As a child, my parents made it very clear that when I grew up I had two options: go to school or go to work. Going to school, being the more encouraged “option,” was supposed to all but guarantee me both financial success and the approval of my parents. As far as they were concerned, no child of theirs would grow up to be a bum. They made sure I was successful academically. They saw to it that I completed my homework. They checked every report card and got to know every teacher. They came to every parent-teacher night until 11th grade. While I eventually slacked off later in high school, my parents and early educators had already laid a solid foundation for me.
As I grew up, I saw the toll that the daily grind of employment took on my folks. Both of my parents worked consistently my entire life. Long or frequent periods of unemployment were never a thing in my house. Neither of my parents had college degrees, but while we were miles from wealthy, the lights stayed on. They were working class, 9 to 5 or 2 to 10 having folks. The paycheck-to-paycheck way of life was no doubt a struggle, but it was perhaps better than what they knew growing up. Over the years, I watched them grow tired, irritable, and disappointed with what life had offered them. It took a toll on the relationships they had with both one another and their family members. This included their children. The exhaustion after decades of being overworked and underappreciated with no pleasant outlets strains the spirit. It causes one to search for release any way they can. Whether it manifests as an affinity for liquor, sex, or overspending, the soul will search for nourishment. So many people end their lives left unsatisfied.
I was determined to never live my life that way. I wanted what my parents wanted for me: a career, not a job. I remember growing up thinking that if I graduated college, I would automatically be rich (Whew, chile! The imagination!). As I became aware of the ways of the real world, I did not seek riches, but instead happiness and passion. A Bachelor’s degree was the way to avoid the entrapment of a lackluster, tedious 9 to 5 job. So you can imagine my surprise (and disappointment) when shortly before graduating, I learned that my little degree would only land me a slightly higher-paying 9 to 5. Despite the four years spent chasing a 4.0 GPA to secure that magical piece of paper, I would be waking up at ungodly hours to sit in a cold, dark office for 8-10 hours a day like everyone else. After my graduation day, no one ever asked me about my GPA again. Literally not one single time ever. It’s like college didn’t even happen honestly. At the very least, the offices I worked in had good lighting. Yay me.
With every day job comes a huge lack of appreciation. The typical 9 to 5 can make you feel so small. So insignificant, ignored, and isolated. You probably aren’t working in a field you’re particularly passionate about, and you probably don’t have any friends at this job. You are far from making the six figure salary of your dreams, and if you do make that much, you aren’t happy either. Your parents think you are rich because you have a degree and live on your own, but you are merely (hopefully) comfortably paying rent. Every day, someone over the age of 45 will make a “joke” about millennials and our entitlement before they ask you to do a part of their job for them. They may have a point, but at least we can follow the directions on a printer. Nobody works all day at their job, so you sit on Twitter and Instagram all day watching people tweet about money and freedom from their own cubicles (or offices if they’re fancy). In my particular case, this was where I was, so I had to do my best anyway. It was the way I was raised and I needed to pay the rent. Unfortunately, sometimes your best just isn’t good enough, and your 9 to 5 will simply not care about your GPA or your formidable upbringing. Bring in the axe.
“When your 9 to 5 don’t love you, they gon’ throw your ass out with the trash.” – YGTUT
It is completely against your best interest to fully commit yourself to any one job, company, or even industry. They are in no way committed to you. Chances are, you will be fired or driven to quit a job at some point in time. If you find yourself in that position, use it as an opportunity to make a change for yourself. Change has been forced on you anyway, so you may as well take advantage of the circumstances. That time that you will spend unemployed could be used to build your own creative outlets while you look for paying jobs. Start that YouTube channel. Take up that course you’ve been thinking about. Do at least one of the random things you’ve googled this month. Do anything but waste your time feeling miserable and end up stuck in the same cycle of dissatisfaction and lackluster living. Enjoy yourself. Spruce up your resume and get to it. In the meantime, take care of your credit and health. Tap into your talents and, take control of your own life, and make these jobs work for you.