My Current Blast of Irrational Terror

So, Thursday I started my new job. And Thursday night, I’m embarrassed to admit, I had a bit of a panic attack.

It really wasn’t serious, I don’t think. I was just in a situation where all kinds of thoughts were bubbling up and I didn’t have much way to diffuse them. I still don’t (while I started Thursday, the past couple days have been training so I’m not really doing anything until Monday, and most of my normal coping mechanisms aren’t really available to me today.) So to try to exorcise them, I’m going to write them out. Hopefully they’ll look as silly on screen as I think they are.

My irrational worries

It’s been about 9 months since I’ve had a standard work-for-someone-else job. So is the day-to-day grind something I’m going to be okay going back to?

Also, this job isn’t a traditional job-job; I’ll be working remotely without a lot of direct human contact. Is that going to work out?

Am I going to be okay spending as much time in my apartment looking at my computer as I’m going to be spending?

This one’s a bit nebulous. My last job… well, it put a lot of effort into breaking me. I spent most of my time arguing over things that were really really obvious and losing, because the arguments were actually about enforcing status and I was on the bottom. That put me into a situation of comfortable victimhood; there was an equilibrium, and even though it was terrible I was getting through. What if I try to recreate that terrible equilibrium because it’s what I know? (I warned you these were irrational.)

The terms of this job — salary, benefits, etc. — look good. But what if I’m wrong or missing something and in fact they’re terrible?

Or, what if I’m selling out and I get comfortable in this position and lose the motivation to create anything else that I love creating?

Hmm.

It still looks really stupid. I know that if this job doesn’t work out, the right reaction is to get another one, and the only way to create is to, you know, create. Until I get the chance to actually experience how situation is working out, though, I guess the fear will have to tumble around for a little while longer.

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True Lincoln Park Tales #2: The Wrong Starbucks

I didn’t like how the first True Lincoln Park Tale came out. So for the future, particularly since part of the purpose of documenting these is to have a record to tap into for future characters, I’m going to handle them like this: working up mildly fictionalized short stories or pastiches about them.

This one is pretty close to what I overheard; a guy was walking down the street behind me, describing his efforts to try to get a job at Starbucks.

The Wrong Starbucks

Kevin wanted to work at Starbucks.

He liked coffee, and he liked people, and he liked mornings. So Starbucks was a perfect job.

He applied, sending resumes to every Starbucks he came across. Nowhere else. He wanted to work at Starbucks and no place else.

No Starbucks hired him, but he did receive a number of calls from managers who were impressed at his credentials and his drive, applying for positions that weren’t open and hadn’t been filled. He spoke to them all, very well. Each manager, no matter how busy, found that he or she truly enjoyed talking to Kevin; he would first politely thank them for calling him personally, and then, with almost preternatural sense, ask about something that just happened to be one of their dearest passions.

None of these conversations ended in less than a half an hour. None ended without a promise on the manager’s part to keep Kevin in mind if anything should open up.

Forty rejections did not faze Kevin. Chicago was home to, what, three hundred Starbucks? He would find a job.

These calls soon took on an even more promising note. Diversey and Halsted was hiring. At least, that was the rumor. No manager could say for certain, but they all seemed to have heard this bit of intelligence through the warm mocha ether.

And for the first time, Kevin resisted. Diversey and Halsted was wrong. He felt it, he knew it, he should not work there.

He even announced the fact to his friends, when they would kindly inquire about his job hunt. They invariably told him that Diversey and Halsted was a great place, and he should give it a try. He ignored them.

But two hundred and fifty-nine Starbucks applications later, Kevin had run out of options. Quivering, he approached the store, entered through it’s artificially clean metal and glass door, and approached the counter.

“May I have a job application, please?”

The barista seemed dazed by this request.

“Yaaaah, ummmm, we filllled that joooob like, to-daaaaay. Annnnd, like, now ahhhhm woooork-ing heeere.”

Kevin left without another word, and walked to his home. He sat in a chair, completely motionless, until he died of thirst six days later.

For Kevin was not himself a terribly bright individual, and though Caribou Coffee was expanding aggressively in the area, he would have a job on his terms or no terms at all.