You Said You Were Nice*

I have been working at Starbucks for awhile now, and some parts of the job are really good. I get five free drinks a day if I want and a free pound of coffee a week. Plus I get a lot of free yogurt (recently expired) that usually costs 3 bucks a piece, and my family was actually fighting over it. Other than the freebies I have met some really awesome girls and a couple guys, and they make the job that much better. I’ve been trying to embrace the fact that I have money coming in and I get to be around people throughout the day. When I was just job hunting I saw my sister, brother-in law, niece, and mother on weekdays and that was about all.

Despite the good parts to the job, I have been having trouble with one of my co-workers. Something about him has really been rubbing me the wrong way. It could be that he always seems to be flirting with the girls he works with, even though he has a girlfriend. It could also be that he’s made it his project to get me to like him. His grand plan to put himself in my good books is to tell really bad jokes to get me to laugh. I do laugh occasionally, but only because I am so uncomfortable. One day he decided to flat out ask me why I didn’t like him, so I said “because you’re creepy. Well maybe just your face is creepy.” To this he responded “you said you were nice when you got hired.” Maybe not the best thing to say, in fact the whole thing seems really high school.

Although I am not proud of my behavior, it makes sense now that I have figured out the reason  that I find him creepy.  That is, he looks and acts so much like my high school boyfriend.

When I was 17 I went to New Brunswick for the summer to help at my uncle’s summer camp. My cousins and there friends also worked there at the time. I was young and impressionable and ended up developing a crush on my cousin’s best friend. Turns out he liked me too. When I got back to Saskatchewan we chatted everyday on MSN Messenger, which now seems so archaic. After a couple weeks of chatting it was pretty clear to both of us that we liked each other, so we decided to try the long distance thing. To maintain a long distance relationship we would talk on the phone every night and IM. Some days we would talk for 4, 5, even 6 hours. Now that seems so nauseating.

After about 3 months of “dating” he started to do a lot of things that bothered me and I thought were unusual. He would get angry if I wanted to go out with my friends instead of staying home and talking to him. He started requiring me to send him pictures of myself so he could make sure I looked okay. And if I didn’t look up to his standards he would ridicule me. I had a lot of guy friends at the time, and we would hang out a few times a week to study. My boyfriend would get mad that they were there and didn’t really want me to hang out with them. Something was really off and I knew that I didn’t want to be treated the way he was treating me anymore. It may not seem serious to some people, but make no mistake it was verbal and emotional abuse. I had tried to break up with him, but he  already planned a visit to come see me. So I let him come. Once he was there in person he didn’t seem as jealous or controlling, so I tried to give him a chance. However, once he was gone again I remembered why I wanted to break up.

At the time I had applied and been accepted to two University’s, and one was in New Brunswick. I prayed hard about where the right school was and if it wasn’t UNB then I knew I needed to break up with him. I woke up one morning with such clarity that it needed to be over and I was to go to University in Alberta. I called and broke up with him. First he cried a lot and then he got angry. His anger turned into him contacting a lot of my family and telling them what a b*tch I was. The sad thing is that some of them believed him. Once I told people how horrible he had been treating me they understood why I “broke his heart”.

I know that was a long story, but it was an even longer few months. So to my co-worker at Starbucks, that is the reason that I find your face creepy. Also, to any girls who are allowing or have allowed a man to treat them as anything less than they deserve, just DUMP HIM, it will make life a lot nicer.


Bank Trauma*

So this past weekend was really not cool. I am still working at Starbucks, but I had seriously been thinking about quitting because it is very unpleasant work. However, it is so an extremely good thing that I didn’t give into the temptation to quit.

I was at work and tried to use my debit to buy something (about 3 dollars) and my card didn’t work. I didn’t think much of it and so I just used my visa instead. Later that night when I was getting ready for bed I decided to check my bank account. I was traumatized to see that my bank account had a balance of zero dollars and that my account was frozen. My only bank account was my student line of credit. All of money went into that account and all my money came out of it, and it was gone. Apparently because I graduated my account was set to be frozen on October 31st, but no body told me that was going to happen. I would love to tell you that I had really learned to be calm about money from my past experiences in the summer, but I didn’t. I had a full out panic attack alone in my room at midnight. It was not pretty. There was a lot of praying, crying, and hyperventilating.

Even though it was a crazy thing for my bank account to get frozen suddenly, looking back I don’t know why I reacted so dramatically. I should know by now that everything always works out, and I do mean always. It’s not always the outcome I would choose or a challenge I’d like to face, but everything always works out despite my panic or worry. And this time it definitely did and I learned lessons along the way.

The resolution to this story is pretty simple actually. I spent my weekend trying to relax and believe that things would be okay. After all, I do have those awesome people in my life helping me out anytime I am in need. Then on Monday before work I went to the bank and this really nice lady helped me create a new account, new visa card, and even was able to get my recent paycheck out of my frozen line of credit. It was pretty easy actually. I may not be the best person with money, but through all my recent money issues I’m figuring it all out.

