Mario Villalobos

Demand Better for Yourself

A few weeks ago, I quit my job. I had this job for a little over two years, and like most jobs, it had its ups and downs. It’s also where I met her, and we also had our ups and down. For most of the time I’ve lived in Montana, all I’ve known have been that job and her. Now they’re both gone. A part of me wants to cheer and scream that this is a great opportunity to just start over. I have this clean slate to work with and the possibilities to design and live a new life are endless. But the other part of me wants to cry and scream that I have to start over. Again.

Two weeks after moving to Montana, I found the job. Before that I lived in San Diego with my mom. Except for a few brief months as an enumerator for the Census in 2010, I was unemployed for four years. From August 2008 — a few months after graduating from USC — to April 2012, I had no job. Thankfully the few months as an enumerator provided a source of income I desperately needed, and after the job ended, it helped me get accepted for unemployment benefits, which helped pay my monthly student loan payments. I was able to keep busy during those four years, creating habits and routines that resulted in reading hundreds of books, finishing my first novel, and losing over 70 pounds of fat. But it also made me hate job searching. I hate applying for jobs so much, and now I have to do it again.

Last week I interviewed for a job that paid a few dollars more than my last job, but instead of working 40 hours a week, I would work only 24. I thought I nailed the application, and when I received the call to setup the interview, I was ecstatic. Maybe this time around my job search would end quickly. I interviewed with my potential future bosses, and afterwards, I felt like the interview went well. I don’t like selling myself for some reason, but I felt like I sold myself enough for them to hire me. I waited a whole week before finding out today that they were “unable to offer [me] employment at this time.” Back to the drawing board.

I quit my job because I hated it. I couldn’t stand the thought of going back there, and during the few months I was out in nature, in forests fighting fires, and on mountains camping out, all I could feel was happiness and joy. That is what someone should feel at their job. Not hate and agony. So I quit, hoping it’ll force me to demand better for myself. I want to become a personal trainer and be my own boss. I want to earn my EMT license so I can become a fire line EMT next year and earn even more money. And I want to rewrite my damn novel (or write a new one) and convince someone to pay me money for it.

But I have to start believing that I deserve more than I think I do. And that’s the real struggle.