Today I began working for the temp agency I signed on with a couple weeks ago. Before doing this I worked as a promotional model, and before that at various restaurants and bars, while attending college full time and living on my own. I got my first two jobs right around when I turned 16, and as you may imagine at 21 now I am completely burnt out. Last year for the first time in my life I was experiencing long periods of unemployment due to a combination of school and work factors.
The first time this happened, I was absolutely devastated. I had been working as a waitress for the first time at a chain restaurant about a half hour away from my rural hometown, and I went in with a very naive idea of how it would be working there. I left my steady job of six years to take this position – so I could also move out of my current living situation, which was with my employers at the time. They were parental figures to me so they understood my wanting to “spread my wings” and all that. I just didn’t like living on charity, and I also was forced to stay in a flea infected house which really spurred me to move on. I also re-met a server working at that restaurant that was probably the reason I had chosen that particular restaurant to apply to. We began a very passionate and tumultuous relationship that would last much too long for both of us. However, at the time I believed I was in a blissful state when I left my now ex-employers house for a room in the basement of a small cabin in the woods.
Things changed very quickly the moment I decided I was going to use the chain restaurant to transfer me out to California -something I really did not have the resources to accomplish then or now. Two of my “best” friends came in and asked me for alcohol. They were both 19 and looked even younger. But it was a Monday night, I was closing with my love interest, and I felt invincible. Also, it was not a situation I had ever been in before and I caved quickly to the peer pressure of so-and-so does it here.
Long story short, some of the older workers, correctly sensing the danger I could be putting us all in, informed management, who made me leave the building immediately and informed me I could only keep my job if my friends returned the next day with IDs. The manager on duty was a creepy guy in his 30s who wanted my balls, and he knew at least one of the girls was underage but I also knew he would vouch for me.
The next day, one of the girls returned with a fake ID and a different friend of hers over 21 with her own ID. I realized after I could have sent any overage girls, but who knows how far the proprietor would have gone to ensure they were the same girls? The manager who was supposed to check the IDs and knew one was under 21 was over an hour late for his shift and the bartender who was there at the time took copies and the girls left. Looking back, maybe he was late on purpose to cover his own ass instead of lying for me. I wouldn’t blame him. I know he doesn’t work for that company anymore, though.
Later that day I called the proprietor to see if I could come into work that afternoon. He told me no, that the didn’t trust his head bartender to check them and he would have to meet with them. At this point I told him my friends lived in Amherst and were busy with school and work, which was true and they couldn’t come back again, but he didn’t care.
I ended up trying to bribe the girl with the real ID who wasn’t there that night to come back and verify she was there (I offered $200) but she was scared of getting in trouble. The other girl would have done anything for me, but it didn’t matter. In all, it took me almost three weeks to stop fighting madly to keep my job and finally accepted it wasn’t coming back. Or rather, I was not returning.
I finally looked for and found another serving job, one much more lucrative, but before that happened I was a wreck. I was so upset about this one job because I knew that would be the end of my relationship, which would only be one factor in many, and because I left my steady job to take a chance and failed. My housemates ended up telling me they were kicking me out because they believed my California story and thought I was somehow really moving. I had to move in with my grandfather and step-grandmother, the latter of which I somehow “traumatized” by smelling like weed all the time. I was respectful about it, but she has a very skewed view of the world, and after accusing me of addiction she made me leave.
I lived in a motel for a week till my pill-addicted boyfriend set me up living with his pill-head female friend who also worked with him and he almost had a mmf three way with one time. And yet I still thought I wanted my old job back. Since March of 2013 I have been struggling to pay rent and other bills while taking completely online business courses. In June I had stellar credit and had just been financed a used car for a good price and great rate. Then I took a month long job with a psychopath who never paid me. The costs of living off my credit cards were phenomenal, and now I stand in other six or seven thousand dollars of credit card debt. I also was sent a stolen check which cost me over $1,600 dollars of my own money that I didn’t and still don’t have.
