Why Starting a New Job Isn’t a Big Deal Anymore

I got a new job. But it’s not a big deal.

I’ve had a lot of different jobs over the years. I’ve worked in a craft/party supplies store, in a costume shop, as a painter (of walls, not portraits), in various theaters, as a barista, as a restaurant host, and now in retail.

Starting this job has been easier for me than others. Basically, I’ve been pretty “meh” about the whole thing.

I’ve outlined my current life plan to you before – Get a job. Take classes. Study hard. Work. Save. This plan, of course, is meant to lead to something bigger and better – preferably something like a career in what I want to do. And while I’m still figuring that out, at least I have a plan of action. Upon the formation of this particular plan, all of the sudden, I wasn’t applying for what people probably consider the “real adult” types of jobs, but rather, basic part-time positions yet again. As I was applying, I kept in mind that working at whatever place accepted me would be temporary – it would simply be a means to an end, not the end.

When I was living in Minnesota, I felt as though all I did was work. For a good 4 months there I was working close to 55 hours a week at two different jobs, on my feet all day. I came home feeling completely drained. I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone. I just wanted to retreat, to assume a horizontal position and completely veg out for the few hours I had left to spare in between shifts (most of those hours, I spent sleeping).

I had no direction, no goals in mind except to make rent that month. I had completely stopped thinking ahead and attempting to figure my life out.

So I suppose, with this new mindset, I should be grateful to live at home for a while, to at least have some income coming my way, to have the time to think about my future, no matter how daunting it is. I need to remember that no matter how stuck I may feel right now, I am no where near how stuck I felt then. Baby steps.

When I started those jobs hosting and making coffee, I was extremely nervous. At the interviews I was shaking like a leaf.

The thought of serving customers was petrifying to say the least. I didn’t consider myself capable of dealing with customers that love the thrill of confrontation or impromptu enough to provide adequate solutions to problems. It took me months to begin to feel comfortable with the whole “customer service” dealio. 

This new job, from beginning to end has been the epitome of “no big deal.” I wasn’t even nervous for the interview. On my first day of work, I had no feelings of wanting to run away forever (this is significant because usually whenever I start anything new, I just want to retreat to a dark corner and never emerge again). When I found out I got the job, I didn’t feel this overwhelming sense of triumph because I knew I would get it. The only sense of triumph I feel is at the fact that I am remaining so blasé about the whole thing.

When I was studying abroad in London about to start my internship at a local theater, my instructors were introducing me to the key differences in American workplaces versus those of the United Kingdom. At the risk of making broad generalizations, the major difference was this: Americans, they said, often have a “live to work” attitude – that we put a huge emphasis on career in terms of our overall identity. The British, on the other hand, have more of a “work to live” mindset – that everyone has a job that they do in order to pay for the things that they need and want to live a happy life. Work, to them, is (as I currently think of it) simply a means to an end. When they are off the clock, they do not think or talk about their jobs. It is not inherently part of who they are, but simply a mild inconvenience in which everyone must participate in order to make a living.

I do not intend on abandoning my passions for jobs I care nothing about. I simply mean to iterate that we live in a world where, upon graduation, we are all subject to serving our time – to climbing the ladder slowly but surely until we arrive (hopefully) where our passion lies. I have a ways to go in that department and many more rungs in the ladder to surmount. Therefore, in the meantime, I choose this alternate way of thinking.

So, I will take five hours out of my life to go to work tonight. And while I would much rather sit at home watching Stranger Things on Netflix, I will take comfort in the fact that as the hours pass, I will at least be making a little more than minimum wage, and that where I am now, is better than where I was before.

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