When Work’s Got You Down

I’m worried that I might need to change jobs.

Despite the fact that I love working here, I also am starting to despise it.  I guess you could call it a love hate relationship.  For those of you just coming in now, I work at a restaurant as a waitress.  I take a lot of pride in my work and always to my job to the best of my abilities.  If that means doing extra work and helping out here and the…so be it.

Lately it’s been a sort of free for all.  Some employees come in (late most of the time), do the bare minimum so as not to get yelled at, give less than average service, and do their best to duck out early (pretty much taking their cash and running). What do the rest of us hard workers get?  Well, I’ll tell you what I got.

Last Sunday morning, I got into work at eleven a.m. And started setting up for lunch. The second waiter came in at noon and there were a few tables sat in the restaurant. The “manager” who was working (and I put the word manager in quotations because he’s never worked in a restaurant before this and can’t even speak French) asked me to pass the credit card of a customer who wanted to buy a gift card.

Now, let me make something undeniably clear.  It is a manager’s responsibility to do that because you need a manager card to complete the purchase.  Seeing as how I used to work as an assistant manager, he figured I would know how to do it, which luckily for him – I did.

I helped him and showed him how to do it.  Even though I had already shown him how to do it twice before, I was very patient with him and then I offered to show him again – this time writing down all the instructions for future use.

He said NO.

I told him that he needs to learn how to do it, since he is the manager, but he said he was okay to do it on his own.  

Then, later on that evening, I had a few tables in my section.  One was ready to pay, another was ready to order, and on table had just sat down.  Sure, I had quite a few things to take care of, but completely manageable. All of a sudden, the hostess comes up to me and says “You have to activate this gift card.”. I told her to ask the manager, since I was busy, so she did.  Next thing I know she comes running towards me saying “He said that you have to do it.”

I was furious.

I offer to teach you, you say no and then all of a sudden you say I’m responsible for doing your job?  No way, Jose!  So I firmly told the hostess “Tell the manager that my responsibility right now is to do my job and take care of my customers and that right now I don’t have time to do his job.”

As I’m ringing up my orders, the manager comes up to me and says that I have to do it.  I told him that it’s his responsibility and that I was busy.  He stormed off.

So, I continued with my job of serving the customers in my section.  Suddenly, I see the manager on the phone, desperately trying to figure out how to activate the gift card.  He called the big boss.

“I have time now, let me do it.”

“Just show me how to do it.” 

“No!  I don’t have time right now to show you.  Just give me the card and let me do it.”

So he did and it finally got done.

Right after, he went to the hostesses and got mad at them, saying that they gave me too many tables and that I couldn’t handle my section.  Excuse me?  What?  The only reason I was all of a sudden rushing around was because he was trying to make me do his job.  So the hostess had stopped sitting me tables.

I was so angry.  Beyond angry, actually.  First, I offer to help you and you say no. Then, you try to force your job on me and when I saying don’t have time to help you get the hostess to stop giving me tables saying I can’t do me job?   

Here’s the kicker.  At the end of my shift he asks me to write down all the instructions.  I’m sorry, but go fuck yourself.

“Sorry, I don’t have time to show you after my shift. I need to go home”

Now, is that the way to treat a good employee?

I think not.

Marie

Feeling the Pain

Sundays are always the hardest on me.  I wake up feeling sore and tired every time.  The thing is, Saturdays I’m at work from 10:45 until 10 pm.  So, when I get home I have the hardest time falling asleep because I need a lot of time to unwind after working like a maniac.  I end up in bed at around 1 and falling asleep at around 2 before waking up Sunday morning to do it all over again.

True, the shift is a lot shorter, but knowing that I have to do it all over – yet again – on Monday just makes me a little insane.  So Sundays are rough and I’m really feeling the pain from all that work yesterday.  Hopefully it will be a nice easy day, but with the way things are these days you never know.  A lot could go wrong.

Maybe I’m being too pessimistic, maybe I should be trying to look on the bright side, but it’s difficult when you don’t see things getting any better.  When the staff takes advantage of the lack of management, I feel like it’s ever man for himself.  So, I’ve got to be even more than 100% on my game.  Because other people aren’t going to give a crap about my tables (even though it’s supposed to be a teamwork environment).

The only thing I’m looking forward to is coming back home to a nice meal, clean house, and hanging out with my boyfriend.  That really makes my day.  Next, Monday.  Not worried about that because I work with a person who actually works and we work well together.  And plus, just knowing that I don’t work Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday makes Monday that much better!  I know it’s my last day before the fun begins.

Marie

Before and After

I don’t know how many years ago, but when my twin sister and I were young, we were either getting ready for Halloween or playing dress up and my father painted our faces and decided to take a picture.  We were to be clowns!

