We’re slaves to the wage

By Thomas Stevens

I just don’t feel right not having a job. I’ve worn many hats, the most recent being reporter for the Daily Eastern News.

If I included every job I’ve ever had on my résumé, it wouldn’t give a favorable impression. In fact, this is my third job since last summer; I’ve been a Pagliai’s pizza cook, a graduate assistant for Eastern and now a reporter. All in all, I can truthfully say that I’ve had 20 jobs.

I know it sounds pretty lousy but, in my defense, they have all been part-time jobs, and I’ve never been fired.

I did quit once, though.

I encourage everyone to quit at least once in their lifetime. Not the requisite two-week notice, but an abrupt and eruptive display of insubordination that results in the clichéd climax of “I quit!”

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Working at a par-3 golf course for a summer was a blast, probably my favorite job. I was the guy who drove the funny tractor in the caged cab. Putting up gravestones was an experience, too, especially when the person whose monument I was setting up watched to make sure their tombstone looked acceptable.

Lately I’ve found that as my education has progressed, my jobs have been getting better and better. They are more substantive, and I enjoy more responsibility and autonomy. I’ve always found writing to be fascinating, one of those things that appears simple until you try it. So I called the DEN two weeks ago and asked if there was anything I could do writing-wise. Seeing my name in print is pretty gratifying, I must admit.

I also encourage students to follow their passions. So many times, I see my friends taking jobs not for satisfaction, but for the pay. It can be quite a shock going from a liberal college environment to a strict work environment, and our attitudes are showing in the workplace.

Bobbi Kingery, Eastern career counselor explains that students are used to living by their own schedule.

Some corporations are catching on, most notably Best Buy and Microsoft. They have revamped the typical nine-to-five grind in favor of flextime and also allow employees to work out-of-office.

“Even with that rule on the books, people are pretty much afraid to go home because the guy next to them might be staying longer,” Kingery said of the Microsoft model. “It is still focused on how much can you accomplish for us, how many goals can you meet.”

Since a young age, we’ve been told that if you are passionate about something and stick to it long enough, it will pay off.

I don’t believe that. The traditional eight-hour workday just seems so bogus, especially when you have to check who you are at the door.

“Young people want to work but have unrealistic expectations of the way things should be in the workplace,” Kingery said “But in some ways, their expectations are the way it should be.”

I want to work, and I will do whatever I can. But when I check my hat at the door, I want to keep my identity.