What does it mean to love your job? I wouldn’t know. But does anybody, really? There have been times when I liked what I did for work, but to honestly wake up with a perk in my step with a genuine smile on my face as I drive my two door Infiniti G37 the 10 minute commute to my place of occupation is as foreign to me as how to “thank you, next” in French. For a long time I thought it was just me. Maybe I refuse to be happy because I’m always looking for something better, something I think I somehow deserve. Maybe what I do is it. A rut that you cant climb yourself out of but rather just keep digging yourself deeper. It’s the mountains of student loan debt, the credit cards, the afterpay payments, wanting the newest trendy pants on urbanoutfitters.com… it’s all the “things” the happy hours, the wanting to keep the nice sports car, the weekend trips, the eating out, the keeping up with the Instagram models. All these things that keep you in that hole. You dig yourself in deeper, until you cant fathom being able to get out. So you work the job you don’t LOVE, you feel like you’re stuck in a never-ending monotony of driving the 10 minutes to the job that you’re not smiling to get to, so you can pay the bills, buy the stuff you don’t need to take the cutest pics or whatever it is you’re into. To feel like you’re living a life worth while.
The truth is I never have really “known” what it is I wanted to be when I grew up. As a child in Orange County California I was drawn to the LA-lifestyle, and bought into the whole wanting to be a kid-actor thing. When the reality is I was too damn shy to even say “hi” to a relative, so I was in no-way going to be the next Disney Channel star–I actually went to middle school with kids that were in Lizzie Maguire which I think about now and its pretty funny. Anyway so Kylie wasn’t cut out for the Hollywood lifestyle.
I moved to Colorado with my mom and siblings when I started high school. Against my will. I thought Colorado was cold and boring. But in the end I think it suited me, at least for a time. I decided in high school, that if I wasn’t going to be an actor, I would be a journalist, one of the cool ones on TV.
Again with the obsession of plastering my face for the masses.
By my junior year I decided it was more prestigious to be in print. I decided that I wanted to be known as someone who was smart and well spoken, I wanted to be investigative, I wanted to be a reporter who was sent to areas of conflict. Very Jennifer Connelly a la Blood Diamond. Yep thats who I was going to be. Send me to Afghanistan I wanted to be that journalist. High school was stupid easy for me. I didn’t try AS HARD as I should have, but I graduated early anyway, and got accepted into the University of Colorado at Boulder and was on my way to becoming the journalist of my dreams.
College was hard–not necessarily because of the academics (which lets face wasn’t a walk in Elizabeth High School) BUT because it was the first time I ever felt like an extremely small person in an Ocean of talent, over-achievers, wealthy, trust fund California sorority girls and east coast Nate Archibald types. I thought I left California in the rearview but here it was at the base of the flat irons in the little hipster oasis of Boulder, Colorado.
Needless to say I choked. I let the feeling of “not belonging” get the best of me. And I didn’t do what I needed to do to get the grades to be competitive for the J-school which only accepted a small percentage of applicants. Also by my 3 year the prized Journalism School was being dissolved into a program more conducive for the eminent internet future that journalism was bound for. Out with print. At the time social media was Facebook, Twitter was at it’s infancy and blogging was almost un-heard of, at least the way that blogging is today.
I transferred schools to Denver for a couple more semesters. Then I up and moved to Hawaii, which is where I feel like my adult life actually began.
Before Hawaii I was a child, I was an adult technically, I mean in the legal sense. But I was in no way ADULTING.
Hawaii is where things changed for me, I was still wanting to be a journalist, I kept on politics, current events, and still thought I could change the world, at least for a bit. After 2 months of living off what money I had, I needed a job and quick, so I walked into a bar and the rest is history.
7 years later I am married, living in the South and still I find myself working in a bar. The scenery has changed, the costumers remain the same. Something I’ve taken away from all this working in bar is that everyone has a story to tell, and everyone wants to tell their story. Some people have bullshit stories, but still they want to tell them. Back to journalism. I guess it’s never left me. Every time I hear an interesting tidbit of someone’s life, or over hear a comment someone says to their friend, or the woman their cheating on their wife with, or the crazy postal worker who likes to get drunk and yell about Goldwater’s running mate, my brain turns and i think “hey I can write about that” or “hey that could make an interesting story”.
That mentality is what envitably got me to start this post. I was talking with my mother yesterday, I feel like she wouldn’t mind me mentioning her for the sake of this article. anyway, we were talking about our jobs. She (my mom) has been a family law paralegal for what like 20 years or more maybe. Probably more, I’m 29 now so my guess would be like 24 years or something. Anyway she’s been doing this job for like my lifetime, and guess what she hates it. I don’t think she always has but probably for the better part of 15 years or so. It’s a very high-stress, over worked, under paid type of occupation. You’re not the attorney so you don’t get the big bucks, but you do all the work so the boss can go on their vacations on St. Barts and sip expensive cognac or what-ever-the-fuck. My mom is very smart, very independent, a bad-ass if you will, but unhappy because she has worked very hard for so long, and the payoff is minimal and yet she keeps going to work .
My best friend. I hope she doesn’t mind me bringing her up for the sake of this article. My best friend is beautiful I feel like sometimes were not supposed to say beautiful anymore when we describe women’s attributes because as women we ARE so MUCH more . However, she is my best friend and I like to point out her beauty. So she’s pretty, very intelligent–she actually completed Journalism School at the University of Colorado and was competitive and had amazing grades because she is a badass. She continued on to get a Masters degree in Health Care Administration, did I mention she was brilliant?
We talk on a regular basis, the biggest stress and issue in her life is her job and the fact that it makes her miserable. I won’t get into what she does, but the truth remains that it is the thing, that one part of her life that she feels like she cant control because it’s what controls you. You need the job, for the money, to pay those bills.
This past weekend I went on an awesome girls’ trip to Nashville (see previous blog post)…we went out to a lot of different bars and restaurants. The girls I was with were not service industry types, they all work respectable jobs one works in a hospital OR, 3 work in corporate interior design, and the other is a engineer. While sitting at brunch, one of the women said something to the effect of “I wish I could have her job…pointing to the hostess, she looks so happy, like I would love to do that…” the conversation soon went to everyone agreeing and talking like they envy the restaurant workers and their apparent “stress free” lifestyles.
Now I know working in a restaurant doesn’t have the same stressors as working in an operating room, or being in charge of making sure shit is built and functioning right, and working strict deadlines, but it definitely does not come without its stresses. I’m not going to go on about how people in the service industry hate their jobs as much as anyone else and give all the countless reasons why it can suck at times but believe me the grass is not greener on our side I can tell you that.
I look at my baby sister with envy because she is so young, pure, and without any jaded life experiences. Maybe she will be able to have the dream job, something that she looks forward to doing everyday, something she can drive to with a genuine smile plastered on her non-stress-wearing face.
Does this dream job even exist? If you’ve stuck with me this long, I applaud you. This blog started with an existential crisis I was facing while preparing myself to go to work yesterday. I think about how much I would rather be doing anything else than what I do, then I feel like an asshole because I’m actually unbelievably lucky and have a great life. It’s the feeling of having wasted potential that I hate. I don’t like the feeling of digging the hole, the rut, the monotony.
All I have to do is pick up the phone and dial my best friend to realize were all in the same hole.