Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Day Jobs Are For Punks

In my younger, less responsible days where any sum I received was treated as a though it held an expiration date, I acquired myself a minor, but definitely not scoff-worthy, amount of debt. When combined with student loans, this seemingly manageable debt became closer to impossible and so I let it drag my credit score off into the night placed upon Hell’s front doorstep. Because, fuck it.

My resume is filled with retail and restaurant experience, because what else was I supposed to do in college? Those jobs allowed me to take the classes I wanted and to have time off for band practices and shows, which at the best of times were often enough to be considered a full time volunteer service. This makes my resume impressive only to other restaurants. Armed with this and the idea that I would one day like to own my own café or maybe a bar, I decided to start working my way up in the food industry. My versatile degree made me that much sexier, and in time I was an evening supervisor for a health store café, which was glorified babysitting, but my future job prospects didn’t need to know that.

When the health store became too much (drunk dials from the boss and constantly having my job threatened because I wasn’t doing the things that I was never told to do got old, what I can say?) I looked at my savings and figured if I found a job within two months, I could survive. So I called them up and quit, citing the abusive conditions as detrimental to my health.

I found a job at another restaurant as a shift manager, which was kind of fun. It paid me enough to eat Chinese takeout once a week and make sure local bookstores kept in business. Soon after, just about everyone above me quit and I was offered the job of Assistant Manager, which I was only interested in the idea of. I’ve always considered myself the loaner type, who would rather show up to work, do their job and leave. Running an entire restaurant sounded tough. But, if I wanted to own my own place one day, this would be a great learning experience. That, and the price tag was beautiful. I’d be able to knock out all of my non-student loan debt in six months, tops. And get more work done on my tattoo sleeve.

I took the job. To sum up the experience, five months into the gig, I told my boss about a time when I had no money to pay my bills. I had to constantly ask the utility companies not to shut me off and I was stealing a large amount of food from my job at the time just so I could eat. I followed this story up with: I was definitely a lot happier than I am now.

The experience taught me that while real jobs are nice and so are the looks you get from friends with Graduate degrees when they find out you’re making more money, they’re also pretty fucking stupid. In that entire year, I wrote about thirty pages. On a normal year I turn out a draft of a manuscript and a handful of short stories (Or, what Stephen King does in the time it took you to read this.) While writing pays so much less than my current day job, it also defines a lot of who I am. I am a writer, not a restaurant manager. I lost sight of this when I was working an insane amount of hours, trying to keep a sinking ship afloat so that some guy I’ve never met can make more money to masturbate his ego with.

One day, after the end of my year in middle class, I was organizing my writings and I set my very first manuscript on top of my printer. Then I set a draft of a novella I’d finished recently. And then I set a small collection of short stories I want to rewrite. On top of that I set the manuscript for novel in progress. These are all works unrelated to She Sees Metaphors. I looked at these and for the first time in that entire year I felt like I was successful, or on my way to success. That small pile of words made me happier than any paycheck or title to add to my resume could ever hope. I’m now slightly broke, back to hourly wages, and pinching my pennies, but I can honestly say that I am probably the happiest mother fucker who isn’t on drugs right now. Which, knowing this town and its kids, means I’m probably one of the most miserable.

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