“I am not a Waitress” Archives

SEPTEMBER:

A Life without Work

Posted September 17, 2010

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

That is the sound of a whole 4 days without work. Yes, even though I got screwed over, I mourned for approximately, um, 5 seconds, and then fixed myself a bowl of ice cream and watched Glee reruns. New Directions totally OWNED regionals, and was robbed. So unfair.

The rest of my week was also quite marvelous. The weather was gorgeous, and for once, I got to see the light of day, on both ends! My parents couldn’t really understand why I was so excited over a sunset, but watching the light glitter off the trees before slowly falling below the horizon…..so lovely. Life looks a lot different outside of the fluorescent glare of office lights.

The rest of my week was filled with future house-wife, stay-at-home-Connecticut-mother activities. I finally got around the cleaning my room, I practiced piano, I made banana bread, went canoeing, wore a sweater vest, and went sailboat racing on the Hudson. I also worked on my rich-person accent, which was probably unnecessary, but you really get into it when you’re wearing boat shoes and pressed khakis on the deck of a 30-foot yacht.

Overall, the week was filled with a forgotten sensation: HAPPINESS. Sweet, sweet, care-free happiness.

But alas, the dream was dashed today when my boss called and the seductive sound of actually getting paid whispered in my ear. So I headed back to work, and am now catching up on all my work procrastination. At least this job is consistent in one way….consistently boring.

Now that I’ve tasted life without work, I really, really like that flavor.  After today, it’s back to my sporadic schedule and late night jam sessions in the car on the way home. But when I close my eyes, I can still picture that sunset. Maybe I’m not that far gone after all.

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A Quiz to Determine Whose Life Sucks More

Posted September 13, 2010

In honor of the wonderful fall weather, the first day of school for all the happy people in the world, and my eternally loathsome job, here is a little quiz to cap of your week. Your first homework assignment! Enjoy them while they last.


Question 1: When you have a job, you:

a. Work

b. Don’t work

Question 2: When you receive your work schedule you:

1. Work the hours that you were assigned

2. Have those hours taken away

Question 3: When you talk to your boss, he/she

a. Listens to what you have to say

b. Completely blows you off and gives you a withering look

Question 4: When you talk about your job, your friends and family

a. Listen

b. Run in the other direction, often screaming.

Question 5: When you think about your job, you:

a. Feel happy

b. Feel a deep and biting despair and have the urge to hide in your bed and never emerge

Question 6: Your days are filled with:

a. Goals and meaning

b. Deep and biting despair and the urge to hide in your bed and never emerge.

If you answered mostly a’s, you have a job that you may enjoy, and for the most part is bearable. If you answered mostly b’s, you have mine. This week took a dramatic plunge for the worse. In the beginning of the week, I was preparing to write a blog on how much better I feel about my current situation, and how I could totally handle the next few months. I was meeting some nice people, and had been working in a department that actually had a shred of purpose. Plus, I was finally working consistently.

But yesterday, I was informed via mass email that the person that I was supposed to be covering for next week for 3 days had decided to forgo his vacation and instead screw me over. And instead of telling this guy what they’ve told me–if you request time off don’t expect to get it back–they tell me that 60% of my work week is now canceled. Then, when I confronted my boss about it, she raised her eyebrows until they were practically falling off her face, and then asked me if I knew the meaning of a freelance job. Apparently it’s one where no one gives a crap about their employees and instead screws them over and steals $400 from them. Does that sound about right, boss?

I was then informed that “things may change next week.” O, so I guess I’ll be spending my time off waiting breathlessly by the phone for your call. It’s not like I have anything better to do, right? Well I took this job, so I guess I really don’t.

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Labor(ious) Day

Posted September 8, 2010

Labor Day: (per Wikipedia, obviously) “Traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer. The holiday is often regarded as a day of rest and parties.”

Fabulous! I love a good party! I love to rest! Labor day is the perfect day for me, especially now that I have a job! That’s what this holiday was made for, celebrating the common man, the bereaved worker. A day to say “Screw you office, I’m taking a siesta and wearing white for the last time for the next 6 months.”

This is where my fantasies come to a screeching halt because (drum roll please…) I WORKED on Labor Day. And not only did I work, but it was off-the-wall busy! It was a rather laborious Labor Day.

Now I understand that the media never sleeps, and that became apparent as the phone rang off the hook for seven straight hours. My dreams of reading the entire archive of Perez Hilton and updating my Facebook profile were dashed seconds after stepping through the door. And what made it worse was that fact that everyone was quick to acknowledge that we really shouldn’t be working today. Example:

Me, answering the phone: “Hello?”

Person, answering me: “Hahaha, I have some work for you today! Of all days, right? Wouldn’t you rather be sipping a margarita on a beach? Have you SEEN this weather? Absolutely gorgeous. O, here’s a list of ten things that I need in, uh, let me see, 15 minutes, because I’m leaving a little early today.”

Me:

The ENTIRE DAY was like that. While speeding through one task list, someone else was calling about something else because “I have a BBQ to go to, it is Labor Day after all!”

Hardy-har-har. So glad you’ll be enjoying yourself.

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No, I will not thank you, thank you very much!

Posted September 4, 2010

Today was a taxing commute. Of course, it’s never fun to work…on a Friday (ahem ahem), especially when you are getting into work when most people are leaving for the weekend, and especially when this weekend happens to be a holiday weekend and all you have to look forward to is going to work on the VERY day created for people to NOT go to work.

