You wouldn’t think a person would actually learn anything when they work three jobs for six months because, well, they’re too busy to learn anything. Perhaps that’s true for a lot of people. I would think people who have worked this much for as long as I have, or longer in some cases I’m sure, aren’t too concerned about what they learn from an experience like this. They’re likely concerned about their paychecks. I am. I know I’m concerned about my paychecks because that has been my main reason to have the three jobs. I’m paying off debts in order to one day go to grad school. But, that’s not all I’ve been concerned about. I may not have realized just how much I’ve learned until now, approximately six months from the start of this journey, but I have these extreme moments of clarity when I realize how much I’ve grown. At times, I even realize how little I’ve grown in some areas of my life. These “moments” come in the form of a shower of light or a punch to the gut. They choose when the want to arrive and how effective they’ll be, little suckers. Fortunately, the showers of light appear more often than the punches to the gut.
Do people even work three jobs for six months? I have one friend who has worked three jobs for a year I think. It must be something like that. I’ll be in the same boat soon enough because I do not see this endeavor ending within the next six months. I’m really just beginning. I’ve only just started paying down debts, or at least that’s how it feels. The chance that you’re sitting at home reading this while I’m at one of my jobs is high. I work about 60 hours a week, but it does vary because two of my jobs are part-time. I hope you don’t think I’m complaining. It’s quite the opposite. I enjoy working three jobs. I know that sounds crazy because, let’s face it, people struggle with working one part-time job at McDonald’s and here I am making it to all of my jobs on time and without taking time off. You know you’re a workaholic when you put work before everything, whether it be health, family, friends, etc. I am a workaholic. You can ask any person who knows me. I am okay with this. I find it more enjoyable than most things usually, including social gatherings, relationships, and sitting at home watching mindless television. When I’m off work, I often think I’m just wasting time and could be doing something productive or making money. No joke, I’m a workaholic.
Now, let’s get our hands dirty. What does an individual learn from working three jobs? It must differ for everyone, and what I learned might not be as important to someone else as it is with me. What I’ve learned, though, surprises me. I hope you’re ready to be mildly disappointed and then drastically enlightened ’cause this girl is ready to share her lessons. Take notes.
1. Life isn’t fair. There’s really no point in sugar coating this. It is so easy to brush things off by saying “life isn’t fair” and then continue with a 10 minute bitch-sesh about how this congressman or actor or pop star is making millions of dollars while you’re making a measly $9 part-time at Wal-Mart. Yes, it’s true that those congressmen, actors, and pop stars are basically paid to sit on their ass or look pretty, but does complaining about it help you professionally or financially? I’m working this much and for this little while those who are often less educated, less hard-working, and less motivated are making boucoup bucks. It isn’t fair, and it’s frustrating, and I understand why you’re complaining, but getting me to focus on it while I could be making money or advancing professionally is a waste of my time. This is our society. We pay actors and musicians and everyone else in media, along with those in government, more money than they usually deserve. You really might as well just get used to it because the more you watch TV, go to the theater, and vote for that congressman or congresswoman, you’re putting money in their pocket. That’s not to say you shouldn’t enjoy those things or support people who share the same views as you; I’m saying that you should be aware of how our society has placed more value on entertainment and government than it does on the hard-working individuals that support it.
2. Karma loves drama. No matter if you’re Mother Theresa or Saddam Hussein, Karma will love to mess with your life and those lives around you. I used to believe in balance, like when one good thing happens another bad thing must follow. I used to believe that if you’re good to others and yourself, good things will happen to you, yada yada yada. Well, I hate to break the bad news to you. Karma’s just an asshole. Karma doesn’t give a shit how you treat others. And that thing called balance? Nope! You can have months of great things happening, months where you’re elated to be alive every single day, and then WHAM! just kidding! Let me throw in a car accident or two, or how about make a loved one get laid off? Does that sound nice? Oh, oh! How about I lay you off?! It sucks, but crappy things happen all the time to good and bad people. Likewise, amazing things happen all the time to good and bad people. You just have to make the best of it. Ignore Karma and just do your best when you wake up in the morning to work towards what you want.
3. Gossip is the death of self-dignity. This is obvious when you go to your work’s Christmas party. All you have to do is get a few people drunk and they’ll start talking about those who couldn’t make it to the party, those poor souls. A shot or two should do the trick. Don’t expect sympathy either when they talk about someone who doesn’t deserve the gossip. Nothing is off the table. All cards are laid out and they will stop at nothing to talk about others. If I were you, I would go to every Christmas party possible so you’re not one of their unfortunate victims. More importantly, though, do not join in. You wouldn’t like knowing they said the same things about you, so why would you say horrible things about someone else in the name of fun? Just listen, nod, and keep drinking that cocktail or eating that brownie. Silence, my friends, is golden.
4. Working hard does not pay off financially. In the long run, that is. Someone out there will still make more money than you. If you’re working so you’ll be rich one day, good luck with this, and please tell me how it goes! If you want to work hard, work hard to make yourself proud or to advance in your career. I cannot stress to others enough that the key to working is not to work for money but to work for passion. If you love your job, you’ll do great and you will advance. If you hate your job but love the pay, you’ll quit it when you’re tired of losing 10 pounds every month, countless hairs from your scalp, and all of your friends. That might be an exaggeration (you think?), but you get my point. I want to teach. It is my love and life. I cannot imagine doing anything else outside of running a classroom full of teenagers. Crazy, yes, but I’m not doing it for the 45-50k a year. I’m doing it because I feel my best in front of a class.
