They didn’t tell you this about WORK, did they?

I’ve had a very long day, so I reserve the right to be head of the bitch pack today.

I have an issue with the job industry. People have this obnoxious habit of making simple jobs seem extremely complicated and extremely complicated jobs sound like dream jobs. How many of you haven’t heard the following during a job interview:

“It’s a walk in the park. You fill out some forms, check and sort the mail and make coffee for the occasional guest.”

Nobody tells you the stinky and ugly truth.

“There might a couple of extra hours, but it’s nothing you can’t handle.”

Oh yes, pay a lot of attention on those job interviews. There’s no such thing as a “dream job”, not even if your name is Richard Branson. We all have to work our asses off to get the good stuff. When someone tells you that you’ll make a lot of money by doing almost nothing or what seems to be not enough, they’re feeding you large sacks of shit. I’ve been there. Well, me and billions before me. But still, it’s my duty to share some of the experience, so I can later say “I told you so”. It’s my woman nature and I always get to say it. Live with it.

When your future employer tells you that you might have to do some overtime once in a while, you might as well bring a tent, a sleeping bag and spare clothes to work. When you’re told that if you do the extra mile, you’ll get great extra earnings, that usually means that you’ll toil like an idiot, spending more on medication to rebuild your immune system which you’ve damaged with too much work and little sleep, than all those appealing bonuses that they keep dangling before your nose. Sit, Sparky, sit. Nothing comes easy. If it sounds easy, it’s either a scam or a nice lie. Not all of us are fortunate enough to do what we like – and even those have to work hard to get results.

“Most of us will toil and die in misery. Glory and riches come afterwards. You suckers.”

Quick note to those who actually have it easy: you’re nature’s way of laughing in the rest of humanity’s face. We don’t like you.

Some of us become police officers. We go in deep, convinced that we’ll become the next CSI or CBI squad, but we’re faced with the harsh reality when it’s too late (basically when we start to enjoy blowing that whistle).

“At least I get to move my arms around.”

Some of us become doctors, dreaming of the day we’ll receive a heartfelt thanks for saving someone’s life. Nobody prepares us for the long hours of looking up people’s noses or asses.

“I’ve had my elbows deep in green poop this morning and I had guacamole and chips for lunch. I’m doing great!”

Some of us become firefighters, lawyers, accountants and so on – we all go in deep dreaming of great careers, a house on the beach, medals of honor and a nice car. Nobody tells us that it takes years of blood, sweat and tears to get there. Most of us don’t even make it that far, because we can’t toil ourselves into kidney failure and let’s face it, most of us are just too nice, too scared or too simple to get our hands dirty for the extra cash. We’re taught from a very young age that the only way that we can get results is through hard work. But nobody has the balls to tell us that we might end up losing more important things on the way.

“Like the decent hairline.”

In the end, it’s a matter of choice. While some of us will go the distance and get buried in paperwork or debris, just to go home to a TV and a fat cat, the others will take it a little easier and squeeze in a wife and three kids. Life is shitty that way – we rarely get everything we want and it usually comes at a very high price. Yet I’m puzzled by this guy, I can’t figure out if he really likes his job or he lost a very ugly bet. Either way, he makes janitors look freakishly cool.

The other extreme is even more irritating. A lot of people tend to make simple jobs sound like nuclear science. Why do I need tons of experience to be a waitress, for example? Or a shoe salesman? If I’m decently smart, I can learn this in a day, maybe two. If I’m special and not retarded, or plain stupid, I can spend fifteen years bussing tables and still trip on my shoe laces and pour hot coffee in someone’s lap, on a daily basis. I’ve heard so many people ask me: “For how long did you work as a waitress? Do you know how to do this?”

Let’s make something clear. I’m talking about a normal no-star job, like 70% of the world’s bars. It doesn’t require techniques, only a clean and decent look, a good attitude, a smile and at least an impression that you know what you’re doing. A five year old can kick our asses at this. If it’s not a five star venue, why the hell bother? Who is desperate enough to check if you serve their coffee on the right side? I’m pretty sure that the scrawny shoe salesman who stops by Louie’s Café doesn’t need a silver spoon to eat his chili, nor does he need his eggs and bacon on the right side – the guy’s hungry, just give him his damn food and smile, for fuck’s sake.

What experience do you need to work as a salesman? Or as a bartender? You pick it up as you go. If you want to be really good at it, then you take up a course or read a useful book. You show interest. But really, why all this fuzzy-nuzzy-bullshit? They should ask for a decent level of intelligence, not experience. Experience is NOTHING without a good working brain attached to it. How can you trust your merchandise and cash register with a nineteen year old Concetta who doesn’t know how much is 10+45? I’m serious, it happened right before my eyes. How can you trust your bar to someone who picks his nose right before he pours your coffee then frowns over his fingers, looking for his booger? Yes, that killed my appetite. I just hope it killed yours too.

“And I spit in it too, because I don’t like your smug face. But you didn’t see that.”

I’ve been told that without previous work experience here in Italy, it’s hard for me to find a job. So what, the other five years of work back home don’t matter at all? Well, there’s a question of customs here, customs that you’re not used to, I’ve also been told. Like what, putting a cup in a small plate on a table or chatting with my boyfriend on the phone while I serve a bagel and tea? I mean seriously, I come from strangely different standards. I don’t really like my country, but I have to admit that on a restaurant/café level, we get shit done. And besides, bussing tables and mixing sours is what college students are best at! And most of them weren’t prepared for these jobs, their parents didn’t give them their milk bottle and said: “Honey, when you’re eighteen and still unable to tie your shoelaces, you’ll be serving pizza and pasta to pay for your college books!”.