Anyway, my bus was late, and because it’s Friday, traffic was heavier than usual. This meant that I was going to have to rush to work, as I do everyday. I don’t think I’ve taken a pleasant stroll to or from work in the three months I’ve worked there. Usually, I am that obnoxious person who walks down the bus aisle as the bus pulls up to a stop and squeezes past the people trying to get their strollers out before people get too annoyed. Listen, I don’t have time for your baby. Teach them how to walk. I have to get to work.

Today the bus arrived a minute after I was supposed to be at work, so I leapt off the bus and immediately started my power-walk. Shades on, mouth set, eyes set ahead: do not mess with me when I’m in the middle of a power-walk. I usually bob and weave through the throngs of people and somehow make it out the door without a five-person collision.

But sometimes, there are a few gems in the crowd. Slow, oblivious, touristy gems who don’t realize that a young woman barreling towards them in sunglasses is on a power-walk. And this particular diamond in the rough was at the exit door at the precise moment when I needed to go through it. Apparently, the door frame was the most interesting thing she had ever seen, because she was standing there, enamored with the gorgeous glass and metal door with an architecturally pleasing bar, typically used for OPENING THINGS.

Now let me just say, I am not the most patient person that has ever lived, and my impatience has led to some bad life choices, namely me purchasing a car. So when I am late for work and am now being blocked by some lady in a teal and maroon wind suit, no one should really be all that surprised that I express my impatience by standing directly behind her and saying “Anytime now lady!”

That seemed to grab her attention and miracle of all miracles, she opened the door and shuffled through. At this point, I shoved past her, heaving in frustration and shaking my head melodramatically. And then, she added her comeback to my aggressive escape: “THAAAANNNKK YOU!”

Thank you? FOR WHAT? For standing in the doorway of a very crowded bus station? For throwing a sub-par sarcastic remark my way? For finally opening a door? For having a hideous sense of fashion? You choose, and I’ll gladly say the words.

Of course, by the time she could have made her choice, I was already ripping through the streets. There was one other person that prevented me from moving at lightening speed, and unfortunately they are now nursing their umbrella-blows to the head at an uptown hospital. ** Don’t mess with me pedestrians.

**This is a joke. I did not hit anyone with an umbrella.

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AUGUST:

The 5-1 shift (or ‘God, why do you hate me?’)

Posted August 28, 2010

Today I worked the 5 am to 1 pm shift at work. I’ll just let that sink in. Think about it. Roll the words around on your tongue. Imagine what it feels like to be at work at 5 a.m.

Well you don’t have to imagine too much, because I’m going to tell you what it feels like to get to work, be at work, and leave work before most of your friends have even cracked an eye. Behold, a minute-by-minute breakdown of this truly punishing morning.

THE WAKE UP:

3:30 am: Alarm #1 goes off. I must be dreaming, because I did not think that my alarm clock had the ability to be set at such an obscene time.

3:35: It is still beeping. I should get up.

3:43: Alarm #2 goes off, this time on my phone. Alarm #1 is still beeping. I am still in bed.

3:50: I realize I need to be out of the house in 10 minutes. I still don’t get up.

3:53: Alarm #3, aka ‘The Last Resort’ goes off. I get up, use the bathroom, wash my face and brush my teeth, without ever opening my eyes.

3:56: I manage to open my eyes enough to throw some clothes on. I go downstairs to eat breakfast, but I feel like I’m going to be sick. There is a box of raisins on the counter that I left out last night. I run out the door before I hurl.

4:00: I’m in my car. My eyes are almost open.

THE CAR RIDE:

4:05: What a surprise, there is no one on the road. Also, there are no lights. My town apparently realizes it isn’t economically necessary to power street lights that no one is going to see. Even the brights on my car are barely illuminating the road.

4:07: It’s raining, hard. Paired with my lack of visibility, my exhaustion and the Lady Gaga song on the radio, I’m probably going to get into a fiery car crash and die. I change the station.

4:15: I am now wide awake and completely paranoid that I am going to run off the road into a ditch and then drown in the muddy water and despair I have for life. I’m sitting up as straight as I can, my head pushed as close to the windshield as possible. This can’t possibly get any worse.

4:17: It gets worse. Buses are driving on the opposite side of the road. Buses have really bright lights and take up their lane and some of mine. Any shred of hope I had in not dying this morning seems to disappear. Should I just accept my fate and let it happen? No. I will not die this way! GET A GRIP ON YOURSELF.

4:45: I make it to the bus station. Alive. Surprisingly, there are actually other cars in the parking lot and people waiting on line for the bus. I still feel nauseous and tired and my feet are wet. At least I remembered an umbrella, even if 5 of the spokes are poking out.

4:48: The bus arrives. I show my pass and shuffle to an empty seat. I do the death grip on my purse and close my eyes. Relief. Sweet, sweet reliefffffffffffffzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

THE BUS RIDE:

4:50 – 5:20: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz.

THE WALK:

5:25: It’s 5:30 in the morning, I’m late, and it’s raining. Surprisingly, there are people on the streets. I feel like most of them want to murder me and hide me in an alley, mostly because they can. I’m realizing I am completely irrational at this time of day. If anyone makes a joke about how I’m completely irrational at any time of the day….don’t.

5:35: I’m finally at work. Alive. And very, very tired.

THE JOB:

6:00: I make my first cup of coffee.

