(sorry guys, there's not actually a choose your own adventure component here).
The past 6 months, I've been working food service - the past 6 weeks, I've been a cook in a small taqueria here in Portland. At first, I took a food job because it was easy and close by, and I've been taking them since because that's where the opportunities seem to be. Someone quit at my current workplace, so I got bumped up to 5 shifts a week. I'd been in training for a while, and things seemed kind of hectic, but I assumed it was just because I had been learning the ropes and that it was some problem with me.
Jump cut to yesterday. I never know my weekly schedule until the day before the week begins, and even then it is liable to change the day of - 3 times, I've been called in to work on my only day off because a co-worker called out. I'm working 5-6 8 hour shifts a week with no breaks, and I can't bring up how illegal that is to my boss for fear of being fired.
I am tired all the time. I keep working closing shifts and then opening the next day - leaving at 11 PM, biking home, and then coming in at 6 AM. I spend maybe an hour with my boyfriend a day, after he gets out of work. Ships in the night, etc.
A friend of mine showed up drunk at my house the other night. His partner left, and he didn't know where to go. I ask all my coworkers if they can cover for me, nobody can. I beg my supervisor to just let me have the night off and cover for me, she doesn't.
I leave my friend at home and go to work. We get 10 orders in my 8 hour shift. I don't make enough in tips for bus fare.
Bike home. My friend is still there, still drunk (or drunk again, I guess). It's my bf's day off, so he's been taking care of my friend for me. I don't really have the energy to hang out with him, but I stay up late talking anyway. He falls asleep.
I have a long talk with my bf. I can afford next month's rent and utilities if I put in my two week's notice tonight and just work the next two weeks.
I email my boss and give her my two week's notice, saying that I just can't work in a kitchen anymore for personal reasons. I tell her that if she needs me to stay for slightly longer than two weeks while she finds a replacement, I can do that.
I get an email back with a revised schedule for the next two weeks. I am working one shift. I can no longer afford rent for next month.
Even as I'm writing this, I know that I have nothing to complain about - I am able to find jobs, even if I dislike them, and can support myself without having to take on a second job. I have a home, and can feed myself. I have virtually no debt to pay off, and am still on my parents' insurance. I am better off than the vast majority of people my age, period.
But I still am unqualified for virtually any job that isn't food service, Uber, or a warehouse.
I was pretty good at school. I was Dean's list every semester, got the award for being my year's "outstanding senior" in my board of study, was picked to give a talk at the science symposium. I know my school wasn't Ivy League, but it's still one of the more competitive public Liberal Arts schools. (I know, I shot myself in the foot by going to a LA school instead of studying a hard science).
I've held two jobs requiring different skill sets for 3-4 years each. I have stellar references from both. I have a diverse set of skills outside of that, including music performance, pedagogy, and production; sewing; basic carpentry (unlicensed, but I can build a bathroom to code from bare wood); 3 years of customer service experience, 3 years of non-profit experience, and odds and ends here there and everywhere.
There is nothing I want more in the world than a full time 9-5 desk job. I want to know exactly what I'll be doing 3 months, 3 years from now. If it's a job in a field a care about, even better. But the jobs that I have applied to out here - the ones that I have met all the listed qualifications for and then some - haven't even called me back for an interview. I just turned in an application tonight for a job that I would love - working for a music centered non-profit that provides resources to underserved communities. I have 2 years of experience working for an almost identical program back east, and I still feel like I won't get this job.
Sorry, there's not really a moral here, and I'm sure this is a big ol' mess. I'm just burnt out, and I could use some talking to.