When I was 15, I entered the workforce as soon as I could. I ran down to my school attendance office and picked up those working papers eager to begin my working career. I worked a little bit of everything in high school, from an ice cream scooper to a cashier at a grocery store, to pizza making to fast food, to a gas station clerk; you name it, I probably did it. Although I gained experience in a variance of fields, one thing to say about my collective job opportunities is that they were all pretty “mindless” work so to speak. That was okay though because my brain was at work every day in my course work.
Fast forward to graduation. I remember walking that stage terrified, excited nonetheless, but terrified. I was eighteen and had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life; but who truly does when they’re fresh out of high school? Even scarier than graduating and becoming an “adult,” though, was the idea of entering the outside world in tens of thousands of dollars worth of student debt right out of the gates. So, I continued on in the workforce.
I dabbled in a few more different fields — from print associate to insurance agent, to waitressing, to working in retail, I even learned how to make cheese. Again, all fairly “mindless” jobs and nothing really sparked a passion in me.
I never really felt the weight of the real world hit me, though, until I moved out of my mom’s house. The money that I was making went from extra money I could use in spare time on fun, to being money I needed for clothes and gas to get to work — so that I could pay the bills for an apartment that sat empty all day while I was rotating three jobs to pay for it all. Movies and dinner turned to gas and electric, and shopping sprees turned into a knock from the landlord on the first every month.
For over a year and a half now, it’s been one main job that pays the bills, one part-time one to afford a little luxury like wifi in life and waitressing as the cherry on the cake so I can save a little money.
Every day I found myself waking up to do the same thing all over again, my life was on repeat like a broken record. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, get up and work eight hours. Friday, work a double because you have to waitress on top of working eight hours. Saturday, oo-la-la Saturday, you only have to work four hours then go waitress. But then Sunday, dear, dear, Sunday, you only have to work four hours total; what a day off!
Every day, I woke up to do the same mindless work, no mental stimulation, no value on your opinion. By the time you got home, your eyes could barely stay open to brush your teeth sometimes let alone exercise your brain by reading a book or doing a crossword puzzle. I felt like a zombie, like a cog in a machine that just wouldn’t stop turning. To top it all off, though, nobody appreciated the back-breaking effort you put in at work. You were told you weren’t good enough because you were too young to understand anything of value in this world; being a hard-working young adult in a generation full of people that want to do as little as possible to make a paycheck is exhausting.
Coming to the Times Observer has sparked a fire in me that I haven’t seen in a long time. Writing has been a passion of mine since I was very young, and somewhere along the way, it got pushed to the wayside, along with everything else that being an adult entails.
Being able to start a career in a field that makes me tick is something I’ve been waiting for for a long while.
I have always said that everything happens for a reason, and this opportunity with the Times Observer came at just the right time before I got lost in the world of mindlessly ticking clocks.
Katie Miktuk has done everything from scooping ice cream, to working in retail, to being a cheesemaker. She enjoys spending free time in the gym and creating new concoctions to add to her list of signature baked goods. She loves seeing her family and can’t get enough of her 11-year-old ‘puppy,’ Chocolate. Katie is now a full-time reporter with the Times Observer.