I’ve never been one to identify with people who have ‘made it;’ people that seem to have it all and not have to work as hard as the rest of us. I definitely live in a Us vs. Them universe, and in that I get jealous, I make assumptions about others’ privilege, and then I make grand statements about knowing what it’s like to struggle. I’m working on it—I have to learn that whatever my struggle is in this world, it doesn’t take away from what someone else is feeling. No matter their financial/class situation.
But in that, I recognize that a lot of my drive and habits come from living a very sheltered, very pushed aside, very fearful of the world life. For example: I am never happy about my place in the world, and I’m always trying to find something bigger and better to accomplish. When I got out of college, I found a sex shop to work at while I went to grad school as no one was hiring recent graduates around 2009—or even now.
I was lucky. I had a cool job. I was interesting, and new everything about sex. But that wasn’t good enough. I took many production, editorial, random jobs that I could get my hands on just to add it to my resume—on top of a full time job where I was teaching workshops and classes outside my regular shifts, and I did grad school full time (with many many many video projects). My self-deprecating nature drove me to never feel satisfied. On top of this, I played rugby because I was really unhappy with my weight.
I did this for years. It took a horrible toll on my health since I wasn’t sleeping, and always trying to top myself. Still feeling my intense prejudice against the rich, the wealthy, and the people who’s parents paid for their apartments. Still having my Us vs. Them attitude, and choosing my friends based off that structure.
Finally. Finally, I got a new job that allowed me to stop taking extra jobs. Not because I’m making anymore money, but because the job wasn’t shift work anymore and it directly correlated with my career. I wasn’t lucky. I worked really fucking hard, worked through the night, went to class, then went to my retail job plenty of times. I was owed by the universe, and I was finally able to cash it in.
I’ve been working as a web producer for about 7 months now. And it’s been great. Career wise, I have more future opportunities. I get to work in a business I admire. But I’ve noticed that I’m now consider part of the ‘Them’ category. I don’t have an ‘Us’ anymore. People hear about my new job and automatically assume that ALL of my problems are gone. Actually, there are all still there. And I have a few more to think about. And it’s making me really reconsider my Us vs. Them attitude since I was basing that all on appearance.
Here are some conflicts, issues, moments I’ve recently had to deal with since I’ve noticed this change:
We have way more money.
A new/cool job doesn’t always provide quality money. You seriously think I get paid a lot to be a web producer? Or that because I work in an office, it’s somehow more invested in your health. I basically make just as much as I did working retail…and I have ZERO health insurance now. So please don’t give me that, “Well maybe some of us can __________ (fill in some dumb end of sentence here).
We have zero problems.
I still have student loans. I’m still dealing with my health issues. I still worry about
my grandparent’s impending death, my constant cancer scares, the robberies that are happening in my neighborhood, my crazy-steal-my-identity mother, and everything else that I had to worry about when I was working retail. SOOO before you off-load all your problems on to me thinking I have none, maybe consider asking me how my day went as well.
We think we are better than everyone else.
No. We just got a new job. That’s it. We are now having different experiences, and you’re confusing me telling a work story with bragging.
We’re dropping all our friends/Never want to go out
No way. We just now have a different work schedule, and we’re trying to work with you and your schedule. We are trying really hard to do well at our new job…and that means getting in early and staying late. We miss our friends so much, but we also have to
We don’t remember what it was like to struggle.
Believe me. We are reminded every time we have to visit our parents/pay rent/eat.
We don’t have to work hard anymore.
Go slap yourself. I have 10 hour days and no breaks. I’m lucky I get tea halfway through the day. If I don’t work in my free time and give 150% all the time, I will be replaced by someone more eager and willing to work for less.
Laura Delarato is a web producer, writer, social media consultant, video creator, and the brain behind Pass The Cake, Please fashion blog. She has spent a lot of the past 10-years of her life in internships, college, part-time jobs, graduate school, and in front of a computer typing away her next brilliant idea. Her work has appeared in Playgirl Magazine, Kong Magazine, London Glossy Magazine—and at one time CosmoGirl! Magazine. Laura spends a lot of her time typing code to make the internet work, performing improv at The Magnet Theater in NYC, and performing burlesque on every dingy bar stage she can find. Laura likes to be a total badass by participating in body-positive/fat-acceptance activism, crafting pasties, discussing the beauty of pornography, and wearing all the short skirts. Follow her at @lauradelarato