Photo Cred: Michael Browning

What Happens When I Get A Full Time Job

“Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose.”
-Paulo Coelho

For the two years since I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from an esteemed liberal arts college, I’ve only worked about half the time.

I spent the other half of my time traveling to sixteen countries, documenting my experiences, building a website, making a video, reading, and writing.

I have been smart enough to have saved a bit of money while working on campus during my years in college and to have cut overhead while minimizing my purchases in order to buy myself the time and freedom to do what I wanted.

I just started my third waitressing job a week and a half ago. I am now working on average eight hours a day (but sometimes up to ten if I’m on a double shift), five days a week, in order to pay for a roof and groceries. I often don’t come home until 10:30 on weekdays and 11:30 on weekends. I have an hour or two hours between lunch and dinner shifts to eat some food, rest, grocery shop (sometimes), and cook a meal for my boyfriend (when I can).

When going from a full time job of creativity, discovery, and freedom, thinking you may actually be working towards becoming self-employed, to back to being a cog for the system and serving the upper class where gluttony and waste run rampant, it’s depressing. The loss of freedom feels like a straitjacket sometimes.

Here is what happens to my life when I get a full-time job:

  1. Obviously, less time for self-education and pursuit of passions. I have fewer brainstorming sessions and less time for reading.
  2. In order not to wake up Travis in our one-room studio apartment, sometimes I eat “dinner” at 11:45pm sitting on the floor between the bed and balcony window with my camping headlight on (I always have to see what I’m eating).
  3. After a busy shift, I often chug cheap wine in order to calm my nerves to fall asleep.
  4. But sometimes I end up tossing and turning in bed for hours anyway.
  5. And I have to turn on the Stuff You Should Know podcast so I can focus my mind on something.
  6. Before having a full-time job, I took my time cooking meals, getting dressed, and even walking. Now everything feels rushed and half-assed. Life is in the fast lane, and that’s not where I want to be.
  7. I spend my precious days off running errands and thinking about buying groceries and alcohol for the next week. I vacuum, I clean the sinks, I clean the bathroom, I do laundry, I organize, I catch up with emails, I catch up with writing articles, I update articles to read to Pocket, I update my list of podcasts.
  8. I exercise less and eat less healthy foods.
  9. I spend my days off not caring what I’m wearing. My job requires a uniform, so on my days off, I wear sweats, a T-shirt, and a buff aka my comfy clothes.
  10. Since the first day of work, I have been periodically debating with myself when I should quit. I have to pay for food, lodging, and my monthly student loans. Right now, I am struggling with money, so it’s not feasible. As soon as I have enough to get back on the road, I am quitting. I tell myself that this time, THIS time, I have to remember all this shit I feel so I don’t revert back to this kind of life. I don’t want any of this. Not the wine chugging, not the lack of free time, and especially not the eating dinner on the floor with my headlamp.
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