I've certainly come to a cross roads lately...graduation encroaching on my lackadaisical lifestyle I am forced to grapple with the fact that I must get a job that pays the bills or I will be out on my ass. This revelation that my somewhat scatter-brained and unrealistic existence is coming to a close with the symbolic lifting of the tassel to the other side of the cap is terrifying. I'm literally paralyzed with fear at the thought of the future. Lately I've done nothing to help my situation, in fact I spent much of yesterday fretting about the inevitability of the cold hard truth: the future looks expensive, unforgiving, and tough as hell. I know I know things aren't necessarily going to be so bad...but I can't help but wonder, what if they are? How do I know they won't be that bad? There's no guarantee of anything anymore. In fact the job market hasn't taken an optimistic turn in any direction and competition for jobs (not even good jobs but any job) has become ferocious and cutthroat.
This weekend I went a really wonderful soiree with the people I sometimes work with at a well-known Minneapolis restaurant. It was so great to see old friendly faces again and to gossip about other people or bitch over new developments or things that will probably never change at the place. Nevertheless this is why we love it so much and why we're completely attached to it. As much as we all bitch and complain about the place, we're lifers. And for all its flaws there are equally as many perks. What job allows you all the time off you could ever ask for? True it's not handed to you, but as long as you can find someone to cover your shift you don't have to worry about taking too much time off. The dress code...there isn't one. Don't worry about being forced into conservative knee length skirts, panty hose, and frumpy dress pumps. Tattoos, piercing, wild hairstyles, outlandish make up, and gaudy jewelry are encouraged. In fact, the more creative your style the larger your tip generally ends up being. I love that I can honestly relax and actually feel like I am being myself. The people I work with are generally the people who I love to party with and who I hang out with before and after work. It's a diverse group of people who all have one thing in common: they're all really fucking awesome.
So why do I assume that I need to sell-out and report the nearest corporate office upon graduating? It probably has something to do with my middle-class suburban upbringing. I was raised on the idea that if you worked hard you'd go far in life, that sacrifice was essential, and that one day if I sacrificed and worked hard enough I too might be able to purchase a home in the suburbs and have a family to thus perpetuate the vicious cycle of mediocrity. Needless to say I went kicking and screaming through most of my youth. But if there is anything to be said for growing up it's that you get to leave home and become your own person. Don't get me wrong I love my parents and all that they sacrificed to give to me...but I just know that their lifestyle and that of the suburbs is not for me.
My first inkling that I didn't necessarily have to have one job for the rest of my life came from a really amazing teacher who completely changed my life forever. This wild and wonderful teacher told me about his experience going to Japan after he graduated college. He said to himself, 'I've achieved more than anyone else in my family. But what do I really know?' and decided to test his knowledge by going to a country who knew little about with a language he had never spoken before to see how he could survive. This was one of the most radical ideas I'd ever heard. So you didn't just get a job in a cubicle? You took a year off after graduation? You didn't know anything about the country of the language? YOU WENT TO ASIA? Wow. My image of the world and life and what I had been taught to do versus what I was capable/able to do was completely shattered. (And by shattered I mean made more whole and beautiful.)
Which brings me back to the question at hand: what do I do with my life now that I've conquered the beast of higher education? Where do I go, where do I begin? I know that I'm not destined for a desk job...I'd rather eat raw meat with a pro-choice republican while singing the national anthem before I'd sign my soul over to a cubicle in corporate America. Back to the party with my friends from work...why why why can't I have a job like this? What is so wrong with being a waitress? I love the people I work with, I have a lot of freedom and personal liberty, I make decent money, and I have fun. I can have as much time off as I want or need and generally have to work less than I would if I have a conventional job. Who wouldn't want a job like that? It's an amazing place where I get to work with my friends, meet new people, and see awesome concerts. This doesn't mean that it'd be a permanent job but I realize that I am certainly not ready to hand over all my freedom. I'm still young and immature and idealistic. This job embodies so much of who I am and they way I want to live my life. So I guess you could say I'm definitely starting to transition my way over to the waitress as a full-time job camp. And why not? Tell me why not?