You know, some people say that the ultimate goal is to make money. What we do is not important, as long as we make plenty of money. Which is why, when we are chained to a job we dislike, we are told to think of the stability it provides us with. For people who need to take care of their family, this is essential.
I am a student who live with her parents. I am also supposed to be an adult, since I am turning 19 in a few days. Although, I still feel like a little child most of the time. I am yet to become a fully mature individual, as you can see. Anyways, I got my first job as a retail assistant in the last week of July 2015. I work in a relatively well-known high street retail shop, which hires people with no experience at all. Hint: it’s a retailer in the UK which doesn’t advertise their product. Or more precisely, everything is always cheaper there.
Before working there, I used to be quite snobby about purchasing from the shop. Mostly because I was younger and more influenced by status. Of course, the story I told myself was different. Ugh cheap stuff, obviously poor quality. But I am glad that I worked there, it opened my eyes to the fact that less pricy doesn’t necessarily mean low quality objects. Although, you do have to be careful.
I also had the opportunity to observe and speak to people from all different walks of life. To the Christian guy with a full face of Cross tattoos who acted really guarded but eventually warmed up to my hospitality and left with a smiley goodbye; to the scientist who was doing a research on cardiac cells and when he learned about my interest in cardiac surgery, he told me to contact this lady who was the first cardiac female surgeon in England. He gave me her name and told me the contact details are in the website but I forgot her name. Great. Then there’s the nurse turned police woman and the slightly boastful gentleman who is a chef in a 5 star restaurant and many more.
I think I should’ve mentioned that retail assistant is just another name for shop-floor workers. I worked mainly as a cashier for 8 hours a weekend. More or less 4 hours every Saturday and Sunday. To some people, it might sound like an extremely convenient part-time job. Not quite, esp. during the beginning because it was very draining. Both physically and mentally. I would be lying if I said I enjoyed my job. I just didn’t enjoy packing things and folding clothes for a ‘living.’ Although most customers were nice, there were a minority of rude and entitled customers. Which will be true for where ever we go, as we all know it.
The shop hires people knowing that most people are beginners who simply wants to gain experience. Usually, from my time in that one shop, on average an employee resigned around their 8th or 9th months. A lot of new employees are constantly hired. Although, some of my colleagues have been working there for more than 3 years! As it isn’t a high end shop, we weren’t under too much pressure. Neither were our managers rude or inconsiderate.
There was this one time (a few weeks ago, actually) I was chatting with this customer whom I accidentally called ‘fit’. Here in England, ‘fit’ is the equivalent to calling someone sexy. I swear, I meant physically fit not sexy. But I can understand why I may have given off the wrong impression. Although, I must say, he had great hair. Not my type, to be clear.
I used to get paid £6.63 per hour which is $9.75 (US), just above minimum wage for over 18s. I recently got a few penny raise. Yes, I am so rich now! Now, I am supposed to get paid £6.71 ($9.87) per hour. Honestly, I didn’t care. I didn’t pay the bills, my parents did. Anything was good enough. I was solely there for experience and any sum of money.
I can truly say now: I cannot and will not work for money. Ever. You see, my job isn’t difficult. My colleagues are mostly nice. My supervisor was initially a creepy man but irrelevant mostly. My manager was fine. It wasn’t a difficult place nor a difficult atmosphere to work in. It was nice being able to speak to different people. But I hated, I mean hated, waking up every weekend to go to work.
I am taking a gap year, which means taking a year off studying. Not because I dislike studying, but because it was a necessity. One of the few things I want to develop in the year, is more worldly knowledge. By which I mean travelling.
My motivation for work was partly money and partly the experience. I need money to go abroad during my gap year. If I am able to juggle my work, voluntary work and classes, surely I am medical school material. That was enough to keep me going but I felt stressed. Always. My work didn’t have enough meaning to me. It made me more extravagant which I am currently dealing with.
The challenging aspect of my job was the anxiety I felt, realising that it got harder and harder to kill those eight hours every weekend. I had to do that on repeat week after week after week. It made me highly irritable, distant and simply an unpleasant person at times. Then I came to the conclusion that I will leave at the end of July 2016, so now I know it isn’t forever. That thought was comforting but not enough.
On 23rd of April 2016, I went to Cambridge University for a medicine masterclass (taster university level lecture). Like most people, I have dips in motivation levels. But going to that ‘class’ made me realise why I felt passionately about medicine. As for the University itself, I have a very slim chance of getting in. If any at all. But if I manage to get good grades, it will open up more opportunities for me. You can never go wrong with good grades.
My motivation to study increased sharply afterwards. I started studying more. For the first time, I could see myself having an actual chance of doing well. And I reminded myself not to be hypocritical. Hypocritical in the sense that, I am a faithful person. So maybe I should have a little more faith in hard work being rewarded. I did slack off yesterday but that’s because my stomach felt like it’s burning and the joint between my hips and thighs hurt. I often get these and they are very distracting.
I have been thinking about resigning from my job for quite a while now. And yesterday, that’s exactly what I did. I had doubts before which made me change my decision to resign, repeatedly. But on Friday, I had this discussion with my mother after suddenly I felt that now is the right time to do so. As a result, I felt more confident in my decision and the following Monday (we have to work during bank holidays), I resigned.
It feels great. All the fear and anxiety, is gone. I definitely feel happier. My last day is this Sunday. When I took the decision to resign, I honestly felt like a burden has been lifted. Don’t get me wrong, I am stressed. My exams starts from the 18th! But what I know now is that I cannot work solely for money. One of the things about wanting to study medicine is that, there will be people who will assume that you are in it for the money. Often times, those are the people that are motivated by money. So my advice would be just to ignore them.
Truly aspiring doctors are not motivated by money. Because we know: a) the £9000 x 6 worth of student loan isn’t going to repay itself b) doctors do not, I repeat do not, make money over night. They work very long hours with little rest (insert: difficult patients, unavoidable new cases and paper work) and then have to go home to read about latest medical news, if not for exams. I do not know in figures how much doctors get paid. Because: I.Don’t.Care. I know you can live as a human being and that is enough for me.
Money is a necessity not a hobby. For some people, it may be their hobby, who knows. I am not saying that being motivated by money makes someone a bad person. Although, being greedy on the other hand…we don’t really need money to be greedy. But let’s not be greedy, shall we? We all know that the only amount of money we will ever have is not enough.
I realise that it was easy for me to resign since I don’t have mouths to feed, bodies to dress, education and bills to pay for (at the moment) etc. But I am here to say that if you hate your job, I truly am sorry. If it’s someone or something about the job that you hate, you can always change that or the attitude towards them. But if it’s the job itself, then all I can say is: good luck. I suppose searching for new jobs isn’t easy, but nothing to lose in trying. Esp. if it’s your passion.
I wish I knew how to deal with the negative effects of a miserable job, I don’t. Remaining healthy might boost your mental resilience. But one thing that helped me is not venting. I used to vent, quite a lot. But when I didn’t vent, I found it easier to get dressed and go to work. Ultimately, if your job isn’t meaningful, the most difficult and most effective thing to do is to find something that you love. Which is obvious but hard. Nonetheless, we are all going to cease to exist on this very Earth one day.