Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My 23-Year Old Self Tries to Get You to Feel Bad For Him

Last week, I came across a paper I did in college called Stress: How Managers and Employees Can Deal With It. It opens by describing a job I had a number of years before. Since I've yet to talk about this particular position, I figured I'd just let the words I wrote back in 1994 tell the tale:

While attending Winona State in 1991, I found a part-time job at Sammy's Pizza in downtown Winona.

I worked two or three nights a week and was paid minimum wage. I was a kitchen worker who did dishes, sliced cheese, heated up spaghetti, ravioli, and lasagna, and also ran the chicken fryer.

I liked the kitchen because it was relatively quiet and I didn't have to worry about dealing with unruly customers. It was a decent job, but when it got busy on the weekends or on buffet nights, I had a tendency to get stressed out. I tried to stay relaxed, but with three or four things to do at once, it wasn't easy.

I usually got to take a half-hour break in the late evening, but if there was too much to do, I had to skip it, which made for a very long night. In other words, if we weren't busy, I could take a break, but if the restaurant was crowded, I just had to keep working and working. This caused me much anxiety, so I told management that I only wanted to work one or two nights. Many weekends I desperately wanted to quit when the work began to overwhelm me.

Last fall, I finally came to the end of my rope. I walked out (actually snuck out the back door) at about ten o'clock one evening. I just couldn't stand another minute. I was going through a major depression. The pain I felt can scarcely be expressed. I went to the bottom of the barrel and stayed there. But, through medication and therapy, I was able to claw my way out.


Randy said...

Good reflection...

Stephen said...

Been there and done that. The stress gets ya and you can't stop it.

Dämmerung Anblick said...

It seems to me that you've come a long way since then. It's certainly not easy dealing with stressful situations, even if they're not anybody's fault in particular.

How do you think you'd cope now? Would you tough it out, or has experience taught you just to avoid that type of situation altogether?

I often find myself thinking back about situations in my past that I didn't deal well with and I wonder how I'd fare now.

Thomas said...

Thanks for the comments, guys.

Damm, if I was working a food service job now, I'd be sure to take lots and lots of deep breaths (not to mention a lot of stretching and fake smiling). If that wasn't enough, I would look for a job elsewhere.

Phats said...

Glad you crawled your way out. Although this post kind of made me hungry for pizza :)