A few days ago, someone watched me for a few moments greeting people at my job. “Wow, you sure have a fulfilling job,” he intoned sarcastically. “Telling people to go this way and then that way.”
Surprised and rather annoyed, I looked him right in the eye. “I actually love my job.”
“Sure, for now.” He laughed. Heat rushed to my face as I struggled not to cry. It”s not a big deal, I tried to think. But his words still stung.
I wanted to show him the smiles that I created each day, the people whose vacations I made more magical. How many people have jobs where they get to spread that kind of joy and love? How many people get to curtsy at little princesses, salute young Captain Americas, laugh with happy but exhausted parents, and talk about the best rides in the park? This is what I get to do every day, and I love it.
I wanted to tell him about the guests I made cry with joy when I cared for them, the children who squealed with joy that I had a “princess name,” the wonderful people I worked with who supported me every moment. Is that really not fulfilling? Seriously?
My job feels very fulfilling to me. Others seem to think that I am doing something right as well. At least twice a week, a guest pulls aside a manager to compliment me or writes a note for me in thanks. Isn’t that a sign of success? Shouldn’t one feel fulfilled by that?
Belittling another person’s job with labels like “easy,” “not fulfilling,” “stupid,” or other similar words only leads to a narrow, judgmental mindset. Many jobs are what you make them. Do you feel fulfilled there? Then it is fulfilling for you. Someone can be at a high-paying office job and feel depressed or useless. Another person can work as a janitor and love her job. I would prefer to be the person who loves her job other someone with a job that our culture is more likely to call “fulfilling.”
On top of that, you never know what someone went through to get his or her job. My anxiety and Autism made me think that I would never move away from home and have a job. Look at me now. Another person might have three kids and be widowed. Perhaps this job is the only one with times that worked for her. Would you belittle me or her for our jobs just because they are not prestigious?
Whenever I see someone sweeping or cleaning, I try to say “Thank you.” I am grateful for the people who make my veggie burger or fries at a fast food place and try to show them that thanks. No one in jobs like these deserves to be belittled. Maybe they love their job, and maybe they hate it. That is up to them to decide, not for us to assume.
I have met enough wonderful, talented people who struggle to keep a job to know that working anywhere (ANYWHERE) is not easy. Every place has its struggles. However, every place also has its wonderful elements. I am so thankful to have found a place where I am fulfilled and happy. That is what I wish for everyone else.
So instead of belittling, let’s try to understand the jobs of others. Ask question and figure out what that person thinks of his or her job. That, really, is more important than what you think about their job.