Every Weird Motherfucker Wednesday, when I'm beginning to think that the local Mental Ranch opens the barn door and sends the loonies right on down to Nature's Way, I come home, bleary-eyed and speaking in tongues and ruminate on the same existential bullshit.
Why do I shortchange myself and my talents only to be underpaid and underappreciated for what I do? Why do I settle for unliveable wages and nonexistant benefits? What, in the Long Run, the Big Picture and the Grander Scheme of Things, will come out of this not-so-glamorous stint of prostituting myself to the Devil for 40 hours a week? Is life all some fucked-up, no-win video game that God created? And if so, why can't I be like Mario and Luigi, who get to eat magic shrooms, swim around in sewer pipes and stomp on Goombas and Koopas, all in a day's work?
Let me set a few things straight. Nature's Way is, for the very most part, a nice place to be. My co-workers are, for the most part, very friendly and easygoing. My boss is so laid-back, understanding and eager to help. And let's face it: this is where I became interested in naturopathy in the first place and, without Nature's Way, I probably wouldn't have given chiropractic a second thought as a career path. I'm actually very thankful for the fact that the grunt-work I'm doing now has opened so many doors as far as my life's vision goes. I should actually consider myself very lucky to be in one of the more mentally stimulating corners of the retail world.
It's just that retail work really just plain sucks across the board--even on the off chance that, like me, you genuinely love the products you sell, the services you provide and most of the people you work with. Last week was horrible: nearly every day, I was sexually harassed in some way or another by a male customer. Then, there are others, usually uppity suburbanite women, who tell you how incompetent and worthless they think you are when you refuse to bend store policy for them or give them stuff for free. And you can't stick up for yourself, otherwise you risk losing your job. The customer's ALWAYS right, after all. Even when they try to scam stuff off of you because they live in Easton and they have a baa-ayyy-beee and that somehow makes them demi-gods.
You get this wherever you go in retail, and anytime you work in retail, you usually get paid the kind of null-money that looks and acts like money, but disappears any time, well, life comes up and you need to pay your bills or buy food. And then, whenever you work in retail, there's always some managerial figure who spies on you or bullies you (or perhaps you're lucky enough to get one spy AND one bully), and you're always generally underappreciated for what you bring to the table.
I'm not a perfect employee. My biggest weakness on the job is that I'm friendly--perhaps, TOO friendly--and I could probably stand to cut the chit-chat at times. But my friendliness and sense of humor are also one of my strong points as a salesperson. It's important to build relationships with your customers: that's what keeps them coming back, after all. I have customers who will recognize me outside of work and come up to me to chat, and I even had a customer run up to me and give me a hug when she saw me out shopping for shoes. Some customers even call the store to tell them how awesome I am.
I just know that I'm not in the kind of place where all of management realizes my talents, or where I'll ever get a raise that reflects how effective of a salesperson I've become. And I know I'm worth a lot more than what they pay me. Even my mother, who has no qualms with telling me I'm stupid and lazy, tells me all the time that I'm selling myself short by working in retail.
I've come to a point where I'd actually be willing to take up some sort of a deadpan office job full-time and work at Nature's Way on weekends. I can't live on what I'm making now, and I'll never be able to save for chiropractic school if I don't get the hell out of retail and start seeking higher-paying work. Maybe, if I'm lucky, I could even find a job as a chiropractic assistant, or a receptionist for a chiropractor, so that my work experience will at least be quasi-relevant.
I'm starting to look at this as a survival challenge: if I can tough it out through all of these crap-ass jobs now, then someday, I can do something I love and make something of my many talents. Someday, I'll be in a position to look back on everything I went through and say that I made it out alive, and that I'm a far stronger and wiser person because of it. In this grand video game of life, you've gotta squash a couple of Koopas first if you wanna take the princess back to your dungeon and....eh, never mind.
It sucks to feel so downtrodden when you know deep down that you're a mighty little mofo. I know I'm above caring so much about the opinions of dumb boys, or letting my mom's tirades ruin my entire day. What kills me is that I'm letting a whole lot of talent go idle because I'm so tangled up in the crap that's going on OUTSIDE of me. On my own, I'm so happy and well-adjusted. But some people I know are like vampires: they drain the life out of you to spite their own lifelessness. And I can't help but to get involved.
Anyway, that's been my life in Retail Land.
In Obsessing-Over-Politics Land, I actually found myself philosophically developing a Plan B in case Roe V. Wade actually is overturned and I ever need an abortion. Canada might be an option. (I have a feeling tourism will increase tenfold to the Great White North if women lose the right to choice). Also, certain herbs, vitamins and accupressure techniques can be used to induce miscarriage.
In Boy Land, I just may call that cute chiro student I met, and pick his brain on ways to ease my way back into dancing without mangling my back again. (He also happens to be a personal trainer).
In Geek Land, I've made a habit of learning and memorizing the location, attachment, action and innervation of one new muscle a day. It's fun. So far, I've covered the occiptalis, the frontalis, the temporoparietalis, and the auricularis superior, anterior and posterior. And those aren't even all of the muscles in the head!
In Other Worthless News Land, I might actually join a gym. And I just might actually use it.
Wheeeeeee. Anywho, it's time to shower. Seaweed soap is your detox friend. Remember that next time you make something you saw on Thirty-Minute Meals.