Happy Hustler

dog walker

My first job was a dog walker for a blind man at the end of our street who had a 2-year-old black lab named Fanny. I say this was my first job because I probably can’t count picking up dead fruit under the many fruit trees in our yard for a penny each! I was paid on Friday’s for four walks a week and I would earn $20.00 a week. This provided my first weekly income and I truly depended on it each week. For a broke 7th grader who needed lunch money as well as cash for the afternoon snack binge before soccer practice that all of my peers enjoyed, this job became a necessary weekly activity. I recently read an article in the New York Times discussing the debate over giving free lunch to kids at school. I immediately recalled why I feel this is a good program, and it made me think back to my school lunch situation as a child. The school board did grant Julie and I vouchers to get free lunch at school but in order to do that you, had to be the kid in the lunch line that was obviously paying with her free lunch voucher as your other student peers needed change for a $50.00. Due to being ashamed of who I was, I picked hunger and food sacrifice instead of obviously revealing the fact that my family was poor. With all other political ranting’s aside, this reason alone is why I would vote for all students to be provided free lunch at school. Do I think it’s silly I thought it made me less of a person to my peers because I had to give a lunch voucher? Absolutely! But kids are cruel and kids are kids, so if this would solve the issue of any child going without lunch, than it would get my vote. My dog-walking job provided me the independence of my own money and with my own lunch cash I didn’t need an embarrassing lunch voucher.

This job seems easy for a twelve-year-old, but I remember it being quite the opposite, and like any job, it could be quite a nuisance. It was my self proclaimed “entry level position” for mastering time management, as well as the first of many times I was broken up with due to my addiction to work. This job was also the start of pairing passions with money earnings. Running was always a hobby of mine from a very early age so at least with a job like dog walking I could work on my track result times at the same time I was making a dollar. Maybe my athletic sprinting ability is genetic or maybe its from the afternoons of sprinting up the street like Forrest Gump in order to quick pick up the keys under the mat, dash inside to grab Fanny and then quickly dart her down the river for her walk. Walks had to happen but so did all of my other responsibilities such as track, soccer, homework, youth group, etc. It was exhausting, and I remember sometimes having to walk her late at night due to being stuck in the school parking lot after practice waiting on Granny to remember to come pick me up while missing hours of kid me time.

So on this Monday, if you are headed to a job that you don’t necessarily love just realize that can be common. You do not get to where you want over night and need to do the not so fun jobs in order to gain insight of what it is you do and don’t want. If it is dog walking, sandwich making, or watching paint dry, it can be temporary if you keep working hard.

Relationships and Money Making

Not counting the elementary boys I chased down on the playground and kissed, I have had numerous relationships not work out due to my work responsibilities, and being a #girlboss (thank you for that fabulous hashtag Sophia Amoruso) above anything else. My first heartbreak happened after a “three-way” phone call with another “three-way” dialer making it a 6 way (got that?) with all of my meangirl best friends silent as my boyfriend dumped me. When I cried and asked why, he responded, “Because you can never go to the movies with me and because you always have to walk the dog.” I was crushed, and as I picked up more jobs over the next couple of years during high school, it was often a secret to many of my peers where I was and where I was working. I was a closet workaholic that faced other insecure dudes dumping me over work in the future. I was broken up with after college when I was first promoted to store management in Coral Gables, Florida. This was one of the most exciting times of my life and marks the first big move in my career, and the guy I was celebrating this with was an insecure loser. Yuck, I can’t say I am proud of my choices and how long it took for me to figure this out, but people, DO NOT date someone that does not support your hustling habits! Balance in relationships is important, but so is your career so learn to fit it all in. I have learned to be able to workout, work, work some more, hang out with friends, fit in a relationship, send a text, write, post on instagram, tweet, sell shit on ebay, hang out with family, and now I am never ashamed to make a dollar between it all.
If only I would have just ordered the damn free lunch and the hell with it! Who knows though, they do say there is no such thing as a free lunch.


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