Posts Tagged ‘the 9-to-5’
This photo I know is just another sunset photo to some, but it was taken from the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa and means much more to me.
You’ll notice that a lot of my Favorite Fotos are from South Africa. That’s because it was truly the most beautiful space I’ve ever been to on this planet. The coast of Maine is up there too.
Anyway, we raced to the top of the mountain nervous that we had underestimated just how tough the climb was and that we wouldn’t get there in time to see the sunset. But we made it. With enough time to grab a quick glass of wine too!
The feeling of finally getting to that top of the mountain was amazing. For some reason when I was in South Africa I had very few worries. On that day, climbing a mountain to see the sun set was my challenge. It was all that mattered on that day and I accomplished it.
South Africa was the one time in my young adult life that I can point to and note that I was literally care free despite leaving a lot of loved ones and an unknown path back home. Perhaps it was because I felt guilty that if I did worry it would be insulting to those in the country who endured countless tragedies and hardships, or maybe because I knew my trip would end in a month and I had to become saturated in each and every moment and enjoy it.
When I recently left for California I also left loved ones and headed for a path un known. However, it has been much more difficult than my journey to a seemingly much more dangerous place. Maybe it’s because it’s a permanent move or maybe it’s because I’ve lost loved ones back home while here making the separation from family a harsh reality, but either way those carefree moments that I seemed to encounter daily in South Africa have been few and far between since arriving to San Francisco without a job.
Life is much more difficult when we have expectations. When we have dreams. When in South Africa the dream was to have as much fun and experience in one month as possible. The dream now is to have a life time of fun and experience. In order to get that the stakes and challenges have become much greater than climbing a mountain.
Just yesterday, I started a my new job, I’m officially a 9-to-5er, or rather a 9-to-6er! Everything I have been working towards is the past year is finally concrete. While this is most definitely only the beginning of a new dream, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I did when I climbed to the top of that mountain years ago.
Seriously. I should write a how-to-guide on how to survive for two weeks off of $100 worth of groceries- from Whole Foods. That’s right I more or less get by for two weeks off of one grocery shopping trip. Mostly because I know I’m only cooking breakfast and lunch and won’t have time to dedicate myself to preparing a full meal. Also because I’ve been doing this for years and consider myself somewhat of an expert. (blog post explaining this phenomenon coming soon)
Given as I’m almost always working during dinner hours, I typically have breakfast, a mid morning snack and then a late lunch/ early dinner right before dinner service at the restaurant starts.
I hate not having dinner every night! I want to be able to go to the grocery store every few days. (Though not with that mass influx of people from 4pm to 6pm, but I guess I could deal.) I want to be relaxed and attractive and calm and enjoying my grocery shopping experience like everyone else in Whole Foods.
I want to be able to go and chat with the attractive produce guy as to what veggies he thinks will best accompany my pasta dish instead of tearing through grabbing only a few perishable items knowing if I buy too many they will just go bad and won’t be money well spent towards the two-week grocery plan.
What a novel idea it is to me to be able to go to the grocery store with a list of ingredients needed to make dinner and take my time in selecting which ones are best! Where I could stop and chat with the overstaffed team of green apron-wearing Whole Foods employees and make stupid jokes that aren’t actually funny but you laugh at each other to be polite and then encourage each other to have a nice day. Seriously, this appeals to me.
So today, given as it’s my day off, I did just that. It was nice. I didn’t have the usual sense of anxiety that accompanies my typical frantic shopping trips in which I’m just trying to cross off another item on my to-do list. I went and slowly perused the veggies, the wine and the fish overly excited to accept the tips that the staff so willingly wants to give. (On a typical shopping endeavor the over-friendliness of the staff really aggravates me, but I’m pretty sure this is due to my feelings towards not being able to grocery shop more frequently and buy what I really want to cook. I’m sorry Whole Food’s staff, it’s not your fault. You’re just doing your job.)
I even joked with the bag lady about how I was going to eat the whole thing of whipped cream and strawberries that I bought! She loved it! In all seriousness it will most certainly be gone by the end of the night but she doesn’t need to know that.
While I say the reason is grocery shopping, I think it has more to do with wanting to have a sit-down dinner every night. I think it is important to sit down with your family, your friends, your significant other, whoever really, and have dinner. It’s a tradition of humanity.
Growing up my parents stressed the importance of having family dinner every night, complete with a glass of milk. Even in high school. We could go out after school and after dinner, we could bring whoever we wanted, well, almost whoever we wanted, over for dinner, but we HAD to be there. No exceptions.
