Poem: Unemployed

I recently quit my job as a waiter in a corporate restaurant, as a coworker calls them: "fast-food with tables".  I couldn't take it anymore.  The only benefit of serving tables is the money.  The tips normally suck, but the volume of business we receive makes up for it.  It's a great place to work for fast money, but it comes at the expense of your well-being.  Late hours (2 am clock-outs) and long shifts (8-10 hours, sometimes 12-14) have absolutely drained me.  And because our employer (like most restaurants) only pays $2.13 an hour, below minimum wage, New Jersey law states that we aren't entitled to breaks.  It is indescribably frustrating to be expected to be cheery and composed for ten hours straight with no reprieve, yet I did it four to five days a week.  Now it's finished.  I've been unemployed for two weeks, and though I still have class, my schedule went from packed to the brim to practically empty.  Here's a quick ditty about those two weeks:

I spent the weekend waiting again

And now it's Monday morn'

I'll spend the weekdays waiting

For Saturday morn' again.

And when next Saturday unfurls from Friday night

I'll spend the mornings waiting again

For noon, for night, for naught.

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Comments 22 comments

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Hang in there, there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

jambo87 profile image

jambo87 6 years ago from Outer Space / Inner Space Author

Thank you pop!

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

Jumbo, my heart goes out to you! Some of us are like those genies (spirits) who sleeps in a bottle. You were a waiter in your latest bottle, which was quite a small bottle. The smaller the bottle, the larger and shorter is the neck of the bottle. So it was easy for you to get in and out of your latest bottle. Now you are entering a new bottle, a larger bottle with a narrower and longer neck, and you don’t yet know what kind of an employee (read server-of-fellow-men) you’re suppose to be in the new bottle – but once you’re in, you will be shaped to move easily in and out through the neck. Currently you are still stuck in the neck. So just go slowly forward, bear the pain, don’t escape, for very soon you will be in a brand new (larger) more exciting space.... until, once again, it is time to move to another, larger bottle. Hope this simple metaphor gives you the patience and endurance you need in this uncomfortable stage of your life. I can sense you are on your way to the greatest heights in this life.

jambo87 profile image

jambo87 6 years ago from Outer Space / Inner Space Author

What a great metaphor! The first few days of unemployment haven't been nearly as stressful as working in a restaurant. I'll get along just fine, I think. As always, my thanks and appreciation to you Martie.

atienza profile image

atienza 6 years ago from Northern California

jambo, you'll be alright, just give it time. Like Martie said you're headed for bigger and better things. You've gotten so used to being busy, that I'm sure it feels a bit strange to have idle time on your hands; however, you shouldn't suffer for pennies. With the level of intelligence you display in your writing, I believe you need work that is more fulfilling (and better paying), even if it is just to see you through school. Otherwise you'll find yourself in the same frustrating boat.

Or, I coulda just said, "This too shall pass."

jambo87 profile image

jambo87 6 years ago from Outer Space / Inner Space Author

Thanks atienza. I think your right,

I need more meaningful work. I'm not to upset about being without work right now. But I'm itching to be busy again.

kathryn1000 profile image

kathryn1000 6 years ago from London

I hope you can find something better to earn some money.I like the poem even though it is sad.

jambo87 profile image

jambo87 6 years ago from Outer Space / Inner Space Author

Thanks kathryn1000

Allan Douglas profile image

Allan Douglas 6 years ago from Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Suggestion... just convert waiting to writing and your time will just fly! Hope things work out for you soon!

jambo87 profile image

jambo87 6 years ago from Outer Space / Inner Space Author

Thanks Allan, I have been trying to write more. Hopefully I can turn out some more short stories soon.

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 6 years ago from Deep South, USA

I liked the short poem, but especially liked your description of the job you left. You're a very good writer, Jambo. I agree with Allan that you should spend your waiting time writing more. JAYE

jambo87 profile image

jambo87 6 years ago from Outer Space / Inner Space Author

Thank you Jaye. I ended up in another restaurant, but this one is family owned and has much shorter hours. Now I just need to kick myself in the can and get to writing again.

Welcome to hubpages by the way!

BennyTheWriter profile image

BennyTheWriter 6 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A.

Chin up man...and congrats on the new, better job! As other people here have said, you ARE a talented writer, and I think you could certainly earn a living from it, given enough time. I've only started to make a little bit here and there, and it's encouraging me to really delve into writing more than I've been accustomed to.

Cool poem too! I like the lyrical, almost melodic quality. Brings to mind the old spirituals that were sung by American slaves in a heavy southern drawl, clinging to their plight as evidence that they're still alive, there's still hope.

jambo87 profile image

jambo87 6 years ago from Outer Space / Inner Space Author

Thanks Benny. Good to hear from you. That's a very interesting analogy you made between my little ditty and slave songs.

I tried once to submit a short-story to a free 'zine and was rejected. I'm working on something a bit larger now (not too large, aiming for about 5000 words) and am going to try to submit that. I always thoroughly enjoy your writings. Glad to hear your making gains in your writing, you deserve it!

BennyTheWriter profile image

BennyTheWriter 6 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A.

All the best to you too, man. Best of luck with the new submission!

jambo87 profile image

jambo87 6 years ago from Outer Space / Inner Space Author

Thanks Benny!

The Trivia Guy profile image

The Trivia Guy 5 years ago from Portland

Jambo, how goes the search? I worked at a corporate restaurant (server/bartender/trivia host) for 7 years as I put myself through school and then for a couple years after as I drifted around the Western US.

I thought I was happy for many of the reasons you describe in this post while I worked there, but became disillusioned just like you. I found all my time was being sucked out by a job that didn't provide for my career or future and that my money was being sucked out by the ease of alcohol at the end of every shift.

I ended up getting fired, not even quitting. Even though I didn't technically "do" what I was fired for, I am really glad it happened. I'm two years away from the restaurant rut and I haven't been this happy in forever.

You write with insight and feeling, that says a lot, like that you should keep writing, that is, stare into the void my friend!

I hope the job search goes well and that you continue to do freelance online because I, for one, have already enjoyed many of your writings on here and am hoping to see more regularly.

This poem in particular is effective. It feels like reading modern day Dickinson. This is most true when you do not rhyme the last syllable of the last line as the reader has been set up to expect you will. Well played. Dickinson would always subvert the rhyme or the meaning in a subtle way, like you do here. I liked it up until the last line, but loved it after it! Thank you for sharing.

jambo87 profile image

jambo87 5 years ago from Outer Space / Inner Space Author

Ah, you share my pain then brother, haha. I did get another job in a much better restaurant. I recently read "Waiter's Rant". His poignancy is breathtaking.

Thank you very much, I'm glad you enjoyed.

thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 5 years ago from West Virginia

A great article and voted up. This is a major concern for most of the world. Unemployment is awful. I know WV rose 4%. I am not so sure about Obama.

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Gosh, you were away for 14 months! I believe you have a lot to share :) I look forward to the read :)

jambo87 profile image

jambo87 3 years ago from Outer Space / Inner Space Author

My apologies Martie, I never responded to your comment! As always your kind words and immense heart are an inspiration. I hope all is well.

literal profile image

literal 2 years ago from Aotearoa

I'm sure your next employer will recognise how hard you work. You have a fighting spirit; just keep going.

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