I have not made this little per hour in 8 years, and that, at least, was a full time, salaried job (so not really per hour, but I did the math) with benefits and commissions. But here I am.
I just left a job that paid 20% more, was full time, had benefits, and also paid commissions. But I can say that I have never hated a job so much in my entire life. To make matters worse, it was in property management, a field I rather dislike. I don't hate it -- it's given me a lot of good things over the years -- but this last job was the epitome of everything that's wrong with that industry.
So when I got the opportunity to not only leave my job, but leave property management, I jumped, even if it was less money...and fewer hours...and no benefits...and a longer commute...
Why did I do this?
Ah, yes, for my career, or at least some semblance thereof. The new job isn't just NOT in the property management business, but it's also in a field I'm kind of interested in, something I could see myself doing if I'm able to get a little further up the food chain.
And I am definitely at the bottom of the food chain right now.
Besides the aforementioned lack of pay, I would guess that I'm at least 10 years old than all of my co-workers. This actually doesn't bother me, even if the girl with all the piercings actually said to me "You're not joking? You really like metal?" Nicole has suggested I tell them all what it was like to grow up without a computer.
No, my problem at the moment is my ego.
My last job was bad, but I survived it for nearly a year because of my ego. I was needed at my last job. I knew I was needed. If I had a dollar for every time someone there asked me a question, I wouldn't have to work at all. I knew my boss would always ask me to do things because he had faith in me to do them, and because he couldn't really trust anyone else. Honestly, there were probably times when he considered firing everyone and just having he and I run the place, given that the others often created more work than they did.
I've had that to a certain extent at all my jobs -- that feeling of being needed, of being essential in some way. I don't have that at the new job.
Now, it's only been two days, so that could all change. I don't see it changing any time soon, though, as the job -- like most jobs at large companies -- is designed for the lowest common denominator. It's also pretty tightly defined, which means there's not much room for me to show off my essential-ness.
If I had my druthers (you know, I have no idea what "druthers" are, so for all I know I have actually had them already and totally blew it), I'd be writing for a living. I don't mean the type of writing I'm doing now, or even the "for a living" I'm doing now, since I really can't make ends meet without the Mrs. No, I'd spend the morning working on my book and the afternoon working on my short stories, then maybe dinner with my agent/editor/publisher, and my nights doing readings and signings.
Yet even my ideal job has its roots in ego. Clearly, if I'm writing for a living, that means someone is paying me to do so. And if someone is willing to pay me enough to live on, then I must be making them some money, which I must be selling something at a fairly good pace.
Even with my great Midwestern work ethic, it's hard to get up for a job that doesn't feel important. But I take comfort in knowing/hoping that it's just the first step towards something better.
I also take comfort in knowing it's not freaking property management.