I took last week off from writing to accomplish a few other things that have been piling on my plate!Sometimes I have so much ambition that it causes me to stagnate because there is SO much to do and SO little time that I feel completely stuck. This week is better, and I am getting back on track though!I want to take a deep dive into employment and the culture we have in the United States this week because it is a topic that is weighing heavily upon my heart.
In my short life span I have had a multitude of different jobs! Jobs that I have loved, that fill me up every day and jobs that seem more like chores that I would dread going to. One job that I have particularly loved and will until the end of time was being a Coordinator for the American Democracy Project. This job fed my passion for community, civic engagement, and program development! I think during my time at ADP we hosted an event every single week and had tons of free content for our students and the community. This job was far from perfect, but it is what I wanted to do. Work never felt like a chore. I felt like I was making a difference.
Fast forward to now, I am working as a nanny and part-time at a beauty store in my area. These are jobs that I love. I absolutely adore children and I have been a nanny since I was 15. I have been fortunate enough to stay with the same family for the past couple years and these boys are my life. I would do anything for them, and I love them so fiercely. The family I work for is amazing. They are so understanding, patient, and treat me like I am a part of their own. I have been incredibly lucky to find such a wonderful work environment. Nannying definitely seems like an easy job to most people but I am here to tell you that over the past 7 years I have developed a new respect for stay at home moms and dads. This shit is HARD. There are days where I can’t even go to the bathroom alone, let alone eat my own lunch. Temper tantrums, teaching kids’ manners, potty training, learning to share, these are all important aspects of my job that take so much time and patience.
My job at the beauty store is good for me giving me a chance to work with adults, talk to people, and organize! I have a passion for organizing and beauty stores have so many products that a large part of my job is keeping everything tidy! For a long time between the two jobs I was working about 50-60 hours a week. This was normal for me. I felt like I could do it, but I was drained and what I didn’t know is that I was starting down a road where my health would start to deteriorate.
Why is this do you ask? BECAUSE IT IS NOT NORMAL TO WORK 50-60 HOURS A WEEK. In America we have created this culture where you need to have a job, but not just any job. It should be a “career” job, one that holds a certain status and shows that you are in the “real” workforce. Aside from that we also promote hard work and dedication to jobs that you don’t even care about that much. We stretch ourselves so thin for jobs that will replace us if we leave. We stretch ourselves so thin, thinking that is what we must do.
I have been taking the last month off to get my health back in order. When I started working the two jobs, I was just about to finish my degree, I was sick with a terrible infection, and it never seemed like I could get better. My plate was overflowing. Jumping to the present, I had to take a month off from work so I could fix my health. I finally have beat the infection I have had since November and I am finally starting to decompress from all the stress I had put myself under. There were consequences to all of this. Since I was neglecting my body and my needs for the sake of my work, I ended up loosing a tooth from the stress. (I LOST A GOD DAMN TOOTH Y’ALL, and not just any tooth but one of my front teeth, welcome to the never-ending saga that is my health). I am so lucky that I work for people who understand the importance of health and allowed me to take a month off. I know that in our society getting a month off of work is really hard and not the norm. If I didn’t have the flexibility with my job I would have had to quit unfortunately.I get asked quite frequently from friends and family about when I am going to get a “real” job. My parents have been pressuring me to enter the workforce and find a job that works with my degree. While I want to find a job that works with my degree, I want to enter the workforce, I want to help organizations succeed, I just don’t feel this intrinsic need to go RIGHT NOW. The workforce will literally always be there. There will always be jobs, even if they aren’t the jobs I want. I have had to remove myself from this toxic mindset that my success is equated to what job I hold. A friend asked me the other day why I would want to stop nannying and working part time if I can pay all my bills and I get to do all of the other things that I want. And it was HUGE for me. He was so right. If I am paying my bills and working towards my own idea of success, why would I give a single shit about what anyone else has to say? I am doing the things that fill me up and make me happy. I have money to pay my bills and invest in myself a little. I am perfectly capable of sustaining the life I have right now, and I need to know that it is enough. I don’t need to have it all figured out right now or ever really. As long as I am taking care of myself and my expenses the title of a job means so little to me. I am here to change the world and I feel like I would be so confined if I had a “career job” right now. Working through the standards that society has set for me is hard though. And it is hard not to feel the pressure to get a “real job”.
All I know is that I want to change the narrative around work in our society so that we can lead happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.