You may think I am stupid to work without getting paid or deposit stolen checks, but when you are a 21 year old girl alone in the world and trying desperately to have a place to live where you can maintain some semblance of peace and simultaneously striving for a degree you feel socially pressured into getting turns a person slightly desperate. The one thing I will say is I could have done much worse, morally that is.
Eventually a couple weeks ago as I sat in a restaurant being berated by my traumatized grandmother – who apparently doesn’t trust me at all anymore – I realized I was being persecuted by the same people I have been sacrificing my health and well-being for, to make them proud of me. Compromising my true self to the will of others. Selling my soul for a piece of paper. I had already dropped out once before, and it was someone who had previously criticized me for leaving the first time who provided me the tipping point of leaving again when she pointed out I could do so to get back on my feet. And it was like a light bulb went off – of course that was the answer!
Another mistake I have made obviously is compromising my morals for the approval of others. Thank you Ayn Rand for helping me realize and thus break this habit. So, back to unemployment though. After I originally got over my first job loss, I moved on to a high scale restaurant and bar and made very good money, so I stayed there a while, around four months total. Ironically, I got fired for smoking weed on the job. Not that I hadn’t before: we all need drugs to get through shifts at restaurants for sure. Unfortunately, this was in a high profile building, where DHS watches for any of that, so I totally understand their reasons.
At the time, I was almost as upset about my first job loss, but a refund from school definitely helped the healing process. I decided this time I wouldn’t get another job right away, and take my time with things. After I got fired from that last place, my daily stress and anxiety levels had finally lowered, and I found myself actually enjoying unemployment, and using the free time for school and myself. Before, I was too scared to let go and allow things to happen.
Over the rest of the past year or so, I have had serving and bartending jobs here and there, but not one of them has worked out. I finally got connected into promotional modeling, but I only worked for the month of December, and now the season is over for a while. Although the money is very, very good it took a long time to recieve my paychecks, and I am still waiting on the second half of the month to be paid but it is coming. And without steady work my grades were never better this past semester.
But after my dinner with my grandmother that greatly shifted my perspective inward, I felt that I stood at a crossroads. Last semester I decided I wanted to finish school ASAP and was going to condense almost two years of school left into one, while still working and changing nothing. I realized the disaster that would await me if I took on such a foolhardy task. I may succeed, but the moral, mental, and emotional tolls would be too much to bear. And I would have a business degree, which I knew if I ever had to use would mean nothing good for my life.
So I made the decision to back to work and replace school with my personal journey, which had formerly taken the place of a job most of the time. One of my greatest passions is writing, and this marks my first personal blog, and blog post, ever. Just think, you got to be here when it all began. Or maybe no one will read it, but writing it has done better for me than anything else; it is as if a poison is being drawn out of my system.
For the first time in a long time, I worked a normal 8-hour job with morning and evening hours. I used to work 60, 70 hours a week (before I knew what happiness could be) on my feet the whole time, but every time I go back to work I feel it more and more. I feel like I just sold part of my soul, and all I am doing is cashiering at a bookstore right now. I’ve decided if I have to do it, I’ll make it temporary work so I can take breaks as I want them and my instability will actually be an asset for once.
But I know when I am not being true to myself, and what I want more in the world I think is total independence and autonomy over myself. That means only working for myself and not selling my mind to others. Just over a year ago, I couldn’t even face the idea of free time -alone with myself- without fear and anxiety. I could not be unemployed without feeling terribly guilty and worthless. Now I hate the thought of sacrificing my time alone to work for myself to put money in another person’s pocket and promote their ideas.
Hopefully, I can work for a while to get financially stabilized, and then join my best friend on the Appalachian Trail in the coming 6 months or so. I am slowly severing my ties to this world and forming one of my own. It took a very long time, but I now know each job I lost was for the purpose of bringing me to fulfill this goal and be my own person. I am apprehensive, but very optimistic.
Thank you so much for reading (or skimming) my still unrefined writing humbly presented to the internet as a gift, with the hopes that I may reach the minds seeking the information I working to find as well, and spread as far as I can, because knowledge is power and I believe it will change this world.