Saturday, 4 August 2012

Enjoying right now

Apologies for sloppy writing, spelling, grammar and cliches, I just got home from work and am exhausted, but have been desperate to make just a little bit of time to write.

As I have explained before, waitressing and being a bar maid were never high up on my list of ambitions. Just like taking telephone orders for Domino’s Pizza, working in a pound shop and quitting a coffee place after four weeks were never on my life’s to do list. I did have a brief stint in a clothes store that I loved, but it was only temporary. I think my biggest problem with most of my jobs is that I only ever viewed them as temporary, I was always quite snobbish about it, knowing I was a student and going on to bigger and better things and therefore, finding things to hate about the job. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the pound shop was genuinely horrible. There is no dignity to be found stacking cans of Winalot on a Sunday morning, or having people who happen to be idiots assume that you too are an idiot.

So, all of my previous jobs have been, for the most part, terrible, but while mooching about replenishing cutlery and condiments on tables I began to wonder, how much of that was because I was being a snob? How much of it was because I convinced myself I was too good for the job and could do better? Was I always scared to enjoy or take any satisfaction from my jobs in case it somehow defined me or became my life?

I know I could do better than my current job, but like many degree students, it’s all I have. It’s that or jobseekers and will hopefully, be for a maximum of 18 months, but who knows what’s around the corner? This generation will probably have more degree qualified bar staff and waiters and checkout operators than any other, and we have to take all we can get. We have to fight for everything we can, and there is nothing undignified or lowly about it. We’re trying our best to get there, but having to take the scenic route.

So why not take in the scenery? I said about being scared that my job would define me, but every job, paid and voluntary, has given me experience that I can’t easily forget. Its skills such as communication, organisation and compromise, as well as how to deal with people that I can use in future in both professional and personal contexts. I’ve learnt how to juggle work with studies and relationships and most of all, I’ve learnt the value of hard work and that we’re all only human. No one is too good or too intelligent for certain types of work or bad circumstances, in the same way that no one is unworthy of success. I know I need to work for my rewards, and that I need to enjoy what I have, when I have it. If I’m always waiting for something better, I’ll always be miserable where I am now.

So tonight, I stopped being scared that this is the best it’s going to get and worrying about the future, and started to appreciate that my job is actually the best I’ve ever had, and I’m lucky to have it. It’s not too busy, not too quiet, I like the people I work with and occasionally have a laugh. It makes me happy when I get tips or get a compliment for my service and occasionally the unexpected happens. For example, tonight I briefly got shouted to go out the back, and it was simply to watch about twenty Chinese lanterns drift through the sky. And because the guy who initially shouted me was baffled and wondered if it was aliens. The other week I got birthday cake and sometimes, I get to go home early. It’s all about the little things really.

We all have ambitions, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t be satisfied. I mean being a waitress isn’t forever, but it doesn’t mean I have to moan about it and begrudge my circumstances. We only live once, so we might as well enjoy the journey, even if we do take the long way round and find ways to take joy from everything we do, and lessons and memories from every experience. 

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