Recently I put in my two weeks’ notice for my part-time job. After about three years, I’m finally hanging up my hostess shoes and leaving the restaurant industry. No big deal right? Sort of. It took a lot of courage to put in my two weeks’ notice and I truly struggled with leaving a position that has meant a lot to me. But why?
Yes, I have a full-time job and yes, I do enjoy it most days. The part-time job was mostly for savings and to kind of turn my brain off from my full-time work. Or so I thought.
While I definitely was able to save a decent amount having a second job, it’s not as though I was necessarily struggling and desperate for additional sources of income. My salary is pretty decent and the months where I decide that ordering three bundles and getting a closure can wait, it more than provides for my wants and needs. So why the second job? Why commit to working on average 60 plus hours a week (even when I taught 4th graders) if, for the most part, I am okay financially? Why was it so hard to quit a job I really do not need and haven’t needed for a long time?
Insecurity. On two completely different fronts. When I first started hosting, it was about nine months after graduating college and I had moved back to my hometown. I had recently ended things with a guy and my 21-year-old self was devastated. I thought he was the one, blah, blah, blah. I had filled nearly every weekend with traveling back to my undergrad city to visit him (and friends when he wasn’t free). I sort of wasted my first year out of undergrad running back to a chapter that was closed.
So I decided to get a part-time job and force myself to be unavailable. If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant or food service, you probably know that Fridays and Saturdays are prime nights and you don’t have them off unless it’s the second coming of Christ. So I got the job to fill a void and then it developed into a home away from home. I initially got the position out of insecurity and fear of being alone, fear of running back to my undergrad life. But it ended up being so much more, which I’m definitely grateful for. *Shameless promo: go visit Fahrenheit if you’re ever in the greater Cleveland area and get the Cleveland Nachos*
The second part of the insecurity was tied up in this idea that I would never have enough to take care of my responsibilities and all the extra things. Growing up, we had all of our basic needs met and many times our wants as well. But as I got older, I began to recognize that my wants and needs would require a certain level of finances. Pair that with the fact that if something goes wrong, I don’t have traditional sources to ask for help. In short, when I graduated high school, my financial security became my responsibility. So I got a job. And another job. And another. By senior year I was managing three jobs along with extracurriculars and an internship. Which is never to say, woe it’s me, but a bitch was definitely tired.
In submitting my most recent two weeks’ notice, I’ve come to realize that I’ve held multiple positions out of this fear of not being able to provide for myself. Even though I’ve more than shown myself that I’m responsible with money and preparing for all of the things, I’ve had this incessant worry that I will fail somehow. My worse fear is somewhere between getting my car repossessed and being homeless, although I’ve never missed rent or a car payment in my six-year financial history. I’ve used multiple forms of secondary employment as a crutch to support a deeply rooted, and slightly unfounded fear, that I’ll trip up and need two, three, four versions of a safety net.
But how much is too much? At what point will I recognize that I’m more than on top of my shit and can take a moment to breathe? I’ve decided that 25 will be the year I do just that. I want my evenings and weekends back. I want to travel and go places without having to plan months in advance around a work schedule. For once, I want to relax. I want to trust myself and uplift the fact that I’ve more than taken care of and provided for myself. And now is the time to enjoy the fruits of that labor. Besides, do I really want to be 40 working a night job because I’m convinced I’ll miss my mortgage payment?
Nope. Because I’ll be 40 taking care of my shit. Without clocking in.