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Old 10-25-2006, 09:42 PM   #1
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standupgal HB User
I want to be working class

To everyone who reads this, I am really going through it and could use any input...

I have 2 college degrees. I have been in the corporate world for many years and many would consider me a success. I'm thirty. I'm newly divorced. For years now I've had dreams of being a waitress again, like I was in college. In my dreams, I'm busy, and competent, and happy. I've never liked the corporate world, ever. I've always told myself, after the next promotion, or at the next company, it'll be the way it's supposed to be, it'll be what I've worked all these years for. But I've found that to be a complete joke. The hours are long and the work is stupid. Two months after my divorce my company suddenly closed and filed for bankruptcy. I haven't been able to find anything. I don't want to hear any more pep talks or speeches about the importance of networking. It can take six months to find the right job...and suddenly I'm having nightmares about finding the right job. I'm on my way there and I try to squeeze in to merge and I get in a terrible wreck. And then I have the dreams about waitressing, and sometimes the dreams actually turn sexual (???)
The thing is, I made more $ at that job than I have doing anything else, believe it or not. I live in a big city, and we have some great establishments.

My savings is about to run out. I have about one or possibly 2 months left before I get to make some bold decisions.

(Also, I should say that since my divorce I've really been putting myself out there and dating, which leads into...)

This guy I've been seeing says why not go on unemployment...I just cannot do that. First off, I'd make twice as much $ waiting tables. Second, the only thing holding me back from waitressing is what would everyone think. Yes, I care. B/c that is something people look down on, and people who already don't like you (catty types, old co-workers, etc) if it gets around to them....I know I'm being self-absorbed, but eventually someone will see me and say guess who I saw wearing a uniform and fetching a bread basket what a hoot! I KNOW I should say they can shove it, but how easy is that in reality? Especially b/c none of those people would EVER believe that I chose that life so I could finally have my free time to myself, be less accountable about dumb minutiae and have a few hobbies for a change....I was such a great waitress. I really was, and I loved that job, and I've missed it. I did other things in school, this is the only thing I could say I want to do again. I'm not about to serve myself up for criticism, if my parents ask I'll probably just tell them I got another corporate job.
I just want to make my own decisions. I got my degrees, I've lived the life I'm supposed to, and I'm still not happy. Isn't thirty old enough to know that? Or am I chickening out by taking an "easy" waitress job? Should I keep trying to find something in my career field? How many more years should I wait before I decide that I want out?

 
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Old 10-26-2006, 04:49 AM   #2
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Re: I want to be working class

Hi

Yours is a very instructive post in that it shows to what extent modern lifestyles have disarranged our basic instincts and survival skills. If we look back at our ancestors, we are still somewhat of hunters and collectors, aren't we? At that time there was a fundamental and essential division of labour for both genders. Men were hunters and women were gatherers. There could be exceptions, but not to the same degree and figures of present-day corporative world. Your job as an executive is clearly a masculine position. I am not saying that women are unable to do it and keep it, but that is not a primeval motivation with women. So that's where it gets sexual. As a waitress, you'd be in a more submissive and available position, more in tune with your own sex. You could become a prey rather than a predator. That is instinctive, no reason to be ashamed of it.

But, due to your higher education, I am afraid you can't come back to it. Or at least not completely. I presume that being an obscure waitress in a second-class restaurant would be fun for a week and then you'd get bored. I swear it by all that's holy.

But not all is lost. There must be a way for you to conciliate your superior education with your primeval soul. What about becoming the waitress of a first-class restaurant and then, while still serving customers, moving on to the position of a chef, food advisor, wine specialist, health foods expert, what do I know? And then why not set up your own business afterwards? A very small business, that will give you enough to live on and pleasure to work with concrete rather than abstract things? Serving people directly rather than intellectualizing. Serving people also requires intelligence and emotion, mind you. Maybe even more than the routines in a big corporation do.

