A friend and I were speaking recently about his company reopening to the public, as well as my recent career journey.
My friend empathized with the concerns I have about whether or when my pre-pandemic industry will reopen. He also understood my feelings about if I really wanted to continue doing what I have done since starting working over twenty years ago as a teenager.
As we were coming to the conclusion of our brief conversation, my bud laid some wisdom his father passed down to him in his youth onto me.
You may not like the work, but there’s always work for a working man.
Most of my lifetime work experience has been in sales, customer service, and management. I am filled with strong emotions about working in my previous field during the current pandemic. As I consider the state of the country and society, I’m pretty certain I want to pivot and escape my retail-centric career.
I am certain I don’t want to argue with dumb-asses about their needing to wear a mask in order to protect myself and my fellow employees—or society in general for that matter. I don’t want the anxiety that comes with being cooped up in a store or restaurant with poor ventilation and air-flow while the aforementioned dumb-asses and similarly-minded coworkers risk all our collective health.
And most pressing of all, I no longer want to walk on the proverbial eggshells in regards to everyone’s collective sensitivity.
Mask-wearing, race, transgender and non-binary rights; I’m not interested in engaging in any of it while I work. Anything can get anyone fired – not for what they say or think, but because of how someone else perceives them and decides to get offended, regardless of true intent or words.
Forget all that!
Back to my friend’s father’s quote. . .
Currently thirty to forty million Americans are out of work. Countless more find themselves with a reduced workload and income.
There have been those we’ve all encountered in life that always seem to have jobs. When these same folks find themselves out of work they treat finding a new employer or income source as their job until they obtain new employment.
Then there are those who are perpetually between jobs. This second type complains about circumstances and other people. They waste the energy they should be investing in finding a new job on making excuses, choosing self-victimization over the go-getter attitude necessary for getting back on track.
As for me, I won’t be applying with Kroger or Amazon or Walmart, where the demand for employees is as great as ever and the treatment of ground-level employees is inversely aligned with the profits those companies are currently taking in. And I won’t be looking at retail stores and food service jobs that inevitably will come available as our government—and the rich people running it who don’t leave their home offices—rush to reopen our economy before it’s safe to.
Instead I’ll be reaching out to people in my network. I’ll be learning new skills. I’ll be trying new things and seeing what else I am interested in and can become competent at. Just as I did throughout all my years in retail.
If you find yourself out of work or underemployed right now and are generally dissatisfied with your current career path would you rather sit at home complaining about how there’s no work until you lose your home and find yourself out on the street? Or would you rather learn new skills and experience things that will be uncomfortable at first, but may lead to unexpected interest and opportunities later on?
I choose affirming myself, as my friend’s dad did and as he taught his son to do as well.
Just remember. . .
There’s always work for a working man!