s like telling someone whose life is going great at the moment that everything will be okay. They don’t need to hear that because everything already is okay for them.

If life were a race, it’d be an extremely complicated one.

The “right” way to live life is supposed to be finish high school at 18, finish college at 22, start a career, get married, buy a house in the suburbs (why is it always suburbs?), have kids before 30, retire at 65, and… that’s it.

Of course, nothing is wrong with that path of life, but there are too many people in the world to expect that to be everyone’s path in life. “No one size fits all”, especially when it comes to how to live. Even if you did everything in the “script”, you might not do it at the “normal” age. Some people finish high school at 16 (in fact, in European countries, 16 is the normal age to finish high school), some people start college at 20, some people start 18 and finish at 26, some people have kids in their 30s (one of my co-workers had her son at 39), you get the idea.

I’ve always been in a late bloomer in the script. Heck, you could say my script was in reverse because I loved adult shows and looked after children as a child, and I’d set myself on fire before I ever relived my childhood (another part of the “script”; you’re supposed to want to go back to childhood because it was more carefree). I finished high school at 19, dropped out of community college at 20, met my boyfriend at 21 (well, three months before I would be 21), got a soul-sucking job at 22 (that I was naïvely happy about because it was my first job), went to trade school at 24, graduated two months before I’d turn 25. That’s the end so far. My script is all screwed up, and really, it’s writing itself. If things go well, I can add “got my driver’s license at 25” to it. But judging by the “normal” life script, I am very late! I’m supposed to have a ring on my finger by now, and be walking down the aisle in a few months! Or maybe I’m supposed to be buying the house. Did I mention I hate rings, weddings, and am neutral to being a homeowner? Wait, can you build a career in four years? Isn’t that assuming you find a job immediately out of college? How do you fit “marriage, house, child” into four years? I guess, technically speaking, it’s possible, but that’d be way too fast for me.

The perhaps-not-so-ironic thing is I’ve never felt bad about being late. I used to for a while, but I usually got over it because I got something good out of it.

  • I graduated high school a year late because I was forced to transfer school districts. I had the chance to skip 11th grade, but I didn’t feel ready. If I did, I would’ve never met my best friend, who I’ve said more than once is the only good I got out of high school. We met in September 2011, meaning we’ve been friends for 7 1/2 years! That means so much more to me than graduating “on time”. And in the end, nobody cares what age I was when I finished high school. Just that I did.
  • I only went to community college because my family wouldn’t stop pressuring me. Had I stuck it out, I would’ve either flunked out anyway, or had a degree I didn’t care about. I was much more focused in trade school because I wanted to be there and I’d been away from school for a few years, which got rid of the burnout from my previous 14 years of schooling (now, I have retail burnout!).
  • Probably the only thing I’ve done “on time” is meet my boyfriend, but I don’t think there’s any “right” age to meet the person you marry (though the idea seems to be you’d meet them in college; there are people who attend college solely for that reason). However, we are not getting married any time soon. In fact, it’ll be a while before we’ve even under the same roof, let alone walking down the metaphorical (or literal) aisle. I couldn’t care less about that. My view on marriage has always been I’m open to it, but it’s not necessary for me to be happy.
  • My license. I’m currently studying for the written test, and practicing with free tests online, but whatever age I get it, it’s still a license. The reason I didn’t get it earlier is I failed driver’s ed in high school and my family couldn’t afford a car anyway, so I saw it as pointless. However, taking the “adult road” means I don’t have as many restrictions because I’m over 21. That makes me glad I waited.
  • My “career” started in retail, and I quickly discovered I don’t want it to be a career! But it’s still work experience, something I can put on a resume, and it got me through school, so I don’t regret it. Whenever I get an IT-related job, I will definitely be late on the “start a career” checkpoint. But it’ll still be a career. Just got to find it.

Maybe the better thing to do would be teaching teenagers it’s okay to have an “abnormal” path in life,  and that everyone’s path in life won’t be the same. In the end, what age you check a box off, so to speak, really only matters to you. Yes, I wish some things happened earlier – I wish I’d gotten my license at 21 so I’d have it now, and I wish I’d met my boyfriend in our teens so we’d have more time together – but I’m not upset they happened, or are happening, at the times they did. It’s not worth being upset about. Any person it does matter to isn’t someone I want part of my life. The last thing I need help with is comparing myself.

Besides, my end goal in life is to have a life I’m happy with. That includes my boyfriend by my side, whether he’s still my boyfriend or my husband by that point, us living happily under the same roof, never worrying about money, and having jobs we enjoy and don’t drudge through. As much as I’d like it as soon as possible, I’ll go slowly if it means it’s built stronger and lasts longer.