I Thought I had the Golden Ticket?*

So I’m thinking that I may have been too harsh on the ugly boys in my earlier post. Ugly boys need love too, right?

If you don’t see where this is going, I got a job. At Starbucks. Yay?

I’m think that working there is what I had said I had too much integrity to to do. Turns out desperate times really do call for humility. A lot of it. Don’t get me wrong, I love Starbucks, as a customer.  I am feeling a bit embarrassed that they are the only company that I could convince to hire me. My old English professor told me that all I would ever do with my Sociology degree was work at McDonalds and clean bathrooms. It’s hard to shake the feeling that he’s right. And it pains me to say that since I despised him. We go to University to get our golden ticket to the career we want and this leaves us feeling entitled.  I always thought that people would be begging me to come work for them. Needless to say, that has not happened. Maybe losing that sense of entitlement is a really good thing. Plus I can still look for a great job and not be stressed about money or a time crunch while I do.

So if you’ve ever wondered what training is like at Starbucks here it is:

The first few days consist of you reading a lot of books facts about coffee and Starbucks. Then you get to watch a really boring video about how to put a mop away. Then you practice writing drinks on cups. Today they actually let me make drinks. Not for customers of course. I made every hot drink on the menu for myself and then had to drink them. That is a lot of espresso for one girl to power down in 4 hours. Needless to say I am a little wired. The people there are really nice and one girl showed me how to make whip cream. Making whip cream is everyone’s favorite task because it makes this whoosh sound when you charge them. Turns out those that being a Barista is a lot more work than just making coffee. We have to wipe tables every 10 minutes, clean bathrooms, change the garbage, wash dishes, etc. Plus you have to wear ugly clothes and stand on your feet for 8 hours.

But it gets me lots of free coffee for all my friends and I actually hang out with people during the day, so it’s not so bad.

And Now for Something You Never Expected*

I got home from Prince Albert a couple days ago, and I am very glad to be home. Not that I don’t love my friends and father there, but I really missed Ashley and Zoey. I’m used to seeing them everyday, and they’ve been my sunshine in the rain. But in the 2 weeks that I was there I worked a lot and made a nice amount of money that will carry me until I get a job.

Prince Albert seems a lot different to me now. I used to live there every summer during college. I had guaranteed employment and my parents were there so it made sense. I had built up a lot of relationships and bonds with friends too, and it was great in the summers to have so many cool people to hang out with. However, now my parents are separated and on the way to divorce, so my dad lives in Prince Albert with his fiance and my mom lives in Alberta. I never really thought that I would be here at this point in my life. There is an expectation that if your parents have made it through 25 years together then they’ll be together forever. Not so in my case, and I know that sadly my circumstances are not unique.  Sometimes I think that it would be better if my parents had split when I was a kid because then I would have hopefully been left out of everything. When you are an adult your parents think that they can have crazy expectations. The expectations are the worst part.

I am expected to have no boundaries or personal rights, or at least not enforce them.

I am expected to accept or at least act like I accept everything that has happened, does happen, and will happen.

I am expected to listen to everything but not share my honest feelings on anything.

What I’ve learned through my parents divorce, besides learning to never put my children through a divorce, is that divorce makes people mean, manipulate, and selfish. This seems to be one place where the movies got it right. Divorce sucks.

I Got No Money, but I Love You So*

Money 101 for the Employment Deficient:

1. Be humble. You won’t survive without it.

2. Always have amazing people in your life that you can borrow money from.

3. Budget!

Have you ever run out of money? Well I just did and it’s not so fun. I have been out of school and out of work for just over 4 months, so as expected I am officially poor. I had been really careful with my money, trying to pinch every penny, and mooching off of my very loving and understanding mother. Unfortunately I have lived in Alberta, not as a student, for too long and had to become an Alberta Resident. I love Alberta, but it costs a lot of money to become official here. Switching over my car to Alberta cost around 400 dollars, which is more money than I had in my bank account. I really hate feeling like a mooch. I am a strong, independent woman who should be able to provide for myself, right? However, desperate times call for a lot of humility. So I set my pride aside and asked my sister and her husband for money to pay for my car inspection. Which they happily lent to me with no strings attached.

I have never felt comfortable about money, which is probably why I feel so awkward about borrowing some. While growing up money was always a big deal in our family, mostly because in my younger years our family never really had any. My parents were missionaries in Yellowknife, NWT and then my dad went to school for a number of years to get his education degree. Even once my dad had a job we didn’t seem to have much money because it all went to paying off student loans. My sister and I never really knew growing up that we were monetarily lacking because we always had everything we needed. Food, shelter, clothes, Barbie dolls, we had all the essentials. We started to notice that money was a big stress when we got older and our parents fought about spending a lot. This has made both of us very sensitive about money, especially not having enough. I am usually so careful about it, but when you have no income coming in it’s hard to save for a rainy day.

