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Too many times in the past year I’ve found myself falling into the millennial stereotype I’ve grown to resent more and more. A recent look at my financials led me to realized I am a stereotypical young adult who doesn’t haven’t a clue about how to save money. I need to create the much-discussed safety net, and my current situation isn’t going to cut it. As cost of living goes up, and salary growth stays stagnant, I knew I had to do something. I ran through the usual make money quick schemes. I’m too afraid of needles to sell plasma, I don’t have the connections to get into the used panties market, and I’d tried an Etsy shop last year that failed to gain any momentum. In the end, the solution I came up with was to get a second part-time job.
At first, the plan seemed easy. I would skate through for a few months or a year and then call it quits once I was stable. After implementing my genius strategy, I realized how in over my head I’ve gotten. It sucks, and not just in a minor inconvenience way. My entire schedule and life has taken a turn for the worst and I’m miserable.
During the Monday through Friday work week, I put in between 9-10 hours staring at a screen before I get to sit in the car and repeat the hour-long drive I took that morning in reverse. Three days a week, I head directly to my second job at a hotel front desk, where I’ll stay until 11 p.m.
Before, I could grasp on to the tiny ray of hope that was the weekend to get me through the slump of an unbearable week. Now, I’m up at 6 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday to head into an eight-hour shift checking people in and losing my will to live. Once this minimum wage work is over, Monday has rolled back around and the process starts all over again. No amount of coffee in the world can keep me chipper anymore, and I’m convinced permanent dark spots have formed under my eyes.
My social life has completely deteriorated at this point. Friday and Saturday nights that used to be fertile with antics and fun are now destroyed by capitalism. I’m lucky if I can shower, rub one out, scroll Twitter, and get in a good cry before heading to bed by 9:00 p.m. The two free evenings I do have on Tuesday and Thursday are spent cranking out as much of my grad school work I can manage, while I sneak in completing the rest during my lunch breaks later in the week. So much for some of the best years of my life.
I figured some of the sadness would be wiped away once I got my first paycheck. Money can’t buy happiness, but I certainly feel a temporary high after a direct deposit day. I can ride that wave for all its worth. Unfortunately, all said and done with taxes, I was making barely over $250 for all the extra work I was putting in. Instead of content, I realized just how worthless my time and effort is.
Ranting and complaining have become the new norm, but sometimes it does make me feel guilty. I think of all the people out there doing exactly what I’m doing but under even worse circumstances. I don’t have to worry about taking care of kids when I get off my hell shifts, and no one else is depending on my income to pay bills, or cover medical expenses. I make a real salary at my full-time job, and have health benefits and a 401k. Thinking about this doesn’t really ease the pain though. If anything, it just makes me feel sorry for myself AND the thousands of people barely scraping by.
I’m not sure how much longer I can do it. Long hours of feigning interest while people drone on about what they’re doing on vacation is wearing on me, and my fake smile may not hold. I miss being able to sleep over at my boyfriend’s place without getting up before the sun to make it into work on time. The misery has led me to question if it’s even worth it in the end. My lack of sleep and the never-ending pain in my feet may be temporary, but my grim outlook on life may be permanent. Will I be a different person when this is all over?
I guess at this point, I’ll just be biding my time until I can save up a decent chunk of change, or I somehow manage to start making a STEM salary in a creative field. Most likely, I’ll just slowly continue to lose my mind until I’m working zero jobs and living off anti-anxiety meds. At least I can finally finish Westworld if I’m committed to an inpatient facility for the depressed and over-worked. .