I had to say no today. Not like ‘no coffee for me thanks anyway’ kinda no, but a no to a job.
At the moment I am broke, like twenty bucks to my name broke. I have food in the fridge and a great warm bed, so I am not at dire straits yet. But I need a job. This week.
Funny, because this time last week (with forty bucks to my name) I got a job. Got a call from a restaurant, had a trial, they loved me, hired me and I had my first shift last Friday.
I applied for this job because I love people, I love food, and I love putting those two things together (I think I was an italian nona in my past life). My idea of fun is hosting four course dinner parties for the people I love (when I have more than fourty bucks in my wallet). I am at uni, and waitressing just fitted, it is part time, and night time.
This restaurant is amazing, great food, phenomenal craft beer and wines from family owned vineyards, tapas style dishes, and a great crew working there. The first hour of my shift on Friday night I was stood in front of four half-full glasses of wine and beer which had been introduced to the drinks list that week. I was told about their hops, the river water they were made from, and brambly undertones as I swirled and sniffed and tried to look like I knew what I was doing. I understand that knowing the product is a huge part of the job, and getting have a glass of two of wine to kick off the shift is a treat.
But it did not sit right with me.
A few weeks ago I made a decision not to drink for the rest of the year. This decision was with a different air to how I normally make decisions. I identify with a being an all-or-nothing kinda gal. When I make these announcements to the world, my good mates take it with a grain of salt; “I am a Vegan”, “I am doing a Iron Man”, you get the idea. This time that not going to drink idea came with a lets see how this goes.
So although these boozy samples at the restaurant did not make me want to go and drink till I got naked and was swimming in the ocean at 5am, it was a bit of a moment of noticing. Noticing that hey, I am not sure I want this job if this is what I have to do.
After what seemed to me a hectic night, the chef made us dinner, another bonus of hospo work. I took my dinner upstairs to the small cloak room. As I sat at the desk with the computer glow illuminating my dinner I took a moment. Checked it out. Beef sliders, pork belly with apple puree and sauerkraut, pumpkin gnocchi and sour dough. I kinda pressed my lips together, and stared. Is this what I will be eating at midnight, four nights a week? For this night it was a Yes, and I inhaled my tapas as the computer screen moved from 12:23 to 12:26. The skills of a waitress, inhuman food eating capabilities.
Saturday morning, 11am, and I roll out of bed with last nights mascara on, and I am buggered. Like to the bone buggered. There is a lot to be said for being match fit, and I was not it. I was rostered on for that night, and ruminating on it all day, to the point of anxiety and tears, I knew that this was not for me. This place although great, was not where I wanted to be. It did not align with what I am doing at the moment, and even though I only have 20 bucks, I could not bring myself to return. I don’t think it is pride as much as my bodies physical reaction to the idea of returning. I know friends who have given up jobs as it did not align with who they were, or what they stood for. I think it is admirable. My version of this did not look admirable. After a rehearsed spiel, I called the boss and lied, saying I dislocated my knee (awful person!). Instant relief, but I was rostered on the next day, so I knew the thanks but no thanks conversation was imminent.
That very conversation just happened, not moments ago. It was akward, I was not clear, and had to repeat what I was trying to articulate, i.e. I am not coming in. Ever.
Why O Why is it so hard to say no? I am not rejecting the guy personally, nor the establishment (although after seeking my mum’s council she advised me I was, see here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAYL5H46QnQ ). I don’t know if it is societies influence, my own personality, or the fact that I was bought up to be polite to people, but it is hard to veto people, or in this case opportunities. Being offered this job, and declining it feels like I am rejecting everyone and anyone who enjoys the occasional boozy, late night with indulgent food. I italicise feels, because although intellectually I am not rejecting anyone and everyone, it feels (in-my-body kinda feels) like I am being judgmental. That is the only reason that I can think of, of why saying no is so hard. Being self preserving in my ideals and energy is not just about standing for what I believe in, but it is being strong enough to say no to the things that I don’t want in my life. Tony Robins watch out.