6:30: I make my second cup of coffee

7:00: The morning TV line up starts. Suddenly this shift doesn’t seem so unbearable. Also, there is an order of doughnuts and bagels in the kitchen. Am I actually liking this????

8:00: If I see another weather report (rain, all day), I’m going to scream.

8:04: Al Roker gives another weather report.

9:00: I am surprisingly productive this early in the morning. This is probably due to the fact that no one is awake, so no one is emailing me, or updating facebook, or publishing any interesting articles. No distractions=more work.

10:30: Another hour slogs by and I am now in the middle of the 4th hour of the Today show. Does anyone remember that lobotomy I was talking about in a previous post? Well I need it. NOW.

10:45: I excuse myself and take a walk around the block. It is pouring, cold, and all I can think about are my pajamas and my bed. They are both so, so far away.

11:30: We have a staff meeting. Of course it’s important, because we recently rolled out a new computer program that no one understands. There is no where for me to sit so I lean against a bookshelf and pretend to look interested, shaking my head at all the appropriate times. When my boss asks if I have anything to add, I say “I don’t think so.” I think everyone here thinks I’m stupid.

12:00: ONE HOUR TO GO! I’m not sure how much more I can handle. I go into the kitchen to make another cup of coffee and catch a glimpse of myself in the window. I look pretty good for someone who has been up for 8 hours with only 3 hours of sleep. Which is to say I look like crap.

12:45: I’m done. I sign off, say goodbye and no one stops me. I finally get my burst of energy as I’m sprinting for the exit. FREE AT LAST!!

12:50: Back on the street, I am heading home as most people are grabbing lunch. I feel kind of sneaky. Maybe they think I’m going to lunch too. But I’m going home. I feel smug until I realize that these people all got a good night’s sleep. Then I just feel hatred.

THE BUS RIDE (PT. 2):

1:10: I’m on the bus, headed back to my car, which will bring me home, which will bring me to my bed. I don’t think I’ve wanted anything more in my entire life. O wait, yes I do: A new job.

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The world thinks we’re weird and I’ve read some good books

Posted August 21, 2010

So I figured I would lighten up the content of this post since my last few have been rather depressing and dark. The one hitch is that I can’t really think of anything light. Which just makes me dark. Which defeats the purpose of this blog.

Let’s really think here. I was having a similar discussion the other day with my sister, who told me that I was “really negative.” Ouch. So in my attempt to be more positive, I spent the last few days trying to think of positive things that are happening in my life.

Still blank.

Well one positive thing is that I’ve been reading some good books lately and of course surfing the web while at work. I’ve found that the short story anthology seems to be the best thing for my scatter-brained and short circuited mind these days, and I recently sped through Sloane Crossley’s book “I Was Told There’d Be Cake.” I also read “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.” Considering that I’ve never read a book with cake in the title EVER, and I’ve read 2 in the past month, I obviously am craving cake. Or I’m just channeling a subconscious desire to be fat so I can blame my unhappiness on something tangible. Hmmm.

Last night, I read an interesting article in the New York Times about the apparently puzzling generation of 20 somethings. According to the Times, it is taking us a long time to grow up. Unlike our parents, who probably graduated college, immediately found jobs, then got married and had kids sometime after that, our generation does things a bit differently. The Times and their circle of psychologists and sociologists don’t really know what to make of it.

Let me break it down for you, New York Times and co.  It’s not that we don’t want to grow up. It’s that society is making it pretty hard to do so. Of course, I don’t speak for everyone, but there are not too many people in their early 20s that can now afford a house, which, according to the Times, is one of the 5 stages of growing up.  Listen Murdoch: You think I want to live with my parents?! You think I enjoy stressing over my pennies earned and suffering through the endless bouts of advice from my parents, and my grandparents, who all seem to be experts in the field of making me pissed off? Do you think I enjoy having NO IDEA where this is all going to lead?

Um, no. I’d rather live in a brownstone on the Upper West Side, and I’d rather have a job that I love and a serious relationship under my belt, but life doesn’t happen that way. So sorry if that’s confusing to you, but hey guess what: it’s confusing to all of us too.

If you want to read this 10 page behemoth, “What is it About 20 somethings?” click here.

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Happy 3 month Anniversary

Posted August 16, 2010

Today is the three-month anniversary of my arrival in hell.

I kid, of course, but three months ago is a lot different from where I am today. Three months ago today, I was pulling out that business suit, doing my hair just so, and boarding the subway for the first day of my new job, my new life….my bliss.

Fast forward to today. I’m wearing jeans and a tee-shirt, I forgot my hair brush, and I drove to the park and ride in a car that once again needs an obscenely expensive repair.

Three months ago, I was excited, jubilant, hopeful, ambitious. I was still riding the wave of college graduation, and practically still digesting my celebratory dinner.

Fast forward to today. Just reverse everything I said above, because I lack the creative energy for even a simple blog post. I’ve been sapped.

Three months ago, life was full speed ahead. Today, it’s come to a screeching halt.

Happy anniversary.

Gosh, it sure does sound depressing! This certainly hasn’t been the three months I thought it was going to be, when I envisioned life as a graduate. For one, I imagined myself sipping cocktails after work, instead of chugging 3 cups of coffee so I can make it through my 4-midnight shift. But like everyone keeps telling me–everybody now–IT’S ONLY TEMPORARY. In another three months, who knows where I’ll be. Life was moving so fast before that I should actually be grateful for this slowdown. Now I actually have some time to relax and unwind on my days off instead of cramming them with more stuff.

