Boy, oh, boy did I get it wrong! This year was supposed to be my calm, relaxing, work-a-little-play-a-lot year to figure out my life and find the worth of my ostensibly obsolete B.A. in history. If the rest of the year follows the trajectory of these past few weeks, I can definitely say that will not be the case. This week is going to be the worst yet, which I realized Sunday in the middle of a 12-hour work day. Yes, one of the very first lessons I learned upon entering The Real World is that scheduling two jobs is hard. Forgetting that it was rush season at the bookstore (textbooks, ahoy!), I naturally assumed it would be closed on Sunday and I would be free to work at Agave (a fun burrito joint on College Street). In a cruel turn of fate, I ended up scheduled to work 10am-6pm at the bookstore, and then 6pm-10pm at Agave. Just yesterday, I worked 8 hours at the bookstore, followed by 7.5 hours at Agave. That’s…what? 15.5 hours? Ugh.
I could have probably talked to either manager and figured out an hour break in between or some sort of schedule change, but did I mention that I’m stubborn?
Now, this doesn’t mean I haven’t learned some valuable lessons. Like I said, I now know that “when are you available to work?” also means “when do you want to work?” I know that a can of beer is about the size of a manageable amount of burrito toppings and a great way to practice, but quickly learned somewhat later that burrito toppings are a lot more messy. I learned that work environments can be cliquey and nepotistic, and that it’s just something you have to deal with. It’s just how the world is, and the only way to get through it is to smile and remember that, if honestly given the choice, you’d probably be a part of that clique too. I learned that doing things wrong is pretty damn scary, but it’s no good freezing up over putting the lids on salsa containers that are “for here” instead of “to go.” (This does not mean I still don’t freeze and kick myself until my ego is good and bruised.) Not having had a true day off since I started working, I’ve learned to appreciate the idea of a weekend. The Internet, too, is a privilege and a luxury. Without Internet at home and without Internet places open when I get off work (sometimes as late as 4am), I’ve really been struggling. Even though I still haven’t asked yet, I now also know that asking about salary when you’re new to a job isn’t rude, it’s practical and employers [should] expect to divulge that information to potential hires. And, perhaps best of all, I’ve learned the true value of an employee discount.
As a testament to how much I’ve been learning, there’s a list going around Tumblr that suggests a number of things young people should do or experience before they turn 25, and it’s so remarkable to me how many I’ve experienced just in the past year.
I’ve “kissed people who are out of [my] league”–my first kisses, in fact, and with people who are smarter than me, more athletic than me, more attractive, more experienced, more everything than me. And I’d like to think those people I kissed once thought I was a little out of their league too, though it’s a vain wish to have. I’m working on “minimizing my passivity.” I’ve spent too much of my life being afraid to say what I want. Hell, when I was younger and I got thirsty, I’d ask my friends if they were thirsty, and if they weren’t, I wouldn’t ask for a drink. Of course, this is putting me way out of my comfort zone, but it’s really about time to start rezoning anyway. I just started two “service jobs,” both of which are grueling in their own unique ways. One is my first job where I am receiving tips, and I’ve decided it’s time for me to stop being a Stingy College Kid, suck it up, and drop my loose change in the tip jar when I see one. Just because the tables aren’t being waited doesn’t mean I’m not being served…
I’m not going to go through the whole list and tell you exactly what I’ve done. There are things I’m about to do (leaving the country to “find myself” [more on that later]) and there are things I still struggle to do (not hating myself, for example, and cleaning house when it comes to unhealthy relationships). What’s encouraging about this list is that these are things I’ve done or will do in the future, a surefire sign that I’m going somewhere with my life, even if that somewhere is only in the direction of 25 years old. At this point, I’m so confused and lost and unsure about the future that I’ll take any direction I can get, even if it seems like an accelerated thrust towards an older me.