Catch Up Ball

I haven’t posted for awhile, and I won’t bullshit you by saying I’ve been too busy. Oh, I’ve been busy, but that’s no excuse. I’ve heard that some of my former coworkers have been following the blog to keep track of my post Dex adventures, so I’m going to use today’s post to update the world on this pilgrim’s progress. As if the world gives a rat’s ass.

My plan was to not write about the coffee shop gig here. It’s probably something that could get me fired and I’m a little uncomfortable with going into a situation “under cover” and then writing about it publicly unbeknownst to the subjects. But in this case I’m going to give you a bit of an update on my “barista” career, just for historical background on the rest of my adventure.

It turns out that I’m not that well suited to the barista business, or at least the pace of the morning rush hour barista business. I don’t know if it’s just me or if it’s my age, but the level of multi-tasking needed to keep up when it’s busy is tough for me to achieve. And the cash register which is based on a la carte selections relies on a much better memory than I have to find your way around. This has resulted in some huge retail disasters in which all work stopped, with long lines of people desperately waiting for caffeine, while my supervisor, a woman the same age as Lucia, tried to help me get out of the mess I created. This has resulted in my cash drawer being short twice. It’s a three strikes you’re out deal, and I’m on probation. I’m sure my former direct reports will find ironic glee in hearing that I’m on a disciplinary plan.

Getting the stern talk from the manager (you remember the woman who thought I’d be so great, even though she didn’t know me at all) when I’ve been on the other side so many times. The “is this a good job match for you” questions, hoping you quit so you don’t have to be fired. To her credit, she was sincerely upset by the situation. She likes me and she feels bad that I’m in a pickle, probably way worse than me. I could leave without a second thought. The money isn’t going to make me or break me, it’s nice to get out of the house, but I have enough friends and contacts and interests so that I’m not going to become a depressed hermit and frankly, I’m really enjoying all of my free time. The flip side is that I’m not making up my financial nut with the graphics yet and even though the paychecks are depressingly tiny, the extra dough is nice and leaving any job when there’s double digit unemployment is daunting.

So we’ve come to a compromise. I’m going to work nights, when it’s slow. So I’m no longer a barista, I would say my job description is more like “galley slave” now. There are few customers at night, but you work like a dog, cleaning the place up, doing dishes by hand, mopping floors making the various mixes that are used for drinks and generally preparing the place for the next day. This might be a better deal anyway. It will only be a couple of nights a week, it’s only until 8:30, which gives me most of my days to chase graphics work. If it doesn’t work out, no big deal.

Does anyone remember seeing “mature” folks working behind the counter at this chain? I know this particular shop has had a couple of gray hairs, but they didn’t  seem to last. I’m not playing the discrimination card at all, I’m just wondering if it isn’t a job for young and supple minds.

So in the end it wasn’t my knees or my hearing or my farts that did me in, it was…. not a good job fit.

2 thoughts on “Catch Up Ball”

  1. Have you read Nickel & Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich? After trying to make it for a year on minimum-wage jobs, she said her biggest surprise was how mentally taxing the jobs were. She had expected them to be demanding physically, but she learned that the number of things to know and remember in ringing up a cash register or re-stocking the shelves at Walmart were amazing. I, meanwhile, had a total meltdown trying to grade and return papers last week. I suddenly remembered that I almost quit school junior year b/c I was tired of being broke. Six months on a part-time clerical job were enough to send me off on 4 college degrees–which in turn have led to a job that requires clerical ability.

  2. Hey I’m still proud of you that your out there trying buddy. It takes a lot of courage to do just that! A lot of us are sitting here wishing we were you…AGAIN sitting here.

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