Perhaps you will have to do some humble work first before you can qualify for a better position, so tell yourself and the others, if applicable, that this is just a training stage before you can land on the desired position. Be realistic without losing your ambition.

Do you know about Saint Francis? He belonged to a wealthy family and he spoiled his youth. When he discovered his true vocation, he gave up everything and became a beggar. I think he then knew what happiness or bliss was, but then he also died very young. That is, I don't think you have to go to extremes to be happy and healthy at the same time.

Best to you.

JC

 
Old 10-26-2006, 04:50 AM   #3
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Bracelet HB User
Re: I want to be working class

Here's the best advice I can give you.... You should always live your life doing things that will benefit you, and you alone. You should never base your life's decisions on what other people may think, because it's NOT their life! If something makes you happy and is the answer you really want, then you should do it!

You said you're 30, well I'm 32. I've worked in corporate since 1996 and I've had some really bad experiences. I also have my college degree. But I often wonder about what else is out there that would give me - as you said - more time to enjoy my life and what else is out there.

Listen, there is no shame in doing a job that you enjoy. And if waitressing is your thing, then there is no reason why you shouldn't be doing it! You already did your college thing and got 2 degrees, that's an awesome accomplishment! And you fared well in corporate America already. So if you want to switch gears and do something else now, there is no reason why you shouldn't.

There's nothing wrong with being a waitress. If you already know how to do it, and you know of places where you could make a decent living from it, then there shouldn't be anything stopping you. And if you tell people that you're a waitress and they give you a hard time, you can just smile and say, Yeah, it feels really good to have enough time to actually live my life again instead of being a corporate slave who has to work 60 hours a week!

The bottom line is, I think it's great that you already know what you want to do. It takes most people their entire lives to find something they enjoy for a career. You know what that choice is, you need to say - eff everyone else, I'm just going to go for what I want! Because, in the end, the only thing that matters is your own happiness with what you are doing. Anyone who hassles you about it is obviously insecure about their own life, because they would see how happy you are with your own decision. But their life and their opinion and their remarks are not of your concern. All that matters is what you think about your decisions. You are the only person who matters when it comes to making this decision. And you want to do this. So go do it!!

 
Old 10-26-2006, 05:00 AM   #4
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m1e1b1s1 HB User
Re: I want to be working class

Hey there...

I won't tell you WHAT to do...but will tell you what I did....

Worked in corporate america for 10 years, great job, great company...and I was NOT happy!

I left.......

3 1/2 years ago.....

I'm HAPPIER and more FULFILLED than I can tell you....and yes, everyone said "your throwing away your career"...

But what comes first....My career....Money.....

Or my Happiness????

My happiness!

Do what makes you happy!

 
Old 10-26-2006, 06:06 AM   #5
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StenoLady1 HB UserStenoLady1 HB User
Re: I want to be working class

You've gotten fantastic advice from fellow Healthboarders

I really think you need to follow your heart. If you're not happy in the corporate world, make a change. You have your education under your belt. While we're led to believe that a college degree always equals a good-paying job in the corporate world, there's so much more that education does for you. I'm willing to bet you could get into the best restaurant where you are and make a killing.

Like Jose said, too, with your education and experience, I think the sky's the limit for you in the culinary industry.

People change their careers all the time. I'm witnessing it in my own household right now. DH has a four-year degree in fine art, worked in a cubicle in an advertising studio for ten years, was doing what he thought he wanted to do with his life since he started reading Spiderman comics when he was a small child. He ended up detesting the corporate world, hated being tied to a desk, had no job satisfaction whatsoever. Brave guy that he is, he gave it up seven months ago to become a home builder. Had no construction experience whatsoever -- we'll call him an "indoor" guy, LOL. The company that hired him didn't care about experience, only a college degree, and they didn't care what that degree was in. He positively loves it and wishes he'd made the move years ago when he wasn't happy with corporate.

