I Didn’t Choose the Mug Life

The mug life chose me.

Three years ago, I had just graduated from college and needed a job. My good friend Greg was working at a new coffee shop in Montclair, NJ and said he’d give the manager my resume. After an awesome interview (spent talking mostly about unicorns), I was hired. I was a barista, and eventually a key holder and trainer for a year. After struggling with some personal issues, I ultimately quit and had to move to Ocean County. During my year at that coffee shop, I had my fair share of meltdowns (like I do) but I always kind of missed the environment. I learned some sweet skills and met so many interesting people on a regular basis.

About two weeks ago, I took a job at Starbucks. And I’m really excited about it. I will be starting out as a barista but hopefully within six months, I can become a shift lead (more money!).

Starbucks seems like a great company to work for. The offer benefits after 90 days to all employees who work at least 20 hours/week (medical, 401k), free drinks during shifts, 30% off orders when you’re not working, and free ground coffee or tea to take home each week. I even get a free premium Spotify membership. Pretty sweet.

After completing my introductory computer training, I started training on the floor. The espresso machine is not one I’m used to, but the trainer was impressed with my steaming. I even successfully made a flat white on my first try and the manager walked by just in time to see it. Learning how to make the specialty drinks will come in time, but I feel really confident about making the regular espresso drinks. It’s just a lot of memorization.

Anyway, it might not be a museum or a gallery, but I feel like working here is a good opportunity right now. I need money and I need stability. If I could manage to climb my way up the corporate ladder, it might be very good. After looking up how much managers make here, I realized it’s probably more than I would ever see in a museum anyway.

I’m trying not to feel like I’m throwing my dreams away, but I kind of feel like I’m throwing my dreams away. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a world where dreams are enough to succeed anymore. My peers were told that we could be anything we wanted growing up, but it’s just not the truth. I can probably count on one hand the number of friends I have who are doing what they went to school for.

Blah blah. Depressing shit. That’s the end of my rant, I guess. I’m just happy I’m employed right now.

Return to Unemployment

Once again, I find myself unemployed. The job I took at the interior design studio turned out to be a real life Devil Wears Prada, overflowing with rich white women looking to spend $10,000 on sofas, designers who belittled me every chance they got, and a lack of sufficient training to do the job that was expected of me.

After my intelligence was insulted for the final time, I picked up my purse and walked out the back door never to return. In celebration, Matt made pulled pork tacos and we drank tequila.

I refuse to be mistreated in the workplace.

Now, here I am: sad and broke. I have applied to many jobs and am even working with a recruiter. I have gotten several rejection e-mails and the only (potential) interview I have (kind of scheduled) is with a tile design company and the owner seems like a flake. I have absolutely no desire to go back to waiting tables.

I am filled with crippling anxiety and depression. I graduated three years ago and feel like my life has, in no way, worked out the way I had originally imagined. I make posts on Facebook, I’ve reached out to my mother’s friends. Nothing. As time goes by, it feels harder and harder to start a career. When I interviewed for the interior design studio, the owner bluntly asked me why I hadn’t held a full time position up until that point.

How do you even respond to that? I don’t fucking know.

I have a four year degree and I’m in a lot of debt because of it. I am literally three credits away from my Masters degree.

However, I feel like the fact that I didn’t grow up with money and connections to the art world has seriously hindered my search for my magical museum job. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t have majored in art history. If I was given the chance to go back and do it all again, though, I don’t even know what else I would study. English education? Communications? I guess it doesn’t matter now.

At this point, I’d take anything full-time with benefits.

I can’t help but break into hysterics on a fairly regular basis. What am I doing wrong? What did I do to deserve my current situation? I’ve worked hard and I have absolutely nothing to show for my efforts.

Has anyone else found themselves in a similar situation? How have you coped with it?