Sunday, 23 September 2012

On Doing Bad Jobs For No Money

If you were sitting where I am sitting right now you would hear two things; Panic! At the Disco playing quietly from some speakers on the desk, and the rain slapping liberally on the concrete outside. It's Sunday, and I'm working the 12-21 shift, for about £8.50 per hour. I'm 23, I have a Masters. I'm intelligent, amicable and competent at most things I attempt. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

Despite being a fairly successful human being, I'm in danger of getting stuck in this rut, the rut I call the 'post-University job trap'. I've worked since the age of 17. From that first terrible job in Super Valu, I've worked non-stop since, often holding down as many as three jobs, while studying. Admittedly, studying Sociology isn't as taxing as one might be led to believe, but I've worked hard, and I've negotiated the labour market like some sort of caffeine-pumped ninja.

I've worked in some good jobs, mostly bad jobs, and almost all mediocre paying jobs. I've never expected anything set in stone, regular, particularly reasonably paid or progressive, because it was always 'just' a job for money while I studied. But now I've finished studying and I find myself trapped in one of these 'just' a job jobs.

Living in London is pricey. There's rent which instantly eats up approximately 1/3 of your income. Food is as over-priced as it is over-fertilised. Public transport is a cruel joke. Lucky for me I'm well adapted to living cheaply. I cycle everywhere, don't drink alcohol (not because I want to save money, it's just a happy coincidence) and don't spend money on superfluous items of clothing that fall apart after three washes.

I might be frugal, but that's not solely the point. The issue is more of credibility than of money, although it would of course be nice to have a higher salary. I have a loan to pay back, and I need to start paying it back now. I don't want to be always denying myself things because I don't earn enough, because heaven knows I work enough.

I'm becoming disillusioned with my own choices as much as the miniscule size of my paycheck. Eventually, after making excuses for 5 years that 'it's just a job', the question needs to be asked why I don't strive for more than that. With the education I have, I shouldn't be doing this job, in a company that is so disorganised and mismanaged that i regularly want to pull my hair out when dealing with its bureaucracy.

I have ever so much to say on the topic of Doing Bad Jobs For No Money, and I don't expect this will be the last time I'll broach the topic. But I don't want to generalise about my past work experiences. I rather am trying to formulate some sort of mentality whereby I psyche myself up to hand in a letter (email) of resignation, find new, better prospects, and settle into something reliable (however temporary, but why that will be is another story for another day).

I'm trying so hard to convince myself to 'just go for it' but the prospect of being unemployed, or of going back into another mediocre job, is scary. There's a lot of things I want to be, and this isn't one of them. I'm wasting my life doing something I hate. I have so many plans, and I'm not going to realise a single one of them if I never make enough money to save, or have enough free time to plan them.

I'm going to spend the last half-hour of work trying to compose a sensible yet firm email, and hopefully I will have resigned by tomorrow morning.

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