Like you, he thought his former colleagues and friends would look down on him for making a switch like this. In reality, tho, when he talks with his friends and folks he used to work with, they are all sooooo happy for him and applaud him for making a move that's right for him. Two of the guys who used to work in his cubicle were actually inspired by what he did and left the field, too.

Your post is inspiring for me, too. I work in the corporate legal world, day in and day out with judges and lawyers in court and depositions. I run my own business, am what most would consider "successful." I'm burned out, tho, and am fascinated by the culinary industry. You're definitely not alone

 
Old 10-26-2006, 09:03 AM   #6
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Re: I want to be working class

standup - I LOVED waitressing! Like you, I have very fond memories of that time. And, like you...I've thought I'd love to do it again.

And I also think "what will others think".

The difference is the field I am in is very stress-free. So, I don't have the same motivation you do to move on.

That said, I'd google simple living forums and speak to like minded folks. It's a pretty common dynamic. People who chuck the corporate world to "live off the grid" for example. You'll find plenty of people who have made the exact same kind of move you are considering.

Steno - my mother was a court reporter who owned her own firm. You're right - that is one heck of a stressful career! She was on medication to help her sleep, and medication to keep her going when she wasn't sleeping. Tranquilizers were her best friend. She ended up retiring in her late-40's-or-so from the stress (when she started losing her hair and her intestines started to knot- can't remember what that's called, though.). Boy, was she a mess.

 
Old 10-26-2006, 09:27 AM   #7
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bulletproof HB User
Re: I want to be working class

I had a very similar experience to the one you're describing. I quit my full-time job in publishing and started freelancing in publishing instead, but only a couple of days a week. On my other off days, I waitress/bartend at a very low-key place. I just can't stand sitting in an office for the most part, although I will say that working for the media tends to be very laid-back as far as office jobs go. But because I split my time between two jobs now, I am a lot happier. I like being off on the odd days during the week (Tuesday and Wednesday), I like not having to commute at the same time as everyone else, and I like that when I'm at the bar as it is much more social and lively than my old office jobs.

Some people are just not cut out for the corporate world. There are so many other jobs out there that don't involve sitting at a desk or giving up all your free time. I think there is something to be said for providing a service for people that makes them happy on the spot. At least for me, waitressing feels a lot more necessary and helpful to the world than some other professions.

Who cares what other people think? In my case, people just thought I was having a bit of a meltdown, but I don't care. I'm happy, and that's all that matters.

 
Old 10-26-2006, 12:48 PM   #8
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GypsyArcher HB User
Re: I want to be working class

I understand how you feel about not wanting people to look down on you, but the truth is that if you are confident in yourself and in what you are doing, that is all that matters, really. I have a lot of respect for waitresses and waiters, and that profession seems to require more skill than a lot of the mindless, repetitive things done in the corporate world.

You have to follow your heart. I think you should at least give waitressing another try. Whatever you decide, it doesn't have to be forever. Get back into the restaurant business, and see if it makes you as happy as you think it will. If it turns out that you want to return to the corporate world after all, then you can. Nothing you do is going to be set in stone.

I don't think going back to waitressing would be the easy way out at all. It actually sounds like the braver choice...maybe the one that will end up setting you free. Good luck!
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Old 10-26-2006, 04:20 PM   #9
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standupgal HB User
Re: I want to be working class

Peyton...Thanks for the referall, I will check that out, I need all the help and support I can get right now.

