Monday, August 15, 2011

On the Bubble

My trip may have been over, but I extended my vacation by at least a few hours. The flight home stopped in Chicago and New Orleans before it reached Houston. I chose it because I didn’t want to stop and change planes although I may try that next time. As much as I enjoyed my flight, I wasn’t looking forward to being back in Houston. The weather on the East Coast was at least bearable in spite of the heat. I’d heard rumors that there’d been a bad heat wave while I was gone, and they were confirmed when I stepped out to the curb.
My family had come to the airport to greet me. After eating mostly junk food and drinking soda all day, I was starved. I wanted to go to the Greek diner back in my neighborhood, or even the latest Tex Mex restaurant that opened before I left. No, my mom insisted on Katz’s. I was disappointed because the one in Houston was more or less a TGI Friday marauding as a delicatessen. Not only that, I’d eaten the real thing in Manhattan, and this was the last place I wanted to go. Sadly the food had hardly ever been inconsistent, and the service was great if you travel in a large pack, which I do not.
I noticed as I recovered from my vacation that maybe, just maybe, I’d outgrown Houston, or vice versa. Here I am in my mid thirties and I’m still stuck in retail hell. The job was only meant to hold me over until I found something in the broadcast field. The only problem is I didn’t really know where to begin to look. I tried one place, but they demanded that I have transportation so that I could move freely between downtown and the Woodlands. It also didn’t really pay as much as what I’d been making slinging sausage.
Travel was my incentive for working, but what did I have to show for time in retail hell? The catalog I received from my job listed jewelry and a clock radio among the items for those who’d worked five years for the company. I chose the flashlight. Really? All I have to show for efforts is a flashlight? Sure I’m content with the fact that I have a decent apartment and the bare essentials, but there’s times that I want more.
Traveling made me realize there’s more to the world than the four walls that surround me. I could see why so many people flocked to New York, and why a friend of mine thought it was the best place in the world. Four o’ clock last call at the bars, a 24/7 transit system, and sidewalks that ran for miles. A person could get used to that quickly and I know I did.
When I was a younger more idealistic person, I pictured myself living in a big city like New York. Houston has been a great training ground for that, but I realize that I have a lot more to learn. Before I left like I said I was content, but that’s changed since I’ve been back. If anything I feel restless and I’m ready to travel again. Had I been more irresponsible, I quite possibly might have stayed in New York.
The thing is that I doubt myself too much. I questioned my ability to maintain a steady job meanwhile keeping up with the rent and the utilities in a larger city. If I can’t, the last thing I want to do is tuck tail and run back to Houston or god forbid, Texas City. Houston has been a great stepping stone, but the question is where do I go next? What do I do now that I’ve seen a little bit of the world?
My ultimate goal is to get that broadcast job, but resources down here are limited as far as I can tell. I could start in a smaller market and work my way up, but let’s face it. I’m old in terms of what employers want. Even at work I realize if I stay with the company, I don’t know that I can keep up with the pace. Working in a meat market is a young man’s game. There’s only so much my body can take from lifting heavy boxes and standing on my feet all day long.
Even though I reached my breaking point, before I went on vacation, I feel like I’m on the bubble. There’s been a lot of BS since I’ve gotten back, and I don’t know how much longer I hang. I get tired of childish drama like punishing the whole group for the mistakes of a few. Hell I was on vacation and they still punished me by pushing my shift up an hour. Every year they make me fill out this survey and every year I respond the same way to that same question about whether or not I often think about working for another company.
I get the feeling that no matter what I do will ever be enough to satisfy the people I work for. These people are under tremendous pressure from the corporate office down, and it feels like I’m their damn it doll for them to take all their frustrations out on. Going through a remodel hasn’t helped the situation either. I’m still catching hell from the customers, people who’ve shopped here daily if not weekly since I’ve been there. Even regular customers who are always glad to see me grumble when they look around at the new digs.
I’ve tried every way of looking at the situation, and for the first time, I feel like there’s no way out. If I jump ship now, where do I go, what do I do? My only other problem is if I stay, how much longer before my managers have had enough? Another dilemma at work is if I speak up, I get yelled at, and if I don’t say anything, I still get yelled at. Enough is enough and I’m ready to take that next step, whatever it is, to find a better station in life. Not sure how to go about it, but I know I’ll find a way out of it.

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