But what I’ve realized is that all that chaos really defined who I was, and it got me to this point. Now, with no outlet to express my eagerness and no short-term goal to strive for (like finding a spring internship), I just feel kind of lost.

So a toast to the last three months. Wow, what a ride.

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The Day I Realized I Was Unbelievably Boring

Posted August 5, 2010

Lately, I’ve been realizing that I’ve become really, really boring. I discovered this after  a lunch with my friend, and I really had nothing interesting to say. I sat and listened as my friend talked about her new apartment, the vacation she was planning for the end of the summer, and the new boyfriend she was seeing. That’s when I realized that:

1. I live at home with my parents and am not going to be getting an apartment any time soon.

2. Even though I’m saving all this money from my rent, I have to turn around and pump it all into my car, arguably the absolute BEST decision I’ve ever made…thus no vacation.

3. I’m single.

Can this list get any more depressing?? Don’t try me.

Anyway, as we were eating, it wasn’t so much as envy that I was feeling that she was having this great life, but intense nostalgia for my former interesting self. Before, I could carry a conversation with anyone that passed by, and since I was always so busy, I had plenty of material to cull from: my crazy internship, my crazy class schedule, and my crazy paranoia that I wasn’t going to get a job. But that has all been replaced with a boring job, no social life because of said job, and a crazy paranoia that I’ll be working here for the rest of my life. Hell, even this blog post is boring. I give up.

Part of me thinks I need a hobby, and the other part of me thinks I need a lobotomy. Learning a hobby like knitting would certainly give me plenty of Christmas gifts and something to talk about at parties, but the lobotomy would make me forget that I turned to knitting to help contract my boringness. Hmm, lots to think about….

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JULY:

I’m getting a credit card…so I must want to max it out ASAP, right?

Posted July 30, 2010

I’ve recently decided to get my own credit card. I’ve had the typical “use only for emergencies” card that my parents bestowed upon me when I left for college, and for the most part, I haven’t used it. There was that time when I put my trip to the Polish Salt Mines on credit because I literally had the equivalent of a dollar on me while studying abroad, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is that I am not a crazy spender, some may even call me, dare I say cheap.I usually think through spending money on a bag of chips before I buy them, and my last big purchase was a new ipod. A month ago.

Apparently, this is all news to my parents, who immediately shared their ever-flowing words of wisdom with me regarding credit cards:

“Don’t buy more than you can spend.”

“If you max out your credit card, you could ruin your credit history.”

“You should try to use your credit card sparingly.”

Really mom and dad? I thought it was free money that I never had to pay off. This is just…wow. Too much.

Sometimes it’s like someone hands them the age-appropriate, parentally sanctioned script, and they feel obligated to read it, even though it doesn’t exactly apply to me at all.  Last night’s script was titled “Talking to your 20 something about getting a credit card.” A few years ago, when I was considering transferring colleges, it was “Talking to your teen about staying in school.” I wasn’t planning on dropping out of school, in the same way I’m not planning on spending $10,000 on my new credit card. But if I was to max out my credit card,  solely to prove how irresponsible I am, these are the things I would probably spend it on:

  • A trip to Japan: my new obsession, but too expensive for me to afford. Thus, CHARGE IT.
  • A new pair of riding boots: again, something I probably wouldn’t buy on a normal shopping trip, but with that plastic in my hand, anything is POSSIBLE!
  • A trip Vegas: I’m not really a party person, but someone gives me a credit card, I go CRAY. ZAY.
  • A cash advance of $10,000: You can do that, right?

Credit card companies, here I come!

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Things that Blow my Mind: Work Edition

Posted July 19, 2010

This day has been insanely long. Not just in the “Today is Friday, what do you expect?” sense, but in more of a “Are you FREAKING KIDDING ME? How have I managed to check my email three times, scour Facebook for gossip, read 10 articles in the New York Times, look through celebrity photos on People AND talk to my mom with only 30 minutes having passed??” sense.  And it just blows my mind that time can possibly move that slowly at work. Here are 5 more things about work that sometimes I just can’t believe:

1. People have worked here for a while: I’ve only worked here for about 2 months, and I am pretty much crawling out of my skin most of the time. To think that some of the people who do my job have been doing it for 2 years, 5 years, or even 15 years is just insane.  Do you not enjoy happiness? Do you not enjoy excitement in your life, or a pep in your step? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

2. My minor interests are becoming major obsessions: Traveling,  the movie Inception and subsequently every member of the cast, apartment hunting, Tetris….all of these things I used to find mildly interesting. But now, I attack these topics with such vengeance I’m surprised my computer isn’t exploding. Yesterday, I had thirteen tabs opened on my Firefox, six of them articles about Leonardo DiCaprio. Did you know that he was nominated for an Oscar at 19? Did you know that Joseph Gordon-Levitt studied French in college? Did you know that traveling to pretty much every country in Europe is cheaper in October? Well I do.

3. Everyone gives the same job advice: It’s pretty mind-blowing when people from all different professions, of all different ages, and from all different backgrounds give you the same advice about jobs:

“It’s only temporary.”

“Nobody likes their first job.”

“At least you’re getting paid.”

“Work is work. It’s not supposed to be fun.”

“You’ve gotta start somewhere.”

I get it, I really do. There must be a manual out there that everyone but myself has read, titled: Things to say to the girl who won’t stop complaining about her job. By The World.

