When dilly dallying on your computer at a new Starbucks, do you ever feel like you’re cheating on your normal spots? Somewhere 30 miles away there is a barista wondering where I am today, with a register that has 6 less dollars in it because I took my business elsewhere purely by chance. 30 miles away a wifi is struggling less because my superfluous file downloading and inconvenient streaming isn’t straining it and ruining everyone else’s evening. *shrug*
The reason I’m even giving it thought is because sitting in this particular one makes me feel awkward and nostalgic. 7 years ago I applied to be a barista here, young and cocky, fresh from my 9 month stint as a barista elsewhere and sure that I would be selected because of it. But, as life would have it, I never got a call back. When I ran into the manager again that summer by chance, I, in my most awkward verbal vomit showing that I can’t be relied upon to be around anyone in a pinch, rubbed it in her face that someone else had hired me–as though she had somehow missed out on this near identical copy of a progressive, 19 year old pseudo barista (they are in fact a dime a dozen). She then told my own manager about the incident, because, who wouldn’t? I was a subordinate who was acting out of turn to a manager at a different store. Ah, to be 19 and sure of one’s self. Well, here I am, back at where I started that nascent summer, but with my own apartment, a life, a partner, and a cashflow. One could say I’ve come up in the world, but I might not. I still can’t be relied upon to avoid verbal vomiting to someone important in a pinch. I do it almost daily. Surely I’ve reduced the frequency, but it still happens. My filter is older but not really wiser.
My solution now is to just never open up to people at work. I’ve worked with my team now for two years, and they know no more about me than when we began. Meanwhile, the newcomer is going on shopping outings with my own teammates and sharing inside jokes, discussing in the open matters which I know nothing about…. carrying on secret lives publicly. It’s my own fault. I thought by making friends in the office I would risk my job again. I do it everywhere I go. I get too close, allow folks in, and then they turn on me or they drag me down with them during their descent. Thanks to my “friendship” at my last job, I was the second one fired when the ship ran ashore. Who stayed afloat? My “friend” who I’d covered for so many times and helped at every turn…. The job prior to that, well, becoming friends with the boss only gave him an easier way to blame someone for his lack of management and communication abilities, as he blamed me for not performing my new tasks (after denying my request to increase my hours so that I could fulfill the aforementioned tasks. I apparently was supposed to work for free).
Maybe someday I’ll get over how every job I’ve ever held I lost by getting chummy with colleagues and learn to trust at work again. But then again, maybe it’s better that I don’t. After all, my current boss seems to appreciate our drama-free working relationship even if others scoff at my aloofness.
That’s enough self indulgent moroseness for now….