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I Love My Job, So Why Does It Make Me Feel So Insecure?

I haven’t had a job I’ve disliked. Granted, I haven’t worked many jobs.

There’s a lot of privilege in those two sentences. When it comes to finances, I realize how lucky I am. I have parents who offer me the support that not every college student receives. I pay for my own gas, but I didn’t buy my car. I buy my own groceries, but I didn’t pay for my meal plan. There is give and take in most financial situations in my life, all thanks to my parents. I know how advantageous that is. The majority of college students are stressed about their financial situations, and I personally know several students who cover almost every expense by themselves, using hard-earned money they’ve saved up over months of work. In contrast, I feel as though I’ve never worked a “real” job before, even though I’ve assumed plenty of roles working with children over the past few years. The difference is that my jobs allow me a LOT of flexibility and freedom. It’s amazing, but it causes me guilt when I see others my age seemingly working harder than me in more committed positions.

I don’t waitress during the summer, but I do direct my own arts and crafts camp. I’ve never worked retail, but I’ve taken on so many babysitting clients, from the most squishable babies to the sassiest tweens. I’ve never had an internship, but I’ve worked as a substitute teacher in several elementary schools. With all of these jobs, I pick the days I work. While subbing, I’m even able to choose which school to work at and which grade level to teach. It’s all up to me. I’m not on a schedule. I’ve never really had a boss. Sure, parents are the bosses of babysitters and school administrators are the bosses of substitute teachers, but it’s different. It’s more lax. This is what gets to me and makes me feel like I’m behind my peers somehow. It’s not like I pursue the jobs I do because I look down on the ones that others do; I’m just lucky enough to access opportunities that appeal to me and allow me to earn some income while relying on aid from my parents.

So, how to cope with this insecurity? I don’t know. I do know I’m not the only one in this position. So far, I’ve found it best to center the issue and be selfish for a minute. I think to myself, “My work experience is my work experience because it is unique to me.” Same for everyone else. It doesn’t make anyone better or worse than the next person. That guy doesn’t know how to change a diaper, while I don’t know how to work a cash register. It’s alright! When I step back and examine my experience as a whole, I’m thankful. I absolutely love that my jobs allow me to act like a kid again. Instead of worrying about my next sociology paper, my biggest concern while babysitting is deciding whether we should go on the trampoline or the hammock. If that’s my biggest stressor at the workplace, I think I’ll stick with it for as long as I can.

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Grace Bertagna

U Mass Amherst '23

Grace Bertagna is a sophomore at UMass Amherst studying Spanish and Sociology. She enjoys painting, practicing yoga, cooking, and playing ice hockey.
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