“Also, you’ll have a lot of unprotected sex and flaming shots.”

You see, it takes years of study and practice to get certain jobs done. Medics will know what I mean. All those years of quick lunching next to a dissected corpse will pay off as a life saving experience later. It takes a couple of days, a decently bright mind and good will to learn other jobs. It would be wonderful if they’d just stop making waitresses sound like fucking rocket scientists.

“Would you like some fries with that?”

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To Dream or Not to Dream

[a note, not a motivational pile of crap]

I’ll take the dream. I’m allergic to skeptics.

I’ve learned something (as always) over the years. Never listen to the person that tells you “You’re not going to make it!”. They’re most likely to feel miserable and unfulfilled and need to drag somebody else down with them.

Shakespeare was right, we are made of dreams. That’s what pushes us to go further. That’s what made the IPad possible. Or the stem cell transplant. Or Daft Punk.

I’m sure that someone told Edison to give it up at some point in his life. I’m also pretty sure that he gave them the middle finger and look at us now. Think about that when you turn on the lights. Ransom E. Olds didn’t give up on the dream either. Remember the Oldsmobile? That was the “in-your-face” manifesto of a man who dared to pursue a dream. Think about that when you get in your car with the words “You’ll never make it!” thumping in your head. Mr. Bell had a dream. So did Martin Luther King. And Marie Curie. Even Kelly Clarkson had a dream. And they’ve all had to deal with at least one skeptic who told them “Come on, stop dreaming, stick to your day job, you’re not going to make it!”.

It’s time you put up that middle finger in the air and start using it properly. What, I can’t dream? I can’t wish for better things for myself? Should I just give up and keep pushing papers in a tiny office while my room keeps filling itself up with some of the most incredible paintings that the 21st century has ever seen? Maybe I want to become an astronaut. Who the hell are you to tell me that I can’t make it?

Humanity was not built on “realism” or “stick to your day job”. Humanity was built on dreams and it continues to grow on this platform. Of course, its effect on the planet is still shady to me, but I’m talking about a more individual level here.

Take me, for example. I’ve heard this crap all my life.

“Well, it’s a nice thing you can paint and all, but it won’t get you far, you might think of a career as a secretary or even assistant manager! Imagine that! ASSISTANT MANAGER!” – yes, it’s always been my life’s dream to fetch coffee and mail for some pompous bastard in a suit until I retire. Then my grandchildren will ask me about my life and what I’ve done. I’ll have a lot to tell them, for sure. “I sorted the mail and answered the phone for thirty years. It paid the mortgage and the food for your mother.” — the problem is that I put up my middle finger instead and pursued my own dreams. I’m not on top of any pyramid right now, I’m not handling any multibillion dollar business and I’m not hanging any “Sold Out” signs at the entrance of any art gallery. But I’m happy and I can look at myself in the mirror.

“Good for you that you can write novels and great stories, but that won’t pay the rent!” – thank you for the wonderful insight, I’ve never thought about it this way. Not even when I was serving coffee to daddy’s little rich girls just so I could have a decent lunch. I will take that advice and quit writing, in fact. I’ll live out the rest of my days as a waitress who loves “Big Brother” and when my breasts reach my knees I’ll be able to look back and say “Hey! I’ve done a lot these last 20 years! I’ve done a lot!”, while I feed my three cats and pray that my children do better. I’m kidding. I’ve put up the middle finger high up in the air again and I’ve gone my way. I’m writing and I will keep writing until I reach that point of success that every aspiring writer dreams about. I’ll keep following my dream – maybe I’ll make it, maybe I won’t. At least I will have tried. My dignity will still be there to pat me on the shoulder.

“You’ll never have your own business! You need money and your current job won’t cover that.” – I think Richard Branson heard that almost every single day of his life. I’m not just throwing examples in your face as a motivational tactic. Not at all. It’s just incredibly annoying to hear that “You won’t make it!” line every time I dare to talk about my dreams.

We all have dreams. Whether we have the courage to admit it or not, it’s our problem. Whether we have the balls to pursue them, it’s entirely up to us. But if we keep ourselves down just because others didn’t have the courage to follow their dreams, we’re of no use to this world.

We don’t need skeptics, we need people who can stand up for themselves and for their vision. Progress was never based on “Give it up, Joe, you’ll never make it!”.

So, for example, if I say that in five years’ time I’ll have my degree and my own business, there are 50% chances that it will happen. If I stick by it and try hard to make it, my chances will go higher. If I keep giving people the middle finger every time they tell me that I won’t make it, my chances will continue to grow. Worst case scenario is that I won’t make it, but at least I’ll be able to live with myself and defeat will not sting as much as regrets. Best case scenario is that I’ll put a diamond ring on that middle finger, so it’ll sparkle while I show it off.

My point would be to never give up. Not until you try, anyway. It’s better to go out there and end up smacking your head against the wall than to stay inside and keep looking out the window, wondering “What if?”. Success doesn’t come easy. There’s blood, there’s sweat and there are tears involved. And a lot of workouts for your middle finger.

I’m keeping mine up and proud.

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