Everybody has to do some job to get through life, earn money, buy food, have a roof overhead, and cover other basic things. However, there’s always been a tendency in our society to judge people based upon the way they earn their living. Let’s talk about exactly that.
Let’s put all the cards on the table: I work in a shop. Not a high-tech shop, not a clothing shop, but a big grocery store. But my employment story isn’t that simple, when I came to Norway after studies I got all the crappy jobs, taverns, restaurants, and fast food places. Meanwhile, when I had worked in a restaurant I was still looking for something more: something that will expand my career possibilities and experience. Since I was 18 I was working in all kinds of food-serving-related places and to be honest I was tired of that. To be honest, I live in such a small place that there weren’t many options for me, but then pandemic came and a solution came at the same time. They need people at one shop.
I was very skeptical. I had a bad period in my life in Poland where I wanted to change my current at that time job and I had a try at a grocery shop. It was a huge shop with not only food but tons of other stuff like clothes and homeware and it had maybe more than 50 workers. It was overwhelming and sitting on the cash register for 3-hours was enough for me to make the decision to never come back to this type of profession.
Little did I know that I really enjoy the fast-paced type of work, where you have to use your physical strength and people skills more than anywhere else. Maybe I like to work physically because I’m naturally very athletic (I very easily gain muscles and was always drawn to do sports) but anyway, I somehow enjoy the job I eventually ended up to. It’s very weird because I got it thanks to the pandemic. Was it meant to be? Have no idea. But let me come to the point I’m trying to make here: the stigma.
The stigma surrounding “low paid” jobs are maybe more apparent in Poland, I didn’t necessarily get the same feeling about that from locals here. In Norway women and men work all kinds of jobs, women mechanics, men repairing roads and it’s all accepted and preached: as long as you have work you matter. Even if you’re sick they will want you to work “a little bit” so you’re not out of society. When I talk with people from Poland or other countries I feel ashamed to tell them where I work. I see my friends same age working in offices, labs, and other “important” jobs and it makes me feel small or just plain bad. My brother asked me many times why I studied what I studied if I work in a shop now? Why was I studying at all? What was the point?
I feel you all. You, who like me, work in a low-paid job (although I live very comfortably and I can always afford what want and need) and have to deal with these inner and outer doubts. Are we plain people because our job is? Are we dumber than the other people? I can assure you that most of those office people wouldn’t be able to handle what we do. They wouldn’t keep the tempo, they would lack strength or will to do it.
And if you like what you do, why would you need to worry really? People think things about others but most certainly they think about themselves most of the time. And to those people who think less of me and others for our choice of career I have three words: go to hell.
Thank you for reading and I hope you are having a lovely Wednesday.