Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM, I work for $9.05. I live with my girlfriend who’s attending university and my unwittingly abusive mother. I wake up, get ready for work, work, come home, get ready to bed, and sleep. I do this cycle, over and over. For about six months, I’ve worked at a job not officially working there, but reporting my hours to a program that helped me receive this job. Unlike the workers here, I am not paid the amount my job is supposed to be. The program pays me $9.05/hr to work a position that pays $12.36 with hope that either during or at end of my six month period here, the employer will hire me.
I have no sick leave. When I’ve gotten sick and had to leave or not come in, I did not get paid for those time. Thank the gods that I got a flu shot because when I caught the flu, I only needed one day off and for the rest of my time sick, I came in with a face mask and hand sanitizer. On days when my depression was at its worst or anxiety gripped me, I’ve still had to come to work to be yelled at by clients or do stacks of paperwork.
I work 45 hours a week technically, because it’s rare that I actually take a lunch break, but I can’t work overtime anyway. At work, I’m expected to always be busy or look busy. My work doesn’t take 8 or 9 hours to complete usually, but it is a heavy mental strain on me. For those 8 to 9 hours, I’m sitting at a desk, by myself listening to music or TV show clips because I’m prohibited from sitting here and not looking busy for fear that a client walk in and complain of my laziness. I sneak onto social media, my only acts of rebellion, and try to connect with individuals whom I desperately try to connect with because I myself am a vulnerable person who faces the existential dread of my monotonous soul sucking schedule that I’ve concluded will ultimately continue until my death.
I’m aware that to others that this is “just how life is” and that I should “suck it up and stop being a snowflake”, but why is this ok? Why is this something that I should be complacent with? It’s destroying me. It’s whittling me down each day, hour, minute, second. 40 to 45 hours of my life, week after week, spent working just to make enough to help with the bills and buy groceries. The rest is used in small comforts and for savings. Why is this ok to some people? I’m not afraid to work hard. I want to work. A human simply can’t sit around and do nothing, but this work is exhaustive.
It’s something I have no desire to do. The paperwork that I work on brings me pain. I work in a juvenile court. Abuse cases as well as delinquent cases cross my desk. I speak to mothers and fathers at their wits end with children that are just acting out because of their situations. I am drowning in disconnection, from them, from my loved one’s, from myself. 40 hours a week for roughly $530 every 2 weeks.
My body never gets proper rest. I can never engage in the full spiritual nourishment that I want. Friendships are on hold as survival is my first priority. My only hobby now is to make helpful propaganda and struggle to write books while my brain is in a fog. I don’t expect for life to be easy or even fair, but why should this be the case? Life will never be easy, but why can’t humans try to make our society fairer? It’s the one thing that we can control?
I understand how things work under out current society. People who work hard rarely get out of poverty, and the people who were born into better off families tend not to need to work as hard, but if you’re an heiress or a very lucky capitalist you can make billions and never have to work hard another day in your life.
When did capitalism regress into the rigid structures of feudalism? Or, was it that way all along? I don’t know, but thanks for listening to me rank. I hope you have a lovely day, Friend.