My experience as a job-hopper

Crystal Kwaw shares her story about working a variety of jobs and her willingness to leave them. Graphic by Maria Nevada
Crystal Kwaw

Anyone who’s worked at a job that sucks the life out of you, knows the feeling of wanting to leave. Some people don’t yet know what it’s like to be at full job satisfaction yet.

I have the privilege of job-hopping because I live at home, where my mom takes care of most of the bills. However, sand is pooling at the bottom of the hourglass as a fourth-year college student who needs to start looking at finances as a necessity and not a burden.

Recently, I departed from another job. This one lasted four days. I couldn’t handle chasing the conveyor belt of paper to put inside the box. The speed was uncaring, my fingers were getting sore and the thought of leaving was a repeating sound track playing for the first three hours of my shift.

I looked at the clock with an hour and a half left until break, continued the task, looked back–an hour left. Okay, I could hold tight for an hour.

Although I knew the clock would torment me, curiosity overwhelmed my impulses and I looked again. Fifty-five minutes remaining. I did something I’ve never done before, I summoned the trainer and told her, “I can’t do this.”

After a frank conversation with the supervisor, I drove to the gas station wondering if I should be spending money on anything at all. While I did a retelling of what I just did to my sister who lives in Ghana she said, “Eh, Crystal if you were in Ghana, you would embrace the job.”

Previous jobs have put me through this physical and mental pain, but I have never walked quarter way into a shift.

At my first job in a movie theatre I was 16 years old and hard to please. I didn’t appreciate how much I was able to save since I didn’t have a car or the accompanying bills.

Then I got a job as a childcare helper. It revealed how tireless the children were and how tired I was because I was also working with a temp agency doing ten to twelve-hour shifts moving muffins from one conveyor belt to another.

Later, I tried my hand at waiting tables for 3 days, after which the manager passively fired me by not adding me to the schedule. Much respect to waiters keeping tab on the orders, making sure the food stays on the plate, handling dine-and-dashers, hospitality and on top of it all, making it look easy.

In my next endeavor I believed telemarketing would sustain my spirit and energy. The timed conversations and sitting so much made me want to leave phone communications for eternity. What I thought would be easy, surprise, surprise, took something out of my voice when I was forcing myself to read the script.

While I counted until the last hour of that job, I dreamed of something more meaningful for myself, so I became an afterschool program supervisor. I saw that the kids weren’t the only ones acting like kids. At 19-years-old, I had more growing up to do if I would ever work with fourth graders and older kids again. What a life-changing experience that was.

A vacation later, I left that emotional job for two more mentally and physically draining jobs. Whatever made me cope before was still at play, but I wanted to sing different thoughts while I worked.

Some might call it quitting, walking away and whatnot. Yes, but this time, it’s quitting being so money-centric. It’s walking away from the “get by” mind set and wanting to use my gifts instead.

My gifts are learning, bonding, exploring and being creative. Instead of begrudgingly using these, I’ll take pleasure using them while going somewhere I can’t fathom right now.

No matter how much it makes an employer’s life easier, there’s no obligation to stay in one place emotionally, physically and mentally.