Bullet, I thin you hit the nail on the head here "I think there is something to be said for providing a service for people that makes them happy on the spot. At least for me, waitressing feels a lot more necessary and helpful to the world than some other professions." I mean, when I was a waitress, people actually looked for me, needed me, complimented my work...when was the last time you heard someone say "Can we get the account executive over here?" or "We've been here five minutes and the VP in charge of sales still hasn't come over!" Seriously, I MISS feeling important, b/c as a corporate, it is so glaringly obvious to me that I force myself on people and pretend that I'm offering some valuable service. I can't remember the last time someone sought me out for anything. Sometimes I can't even remember what it is that I do. When I began to date again, I would meet guys, and they would ask what I did, and I would pause, because I was bewildered. Now at least I can say "I look for work"

Gypsy I appreciate your kind words. You often have wise words so your response is greatly appreciated, especially saying that I am brave, because that is the greatest thing to me. You're right, nothing's in stone. I can just be on hiatus for a year or so. Truthfully, once I've looked a few people in the eyes and said what I do, I think I'll be ok. I think the thought's worse.

Thanks all, and any new responses.

 
Old 10-26-2006, 07:32 PM   #10
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Frozen HB User
Re: I want to be working class

Did you ever watch Mad About You? If so, do you remember their friend, Mark (played by Richard Kind), who gave up his medical career to stock produce at the Korean grocer? I always loved that!

I left a successful track in the corporate world after my daughter was born and went back to school to become a massage therapist. It's the best to be able to go to the supermarket on a Wednesday morning, sleep in on a Monday, or attend her events and field trips at preschool. I'm not making a ton of money per year, but my hourly rate is great and my schedule is up to me.

Some people tell me I threw away my college education and say, "What a shame." Yup, it's a shame that I gave up my stressful but meaningless 50 hours plus a week at the office. But sometimes you have to throw out the junk to make room in your life for the things that really matter. And I agree about the tangible benefits you would be offering to the world. I used to push papers, answer hostile phone calls, and surf the 'net all day at work hoping someone, somewhere may someday benefit. But now, I put my hands on a tense muscle, it looses and another human being's pain goes away. Instant gratification. And, yes, people seek me out and lavish me with adoration. I always say that, if I could become a chef as well, I could rule the world. Everyone loves people who massage them and bring them food.

Follow your heart!

Last edited by Frozen; 10-26-2006 at 07:33 PM.

 
Old 10-27-2006, 06:32 AM   #11
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keepsgoin HB User
Re: I want to be working class

So what are you waiting for...go do what YOU want to do!!!!!!!! You're 30? You're just a baby!!!!!!!!!! If you decide to go back to the corporate world later, you still have many years to do that! Your degrees aren't going anywhere! Everyone thinks that a college degree is the answer to everything...do you know how many car saleman have college degrees and choose to sell cars because the money is way more than they can make in the corporate world...the answer is MANY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! People just DO NOT realize how much money a good waitress can make at a good restaurant! No the work isn't easy but the stress is not the same and then there's the not having to get all dressed up and spend thousands on nice clothes every year...but you have to get passed the "what will everyone think" stage. Personally I think that you will have the last laugh! I have a niece that's in college and she was working an hourly job making squat and finally someone told her to be a waitress...she thought it was stupid but she did it and now she can work just a couple days a week, weekends mostly...and makes about $1000 a month just working part time...way more than she could make at an hourly job!
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Old 10-27-2006, 07:47 AM   #12
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Re: I want to be working class

I know how you feel. I have two degrees - well, one degree and a post-graduate certificate. Problem is, there are no jobs in this area in my chosen career field. I expected to stay in the city after graduation, but chose to go back "home" after an unexpected event. Jobs here are scarce, and that's putting it mildly. I did temp work - basically second shift document production - very mundane, and I just couldn't stick with it. I'm now working for a political campaign (and getting paid pretty good money), but it's also only temp work. I love it, though! It's made me realize that I don't need a big career to be happy, and that maybe I didn't really want to take the city jobs, anyway. If I wanted the career badly enough, I would've stayed put. I just want to be self-sufficient and do work that is meaningful to me.