5. Laziness gets you absolutely nowhere professionally. Let’s flip the tables, shall we? I’ve been negative so far in my findings, but I wanted to save the good stuff for last. I love being lazy just as much as the next person. After working so many days, I have no problem taking a day or two to watch Netflix, eat chili cheese fries, and stay in my pajamas without the thought of taking a shower and changing. Hell, sometimes I sit in my undies or a robe for an entire weekend. Why? Because I’m a goddamned adult. When it comes to work, however, laziness isn’t in my vocabulary. Everyone’s different, this I know. Everyone has their own way of motivating themselves, this I also know. But being lazy will keep you in the same position for years to come. If you’re not willing to bust your ass for a few hours or get dirty or learn new things, you will not advance. Your professional life is entirely in your hands, and it’s up to you if you want to do well, or if you want to get stuck in a position you’re unhappy in. If you want the former, work hard. Work so hard your hands begin to crack, your throat becomes dry, your sweat begins to drip, and your mind begins to reel. There is no shame in working hard.
6. Organization is your best friend. I’ll keep this one short because this is a personal lesson for me. Many people thrive off of a messy room, office, or desk. If you’re not one of those people, listen up. Stay organized. Have planners, calendars, and a phone that can hold events. I have one amazing planner, a calendar, and a phone that is attached to my hip. If you really want to know how I’ve managed to keep my schedule straight between three jobs, it’s because of organization.
7. Pushing yourself is easier than you realize. I went 42 days once without a day off. A woman told me towards the end of this 42-day stint that her husband used to work a job in which he worked 90 days on and 90 days off. Most business owners run their businesses without days off or having just one day off in a very long week, which I would assume is 60+ hours considering their workload. Pushing yourself to get out of your bed or to be positive while at work is much, much, much easier than you think. It’s all in your mind. Truly. Your body might be tired, but if you switch your mind to a more positive tune, you can do it. It might take some discipline to get to a point when going to work doesn’t seem like a chore, but you will get there if you stay dedicated to why you’re working. If it’s money, family, advancement, or even the people you work with, focus on that instead of staying in bed or doing nothing. Try pushing yourself for a month or two without thinking about what it would be like to stay at home one day and see how easy it will become. You’ll get there!
8. Trust only those who have proven their loyalty. This is sort of a life lesson rather than a work lesson, but the concept applies in every situation. Remember that Christmas party? Can you trust those people? Unlikely. Focus on you and focus on your boss. Aiming to make friends in the work environment can be incredible, but take your time and get to know them slowly. They’ll show you loyalty once you’ve shown them you’re an asset on the job and a nice person to work with. One of the most detrimental things a person can do on the job is trust too loosely because at any turn, someone can go for the same job you’re going for or hurt your chances of making a good impression on your boss. Just keep working, do what your boss asks you to do (within reason, of course – don’t be giving away sexual favors…), and be pleasant with the people around you.
9. Everyone is fighting an uphill battle, not just you. I have found it so important to remember that everyone is struggling in some way. Whether it be personal or professional, it doesn’t matter. Remember this and do your best to relate to what they’re going through. Listen. Sympathize. Offer help when needed. People will come to you from all walks of like expressing their worries, and the best you can do is just be there and understand. If a nasty customer comes complaining to you at work, understand that maybe they’re having a rough day or they’re going through something difficult and that you, yes you, can either add to this or reduce it. Adding to it will only hurt you when they complain to your boss. Reducing it leaves them happy and makes a fantastic impression on your co-workers/boss. You’re not alone in your struggles, so don’t make another human being feel alone in theirs.
10. Life is what you make it. Happy, sad, angry, loving, whatever it is you’re feeling, you’re the one in control. It is extremely easy to let outside forces control how we feel. We get caught up in the moment and lose sight of our own capability of controlling our emotions. Letting something roll off your back is, doubtless, easier said than done, but if you can master this, I can guarantee you will do better with everything in life. I struggle with this, but I’m learning that everything is what I make it. Getting upset over something is pointless when I can try to be positive and work towards changing it. It’s okay if you struggle with this, too. We all do, but we can learn from it. You’ll do just fine if you realize that you’re the one driving your life along. There might be a few detours, but you’re still driving. Keep going.
I know, I know. It got sappy. I do apologize. I felt that because these ten things have become so important to me I should share them with others. I’m still learning, but I am loving working this hard. If you’re just finding my blog, I work as a long-term substitute at a local high school, a sales associate at Bath & Body Works, and a recreational leader at a local center for teens. I love all three jobs overall and wouldn’t trade them for anything. I believe I am valued at each of them because of the things I’ve learned, in fact. Teaching comes first, though. I have 52 students currently and I love all of them tremendously, and I love the job itself. I’ve been doing this long-term job since September and have until April or longer when it ends, and I’ll be very sad when it’s over, but it’s amazing for now! I’m very lucky to have gotten it!
I hope you enjoyed my lessons, and it’s okay if you disagree with them. Some of them are awfully blunt and cynical, so it’s understandable if you do. Either way, I hope you gained something from it. Good night, WordPress! I’ve missed you guys!