Unbeknownst to my best friend Harriet, when she told me she was happy to be unemployed she was supporting my own longing to also finish working at the end of the month. I have been working and studying since turning 16, part-time during term-time and full-time over the summer holidays. And although five years of non-stop work isn’t something to moan about, I’m tired. I’m exhausted actually.

At the moment I work in both retail and hospitality, albeit significantly different, they both require a lot of work; a fake smile, there’s no finished product at the end of a shift, what you have cleaned today you will have to clean again tomorrow, there is no end to the list of tasks that need completing, and the hours are extremely long. I recently worked two-weeks without a day to rest, alternating between the two jobs I have, ten hour shifts, and it was awful. It was awful because I wasn't working 9-5, I was working 12-10, 8-6; hours that mean you're unable to do the things you need to do.

I envy the people I work with, the people who seem content with serving other people every day, the people who don’t seem exhausted by the prospect of never really finishing anything tangible or that will stay finished. Because I’m not content, or happy. I am no longer working alongside my studies; I am working full-time in two jobs that I don’t really want to be doing. And these are the reason I am exhausted.

Have you ever felt so tired you could cry? I have; and I cried. I actually cried. I felt like an elastic band that was being pulled so far in opposite directions, so far that it eventually snapped. And I found myself sitting on the edge of my bed with my head in my hands wanting so desperately to stop crying so that I could go to sleep. But I couldn’t, it was as though my body had given up doing what it was told; it too was tired of working.

This is what I mean when I say I am exhausted. And it isn’t just myself that feels this way. There is a generation of people who are sick and tired, and that’s the truth. We’re tired of being looked down at when we say ‘we’re tired’. We are tired of people belittling what we have studied because ‘the education system has gone downhill’. And most of all, we are tired of feeling exhausted.

When I tell people I am tired of working they look at me with a smile, a smile that says ‘you’re exaggerating’, or ‘you don’t know what hard work is’. But I do. And, I need a break. 

This article is also on my personal blog: https://harrietoliviablog.wordpress.com/ 

Published by Harriet Olivia