Friday, October 17, 2008

Decisions

Decision - noun - a: the act or process of deciding b: a determination arrived at after consideration

I am dumbstruck by things sometimes. I am working at BMG right now. This is the first close to minimum wage job I have had since I first started college back in 2000. That job was in a movie theater in a college town. Most of the people there college students who were looking to help pay their way through school or just have some pocket money while in school. BMG for the most part is a different story.

Most of the people there are "full" time people, meaning that this is their primary source of income. Some of them are full time status meaning that they get at minimum 32 hours a week, or they are part time which gives them close to 16 hours. Currently, I am in the part time category and I am getting anywhere between 12 and 20 hours a week. There are several reasons that my schedule is so varied - there aren't that many shows right now (there will be more when the holidays get closer) and my personal availability (I can't work on Sundays and once I start my new job I can't work before 6pm). I am giving background so that anyone reading this has an idea of how things work and what some of the situation is.

The people I work with are all really nice people. I have enjoyed getting to know them. I like them and they are fun. It has been nice having people to talk to and socialize with even if it is just at work. I haven't gotten into any major conversations with anyone, but part of that is my ideas, theology, and political leanings don't line up with most of theirs and I would prefer not to get into fights with people about things like that.

I have been talking to some of them and listening to their stories of how the wound up there. They are all interesting and diverse stories, but they are almost all sad. They all focus around decisions whether they are good, bad, or just a lack of decision making. Some of them make my heart sad and others make me want to know more of what got the person to that place.

One person is living with their fiancee who has been out of a job for a year. The one I am working with was working at Disney and then Sea World and now BMG. They are in a position that they haven't paid rent this month, about to lose their car, and having to switch cell phone plans because they can't afford it. They are trying to pick up extra shifts where they can, and for the most part being successful. Interestingly enough they have nifty tech gadgets and I found out that they bought a puppy from a pet store (I would guess they spent about $300 on it, because that is about the average I saw when we went to the pet store the other day).
I feel bad for this person, but I want to know how they go there. What choices they made to wind up in that financial decision.

Another person I talked to today was telling me some about their life. They dropped out of high school in 10th grade. They don't have their high school diploma or GED. They said that BMG was the first job they had been able to get. They said that they can't move out of the place they are living because they can't afford it and they can't get the money together the even really think about moving. This person is really sweet and friendly, and from what I can see a smart person. My heart almost breaks for this person because I can't fathom being in that situation.

Other people have mentioned that their parents are still paying all their bills and they are frustrated because their parents put limitations on their behavior because they view it as their money being spent and they should have those say.

Others are adults and this job as I said is their primary income source. Some have kids and others have families. I don't know how they support themselves let alone kids. Minimum wage/ low wages weren't really meant to support anyone. I do agree with the political statement that minimum wage jobs were designed for people in high school, people with no job skills, and as supplemental income. I will say that is what AJ and I are using our part time jobs for - to supplement the paycheck that AJ is bringing home right now. The extra money has been very helpful and definitely made it so that we can survive, and right now most of our income is going to survival (we do have a little bit going to tiny bits of fun and an even tinier bit going to savings).

AJ and I made the decision to move to Orlando knowing for the most part the situation we were getting into. We didn't think it would take this long to find me a job, or for even AJ to get an interview with the company he is working for. We still don't know if he is going to be hired to do the job that he has been doing for 5 months. But we knew we were moving down here in an unsteady state. That was our choice, and we have prayed a lot to have some stability, and we have had to have faith that things would work out. But, we were moving with job skills that should provide decent jobs. We were not moving ourselves with no idea or clue as to what we would be doing for a career.

I finally got hired into a position that I want and can do. It is in a forensic molecular biology lab. I turned down 5 jobs waiting to get this one. One was a really hard decision because though the pay would have been less it had really good benefits and vacation/ sick time. I am not going to have those options with the job I took, but it is a better fit to me and I really like the guy I will be working for. That was a hard decision and it will affect us in the long run. To take this job I have to keep my BMG job because that is where our health insurance is being provided from right now. It was a hard realization to come to that I was going to have to have a full and a part time job. Honestly, I don't want to do that. The lazy side of me wants to just be a lab tech because I get to sit all day in a nice A/C lab and get to do fun things. The social side of me want to keep my friends that I am making at BMG, but it is much more physically demanding (I don't like physical... see my body size for proof of that - again another decision I make).

I just wanted to remind myself of how decisions shape who and what we are. I was talking to AJ about this on the way home and we were both reminded of the line from Uncle Ben in Spiderman, "With much power comes much responsibility." Not that I think AJ and I have much power - I would like to have more power and more control, but I don't think that would be a good thing because I would fret even more. I just think that we made hard choices and some of them stunk at the time we made them, but they gave us more freedom and flexibility later on - college, cruddy jobs, and moving. Others seemed like good ideas at the time but later on became burdens - loans, limited career choices, and moving.

No one makes great decisions all the time, and honestly I think the bulk of our decision making comes from a lack of decision making at all. It is easier to just continue on the same path without thinking about it and not really fighting the tide. I want to make the decision that I don't want my decisions to be made like that. I want my life to have purpose and my decisions even if they are hard to be choices that will lead me to where I want to be.

1 comment:

MIL (mom-in-law) :-) said...

When I look at all the folks in our FPU class who are in deep debt because of bad decisions in the past, I am thankful that we didn't fall into that. We could have easily - I like "stuff" as much as anyone. You guys seem to be starting off with a good foundation. That doesn't mean you'll always make wise decisions, but it should keep you from getting in too deeply. Keep it up!