"You're too smart to be working at McDonald's" etc



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Daryl_Blonder
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24 Feb 2012, 11:48 am

Does anyone else have this problem? You work a menial job (or jobs) and people give you an attitude, often subliminal, that "you can do better."

They don't understand that for us, keeping sane is a full-time job in and of itself.

When I'm not working on film productions, which has been the case for many months now, I work at a movie theater. It pays barely above minimum wage. But this is what I WANT. Having a "real job" would make it nearly impossible to continue my career in the movie business, because I need ultimate flexibility. College is insanely expensive; even if I could find a job in any given field, which I probably could not, I'd wind up six figures in debt. I have no attention span, and no real interest in any field career-wise; I like my video games and my road trips. Office jobs just aren't FUN. I don't want to devote too much of my life to a job, especially if it's one in which I'm not able to have the freedom to go traveling.

So when people give me this attitude... that I can do better... it really pisses me off! The only difference between a guy that works at a fast food restaurant and a lawyer, is that the lawyer makes more money-- and in this materialistic society, that's what people find most important. Add to this the fact that the lawyer is probably a sleazebag anyway, knowing lawyers.

Anybody with me on this?

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RosieLea
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24 Feb 2012, 12:27 pm

I'm 29 and I have a degree in English Lit. I work part-time at Subway.

I don't really *want* to work at Subway. I dont make enough money to take care of myself, and I hate making sandwiches. I am embarrassed when new people ask me what I do because I know I can do better. But the thought of getting an office job sounds horrible, and working 40 hours at a job I hate seems so much worse than working 25 at a job I hate, and there is no responsibility involved in making sandwiches, which is nice.

I just want to write, but most of the time I'm too depressed to write. If I worked 40 hours I would be too tired to write. Alternately, if I didn't work at all I would be too bored to write.

I think it's great that you're happy with your situation (I wish I was). I think that as long as a person is child-less they can do whatever they want with their lives, no judgement. As long as you're happy, no one else matters.



questor
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24 Feb 2012, 1:24 pm

Follow your own path. No one lives in anybody else's skin, so no one else knows fully what you want, and what is best for you. Never mind their attempts to make you conform to a more lucrative life style. Money isn't the only measure of wealth. Being able to do your own stuff is another form of wealth.

I worked mostly temp jobs for decades. Working a full schedule for years at a time wasn't good for me because I didn't have the energy for it, so with temping I was able to take time off between jobs to run errands, help my mother out, and try to get some rest. Because my health problems got worse, I am no longer working and am on SSI. Things are better in some ways now, as I get to pick what to do at any given time. Unfortunately, because of my health problems, there is never enough time to do everything that needs doing, so being unemployed due to health is a mixed blessing.

Just keep following your own path. Trying to conform to the NT world is difficult at best, and for many of us, impossible. Do what will make you happy.


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g_mahler5
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24 Feb 2012, 2:07 pm

I definitely have this problem.

I wouldn't say it pisses me off per se. I've come to accept it for what it is. NTs are going to be critical and judgmental and know-it-alls when interacting with us, and I know my limitations and what I want and that's what really counts. I'm trying hard to own my life the best that I can.

After college, a huge chunk of my income came from being a successful poker player, and within that I had a few 'regular' jobs. I'm sure a lot of people dismissed my application and resume because I seem over qualified.

A few years back, I worked at a subcontracting company for a rehabilitation facility as an administrative assistant. I had a rough time initially because the person training me flat out hated me and did all kinds of things to make me look incompetent and stupid at my job. It helped to alienate me from the rest of the work staff. Her and I shared responsibilities, and she left and I had full control over what it is I had to do, my boss had a big change of perspective on my abilities and overall competence. I was finally happy and felt at home at my job. Of course, social interactions with my coworkers were never any good still, but at least my boss understood me better. The company was going through a transformative growth period, and a year or so later, I was asked to take a new position as a shipping / receiving clerk. I wanted a promotion, naturally, and this didn't feel like the direction I wanted to take. The idea of taking on a position that had never existed before, and also I was comfortable where I was. Also, it didn't look like my pay would change at all (I was too afraid to ask, and the info I looked at online seemed to indicate that it wouldn't). So I said no. The person I had been training up to that point ended up taking the position instead, and then I felt miserable about my decision, as if I had screwed myself over staying stuck in the same spot. I didn't know what I wanted anymore, if I wanted what I had then or if I 'deserved better'. And of course, I wasn't socializing properly with anyone else at work. So I ended up leaving, with poker as my fallback.

