by: Amaris Hinton
I have had a decent track record with employment. I was always the one to quit the job, either because I would die one more day if I had to sling someone’s espresso or I found something that offered more hours or better pay. For what is now the second time in my life, I have been fired and with no job prospects in sight. I work and live in the Midwest, where if you’re not experienced out the ears you won’t get hired; and unless you are completely unable to work you aren’t eligible for government aid. I am getting shafted on both ends of that spectrum. It’s very hard to determine a career future when your degree is essentially useless and all your skills are in fields that have huge turn-over rates.
My second to last job as a bookseller lasted almost 3 years, and they decided to let me go. I had a momentary lapse in professionalism, which I sincerely apologized for, but I was told “We don’t see a reason to keep you.” My fiancé was understanding and mad at the company and not at me. I was a wreck. We both have college debt and credit card debt: what the hell were we going to do on one moderate to underpaid income? He never got upset with me or made me feel like I was useless. I felt that way, but he refused to let me wallow in self-pity. Then I landed a job at Chipotle, which is one of those places that makes you want to die.
I then bailed on that for a job at a thrift store where I was promoted within my first month. After a moderate mistake that I was never spoken to about or given a formal write-up, they also decided to let me go, since I was in my probationary period. I wasn’t as heart-broken, but still, I was terrified. What would Bill say? Would this be the straw that broke the camel’s back?
I came home, explained to him why I was home, and again, he saw the flaws in the company, not me. He hugged me over and over again, kissing my forehead and telling me it would all work out. I have never had anyone be so calm about bad news. My own sister panicked and told me I needed to do some self-reflection and figure out what I was doing wrong. Never mind that I had very little training in my new position at the thrift store, and at the bookstore I would get mixed signals, where I would get positive reviews from my bosses and be told that I was improving, only to get pulled into the office for a minor infraction or a co-worker complaint.
The funny thing is that, today, Bill also lost his job. We are both unemployed for the first time in the 2+ years we have been together. He came home and told me, and I was sad for him because he truly loved that job. I didn’t get mad, I just hugged him and kissed him and told him it would be okay. He keeps asking me if I am okay, and I tell him that I am. I guess he is just as surprised about my reaction as I was about his reaction to my getting let go.
Now, I am writing this and watching him bond with his younger brother for the first time in a very long time. I don’t know what God or the universe has in store for us, but I know that with a partner like Bill at my side, and me by his, we will get through this.
Amaris Hinton is a 25-year-old bookseller who resides in Cincinnati, OH. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA of the Arts, concentrating on Film and Video. Her hobbies include knitting, reading, writing and spending time with her family. She also has a deep appreciation for gingers. That and cupcakes. Yeah.