I've thought about waitressing, but the jobs here are in mostly chain restaurants. I also don't think I have the personality for waitressing - I'm sensitive and standoffish. Anyway, I think you have to do what is right for you, and no one else. Trust me, I worry about my image, too. I don't know if I could face doing waitressing or retail, serving people that know I went to school for five years. Where I differ from you is that I may not have a choice. This is a working class town. I have looked at lower-level jobs in my career field (legal assisting), but they will call me with concerns that I'm overqualified. I try to tell them that I'm not, but they never call back again for an interview, so I obviously wasn't convincing. If I want to stay in this town (which I do), then I have a couple of leads for part-time jobs that are considered working class. Hopefully, one will work out, then maybe I can do waitressing as a side job to pay the rent. I will TRY not to be concerned about image, but it will be hard.

Good luck! I hope you find what is right for you. Sorry I went on about my own situation like this!

 
Old 10-27-2006, 10:16 AM   #13
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Sahuja12 HB User
Re: I want to be working class

I totally identify...I am 27 and female.. I am an attorney. I make insane money for someone my age. Even got a very large raise recently..Its nuts, the money I make...But feel so empty...I am married..Somehow I feel like my life has become about money investments etc... My husband works for a huge company and also earns a lot. But we come home by 8pm...watch some TV and eat dinner. Then go to bed. We havent had sex in 4 months...We love each but too tired and distracted by work etc.

Over that I feel like a dude!! I work in a very male dominated profession (patent law.) They are all very nice, but I feel like I have lost that feminine side..Sometimes I just want to be a nice pretty feminine girl..Weird, but true...

I would love to just do something else... Like art or open a small business etc...Something more creative. Unfortunately I have SO many law school loans I cant afford to... With the money I am making I can pay them off sooner than later... BUt I feel so empty...

 
Old 10-27-2006, 11:34 AM   #14
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galinaqt HB User
Re: I want to be working class

Quote:
Originally Posted by keepsgoin
So what are you waiting for...go do what YOU want to do!!!!!!!! You're 30? You're just a baby!!!!!!!!!! If you decide to go back to the corporate world later, you still have many years to do that! Your degrees aren't going anywhere! Everyone thinks that a college degree is the answer to everything...do you know how many car saleman have college degrees and choose to sell cars because the money is way more than they can make in the corporate world...the answer is MANY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! People just DO NOT realize how much money a good waitress can make at a good restaurant! No the work isn't easy but the stress is not the same and then there's the not having to get all dressed up and spend thousands on nice clothes every year...but you have to get passed the "what will everyone think" stage. Personally I think that you will have the last laugh! I have a niece that's in college and she was working an hourly job making squat and finally someone told her to be a waitress...she thought it was stupid but she did it and now she can work just a couple days a week, weekends mostly...and makes about $1000 a month just working part time...way more than she could make at an hourly job!
BYW,
My uncle is a car salesman and he made decent money. He always complained about long hours he had to stay at his work waiting for the customer to come and then pushing him to buy a car, 'cause if he leaves he can get it somewhere else, there are so many places. Anyway he told me that his kids will go to college and have professional jobs, he'd rather break there arms and legs than let him sell cars. He often regrets that he didn't listen his mother when she was trying to convience him to study.
Things could be the other way around.
I don't say that person shouldn't do what he wants, but I don't think that trying to get back with gap in experience is easy. At 30 y. old he may like to do waitressing but wouldn't it be too tuff at 50+ and what if he decides to have a family, how will he supports it.

 
Old 10-27-2006, 02:25 PM   #15
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Re: I want to be working class

Well don't think that just because you have a college degree you don't work crazy long hours...that's your uncle thinking that the college degree is the answer to the job market and let me tell you my friend...it's not alway what it's cracked up to be. I would never talk someone out of going to college but it's not a free ticket by any means! My EX is a car salesman and soooooooo many of the salesman that he works with have college degrees and they are CAR SALESMEN....that's the point I'm trying to make here! A degree doesn't guarantee anything!
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Last edited by keepsgoin; 10-27-2006 at 02:26 PM.

 
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