Gripe, Gripe, Gripe.

I’m sure my five faithful readers remember all too well when I was complaining about being unemployed a few weeks back, but now that I’ve been employed for three weeks, allow me to gripe for a moment about having a job.

So I’m currently working in a print shop, manning the front desk and helping to keep the office organized and the internal processes flowing smoothly. There are a lot of things that I really enjoy about this job, namely the mostly chill environment and co-workers and meeting lots of really interesting people that have us print things for them. A lot of my job is answering the phone, which if anyone knows me well, they know that I don’t enjoy talking on the phone in my personal life let alone my professional life, and that I definitely struggle to represent myself accurately on the phone. In other words, when I talk to strangers on the phone, I feel that I sound a lot dumber and less competent than I actually am. But surprisingly, I’ve fallen into the groove of things, and now I don’t feel nearly so anxiety-riddled to call someone up and tell them that their print job is done and ready to be picked up. As much as I hate talking on the phone, it’s challenging me in a good way to broaden my comfort zone and improve a skill that can serve me well in other jobs in the future.

Those are the good things. One of the most difficult things about this job is that it requires me, a natural introvert, to be very outgoing and bubbly. Not really my style unless I’m slightly intoxicated, sorry to say. Apparently the girl who had my job before was really friendly and perky, and several of the customers have told me how sad they are that she doesn’t work there anymore. Which makes me feel really great, obviously. I’ve never been a person to act any other way than how I’m feeling or how I am naturally (within the bounds of politeness, of course), and I’ve also never been a person who can roll with anything and be confident and cool when I have no idea what I’m talking about (as I so often do at this job), so I’m having a hard time adopting this Susie-Talks-A-Lot persona that’s expected of me. Is it better to be competent and professional, or friendly and outgoing? I would almost always say the former, but I think that just isn’t the case in customer service-oriented jobs like this one. I welcome any tips on how to dissociate my real personality from my fake work personality, ie. someone please teach me how to be schizophrenic.

The worst thing about this job is the inconsistency of work hours. I was told I would be working about five hours each day, Monday through Friday; some days I work from 9 until 12:30, some days I work until 4:30. My work hours are entirely dependent on the amount of incoming work to be done; if it’s slow, which apparently it is in the summer months, and I run out of things to do, they send me home. If it’s busy, I work a full day. There is zero uniformity. I can’t plan my life around something with so little structure. And, I’m only getting paid $10 an hour, which means my paychecks for each two-week pay period my paycheck is $400 or less. And it would be one thing if I were living at home with my parents, or if it was just a summer job that I was only going to be at for a couple months, but seriously, I have a college degree! And I’ve worn out my welcome in my current rent-free living situation, which means I’m going to have to start paying rent again soon! And I have to start paying on my student loans in September! I’ve got bills and expenses, man. And to paraphrase Notorious B.I.G.: no money, mo’ problems. Kendall need steady hours and steady income. She need it now.

Okay, venting complete. I hate to sound ungrateful for the job I have, because I could certainly still be unemployed, and a lot of people are unemployed and are a lot worse off than I am. But, I guess I’m just now starting to see that having a job doesn’t solve all of my problems. It’s a good start, but there’s a lot more puzzle pieces that need to fall into place before I can characterize my feelings about my life as okay and stable. Until then, I just need to persevere and be grateful.

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One response to “Gripe, Gripe, Gripe.

  1. Erendira Jimenez

    At my last job (working at a restaurant as a cashier. Oh the joys…) what really helped me was learning the “script”–the things you say to every customer or everytime you answer the phone. Then, it just becomes acting while you’re intereacting with people. It’s not fake, per se, because you’re really only fulfilling a role for the benefit of that other person and your employer. I’m still doing it now at my new job because I’m having to make phone calls to parents and therapists multiple times a day (which also makes me uncomfortable). I’m finding that as long as I don’t deviate too far from the script I feel more comfortable and confident when I’m speaking and when I’m not talking to people I can go back to being quiet me. Also, don’t feel bad about not having a great job yet. It took me a whole year after graduation to land this job that actually utilizes my degree. And you might as well keep looking for new jobs while you’re at your job, if you can. It doesn’t hurt to always be on the lookout.

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