In February, I returned from a month "off" that included trips to DC, Florida, and New Orleans, then immediately moved out of my parents' house and into a house in Birmingham with some great friends. I had over two months of my bills saved and thought I could make it stretch a little further if I kept my belt tight and kept working at Starbucks. I also had a promising interview that came out of nowhere upon returning from my travels. A job that would sustain me economically but also leave room in my schedule for my own ventures. Everything seemed so bright. I was blinded with rose-colored glasses and now things are getting gloomy. Exciting, but gloomy.
There wasn't much room for me on the schedule at Starbucks when I got back. At the time, I didn't care too much because I'd just been offered a job that would pay me 3-4 times as much as I brought in as a barista. I just picked up weekend shifts and went about setting up my new place as quickly as possible so I would be ready for the "immediate" start date I was promised. I made a very big mistake of loosening my belt and even celebrating a few hundred dollars away like a total idiot. But the weeks kept passing. I started taking any and every shift I could, which totalled to 2 full-time weeks and 3 almost full-time weeks. I started grocery shopping at my parents' house. I would have forgotten the taste of beer and wine had my roommates and neighbors not been so generous.
The start date kept getting pushed back to the point of indefinitality. I felt like such a pest trying to find out when I could start. When I could stop deciding which credit card payment to make and start buying my own groceries and wearing my beloved clothes and paying my full part of the rent. Finally my recruiters gave up on that job for me and presented me other options. But now I fear the next round of the same has begun. I'm significantly less trusting than I was a couple of months ago, so I know I am being hasty to worry. But I feel so powerless over my own life. I thought I'd finally reached some form of independence. I wish I could just wait indefinitely for the right job. I wish I could live off of my income as a barista. I wish I could just work on my business ideas. But this is the real world where scarcity exists.
I suspended my job hunt for grad school and personal ventures last year because getting hundreds of rejection emails and walking out of disappointing interviews was destroying my morale and proving to be wasted effort until I was ready. I'd recovered from that last blow, but this situation makes it VERY clear to me why so many people just stop trying to find a job that will build to the career they've always dreamed up for the the reliable income of bartending and customer service.
TO BE CLEAR, I have the deepest respect and assume the very best intentions of all the recruiters and employers I've been working with. I doubt there is a malicious bone in any of their bodies and they aren't aware of the mess I got myself into by being so trusting and assumptive. They don't mean to have me as a lost piece of paper in a pile of clutter, but that's not really something they can easily change. I know I have plenty of priorities that keep me from things and people I'd much rather dedicate time to. It happens. My concern is how much it happens to job-seekers and new hires all of the time. And we wonder why there is a "talent shortage" (ahem there isn't) when candidates are endlessly burned out on the game and cease to see the value of keeping up the hunt.
(formerly "Bare Barista Threads" and "Memoirs of a Pizza Girl")
With a year of delivering pizza, two and a half years as a barista, and some more time in the trenches, I have plenty of stories, thoughts, and musings. The days that threatened to break me all the while built me. I want to help others in my profession view their work as an opportunity, too. This is my soap box.