Tag Archives: work

Two Faced Adulthood

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single person in possession of a college degree is in want of a job.

But the job we eventually find is rarely the job we want. We begin our “real world” indoctrination at a sub-par job and, as a consequence, learn workforce etiquette in less than ideal conditions.

We learn that we are wage slaves, that the boss owns our time. Time cards are our shackles and cubicles are our prisons.

We learn that it doesn’t matter that our family members died, our pets are missing, our cars are out of gas, or that our best friend has cancer. As soon as we clock in, we cease being a whole person.

One we walk in the door, we are split. We put on a mask. We are forced to pretend that we are just absolutely spiffed to be there, lest we get fired and the money we depend on dry up.

In school, your friends and (sometimes) teachers will sympathize with your situations. Your boss, however, could not care less. You are bought–you are a product, a pawn, and if you do not perform well, you will be punished.

People in the workforce are used to this atmosphere. But school kids are not. They must painfully transition from a world in which they are encouraged to succeed into a world in which they are expected to perform like a trained monkey.

The degree of respect for their talents and smarts is gone. They are left floundering, uncertain of how to behave, of how to split their very soul into two parts: the person they are and the painted porcelain of a flawless employee.

Weddings

I’m pretty sure I’ve been to at least twenty weddings over the past few months.  But not as a guest.  Oh, no.

I’ve not actually been a guest at a single wedding this year.

I work at a local vineyard on the weekends, and they do weddings.  Lots and lots of weddings.  So I’ve seen quite a few while I was working.

I think that being close enough to spot the bride and groom counts as attendance.

I’m going to see another wedding today.

The difference is that I actually know these people.  I’m still not invited, because I haven’t seen them since high school, but I could potentially run into lots of people who know me.

Normally, I’d be excited about this.

But I know these people from the dark ages known as “high school,” where I was a completely different person.

It feels like these people know some sort of hideous secret about me because they’ve seen me in my awkward stages of life.  And I know that if I see them, my impulse will be to regress to that awkward, uncertain person I was when I knew them.

Oh, the shackles of the past.  Maybe I’ll get lucky and no one will recognize me.

Duality of Work

Post-graduation, I find myself juggling two jobs to help make ends meet.

I know I’m not alone.

Many people pick up part time jobs on top of their regular ones to help pay the bills.   Here’s a list of some things I’ve found to be true while dual-job working.

1. When you have two jobs, everything is doubled–except your salary.

I’ll make maybe $2000 extra this year, but it’s enough to let me breathe easier each month.

2. You’ll have two bosses, so be sure you can manage both of them at once.

I’m lucky, my bosses are pretty awesome.  Yours might not be, so be sure you can handle it–or have an escape route if you can’t.

3. You’ll have double the workload.  (Duh.)

4. You’ll have less days to yourself.

It’s ridiculously hard to plan things because you have to take days off from both your jobs instead of just one job.  It’s also harder to keep up with how many days you took off.  Unless, you know, you just never take a day off.  Ever.  (I don’t recommend this.)

5. You won’t be able to do as much fun stuff.

Because you work every day of the week, you won’t be available when Suzy Q asks you to go to the aquarium with her this weekend.  Sorry about that.

6.  You’ll have to be perfect at two jobs.

Both of your bosses will expect you to live and breathe for the sole privilege of working for them.  You may fail at both (sometimes repeatedly) before you can deal with the increased workload.  You can do this.  Stick to your guns and don’t give up.

7. You’ll have double the problems.

You will make mistakes.  You’re only human.  But if you’re working two jobs, you may feel as if you never get anything right–since your mistakes might stagger across your jobs.  For instance, if I forget to file all the charts one week at one job, I might forget to sweep under the beds at the other the next week.  You’ll feel like you’re constantly in trouble.

The benefits of having two jobs are obvious.  Money, for one.  Always having something to do.  Perks that come with the jobs (like free travel, or discounted products).  Having an office of your own, or having really good views.

But let’s be honest.  Nobody wants two jobs.  Not really.  You do it because you have to, and the problems are so much more apparent to you than the benefits.

Chances are, one (or both) of your jobs are dead-end careers.

The most important thing is to keep up morale.  No matter what, don’t let your  frustrations dictate your mood.  In the battle of The Man vs. You, how you win is being happy regardless of what The Man does.

Just do the best you can, and forget the rest.

Just a Secretary

Sometimes I really hate my job.  

Every so often, someone walks through the doors of my humble workplace, takes one look at me, sniffs disdainfully, and shuffles back to speak reverently to the doctor.  

Does the fact that my name doesn’t have a “Dr.” attached to it make me any less of a human being?  Does it mean that I am somehow unworthy of your attention?  

It must.  It must because that is how I am treated more frequently than is acceptable.  

I’m convinced that people are intrinsically of equal worth.  A life is a life is a life.  Sure, we’re different.  Sure, some people are handicapable.  But the bottom line is this:  

We’re all human and should be treated decently by each other. 

So when I am confronted by someone who believes me to be a complete idiot because I am the front office girl without a “Dr.” attached to my name, I get rather heated about it.  

To them, I will always be “just a secretary.”

I am a college-educated person.  I am mildly intelligent.  My vocabulary is more expansive than most.  I believe I am skilled at most everything I do.  

I am a secretary.  

I am a secretary because it pays the bills.  

But being a secretary has defined my worth.  It has said to society that I am lesser.  That I am unintelligent and unlearned.  That I am merely a paper pusher, a doorstop for the doctors I work for.  

Without me, this place couldn’t run.

Secretaries are the glue that hold businesses together. We are important.  We are needed.  

Please treat me like I actually know what I’m doing.  Trust me, I’ve worked this job long enough to know what’s what.  

If you insist on speaking to the doctor after you’ve spoken to me about something that falls within the aspect of my work, please don’t be surprised when the doctor repeats everything I just said to you.  

Also, I am more than just a secretary.  Just like you are more than what you do. What we do may define us, but it doesn’t have to be all of who we are.  Some jobs are temporary, a means to an end much greater than what is today. 

My today will not be my tomorrow, and I won’t be a secretary forever.