Depression and bad jobs don’t mix.
I’m a writer struggling to find a better writing job in the community, but my day job as a cashier in retail gets in the way of positive thinking. In fact, I have found that retail work only gets in the way of progress for those seeking better opportunities.
I never liked retail because it is one of the more soul crushing jobs for me. I don’t like being face-to-face with customers for five-to-eight hours and resolving their petty materialistic issues.
But the sad thing is, when you need a job to fill in the income gaps, retail is one of the easiest to come by on such short notice. I can work part time while writing as a freelancer. The only problem is, retail saps me of my energy, so when I get home, I only want to read or play video games.
This is where retail interferes with healing from depression, because no one cares about my feelings at my job. Imagine a job where you have to ask permission to get a drink of water, go to the bathroom and wait for scheduled breaks. That’s my job. When my blood sugar drops, it doesn’t matter, because I have to wait for my scheduled break to eat. When I feel a sudden attack of anxiety in the middle of a transaction, I have to wait until I can go back to the break room for my medication.
Also, most days for me aren’t more than six hours, which means I only get a 15 minute break to scarf down food and get back to work. It’s not enough time for me to write or read a book. That’s how the retail system is designed. They make it intentionally difficult to plan your own life around the job.
After seeing so many older people in retail talk about how they just fall asleep when they get home, I realized that I don’t want that to be me. I want to actively find better opportunities and take risks rather than staying cooped up for another day.
I’ve heard an older man say that this year was his sixth Christmas working at Kohl’s. An older employee I spoke with said she wanted to write for newspapers when she got out of high school. I wonder what happened. But that won’t be me.
It is hard to work a bad job when you’re depressed. Positive thinking doesn’t come easy to me, but I took it in these steps. Here is a break down of the way I am training myself to act and think while working a bad job.
1. Don’t feel bad about not writing a novel when I come home. Write a small blog post or a little bit in a short story. Read the news and brainstorm articles for a bit. This keeps me active in my craft.
2. Retail is not permanent for me. I worked hard for four years to learn my craft, and I’ll be damned if I can’t make a decent living from it.
4. Actively seek new writing opportunities on my days off. Wander the neighborhood for ideas to prevent stagnation of my mind and body.
5. This job is temporary, and it is helping to pay our rent and bills.
At 23 years old, I’m told there is still time to make things work out. But time seems to go by so fast, and in order to make my dreams work out, I must actively seek the solutions when the opportunities arise.