Honor lies in honest toil

Honor lies in honest toil

I’ve worked at over 10 jobs in two years. Here is what I learned…

Before the first pandemic shutdowns, my journalistic career had just begun. I wrote articles for MagsBC, SAD Mag, and many other magazines to cultivate my journalistic skills and expand my experience. But the pandemic brought everything to a halt. In March 2019, my mother stayed at the hospital for health issues, and I was trapped at home all alone. She passed away from health complications in the next couple of weeks. Ever since then, I haven’t found my footing in my career.

Between 2021 and 2023, I returned to school to complete my certificate in journalism and upgrade my associate’s degree into a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. I also volunteered at literary publications to boost my career.  However, in the present, I still find myself working at low-wage, entry-level customer service jobs. Having held part-time retail and restaurant jobs my whole adolescence, my ambitious self wanted more. Likewise, most of my customer service jobs didn’t pay well, and the work environments were often wrought with hierarchies and daily power plays amongst coworkers. 

“Millennials and Gen Z employees have in common the importance of the supervisor’s role in nurturing employees, especially from person to person. In addition, a friendly community and support from co-workers also shape millennial and Gen Z job satisfaction,” states Waworuntu et al.

My worst customer service job was at a restaurant beside an inaccessible underpass. My manager yelled at me whenever I made mistakes like seating customers in the wrong section or cleaning tables without a tray. I recently left a part-time job at a retail store where another manager pulled me aside and yelled at me for looking like I didn’t want to be at work because I wasn’t smiling enough. I now have better intuition when sifting through the red flags of an abusive boss. But when I was younger, I wasn’t as experienced with workplace dynamics as I am now.


Honor lies in honest toil


So, what have I done to move away from these toxic environments?

Studies confirmed that Gen Zers prefer to work from home. As part of Gen Z, I agree with this statement, as remote work allows me to concentrate on work rather than workplace dynamics and continuous masking throughout the day. Remote work has brought up the trend of “lazy-girl” jobs, which are non-technical remote roles that pay decently, minimize coworker interaction and allow significant flexibility, coined by the Ticktoker Gabrielle Judge. Lazy-girl jobs became part of the latest trend of the larger movement called “quiet-quitting,” which refers to doing the minimum requirements of one’s job and putting in no more time, effort, or enthusiasm than necessary, invented by the career coach Bryan Creely.

The older I get, the more I realize I want to prioritize my life outside of work.  Whenever I worked at in-person jobs, I was in constant drama, whether it was between coworkers or managers. Commuting to work and office politics affected every aspect of my life.


This led me to leave several jobs.

“Generation Z is said to change jobs more frequently; thus, HR does not only have to worry about how to attract the new generation but how to focus their efforts on giving Gen Zers what they need to stay in the company,” states María Dolores Benítez-Márquez et al.

I felt immense guilt each time I left a job. As a person from a lower middle-class immigrant family, I grew up with no financial stability. My father was the only financial provider in my family. When he passed away from cancer, my parents had already filed for bankruptcy, and we’d lost our home due to foreclosure. My unstable childhood made me afraid of the worst possible outcome when quitting jobs — that someday I wouldn’t find another job and that I’d have to move in with relatives and start my life over again. However, changing jobs is a relatively common phenomenon for my generation. Perhaps the system is broken, and how the workforce functions needs to be fixed.

What fills my heart is the ability to enrich Canada’s arts and culture scene, whether by creating art or supporting artists. Unfortunately, most jobs in the arts are volunteer or highly lucrative, with about 400 other applicants in job postings. I am trying to survive in Canada while pursuing my passion for literature and cinema. Being paid to work in a field I love is my ultimate goal. However, I know this might not become a reality.

Gen Z is enticed by the work flexibility and a balance with their life outside the workplace.”



Honor lies in honest toil


Growing up, I thought my life purpose was to be successful, build a great career, and have a stable life. Much of this dream was based on growing up in survival mode. My work doesn’t need to be my life. I want my life to be focused on what makes me happy, like writing and spending time with my dog. Success doesn’t only come from a job. You can find success in nurturing your existing relationships, helping others, and even spending time on hobbies.

As I continue my career journey, I am optimistic about my future. I do not know where my life may lead, but I find beauty in this uncertainty. There are countless possibilities, and each misstep and mistake I make brings me closer to my destination.


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