Clowns

 

Yes, we are twins!  Hard to believe, right?  I think it’s just hilarious how my twin (on the left) has blonde hair, blue eyes (can’t tell in this picture though), pale skin and I have dark brown hair, brown eyes, and darker skin.  We looked like complete opposites and so much so a friend of her’s (now a mutual friend) in high school thought that we were best friends, because whenever she’d “visit my sister” I’d always be there.  I don’t know how long it was that she didn’t know, but it was a while.  Too long.

Anyway, back to the picture.  My father painted my twin’s face with an unhappy face and me with a happy face.  I think my dad, to this day, sort of regrets which face went on who since I seemed to be more of the happy-go-lucky kind of girl later on in life and life wasn’t all that fair to my sister.  I just think it was just a coincidence of course, but he told me once that it should have been the other way around.

Years later, my father decided it was time to take another picture of us wearing clown makeup.   Now, I remember I was a teenager when he took this shot, so  I wasn’t completely thrilled about wearing clown makeup, but somewhere down the line I knew I’d like the “Before and After” sort of shot.  He made sure to give my sister the smile and me the frown.

Clowns older

Notice my sister is still taller than me, but her hair has changed from blonde to brown (I think she may have even dyed it black at this point).  She’s the happy clown, and I’m the sad one.  It may not be the most flattering picture (I don’t think we were “ready” to take a picture), but I love it anyways.  It shows that even though we may be different in so many ways, we still love each other.  Whether we’re happy or sad, we’re there to support one another.  And that makes these pictures worth a great deal to me.

Maybe, somewhere down the line, we’ll take another.  Maybe the faces will be reversed, maybe not.

Definitely something to consider.

Marie

 

How Do You Say No?

There are these moments in life that make you think am I doing the right thing?  Should I say “yes”? Should I say “no”?  It can be an overwhelming feeling.   Of course, it all happens in a matter of seconds before you state your decision, but it can rattle you nonetheless.

The biggest problem I have is saying no, especially when it comes to work.  If someone calls me and asks me to come in on my day off the answer is almost 100% of the time yes.  It’s annoying.  It brings me down.  It makes me feel weak.  I’m afraid that if I say no, people will think that I’m lazy or that I’m selfish for wanting my 3 days off.

Yes – I get 3 days off a week.  The reason is because in 4 days I do 33 to almost 40 hours (depending on how busy the restaurant is).  That’s almost full time.  If you add on another day, then I’m doing overtime.  The kind of life I want to live is not completely attached to my work.  I want to have fun.  I want to have time for my hobbies and interests.  I want to see friends and family when I can.  Why would I want to work more hours? For money, you may say…but money isn’t everything.  Not to me.  I’m not ready to give up my life for money.

What happens often in the restaurant business is people get sick, life happens, and waiters need a replacement.  The thing is…it seems to happen all the time.  Now, I know the difference between someone who honestly needs a replacement and someone who just went out drinking till the wee hours the morning and drank too much to work the next day.  When someone asks me because they are really stuck, it’s my pleasure to help.  But when I get called in by the manager because people are too irresponsible to come in for their shifts, I get mad.

But still, even with all the anger, I have a hard time saying no.  Even when it comes to doing things that are not on my job description.  I love to help out, I really do.  But when it gets to the point that the person who should be doing the job doesn’t, then it somehow falls on me, it just doesn’t seem fair.  And then I’ll just end up saying yes.  Like a big pushover.

Lately, my boyfriend has been telling me to “just say no” when I’m called into work on my days off.  It’s harder than it sounds and to anyone who is as much as a hard worker as I am will know that.  They’ll feel guilty.  They’ll feel bad and sit around wondering if it was the right decision.  They’ll wonder how they’re getting along without them.  It’s rough.  Instead of enjoying their time off they’ll be sitting around worried that their coworkers are bitching about them behind their back.  It’s a real nice feeling, huh?  Yeah – I’m sure you could sense the sarcasm there.

Sometimes I just hide my phone away and put it on silent, that way if someone tries to call I won’t hear it.  There’s no rule saying that I MUST answer my phone at all times or that I MUST have it right next to me in case I get a call from work.  Anyways, I rarely have my phone next to me.  It’s usually in my purse of jacket pocket.  That could be a possible route for me to take.  Just go off the radar on my days off.

How do you learn to say no without the guilt?  How do you realize that you deserve time to yourself, just like everyone else?  How do you not care?

I guess it’s something I’ll have to work on.

