Friday, December 10, 2010
These Times, They Are A Changin'
Baby's got blue skies up ahead.
As previously promised, I offer no excuses for my absence. Because let’s face it – I have a select handful of readers, mostly friends and family, and they already are well aware of my raging case of “Starting-something-and-not-finishing-it.” However, I have been vigorously battling this curse for years and I will continue to do so. The way I see it, my absence over the last four months has done nothing but create new ammunition and material for me to fire in your face. Put your helmets on.
Where to begin? I guess I suppose I owe you somewhat of an update. I have previously blogged about my plight as a server and bartender, an occupation that I have held for the last two years. There are so many things about this job that I absolutely hate. I hate the song and dance I have to perform for each and every customer - the fake smiles, the fake laughs, the stories I listened to (without any choice whatsoever), the personal information they would dig out of me – I hate every moment of it. I like to consider myself a “real” girl who tells it bluntly like it is, and has the “I’m sorry I’m not sorry” kind of attitude. I have had to check that attitude at the employee entrance. My livelihood depended on tips, which meant ass-kissing and tap-dancing for the customers. Might as well have given me a top hat and a sparkly jacket! I hate that a few select management and upper-management individuals were not only raging a-holes, but at most times, not the brightest bulbs in the joint. I can say with conviction that I am not the first employee to think they are smarter than their bosses, and I certainly won’t be the last. It is an unfortunate fact of life, and better to learn it sooner than later (thanks for the advice Dad). I have hated the mounting frustration in my heart that I was indeed better than this. I have felt like I deserved more. I deserved a bright, shiny career that gave me a sense of fulfillment that serving and bartending could never give me. Now, don’t slap me for being a brat. I can’t control the way I felt while slinging drinks and fetching more mayo for the portly guests. However, it was what it was; 2009/10 had been brutal years for the newly graduated, and I was no exception. I had to do what it took to bring in the cash flow.
An eternal optimist, I did (had to) find things that I loved about that job to pull me through. It was a matter of preserving my sanity. I genuinely enjoyed my fellow servers and bartenders. Like any job, it’s usually what keeps you going, or makes you want to blow your brains out. In my case, most of my peers are twenty-somethings who were in the same life position as I was. I actually worked with some extremely educated people. 95% of them all at least had college degrees. One server, Mike, has two degrees as well as a master’s degree from Northwestern. And this kid was out of a job! The old saying “misery loves company” permeated through all of us; we were struggling to make big strides but gripping onto each other tightly for some kind, any kind of support. I have had a love/hate relationship with the hours I kept. Far from “normal,” my schedule varies from week to week, but has always included weekend shifts. While all my friends were frolicking at happy hour on Friday’s, with wide open Saturday’s, and Sunday Funday’s, I was stuck at the restaurant. Making plans of any sort were always out of the question, and my social life took a serious turn towards non-existence. However, I relished the fact that my earliest start was 10:00am, with most days starting at 4:00pm. This left ample time for sleeping in (I am NOT a morning person), staying out late, and relaxing/running errands during the day. Although I worked close to 40 hours per week, my position was technically part-time, leaving a lot of flexibility for travel. A few scribbles in the request-off book, and I was on my way to week long vacations anywhere I deemed necessary.
Now, why I am going on and on about this stupid restaurant job again? Well…wait for it…wait for it…
I got a job. A “real” one. With “normal” hours. A desk. Paper clips. Benefits. A salary!
A few months ago, I was introduced to a man who I will call John. John is an extremely successful businessman who owns multiple companies in the Chicagoland area. I had the pleasure of meeting John via a good girlfriend of mine. Upon learning of his success in the business world, I was on a mission of jihad intensity to impress him with my quick wit, extreme desire to begin a career, (Somewhere! Anywhere!) ridiculously awesome work ethic, and the brains to boot. A month or so went by when I received a call from him informing me that he had a position opening up at one of his companies. Within 24 hours, I had met with the hiring manager and had a job. Just.Like.That. After two years of frustration, tears, internal degradation (“You are not good enough! That is why no one will hire you!”), and cursing the college system to the high heavens (“F college! What a conspiracy! $100,000 and I can’t get hired!”), I finally had what I had been looking for. This also leads me to my theory on the cliche saying, "It's all in who you know." The 150+ jobs that I had applied for over two years had resulted in squat. One refferalfrom the president of a company, and I was in. As simple as that! I was as baffled as I was angry (at the system, not my newfound hired-ness).
My start date was December 1st. In typical scared new hire form, I arrived ten minutes early because everyone knows fifteen minutes just looks desperate. I wore my best “I’m Corporate Now” outfit only to walk in and find the fellow employees in jeans. I was officially over dressed, overwhelmed, and over stimulated by all these new faces, names, and job duties. However, I was more than welcomed by every single person in the building. Within two hours of being there, I already had felt comfortable. The girl who was training me, as well as my department/office mate, Michelle, is one of those girls you feel like you just know. She is easy going and bubbly, full of good energy that bursts from her tiny frame. I kept thinking to myself how lucky I have been as far as co-workers go. I will have to spend 40 hours of my week with this woman, so needless to say, I better freaking like her. At the very least, be able to tolerate the woman. Much to my delight, I don’t just like her, I LOVE her.
Now eight days into my big girl job, I am slowly adjusting. Coming from six years of erratic sleeping schedules, late nights, and many a mornings tucked in til noon, waking up every day at 6:45am is quite a slap in the face. I get home after 5 in the evenings and all I want to do is sit on the couch and delve into hours of mindless entrancement from the boob tube. Evening dinner and drinks with girlfriends have been non-existent. It’s me, my couch, and a big glass of wine and nobody can compete with that at this point. I am sure as time passes, my body will become more accustomed to the early mornings. But in the mean time, I am just trying to keep my head above these newly uncharted waters.