St. Patty’s Day 2010

Mar 17, 2015 by

03.17.2015 - St. Patty's Day 2010

          As you know from last St. Patty’s Day, I’m definitely one to celebrate my car’s birthday. Today is The Beaut’s 5th! I’m not going to write another post about how much I love my car and why. Actually, I wasn’t going to write a post about this at all, but The Beaut’s big 5 got me thinking this morning at the gym: my life is so different now than it was the day I bought my car. For one, I was at the gym.

          Because it wasn’t until 2013 that I started to get my shit together, most of the cool stuff has happened in the past two years, not five. Even so, it’s strange to look back and realize that: 1. It’s been five years since 2010, and 2. I was once excited about the job I would eventually walk out on.

          As are most St. Patty’s Days for university students, St. Patty’s Day 2010 was one adorned with green beads and green beer. Toronto, I love you, and Guelph, you very well know where we stand; but I must admit that no place does St. Patty’s Day like a university town (and probably Ireland).

          The week before St. Pat’s, I had just found out that I had been hired as an experiential marketing coordinator at Corporate Hell on Earth. (To help distinguish between my workplaces, I’m now officially naming it that, hence the capital c, h, and e.) The offer came after what still stands as the most intense interview process I’ve ever been through in my life. It was two months long and there were a series of stages followed by emails that the candidate pool was getting smaller and smaller as the hiring managers made their cuts. The stress of the wait could have been avoided had I known then what I found out later: I was the only candidate in the history of Corporate Hell on Earth’s annual summer coordinator interviews to get a perfect score, making me a “must-hire,” a theoretical perfect fit for the role. I find this hilariously ironic now.

          I had wanted the position since I began with the company in 2008, and I had no doubt that I’d one day have it. Foolishly, that want persisted despite hating the company from the very beginning. I guess I thought going from a field role as a brand ambassador to an office role as a coordinator would be different. Perhaps it would cue some demonstration of appreciation on the part of my employer. After all, they were offering me big-girl pay: a salary, a $37,000 salary.

          I remember my jaw dropping and sternly telling myself not to get too excited over the phone, in case Corporate Hell on Earth realized $37,000 was a mistake of over-compensation. I had never had a salary before. Until that point, I had always been paid hourly, and I was too new to the corporate world to know the implications of salaried pay. I learned real quick. That $37,000 salary went from a fortune to peanuts – once I realized how it measured up against cost of living – to dust – once I realized that a salary is just an excuse to underpay managers for their overtime work. Basically, Corporate Hell on Earth used leprechaun gold to lure a poor student into overworking without overtime pay on the very legal grounds that managers – because as a coordinator, I managed teams as large as 35 people – aren’t entitled to overtime pay. (Dear Government of Ontario, your labour laws suck.)

          However, on St. Patty’s Day 2010, I didn’t know any of this. I was living in the ignorant bliss of being a third year university student that had just been offered a management position with a salary. Even better, I had a car! A car was mandatory for the role, so I lied that I owned one while interviewing, and hurried to buy one once hired. I had mere weeks to secure a vehicle before I was set to start training. Knowing nothing about cars, I enlisted the help of my dad. I searched for used cars online that I liked for their aesthetics, and my dad went around the GTA to test drive them for their practicality (my dad is amazing #commonknowledge) until he got to my baby: a silver 2000 Toyota Echo with only 62,000 km on it. I got the call on March 17, 2010 that he finally test drove a car he thought was worth buying. I drank green beer in celebration of my first ride.

          That night, I had no idea that the job I had excitedly said yes to would be a major factor in my plummet deeper into depression. In 2010, I was certain that I was already at rock bottom. You know that thing people say about rock bottom, “There’s nowhere to go but up”? It’s bullshit. I had been locking myself up in the bathroom and dropping to its floor since the school year before, and I assure you that an all-consuming job is no way up. There is most certainly always room to fall. Having said that, the option to go up is always there too. Little over two years ago, I finally took it.

          My life is so different now than it was the day I bought my car, I smiled to myself again as I stepped onto the elliptical this morning.

          To my Beaut, happy 5th birthday, bud! This year, you survived being towed, being ploughed in, and being rear-ended for a third time! Thanks for not dying! I don’t know what I’d do without you. P.S. Can you believe we’ve now spent 20 percent of my life together? (What?! I know!)

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