Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why on earth would you work HERE?

As a little back story here, I have a bachelor's degree in Spanish from a nice private university. After school, I got a "good" job at a large company that is pretty prestigious in its field. My family was happy for me and thrilled that I was "doing so well in a career that used my degree." I was really good at my job. All of my reviews were positive, and I was the one that got called on to fix the big problems or teach people how to use a new tool or product offering that had been developed. The problem? I hated it there. The people were nice, the pay was fair, and I was miserable. I tried different managers, shifts, and departments to see if it was people, schedule, or the kind of work that I was doing that was the issue. I hated being stuck at a desk all day. I hated having to talk on the phone instead of face to face. I hated that I rarely saw sunshine because I couldn't even look out a window. I woke up every morning feeling like Office Space where every day piles on the last making each new day the worst one possible. 

It was not a good fit for me, so I decided to make a change. I tried a few different jobs for about a year and finally ended up at my current job where I have been for over two and a half years working at a gas station convenience store. Yes, it pays a lot less than I could get elsewhere, but it's enough to put clothes on my back, a roof over my head, and food on the table. Plus, I never have to sit at a desk, I rarely take a phone call, I get to talk face to face with people all day, and I have a big bank of windows where I can see the world pass me by. It's fast paced, always changing, and pretty good exercise most days. In order to do the job well, it's a lot harder than it looks. The company isn't perfect, but the pay is fair and the people are nice. I don't mind going to work either.....the only time I have to persuade myself to go is if I'm overtired or just feeling under the weather. (That's not to say that I love it enough to go even if I wasn't getting paid....) The only thing that I really hate about the job is listening to people tell me how I should get a "better" job as if the place where I work isn't good enough. And like there's only one set of standards to determine how good a job is.

As an aside, this is probably something that you should consider the next time that you go to a gas station, grocery store, or any other retail location. The person who is scanning your purchases at the store could very well be a Mensa candidate. (Not that I am....just saying - they work in all walks of life.) Don't look down on them for "lack of ambition." It just might mean that their ambition and purpose are outside of their employment. Sometimes, it just comes down to quality of life or home/work balance that leads folks to a certain job. Don't demean the work that they're doing. Frankly, aren't you glad that the person who is running the cash register or helping you with your purchases isn't an idiot? You've found those too on many occasions - isn't a smart, efficient, and capable person a refreshing change?

Back to the point of it, I am tired of such a stupid question. I have tried a lot of different "canned" answers to it, and none really hits the point of it. Either it's too long, not strong enough, or has enough sarcastic zing to it that in a normal store, I might be in really big trouble for it. (We're given a lot of leeway where I work. It comes with the neighborhood.) If anyone has suggestions for me, I'd appreciate it. Here's some of the previous answers to "what are you doing working HERE?"
  • Because here I get more windows than any CEO at a Fortune 500 company.
  • So I get the pleasure of your charming company.
  • I like it here.
  • Have you SEEN the movie "Office Space"?
  • Because every once in a while someone gets tazed in the parking lot.
  • This is more interesting.
  • Doing freelance translation work is inconsistent which makes it hard to pay the bills.
  • Because this is the only place that I've ever worked where I've called a customer a dipshit to their face in front of my manager.....and not gotten in trouble for it. 
  • You don't get secretary spread if you're on your feet and moving all day.
  • Reality TV has got nothing on Friday and Saturday nights in here.
  • I'm going Gault.
Any other suggestions?


  1. I think my favorite of your responses is "because every once in a while someone gets tazed in the parking lot". I'll think on some other answers. I know the feeling. "It pays the bills, and when I go home, I don't take it with me". "I like having a job that I can think about without also thinking about suicide". Hmmm...

  2. I forgot one of my favorites. "I need the money to pay for my very expensive addictions to living indoors and eating. I have entered a 12 step program though and am looking for a sponsor. All I need to do is find an anorexic hobo."