real jobs

Quit Telling Me My Job Isn't 'Real' When I'm Working Just As Hard As You Are

I'm sick of hearing "that's not a real job."

Every group of people has a question. You know, that one that everybody feels the need to ask you when engaging in small talk: what grade you're in, what you want to be when you grow up when you're getting married, etc. There is always a go-to question depending on where you are in life.

Before May of 2018, the question I was always asked was "What's your major?" And now, as a post-grad, the question has shifted into one that, in many different words, basically asks "are you gainfully employed?" To which I respond by telling them about my two part-time jobs.

This isn't the part that bothers me, though. The part I take fault with is what usually becomes the follow-up question: "When are you getting a real job?"

This is the part of the question that makes me angry, first, because it's degrading. By insinuating that my job is "fake" you're telling me that I don't work as hard as you do, or that I am beneath you when that is not the case. My retail job may not be the same as your office job, but just because I'm lifting bags of dog food and running the cash register instead of running numbers or setting up business meetings doesn't mean I'm not working hard.

Another reason I hate this question is that it makes it seem like you can just come straight out of college and get a job and that I'm simply too lazy to be employed with a major business when the truth is so far from that!

A lot of the time, people talk about getting a job as if it's a simple process. The amount of time that goes into finding a job, even with a college degree, is almost depressing. I've been out of college for months now, and yet I'm struggling to find any sort of job opening involving my degree.

The last and probably most crucial reason as to why this bothers me is because the question really seems to ask, "how can you be happy with that job when it's meaningless?" This retail job I'm working is far from meaningless. Just because it's not a full-time job doesn't mean that it isn't work. At the end of the day, it's how I bring money in to support myself and pay my bills.

In the end, I guess what I'm trying to say here is this: everybody's path is different, and this doesn't exclude work experiences. While there are some people who are lucky enough to get a well-paying job straight out of college, some of us are required to work where they can. That doesn't mean that we're lazy, or not working hard, because, for the most part, people are inclined to work hard if they have something important to work for.

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