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 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.
I hate this phrase with a burning passion.
Apparently, we’ve come full circle. It seems this phrase is a rebellion against shaming girls for being “too feminine”. That is, if you’re tomboyish – or at least, less feminine than stereotyped – you’re a faker because no real woman wouldn’t have some feminine traits or preferences. Whereas in the past, the shame would be for not being feminine enough, which is probably where “tomboy” came from to begin with.
Does no one realize the only reason this crap exists is due to stereotypes in the first place?
This discussion came up on a Reddit thread about engagement rings. Those threads usually lead to a lot of people saying they don’t want or care for expensive rings. I’m one of those people. I don’t particularly like rings, but even if I did, I’d kick my boyfriend’s behind to the moon with Princess Luna if he ever spent hundreds, or thousands, on an engagement ring. If it’s for himself, fine, but if it’s for me, I don’t want it. I’d actually question marrying him if he did that because I cannot justify so much spent on something that has no function beyond prettiness. At the very least, it would tell me not to combine our finances (Also, what the heck is the idea of wearing one particular piece of jewelry for as long as you live? That’s weird to me) because I’d view that spending as irresponsible. Yeah, it’d be his money and he can do what he wants, and I can think he’s crazy.
I didn’t say all of that on the thread, but many people were vocal about their opinions. Cue a hoard of offended people with engagement rings screaming how everyone who doesn’t care for expensive rings is essentially a “holier-than-thou” “not like other girls” poser trying to be cool. Or maybe some people really don’t like rings and were just expressing themselves? Isn’t that what Reddit is for? More so, how is shaming people for not liking rings any better than supposedly being shamed for liking rings? They did the same thing they accused the first commenters of.
The easier solution seems to not abide by stereotypes at all, but that would require us as a society to admit we created some screwed-up ideas and, well, we as people don’t do that.
Speaking of stereotypes, I will say this: I do understand why some people care a lot about rings. There are people who judge someone’s partner by the amount of money they have, and I don’t put it past some people to assume an inexpensive ring is a sign of poverty or poor finances. Being blatantly honest, there are still people who believe men are supposed to be the breadwinner (I wonder if not caring who makes more money is also “not like other girls”), and consider it shameful if he’s not.
The bottom line is people should be able to have preferences without being stereotyped as “not like other girls” or “like every other girl”.
And the reason the thread sparked so much emotion? The opening post was a screenshot of someone jealous her sister had a bigger ring than she did, and wanting her husband-to-be to exchange the ring he bought for a bigger one because of said jealousy. She was asking how to approach him about the subject.
I don’t care how “not like other girls” it makes me. That’s petty as heck.
Counting today, there are two more days left of 2018. Truthfully, I am glad. I hated this year and I’ve been dying for it to be over since it started. Usually, there’s something that makes me not entirely regret a bad year, but 2018 is not in that category. I can call it the second worst year of my life (first worst was 2010).
In chronological order, and from bad to worse:
- I lost my full-time position because I couldn’t keep up with the workload. Actually, I had to step down from it to avoid being fired for incompetence. If I’d know taking a promotion meant putting your employment on the line, I never would’ve asked for it.
- I had to delay school by two months for the very stupid reason of my birthday falling after the deadline! Seriously, what pompous a**hole thought that was a good set-up? I would’ve been done with school by now, and wouldn’t have had to struggle with the hell of juggling holiday hours and school hours.
- Falling out with my sister. We didn’t get along to begin with, but she tried to blackmail me and attempted to start a family feud via my boyfriend. I very nearly cut our relationship completely because he went behind my back to her, but he apologized and I did find out part of it was her taking advantage of his anxiety (which does notoriously make him do stupid things).
- The Black Friday shooting I was part of. I didn’t have the heart to return to that job, and I still haven’t set foot in that mall. I’ve thought about it, but knowing that’s an annual event at that mall is too much for me to feel good about going back. And yes, I know a shooting can happen anywhere, but when it’s so commonplace that knowing it happens every year is supposed to be comforting instead of terrifying, that’s not my idea of a safe working environment. Or shopping one, for that matter. (Interestingly, I’ve been more easily startled by loud sounds since this incident, especially crowd noise)
Not a damn good thing came out of this year, and I’d gladly burn it to the ground if I could. I don’t have hopes for 2019, especially since it’s supposed to (key word) be the year I finish trade school and go into the field I studied. Note to self: avoid anything to do with networking at all costs. I’m almost expecting it to be worse than 2018, considering certain circumstances I don’t feel like getting into.