4. The amount of time I waste when I could be doing more important things: I sit in front of a computer ALL. DAY. And during that time I could be doing a lot of things, like taking online courses, or looking for other jobs, working on this blog, or writing a novel on the history of the world…basically the internet world is my oyster. Yet I instead spend an obscene amount of time doing things that are not bettering me in any way. Unless you count price-comparing flights for vacations that I cannot currently afford as time well spent.

5. The fact that this is not getting any easier: I’ve been at this job for about 2 months now, and I still feel the same nostalgia for college and my old internship and a desperation that this is not the kind of life I want. But what blows my mind even more is the possibility that this will probably be my life for a while. Mind. Blown.

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Speeding towards Responsibility

Posted July 14, 2010

I could not stand it anymore. I was pretty much 2 steps from a complete meltdown last week after running from work to the bus stop in 90 degree weather to catch a bus that was once again LATE. The day before, it had never showed up and the day before that it was LATE. Which meant that I was late to work, frazzled, and of course, sweaty. Not the best way to arrive. But that Sunday had put me over the edge.

“If there isn’t a car in the driveway when I get home I am going to scream!” I shouted at my poor mother. “I CANNOT TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!!!!” At this point, my maturity was really shining through, and the people around me were enjoying my little show, but when I finally got home, I immediately hit eBay and found this little jewel, which is now sitting in my driveway:

However, because a.) I bought this car on eBay b.) 6 hours after I bought it I found out it needed a new set of shocks and c.) I took a look at my bank account, this car looks more like this to me:

My first real life purchase is predictably making me a nervous wreck. Is every adult decision going to do this to me? I can only imagine how I will feel when it comes time to purchase a house, or have kids (breaks out into a cold sweat). I always saw myself as a mature person, but these past few weeks I’ve been acting more like a child than a career woman. But now my life is shaping up to be pretty, well, responsible. (shudder) I have a job, which I have to go to in order to make the car payments and insurance bills and gas money I’ve just acquired. Next thing I know, I’ll be paying my cell phone bill!

But having a car definitely has its perks. My commute is about an hour less, and I can pop in a CD and belt out my frustrations. I’ve been channeling middle school of late, as my inaugural CD choice was Justin Guarini’s aptly titled CD: Justin Guarini. His duet with Kelly Clarkson is pretty great.And my voice is just fantastic at 11:00 pm. But it feels good to let it all out, press a little hard on the gas pedal and feel those frustrations melt away. Who knew that number 2 on American Idol could do so much for a person? And with a Michelle Branch CD waiting for my ride home, anything’s possible!

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A (Minor) Workplace Victory

Posted July 9, 2010

So I had a little breakthrough this week….I found something I like about my job. Originally, it was two things, but I can’t remember the first thing, so now we’re down to one. DRUM ROLL PLEASE:

1. This place has air conditioning. And thank goodness for that, because it’s been super hot this week, and since I am still taking public transportation, it is a good 20 minute walk to the office. In that 20 minutes, my perfectly coiffed hair-do becomes plastered to my face, clothing is wrinkled and I am sweaty. Perfect for making that big impression.

I can’t really decide if I feel good that I was able to identify one good thing, or bad that, well, I was only able to identify one good thing. My goal for next week will be to round it up to an even two. It will be the most challenging thing I’ve done in months.

JUNE:

The Generation Gap

Posted June 28, 2010

“I’d rather be homeless than have this job!”

Ahh, those fateful nightly ramblings. They’ve become so common over the last month that I’ve been working at my first “real-life” job. Everyday it’s the same. I get up, go to work, hate my life, and then come home and complain about it. I’m a joy to be around, I’m sure.

Usually, my sister, the victim of this daily harassment, is like a silent sponge. She doesn’t say much, because there isn’t much to say. I’m unhappy, and I need to vent. But last night, I got out earlier than usual and made it to my grandparent’s house for dinner. The bus had been late, I was hot and tired, and my day had been another frustratingly boring eight hours of data entry. The last thing I wanted to do was talk about work. But the first thing we talked about was work.

My grandparents asked me how my job was going, and I told them I didn’t like it. The typical and inevitable replies ensued:

“It’s your first job.”

“They’re testing you.”

“It’s only temporary.”

“It builds character.”

Like every other time someone has said this to me, it is the last thing I want to hear. What exactly I wanted to hear from them I don’t know, but not this. So I told them that I wasn’t happy, and that this job wasn’t worth the time and energy I was spending on it. My grandmother answered with my all time favorite response: “At least it’s a paycheck.”

And that’s when I said it.

“I’d honestly rather be homeless than live like this.”

“Ooooooo, NO YOU DIDN’T,” was essentially my grandma’s response, and it didn’t really matter what I said next. That’s when I realized that there is a huge generation gap in the way that I think about my job and the way that my grandparents and parents think about theirs.

I grew up in a generation of people who wanted to do things that interested them, not just things that pulled in a paycheck, and that difference in thinking opens an enormous gap in understanding between me and the older members of my family. My dad often says “People in your field used to start in the mail room,” but this was before the majority of people went to college for the jobs they hoped to someday attain. While I knew going into this job that it wasn’t going to be my dream job, I hadn’t imagined it would be so far from it, and that disappointment stung. My immediate reaction was to try to find a job that fit my interests a little better. The reaction I got from my family however was that I needed to stick it out and suck it up. But don’t they know? People in my generation don’t just suck it up. They want to be happy, and they want that happiness right now. Patience is not something that we seem to be born with. Being given the opportunities we’ve been given, with the technology to speed things along even more, makes us impatient and eager to get to the top. Maybe this makes me unrealistic, but I try to see ambition there instead.

