November 4, 2010

Everyone Needs a Starting Place

I graduated from university in April 2010 with an Honours B.A. in English. After four years of hard work, plenty of all-nighters spent writing essays, and a large student debt looming over my head, I emerged into the world eager to put my degree to good use. Thanks to a recession and my non-existent work experience, I eventually landed a highly-coveted job working as a cashier for a fast food restaurant.


I haven't worked a whole lot of jobs in my lifetime. I'm only 22 after all. How many jobs can you expect a person to have had by that time really? It's not that I am especially lazy or anything, kind of the opposite really. By the time I was old enough to have a real job that didn't involve newspapers and snow shovels I was involved in enough extra-curricular activities to keep myself occupied. I was part of Student Government, acted in and/or directed half a dozen plays, Yearbook Committee, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Terry Fox Committee, Poetry Club, School Newspaper Editor... the list goes on. I just really didn't have time to be working.

After my first year of university I came home to find a summer job, my first ever! I spent one day working at a factory to which I promptly never returned and then spent two months at Walmart. To be honest, I actually didn't mind Walmart so much. Maybe it was the memory of working in the factory that kept me cheerful, but either way I didn't mind the blue vests, and scanning merchandise seemed like a fine way to earn some money to start paying for my tuition fees. The next two summers I worked with my church running kids programs. At some point during these summers I realized that children were really evil little monsters and that maybe teaching was not the type of career path I really wanted to be headed on. So I tried to think about what I enjoyed doing. Unfortunately there isn't a lot of money in playing solitaire or sleeping in. At least not that I've discovered yet.

I've decided that what I do enjoy though is editing people's essays. Sounds kind of lame, I know. Even I think it's sort of lame, but that was the part that I was most looking forward to as a teacher (besides having the summers off). Of course there aren't too many opportunities for that sort of thing around here, and I have basically zilch experience. I don't think editing the occasional essay for a friend really counts as 2-3 years experience, and I'm not even sure I would trust those people to give me a good reference anyway. So for now after months and months of trying to find work, I got myself a job working as a cashier for a fast food establishment. Working fast food was one of my "rock bottom" jobs. The kind of work you tell yourself you will never do unless you hit rock bottom and there is no other available work and you are desperate for a job and money. That's the job I took.

Surprisingly it hasn't been too bad so far. I've been working there a month and time seems to just zoom by. Minimum wage doesn't even seem so bad when it's bi-weekly and I've been working full-time. The people are friendly. The gossip is entertaining. And everyone looks as stupid in their uniforms as I do, which makes me smile. I don't plan on staying there forever, but for awhile. After all, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere....

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