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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
By James Carter, Staff Writer • June 20, 2024
Opinion | NHL needs to bring specialty jerseys back
By Jameson Keebler, Senior Staff Columnist • June 19, 2024

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Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
By James Carter, Staff Writer • June 20, 2024
Opinion | NHL needs to bring specialty jerseys back
By Jameson Keebler, Senior Staff Columnist • June 19, 2024

Opinion | The job I can’t escape

Opinion+%7C+The+job+I+can%E2%80%99t+escape
Annika Esseku | Layout Editor

After the spring semester ended, I could finally reward myself with well-deserved rest — sleeping in until 2 p.m., bed rotting and finally catching up with my hometown friends. Being home is always a fantastic time filled with relaxation and good times with old friends, but it also means that I can go back to working part-time. My job isn’t some cushy office job or a summer internship that could potentially help my future, but a regular food service job. 

I have worked at a small family-owned Italian restaurant since I was 16. I started working there just days after my birthday and have not gotten another job since. I’ll turn 19 this summer and have worked there for three years. It was my first and only job I’ve ever had, and I have no plans to leave anytime soon. 

Since I started college, I have gone back to the restaurant every break, picked up a couple of shifts and then left once the break was over. It’s an endless cycle that I cannot escape no matter how much I want to, and I can’t understand why this job has such a chokehold on my life. It’s almost like a blood bond that can’t be broken. 

This summer, I had the opportunity to work at a rehabilitation center. As a nursing student and a future nurse, you would think that I would have immediately taken the job offer handed to me on a silver platter. Instead, I declined, saying I wasn’t ready to work in the field and that we could explore the job next year. Looking back at it, this wasn’t the wisest decision to make, but I chose to pass up this opportunity to work at my old restaurant job. 

While saying I’m not ready for a more medical job isn’t exactly a lie, I know there’s so much more to why I declined the job offer. Having to quit my job would mean that my life is starting to get more serious — that I am actually an adult with real responsibilities. It would mean that I would have to face the reality that I am no longer a child, even though I still feel like a 16-year-old girl at times. In fact, the thought of quitting feels almost like a betrayal to my coworkers, even though I know I owe them nothing. 

I know I won’t be able to hold this job forever and will eventually need to get a new one, but I am in no rush to do so. In the past three years, I have gotten to know and love all the people I work with. So many things in my life have changed in those three years, but the one thing that remains constant is my job. I work the same hours with the same people and do the same tasks every shift. Nothing about it has changed, and I want to keep this consistency in my life as long as possible. 

I’ve also come to love all my coworkers, even if they do get on my nerves sometimes. To me, they are not only the people I work with but the people who took me under their wing. They are the people who comforted me the first time a customer made me cry, who give me Christmas gifts each year and who always give my family our food for free when we order takeout. Though we sometimes disagree and fight, I wouldn’t want to work with anyone else. 

Even if my job seems to have plenty of pros, there are just as many cons. I work a minimum wage job where the average age of customers is 65. Working in food service has taught me that many people do not respect the restaurant industry. Dealing with rude people who don’t tip and do nothing but complain about their food is not worth the $14 an hour. I should be getting twice as much money with the things I put up with. 

These are things that make going to work harder and harder each day. Before every shift, I struggle to get out of bed sometimes. Knowing that my feet will throb and my hands will get covered in pasta sauce at the end of my shift does not motivate me to get up and work. And even if I do love my coworkers, it’s easy to feel unappreciated. Technically speaking, my job is beneath them — I’m only a busser, and everyone else is a server — but this technicality does not give them the right to treat me with disrespect. 

Even if I hate my job, I’ll still attend every shift and work hard. I’ll still smile at every customer that walks through the door and give them the service they deserve. I’ll relish in the comfort that is my hometown job and try to look past all the things I dislike about it. Despite all the awful qualities, this little Italian restaurant is a large part of me. The day I leave will be bittersweet, for I know there will be better things ahead of me. But is there anything truly better than your hometown job? 

Eventually, I will quit this job. Maybe not tomorrow or next week, but it will happen. One day, I will go back to the restaurant not as a worker, but as a customer. Until then, I’ll probably work this job until I graduate, which gives me at least three more wonderful years to appreciate what I love about my hometown — the comfort of it all and how everything can change but still stay the same.

Danae Poteat writes primarily about pop culture and current events. Write to her at [email protected].

About the Contributor
Danae Poteat, Staff Columnist
I’m Danae and I am currently majoring in nursing and in the process of getting a global health certificate. I am a pop culture addict and niche meme lover. Write to me at [email protected]