Sunday, February 9, 2014

This post could be ranty.

So tune in or tune out accordingly.

A friend of mine, B, was speaking with an older mutual friend earlier today. (I'm not using names to protect the innocent and well-intentioned.) She has a similar employment situation as I do. B is a college graduate, she works two service industry jobs, and she is as clueless about her future as I am about mine.

Before we continue, let me make it clear that both of us are okay with these facts about our lives. 

Aforementioned older friend asked B if she was still working at her current employment. She replied that she was. Then, he asked, "Are you looking for anything else?"

If we're friends, or if you've ever been this situation, then you just cringed so hard. For the majority of mid-twenties college graduates these days, our least favorite question is "So what are you doing next?"

I DON'T KNOW. I'm twenty-seven and I don't have my life planned out, thank you very much and would you please stop asking me that?!

We know that you just want to know about our lives and get to know us. But when we tell you we're working at Starbucks and not in a "career" your next response should not be "Are you looking for anything else?"

When you do this, you're telling us that what we're doing isn't good enough, that it's somehow shameful. You're telling us that the lies society is feeding that your job defines you are true. You're subtly inserting a sense of shame into our hearts about the way that we spend our time and earn our money, shame that has no business being there in the first place.

I know that this older friend didn't mean anything by the question. He didn't mean to make B feel bad. But it still happened. 

B and I complained about our mutual problem for a while, and brushed it off fairly quickly. I'm grateful to have overheard the experience, however unpleasant for her it may have been. Sometimes I forget that this doesn't just happen to me, that it happens to other people, too.  It's reassuring when you realize that other people have the same problems as you do.

I know that some of you, friends, have had experiences like this. I'd love it if you'd commiserate with me and share in the comments. 


  1. There are so many things like this, follow-up questions, that are meant to just follow a string of conversation that people don't stop to think about too much. It gets harder for us, the receiver, to deal with these questions because we have to hear them all. the. time.


    1. I get so ragey when this happens, but I have a hard time justifying it because most people just have no idea that what they are saying is totally insensitive.