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.