Marie

Inspiration for a New Post

While reading a Freshly Pressed post this morning called “Why little black books instead of phones and computers” by Jake Seliger, I noticed that I usually have a little notepad by my laptop at all times. If it’s not a notepad, then there are post-it notes, little pieces of paper, and ideas and thoughts written out on old bills.  I find that writing down my ideas at times where I can’t actually do something about them is a way of clearing my mind of all the little things I’m thinking about at all times.

I do have a Blackberry playbook to write a few ideas down on, but there is something much more personal about taking out a pen, opening the book (or taking out a piece of paper) and writing it down yourself.

So, today, I opened my notebook, going through all the ideas for posts I had and I was supposed to grab my morning cup of joe, sit at my probably-about-to-break-down laptop, and write a post.   I was ready, excited, and thoughts were running around my head like a clown on fire.  Only….my phone rang.

The Darth Vader theme song played loudly from my cellphone downstairs (it’s rare that I keep my phone on me every second of every day – I’m not one of those people who are chained to it day and night) and I knew it was work calling.  Yes – my cell phone’s ringtone for work is the Imperial March.  I had just missed the call so I called them back.  They needed me to work today.

I sighed.  All my hopes and dreams of finally sitting down and taking my time to write a post on my morning off fell through the roof.

I feel sad, knowing that I’m going into work instead of letting out my creativity, happy that I’m helping someone out, but oh – how I wish that my day could have gone as planned.  That’s life I guess.

But, inspiration did hit me after showering and getting myself to look half decent for work.  I realized that I have a really hard time saying no.  When work calls and they need someone to come in, I literally feel sick to my stomach if I say no.  Or even maybe.  So I think I’ll be writing a post about that.  ”Learning to say No”.

I’ll write it down in my notebook for later.  Now, I have to get going.

Marie

28 Day Calorie Counting Boot Camp

Well, I have to say I’m pretty proud of myself for deciding to participate in Fitwatch’s 28 Day Calorie Counting Boot Camp.

Week one is learning about the basics of calorie counting.  I feel pretty confident that I’ll get the just of it.  I really wanted to try something new that would lead me to eating better.  I’ve been so incredibly bad with that recently.  My problem is that I just love food way too much.  The taste, the texture, the smell…everything! Hopefully this will help me recognize my eating habits.  Seeing it put down on paper and/or on screen may make things a little more real.  Put things into perspective.

Every Monday, I think I’ll check in and write about my progress and how I’m feeling about it all.  Wish me luck!

Marie

Writing Woes

I recently decided to quit fooling around and write the stories I’ve been meaning to write.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been imagining plots and scenarios in my mind and I figured it was finally time to do something about it.  I remember writing (when I was much younger) a story about squirrels living in trees and their every day adventures.  It mostly resembled the Berenstain Bears, but I didn’t care.  I needed to get out my creativity.

The next story I really remember focusing on was similar to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.  Actually, pretty much the same thing (shhh, don’t tell anyone!).  It was about a woodland creature (an elf – as I recall) living in a village in the trees with a rival community living across a large lake.  He fell in love with a girl from the other side who got kidnapped by an evil man who wanted to rule all the land.  As he tried to save her, he broke a spell covering the villain’s magic flute.  The pieces were scattered throughout the magical worlds and the main character (I forget his name) vowed to find her and bring her back, mending the separation between the communities.  He faced monsters and impossible quests to get to her.

I never finished it, but I remember writing quite a bit for my creative writing class in high school.  Among this story were many short stories, some of them too  “real” and “intense” for a teenager.  I guess that’s why I started writing songs.  It was a means to get out my pain and frustration as a girl growing up.    You know, the pains of first loves and wanting to be independent and see the world.

Right now, however, I’m concentrating on writing a book.  Yes, a full out,  Chapters 1 to [I don’t know how many], novel.  Something I’ve only just discovered is that I need to pour a lot more emotion into it.  After the almost full 3 chapters I have already, which I just sat down and….wrote, I showed it to a friend of mine who helpfully said that something was missing with the emotion.  And she was right.  The problem with my writing is that I know how it makes me feel.  I know how I’m supposed to feel while reading it so I don’t incorporate it into the writing.  Which, obviously, I should.  So that’s something to work on.  Putting my feelings and the character’s feeling into words.  It’s more difficult than I thought.

Now I know why people say that writers are drunks.  Maybe it takes a few sips of wine to help you open up that way.   It’s hard to reveal your emotions without fear or worry of the consequences.  Why do I care so much what people may think of my “sappy” writing?  I shouldn’t.  I should just write with pure honesty and sincerity.  Putting my heart out on my sleeves and not giving a damn what others say about it.   It’s harder than it sounds, though.  To be quite honest.

Wish me luck on my writing! I may need it….

Marie