There was a status post on a dear friend’s Facebook page a few days ago that I just can’t shake. My friend is like so many of us and works very hard along with her husband to support her family and pay their bills. And like so many of us those ends that are supposed to meet more often than not are way too far apart to ever touch. She doesn’t have a “job” working at ridiculously low hourly wages at a grocery store or fast food restaurant. She runs her own business from home.
The status post I can’t wrap my head around involves an insensitive and probably well meaning comment when another financial crisis hit (you know what those feel like, right?) The car breaks down and you don’t have money to fix it. The roof needs repairs you can’t afford. Someone gets injured or sick and there are medical bills you can’t pay. I could go on and on with examples.
The comment that hurt so much was that she should get a “real job”.
So what is a “real job”? Would you not say that someone that farms for a living growing food to sell to pay for their land and feed their family doesn’t have a real job? Would you say that someone that makes jewelry twelve hours a day to sell online and at festivals doesn’t have a real job? Does a real job really mean that you have to work for someone else doing tasks to put money in their pockets? I have done that “work for someone else” thing and I have to say that it doesn’t mean you are more financially stable than when you are working for yourself.
I can’t say for sure what my friend’s day looks like on an hourly basis. I don’t follow her around. But knowing what her results are I know she puts in long sweaty hard hours. All I can really talk about here is my experience without a “real job”.
My work day looks something like this:
Sometime between 5-6 AM getting up and sucking down the coffee. The computer is open as soon as I can see straight. Usually by the time I’ve downed my first cup of coffee. I’m checking business pages, checking on my shops online and then starting one of the day’s tasks while chugging some more coffee. Today is Sunday. My day started the same. Today I worked on adding some listings to my store. I took photos, wrote listings, tagged items, took a 15 minute lunch break and then back to it. I kept this pace up until around 7:30PM. I periodically checked in on Facebook on a networking group I run, took about 30 minutes to help one of my network get an ad created and took the dogs out several times so they could…well…you know what dogs do.
All total, I would have to say that I may have spent 45 minutes throughout the day not working. This is what my week looks like 7 out of 7 days most weeks.
I never worked this hard for any of my past employers and I was a dedicated hard worker. The joy wasn’t there. I was not working for my own dream or my own business. I was working to fulfill someone else’s dream. And in case you think that hourly wage jobs are going to keep you from having your life spin out of control the first time your transmission needs to be replaced, think again. Without your vehicle you can’t get to work to make the little bit of money they pay you for your time and without getting to work to make that money you aren’t going to be able to get the transmission.
If you have a friend that is having a hard time with one of life’s bills, do not tell them to get a “real job”. Listen, empathize and give them a safe place to vent. Let her make her decide what her “real job” is in this world. If she is working at her own business she is more than likely working harder than any one person should already.
This is probably a rant train that is hard to follow. For those of you that stayed on it, thank you.