In the time being that I an here, I am aiming for a purpose or something anticipated. I am aiming for a career as a writer, as an author, as an acclaimed thinker. This has always been an underlying desire since childhood, though never brought forth and managed until now. Only until recently have others suggested that ‘with all of your knowledge and quest for more, as well for your need to express such a need to let it all out…’ Why not become a writer? I made a post, inspired by a questioned phrase stated by myself. ‘Why not now?’
This has been a new pursuit, well a rekindled desire with a direct purpose and reasons to back it. It was of my sophomore year as a an undergraduate college student that I found my desire. I wanted to write, I had typed and shared on a previous blog. I wanted to express myself, however I did not know whether fact or fiction would be my strongest. So I had tried fiction first. As imaginative as my words may appear to be, I have found that my challenge to write a fictional character about an emotion or thought I have not expressed or felt myself proved to be more difficult. I can write, well I can express myself poetically but the stories I find myself writing have no beginning or ending. They are at random occurrence, in the middle of a sentence or thought. For example, the boy walking through the woods. It was at random, a young masculine of center appearing person. The time and place was undefined. The nature was not adequately expressed but I was thinking of autumn. Where he was walking from and to was unknown to the reader and myself. In a sense what I aimed to capture was a feeling, or something I have felt and experienced myself. A person walking through the woods. A person that feels and hears the overwhelming presence of nature in the absence of disturbance by humans-except myself. What I was I thinking remained in my mind alone-chaotic. What I was feeling was so profound at that moment that I had wished to share it. The ability to express that moment and feeling in writing remains as a task to master.
I found that writing in fact to something proved to be more rewarding; inclined to my nature and thought process. The way in which I think is called ‘conceptual knowledge’, though not in reference to math functions but to a personality or way of thinking about ideas. I have shown this in one of my lengthy blogs, The ‘Borg’, as I relate a larger sporadic concept to a defined understanding as it relates to our own reality. I anticipate to write further in this way. As well, constructing arguments to widely held ideas is best described as a ‘brain workout’ for me. Again, another anticipated writing.
Through all of this anticipation, pursuits, and fire where am I? Outside of this screen, outside of my books and journal I am a fast food worker. A recent college graduate who is finding the ‘recentness’ of her expensive, yet to have been paid off, piece of paper- indicating ‘this person is versatile and educated’-is a negative. The moment an employer looks upon my resume they see food- menial task and job regarded for those without a degree. The moment that the employer see a list of my work experience primarily being in food-the assumption goes that I have absolutely no experience worth noting, worth to take a chance on. It is discouraging. Actually quite frustrating knowing that at the beginning of my resume list all of my achievements, education and skills and knowledge acquired that they all claim to so desperately want and need in a qualified candidate. Yet, here I am denied before I make an appearance, denied because they refuse to think outside of the box. As one interviewer rudely, and by ignorance, stated “but you only have fast food experience here”. I would assume that in order for me to not ‘only have something’ I must be given the chance to have something else. However, since I had managed to struggle for years to acquire what I only have now, then what I anticipate to have instead will be years to come. As a fast food manager, I wait and write until that chance is given.
I have played all of the possibilities for myself to become someone to another. I have tried every entry-level job position though without success. They want actual work experience. Since I am unable to lie as it is suggested often to me, I have totally given up. Why? I can rewrite my resume to reflect either the exact details as described in the job advertisement or write all that I am and can potentially be, but still I am worth nothing without experience. To have experience is to be given that chance to acquire experience and not to be judged for not having it. My struggle is in line with all other college graduates underprivileged, yet hopeful.
Though my family would have me to believe that it is my appearance that causes for my denial at every turn. They wish the best for me, though in their taking my interest at heart they ignore their own prejudices loudly projected. In the time I have applied for jobs, similar positions at a time, resume rewritten to reflect their purpose as my own, I have only received 4 interviews in this year thus far. Of those four interviews I have received one position for a temporary job working for the state education system. For every interview I had had, I have followed the correct behaviors and formal dress codes. I came prepared, pen and folder in hand. I came neatly, well dressed and groomed. My tone, manner of speaking always considered professional, proper or well spoken. What is the issue then? I am clearly a masculine of center female destroying heteronormative values and expectations, though not as a stereotype. Those within my community will consider me to be a dapper ‘stud’, or a masculine of center black lesbian female well dressed. According to my family this would all be fine if I were a male, preferably heterosexual, but as a female I should not exemplify that standard. And if I refuse the standard to be feminine then what will come to me is discrimination, but that is not how they phrase it. What will come to me are employers judging me based on my appearance and deciding to not give me a chance because of that fact, and they are right to do so because that is how society works. As I am often told, ‘we have to play the game’. But in their assumption they believe I have had more interviews requiring my presence, or what I look like to be known. No, out of hundreds of applications I have only had four interviews. This means only four out of hundreds know what I look like beyond my name in bold. And what my name bolded and enlarged can tell about my appearance is that I am a black American and that I am female.
