- The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint
- The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved
Reading the definition of freedom shows me how freedom still feels like a foreigner or distant friend. I know a little about her, but I’m still getting to know her and how to walk with her every day. There are moments of fully embracing her, moments of being unsure and shying away, and moments of being completely unaware of her existence (I know – bad friend I am sometimes). It’s about recognizing where I am with her and learning how to keep her close no matter how unsure or terrified I may feel. Sometimes I don’t realize I’ve been cornered until I’m pushed against the wall – and that’s when I must break free. I’d rather figure out where I’m not operating in freedom before it gets to that point, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen.
In the hospitality industry it seems that if you don’t request the weekend off, someone else will, and you will never have weekends off if you never request them. I’ve never been one to request days off, and I tend to “feel bad” when I do. Coming from a background of having regular weekends off, it doesn’t feel right to request days off often! I’ve noticed in this industry that many people become jaded in life. Their faces falter upon receiving their work schedule realizing they can’t attend their nephew’s birthday party – yet again. They might voice their requests once, maybe twice, then they’re absolutely defeated. Management schedules workers based on business, and sometimes getting those days off is literally not possible. Schedules are made less than a week in an advance – of course it’s a challenge to plan what to do and who to see. Employees live their week revolving around their schedule. I’ve unfortunately seen relationships deteriorate and people’s priorities take the back burner.
I’m not saying working in the hospitality industry can’t be done well – it truly can! Some employees take advantage of the slower season by saving money and vacationing during those times. They schedule days off far in advance. What I am saying is that this industry is not for everyone. I believe it’s easier for marrieds and families to work in the hospitality industry simply because they have their support system at home and it’s easier to do life with them on a daily basis. People who “go with the flow” and don’t have regular weekly commitments may also be able to succeed in hospitality. For young adults or young professionals like myself, it’s definitely more challenging meeting people and setting up times to do life with people. My hope is that people live with integrity in what they stand for without allowing work to cause compromise. The work itself may not be difficult, but boy it sure is challenging to have a work life balance if you’re not careful.
I gave my all into this job once I moved down to San Diego. I allowed my schedule to run the course of my life. I was fresh in a new city with no real commitments and people to report to. My eating schedule, workout routine, and weekly church meetings were tossed out the window. Mind you – I eat pretty healthy and every 2-3 hours. It’s challenging to do while running around resort property 6-8 miles a day with fluctuating work shifts! I missed birthday and milestone celebrations which was a serious bummer. I found myself cornered against the wall feeling defeated and unable to live the life I imagined having this season.
Nine months into my job, things finally changed. I booked a photo shoot for a quinceañera and committed to coordinating my friend’s wedding. It urged me to turn in request form after request form because my side gigs demanded it. I usually work weekends, hence the myriad of day-off requests. Honestly, I shouldn’t have to explain why I want a day off; but having “important” reasons to request days off pushed me to not feel bad anymore. Every time I walked into the office with yet another request form, I cringed. My managers don’t have to honor every request, because it is simply – a request. Over time as I make my requests, I grow more in confidence and assertiveness. My will and my voice are coming back to me. Asking for days off is literally helping me exercise my VOICE and FREEDOM to act on what I want and need!
Though it has been incredibly busy, it has been simultaneously one of the most amazing months. These wonderfully busy weekends were filled with connecting with friends and family, celebrating my soon-to-be married friend and my home church’s FIFTH anniversary in addition to my side jobs! It has brought me so much life! It reminded me of how important people are to me, and I want to make sure I love them well the best I can. I want to be present for them; I want to cheer them on in their process; I want to celebrate them; I want to make memories with them! I would not have realized my potential gift in photography and how I want to excel in this art. It’s almost as if something has reawakened inside of me on how life could be exuberantly bright and abundant!
Every request I make is a stance and a fight for what I believe in. I’m proactive in using my voice and freedom. I’m fighting for a life well lived. I’m fighting for peace and restoration in relationships and community. I’m fighting for my space and time of Jesus, the lover of my soul. I’m fighting with my church body around the world to hasten the return of Jesus.
WOW. Can you believe all of this revelation came from a simple request form? Understanding and focusing on my priorities and beliefs now turned this simple request form into simply – a simple request form. No more feeling bad. No more overthinking. I’m living for the bigger picture. Thanks for witnessing just one of my baby steps towards exercising my freedom. It’s all about them baby steps. You can do it too.
Dearest friend, what is your simple request form?