Pair that with the fact that I am not married and am not planning on starting a family anytime soon, and the gap grows even bigger. I am looking out for me. At my age, my grandmother was married. My parents were engaged. House payments were being made and families were being planned. I’m living at home, rent free, trying to save up for a vacation! To most people my age, this is what people do.

I don’t want to sound selfish and ungrateful for the life that I have the the job that I was fortunate enough to grab, but it is just typical of my generation to want more. And the only reason we want more is because our parents and grandparents instilled that in us. They encouraged us to go to college and take time off to see the world. They encouraged us to major in things that we loved instead of more practical options. They encouraged us to dream big.

But now that the real world is upon me, it’s like they’re all saying “HA! Gotcha! This is what it’s really like outside of our carefully crafted bubble we made for you!”  Falling through that gap hurts like hell.

.

The “You have a job?!?!” reaction at parties and other various social events

Posted June 23, 2010

Last night I went to a birthday party for a friend, which marked the most human interaction I’ve had in three weeks. Needless to say, I was craving hanging out with my friends and ignoring the topic of work. Alas, the one thing college students and recent graduates are most obsessed with is jobs: getting one, not getting one, where someone has one and why others don’t. When I was interning, it was a badge of honor, a silent ‘I am SO MUCH BETTER THAN YOU’ exchange.

There were a few people at the party who I had never met before, so after the name exchange and awkward ‘How we know the birthday girl’ quip, the next tid bit of information shared was naturally “Where are you interning/working this summer?”

Me: “Well, I just graduated, so I’m working now.”

Silence. Shock. Mouth Agape.

Her: “YOU HAVE A JOB? THAT IS SO AMAZING! YOUARESOLUCKYTOHAVEAJOB, WHEREISIT, HOWAWESOMEISTHAT??????????”

Me: “Yeaaaaaaaa. It’s actually not as glamorous as it sounds.”

But as I explain what I do and how it’s not really what I expected, it’s like I’m talking to a wall. The “this girl has a job, reaction should be happiness” earmuffs are on.

Example: This is what I say:

Me: “Yea, my job is ok. Commuting to and from work is pretty annoying, and my job is not exactly what I had expected when I was applying for jobs and thinking about getting a job. At least it’s a pay check though, right?” (the job redundancies will make sense in a second.)

This is what other people hear:

“yadda yadda JOB. yadda WORK yadda,  yadda yadda yadda JOB yadda yadda yadda JOBS yadda JOB. yadda PAY CHECK, yadda?”

I suppose I should be happy that I have a job in the first place, and maybe it’s just a product of the bad economy that any job sounds wonderful. If only this job was actually as good as it sounded, than I can have a job and like it too! Like cake. And we all know how that story goes, so I doubt that combo will be happening any time soon. I just hope someday I’m making the cake, having it and eating it too.

I think Marie Antoinette would approve, yes?

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The Commuter Chronicles–Buses Suck

Posted June 15, 2010

So it’s been a month already since I started my new job and about 3 weeks since I moved back home. I’ve been commuting, and wow. I now understand why:

1. People need a drink at the end of the day

2. People become alcoholics after working

3. They created happy hour

Unfortunately, I usually work from 1-9 pm, which is too late for happy hour, and by the time I get home at 11, everyone is sleeping and I’d be drinking alone. Which is just depressing, and the beginning of some bad lifestyle choices.

Commuting sucks. I don’t start work until 1, but I have to leave a full 2 1/2 hours early. Then I sit on a bus, get whiplash, and want to strangle everyone that gets on without exact change. It’s like seriously, count it out. Then I walk to work, sit at work, and get back on a bus for the 2 hour ride home. Once I get home, everyone is sleeping. It’s like I’m a monk. A sad and lonely monk.

Here are five things that suck about buses:

1. They smell–not in a port-a-potty kind of way, more in a ‘there are a lot of people on this bus all day and we need to use a lot of air freshener.’

2. The bus drivers that drive them are really bad drivers–you would think that if your job was to drive, you would actually be good at driving. And following road signs. Like stop signs. Contrary to popular bus driver belief, they are not called ‘stop short’ signs. Red lights are not ‘slam on the break’ signals. Yellow lights are not ‘I’m going to try to make this light, o actually I’m going to slam on the breaks.’

3. The bus schedule is a complete waste of paper and really confusing to read–Hey, this time-table says the bus is coming at 10:15. So guess what? I get to the bus stop at 10:12. But wait, the bus isn’t showing up! 10 minutes later it comes rolling in. Is it a new schedule? Is the bus driver just late? BUt because of a “I refuse to be helpful” bus driver code 44A,* no one will tell me anything. So I’m left to puzzle over a list of times and stops that bear no relevance to my current reality.

4. Code 44A–Ok, so this doesn’t really exist, but bus drivers seem to think it does. Bus drivers will not:

  • give you change in larger amounts than quarters
  • tell you when your stop is
  • tell you if this is the correct bus
  • guide you to someone who may know those answers

It’s the code. And it will not be broken.

