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Why it's good for you to clean toilets. Need a job? Kill your pride as soon as you can.

::Originally written on my old Medium blog on October 18, 2013, with some edits for this version.::

Need a job? Don’t ever be too good for any job.1

An acquaintance of mine left a job over the feeling that she wasn’t given the proper respect that her education deserved. She would tell me that she was certain the management was jealous and felt threatened, so she left on very bad terms only to discover she couldn’t find another job.

During the 2008 crash, anecdotal stories filled the news of highly educated professionals living in their cars, unwilling to take a job at McDonald’s or something similar. It’s Cousin Eddie from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, unemployed for seven years but holding out for a management position.

The idea that she was above certain kinds of jobs made it difficult for my friend to find employment. She continues to take college classes and spends money after money on more education, believing that she will, at some point, be guaranteed a high-wage job because more education is the ticket to wealth and what she is worth.

I want to tell her the truth.

She needs to get a job cleaning toilets, ASAP.

She needs to stop racking up student loan debt.

She needs to learn to live on less in every way, including her finances and her pride, and her opinion of herself.

I can’t say I loved most of my jobs. Night shifts at the post office loading dock, working in a kitchen, data entry, answering phones, cleaning…but having worked those jobs already, I find that I’m not terrified of losing a job. I don’t think anything is really beneath me.

When you’re truly willing to work, there is always work to be found.

It does not matter what your degree is, what jobs you used to have, what job titles you used to own, or how much you used to make: you are not above cleaning toilets.

On weekends, I clean the office (and toilets) where I work. It’s extra money for my savings account. There’s a certain kind of personal pride to be found in cleaning up after others, and in being willing to serve other people. There’s a strange kind of pleasure in manual labor and physical work to get your pay. Maybe that’s the farm kid in me coming through; good, hard physical work is extremely rewarding at the end of the day.

But my friend believes she is meant for the top, and she thinks she’ll never have to visit the bottom again.

If there is such a thing as top and bottom.


1 It is important to point out that “sex work” is not a real job. That’s all I’m going to say.


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