Please don’t ask me what else I do

24 Sep

Mostly, right now, I want to explode. I don’t actually know a more accurate way to put it. You know how sometimes you just go about life and realize that everything is just sort of, wrong? Or that you ended up somewhere entirely different than where you thought you would be? And then people say stuff like “oh, maybe that’s not so bad” but it is. It actually is so bad. So the other day at work this thing happened. So just to preface, I think maybe some of you people think I am really sensitive. I’m not, actually. I get mad about things but they don’t tend to penetrate through to anything, you know? Like, I get pissed off when people go through life acting like entitled little shits, but it doesn’t make me feel worse about myself, it just makes me feel a little worse about those people and the people who raised them. And also their friends who never call them out on their bullshit. Oh, and also the society in which we live that seems to think it is better to placate people because they have money than tell them that they suck at life. Because, obviously, money > respect.

Anyway, I can tell that I am in a spot when things people say to me at work actually get through. Generally what it is is some well-meaning person who just doesn’t get it. This is a perfect example. You wake up one morning and you have this HUGE zit on your forehead. Right in the middle of it. And you are aware of it and super self conscious and all that and you do whatever it is that you can to try to get it to go back to where it came from. You put on toothpaste to dry it out, some sort of zit cream, makeup. But nothing helps. It’s like a third eye. And you go out in the world and you know everyone sees it but there is nothing you can really do and then one person, one stupid person, is like

“hey, there’s something red on your forehead. Did you bump your head?!”

And you’re like


and then you go home and cry and wonder why everyone is so mean.

That’s not what happened at work. What happened was the following. I was at work, you know, working, and this lady who has lived in the neighborhood who I have known in passing for a long time came in and ordered her drink and sat down right by the service station and the following conversation happened:

Actually, let me preface this real quick by saying that I have spent the better part of the past 5 months feeling like a waste of space. Okay, so keep that in mind.

Lady: So, are you done with school?

Me: Yup, graduated a year ago May.

Lady: what was the degree in again?

Me: Master’s in International Affairs.

Lady: So, are you working?

Me, standing behind the bar, I look around: Um…yes? Right now?

Lady: No, like, somewhere else.

Me: I work at another bar in Crown Heights.

Lady: But not in your field?!

Me: No.

Lady: Well, are you looking?

Me, wanting to scream MIND YOUR BUSINESS: No.

And then I stormed off and didn’t make eye contact again. It’s like, I know she meant well and was taking interest and couldn’t possibly know that the fact that I am doing nothing with my degree except paying it off is the equivalent, for me, of having a massive goose egg-sized zit on my forehead but still. It made me mad. So, a word to the wise, please don’t ask your service professional what “else they do” as if doing what they’re doing isn’t enough. For some people, it’s what they love and they have made a career out of it and that is fucking awesome. For many others, we are trying to figure it out and putting a lot of pressure on ourselves. Your questions, well-meaning or not, might not have the desired effect of making you seem interested in our lives. It sounds as if you think what we’re doing isn’t good enough. And the thing is, it is good enough. It just might not be our passion and that is something we are all trying to figure out and deal with. So, ask us how our day was, but please please please for the love of god, don’t ask what else we do.

4 Responses to “Please don’t ask me what else I do”

  1. katmart September 24, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    People are annoying. I got more of the ‘what are you going to do with that’ variety with my WGS master’s degree when I worked at coffee shops and lived in NYC, and it was insulting. Um, I am going to pay my rent/loans and do what I need to do and try to fight injustice in whatever context I can.

    I am now working a job that is a essentially a service job in an office, and it is just assumed that it is my career since it is an office job. People have really warped ideas of office jobs vs. non-office jobs. One is not better than the other. Period. I don’t have time for people who think otherwise.

    I think bartending is the ultimate community manager/people management/vendor relations/public relations jobs out there, and I think you are awesome. That woman can take her classist ideals somewhere else. How about asking about your thesis, or your interests, rather than hounding you about a job in the field? Most people don’t work in their given and chosen field in this day and age, and that is just a rude question.

    • FranklyRebekah September 24, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

      Thanks, girl. I needed that today. Love you and I think you’re awesome too!!! We are good world people, you and I, and everyone else can suck it 🙂

  2. Ashlie September 26, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

    THIS. THIS IS SO 100% RIGHT. And you are a smart and sassy lady and no matter where you work (because by the way, some of the smartest people I have ever met were bartenders) your brain has more info food because you got that degree. And really, isn’t that the point?
    And also, people, don’t just assume that we aren’t doing anything else just because we are, at the moment, standing behind that bar. Maybe you should just, I don’t know, treat us like you would if we were a friend of a friend you didn’t know that well. You wouldn’t want to make your friend’s friend cry and scream and throw stuff, would you?
    Good rule of thumb: unless we bring it up, don’t bring it up.

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