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The Thing About Jobs is, Everyone Should Try One Once.

Updated on September 24, 2019

Once upon a time I was somewhat of a Panini Queen.

I owned a small sandwich shop that specialized in panini-style sandwiches. During my time there, I noted a similarity when it came to some of the patrons that strolled through the doors of our sandwich factory.

But before I get into that I want to tell you about a “study” I read a while ago—I put this in quotations because quite frankly I’m not sure if one can consider it a ``study`` when the suggested posts under it had titles like, `drinking copious amounts of beer now reveal its benefits` and `scientists can now tell if someone is gay or straight by the dilation of their pupils.` If I were going to use the term facepalm, it would be right now.

Anyhoo, regardless of what you want to call it, the thingy I read, told me that it is no longer politically correct to ask someone what they do for a living…Like, are you kidding me right now?

No no, it is now lousy form to inquire as to what your new small talk buddy does for a living because their answer may or may not be “cooler” than your answer. THUS hurting their fragile feel-bads.

Let’s say that I happen to meet someone on my run next week. There I am panting away like a fat kid who is running to get his second breakfast when another jogger stops at the same lights I am currently at. We are waiting for the little white walk-man to flash at us and we get to talking. Now I should be much more concerned about how embarrassingly out of shape I am and not even remotely worried about what I am going to tell this person I do for a living. Which I am. Still wheezing even though I stopped running like five minutes ago. So between breathless gasps I tell my new friend that I am a freelance writer. Do I feel ashamed that the last paycheque I received from writing was well over several months ago and I have little to no prospects of cash money in my future when it comes to my beloved writing…Well yeah, maybe a little but you know what, that’s life!

So then I swallow up my insecurities like a big girl and ask this other human what they do for a living. They tell me they work the graveyard shift at the Tims on 5th. And I say, “That’s sweet! You must meet all kinds working those hours!” And we laugh and laugh because neither of us is whiney wieners who get crazy over non-existent issues.

If you ask me, as long as you’re earning an honest living, then you’re doing pretty darn well in my books.


However *holds pointer finger up in exaggerated way* not everyone feels this way.

Not everyone deems “The Working Joe” as a respectable way to earn a wage. I know this because I’ve seen it first hand and it makes me realize why the innocent question of “What do you do?” can be made into a hurtful faux pas.

For the most part, when a customer walked into our sandwich shop, my husband Jamie and I were able to talk with them, get a few laughs and all around have a glorious 5 to 10 minutes of chat while we cooked them up the most fabulous sandwich in the world. And sometimes the exact opposite thing happened.

See this: a customer strolls in and looks the place up and down. They see Jamie and me hanging behind the counter and begrudgingly address our upbeat, “HELLO!” with an uninterested, “Hey” of their own. They then look at the menu boards and choose a sandwich all the while trying their hardest not to make dreaded eye contact because that could mean talking and stuff.

I may ask how their weekend was, to which they reply with a curt, “fine.” Or Jamie will mention how beautiful of a day it is outside today. They will simply stare awkwardly out the window pretending not to hear us. Even though both Jamie and I are undeniably loud talkers. Always have been.

And you know it’s okay. Sometimes we just have a bad day, and we really don’t want to deal with the small talk of strangers. I get that. I can admire that even. Here I have to be the chipper chicken day in and day out to you people!

But what I don’t get, what really burns me up, is that 9 out of the 10 people who come in acting this way will completely and utterly change their attitude towards Jamie and me when they find out that the shop we are working in is actually ours.

All of a sudden we become exciting. All of a sudden we become worthy of their conversation. And it makes me gasp, gasp I say, with shock. How can anyone think so poorly of a person who is just trying to make a living? Perhaps they are a cashier, and perhaps they love being a cashier. Maybe it provides the perfect hours to allow for quality time with their family. Maybe they are just really friggen passionate about cashier work.

So my end conclusion is that any “study” you find on Facebook is probably stupid and most likely fake news. Especially ones that tell you that you cannot partake in certain get-to-know-ya rituals any longer. But *again with the exaggerated finger* being the rude-o that belittles a fellow human for working a job that in their stilted definition deems ‘dead end’ is by far, much worse; and worlds lamer.

Go out into the world, be kind, and do your work with all the passion in the world.

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    • renee21 profile image

      Tori Leumas 

      22 months ago

      As I was going through college, I had many different kinds of part-time jobs. I've worked as a secretary, a trail guide at a horseback trail riding stable, a line-cook/sioux chef, a cashier, and a deli clerk.

    working

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