Nowhere Careers

Since the pandemic (I should say while in we are in the pandemic, as it seems to never end) there has been a big shift in working attitudes.

I returned to office work in optometry after a two-year hiatus. We had a student optometric assistant working for us during the summer. She told me that only ten people are enrolled in that class at school.

At first, I was surprised. Working in health care used to be considered prestigious, and certainly a reliable career, you will never be unemployed.

However, these jobs are nowhere jobs.

I think the prestige is still there, but there is nowhere to go once you are in that job. There is no job advancement save, perhaps, a yearly salary increase (even that is increasingly rare) and maybe an opportunity to be office manager.

You start off at minimum wage. You work long, often thankless hours. You take a lot of abuse. Health care careers expose you to a lot of diseases, a lot of unpleasantries and witnessing suffering that you can’t always alleviate.

And you will probably never earn more than $20 to $30 an hour and work a lot of unpaid overtime.

This is not very attractive to a young person looking for a career.

The Park

A beautiful autumn day, and I’m out happily snapping pictures and getting sunshine and fresh air. It is great to get out on a weekday, when everyone else is at work. Working part time has some perks.

Well, for a short while.

On my walk, I spot some wholesome looking young men and women huddled in a group ahead.

I know who they are. The white shirts, ties, perfect haircuts and the peasant style dresses give them away.

They stupidly approach me.

They want to save me.

I told them to go away and leave me alone, and to save themselves from the cult they are in.

They told me to have a nice day.

I will now that you leave me alone.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in God. I believe in living right. And harassing people to accept Jesus is not living right. It turns people off. It is far better to live by example and let people figure things out for themselves.

Stop It

The bag of clementines wouldn’t scan.

I tried several times.

So, I was just about to key in the bar code numbers when a store clerk shouts at me from down the aisle, “YOU HAVE TO SCAN IT!”

In a flash she was at my side, huffing mad. I told her it wouldn’t scan. She grabs the bag from me and angrily keys in the numbers, which I could have done myself, and was about to do, thank you very much. She then grabs the rest of the items in my basket, and despite my polite protest that I could do this myself, proceeds to scan my groceries. I reluctantly hand her my produce and I am obviously not fast enough, “Come on, come on.” She’s snapping her fingers at me.

Now, this is a Thursday afternoon. there are perhaps two of us at the self check out. There’s no big line or anything.

After she asks me if I want bags, no thank you, she starts the infamous Mastercard spew.

I said “I don’t want it.”

She growls at me. “But…”

“I said I don’t want it. NO.”

“But you don’t understand..” She persists.


“But you could save…”

“STOP IT!” I yell. “Every time I come into this store a clerk accosts me to buy a Mastercard I don’t want.”

I was having a nice day up to that point.

In all fairness, I know what this is all about.

I worked at a chain bookstore, many years ago, and we had to sell so many of their points cards a week. We had a quota to meet. We got nothing out of it, except raked over the coals every Friday because we didn’t reach our quotas. So, I figure it is the same with Walmart staff. They must sell so many per week.

It is deplorable on all fronts. I hate to be harassed to get cards of any type. And I was equally angry that the clerk insisted on assisting me with my purchases. If I want and need help, I will ask.

Pressuring people to get credit cards is highly unethical to say the least.


You have all probably heard of some version of ‘Do what you love and the money will follow.’

But what if the money doesn’t follow? What if absolutely NOTHING happens? Doors do not open. What if all efforts colossally fail?

On the positive side, you will have no regrets about having tried and that is better than not having done anything at all. You will have fulfilled your dream and been immeasurably happy doing it.

The downside is this. Hope will be lost, and there will be nothing left for you to do or dream about. And worse, people will point this out to you with a self-satisfied sneer, I told you so, or some other derisive version thereof.

That is why sometimes the fantasy about pursuing your dreams can be a whole lot better than the reality.

I will never judge someone for not pursuing their dreams ever again, because dreaming about it keeps you going a long time. Doing it and failing is like walking down a dead end street. You get to the end and find you have to turn back and do things you hate in order to survive.

Sometimes, I wish I had of left my dreams in the safe confines of my imagination.

Being bereft of hope, no matter how briefly, is probably the worst low of life.