I Am A College Graduate And A Fast-Food Worker | The Huffington Post

I Am A College Graduate And A Fast-Food Worker | The Huffington Post EDITION US عربي (Arabi) Australia Brasil Canada Deutschland España France Ελλάδα (Greece) India Italia 日本 (Japan) 한국 (Korea) Maghreb México Québec (En Francais) South Africa United Kingdom United States NEWS WorldPost Highline Science Education Weird News Business TestKitchen Tech College Media POLITICS Pollster Election Results Eat the Press HuffPost Hill Candidate Confessional So That Happened ENTERTAINMENT Sports Comedy Celebrity Books Entertainment TV Arts + Culture WELLNESS Healthy Living Travel Style Taste Home Weddings Divorce Sleep WHAT'S WORKING Impact Green Good News Global Health VOICES Black Voices Latino Voices Women Fifty Religion Queer Voices Parents Teen College VIDEO ALL SECTIONS Arts + Culture Black Voices Books Business Candidate Confessional Celebrity College Comedy Crime Divorce Dolce Vita Eat the Press Education Election Results Entertainment Fifty Good News Green Healthy Living Highline Home Horoscopes HuffPost Data HuffPost Hill Impact Latino Voices Media Outspeak Parents Politics Pollster Queer Voices Religion Science Small Business So That Happened Sports Style Taste Tech Teen TestKitchen Travel TV Weddings Weird News Women WorldPost FEATURED Hawaii OWN Quiet Revolution Don't Stress the Mess Endeavor Fearless Dreamers Generation Now Inspiration Generation Paving the Way The Power Of Humanity Sleep + Wellness What's Working: Purpose + Profit What's Working: Small Businesses CONTRIBUTOR I Am A College Graduate And A Fast-Food Worker A college degree does not solidify job security. 12/01/2016 10:16 pm ET | Updated Dec 02, 2016 14k Kirstin Cheers I want to change the world through telling stories Snapchat Took this a week after I started (I am not writing this for sympathy, but simply to advocate for what I have experienced over the past few months) Tuesday’s national #FightFor15 protests have sparked-yet again- the good ole ‘who deserves more money’ debate on my timeline. I’ve always supported the increase in minimum wage for everyone including fast-food workers and my stance has not changed. However, it’s been improved. I graduated with my bachelors in journalism with a minor in political science. I was one of the lucky college students who knew what major I wanted to undertake. I fell in love with policy along the way. I completed internships on Capitol Hill in Nashville and Washington, D.C., I’ve written some of the best material for the local newspaper, The Tri-State Defender, and I do wonders with a camera. Last year, I ran for office in Memphis as one of the youngest candidates in the race. I did not win, but I’m confident that I made an impact on my community and made my contenders bring their A-game. Alas, I am a 25-year-old college graduate and I am a fast-food worker. Social media is the space for opinions, thoughts, and discussions. Sometimes debates which can be fruitful. To read the opinions (again) from some of my peers who disagree with raising the minimum wage hit me in a new way today. I haven’t been as vocal about my life this year simply because I’ve been ashamed of where I am currently, professionally. Some familiar faces have stopped by the store and recognized me. Some encounters have been harmless and some have been emotionally brutal. (For the sake of this, let’s call this person Jim.) Jim stared at me the whole time he ordered food. I knew Jim. I had worked with Jim on some projects around the city. I knew Jim’s spouse and kids. Jim even voted for me when I ran for office. As Jim sat down and I moved closer with my broom to sweep the area, Jim called my name, “Kirstin.” “Hey, Jim. How are you?” “I’m sorry to have been staring. I don’t recognize people out of context.” That dagger of embarrassment tore open my chest and anxiety sat on my lungs. I smiled, wished Jim a delicious meal and went back to sweeping. Let’s cut to the chase: My previous job lost funding and since my department was newer and ‘non essential’, I was laid off in March. I didn’t sweat it because like a true millennial I was confident in my skills, experience and ability to interview well. The final week of my job, I was in a car accident that totaled my paid-for Toyota Corolla at no fault of my own. I’m pretty involved in the city and love my independence so being without a car had me feeling like Earn in jail in the second episode of Atlanta. After a few interviews and no job offers, I crucified my pride and filed for unemployment in May. My plans of moving out my mom’s house, the student loan forgiveness plan I praised God for, the hopes of graduate school-those goals and dreams became more blurry by the day. Medical bills began to pile up and I knew this was my last year on my mom’s health insurance (and Obamacare is expensive, folks). In July, I finally broke down. I just needed something. Anything. I texted a good friend who works as the HR head at a Chick-fil-A nearby. I asked if they were hiring, and she responded the