Not a People Person, Not a Hermit

I spent 10 years working as a medical transcriptionist. I was fortunate to be able to work from home. I was flexible in my work hours, I had a clear task in front of me every day, and I was able to contribute to our household income without having to pay ridiculously high childcare costs and tend to our home and kids’ extracurricular activities.

The downside was that it was very socially isolating. I was alone most days with no one to talk to, no reason to get dressed and leave the house. SAHMs didn’t understand that I couldn’t just go hang out whenever because I still had work to do and had a work schedule to adhere to. My husband didn’t understand why I wasn’t able to keep the house cleaner or run his errands, etc.

To be honest, I didn’t like the work…it wasn’t mentally stimulating and it was quite tedious. But, the perks for my family outweighed my own personal suffering.

Interspersed through these years of medical transcription were spells of working at other crappy jobs…hostess at Applebee’s, barback/door checker, etc. I dreamed of having a life that was flexible, but also stimulating to my mind and soul. I was always a good communicator and loved using words to express myself. I also always have a lot to say about just about anything.

My dream morphed into becoming a freelance writer or blogger. I was discouraged, however, because of the sheer number of bloggers out there and I rejected the easiest niche for me to fall into, which was military wife life and gave up and didn’t really put forth my full effort because I was always working while also trying to get in tune with my writing voice.

Jump to 2012…we moved from Oceanside to Twentynine Palms. I left a very high stress position at a start up tech company and for the first time in a long time I was unwilllingly unemployed. I wanted to work, I mean, I had a kid off at college, one in high school, and one in junior high…the time for me to work outside the home had arrived.

Unfortunately, this is a very, very small town with very few job opportunities. I refused to work fast food. I turned to retail and was hired as a cashier at the PX making minimum wage. The hours were terrible, the work was dull yet tiresome, and I resented that this was where I was working as a middle-aged mother of three.

I then was employed at a thrift store for a military-focused nonprofit organization. The hours were less (which was good), the pay was similar (which was bad), and the work was very hard. Sorting through donations that included roaches and spiders and bags full of people’s used underwear and socks. But, I actually don’t mind the work – it’s interesting though physically demanding, and we worked outside in the 100-plus degree heat or bitterly cold 40-degree temperatures with biting winds blowing around.

What I liked least about being a hostess and cashier and thrift store employee was dealing with people – with “the public.” I have come from being socially isolated to dealing with strangers who act entitled and are rude to employees who work in service industries.

I hate people. If I could just sort donations or do something in which I was with other people, but didn’t have to deal with strangers who are jerks, that would be my fantasy.

I really do hate people. You, the public, say and do stupid things. You leave common sense behind when you go shopping or out to eat. You think because we are there to serve you, you’re absolved of behaving like a decent and kind human being who is capable of doing anything for themselves. You, the public, think service and server are synonymous with servant.

So, I don’t want to be alone, but I also don’t want to deal with the public.

When I worked from home, I became very much home bound, somewhat of a hermit – I went shopping and hung out with friends, but was scared to involve myself in activities that involved strangers. So, working with the public has definitely helped me come out of that shell and learn how to talk with and engage strangers.

I’m thinking that bookkeeping or accounting from home would be ideal, or perhaps writing is still a possibility, something that is flexible but that still has a purpose and a finite deadline and task.  Then, I’d mix it with volunteer work that isn’t so mentally demanding – that, plus working out, would balance the brain strain from a mentally stimulating job.

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