Post # 1
What thought do you have when you run into an old aquantince and they are working as a cashier or in fast food In their 30’s?
Im 31 and left a waitressing job to take a professional job as an administrative assistant for our sheriffs dept. I bragged about it a lot because I was making real money and proud that they hired me even though they were looking for someone with a college degree, I waitresses with women with master degrees in business who couldn’t even find a job paying what they were offering me. I live in a relatively small town. Well I had some personal family issues happen a week into my job and I was let go after a month for “lack of focus” which I completely agreed with their decision. The woman that let me go was visibly upset and on the verge of tears because she found out why my focus was disrupted and hated to let me go but she had to do what was best for them.
So I fell into a pretty bad depression and its getting worse because I can’t find work except jobs that I’m embarrassed to work at. I know I shouldn’t care what others think but I just can’t bring myself to apply for a cashier job. A huge part of it is all the bragging I did and the idea of ringing up an ex-coworkers stuff feels humiliating. My FI doesn’t understand why I don’t just go and find the first job I can find no matter what it is, screw everyone else. Anyone have some insight or perspective on this subject? I don’t mind waitressing as a lot of people of every age do it because of lack of higher paid jobs in my town but I wasn’t really good at it because I am kind of shy. Or maybe its in my head since my self esteem is so low right now.
Post # 3
You know, there’s a part of me that feels sympathy for someone working in a job like that in their 30s, because I can only assume they would want to be doing something else. HOWEVER, the bigger thing I feel is awe. I truly think very highly of people who work when they have to, even when the job is not something that feels “respected.” I really respect someone who does what they have to do, rather than sitting at home and NOT working because the available jobs are what they consider embarassing.
Post # 5
I think honest work is honest work. When I see a 30, 40, 50 year old doing a job like that, I know they are busting their ass to provide for themselves. Instead of letting someone else do it.
My father always told me “you aren’t defined by your work – you are defined by the quality of your work.” If I’m a ditch digger you had better believe I’m going to dig superior ditches, to the best of my ability. That’s what matters.
I work in an office and always have, but if worst comes to worst I would never feel ashamed of a job ringing people up.
I also know plenty of professionals who supplement their income with these types of jobs. Or who just want to stay busy.
I think part of your problem is that you did look down on that kind of work and that led to your bragging when you believed you got a leg up. But the working man or woman has nothing to be ashamed of. Be proud of the fact that you are contributing.
Post # 6
- Wedding: June 2014 - British Columbia
I don’t know if this is encouraging, but a classmate from college actually got an interview for a professional job in banking from being a waiter at a fancy steakhouse/burger bar. (Service industry = great for networking! You’re at the core of it! Businessmen having lunches/taking clients out to dinner.)
Waitressing/working in the hospitality industry is definitely not something to look down on. It takes a lot of multi-tasking skills, dexterity and grace, and on-the-spot problem-solving skills. I, for one, am a huge klutz and will have customers sue my arse if I were to spill hot coffee on them.
When I was a summer student working as a file/mail clerk for an insurance office, I had this coworker who felt like she was on top of the world/invincible — since she was in a similar position — it was a “one up” from being a 7-Eleven store cashier. It was really sad when she got let go because the manager caught her leaving work early without permission.
There are a few things to note if you try to break into the professional world: you leave work at work and home life at home. If you needed to sort out personal problems, it is best to be open with your employer and ask for some personal time off.
Agreed with PP that jobs & age do not define who we are. It is our attitudes when we work; how we interact with people. I started out in my career as a bank teller; now, I work in accounting for the same employer and do a lot of analytical work/minimal admin. I still find it very refreshing to have different perspectives of banking; I can relate to how difficult a bank teller’s job can be. From personal experiences, when I was applying internally for other positions, the prospective manager looks for people with the right “fit”.
Being let go is not something to dwell on. You can learn from this and good luck in your job search! One of the most common questions often asked in interviews is “What is your weakness?” Now that you have identified it, you can improve! If you need help with your resume, just PM me. We could draw on your past relevant work experiences if you still desire to set a career path in office administration.
Job hunting is daunting. I’ve been there. Job market really sucked in 2009.
Post # 7
Thank you so so very much on the replies!! It really helped change my mindset knowing the views others had on this subject- that its not as likely to be negatively judged as I thought. It was exactly what I needed to hear to boost my confidence to get out there and just work.
I wouldn’t look down on someone per say but maybe feel a little bad for them but have to remember i don’t know their life story and why they are where they are. I’m trying to learn to not care what others think- it’s a process.
@cynderbug I found my admin job from regular customers I had while waitressing so I agree it is a great way to network. I so appreciate your offer to help and I might take you up on it sometime- I just have a poor work history due to bouncing around a lot when I was a single mom so I probably need to have more experience in general by staying with a company for a decent amount of time and only leaving on good terms.