What I tell them then, what they are suggesting is the issue now, is that I am to expect discrimination based on my gender expression. However, if I am to walk the line, to appear feminine as society may demand, what if I am denied a chance because I am a black American? The discussion changes, as this is a common issue that they are most passionate about. What if I were denied simply because I am female? To suggest that I must change would also reinforce a common racist and sexist mindset that once denied qualified or candidates with potential that so happen to be not white and not male. And as I recall- throughout my lessons and personal readings-that such forms of discriminations are not to be tolerated any longer. What I tell them then is that they are simply projecting their own prejudice about my appearance. And that they are living in a time where they are unable to give me, anyone else young, advice in how to navigate this struggling economy.
As I tell my mom, as worried as she is about my prospects in life-that I am one among millions of young hopefuls unable to prove their worth in such a tough economy. She will ask me often what I am doing, implying what am I doing with my life so that I can honor my degree. I tell her that I am trying, have given up but trying again. In the process of myself trying I do not mind so much working in the restaurant industry. There I am among several others thinking about obtaining a degree, those in the process of obtaining a degree, and those that have since graduated and searching for a purpose too.
We all discuss our dreams. I wish to be a medical assistant. I wish to be part of a professional sport. I wish to own my restaurant, too. I wish to do something but have not quite figured it out yet. Then I add, I wish to be a writer, but in the meantime I wish to teach. As we discuss everything other than fries and rude customers, it’s like we bond more closely. We are able to laugh. We cut up sometimes and I too try to remind them that this life is only temporary. Why? Those fries, temperature logs and a higher manager yelling about what we didn’t do or could do better again will get to a person. As I tell the others, sit them down, focus on the best that you can do and laugh at everything else. Yes the older customers tend to think of you as ‘lesser than’ or uneducated as they forever remain indecisive and entitled, or unknowing how much of a skill it takes to multitask at an ever increasing speed. I’m referring to restaurants where short staffing means you are the only person taking the order, cashing out the order, filling the drinks, bagging the orders, then ding! next person in line and impatient. I tell them, yes pick up the pace as I am your manager, but relax. Find your rhythm and relax, because you will have something better waiting for you.
Then I think of all others that have given up. The retail managers that laugh about their expensive piece of paper that is still worth everything to them. The same ones that make enough money to afford the essentials and all other leisure time, since they can pay as little as they can to their student loan debt. Not all, but some here are this way. They are those older than I am, a college graduate four years ago or more. And really, what is there to do when one lacks work experience for a position that basically requires what we have been doing and prepared for since the age 9 years old or so? I told this to my coworkers. I was denied a job once for something that I had experienced for years now and that is typing and knowing Microsoft programs. All of this practice, and as I remember began when I was 10 years old to my college freshman year, worth nothing at all. You are among everyone else with the same exact experience and know-how, aiming for the same entry-level positions to get a foot into a door for another.
Here we go, begging for more hours and better pay instead. We ask for a higher position, management, for those exact purposes. Then left limited as the business is limited as well-sent off to other stores to save hours and to gain more. Our best bet is for a second job, another possible yet impossible endeavor. Employers seem to want your time indefinitely no matter if they only schedule you for 15 hours per week. This means that they much rather have people whose hours a free of hassle and careful consideration. Why? They have enough on their plate too, perhaps struggling as we are in home life, work, college classes, etc.
The Purpose of This
I’m not trying to make a statement. Or to make this experience beautiful in writing to captivate an audience that is, too, disinterested. This is simply practice. I am to tell others of my experience, my current thoughts, and what I am about in several post. Then along the way to showcase my true interest in writing, in forms of analytical essays. Or an amateur approach at philosophy. Those are of my greater interest and purpose in writing, and wanting to write and to share more. And I do think this is my true calling here. That is to write in fact to something. This is to share my experience, feelings and knowledge rather than to give a fictional character to represent it all.