Then recently, poker became unprofitable, and the combination of that and the bad economy, and my aspieness, forced me to settle on a few temp jobs. I worked as a box packager, on an paint assembly line, and also as a walmart remod associate, before finally successfully getting the job I have now, as a deli associate. The whole time, I felt vastly overqualified compared to the others around me, and thankfully I can understand why. And I get those comments a lot from people at my job right now. They wonder why I'm here, when I graduated from such a great school (U of Michigan) and appear to be smart and bright and full of potential. My supervisor truly believes that it has to do with the poor economy. And for the first 3 months or so that I started working there, I was extremely happy. I felt at home yet again, at a regular job. I was in strong consideration to take over one of my supervisor's role (either lead associate or head of the deli). I think they still believe that, but I don't feel like I want to do that anymore. And it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the money either.

I don't plan on being a deli associate forever though. I'm heavily leaning towards taking over my mom's financially successful cleaning business. This is mainly a money decision - I'm frugal but I want a family and I know I can't support one making that amount. If I'm in the right environment I'm definitely a very hard worker, and I know that's what it took for my parents to succeed. I'm a bit worried though, about continuing to develop my social abilities. I consider my parents and brother to all be relatively socially inept, and I know it's because they all lived their lives in relative isolation, and I'm afraid that I'll do the same if I go this route. One nice thing about the job I have now is I have a lot of random shallow social interactions, both with customers as well as my coworkers, and it's helping me to learn a lot more about the NT world. I still relatively stink at conversations, but I like the improvement. Maybe I can do the cleaning business but put a LOT of effort into keeping myself growing socially as I can, even it means taking social skills training or whatever else. *shrug*

Ok ok my POINT is, I've dealt with people (both others and myself) wondering why I'm selling myself so short when I supposedly have so much career potential, and now I've finally accepted that in most normal jobs, I'm going to be approximately the mail room clerk equivalent and that's where I'll be happiest. And I'm ok with that, aside from the money issues that go along with it.



WhoKnowsWhy
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25 Feb 2012, 1:56 am

I think what bothers me is that people DON'T seem to think I can do better, despite my being a college graduate as well.



dizzywater
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25 Feb 2012, 6:18 am

I have been told that for at least the last 20 years as I do one easy, menial, undemanding job after another. It's the undemanding bit which is so attractive. So I work in a kitchen, so I get paid very little, but I don't have the sticking power to do anything more.
I could train for something, get a degree and all the debt, then find I didn't want to do that anymore. Seen others do it, and I know I would be a cert to do it too.

I used to help my stepbrother with his science & maths homeworks, he just took a bit longer than me to pick it up and we were in the same year at school. He is a doctor now. Once while trying to get me to consider the degree/debt thing, my mum told me my stepbrother had said "I remember she used to be so smart".
Now hold on a minute, if doctors are so smart how come he doesn't know that caterers don't get their brains surgically removed as part of the job? What's with the "used to be"? I am still smart. Being judged for not wanting responsibility in my job does not change that.

I really don't get the whole social/work hierarchy thing, don't know if that is being female, or aspie, or both.
I have time to do my own stuff, part-time work is bearable, more work wouldn't be! I tried office work, it's not for me, unless it was in wages, I enjoyed a job doing manual books, payments and wages for a while, alone as the only office staff.

My favourite ever job was as a chambermaid, I have a whole lot of interesting stuff going on in my mind while I work on autopilot.



TheTigress
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25 Feb 2012, 5:10 pm

RosieLea wrote:
I'm 29 and I have a degree in English Lit. I work part-time at Subway.

I don't really *want* to work at Subway. I dont make enough money to take care of myself, and I hate making sandwiches. I am embarrassed when new people ask me what I do because I know I can do better. But the thought of getting an office job sounds horrible, and working 40 hours at a job I hate seems so much worse than working 25 at a job I hate, and there is no responsibility involved in making sandwiches, which is nice.

I think it's great that you're happy with your situation (I wish I was). I think that as long as a person is child-less they can do whatever they want with their lives, no judgement. As long as you're happy, no one else matters.


I'm in the EXACT same situation. I hate my job at Subway (the customers are absolutely VILE) but I'd hate having a full time job with less free time to myself even more so I "tolerate" it. I also like the flexibility of getting requested days off to go on vacations/other things once in a while. Honestly, it wouldn't be too bad if it weren't for the customers and that *** ***** $5 dollar footlong promotion they do once or twice a year. I prefer to stay in the back and do the duties back there instead of making sandwiches but sadly we don't have a designated "back room monkey" option at mine.



Ai_Ling
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26 Feb 2012, 3:46 am

I guess I'm the opposite. I work at Safeway and one of the reasons why I hate it is because it is a boring and menial job. Secondly, I hate the customer service, but thats expected considering that I'm an aspie. I got bored of it after 4 months and I don't understand how someone could do such a boring, repetitive job for the rest of there lives. I'm guessing its somewhat of a comfort zone for some people. But, for me working at Safeway is no way a comfort zone, with the amount of people, I always get socially anxious which was hard to tolerate in the beginning. Now I'm on meds. Right now I also work part time in a lab and that is so much more suited for me. Its much more interesting and has way more substance to it. I can relate to the other people much better because of the heavy subject matter.



