Overworked

So, I just worked 14 days straight, and before my last day off – which wasn’t a day off because I still had to go to work anyway – I worked 13 days straight, and I had to go into work today on my “day off” and at this rate it seems as though I’m not getting a proper actual day away from work in the foreseeable future. I am back working for the company I spent 3.5 years with before things like this (see above re working every single day ever) sent me into an exhaustion fuelled, very nearly suicidal depression, and I quit. So why did I return, you ask? Well, desperation mainly. Unfortunately I have yet to win the lottery and so I have to work for a living, and since I never had any luck finding work with anyone else after my job at the ambulance call centre fell through, returning to my old/current job was the last resort.

I have been forced to neglect the things I love, because I am either too tired, too exhausted, or I simply don’t have the time. I have only sewn three garments this year. Three. For the entire year. One of them was a costume for a play so I don’t know that it really counts. And I’ve had a partially completed dress hanging on my mannequin, untouched for over a month. I haven’t written so much as a creative sentence in weeks, blogging notwithstanding. My paintbrushes have been left to collect dust and I have about 15 shows I need to catch up on, and a stack of books I haven’t even looked at for months. Today, all I wanted to do was make a blueberry pie and I couldn’t even find time in my day to manage that. I am in equal measures frustrated and exhausted, and I really just want to sleep for a week.

I can see myself heading for a crash. Like the Titanic barreling headlong into that iceberg, my path towards destruction seems imminent at this point. I feel like I’m drowning in mud and the more I struggle, the more bogged down I get. If I seem grumpy, don’t be offended. I am just physically and mentally worn down and, regrettably, cannot stop the verbal manifestation of that exhaustion from spilling out of my mouth.

Cross your fingers for that winning lottery ticket, y’all. Because if something doesn’t change soon, I’m afraid I’m going to literally get worked to death. I am creative dude, and when we creative dudes can’t vent out the problems of the world artistically, things can get pretty tense. Like a ticking time bomb, I might explode at any minute.

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be…

When I was little, I wanted to be a doctor (read, surgeon). Not because I wanted to help people, but because I wanted to see what they looked like inside. You could say I was a bit of a morbid child, but don’t panic; I didn’t turn into a serial killer. I was just curious about the way things worked. It was probably that curiosity that drove my brain subconsciously toward the fascination with the death care industry, and my desire to become a mortician.

When I got a little older, I decided that being a doctor wasn’t for me. I thought maybe I would like to be an archaeologist instead, because I was fascinated by history, and how things got to be where they ended up, and the stories that could be told by bones and all manner of things one finds in the ground. Plus, I had a huge crush on Indiana Jones, duh. Soon, that dream too fell by the wayside, as I was struck by the revelation that there was so much study involved, and school was gross.

Of course, I’ve thought of doing many things over the years. Amongst many others, I considered being a teacher, a stewardess, a vet, a vampire slayer and, like almost every child in the world at some point (I’m sure), a rock star. None of these career goals lasted very long, and when I reached the age where I could actually go out and find I job, I went into the most easy and accessible field available; retail.

Now, at 26, I’m still working in retail, and still no closer to deciding what it is I want to do. I mean, yes, my ultimate goal is still to be a mortician. But as with anything, getting a job in a particular field is not as easy as simply having an interest and a desire to work within that field. I’m working on it, nevertheless, but in the meantime I need to find something that doesn’t make me want to shoot myself in the face every morning.

The one thing that has stuck with me all these years, is writing. I’ve always had a dream that maybe one day, I’ll write books for a living. This romantic notion comes complete with not having to wear pants, getting to work from home, being fabulous and reclusive, whilst also being friends with the likes of Neil Gaiman, J.K Rowling, and Gillian Flynn. And did I mention not having to wear pants? I lose motivation a lot, and I have writing lulls, and I doubt myself every time I put pen to paper. But one day, maybe.

For the moment, I have to content myself with the fact that I at least have a job, and a means to make money. I could certainly be a lot worse off, and I’m about to return to full time in the coming weeks, so I can at least go back to saving for a house sometime in the future. A job is better than no job, as they say. And unless I’m headed for some kind of untimely demise at any point soon, I’m sure I have plenty of time to follow my career dreams.

Why Doing What You Love is Never as Simple as it Sounds

“Just do what you love.”

I get this advice a lot. Being underemployed means I spend a lot of my time searching the internet for full time work. I’ve applied for a tonne in the last couple of months, had one interview for a job (which I was told yesterday I did get), a handful of rejection emails and a whole lot of silence. I’ve applied for anything and everything that doesn’t require a formal qualification (there are a lot of jobs for health professionals, accountants and lawyers in my area currently). And all people keep telling me is “just do what you love”, as if that in itself is easy.

