Surviving The Game

Before you ever think about quitting something give yourself an extra week or two, because in a matter of 14 days, things could actually turn around for you. Two weeks can seem like a long time when you’re struggling but the rewards you could possibly benefit from are really worth the sacrifice.

The week before the busiest weekend of the year for us at my new job was honestly one of the most annoying work weeks I had had at any job ever. So much so that I had started sending out resumes to places that I knew I could quickly get hired. I had immediately gotten two interviews for doing what I’ve always done, serving. Was I thrilled about a possible new job change? Nope, not one bit. I mean I had wanted to take a dip out of the restaurant world for a while so going back to serving wasn’t something I was particularly thrilled about. It was however comfortable for me. I knew the server world and so it wouldn’t have been such a struggle like the challenges the floral business was presenting me. Not only was the comfortability there but so was the insta-cash. There was no waiting two weeks for a paycheck. After every shift, there it was, a wad of cash for you to bring home and do whatever you wanted (or needed) to do.

I went on one interview. The other I set up for after Mother’s Day weekend. No matter what I decided to do, all I knew was that I would not like to leave the floral job before or during their busiest time of year. The owners had always treated me well. To be honest they all had treated me well. Minus a couple hiccups between the manager and I (two strong, like minded woman can at times bump heads) I could say that I enjoyed the people that I worked with so screwing them over right before Mother’s Day was out of the question. I did however struggle with communicating the fact the after the holiday I was planning on leaving. Should I give them a letter of resignation? Or should I keep it to myself and deal with it afterwards? I decided to stay quiet about my plan until I had something legit materialize. I’m so glad I did.

Mother’s Day craziness started that Thursday. The amount of orders that were coming in was something I hadn’t expected. Yes my coworker’s had tried to warn me about what to expect but I have come to realize that in life most people often exaggerate even the tiniest of things. They were not exaggerating. I had been put in charge of phones so that meant dealing with customer inquiries, taking their orders, completing orders, as well as any random miscellaneous things that needed to be done around the shop to help expedite the work of others. My headset had stayed on me the entire time I was working with only bathroom breaks giving my ear a small moment of freedom from the constrictive device. I noticed that much of what I was doing was using many of my server qualities. I shined when it came to dealing with the customers. I was able to quickly guide them through our ordering process, sometimes even guiding them in certain directions. If there was a particular piece that the owner wanted to push out and get rid of I could easily talk a customer into purchasing it. The organizational skills that were needed in order to keep everything moving smoothly was something I excelled at. Compliments from my coworkers and the owners were given to me since they hadn’t seen anyone handle the chaos as well as I had. To be fair, I have always excelled when work is at its busiest. To keep my mind and body moving from one task to another is what has always worked best for me. Working under pressure is when I shine.

The weekend came and went in blur. We all were pulling 16 hours shifts and by Sunday it was like a new wave of emotions towards my job came over me. During the four days we had all bonded. Working so hard together as a single unit gave it a more family feel. We executed what needed to be done and we had done it harmoniously. Even though we had been slammed with work for hours on end barely able to take breaks in between, there ended up being no fussing and no fighting. Had we walked out of there exhausted? Of course, but we had gotten through it, and we had done it well.

I had quickly started rethinking my moves. I started feeling as though I had also proven myself to not only my coworkers but also the owners of the shop. The vibe between them and me had changed. I felt as though I was a part of this close knit family and I liked it. I no longer felt the pressure of wanting to get out of this place. If anything, I wanted to stay. I had an interview scheduled for that Monday after Mother’s Day weekend and I decided not to go. I thought to myself that I would instead stick this out and see how it went for me. That Tuesday I was called randomly into the office by one of the owners. Fuck… “Am I about to get fired? Should I had just gone on that interview and then I wouldn’t be so worried about being fired right now?… I should have gone on that stupid interview..” were my thoughts as I was walking towards the back office.

I sat down in the chair directly across from him. I never get nervous. I don’t get nervous on job interviews. I don’t get nervous on dates. Yet, here I am sitting eye to eye with one of the shop’s owners knowing that I’m about to get fired from a job that just a week before I was already contemplating leaving, and I was nervous. I couldn’t stop fidgeting with my fingers. I picked at my nails, I played with my rings, none of which made me feel any better for what was about to come.

