Sunday Advice Column #32

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Sundays have always been the lamest of the weekend days. It’s hard to really relax when you know you have to go back to work on Monday. I actually really love my job, but I can imagine how much it would suck to be chugging Jack Daniels right now to dull the existential pain of another shift. At least this Sunday we had the Presidential debates…yay?

I’ll skip all that soul-destroying nonsense for now and get right into the questions.

What’s a little thing someone noticed about you or did for you that made you happy?

Most of what I need I take care of myself. But every once in a while someone notices I need to be left alone and then they do. That always makes me happy. Because misanthropy.

There’s not much advice in that answer, but if you know someone in your life that likes quiet alone time, it’s the best thing in the world to let them have it. It doesn’t mean they don’t like you. They just like themselves better.

What was the worst conversation you had with someone that left you speechless?

Right as I was about to graduate from Berkeley, at the age of 30, I had to speak to a career councilor. It was like some sort of exit interview for the college. It looked like despite having a sweet new degree, I’d still be bartending thanks to the 2009 economy.

My main plan was to go to law school, but I didn’t have any money for it and three years of debt accumulation did not seem awesome. The career councilor basically told me the best way to wait out a bad economy is to go deeper into student debt until something better came along. This is terrible, terrible advice.

If I had listened to her, I’d be about $130K in debt, and two or three years into a career I’d probably hate. Instead, I’m debt free, building wealth and I really like what I do. Student debt is never the answer. The only possible exception is if you’re going to be a doctor, but so many people don’t make it through medical school, it’s still better to pick a cheap school and cash flow it if possible.

What is your most memorable white privilege moment?

I wouldn’t say it’s exactly a privilege from my perspective, but for a time I was often the only white person on staff at the nightclub I worked at. Most everyone else was black. Anytime someone asked to see a manager, they’d look at me. I have always eschewed responsibility in customer service environments.

During this pre-Yelp time, we had free reign like the bar was a pirate ship. What we’d do is tell the complaining customer we would find our boss, Pepe (way before the cartoon frog), and they would help them. Whoever was the lowest rung, least capable person working would play the part of Pepe. Hilarity ensued.

 

When did you know it was time to quit?

Just now.

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