Firstly, the things I love to do are hardly marketable. Sure, I enjoy writing and sewing, but the brutal truth is that I am not good enough at either of those things to make a living from them. And secondly, I don’t know what I’m really passionate about, enough to want to do it for a job. I’ve long since resigned myself to the fact that I will never have a job I love, but at this point I’d settle for a job that pays enough to survive on.

Some people love their jobs. I have friends that studied and are now working their dream jobs. J know people who got a job that turned out to be exactly what they wanted. And some people are just plain positive all the time, and would be happy working any job at all. Me, I would love to own a book shop. I would love to be a musician, playing in small venues to chill crowds all singing along. I would love to write books, or be a travel writer, or just get paid to travel. I would love to review films for a living, or hell, even star in films. And I’ve always kind of wanted to be a mortician. There’s a lot I would love to do, and a lot of reasons why I never could.

I know I’ve said this before, but I envy those who know what they want. And envy even more those who know what they want, and love it. I wish I loved my job, but the reality is that going to work makes me miserable. And since doing what I love isn’t going to make me enough money to live on, at least any point in the near future, I have to settle for any job that will actually employ me. So wish me luck, guys. And I hope the employment gods are listening, because a particular little misanthrope down here is starting to get desperate.

New Job…Again.

I finished my old job last week. This week I have been driving all over the state to meet the requirements for the new job I start on Monday. At 7am. In a location two hours away from my home. So guess who gets to get up at 4am on Monday…yup, you guessed it; this guy.

I am excited, and nervous, and worried that I won’t be good enough. I am applying for houses and getting excited about living on my own again, and I hope this time that I get a decent place to live. I can’t wait to have my own stuff again, instead of it all being locked away in a storage shed. I’m looking forward to hanging my art prints, and setting up my books and DVDs, and being able to play video games until all hours of the morning on my day off, and having a sewing room again. Basically I think the most exciting thing about this new job, aside from the better money, is the notion that I’ll be back living my happy little solitary life…probably with a puppy, for cuddling purposes.

My old job was never meant to be long term. In fact, I lasted there longer than I expected; nine months. My new job is in a call centre as well, but instead of answering questions about health insurance, I will be working with a different focus. Am I prepared? Yes, I think as much as I can be. And it’s something new, something different, something that I can see a a future in. We’ll see how I go.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

You know the saying, you sound like a broken record? Well, I’m kind of like that, except my record isn’t broken. It’s just really short, and the player is damaged so it just keeps playing that short album on repeat. You may be familiar with some of my greatest hits, such as “I hate my job” and “I feel so unfulfilled” and, my personal favourite, “what am I supposed to do with my life?”.

I feel as though I’m never fully satisfied, wherever I am, and whatever I’m doing; it’s never enough. When I lived in the city, all I wanted to do was quit my job and move back home. When I got my job back here, I was thrilled. It felt like a step up from my last stressful position, and I not only got regular breaks, but an actual weekend. Now, almost six months into that job, I dread going in. It is mind numbing and soul crushing. The work is monotonous, and about as far from stimulating as a job could possibly be. As I said to my best friend yesterday, I feel like I lose all my colour and vibrancy the minute I step in the door. 

I am considering quitting, but the thing that is holding me back at the moment is that one thought I can’t shake; what’s the point? So I quit this job and find another that seems like a better one for a few months, until I get to that same stage of boredom and discontent, and start looking again. It is an endless circle, chasing fulfilment and satisfaction, or at the very least, a job that doesn’t make me want to shoot myself in the face. But decent jobs are scarce, especially without a qualification, and more to the point, I have no idea what I want to do.

I turned 25 this month, and I feel like I’m no better off now than when I was 20, except when I was 20 I was working in a job I actually loved, and I hadn’t yet become so jaded. I know, I know. 25 is still young, and I have opportunity and all that. But the thing that terrifies me more than anything, is the notion that this will be my life. Going from job to job, living in rented houses and scrounging money fortnight to fortnight just to get by, until I eventually die. I mean, what kind of life is that? So I have decided that something needs to change. 

I need to start being an adult about this, and work out a bit of a plan. I need to decide if I want to stay in this rut, and get progressively more bitter and angry about my life, or if I want to go, and make the life I want for myself. I need to start thinking seriously about whether my writing is good enough to take me the places I want to go, or whether I need to start working on a backup plan. And more than anything, I need to start finding joy in things again. Because at the rate I’m going, all this pent up rage and bitterness I have is going to end up killing me. I’ve had a bad year. I’ve changed, and not in a good way, and I’m not sure I like who I’m turning into. I need to get back to that idealistic 20 year old Amy, have a chat with her and get some perspective. 

I know how I want my life to be. I just have to figure out a way to achieve it.

