In today's society we are led to believe "if you have a job, you're lucky." But we all know that despite being lucky, luck doesn't always bring happiness. Luck in a career path can be described in many different ways depending on the individual. As a fellow desk job employee, I am thankful that I do not have to deal with the general public on a daily basis, but sitting all day can be grueling. For those who I spoke to regarding their customer service positions, Joe said, "You either love it, or hate it. There is no middle point." After canvassing a few individuals via social media for their raw comments about their industries and positions, Joe's response was proven correct.
"The hours - In food-service, it is twenty-five hours a day, eight days a week. The hours are long and hard. You're on your feet all day. Weekends, holidays, birthdays. It is really tough sometimes," Joe stated when asked to describe his time in the food-service industry. Still continuing in this industry 31 years later, Joe described the worst situations being the pressure of time in a fast paced environment, finding good help, constant employee call-offs, and missing out on a lot because of his dedication to what he loves to do. It is rare to find an individual who enjoys working in the food-service industry these days because there is not a lot of money to be made if you are just an employee, but despite that, Joe said that he wants to do what he does forever. "To me, making people happy is like a drug, I am addicted to it. If I can make someone happy with a good meal, and have the opportunity to hang out with good friends or family - It makes it all worthwhile."
In contrast to my appreciation for having a desk job, I talked with Holly who would rather work somewhere she can be active. "The thing I dislike most about my position would have to be sitting all day in front a computer and not being able to get up and move around. I feel like not being able to get up and move around makes the day feel much longer." After working as a hospital operator for roughly one year, Holly knows she will not be working in the call service industry longer than she has to. Despite it not paying enough to cover her costs of living, she appreciates the customer service skills she gained from the position and hopes that it assists her with opening her own graphic design and printing shop in the future.
Working from home sounds like a dream come true to just about everyone I have ever talked to, even before interviewing for this piece - so I decided to find someone that actually works from her home. "It is very stressful, but the money keeps me here, and I may be doing it forever just because of that." Jennifer is a mother of three who works from home so she can provide for her children by being home with them and having a job. As a debt collector, she bothers people for a living but, "dealing with angry people every day" is what she dislikes most about her position. When I asked her if people often say they could never do what she does, she replied, "All of the time, and my reaction is they're right. It is very hard to get yelled at, cussed at, and hung up on a lot of your day. I try to be nice to people who I'm trying to help, but they continue to treat me like a dog just because I am doing my job. It is in no way easy, and it is definitely not for everyone." If she were to ever leave her home for a job she is appreciative for the skills and emotional strength that being a debt collector has given her.
As a server in a retirement center and at a major breakfast restaurant chain, Valerie liked making people happy and providing good service made her happy. However, the people that she worked with were the worst part of her job. "I learned how to better deal with the public, and how to be fake-nice when it was necessary. I have also learned from working in a restaurant, how important tips are to servers and how I should tip well when going out." While missing holidays and major family events, Valerie was busy scrubbing feces off of chairs, cleaning spit off of her clothes, and seeing her tips amount to only pennies. Since moving out of the industry, she has learned to handle many situations head on and embrace her customer service skills. Valerie mentioned that she would have never been able to provide for her family if she stayed where she was. "Paying less than $4.00 an hour isn't right, the government doesn't realize how poorly people tip."
"I love my job. They say when you love what you do; you never work a day in your life." Kayla said when asked if she likes or dislikes her current position as a physical therapist. Kayla finds true excitement from waking up in the mornings and knowing that she is going to help people that day, despite the downfalls that occasionally happen when a patient's therapy doesn't go as planned. Despite having over $100,000 in student loan debt, Kayla is confident that she can help raise a child one day and care for herself in the process because of her position and the industry she is in. While confessing that this is what she hopes to do for the rest of her career, Kayla said, "The feeling I get when I see an athlete correct a movement pattern that she has been working on for weeks, or when I hear an 80-year-old man who was falling once a week say he hasn't fallen in months. Why would you not want to be doing what I do?"
Whether we wake up in the mornings loving what we do or not, it is important to remember the people we come in contact with during our day-to-day activities are trying to make a living for themselves and their families as well. During our daily hustle, it is easy to forget that some of the issues we encounter aren't always the fault of the person we are interacting with at the time. No matter the situation, they value respect the same as we do. Every person with a job, trying to earn an honest living, deserves respect.
Take a moment today to be thankful and respectful of yourself and of those you encounter each day, it could make a world of difference.