I ran into an old friend from my days at local college. I always liked Tom ( not his name), and there but for the grace of God go I.
Tom and I attended class together in the late 90's. He always dated the woman nobody else wanted. He even is still happily married with a kid or two. We graduated into a bleak economy and the Wall Street jobs that were waiting for us weren't there. When the situation got better there were newer graduates.
Tom and I started in the Hotel Industry working on the night shift. I quickly found myself on the wrong end of a political strife in the hotel. New management always brought in their own people and after two experiences and bad pay I said enough. I walked down a path that took me to the fashion industry and then as a federal employee.
I went to see Tom the other day. The story was familiar management changed and I am on thin ice. Customer X threw a temper tantrum and I am in the dog house...... I listened to these familiar tales and just shook my head. I remember envying Tom when there were low points in my journey. I used to wonder what is it about me, that needed to get away from this line of work.
However, I look back at the experience quite differently now. I went on to bigger and better things and Tom is singing the same tune 20 years later. All the headaches and bad days were worth it. Tom has now wasted his youth in an industry where the song never changes and in a year or two it will be another Hotel. Finally when his youth is gone there will be a look back at a series of meaningless bland jobs.
Well at least he was smarter than me about the rest of life. The woman nobody else wanted turned out to be a great wife and mother. Perhaps it is a good thing in his case that work is only a means to an end for Tom.
Sometimes life requires a leap of faith and some bad days before it gets better. Singing that same tune for twenty years is just too much for me.