Pride is a quiet being that lurks inside of all of us. It sneaks out sometimes, in the form of judgment, and we don’t even notice it. It stings. It makes us feel ashamed; make us hide things. It can bring us down and make us cry. We can even hate ourselves because of our own pride and mixed emotions we don’t understand.
I’ve been out of work for three years now. Oh, yeah, I picked up a contract job last year. It lasted almost 2 months. I never wrote about the end of that contract because I went spiraling down into another bout of depression. I had finally found a great working environment and a job doing what I loved to do and it was just … over. Just in time for the holidays. I wondered if I just wasn’t good enough. And I was too proud to tell anyone, “Oh yeah, that ended.”
But it would be ok, though. I had more time to work on my incense business. The problem there is, when you’re starting a business it takes at least 2-3 years to show enough profit to start, oh… earning something for yourself. We really needed to be a two-income family.
Pride sneaks out quietly when you make judgments on others. I’ve seen people on the streets begging for money, holding a sign up that says they’re unemployed. I’ve thought to myself, “Geez… There are resources available to help you. You don’t have to do this.” Or worse, “I would get a job at McDonald’s before begging on the streets. I’m too proud to beg.”
I’ve since found out the application process for assistance is lengthy and it isn’t that easy to get approved. If you have a car (which you need in order to get to a job), that counts against you. If you live in a house, that counts against you. At the risk of offending many of my readers, I’ll apologize in advance – I know why many low-income families have so many kids. It makes it easier to qualify for assistance. If I had one more child, my family could qualify.
I’ve applied for so many jobs in the past three years and either heard nothing or heard, “I’m sorry, but we’ve decided to go with another candidate.” Last month I was on my way home from an interview that I knew was going to go the same way. It just had that feel (and it did, btw). I pulled into the bakery near my home for some well-needed comfort food and saw they were hiring. I figured, WTF? This is better than nothing.
I now have a minimum wage job where I stand on my feet all day. I’ve been working there for about a week. I don’t know what hurts worse – my feet, knees, and back from standing on my feet all day, or the sting from my pride.
The sting took me by surprise. It blindsided me. I thought, surely, I’d be happy to at least have some kind of a job. I’m just bringing in money. This is only temporary until I find something better. I even said, at one point, “How can I look at those guys on the street and wonder why they don’t apply for any job or take any job that comes their way if I don’t do it, myself?” But I found I couldn’t tell anyone what I was doing; not even my best friend. I couldn’t even bring myself to tell my sister until yesterday. I was ashamed of having to take a job so far beneath my skills. So this is how I do it. I just “come-out-of-the-minimum-wage-closet”. I’ve always been an extremist, like that. If I have a hard time doing something or coping with something, I either avoid it or go all-in.
And I don’t have time to do what makes me happy anymore. I get home and I’m exhausted. I don’t have time to do my incense. Today is my first day off and all I want to do is sit here. I have incense to make and oil orders to fill but I just can’t… I don’t think I can last long enough at this place to give a 2-week notice.
And that stings, too. I’ve always been too proud to admit I can’t do everything.