Post # 8
@Bunny123: I know a lot of people who left professional jobs to wait tables because they could make a decent wage with tips & spend more time with their family. That’s pretty much what I assume when I see someone in a service job. That’s what my Mom did! My parents owned a restaurant for years so maybe I see things differently, but I always assume that people in restaurants are there because want to be there.
I don’t have a degree either but I have a good job that I’ve held for 7 years now. I can’t tell you how many times I come home exhausted & wish I still worked at my old job in the coffee shop!! I am tempted to do that again and I could definitely see myself choosing that option if I end up having a baby and don’t want to go back to my current job.
Post # 9
Some wait staff make very good money. I’d say on par with, or more, than an admin. I wouldn’t say an admin is higher on the food chain than someone waiting tables at a nice restaurant. It’s a different set of skills, and neither requires much education. Just because one sits at a desk and one doesn’t in no way means one is better than the other.
Post # 10
I love waiting tables, I actually was happier waiting tables than being an engineer, which I am now. It’s mostly because, I didn’t feel confined and I was in charge of myself for the most part. I don’t think you could be too old for a job, unless you get to a point to where you can’t physically or mentally do it. Oddly, it’s gotten pretty hard to find a serving job where I live, they make good money.
Post # 11
I think nothing of it… really. I think they are doing their job, working hard, and I treat them kindly with respect because they are adults, people, human beings… I don’t judge. They’re working. We all have to work.
Post # 12
I think you do what you have to do. It shows a lot of poise to do work you think is “beneath” you.
SO’s older brother graduated law school at 30 – he didn’t work hard during school, didn’t network and didn’t start applying for jobs until just shy of a month before he graduated. Basically, he wasn’t doing anything to find employment but was still aghast when he couldn’t find a job after passing the bar. His parents (who had been supporting him financially since he went to college at 18) told him they were finally cutting him off – and he threw a hissy fit. They told him to get whatever job he could (working as a waiter, cashier, whatever) and he refused. He acted like he was so above it; it was really bratty and snotty.
The whole situation made me lose a lot of respect for him. He ended up losing his car and was basically relying on the girlfriend he had just moved in with to support him (oh, and he took out ANOTHER loan from the bank). About 6 months after graduating, he did find a job that he felt wasn’t “beneath” him (not legal work, though) and has been pretty happy since.
The point is that he acted like a brat. A snotty, priviliged brat. It made me, my SO and his parents all lose A LOT of respect for him. If he had done what you seem like you might do and just took whatever job he could get, right away, not only would that have shown all of us that he was taking his life seriously, but it would have caused us to GAIN respect for him.
You do what you have to and don’t worry about anyone else.
Post # 13
@MsMonkey: +++1 I really respect anyone working and swallowing their pride to pay the bills. I am a teacher and have a slight shopping addiction so I work two jobs 🙂 Plus that way you can earn/work your way into the job of your dreams and when you land that job you know that you did it on your own!
Post # 14
For what it’s worth, I have a master’s degree in business and am working in a wine shop/bar for the time being while I find something more permanent! My career kind of went kablooey last year during the fiscal cliff & my industry hasn’t recovered yet – I was working on a startup for the past 6 months but our team just decided to “Old Yeller” it a couple weeks ago since we determined that it’s not financially viable. So I took this job for the time being while looking for something more permanent. I usually spend my mornings sending out resumes or volunteering & then go to work afternoons/evenings.
Am I occasionally worried that I will run into someone who knows me professionally at the wine shop? Hell yes. But do I really care? Eh. Not really. I love working in the wine shop actually. It’s even gotten me thinking that maybe I would want to pursue something in the wine business as a second career if I can’t find something that I’m “qualified” for in sustainability, energy efficiency or the nonprofit sector. Not to mention that the owner says I can buy all the wine/champagne for my wedding at wholesale (score!). I’m also blessed to have a *very* caring and supportive FI who has gone through layoffs himself a couple years ago and knows that my career will bounce back sooner or later.
Keep your chin up! Plenty of us are “under employed” right now and there’s no shame in earning a paycheck. Besides I find that it’s better for me to have something interactive to do so I don’t obsess over career/lack thereof.
Post # 15
@Bunny123: Just be amazing at whatever job you end up in and people will respect you for it…I’ve had some amazing waiters and there’s this guy who works at a local store that people rave about on Yelp because he’s so helpful and nice.
@nber0815: My BIL isn’t exactly like this, but he does have a sense of entitlement and wants to be rich and famous just for being himself. Sigh.
Post # 16
@Magdalena: I love your father’s quote! That’s awesome!