I wrote about jobs in New York already – about how I believe that there is no job that you should be ashamed of. Let me tell you about my job experience here in a bit more detail. As soon as I came to NY (four and a half years ago) my first job was a barista in a coffee shop. This was a job I was looking for because I knew I could get it (not because it was my dream job). I really didn’t want to end up cleaning people’s homes, because I thought it would be embarrassing for me. Now I know it was just stupid of me because cleaning is a job like any other. Plus – they made very good money, at least $20 an hour, whereas a barista got $8 an hour back then.
Even being barista hurt me a bit at that time – I just got my master’s degree in Film Studies in Poland and here I was – making coffee and serving bagels to people. It really hurt my ego, but after a few months, I realized it’s just a job. Plus, I met great people who were coming to our coffee shop just because they wanted to chat with me. Soon, I got bored and I wanted more (of course), so next year I got a job as a manager in a busy restaurant in Manhattan (without any knowledge of restaurant business). This happened only because someone liked how I treated people in the coffee shop (giving my 100% at work paid off). I thought I was really lucky (and I was) and that that’s how dreams come true (we had some celebrities coming to our place, including the most important one for me, namely Michael Phelps). I spent over three years there (three years and four months to be precise) and then… I …just quit and came back to a coffee shop.
Why I did it? There are a few reasons. I could say that I wasn’t learning anything new – and that would be true; I could say that I didn’t make enough money for the work I did – and that would be true, too, but the bottom line is (and that’s the main reason) I just didn’t like it. You might think that being a manager at a restaurant is the best job – you have people under you, you’re in charge, you don’t have to do the dirty work… Maybe, but I just didn’t like it. I just don’t like the restaurant business. It’s not who I am. I that ’s how to interact with people, not to tell them what they should be doing (over and over again). I want to talk to people, help them out, make their life if not easier, then at least a bit happier. And the funny thing was that this was what I was doing in the coffee shop and I though it didn’t mean much. My goal isn’t working in a coffee shop more than a few months (even though I like this place), but I prefer to do this for a while and not to force myself to do something that isn’t even slightly close to what makes me happy. I’m too old for that and I just know better at this point. I will be carefully looking for a new job now and wouldn’t agree to things that are just a waste of not only my time, but my energy.
I want to encourage you to follow your gut, and most importantly – your heart. Don’t agree to things just because you think you have no choice. You would be surprised, but most of the time you really do have that ’s how. Don’t do things just because you think that this is what is expected from you (by your family, your peers, your friends). I just read this sentence in the book “Outliers” today: “It’s not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether our work fulfills us”. And don’t work just for money, because it really won’t make you happy, I guarantee you that. Fight for your choices. Only you know what’s inside of you and what path you’re on right now. Don’t let others bully you into paths that are not yours. Ultimately, they will bully who you really are. And again – what others think about your choices is not your business. Stay strong and trust yourself. I’m on your side at all times. The question is: are you?