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Articles / Majors & Careers / Working 80 Hours A Week To Give My Family a Better Life

June 8, 2021

Working 80 Hours A Week To Give My Family a Better Life

Denise was burning out when she realized she needed to find a better way to help support her family.

"I just want financial well-being, and a happy life, with the ones around me that I love...If one thing fails, go to plan B, if plan B doesn't work, go to plan C. Just keep trying, as long as you keep moving forward, you can't stay back."

Watch the video and real the full transcript below

“I really worked crazy hours I had a small office job that I would work from like 8:30 to 4:30, and then I would jump into my retail job from 5:30 to 9:00. And Saturday Sundays I would work full days at the retail store. So it was like non-stop just waking up, going to work and I would literally just come home to shower and sleep and that would be it, I didn't even have life."

So, my name is Denise Flores and I'm from Brooklyn, New York.

"And right now we are in my home in Brooklyn. I'm Mexican, so my parents are from Mexico. They wanted a better life for not only themselves, but eventually down the line for their children.

It means that I definitely have to work almost if not just as hard but harder than them, because I don't want their hard efforts to go to waste. That's why I really wanna persevere to be successful in life, to have a great career or even my own business one day. Like whatever it takes, I really wanna give back and I definitely wanna be able to see my parents happily retired whether it be here, like my nice big house with me or back home in Mexico, I would love to be visiting them back and forth.”

Can you share a challenge you’ve faced and how it shaped you?

“First time I noticed that money was hard to come by or money really made a difference in our lives was the rents went really high up. There's four of us living in a one bedroom apartment which is not the most comfortable but ,how do they say, like, we don't have much but we have each other.

But it's just after a while at the age that I am, I just, really, I look back and I'm just like, why is this still the same? Like, what have I done wrong? I was still working my [LAUGH], I was still working my butt off and, nothing. I was in a dead end just like them, they were working just as hard as me and it's like just to pay bills I didn't feel like I was successful. Now I wish I could just take them out of this environment.

It's four adults living in a one bedroom apartment. I kind of feel like we're in a shoe box, like we're in a chicken coop. And eventually after a while you start going crazy inside a chicken coop. I really wish I can remove ourselves from this situation and find a better standard of living for us.”

What keeps you motivated?

“I knew something had to change I either have to go back to school and get my degree so I can get a better job, quit both jobs and hopefully make the same amount of money that I was making but with both of them combined, or i don't know, just find some other thing I felt so stuck.

So then I found out about a workforce development program by looking at Metro newspaper, the free ones that they give out in the city. Workforce development program, it's a whole year commitment.

So that's why I was also unsure whether or not it was worth at the end because I was so used to working, working just so I can pay my bill. But I hope that at the end, it would be worth it. And now I'm here. [LAUGH]

Currently, my assignment ends in a couple of days, so I don't know. We're just hoping everything goes well. Since I don't have a guaranteed full-time job at the moment, right now what's on my mind is although I still have my part time job on weekends, I just don't wanna keep doing the same routine. I don't wanna be stuck in that cycle. I don't wanna go back to working 80 hours a week just so I can help out with the rent and pay the bills cuz it's very easy to get stuck. But I wanna come out of that bubble and hopefully get a really good jumpstart on my career.

I just want financial well-being, and a happy life, with the ones around me that I love. And you can't live your life being disappointed in yourself, you just have to keep moving forward. And, I feel, like, I've been doing that, so far by joining the program and kinda keeping my head high and being very optimistic and just, if one thing fails, go to plan B, if plan B doesn't work, go to plan C. And just keep trying, as long as you keep moving forward, you can't stay back. And just look at bad, not bad things, but the disappointing things that have happened in your life just have to keep moving and that's what I've been doing.”

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Created through a partnership between educational nonprofit Roadtrip Nation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Possible Dreams, Possible Paths allows students to connect to stories and experiences from their peers, through video interviews centered around topics like mental health, plans beyond high school, social issues, family and responsibilities.

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