Tomorrow, we'll be halfway there. Officially. Everything has been crazy fast. I can't think of one moment where the time seemed to drag on. Nope, not when I was staring at a computer for 8 hours a day. Nope, not even when I was stuck on a bus with a blown-out tire for four hours, fifteen minutes away from Job #2.
Well with the bus, the looming possibility of a riot of people who "just can't take it anymore!" was secretly thrilling and hilarious to me. So maybe that situation isn't the best example.
There are seconds where I wish I could fully comprehend the passage of time, but then those seconds fly away because I'm too busy living those seconds, filling those seconds with memories that matter. I suppose the only thing that I can do...that I can keep doing...is stop. And give thanks. In any way possible. I think I can slow the clock this way. Just a little bit. Sufficiently.
I've had the privilege of being able to stay in Boston for two weekends, because most of my sight-seeing has happened during those times. With another 35-40 hour/week job, I hate to finally admit it...but... *AHEM* I love staying in, as long as I have the option of going out. Of course, every week is different...but the trend is there. I'm a homebody! Marsha really isn't, and I didn't want to cramp her style, so most nights she would go out (though she felt terrible about it), I would stay in...and if I was awake when she returned, we'd talk a bit.
Thursday night was a little different. Marsha and I went to restaurant called Joe's American Bar and Grill. Lately, I've opted for sweet potato fries instead of french fries, and I'm VERY happy with my switch. Our food was scrumptious and the free dessert, a Charles River Pie, was insane:
Our waitress insisted that it was "Marsha's birthday," so we found ourselves in a situation where we felt guilty if we didn't finish the whole thing. So we did. Guh.
Friday brought my last day of work. Since it was my last day, Manager Roberto let me make the sign for the slice of the day. The sign usually consists of the phrase "Slice of the Day," a description of what the slice of the day is, some picture, and some quote. Most commonly the picture is of a rap group, with a rap-related quote. When Roberto put me on the task, he left me with a google search for "biggie quotes." I tried my hardest to keep with the theme, but no grills, chains, or rap lyrics stuck with me. I wanted to add a little bit of Michelle humor too, so I ended up with this (on the right):
Several people laughed and commented on my artwork, but it only lasted an hour, after which it was quickly replaced by the General Manager. Something about it being inappropriate. Of course I understood. Mistakes, mistakes! :D
At the end of my last day, I took home a specialty pizza:
1/2 Brendan's Buffalo Chicken: "The classic combination of fresh buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil leaves, sliced tomatoes and fresh garlic."
1/2 Harvard Street: "White pizza, combines buffalo chicken, blue cheese and mozzarella."
It was raining so heavily as I left the pizzeria for the last time, that my shirt, shorts (both items of which I still hadn't laundered), and purse were drenched when I finally got to Marsha's apartment. The pizza boxes were affected to some extent as well. I had to let some slices go unfortunately. I was so worn out from the week , the rain, and cleaning up from the rain, that I just went to bed early.
Yesterday (Saturday), Marsha and I did some eating and shopping. I broke down and got a suitcase, because the duffel bag I've been carrying for the past four weeks was on the way to doing serious damage to my back. We ended the night at the movie theatre for some film-watching. I would say that the movie we watched is one of the best movies, if not the best movie, of the summer. Refreshingly real. I want so bad for the movie to hurry up and become old and forgotten, so in the future, when someone asks me what my favorite movie is, I can say "[insert movie title]" and they can say:
That's all for my assessment. After the movie, it was YouTubes then sleep.
Today was a simple, lazy day. Sleeping in, laundry, and the beach. The weather was sweltering when we arrived, but it turned pleasant as time went on. Those there for tanning were disappointed. Since that didn't include me, I had a good time (chuckle).
What did you dislike about the job and why?
- "The boss is here - look busy!" syndrome. I don't understand forced distress, so watching the staff freak out every time the Upper Crust top-dog walked into restaurant wasn't something I did well with. I worked really hard as an Upper Crust employee because I enjoyed making the customers happy and I enjoyed the job, so I didn't see the point in stressing over looking busy when I already was. It was hard to stay calm when everyone else was on edge, though. Reminded me a little of my job last week...
- Having a boss-boss. To branch off point number one, I may have issues with authority. This again brings up the idea of "looking busy." It seemed that the few moments I would stop to look around for what I could be doing, a manager would catch me and get on me personally to do something, implying that I was wasting time thumb twiddling. I've had this happen to me many, many times, and it's one of my peeves. I was eager to receive these comments at the beginning of the week, because I honestly did not know what to do. But when it continued until the end of my stay, it became harder to deal with, and felt somewhat counterproductive.
- Low spirits. This point branches off point number one and two. Wherever I work, I would prefer the place to be mostly relaxed, and full of communication. There were one or two days where the entire staff was in a horrible mood, and it really soured the restaurant atmosphere. Some customers felt comfortable enough to mention to me that they noticed the mood. I found it astounding that customers could sense what was going on. This isn't to say that bad moods shouldn't be experienced in the workplace, just that they should be addressed and that employees should feel comfortable enough to express what they are feeling. In addition, those higher up should be observant to notice when their employees aren't 100% themselves. Vibe is everything. Whether the vibe is negative or positive is up to everyone involved, but ultimately to those who have most control.
What did you like about the job and why?
- Hyper-productivity. This was my favorite part about the job. There was always a table that needed to be wiped, a trash can that needed to be emptied, a water jug that needed to be filled, etc. Something or someone always needed help. The days flew by, and I loved every minute of them. At the end of the day, I felt as if there was no doubt I had earned my "wages."
