I shouldn’t have to write this because quite frankly, it’s truly no one’s business what goes on in my life behind closed doors. I have always been a private person.
I feel that we live in a day and age where there is no such thing as boundaries anymore. I get hate mail from random strangers because they don’t care for the images I post on my Facebook photography page. I get messages from strange men who are trying to stalk my friends. I get friend requests from people I have never heard of and pile of Instagram followers who are only following me in the hopes that I will follow them back or buy their wraps, nail stickers, sex toys or followers.
No thank you.
I put myself out there in some ways because it’s good business sense. I’m working on cultivating my brand and getting my name out there while completing my studies. Which for all intents and purposes would technically mean: I’m self employed. I’m also a student.
Which was born and bred out of necessity. After I lost my job in 2014, I foolishly assumed that I would get another one in no time at all. I was a Chef, getting another job is super easy.
Until it wasn’t.
I hadn’t worked in an actual full blown restaurant in over a decade. The last five years of my career spent in a private daycare. People like to assume that was an easy, ‘cushy’ job. Sometimes it was, more often than not, not so much. My CV game was on point. The first 40 CV’s I sent out, not a peep. Which is odd, given the sheer amount of restaurant jobs in this city. So I adjusted my CV and used the acronym for my previous employer instead. Figured I was still being honest and it would at the very least, get my foot in the door.
Which worked, for a little while. Until I got to the interview.
It was almost comical to see the looks on their faces when they asked what was ‘insert acronym here’. It’s mind blowing that people automatically assume that I make copious amount of KD and call it a day. No really, someone asked me that. Or there was the ‘ your CV looks great, but we’re afraid you’re over qualified’. OK well then why, oh why DID YOU CALL ME FOR AN INTERVIEW?!? Did they not bother to actually read my CV? Bus tickets cost money and my savings were starting to dwindle quickly.
So I revamped my CV once again. Except this time I left a lot of things out. Anything I felt that would imply that I was over qualified was gone. It did not however disguise the fact that I hadn’t worked as a line cook in forever (some things you can’t hide). So I went on countless interviews, all of which went swimmingly until the fact that I hadn’t worked on a line in forever came up. I had four opportunities before me, only four people out of the 100+ CV’s I sent out were willing to take a chance on me. Restaurant one was a hole, I didn’t measure up to their expectations and they sure as hell didn’t measure up to mine. I draw the line at leaving raw potatoes in the fry cutter so that there’s mold and fruit flies. Teamed up with the fact that they left raw meat out on the counter over night.
OVERNIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF JULY! Who does that?!? Needless to say, that didn’t work out. Which is kind of a shame because the staff was really nice. Even if I didn’t feel safe eating there… At least I tried. At the very least, I was still in school, working towards my dream and goals of becoming a professional photographer. I got offered another job at some random poutine place but when I showed up for the job, the owner never did. Which was fine because I wasn’t too keen on working there anyway -but- a job is a job. Then I found a job that was ideal for me, my skill level and the executive chef was totally cool about my not being in a formal restaurant in forever. The job was mine for the taking, it paid well and I was excited until I found out it would take me TWO HOURS to get there since it was in the Dix30.
So I upped the ante with my courses at school, started hustling my photography services and contemplated re-opening my then defunct Etsy store. Still looked for a job of course. However that became more complicated because of school. The downside of being in the hospitality industry? There’s not a lot of flexibility to be had. Preference will always be given to someone who has a completely open schedule. I get that though, scheduling people can be a giant pain in the ass. Been there, done that.
Also, while this was all happening, my father was dying. So that was fun. Still kept looking for work here and there, was enrolled in university full time and fighting with Emploi Quebec to get employment insurance while dealing with my ex employer. Couldn’t find a suitable job that would accommodate my schedule/didn’t require me to speak French, wasn’t eligible for welfare because I lived with my boyfriend and he made ‘too much money’ (which is comical) and I hadn’t been out of work long enough to be eligible for any of Quebec’s social programs. Thank god for savings, the monthly solidarity tax credit and credit cards. Not the most ideal way to live but I would rather cut out my own liver than borrow money from anyone. Especially family…
Yet somehow we made due, on our own.
I kept fighting my battles with the government, won my lawsuit, my father passed away, I kept hustling and I was finally eligible for some help. Which was about freaking time. Lord knows I’ve paid my share of taxes, employment insurance and contributed to society. I don’t like handouts or charity and somehow the universe provided. I got a handful of freelance jobs, revamped my Etsy game and looked into going to school full time. Quebec has an amazing amount of social programs for people who are ‘low income’ and want to go back to school. I was deemed eligible but between the holidays and having to juggle things between my agent to get approval from Emploi Quebec and the school, they were full for January. So I looked for other things to do in the meantime and registered at a different school starting at the end of March for French. You can’t begin to imagine how pissed I was to discover that RTC had opened up a new class that starts on the same day as my French studies.
So I had to choose. Did I drop out of the French program that I paid for out of pocket and enroll in the other program or did I take the French program that I needed to take anyway and hope that RTC opened up another program in June. So I opted to stay in the French program because I need to take it regardless. Given that the past year has been difficult dealing with my dad’s death and my anxiety and depression on top of trying to plan our wedding, I figured it would help me get back into the groove of things at a reasonable pace.
Which bring me to my ultimate frustration: People commenting on where my income comes from. Ever since I got engaged, I have been having to deal with a pretty undesirable litany of comments in regards to money. I am well aware that weddings are costly, yet some people, several in fact felt compelled to point that out. Oh my, how are you going to pay for that? We don’t want you to go into debt because we can’t bail you out (see above about my wanting to cut out my own liver…). But you don’t have a job. (um actually, I do, I work freelance). Oh you make money selling crafts? Really? Oh must be nice to sit around all day and do nothing (wrong). Oh I wish I had her life, sitting around taking pictures and making crafts all day (not as easy as it sounds). So what do you do all day, watch TV? (yes, that’s exactly it). You can’t possibly make enough money to live (we do OK thanks) and I could at least respect what you do if I knew that you were trying (to find an actual job) and the list goes on.
Quite frankly, I am tired of it. I haven’t said a word about it because why bother? Until Sunday, when after hearing three different comments about my income or lack thereof, I finally snapped. Where does anyone get off on commenting on *MY* personal life? Since when did it become your business? Do you think you were the first person to say something about this? Newsflash, you’re not. I could have/should have handled it better, i’m not going to make excuses for letting my temper get the best of me. Sometimes I’m an asshole. I own my mistakes and can freely admit when i’m wrong. However, it doesn’t disregard the fact that it’s no one’s business. Quite frankly, far too many people have chosen to make it their business. I have had enough.
I get being frustrated by the amount of people who take advantage of the system. I honestly don’t know how those people function, it’s not as if welfare gives you a lot of money. Even the stipend that they give you for going to school isn’t enough for one person to live on, on their own. The system is a lot more complicated than you would think. Trust me, I worked my way through it in sheer desperation. Had it not been for the fact that I have other talents that lay elsewhere, I would have ended up in the metro shaking a cup and begging for change.
I still might.
Just to let you know, I pay taxes on the money I bring in. So before you make assumptions or feel the need to comment on things that really shouldn’t matter to you, know the facts.
Now you do. After all, knowing is half the battle.