Column: Staying at my monotonous job to survive

In Columns, Opinion
an illustration of a red car with a girl sleeping in the car. The front passenger seat window is broken and there is a water bottle and money on the seat.
(Anita Huor / Daily Titan)

I woke up with a start. It took me a minute to realize where I was. Like many nights before, I had parked my car in the Walmart parking lot to get some sleep. This particular morning I woke up later than usual,  a warm breeze coming through my broken passenger window. A gallon of water, a note and four five dollar bills were on the passenger seat.

The note read something like: “We don’t know each other but whatever happened in your life I hope this little bit helps. You deserve better.”

There are many rationalizations for staying in a job I do not consistently enjoy. Fear of becoming destitute and struggling again motivates me to stay. I refuse to be without basic needs, including shelter. I am grateful I have a source of decent income that requires minimal brain power. I make easy money as my coworkers say.

I lived in my car for a while. I had friends who lent me their shower and some fridge space, but I was sleeping in my car most nights. Few experiences are worse than waking up in my car without any place to go. A job would have alleviated the stress and uncertainty of my life at the time.

Employers were not responding positively, if at all, to my resume and applications. This continued for several months until I finally rented a room and found a job through a staffing agency shortly after.

I have issues with easy money jobs. These positions tend to be mind-numbingly monotonous. At work, my brain begins to atrophy, fluid leaking from my ears after doing the same thing day in and day out for months. This easy money job is a reliable source of income that brings a level of security and comfort to my life. I value these sentiments more than how much I like my stepping-stone job position. It is a fair trade for me.

I work the graveyard shift. The hours are not optimal but it’s a perfect fit with my nocturnal nature and my class schedule. Unfortunately, this does not allow much time for extracurricular activities. Even daily tasks like taking the trash out need to be scheduled. Needless to say, mild chaos is commonplace for me.

Sometimes, looking at my job is finite and the company’s expectation of unrequited dedication to the workplace. However, it is by no means   enough of a catalyst for a job search.

There are several factors that influence someone’s outlook and satisfaction regarding their job: Education level, salary and the number of hours worked and part time or full time.

Forty-nine percent of Americans were pleased with their job, according to a 2016 study from the Pew Research Center. I am not confident I fully jive with this category. When I learn something new at work or feel productive I find myself upbeat as the hours fly by. Other days, when my pile of paperwork has been handled by my first shift counterpart and I have trouble getting the work mojo flowing, I become a negative Nancy.

Despite everything, I have become comfortable and almost complacent with my job. The pay is decent and I don’t mind the hours, until work makes me miss something.  

Working a job I am not completely jazzed about what I like to do, what I am good at, what I would like to learn and what I do not want to do. In short, this sometimes undesirable job has ironically given me direction.

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