How many times I’ve seen those signs on business doors in recent months that say, “We are closed today due to staffing shortages…” is countless by this point. Personally, I’ve noticed it the most with the place I frequent the most in life, that being Starbucks. Many of them have been closed early for the day, been drive-thru only, or didn’t open for the day at all. People seem to be talking a lot about this lately, most of which wonder why these staffing shortages exist in the first place and where all the workers have gone. While I don’t exactly have an answer for that, I can at least speak for myself since I am presently not holding a paying job.
There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t wish I could be out there holding a paying job. Unfortunately, my health has gotten to the point now where I am struggling just to take care of my own basic needs on many-a-days. When people have seen me outside doing yard work and have questioned why I can’t hold a job, what they don’t see is me curled up after that outdoor work, lying on my bed, massager in hand, heating pad below me, crying in frustration. Sometimes I’m good for an hour or two with what physical labor I do and sometimes I don’t have any energy at all to do any of it. The same goes for any mental labor as well, including even writing for this blog. I’ve frequently tried to push myself beyond my limits, but the rebound effect on my mind and body is one that tends to set me back for many days afterwards, which is why I try to not push myself much anymore.
Many have asked me what I’d like to do if my health wasn’t so delimiting. If my life wasn’t so limited, the answer is simple. I’d like to start out back in the workforce by being a part-time barista at Starbucks. When my health wasn’t so limiting and painful, I was very much the people person. I used to like to talk to strangers a lot. I also liked to interact, smile, and do my part to help anyone who came into my life, if even for just a moment for them to feel better. In regards to working at a Starbucks, that can translate to simply remembering someone’s name and their drink order, as many baristas do with me when I’m at several of the local locations.
Personally, I think I’d make a good barista and even spoke to several managers at a few Starbucks locations, wondering if maybe I could somehow do the job even in my current state of health. But I learned the work their employees do is actually quite taxing at times, some of which would extend far beyond my present limits of what I can handle. Truth be told, I wish I could just get a job there sitting on a stool behind the order register, cheerfully greeting each customer, taking their drink order with a smile. That I know I could do well right now. But standing on my feet for at least four hours at a time is definitely not something I could do presently.
So, I keep praying that God will improve my health enough for me to do a part-time job as a barista one day. Sadly, all those prayers of restoration continue to remain thwarted though. What remains is simply a hope that one day I will return to the workforce, where this time around it will be more about me being there for others, rather than myself, where the pay isn’t what matters, and what does matter is being of service to others, something I thankfully am still doing with my 12 Step recovery work.
Regardless, I’d really like to make all these nationwide staffing shortages be at least one individual less one day soon by hopefully re-emerging into the workforce again. I pray God will strengthen my frail and ailing body enough to do so, but until then, I continue to dream every time I see those signs on all those business doors saying they are closed today due to staffing shortages.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson