No Shame In My Game

Over at Mama Kat’s this week, the Writer’s Workshop prompt that really spoke to me was “10 Reasons why you love your job.” This is important to me, because I’ve had a lot of insecurities when it comes to my job. Well, the one that pays the bills, anyway. Yes, I’m a blogger. I’m also a vintage reseller on Etsy. Those “jobs” are what I love and what I prefer to be known for, and what I hope will someday be more lucrative than they are currently.

Mama’s Losin’ It

But my outside-the-home job? I work in food.

There. I said it.

I haven’t always worked in food. I work for a major retailer that everyone loves, and I began my career there as a cashier. Then I got moved to the pharmacy. Then, I got pulled out of the pharmacy to do a job I hoped I’d never have to do: run their cafe.

“Would you like some fries with that?”

I cried myself to sleep every night for two weeks when I found out I’d be going over there! People tend to look down on people who work in food. Not only that, but I am a few hours shy of a Bachelor’s Degree! (BTW, “almost” having a Bachelor’s degree means nothing in the smartest city in the state, and one of the smartest cities in the country!) But I was getting divorced and going to the cafe gave me a bump in pay, more hours, and the option of health benefits during the next open enrollment. I put on my big girl panties, wrangled up my entrepreneurial spirit, and set out to run that place like a boss.

And I did. And my hard work has paid off.

I used to feel a twinge of shame when I told people what I did, because I rarely got a look of respect. I usually got either a look of pity, or, if I met someone in similar circumstances, a look of discomfort. I mean, sometimes you’re only a divorce or other bad situation away from having to take a job you swore you’d never do. And who wants to be reminded of that? Apparently, a lot of people feel food service jobs (especially of the fast food variety) are for uneducated people who are unambitious and fine with living on minimum wage. (And don’t even get me started on people who try to shame fast food workers for picketing for better wages!) But for a lot of us, nothing could be further from the truth.

These days, my attitude has changed. There is no shame in my game! I tell people what I do with a sense of pride. I work hard, I am valued, and I provide for myself and my family (even though, not gonna lie…things do get pretty tough around here from time to time). What the hell is there to be ashamed of about that? Sure, I would like the respect of my peers, but it is not necessary because I respect the hell out of myself for taking circumstances I was uncomfortable with and running my game! If someone doesn’t want to get to know me because I work a job they don’t like, or they mistakenly assume I’m unambitious? That’s on them, not me. And people like that have no business in my inner circle.

“Every job is worthwhile and valuable.”
-Geoffrey Owens

Another reason it was SO important to me to write about this topic is because of the recent job-shaming of Cosby Show actor Geoffrey Owens. Reading about that made me cry. Not out of pity, but because I totally get it.

In summary….

10 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT MY JOB:
(not in any particular order)

  • My hard work is valued.
  • I have health benefits. This may not seem like something to love about a job, but if you’ve ever been where you didn’t have access to adequate medical care for years because you had no health benefits, you will definitely love it.
  • I meet new and amazing people every single day.
  • I have bonded with my regulars.
  • I am always given the opportunity to build on my skills and learn new ones.
  • Full time hours. These hours were hard to come by, even when I worked in the pharmacy.
  • I am able to provide for myself and my family.
  • I get an employee discount at my favorite store!
  • I now have most NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS off! And that is almost unheard of in retail. I do not take it for granted!
  • Flexibility. Yes, I am on a pretty desirable and set schedule – a dream for someone like me who craves routine – but I still also have the flexibility to pursue other interests, such as writing, travel, and stocking my vintage Etsy shop!
  • What do you love about your job?

    8 comments

    • Geoffrey Owens is absolutely correct. We’ve gotten so narrow-minded about what is and isn’t a good job, that no one realizes what would happen if someone wasn’t doing it. It sounds like you’re happy, making OK money (everyone could use more) and getting good benefits. That’s what’s important.

      • It really is! And I feel really lucky to have a job where I make what I do, period. So many jobs have been outsourced and otherwise relocated overseas that there are a plethora of people having to take whatever jobs they can to make ends meet, whether they are overqualified or not. Jobs just aren’t there like they used to be.

    • Kim,

      That’s wonderful you’ve come to respect your position in the food industry. Have good work ethics is a plus in a world that feels entitled. I admire people from all walks of life doing all sorts of jobs. What one person likes another might not, so I’m thankful for those who like where they are for whatever reason. Honestly, that used to marvel me. I prefer a desk job and found it hard to understand why some liked working outdoors in the elements. It wasn’t until I put things into perspective that I not only respected these people’s career decisions but thankful for them doing the jobs I didn’t like. Someones gotta do those jobs, so hopefully, it’s someone who likes that line of work. Hooray to you for keeping your head high. You have reason to be proud! Good share!

      • Heh, I can’t say I like the line of work all that much (I don’t like to cook for my family at home, either, and never have liked it), but I like other aspects of it a lot. But I agree about needing people to do all kinds of jobs. Not everyone can be a doctor or lawyer, and not everyone is even lucky enough in this day and age to find a job in their field. But I am grateful for my job and proud of what I do.

    • I love your gratitude about your job! I wish more people would focus on this instead of all the downsides of their job. Every job has good and bad sides to it, no matter how “lowly” or “enviable” the job appears to outsiders. It’s what it means to you that counts.
      Sounds like you are one of those blessed folk who will find the silver lining in any situation because of practicing this gratitude. This is unfortunately rarer than you think, and something to be proud of.
      Inspiring, Kim! You rock.

      Deb

      • This. Everything you just said. I have worked in a few different career fields in my life (all except for the one I went to school for, natch), and there are definitely upsides and downsides to any job. And in a day and age where even a degree doesn’t guarantee you’ll work in your chosen field, or at your chosen job, no less.

        Gratitude is everything.

    • Like you, I’ve worked different career fields and still get through life with both my business degree along with being a licensed stylist. What I’ve learned is that in any “service-related” job, people tend to treat you, well, differently. I often hear, “wow, with your credentials, why are you just doing hair?”….and it annoys the living poop out of me. People fail to realize that having as much knowledge and experience as possible helps to keep the work doors open. The ability to work in a field not met with everyone’s approval can definitely bring great personal satisfaction.

      That’s what you seem to have, Kim, and I applaud you for obviously being quite an asset to your employer.

      • Thank you so much, Patty! I know what you mean about having credentials to do something better, and knowledge is awesome. I also think a lot of people might not realize that no matter how educated you are or how much experience you have, sometimes the jobs just aren’t there. I’ve known people with Master’s degrees that had to work retail supervisory jobs because the jobs in their chosen field just were not there. It’s true that most of them moved on the minute they did get that coveted job, but still…if you don’t have the means or desire to move to find the job of your dreams, then you take one that isn’t your dream and make that one work until such a job comes to you. The more you know, the more likelihood you have of getting a job, even if it’s not in your preferred field. Right?

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