A change of pace today, but still somewhat related.
I wanted to write this post months ago, but I was afraid of someone from work reading it and criticizing me. So instead, I waited until I quit and wasn’t working there anymore.
I guess the time has come.
My job was not at all glorious in any sense of the word. I worked in fast food and let me tell you something…
If you need a job, fast food will always have an opening…because working in fast food is hell on Earth. Everyone quits the moment they get the chance. Or at least the smart ones do.
The job demands that you work very hard for the absolute minimum the company is willing to pay you, with barely any recognition of your hard work, and be scolded for what you did wrong, even when whatever it is you did wrong was completely unavoidable because either what they asked you to do was impossible to begin with or you didn’t even know the proper way of doing it because no one taught you how, but somehow you were supposed to know anyways.
There’s no training in fast food. At least, not at my job.
You learn as you go. Kind of like life.
Usually when I do these posts, I make a list of all the things something has taught me. But this time, I only have one important thing my job has taught me.
Something that really opened my eyes.
When I first started working there, I didn’t like it very much. I was slow and made lots of embarrassing mistakes.
But the thing I hated the most was working the drive thru.
There are more or less three steps to working the drive thru.
Take the order, prepare the order, charge the customer, serve the order, repeat.
Now, on a good day, you have one person charging the customer and serving the order, and another taking and preparing the order.
But that’s during the day. At night, it’s usually just one person. Just one. Who has to take the order. Prepare the order. Charge the customer. And serve the order.
It wouldn’t even be that difficult if preparing the order didn’t involve traveling from one side of the kitchen to the other.
Oh and by the way, you’re timed.
I hated it. When I first started working, I dreaded the days when I was assigned the drive thru.
I believed it was impossible. That what they wanted me to do was impossible for any human to do and the people who devised this were sadistic sons of bitches who enjoyed torturing desperate, broke people who’d do anything to pay their bills.
But the reason I hated it wasn’t because it was impossible, it was because I sucked at it.
I was horrible. And I hated being bad at anything. I was/am a perfectionist after all.
But time passed and even though I wanted to quit, I knew I couldn’t. Or at least I convinced myself I couldn’t.
So I stopped thinking how impossible the job was or how sadistic the bosses were, and actually tried to figure out how to do better.
It got easier.
The first time I did an entire night shift by myself without needing help felt great. Accomplished even.
I was making progress.
At the time when I quit, it was my favorite position. It was easy. It was to the point I sometimes enjoyed doing it by myself more than being helped (once I got a rhythm, other people just ruined my flow).
The lesson here?
No matter how hard or impossible learning a new skill seems to be, never quit. The initial discomfort and hate will pass and soon it’ll be effortless.
This applies to EVERYTHING.
I should have noticed this sooner. Years ago, before the Air Force, I couldn’t run a single lap without stopping. It felt like dying. When I graduated boot camp, I could easily run a mile (the threat of repeating boot camp was a great motivator to stick with it).
I rarely noticed this in other parts of my life because since I wasn’t being paid and hadn’t signed a contract, I often quit before I got past the OMG I HATE THIS period, thinking it was a sign that this wasn’t for me.
I quit drawing. I quit the violin. I quit filmmaking (and I didn’t even try, the mere idea made me extremely uncomfortable).
I wonder what would have happened if I stuck with it even during that “I suck at this!” phase and kept going like I did with my job?
What will happen now as I stick with writing, get back to art, and try my hand at filmmaking regardless of my discomfort?
What would happen if we applied the same level of discipline and integrity to the things we feel we have no choice about to the the things we actually want to do?
Lets find out, shall we?
(Points to anyone who notice how my thoughts/thinking created my reality in my drive thru hell scenario. I highlighted some clues in case you missed it).