- Teamwork and Trust. It is impossible to do this job alone. I really appreciated the fact that I could constantly ask for support and receive it quickly. There was never a time where I felt as if I was overloaded or overlooked. This sort of relationship is really special.
- Customer service. See Post: It Starts With Me
- Different cultures. The entire kitchen staff and a good lot of the counter staff are from Brazil, and I found it stimulating to witness the way their conversations took place, even if I didn't know what was being said. I also found it fun to interact with them personally. A lot of these interactions kept the atmosphere upbeat.
- Free Pizza. I've never eaten this much pizza in my life, and that's just fine with me.
- One-Week Job Support. The Upper Crust Pizzeria is wonderful because it was the best at taking a special interest in making me a part of their team. I truly felt as if they were supportive of both me and the program. Most of all, my experience felt honest, which should be evident in both the pros and cons of my time with the job. I really cherished the entire time I spent in Boston.
What lessons did you learn from working at a pizzeria / Week 4?
- There's power in a stranger. See Post: It Starts With Me
- Don't Ask "How Are You?" unless you really mean it. I can't stand when people ask questions solely for formality, or worse they will continue on with the conversation without even waiting for your answer! All day every day, I made it a point to ask every customer how they were doing in a meaningful tone. Sometimes I'd switch it up, as long as it indicated that I was genuinely interested in their state. It led to some good, quick conversations and connections. Several people would make it a point to tell me goodbye when they left, and to let me know that they were leaving a tip because of my hospitality. Being genuine feels good and pays good, friends. ;)
- Don't work with someone you're dating. I witnessed it while working, and I can't think of one positive to it...personal opinion, though!
- In order to love well, you have to let yourself be loved well. (See Reflection Time.)
- Don't doubt other people's charity. (Marsha's words!)
- DO NOT feel embarrassed by your mistakes. Apologize when necessary, laugh, and move on. This kept my experience positive, even when other staff members were not in the best moods. There were COUNTLESS times that I messed up, that I met with annoyance at my actions, that I was teased, that I did something inappropriate, that I...did something wrong. I smiled and laughed first, addressed the mistake sufficiently and efficiently, and moved on. It helped tremendously. Stay humble, y'all (this contraction has been getting me in trouble with the Easterners. I don't even use it much! Curse you, Texas)!
Would you do this again, as a more-than-one-week job?
Yes. :) That response is completely instinctive, so know that it's real, despite all the negatives I discussed.
I had an unparalleled time with Job#4. A big thank You to Roberto Rosa and Barry Proctor of The Upper Crust Pizzeria - Newbury Street. You both believed in me before you even spoke to me, and that is the type of risk, the type of FAITH in people that not many businessmen would have employed. Bless You both for the opportunity you gave me. I hope I didn't disappoint!
And to my great friend, Marsha...well, you know how I feel about You. Text me if you don't...
This week was both the hardest and best of my time in the Program. I think the emotional aspect of the Program has been sneaking up on me. I've been so busy being thankful, that I totally forgot to be honest with myself emotionally. I think it's easy to fall in this way when you're so busy doing so many things. The perspectives and comments from outsiders, while they can be so very encouraging, can also be blinding too.
So many people have contacted me, telling me how awesome a time I must be having, how lucky I am, how they wish they had done what I am doing. I love getting these words, because they keep me focused and positive, but I let them prevent me from thinking about any not-so-great emotions that can come from moving places week to week, and meeting new people constantly.
What Amanda, Kieley, and I are doing isn't easy. I won't speak for them entirely, because we're all wired differently. I can only speak for the ways in which I should be taking care of me. So let me say that today, I realize that sometimes I have felt lonely on this journey. During week 2, one of the Juice members, Alli, gave me a hug, and it left me feeling a little weird: Wow, I really needed that, I thought. I hadn't had a good hug in awhile, because I hadn't been around anyone I knew that well. It affected me.
I know now that I love meeting new people more than ever, but I sometimes need my own space. I have felt overwhelmed and tired beyond capability of social interaction. There have been times that I have stayed home not only because I was tired from work and didn't want to be tired for work the next morning, but also because I just couldn't meet new people.
Ironically, it is during this week, while with a very close friend, that I realize all this. I use the word "ironically", because while having these feelings of loneliness, reclusiveness, and ultimate frustration and confusion, I had trouble communicating them to Marsha. I had a good friend right in front of my face, something that I had been needing, but I was too confused to express my thoughts to her. Guilt was the root of all of this.
Subconsciously, I was feeling guilty for feeling anything but 100% positive and grateful for this experience. Part of me didn't want to disappoint someone I cared about so much, someone who had been rooting for me for so long. Someone who was letting me stay with her for a week, who wanted to have fun with me for a whole week. Because I never took the time to acknowledge what I was feeling, everything came to a head, and tension surfaced between Marsha and I.
So I say this week was the hardest. Not the worst. And it was the hardest not because of my job, but because of...well, everything. I eventually forced myself out of my comfort zone in yet another way, opening up to Marsha about things that I wasn't even sure I could explain well enough. The hardest thing then became the best thing, ,because this week ended up making one of the best friendships I have ever had stronger than ever. We were fortunate enough to have received the chance to learn more about the other, and more about ourselves. So for all those One-Week Job skeptics out there who say a week isn't enough, it is. It is more than enough, and for more than you might think.
As I told Sean on the phone yesterday, even though I'm struggling a bit emotionally right n ow, leaving the Program early has never crossed my mind. This is how I know the growth is good. That's the difference between emotional harm, and emotional help. I'm simply the wiser at this point, and becoming more so. From now on, I'll be checking in with my ENTIRE emotional self, just as much as I would check in with any of my friends. I encourage You to do the same, no matter what You are up to. You owe it to You. Please, don't forget what I have said here. Resilience is key.