I ask this question because: I was talking to my joe-job manager recently, jokingly, about how we were going to muntiy. I would become the store manager, and she would take on the regional manager’s job, who we would promote up to the next step and so on.
But here’s the thing – if you’re a manager with most corporate retail jobs: their standards are two pay-grades above you.
What does that mean?
I have not encountered a corporate (retail) joe-job where anyone expects your life and mental health to be prioritized above the company.
‘Work doesn’t revolve around your life; you work, so that you can have a life.’
To which I say: UM. NO.
Fuck you. Fuck you, with your minimum wage, low-end of the salary scale. If you want my life to revolve around this company, than PAY me for that dedication. With minimum wage, you’ll get my dedicated work ethic (though some people don’t even offer that) and commitment to showing up when I say I’ll show up. I’ll come in, clock in, do my work, clock out. Above and beyond that? I don’t owe you crap. I’m already giving you more than most of your staff give you (and get annoyed at them when they stand around talking all the time), and you have no claims on my time outside the hours of work. If it takes me 30 minutes to close because your standards are unreasonable, you’re going to pay me for that 30 minutes. Or I’ll be more than happy to clock out on the dot in the middle of whatever I was doing.
And, if those don’t work for you – then fire me.
I realize that at certain times, when we’re down on our luck or schlepping it, we make whatever we have the good grace to have, work. I’ve worked dead-end jobs, with or without the grace of a minimum wage just so that I’m not sitting around all summer. I went back to working concession at a movie theatre (which was my first job at the age of 14) at the age of 17 or 18 – don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’m above the less-than-desirable jobs. I’ve happily poured years of experience and expert competency into working for peanuts to foster connections and invest in my future. Do I need joe-jobs? No. I have more than enough saved up to not work for another 2 years without relying on anyone. If my parents continue to let me live with them rent-free (they wouldn’t, they don’t support me out of pity, they support to me to support my future and because I contribute to the household, and if I became a dead-beat a lot of things would change), that would extend to… 4 and half -ish years.
I’m worth infinitely more than your part-time, low hours job. But I stick with it because I’d rather spend 10-20 hours a week working, than not earning any money at all. But please don’t pretend that I owe you more than my presence and work ethic. I’m not going to bend over backwards for you. I’ll do favours for the people I like to work with, but that’s no loyalty to you. You don’t pay me enough, and the benefits are virtually negligible on my end.
But the other side of the coin is this:
If you need to work to have the style of life you want – then maybe you should be revolving your life around work.
I’m simple, and my material needs are not very demanding. I don’t like spending money, I find restaurants awkward as hell, and if it’s not sushi or pizza, I usually find my own cooking tastier. ( Note: I’ve started experimenting with making my own pizza dough, and so far it’s going GRAND ). My life is not one where I need to slave and toil away at your beck and call.
And then again, if you enjoy your job?
I’m heading off on a contract that will consume my life for 7 months. I’m going to be missing so many occasions and celebrations, but I’m okay with that. So I guess in a sense, my life will be revolving around work for the next 7 months.
But I’m not going to be getting paid minimum wage – though even if I was, I would still be pretty stoked to do it. This is a huge step in reaching 2. and 3. of my current life goals (saving money for a downpayment, and networking).
This contract hasn’t earned my dedication and commitment through monetary means; I’m exceptionally proud to be a part of it, and I will without a doubt give it all my attention and effort. The fact I’m getting paid decently well is just the cherry on top.
So then, what is the answer? If you life revolves around work, are you doing it wrong? When I started writing this, I was fired up and it was a definite NO.
But maybe, it’s a yes. A subjective yes, but a yes nonetheless. My ranking criteria about the ‘work’ in question would look a little something like:
- Intangible Compensation
- Tangible Compensation
But it boils down to knowing who you are, what you want, and why you want it. It’s not about what it looks like, or what culture and society say you should want. It’s about what you truly want, what really makes you happy – what really makes you feel content. As generic as we all are, we’re all unique too. We’ve all got the same problems, but they’re all individual in the way that they present themselves.
I’m pretty staunchly stuck in raggedly rich ways, but what’s hell to me (minimum wage joe-job who wants me to act like I’m working at Sotheby’s) might be exactly what someone else needs and wants (whereas my profession in the arts would seem like tortuous hell to them).
What about you guys? Does your life revolve around work? What do you consider ‘work’? Or do you think your work should revolve around life?
( I do realize I’m asking a pretty bias group here – I assume most of my readers like the personal finance world, and ergo are aiming to reach a place where they can have the life they want without worrying about work… but maybe I’m wrong! )