Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Life As a Working Woman

Awhile ago, I mentioned that I had gotten a job. I'm currently Assistant Night Manager of an ice cream/burger place.
   Let me start out by saying how much I love my job. It's amazing. Yes, sometimes customers (or co-workers) are pains, but that's the price one pays to work in customer service.
   
   I was job hunting and browsing Craigslist. I came across an ad for a shift supervisor for the company I currently work for. I sent in an app, and got a call 2 days later. I went to the interview. I rocked the interview so hard, they offered me a position 2 above that which I applied for. I was told that I was guaranteed 45 hours a week, and would be making more than I've ever made in my working life. Of course, I took the job.
   I had been Assistant Manager of a pizza place prior to this (and prior to foster kids), so I've had managerial experience. But being in charge of 7 other people whose only job is to make pizza is a lot different than being responsible for 15, doing jobs that range from grocery to fryer/grill to sundaes and drive-thru. 
   My manager and regional manager (who sat in on the interview) are really impressed with me. As in, are actively planning to have me move up the ladder very quickly. This is a lot of pressure! Not only did I have to learn how to do things like spinning milkshakes without making a mess (still in progress on that one), making burgers, and dealing with a drive-thru headset; but I have to manage things like speed of service, shrink, and customer service. I average 50 hours a week-48 of those are on my feet. For a 360lb girl, that's a lot!
   It's interesting, because all of the things that I felt made me a horrible foster mom, are an asset in the working world. I'm very honest, I'm very focused, I am good at finding work for people to do, and I can multitask. As much as being a stay-at-home mom made me feel like a failure, my job has given me confidence.
   I've wondered why the Mormon church (and other conservative religions) preach that stay-at-home wives/mothers is the highest ideal. I really think that if women got a taste of recognition outside of their homes, few would want to deal with laundry, spills, cleaning, and cooking. 

   I am lucky that I have gotten to experience both sides. As frustrating as being a SAHM was, it has opened my eyes to what makes me happy. And that's managing people, and assisting customers. I'm grateful that I've had the chance to deal with foster kids, because that's made it easier for me to relate to some of my co-workers. (Because this is fast food, and they are teenagers at their first job) I'm thankful that my husband supports me in whatever I've chosen.
   Am I perfect? Not by a long shot. When I'm stressed, I sometimes get waspish and snarky. My bipolar sneaks up on me sometimes and sends me from exuberant highs to crashing lows, all in the course of an hour. I sometimes ask 3 different things of one person, and then get cranky because they don't get done.
   But you know what? At the end of the day, I know that even if I started less than 2 months ago and have moments of snappishness, I have the respect of my co-workers.  When I suggest things to my manager, he considers my advice seriously. 16 year olds tell me about their problems at home and 22 year olds ask my advice in their love lives. 5 days a week, I am enmeshed in a community that not only needs me as a manager, but wants me as a person. That's something that I never felt as a trophy wife or foster mom.

   Am I saying every woman should work? Of course not. I think every person should find what works for them. I also don't think that people should be pigeonholed into small boxes simply because they were born with certain sex characteristics. If staying at home with your 6 kids is how you find fulfillment, then I'm happy for you. But if you're like me, and would rather conquer the glass ceiling than clean the glass windows, then I hope you have the support from those you care about. I hope that you can find the confidence to do what speaks to you, and not listen to people telling you how to live your life.
   And to those of you who aren't sure what makes you happy, I hope you have the freedom and support to try things out. Make some mistakes, learn some lessons- but do what is best for you. Don't let anyone tell you what to dream.

Whatever your dreams are, I'm rooting for you! I wish everyone reading this the support and love that I am currently feeling. :)
 

4 comments:

  1. This is so awesome! I do totally get why some mothers want to stay home with their kids. I'm excited to start grad school in the fall but I'd be lying if I didn't admit to being a little sad too. I'm also a bit wary about going back to full-time work when I'm done. In a perfect world I'd love to work between 20-30 hrs a week, but I don't think there's many opportunities like that for what I want to do. For me being a SAHM is hard and often monotonous, but I imagine that it's also easier to see the rewards than it would be with most foster situations. I feel that I do get as much validation from home as I did when I was working, but it's like comparing apples to oranges. For me getting back into the workforce is more about being able to increase our earning potential and maintaining an identify that's separate from my family. Plus I miss the intellectual stimulation.

    When I lived in Baltimore the singles ward I attended had a fairly large proportion of older (for Mormons anyway) unmarrieds. Several of the women I knew were pursuing PhDs or building amazing careers, but they were still treated as failures and infantilized by people in the church. Or I saw other women who were drifting along aimlessly because they'd never been encouraged to have aspirations and weren't sure what to do with themselves when they weren't married by age 21.

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  2. I lost my last job because I didn't fit the way the boss expected women to be--extroverted, flirtatious and giggly, none of which had anything to do with the requirements of my work or my performance (I had, in fact, in a profession where 1-2 evaluations a year are the norm, not been evaluated for over two years). I started grad school after that and then family crisis got in the way of that. I have not been fully employed for four years now. I am actually terrified of trying to find a job again. I spent 16 years in my chosen profession being told, basically, "you're great at what you do, but we want you to be more ______" fill in the blank with extroverted, girly, or not girly (and both of the latter came from the same employer--how do you win with that?).

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  3. I just love this post and I wish you would write some more!

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    1. Thank you! I've recently gotten back in the swing of writing again. :)

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