Anyway, that’s my current existential crisis. I hope you’re all well, and that wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, it’s something you love.

Job Hunting Sucks, Y’all

I am working back in the city today, and I really can’t be bothered. I applied for about five jobs in the last couple of weeks, and I have heard back from only one, telling me that they had decided to go with another candidate. The others have vanished from the online job forum, given to other people that are not me. Good for them. Jobs are hard to come by. Oh, in the city jobs are as abundant as the people that mill about the streets, but I am not looking for jobs in the city. I am looking for jobs back home, and back home jobs are scarce. See, for every hundred jobs, there are sixty I can’t apply for because I don’t have the appropriate degree or experience. There are another thirty that I won’t apply for because they are only casual, offering hours so meagre that it’s a wonder they don’t just spread them out over their existing staff members. The ten jobs I can apply for aren’t appealing, but it’s all there is, so I apply. And hear nothing back. Every. Time.

I am feeling a little disheartened by the whole thing actually. I mean, I applied for a call centre the other day, and that I’m itself is an indication of how desperate I am to not be at my current job. Not to discredit all the people who do work in call centres. Being shouted at by customers over the phone takes gumption. I just mean, I’m not particularly fond of people…or talking on the phone…or talking to people on the phone. And yet despite all my hang ups (boom!) I still applied, and would be.genuinely happy to work in a call centre.

Looking for work is hard. I know people who always seem to get a job as easily as breathing, and they sit there and preach about how simple it is, and how people who can’t get work straight away aren’t trying hard enough, and “why don’t you just go out and cold call, you’ll find something straight away”. Well, I’m sorry to tell you, easily employable people, but it doesn’t work that way for everyone. I have skills. I have experience. I’ve worked in retail for almost a decade without stabbing anyone – and really, that is an employable skill if I ever heard one – but however good I am, it doesn’t seem to be good enough. There’s always someone better suited, more experienced, less facially pierced. (I have a lip ring, which is apparently cause to not employ a person, regardless of how good they are, or of the fact that it can be removed).

I’m not asking for much, not really. I don’t need a job that pays billions. I don’t even need the perfect job, at least not right now. All I want is full time employment that doesn’t make me want to throw myself wholeheartedly off a roof…and into a rubbish compactor…that is on fire. There’s got to be a job that like out there for me, right? Cross your fingers and toes and legs and whatever other body parts you have a mind to cross, for me. Because one way or another, I need out.

An Open Letter to Customers; I am Competent, I Promise

Dear customers,

I have been doing my job for two years. I know that that is probably not information you are privy to before approaching my counter. For all you know, it could be my first day. But given the job I do, I think it’s a fairly safe assumption that if it was my first day, or my first week, or even my first month, I wouldn’t be in the shop alone. Suffice to say, yes, I do know what I’m doing. So you really, truly don’t have to ask three times in a row if I can do my job. I promise you I can.

I know a lot of you are disheartened or dubious about being served by me, because I am a girl. It may then interest you to know that my vagina has absolutely no bearing on my ability to do my job. No, for those of you that have asked, I don’t need a man to supervise me and yes, I do everything in my shop all on my own. And I have to say, I really don’t understand what is so surprising about a woman being able to repair shoes, or fix watches.

To that one gentleman (and I use that term loosely) that wanted to know when the manager would be in, so he could ‘speak to the man that does the work, and not just the pretty face who serves the customers’, the manager is in the shop six days out of seven, and her name is Amy. Though she is certain that you thought your backhanded compliment was flattering, she would like to inform you that it wasn’t. She is much, much more than her appearance. Furthermore, she is incredibly offended by your casual dismissal of her based on her gender, and by your misogynistic belief that only men are capable of doing anything useful, whilst women are nothing more than eye candy. She would like to tell you, politely, that you are an asshole, sir.

On another note, customers; when I ask you to come back in fifteen minutes, I promise you it is because it really will take me that long to finish your job. Please do not come back after three minutes and get mad at me when I still have twelve minutes before the work is expected to be finished. And do not hover at the counter and tell me how to do my job. Unless you have had the proper training and are standing on my side of the counter, you know less about my job than me, and thus, are in no position to offer advice or direction. For some of you, I’m sure you’re just trying to help. But if you are so confident in your ability to do my job, then by all means do it yourself at home, and stop wasting my time and testing my patience.

Lastly, and this goes for people in general, I would appreciate it if you would not take your bad mood or bad day out on me. I have done nothing to you (though if I have, I am deeply apologetic and you are entitled to be mad at me). I really am just here to help you with a problem that requires you to approach my counter. I will treat you with respect and a friendly attitude, so I don’t think it’s too much to expect at least the former from you in return.

Sincerely, a somewhat put out customer service assistant/shop manager/woman who knows how to do her job.