Cyanide
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26 Feb 2012, 4:51 am

Daryl_Blonder wrote:
So when people give me this attitude... that I can do better... it really pisses me off!

Would you rather have people say that you can't do better? Frankly, if someone told me I had the right IQ to work at McDonald's, I'd be pretty insulted.



hanyo
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26 Feb 2012, 5:35 am

Cyanide wrote:
Would you rather have people say that you can't do better? Frankly, if someone told me I had the right IQ to work at McDonald's, I'd be pretty insulted.


What if it is true that you can't do better? I'd be lucky to even manage to stay at a low paying menial job. People telling me I can do better when what I'm currently doing is a struggle that I can barely do would be annoying.



arielhawksquill
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26 Feb 2012, 11:47 am

When my daughter was a baby I worked as a shelver at the public library. I was overqualified (in fact, I was their second choice--the high school kid they hired initially quit after 2 weeks without even calling.) I loved the quiet routine of it, no resonsibility and no customer service.

When my husband finished grad school I needed to spend more time at home with our daughter, so I put in my notice at the library. The janitor who worked there thought I was looking for a new job, and told me very solicitously that the grocery store nearby was hiring stockers. I turned to him, red faced and fuming, and said "I have a degree in ******!" He was shocked and said insultingly, "Remind me to tell my kid not to major in *****!"



dizzywater
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26 Feb 2012, 3:13 pm

arielhawksquill
Even though people offering unwanted advice can be intrusive, I still wonder if you would have been so rudely dismissive if he hadn't been a mere janitor who had the audacity to treat you as an equal.



JNathanK
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28 Feb 2012, 1:09 pm

I agree. Its kind of BS. I think all establishment jobs suck, because they suck the life out of you. I wish I could just live off of permaculture on a plot of land and off the grid without having to pay electric or water bills. They transform your time, your life essence, into a commodity, and for what? ...to have a big house, fancy cars, just so you can have more junk than you're neighbor, which is all just going to be auctioned off and fought over when you die? You should be happy being able to have the freedom to do road trips. You may be able to get a somewhat better job just to have extra money. I think chasing the American dream just causes a lot of stress, and its more of a nightmare than a dream. A lot of marriages aren't the fairy tale they're sold as and often end in divorce as well. Keep working on your movies though. The only reason could see in getting more money is to have more bargaining chips to emancipate yourself from the system. More money means you could buy your own land out in Montana. If I ever made the big bucks, I'd live frugally, as if I was on minimum wage, save up the cash, buy land and equipment to be grid independent, buy a trailer, quit the job, then get a part time job to have enough money to pay taxes and enough time to learn skills.



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28 Feb 2012, 2:37 pm

I work as supervisor for a cleaning company now that I've left my teaching job. I'm always getting nagged to go back into teaching but fork dat ship. For the time being at least, anyway. I get paid more per hour being a cleaning supervisor.

I am looking for another part time job and my ideal is to be doing about 30 hours a week (less if I can get tutoring work). I can actually earn enough working that much to live in the manner to which I'm accustomed (I'm a cheapskate, anyway). I find working a 40+ hour week not only makes me ill, but I earn more money than I know what to do with. I can live independently on about £10k a year. I don't have kids and I need a lot of alone time. The reason I currently do cleaning and tutoring is because they pay ££ per hour and allow me to work part time. I couldn't hack working at McDonald's, personally.

Health > work ethic


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Just4U
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11 Mar 2012, 4:35 pm

I actually do want a 40-hour a week cubicle factory job with an ankle monitor that blows off my leg if I spend too much time away from my desk. Go fig.

But in all seriousness, I am a 25 year old soon-to-be graduate degree holder who has been looking for a corporate job for quite sometime. What annoys me is when people read the legitimate comments that people have posted in this thread and then say "Oh see?! Generation Y doesn't want to work! They hate the idea of the responsibility of a job and want to play video games all day! That's why their unemployment rates are so high and they all live at home with their parents." Well, no. First, most people in the 24-34 year old demographic do want full-time jobs. Second, most people, regardless of generation, do not want to spend money on college degrees that are becoming more expensive and more useless. Most people, regardless of generation, want a good work-life balance. Most people, regardless of generation, want a job with lots of flexibility and the opportunity to pursue their passion. Finally, the reason Generation Y is experiencing record unemployment is because the economy experienced one of the biggest recessions on record a few years back. Those of us who would prefer not to work at Starbucks actually can't find the jobs we want.

So I wouldn't be surprised if the people who are judging others for working service jobs are just participating in some sort of bias confirmation behavior. In their minds, anyone can get a "better" job and a "better" job is one that you have to sacrifice pleasure for.



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