5. People on the bus seem to think they are at home. Not on a bus. With 100 other people.–“I’LL BE HOME IN AN HOUR. AN HOUR. AN HOUR. O YEA, MY DAY WAS GREAT, I WORKED. AND NOW I’M ON A BUS TALKING REALLY LOUD. NOW I’M GOING TO START LAUGHING REALLY LOUD FOR NO REASON. AND NOW I’M GOING TO HANG UP AND EVERYONE WILL THINK I AM DONE BUT I’M GOING TO CALL SOMEONE ELSE. BECAUSE THE BEST TIME TO HAVE PERSONAL CONVERSATIONS IS WHEN I AM ON A BUS. WITH A LOT OF PEOPLE. AT 10:00 AT NIGHT WHEN PEOPLE MIGHT WANT TO TAKE A NAP. Please be quiet.

And now it is 8:45. I have to go and catch my bus, only to wake up and do it all tomorrow!

.

From on my own, to back at home

Posted June 2, 2010

Yesterday, my friend asked me where I was planning on living now that I have graduated. The conversation (via facebook, of course):

Friend: “Last night I had this horrid vision of you living in a cardboard box on the street. Where are you going to live with  said new job?”

Me: “Worse. I am moving back home.”

Her: “NO NO! Le Tragique! (my attempt at french) ¡Que es HORRIBLE! (my success in spanish).”

Mais oui, c’est vrai. I am moving back to the motherland of New Jersey and joining the throes of commuters that trek into the city each day. Why? you may ask. Why would you subject yourself to such a fate?

Free rent, I say. Free. Rent.

Thus, the deed has been done. My dad rolled up at 8:30 this morning, climbed the four flights to my apartment and helped me move my freedom into the cabin of a pickup truck.

My feelings on moving home are mixed. One the one hand, it will be nice to not have to worry about paying rent, buying groceries, lugging my 20 pounds of laundry down the block or worry about getting brutally murdered after a late night coming home. On the other hand….it’s home. Which means bickering parents, bickering sisters, a pre-set dinner time, church on Sundays and limited privacy. Plus, it’s a 2 hour commute into the city where my job awaits me. And I can’t exactly say that my past moves from college to home have been all that smooth, but the fact that I am working will hopefully leave enough space between me, my family, and the ledge.

Of course, it could be worse. My parents are relatively laid back and I get along with my sister. But this was when I was a college student. And now I see myself as an adult. I have a job, I have (had…) my own, independent city life. And now it’s back to the sticks, literally. My house is on the border of a state park…lots of woods, no cell service.What am I getting myself into????

MAY:

Late Night Job/Life Musings

Posted May 26, 2010

Sigh. Half-way into week 2 of my new job and I’m not having too much fun. I guess this means I have become like every other adult I know–no one really likes their job. I kind of feel bad for complaining about it, mostly because I have what many other people are frantically searching for. But going through school for four years having the message that we can do anything, then to finally feel like you can do anything, only to go to work and do nothing? It’s a bit rough. Plus, I thought that getting a job would quiet the whole WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO WITH MY LIFE voice in my head, but it is still there. Clear as day and loud as hell. Should I have majored in something else? Should I have chosen a different career path? Should I have taken a vacation? Definitely yes on that last one. Unfortunately, the questions haven’t ceased. At least I have a pay check to financially support my slow trudge towards insanity.

Now obviously, I’m over-reacting. Because I am 22. And that’s what 20 somethings do. Or at least, that’s what this 20-something does. Mais, c’est la vie. Or, c’est ma vie. I should get a massage. A delightful consolation is that my horrific summer job from last year recently contacted me about working for them again. It was rather refreshing sending back a resounding NO WAY. Ah, so grown up.

.

Let’s just make it a top 5 list, shall we?

Posted May 24, 2010

So things have been insane–I graduated, I finished my amazing internship, I got a job, I ate a cupcake….wait what?! YES. I GOT A JOB. I beat the odds! To the hundreds of thousands of people who said it’s impossible: it is not. I did it. Of course, all of the worrying and sleepless nights weren’t really worth it, but are they ever? And now that I have captured that elusive first job, I kind of wish I had cooled off from school and taken a break! Instead, I finished my internship one day, and two days later was behind the desk at this new place.

So far, I’m a bit underwhelmed. Perhaps because my expectations were so high and the buildup so much, once I got here, I couldn’t help but feel some disappointment. This is only my second week and the people seem nice, but it is not the life-changing, jaw-dropping job I had hoped to snag. But, everyone must start somewhere, so I am sucking it up, putting on a happy face and drinking copious amounts of coffee, which I fear is giving me a kidney stone. Le. Sigh.

So my first week as a professional woman. Some observations.

1. It is painfully obvious that I am in my first week as a professional woman. The confidence that I had managed to build up at my old internship has completely disintegrated, leaving behind a mute, brain-dead, terrified girl who can’t even figure out how to scan her id badge over the bar code. Fortunately, my nerves have subsided and I have cleared my head a bit. I also took a heinous ID photo, so things are definitely back to normal.

2. People don’t really care about all the things that people cared about in college. Namely, bragging about where you went to college. And where you interned. And the amazing apartment you’re living in. Unlike an internship, where it’s a constant “who can be better” environment, in the workplace, people work and then they go home and read a book. They don’t go home and search for better internships, or bigger apartments and they certainly don’t pin the name of their Alma Mater’s to their purse straps.

3. You have way more free time. I work, and then I go home. You know what I don’t do when I’m at home? Work. It is all at once refreshing and a little bizarre. Now I have all this free time on my hands, and so far, it’s been spent watching an entire season of “Mercy” in 5 days and playing tetris until 3 am.

