There’s no other way to put it. It just straight-up fucking sucked.
What happened? It’s hard to explain. Basically I have a lot of very negative emotional hang-ups around jobs in the service industry because of my many years of bad experiences. This is the reason why I decided to quit forever when the pandemic started and find a remote job. There was only one problem — I needed to learn a brand new set of skills in order to acquire said remote job. That’s fine. I’ve been doing that and feeling good about the general direction I’m going in most of the time.
Unfortunately, there is a leftover aspect that I am not really addressing. It’s the long-term unemployment, dependency on untrustworthy family members, and feeling like the entire world is falling apart around me that’s been getting to me. I don’t want to live at home with my parents. I don’t want to be dependent on people I can’t trust to look out for my emotional wellbeing. I don’t even want to live in South Dakota. Unfortunately, I am stuck in this situation because it was either move in back home or live in a tent camp in the middle of Washington, D.C. Guess which option offers hot showers, fresh coffee daily, and all the turkey sandwiches in the world? That’s right! Home Sweet Home!
It is what it is.
During this time, I’ve made several attempts to find a part-job to get some money coming in. Unfortunately, this is not working out for me. Why? Because I have *INSANE* levels of negative emotions attached to these jobs leftover from over a decade working in the service industry. It’s especially bad when it comes to bartending jobs, which makes sense considering the fact that I went through a phase where my entire life revolved around bars and bar culture. I’m not proud of it. It’s not my finest moment. I fully blame Ernest Hemingway’s Aspirational Lifestyle. That’s why I’m starting my OWN Writer’s Lifestyle blog that does not glamorize alcoholism, drug addiction, and mental illness the way history *always* does when it comes to writers and artists.
So yeah, the part-time job thing. Kind of hilarious to watch, right? I sit here watching webinar after webinar on “How To Get A Job” specifically to avoid the “Job Hunting Black Hole Spiral” and still freak out over LinkedIn. Then I try to go back to my old life that I KNOW I HATE BECAUSE IT MADE ME SO UNHAPPY and end up in an even worse spiral. It’s so stupid. I will send out apps thinking “See? I’m not lazy! I WANT to work! I like financial independence! It makes me feel empowered! Look, I just filled out five applications at the mall and set up three interviews! I am NOT lazy! See, Kim? I’m getting off my fucking ass and getting to WORK!” Then I go over all the reasons why this job is totally going to work out this time and why I’m a great candidate and why I chose to apply at this company because my talents are a natural fit. I research the company, plan my answers to specific questions that might come up, and then…. BOOM!
It starts getting closer and closer to interview time and all of sudden, the demons from the past come up. Specifically, the demon known as Bloody Mary’s Bar. Then another demon I call The Titanic, which definitely has it’s name for a REASON. Then the utter nightmare of a demon ex-boss from The Chinese Restaurant. Then the demons from “Fedoras R Us,” which I have not discussed here but definitely make me imagine that entire place in flames every time I think about it. I think about the bitch from “New York, New York” who was a nightmare start to finish. I think about the resort in Montana. I remember all the times I was sexually harassed and assaulted by drunk managers at the end of the night. I remember the times I worked my ass off just to have my tips stolen from me. I remember having my rent and bill payments at the whim of some psycho who just decided to fire me on a whim because they were having a bad day. I remember the asshole customers who left me NOTHING when I needed it the most. I remember constantly feeling shitty, defeated, beaten down, and exhausted. I remember destroying my body and my mind for the meager scraps that the next billing cycle ate up anyway. I remember sitting at the bar alone after yet another shitty, exhausting day, pounding double bourbon gingers, wondering if my life was ever going to change.
Just… so much. There’s so much. It’s loaded AF. I can’t even.
When I sit here and write it all out, it makes perfect sense why I would react to the idea of working at another bar/restaurant with a terrifying, uncontrollable, extra extreme anxiety spiral that can’t be stopped. It was a terrible experience. I can’t do it anymore. I know there are other places that are different with better people who care. But for me… I can’t see it anymore. I am frozen in terror at the thought.
All of this, plus the fact that I lived above bars, socialized exclusively at bars, drank constantly, messed up my life and reputation, dealt with more abusive drunks than I can count. It’s…. yeah. It’s a lot! It’s a big problem in my life. CLEARLY the OBVIOUS solution is to STOP FILLING OUT THESE APPLICATIONS, re-do my resume, get Linked the fuck In, hashtag network, hashtag it’s all about who you know, hashtag mindset challenge, hashtag positive attitude, hashtag end the crazy uncontrollable anxiety death spiral.
Clearly! So obvious! It’s so obvious! It’s so obvious it’s easy!
Ugh. Idk why I’m stuck.
What am I going to do about it? Well, first I’m going to delete my profile on the job hunting site I have used to acquire all of my service industry jobs. I only use it for those because my research has shown me that most remote job ads on this site are fake and it’s better to use services exclusively geared towards remote jobs. Therefore, deleting this app is the first step I can take to stop the spiral. No more service industry jobs. None. We are done. Remote only. Healthcare. Benefits. A livable salary. A boss that doesn’t give a fuck if I decide to work from Rio for six months to practice my Portuguese. The works! Dare I even call it… The New American Dream???
And in the end, she realized LinkedIn is not that scary after all. That’s my takeaway from all of this. A small victory, but a victory nonetheless. I’ll take it.
Needless to say, I’ve spent today going over all of my notes from the pandemic. Everything I’ve collected for Paris in South Dakota, all of my travel diaries, all of my plots/plans/prompts, all of my notes from the 500 virtual conferences, webinars, and courses I’ve taken, all of my new material that has NOTHING TO DO WITH BARS AT ALL! And how did I feel when I looked it over? I feel good. I feel happy. I feel confident. I feel like I have something to offer the world. I feel like my life is NOT a waste and that I do have something valuable to contribute. I feel like I escaped, like I’m not trapped in the bar or in SD or at home or anywhere else. I feel free. I feel like I’m heading in the right direction, even if I can’t do the oh-so-seemingly simple task of part-time bartending on the weekends.
It doesn’t say anything about my work ethic. It doesn’t say anything about my personality. It doesn’t say anything about me except for the fact that I recognize #BarLyfe is toxic and I don’t want to live that lifestyle anymore. I’m finally putting a stop to it. I’m finally saying no. I’m finally walking away and choosing life, choosing me, choosing my dream of someday becoming The Writer Extraordinaire.