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How Working Two Jobs Ruined My Health

Prioritize your health from a young age.

It was my final year in college, the year I decided it was time to become responsible and get a part-time job. I mean how long could I really go on asking my parents for money to fund my various activities. I applied to the cinema near my house, they offered me a part-time position and I was due to start that Christmas.

Side note: As all jobs, you are asked to bring in either your passport or a birth certificate, but my passport was expired. An eastern European woman in HR called me, I explained that I would need two days to renew it. She went on to say that this would not be acceptable. Therefore, I would not get the position. I stood there on the phone in front of my mother and told her what she had said. My mother quickly took the phone from me and said that this was ridiculous and that the passport would be with her in two days. I think she felt my mother’s anger on the phone, because she quickly changed her tone and instead went on to tell me the induction dates and times. There is no way I would have stood up to her like that, I would have just accepted the fact that I was still unemployed. I was a very shy individual back then and I think at times employers take advantage of the youth who have no employment experience.

Fast forward about a year, I got accepted into university and the extra income from this job was helping me pay for the insanely expensive cost of transport. By now I was used to arranging my time correctly, it was tiring that is for sure as my university was about an hour away from my home. It was towards the end of my first year that a friend I worked with in the cinema told me all about an internship opportunity. She simply asked me if I was interested in working with an advertising company she was currently working with, who recently started up a corporate social responsibility initiative. As a first-year student, of course, I said yes, when do opportunities like this come knocking especially for a black Muslim woman like myself. She called me that following Saturday and told me I would be starting Monday. At this point I was not required to be at university I just needed to have my work submitted on time, it worked out perfectly.

You know the best thing about this was that I did not do an interview because my friend had already vouched for me. The other positive thing was that it was also about a 15-minute walk from home. I had made an arrangement with one of the founders that I would need to go back to university in October but for now, could work full time. Since the team only consisted of six people you can imagine the workload, I would start my days at 8 AM and get home at 7 PM. I hardly ever spoke to my family I was slowly becoming aggressive and lacked patience, eventually, no one would want to talk to me. When I was due back to university I would still need income, therefore, I did not quit my cinema job, so weekdays I was at my paid internship and the weekends I was at the cinema. I know by now you're wondering, but Naima what about your social life the answer is I did not have one. I thought it was only for five months and then I’ll have all the time in the world to socialize. I flourished at the tasks I was assigned and they asked me to return the following two years and once I was graduated I would have a full-time job waiting. How could I say no to such an offer especially since the job involved international travel?

Some time during that five-month period, there was a premiere of a big film at the cinema, so we were expecting a full house and it is a large cinema the main screen held 1600 people. I was on a late shift starting at 5 PM and finishing around 1 AM, I remember I felt fine most of the day. I was working at the entrance just checking tickets and helping clean once a show was finished. Finally, it was the last show all I had to do was wait another two hours and I would be able to go home and sleep. I got really sleepy and sat on a small table where we usually put flyers on. I wore 3D glasses and closed my eyes. I was never completely knocked out and could still hear if someone was walking past me. One of my co-workers decided to come to have a chat. When I took off the 3D glasses I felt really funny. I tried to get up off the small table but my body was failing me, I could not feel my right arm. I burst into tears and shocked my co-worker who went on to call a team leader. They gave me water and called my parents to come collect me. I had never in my life felt this overwhelmed, this weak, it was the worst feeling ever.

The next morning my dad took me to the hospital, after a few checks I was told that I was dehydrated and overworked. I took some time off from the cinema and returned after I finished my internship. Ever since then I have never overworked my body and mind. Often we get ahead of ourselves particularly with office jobs, you feel like you need to complete all your tasks in one day. The following year I went back to my internship with a completely different outlook on life. I purchased a diary and organised my tasks according to deadlines. I would not stay at work until crazy hours and I stopped taking work home. I quit the cinema job and decided to focus on the internship only. Everyone in my life noticed the change in my attitude, I was much more happy and social.

We only have one body and one mind, we need to take care of ourselves because trust me no one else will. Invest in your own happiness because this life is temporary and you can’t live it to please others. I learned this at a young age and I am glad it happened while I was still at that tender age because now I know how to lead my life. 

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