So just a few observations from my new life, and right now, to be honest, I’m kind of missing the old me, who ran around like a chicken with its head cut off. It’s only been 5 days and I already feel settled. I don’t know what to do with myself, but I know I should probably spend a little less time in front of my computer. Blind at 23? No thanks.

.

A Top Ten List: How Obvious….but Great

Posted May 10, 2010

T minus 24 hours till I have graduated college! My college ride was a little shaky at times–I started off at one school, transferred to another, wanted to transfer back, went abroad, lived off campus and am now almost FREE! Wow, how the time flies. Below are the top 10 things I learned and loved about college, in no particular order. And of course, what graduation/reminiscent post would be complete without listening to Vitamin C’s hit “Graduation” (which I sang in 6th grade chorus before going to middle school), The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” (always necessary for any type of photo/memory montage) and “Here’s to the Night” by Eve 6 (which I sobbed through after high school). Good times.

Now the list:

1. Procrastination: I LOVE procrastination. For realzzz, I spent all of high school getting things done at least a week in advance, only to step on a college campus and be writing my final essay a half hour before it was due. I have to say it’s due to the people around me…does ANYONE do anything when they’re supposed to in college? I think not.

2. Getting discounts: movies, restaurants, clubs, concerts, you name it, that student ID (which I lost about 10 times) is the key to amazingness. Plus, I hate spending money, and I never have any anyway, so getting a few bucks off that movie and a free iced coffee once in a while is pretty darn sweet. However, due to the HORENDOUS photo, I try to use it as little as possible. I’m pretty sure they use that awful lighting on purpose.

3. Friends: Come on, you knew this was coming. When I was in high school, I was friends with the people I did marching band with and that was pretty much it. But in college, you’re friends with the people you live with, the people you have class with, the people you eat dinner with…no one is off limits. And my friends are AMAZING. I met most of them when I studied abroad (by far the best experience of my life btw…) and I don’t think I stop laughing/pinching myself the entire time I hang out with them. And, unlike your high school friends, who are probably married/incarcerated/pregnant for the 3rd time, your college friends don’t do that silly stuff. Instead, they do other silly stuff, like get raging drunk and pass out in public places. No biggie.

4. Daily life breakdowns: Wow. I should definitely be the expert on this category. Every day, I freak out over my future, where I’m going to live, how I’m going to get everything done, when and where and WHEN I will be getting a job. Whew. Exhausting. College people are pretty dramatic folks. It’s not like anything is hanging in the balance, right? It’s not like we actually need jobs/have hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans/have our parents breathing down our neck. Nope. Never.

5. Dining hall food: O, I’m serious. Nothing is more delicious than day old pasta with the leftovers from breakfast and lunch. Throw in the eggs! Throw in the creamed corn! Throw in the BBQ chicken! And of course, it’s always served with a smile, right? (Ok, maybe I’m being a bit sarcastic here…) But most of the time, the food is not half bad, and the best thing about it is that it’s free! Once you live off campus, you truly appreciate the value of a dining hall swipe. Do you even know how expensive cereal is in New York City??

.

Hello world!

Posted May 5, 2010

T-minus seven days till the big day….not my wedding, not the birth of my child, and unfortunately not the first day of my new job. It’s actually my college graduation: 18 years of school, hundreds of pages of academic papers, countless hours worth of childhood/teenage/young adulthood angst have all led up to this moment. I picked up my cap and gown today and was hit with the fact that come September, when I will probably still be living with my parents (more on that later) there will be no escaping. This is it, the end of school. And with every end comes a beginning right? Again, (hopefully) more on that later.

But now that finals are over, I wish I could say I’ve been spending my last few days as a college student getting a. ridiculously drunk when it is still socially acceptable and b. sunbathing and being a total slacker. Unfortunately, I’ve decided to take on some extra hours at my internship and have been logging a forty hour week. And what is the pay off? Thus far, none.

Which brings me to this blog, I Am Not a Waitress. It should be I Will Not Be a Waitress, but that domain is surprisingly taken, and the point is the same. In a week, I will be cashing in on my $200,000 college education, and right now I am broke. No jobs, no prospects, and an increasingly crippling case of life anxiety. Will I be waitressing again this summer? And my worst nightmare, perhaps lifeguarding??? Isn’t it punishment enough to have had so many sleepless nights with nothing to really show for it? ISN’T IT? Please don’t make me serve pizza for the sixth summer in a row. Please job gods, DON’T.

God knows I’m not the only one with these hopefully irrational fears, so I created this blog to share my own journey through graduating college, getting dumped in the real world, searching for jobs, probably moving back home, and adjusting to the great unknown. I hope you enjoy, and I hope this blog makes me famous so I never have to get a job and I can just sit on my couch and divide my time between blogging and watching SNL clips on Hulu. (which wouldn’t be much different from my life right now actually…) O yea, the point is a PAYCHECK. And some respect.

2 Responses to ““I am not a Waitress” Archives”

  1. Bianca January 16, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    I cannot even begin to express how deeply these entries resonated with me! I just graduated last year with a degree, which i am quickly finding out means JACK shiznit in this world, all the while worrying whether i’ll ever move out our be stuck with my parents til i’m 45. It’s scary, all right!
    (yes, and also worrying about going back to my old waitressing job in the meanwhile but after reading this, i shall definitely NOT.)

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