“Natalia, I want to start off by saying that you did  great job working for us over the holiday weekend…” Here it goes. The compliment before the let go. Why do business owners do this? To soften the blow? Jesus…let’s just get this shit over with shall we? “..I wanted to let you know that I was really impressed by your work…” Impressed? Do you fire people that impress you? I never fired anyone so I wouldn’t really know. “The way you handled the workload for someone who has only been here a little less than two month’s is something that genuinely shocked me and I don’t get shocked often.” Great.. I shocked him into firing me. Good going Natalia. “Before I continue on with where I’m going with this, I do want to ask you something?” I just stare at him. I may have blinked, I don’t think I did. “How long do you plan on staying with this company?” His cold blue eyes bore into my soul. Now was the moment of truth. I either fight for my job or easily walk away from it.

“Well..” my voice sounded weird. We sat in a small office but it felt like my voice was echoing down a long hall to reach where he was sitting. “…I would like to stay with the company for as long as you all want me here. I have always been one to like a challenge and that’s why I applied to work here initially. It hasn’t been easy but because of that I feel as though a good day here super exceeds a good day anywhere else I’ve worked, because I’ve excelled at something I had no prior knowledge or experience doing before. I know that at the moment your company may be small but I also know that it’s growing and I would like to see myself grow along with it.” He stared at me for a little bit. Maybe for one more second too long. I was about to fidget in my seat when he started talking again.

“Natalia, I foresee a lot of things happening with this company, and you are right, it is growing and it’s happening rapidly. I would like for you to to stay with us and because of all the hard work and effort you have shown I am going to do something that I do not typically do for people that have been here for as short of a time such as you have been. I’m giving you a raise.” What the fu….. Did I just here this correctly? “I’m increasing your pay by a dollar. The manager has also brought to my attention what an asset it has been having you here and so I do want you to know that although there are times in which you two may bump heads, she is in your corner. There is something that she will be giving you at the end of the day before you leave so make sure you see her on your way out.” The smile in the corners of his eyes were like a soft warm blanket on a cold winter day. I don’t know how many times I thanked him. I can’t even tell you exactly what I said before leaving his office. I was overwhelmed with shock because it had not been something I was expecting. Not in the least bit.

For the rest of my day I felt like I was walking on clouds. It had been rainy and ugly out but sunshine was brightly beaming from inside of me. Before I left at the end of my shift I met up with my manager in which she thanked me for all my hard work and handed me an envelope. “This is for you. Just a little extra something so you know that you are appreciated.” Was this a bonus? I wasn’t sure but even the simple compliment and “thank yous” was enough to inspire a hug out of me. It wasn’t until I got to my car that I opened the envelope. Inside was a check addressed to me for $300, I shit you not. I was ecstatic. Not only would this allow me to catch up on certain important bills I had left unattended due to lack of funds, but there were people I wanted to pay back for helping me here and there with the little everyday things of life. I was so happy.

Since that day, my moment’s at work are always positive. The entire vibe between the other girls and I has changed for the better. I no longer feel like an outsider. I am now creating arrangements and even surprising myself at how well I’ve been doing at it. There have been moments of guilt though that I still live with. Throughout the time that I was getting a raise and praise, I lost two of my fellow coworkers. They had gotten let go due to one reason or another. Sadness and guilt engulfed me because it was of course the two girls I had gotten along with the most. Both had been there slightly longer than I had. Both had placed a lot of time, dedication, and frustration into this job. I felt as though maybe the decision to keep me had maybe played in the decision to fire them. In an odd way if feels like a sort of survivor’s guilt. Do they feel the same? I know one in particular does. She did mention in a moment of anger that I “beat her” in the race. They were cold words that hit my heart, especially coming from someone I had thought I had befriended in a time in which I felt so out of place. I do understand the roller coaster of emotions  when unexpected displacement happens and I know she probably didn’t mean to hurt my feelings, so I try not to really think about it. Maybe she was right though, in the end I had survived a game I hadn’t known I was playing.

For now, I continue each work day doing the best I can. I still struggle a bit here and there but they are challenges I welcome for challenges are what keeps my mind and soul strong. My advice for people out there that are maybe struggling with something new, keep at it. Keep trying and give yourself time. Remember that no one is born knowing and that to even have set out in trying something out of your comfort zone keeps you one step ahead. Don’t be so hard on yourself for we are our own worst critic and most times our inner voices are what keeps us from feeling good about what we are doing for ourselves. Remember that by trying something new you are opening up doors for yourself that you would have never come across if you would have stayed in the comforting monotony of what once was. Keep at it with a positive mind and heart and life will reward you with much more than you ever thought possible.

Paint6.2

 

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