It’s like if you worked at the mall. Like, for 3 1/2 years or so, with very little time off.
But you liked the job, so you didn’t mind. And you worked hard at the job, and you liked everybody you worked with.
And you used to hang out at the mall for fun, like before you got the job, but pretty soon you figured out that working at the mall put money in your bank account, and just hanging out there didn’t.
And you liked the job, like I said, but sometimes it could be a lot of work. Which wasn’t a problem since you liked the work.
And you worked so hard and were so reliable as a worker that you ended up doing way more than you were hired for. Like, way more.
And some of what you ended up doing required a decent amount of skill. Skills that people who had worked there longer than you (and got paid more than you) didn’t have.
And it wasn’t just skilled labor you ended up doing. When you got done doing the skilled labor most of your coworkers didn’t know how to do, you also had to do relatively unskilled tasks your coworkers didn’t want to do.
Such as standing outside the store, holding a sign, inviting people into the store, telling them about specials in the store. Or sweeping up, taking out the trash, stuff like that.
Then one day, the owner of the store announces that they’re gonna buy this really expensive coffee machine for the break room. It’s just like the one at Starbucks, except better. Any kind of fancy schmancy coffee you want, this thing can make it at the touch of a button.
Which is gonna be great, you think, as you’re standing out in the mall in front of the store, dog-tired from being there every day, for like the past two months.
Like every day, you’re working weekends now too. But that super-deluxe ultra-badass coffee machine is gonna make it all worthwhile, you think.
And I do mean badass. You look the thing up on the internet, and it’s wicked expensive. Like, this coffee machine costs more than you’re going to make for the next four or five months.
Not four or five days, not four or five weeks, not four or five paychecks. Four or five months of what you’re getting paid, that’s what this thing is gonna cost. Nearly half of what the store paid you last year, that’s what this coffee machine is going to cost.
But it’s going to be sweet, you imagine, being able to get all those fancy schmancy coffees any time you want, at the touch of a button.
You think about what kind of coffee you’re going to try first, as you close up the store for the night. You go home genuinely excited, and that night you dream of mocha lattes, frappuccinos, and all sorts of fancy shit like that.
You get up the next morning and go to the mall, like you’ve been doing most every day (weekends included) for the past 3 1/2 years. And you insert your key to open up the pull-down security door… but the key doesn’t work.
You stand there confused for a couple minutes, making sure you didn’t insert the wrong key.
Then you see the owner of the store through the bars of the security door. They’re sipping an orange mocha frappuccino, smiling, holding an envelope.
“Hey buddy!” the owner says to you. “Sorry to have to tell you like this, but you’re fired.”
You stand there, dumbfounded. “What for?” you ask them.
“Don’t worry,” the owner says. “It’s not because of poor job performance, and it’s not because of anything you did.”
“Okay,” you reply. “Then why have I been fired?”
“It was a strictly financial decision,” the owner tells you. “Everybody here likes you, and we appreciate all your hard work, but profits are down, and we just can’t afford to keep paying you anymore.”
“Okay,” you reply.
The owner sticks the envelope through the bars of the security door. “Here’s your last paycheck,” the owner says, and takes a big slurping sip of fancy-schmancy coffee.
“Thanks,” you say. You stand there like a dope for about 30 seconds, then go home.
That’s what it’s like, pretty much.
And it’s not like you don’t want your former coworkers to have fancy-schmancy coffee on their breaks. They work hard too, and they deserve fancy-schmancy coffee as much as anybody.
But you’re probably not going to hang out at the flipping mall again for a long-ass time, if at all.
That’s what it’s like.
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