As much as I begrudgingly followed this rule, I’m glad I did. We had some of the best laughs over that dinner table. Most of the time, however, it was a serious time in which we talked about what we did that day, how school was going, etc. As you can imagine of a family complete with two, rebellious teenage girls some serious fights occurred too. Salt, pepper and any other available condiments that could be used to cover up the rock hard, grey steaks my mum had made were passed aggressively back and forth. Or not. I remember frequently denying my sister the ketchup when she stole all the attention. My dad would angrily reach over my plate to grab it and pass it to her.
We look back now and laugh and cherish those moments of dysfunction. While you could probably make a reality television show out of our family dinners then, and now- still, I love that food, that dinner, has always brought us together and probably always will and am eager to get to a place where I can continue this tradition in my own ways.
Happy daylight savings! #givemespring
In other exciting news, the Michael Kors project is over and my clutch is in the mail. WOO!
Yesterday, Saturday, March 10th, marked a month of resisting the temptation of snacking on baguettes at work. I celebrated the French way and had a baguette with some cheddar cheese for breakfast at 9am as the brunch shift began and I stared down 13 more hours. It was beyond satisfying.
A night out with the girls and several hours of sleep later, I am back at it for another brunch shift eagerly awaiting my afternoon and, once again, really craving those 9-to-5 work hours.
Now, I know in my last 9-to-5 post I was venting my frustrations about the daunting routine being an intimidating factor about having a 9-to-5, but, the routine aspect actually appeals to me as well.
Currently, my work days have me constantly watching the clock counting the minutes until when I have to go to work. I’m always calculating how long I can work out, how much time I need to save to devote to personal hygiene, how many hours I can sleep before waking for brunch, how much time I can devote to being creative and writing, etc. etc. One of the most frustrating things is when I’m on a roll with a good idea and/or my writing and I have to stop to go to work. To stop doing something you love in order to have to go do something you dislike is a belittling feeling.
My obsessive minute counting boils down to two important things: the hours of my work day and the nature of my work.
The hours that I work: Firstly, the hours that I work are so obscure. I often feel as though they are working against what my internal clock is telling me my body wants. Recently I have generally been working 6 shifts a week, from 1pm to 11pm, with the exception of my Saturday double, 8am to 11pm, and Sunday brunch shift, 8am to 2ish. While counting those minutes before work, my levels of anxiety are always heightened as I’m feverishly attempting to hold on and enjoy every second of freedom.
While these are the hours that I’m actually in the restaurant, a restaurant that is open seven days a week does not stop because I do. Things have to be ordered and prepared daily, people have to be called back, etc. etc. If there is confusion about a reservation or an order and I’m not in the building, a phone call is made no matter what I’m doing. There are no concrete boundaries in this position. Personal life is always at the risk of being interrupted by a work “crisis.”
It would be comforting and sustainable to work a job where there was a set time to go to work. Where there were hours when I was going to strictly focus on work finding comfort in the fact that when work hours were over, there would be hours for personal time.
The nature of my work: I’m doing a job I don’t love, fact. The idea of going to work is not a pleasant one. While I am currently in a transition phase at work, I have spent many unhappy hours getting to this phase. I am big on enduring, on “toughing it out,” as my father, like most parents, encouraged me to do as a kid. I never see how bad it is until I get too deep and then bailing becomes that much harder and overwhelming. It’s like bailing out a sailboat. If there’s just a little water to get rid of it’s quick, easy and painless. But when your boat is half full of water and sinking, panic sets in and the task of bailing becomes much harder.
Much of my dislike of my current management position stems from lack of sense of accomplishment. The day in, day out tasks are somewhat the same and don’t give me any real sense of achievement. Organizing wine only to have it be disorganized later, printing out mailing list cards only to have to enter them into an electronic mailing list later, checking the messages day in day out to take reservations; these things don’t really get me fired up. It is hard for me to track how that contributes to my success. If I was doing something that I loved with greater, long term accomplishments towards my goals, I would be a much more satisfied person.
I think having a 9-to-5 job, a set group of days and allotted hours where I set out to work, say working at a public relations firm or writing for a magazine, would give me the satisfaction I’m craving AND leave me having time to make some personal life accomplishments too. Like finishing the book I’m reading!!!
My personal thoughts on this matter aside, I’m most certainly not saying that the restaurant industry is like this everywhere and for everyone. Some peoples’ brains function during these hours and they are able to turn it on and off just as in a 9-to-5 job. Further I know many people that get great satisfaction out of their restaurant jobs, I am just not one of those people.
The fact that I have been able to come to this conclusion about myself and my work in the biz, despite how upsetting at times, makes me happy that I did it. It has really been a contributing factor to my dive back into writing and I’m very grateful for that!