joy life

When you’re in the service industry

I’ve been thinking a lot lately… Or, like, since graduating. I’ve been thinking about how my jobs since acquiring my bachelor’s degree have been in fields where I don’t use that degree at all.

What’s the point?

I work with kids and I work in the service industry. Honestly, I love both, most of the time. But sometimes it’s so hard to feel… enough. Adequate. Important. Especially when you have spent the last 9 months serving coffee in the financial district of Manhattan.

I loved so many of our customers, really and truly. I knew the names of most people walking through the door and could start their coffee orders before they even got to the counter.

But there’s always that person. The one bad experience of the day, but the one you’re still thinking about on the train ride home. Some people are just rude. Some people make you feel like your entire existence is for their service and you’re otherwise… invisible. Not human.

I was talking to a friend recently about this and she’s feeling the same way. Why did we go to college to do this and barely get by on hourly wages? Why are we struggling so much to even get a rejection call back, much less an actual interview? Why do we exert so much effort to serve others just to be unappreciated?

I’ve thought so much about this. And I think the reason, at least right now, that I serve coffee for a living is so that I also have time to babysit and write music. I think that’s it. I’ve been more than qualified for so many jobs I’ve applied for. Husband and I have struck out in places it hasn’t made sense to. And I’ve finally accepted there’s gotta be a reason behind it.

I hope and pray that I’ll always end up where I need to be. Most of the time it just feels like I’m failing and sprinting forward without direction. But that’s just a feeling. That’s me not trusting. It’s not the truth.

If I worked a full time job, I wouldn’t be able to devote two partial days a week to babysit. If I hadn’t taken a job at a daycare before moving to New York, I don’t know that I would’ve been trusted enough to even start babysitting in New York. If I didn’t visit a coffee shop in LIC by recommendation of a friend in March 2016, I never would’ve applied there in December 2016. If I didn’t meet a fellow barista at church, I never would’ve applied to work at the cafe I’m at now. If I didn’t work in coffee, I never would’ve met the people I can call my new city best friends. If I didn’t meet them, I might’ve already given up on my creative dreams by now because this city has torn me down a little.

Now that I think back, so many things led up to exactly where I am now. I’m moving on to a different cafe now, and I’ll stay there so I can continue doing what I’m doing. Money may be hard and it may be hard to have such weird work hours and sometimes never see my husband, but… it’s okay. It’s only for a while.

And lately I’ve been asked a lot about my tattoo. The one that says joy. Even though it’s permanently written, it’s a daily reminder to actually believe what the word says. Joy everlasting, joy despite circumstance, joy when it’s hard. Because these hard times are only temporary, as I’ve come to learn. And they’re there to make you learn and grow and be molded into something better, something holier. Even further, these current circumstances are a constant reminder that life isn’t about me. That one… that’s one really easy to forget. Oh, it’s so easy to forget.

I can feel myself changing. I can tell I’m not the same person I was when I moved to New York 9 months ago. I’m not going to say it’s better or worse… I’m not sure that can be measured. Oh, but I’m learning.

And that is good.


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