Comfortable With Conformity



I had a mini-nervous breakdown yesterday. I think it was brought on by 1) tiredness, 2) boredom, and 3) anger towards a "friend" who I won't mention right now.

I had applied to at least 10 jobs on-line yesterday. In total, between today, yesterday and earlier in the week, I know, Career Builder Network, and Yahoo! Careers better than I know S's bedroom. I know all the keywords, all the job descriptions, all the salaries. I know that a potential employee with a master's degree can expect to earn up to $28,000. I have seen job ads that require "at least 15-20 years of experience", as well as "must type at least 100 words per minute."

I've seen cute little "English Major Career" articles in my local newspaper, advising new graduates to consider technical writing as a way to kick off a writing career. However, no techincal writing jobs I've seen ask for any degree, let alone an English one-- they want "3-5 years experience with RoboHelp and Framemaker".

I search for job agencies, only to find that IT and secretary jobs are the only ones addressed. I guess all of us wannabe publishers, authors and editors with four years of school, college newspaper writing and brief interning at a trade magazine can go fuck ourselves. Or get a part time job as a customer service representative at Pizza Hut for $5.85/hr.

...which I actually did, three years ago. Way before my most recent Pizza Hut stint, I actually did work at Pizza Hut for three years during high school, which was great, because it was high school, and bringing home $200 a paycheck made me semi-rich. But at age twenty-three, being a part-timer and saying, "Thank you for calling Pizza Hut, home of the stuffed crust pizza, how may I help you?" just sucked the pride right out of me. Oh, and I did I mention...I had to fight to get that $5.85/hr. The manager, this greasy Cuban guy named Arnaldo (who ended up having a crush on me, which is totally irrelevant), told me the staring pay was $5.65. I couldn't believe my ears. It was 1998 and Pizza Hut was still getting away with paying less than $6/hr. I asked for $6, pointing out my three years of experience, but he was only budgeted for $5.85, which I ended up agreeing to the following day.

Because I knew the job backwards and forwards (and because I was white), I was instantly despised by the other black girls who worked there. Whenever Arnaldo had to make a bank run, he took me with him. One time we stopped at Pollo Tropical and he bought me dinner. Other times he drove me home and stopped at a gas station to buy me flowers. He would grumble about the other black CSRs who worked there, referring to them as "those fucking niggers" in his thick, Cuban accent. It was really kind of amusing.

Thank god, a couple months later, a friend of mine referred me to my current employer, who needed a tutor for her autistic son. The starting pay was $8/hr. I was thrilled. I quit Pizza Hut and started working for this woman. The job was the easiest thing I've ever done, for the most money I've ever received, but she only needed me about ten hours a week.

So, to this day, I still work for her, making $10/hr, working about ten hours a week, with no taxes deducted. So basically, I am back to making $200 a paycheck like I did when I was seventeen.

So, I had a mini-nervous breakdown yesterday. I was so completely bored, I felt ill. I became ill. I actually had to take an Excedrin to quiet my throbbing head and let me sleep. I truly think that having a job that you hate is better than being so bored you feel sick.

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