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Why Am I Ashamed?

This has been bothering me for some time now–not as much now as a few months ago, but it still applies: I’m ashamed to tell people that I work at specific department store chain–I’ll call it Mall-Mart on here.

It’s stupid. I love my job and am good at it. Most of the people I help are super nice and tell me that I’m super polite and really helpful. I work in the electronics department and I actually know what I’m talking about (most of the time), or I make it sound good. For the most part, I like and get along with my coworkers. (Aside from one who gets under my skin in ways few people can.) I can put in my hours and go home and enjoy my time without any kind of homework or stress about if I did this right or if I need to do that tomorrow or if my boss will come in too hungover and not like the way I smile at him and decide to fire me or, worse, scream at me in front of everyone. I don’t have to worry about my boss saying some uncomfortable comment (about blondes and convertibles, for example). The worst I have to worry about is an asshole customer, which don’t even bother me that much anymore. I don’t have to make sure I’m in a creative mood or ready to organize an office. I can just go in and stock shelves and help people and zone departments–perfect for someone like me who is in a weird point in their life where basic functions are about all that can be expected of them.

But there’s this stigma about working at Mall-Mart, and I hate it. When I told one of my aunts that I applied, she was like, “Oh, great, another Mall-Mart employee to stand around and talk about their weekend while pointing in a vague direction to direct me to something I can’t find. Get out while you can. You’re too smart for that place. You’re wasting your brain.” A lot of people were also like, “I’m sorry,” or, “Oh, that sucks!” Why? How does having a job that I’m good at suck? How does getting a paycheck suck? How does supporting myself so I don’t have to live in my parents’ basement suck? How does going to the movies and buying nice things suck?

So if I’m so happy where I am, why do I feel ashamed to tell people where I work? If I think it’s stupid that people look down at Mall-Mart as an employer, why do I mutter the answer to the question, “Where do you work?” or avoid the question entirely? Why do I feel compelled to add, “Surprisingly enough, I actually love it,” after telling someone I work there?

I hate it.

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