Since I now have no money in my bank account, I am forced to work, somewhere, anywhere. I am still technically employed at the addictions treatment center that I worked at in Saskatchewan. So, rather than go beg Timmy’s for a job, I am going back to the wonderful City of Prince Albert for 2 weeks to earn some money. Some of you may be thinking, “why didn’t she go back there months ago?” To those people I will refer you back to my post called “When Only the Ugly Boy Asks You Out.” Let’s just say Prince Albert, and maybe Saskatchewan in general, is not for me. I like having people around, and a pretty view. However, I will return for 2 weeks and come back with enough money to live until I find a job. Which I will.

I have an Employment Deficiency*

Some times I think it would better to just stay home. I am feeling much less bummed out about not having a job yet. I’ve been trying to focus on having a good “vacation”. Let’s face it, after going to school for the past 5 years I kind of deserve a break. At least I can hold tight to that feeling when I stay at home or around family. For any of you who are recent grads or have been before you will know what I am talking about. Every time I see a friend or acquaintance the first thing they ask is “have you found a job yet?” And so far my answer is always no. They then usually get this look of pity and say “oh well, something will turn up.” As if that’s a really great statement of encouragement. That, is always then followed by a ton of questions and advice about where I look for work, my resume, interview skills, etc. I know that everyone just cares and wants to know that I’m doing okay, and I appreciate the love. However, it can become very challenging to not care about the fact that I don’t have a job when everyone else keeps bring it up as the only thing in my life.

All of these questions have raised a question of my own. Am I just a new grad on vacation or am I unemployed? I figure that it would be easy to get away with calling it a vacation if I had actually gone somewhere. Unfortunately with no job I cannot afford to travel, so I am in my home town having the Summer of George, Bailey style of course. I always knew that my life would turn into Seinfeld eventually. But what happens when the summer is over and it comes time when I would normally go back to school. Is that when I hit the unemployed phase? I guess I find the term unemployed the most offensive thing. I am college educated and have great experience (though some employers apparently would beg to differ). The term unemployed carries a stigma of someone who is an uneducated and lazy mooch of the system. Maybe I should just coin a new term for unemployed graduates that carries no prejudice. My first brainstorm was “Employability Challenged.” But I  just Googled that, and apparently it is a real term referring to special needs people who need help finding a job. Brainstorm #2 – “I have an Employment Deficiency”.  That sounds pretty official. I guess I’ll try that one next time someone asks.

The Sad Puzzles*

So I have been really bored lately. I am trying really hard to find things to occupy my time and give me some purpose, but it’s not really working. Funny that the thing I have chosen is puzzles. Some of you may think that that sounds super lame, but I really love puzzles. But they also have some sadness too them. When I was growing up I wasn’t always the happiest kid. We lived in a really small town in Northern Saskatchewan and so there was not much to do or many people to do anything with. This, accompanied by the fact that my parents fought what seemed like constantly, led to me sitting in the basement with my sister watching cartoons and doing a puzzle. Even when I became a teenager  I still would do puzzles anytime I had a bad day. My family eventually started equating puzzles to depression. If I was doing a puzzle in the basement it meant that something was wrong. If I also happened to be watching Pearl Harbor then something was really wrong.  I guess it makes sense that when I’m going through a hard time in my life I turn to a childhood coping mechanism. It makes even more sense when you know that my parents are going through a divorce, hence they are fighting a lot. I think I turn to puzzles because I can focus all my attention on solving something. I am naturally a problem solver, so when I can’t fix something I get frustrated. According to Steve Harvey’s book Think Like a Man, Act Like a Lady this is a strong quality of a man. He says that men will listen to the problem, give a solution, and then move on. They get really frustrated if you keep talking about a problem after they told you how to solve it. So apparently I am a man.

I think another big reason that I am so frustrated with not finding a job is that I don’t have that thing to go do and distract me from other issues. I don’t have a routine or reason for getting up and going. Every day I wake up, run, shower, get dressed, do hair and make up, then go to hang out with my sister and niece (who are amazing). I’m starting to feel as though I’m just complaining, and no one finds that very attractive. Many people would kill for a couple months off. And I’m sure that once I actually get a job I will be wishing I had more time off. It’s similar to when you start dating. I used to date a lot when I was younger, but I always seemed to seek out the biggest loser around and date him.  Now I have realized that I dated them because I wasn’t happy with myself so I sought approval through men. Once I realized I was doing this I stopped dating all together for the last 3 years. Seems like a long time, and it is, but I am so glad that I took that time to work on myself. I finally feel confident in who I am and I am happy being alone. I want to find someone, fall in love, and get married but I am truly okay with it not happening immediately. After going through that process I now believe that unless you are okay enough with who you are to be alone, you shouldn’t be dating. I’m thinking that I should adopt that philosophy with job hunting. I need to get to a place where I am cool with not having a “purpose” as defined by a job. My purpose should be to learn be happy and passionate with life no matter the circumstances. That seems like a better focus than puzzles.

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