Everyday Adventures

I ran into someone at the grocery store that I haven’t thought of in years: Chef Reid from my culinary school years. He works in the bakery there, is married, has a kid. I recgonized his voice before I recognized his face and then stood there dumbfounded. When I met him, I was a different person. I had a different goal in life. It was only 7 years ago.

He asked what I was doing and I answered: “I’m back to bookkeeping.”

His response was, I suppose, typical: “That’s a really expensive degree not to be using.”

Now, I agree wholeheartedly that it was a very expensive two years that, some would say, I threw away when I decided to go back to a desk job. However I totally think I made the most responsible decision I could considering that working in hospitality had me unable to pay my rent and car payment in the same month and all those old debts from the first failed marriage? Forget it. Upside down doesn’t even begin to cover the damage. So when my old position at work opened up just when I was considering getting a second job to be able to pay my bills, I saw it as a sign, an opportunity to be responisble to my financial committments and build a better life for myself (wow, that sounds pithy, but it’s true).

When I left the Plantation (which, only a year later, went bankrupt from mismanagement–I mean, this is also the place that bounced two paychecks on me in less than 5 months) I sorta had the ‘been there, done that’ feeling. I’d done what I set out to do: I got a culinary degree and worked as a Pastry Chef. Opportunities to advance in this little town weren’t many and I didn’t want to relocate. For a while I thought I’d open my own bakery some day, but that dream gradually faded and, honestly, I don’t miss it or regret it.

I went back to school. Eventually got my AA and was set to pursue a Studio Art degree when life, once again, went pear-shaped and I was, again, divorced and needing to support myself. I liked the lifestyle I had become acustomed too and it occurred to me that I was in my career and I was okay with that. Art was something I could still do on my own time and, unlike other artists, I wouldn’t have to starve in the process.

That’s been my last seven years.

“I’m back to bookkeeping,” I said.

Why did I leave it at that? People who know me, know that being a bookkeeper is not all there is to me. Why couldn’t I say, “I’m back to bookkeeping BUT I’m also a paid writer for eHow, I started my own webcomic in May and I’m writing a graphic novel.” Why couldn’t I have even been a bit flippant and say, “Well, yeah, but my guests really appreciate that degree when I entertain and, wow, it sure made doing those Medieval feasts so much easier to run.”

I am not /just/ a bookkeeper. And, yet, that’s all I said. I feel like I should go back there and tell him: I’m not a failure, I met my goals, then my goals changed. Don’t look at me like I’ve tossed away two years and $30K. Those years were a big turning point for me, not just where education and career are concerned. I turned into myself during those two years and if I hadn’t at least tried I don’t know where I’d be now. I don’t regret the choice I made, please don’t regret the time you spent teaching me.

One thought on “Marginalized

  1. Oh what the fuck ever. An expensive degree that you’re using the holy hell out of, you’re just not working your fingers to the bone at really inconvenient hours to be paid like a McDonalds employee. Don’t let the bastard let you feel marginalized. If I had been there, I would have given the fucker a piece of my mind. (And embarrassed you to no end, I’m sure, but that’s just a bonus.)

Share Your Opinion Here!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.