Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Truth is in the Pattern

I have a retention problem and although I'm not alone, because this isn't an isolated incident but a pattern I've developed, it's forcing me to make a difficult and honest evaluation of myself. Many people struggle with maintaining employment in this economy but unlike others I obtain the interview and get hired often. I'm very impressionable. However the duration of my employment is tragically. I suppose I should be grateful to find work and I am. I'm aware of how far worse off I can be, but this circumstance affects my self-esteem nonetheless.

I'm not being immodest when I say I'm intelligent. I'm quick-minded but in a paradoxical sort of way. I process information slowly and retain details about as efficiently as trying to hold onto water in your hands. That doesn't sound very quick-minded, right? It'd be fair to question my judgment and there's no way for me to prove what I'm saying, but I know what I know. It's a futile effort to convince anyone. Every argument has its flaws. For example, my intelligence has been measured and confirmed. But so has Einstein's and his test score revealed him to be an idiot when, in fact, he's a genius.

My most recent job has lasted exactly two days. I was hired as a Bartender in virtually the easiest environment. As a "bartender", I didn't have to mix any cocktails. It was pouring bottle into glasses with obvious labels and there were only six different beers offered. I understood the procedures and executed them without a problem.

The most important part of this job was to be a natural conversationalist. I was told we serve the customers, keep them company, and the sexier we dress, the better. Of course that sounds more like a sexual hostess than a bartender, right? Especially since mixing drinks apparently wasn't part of the job duty.

I'd be neglectful to not consider this possibility especially since it's a Korean bar. (I'm not being racist. I believe there are cultural truths to certain stereotypes. To notice them is a sign of basic observational skills. It's when you judge the individual based on a generalization that I consider you to be racist, and that's not what I'm doing. I'm merely acknowledging an aspect of the Korean culture). Now that I feel I adequately explained myself, I can continue to proceed with my point...

Korean bars are notorious for a flirtatious environment because it's a part of their culture. Women are expected to entertain them. Bartenders play a certain eye candy appeal, as well. If any other bar told me I had to talk to the customers and dress sexy, I wouldn't have been alarmed because that's the nature of bartending. But I must admit the cultural factor did concern me,

When I first interviewed I had my reservations, but they quickly dissipated. I discovered that this bar actually attracts considerably exceptional people. It's surrounded by businesses and people who aren't known to sleep and drinking socially after hours is a lifestyle. Most places where you can drink nearby are party scenes. So this bar is a sanctuary for people who want to gather, drink, socialize, and not be bothered by the hype.

The first group that came were lawyers who have a law firm across the street. Most of the guys talked amongst themselves. There was only one guy who conversed with me and that's because we grew up in the same hometown. We talked about the mock trial in my high school and a few other things that bonded us. If it weren't for that, I would've stood there in silence.

Throughout the course of the night, I realized that these men weren't looking to be pervs at all. One guy wanted a drink and talk briefly about sports. There was also a dentist who's suite was right next to the bartending school I attended. I hear he's pretty reputable, as well. I may have even spoken with him before. I remember him saying that he doesn't enjoy going out. His roommate, however, does, and he was there that night, but he's a firefighter and EMT. I could tell because he knew some of my buddies and was familiar with the scene. They live close by and wanted to do something without getting sucked into the clubbing scene. Because we offer bottle service and hold bottles for customers once for up to a month, the bar encourages a demographic of regular customers.

The job was ridiculously easy. I'd open a bottle and pour. I didn't have to make cocktails. I understood how to work the cash register. And I'd chit chat. I'm known to be a conversationalist. It's depressing when someone gets fired from a job like this because it's really difficult to fail at it. There are some factors that suggest maybe it has less to do with my performance and more to do with the expectation and accurate prediction that I wouldn't be willing to cross a certain line, but I'm not sure that's what this was.

The night I was let go, I was having difficulty carrying conversations with customers. Most of them were speaking Korean, so I was unable to communicate with them. These are understandable factors. However the other new girl who had the same challenge somehow managed to get some sort of dialogue going. There was a depressed drunk guy I was asked to cheer up by talking about anything, and I wasn't able to remove that heavy presence of drunken sadness and belligerence. Another girl managed to get him to open up by just standing there, which was the same thing I was doing.

I was friendly but not inappropriately. In fact, there were other girls who have been there for a while and they were far less friendly. They didn't always have dialogue going, either. I felt like for some reason I was outcasted. But I'm not certain it was invalid. I sensed a gray area with me that isolated me from the other girls.

You know how sometimes someone dresses provocatively but is still following all of the rules? They're covering themselves up and aren't showing any skin. Sometimes their natural figure results in a provocative outcome without any real effort. Then there are some girls who can wear more revealing clothes and yet they don't portray that same provocative essence. The covered up girl isn't any less provocative, though. I feel like I was stuck in a similar trap. While some of the girls weren't friendly and didn't carry conversations, they still seemed like they belonged there and it was appropriate for them to stay, while I be let go. There's also the fact that the other girl was able to overcome the same obstacles I couldn't.

It may seem silly to put so much attention on something like this, but I've been frustrated for so long. I feel like I gain employment only to be immediately terminated regardless of the complexities. So when I lose such a simple job, it really strains my self-esteem. Not to sound disrespectful but when an unintelligent person is unable to perform certain tasks, it's unfortunate but also congruent with their shortcomings. I have the qualities required and yet somehow I manage to fail at execution. I feel like I have no excuse for being inadequate. So why does it keep happening?

With this most recent job, it revealed weaknesses even within my strengths. I'm a natural conversationalist and yet it's difficult for me to navigate in certain realms. I've expressed frustrations when my friends speak their native language in front of me when they can all speak English well. Yes, it's rude, but no other foreigners they surround themselves with seem to struggle with it as much as I do. I don't get upset; I just find myself unable to insert myself into their conversations. Others don't seem to have that same problem.

I feel like I never get a break. The nearby, convenient, and decently paying job with responsibilities I should be able to fulfill doesn't work out. It was ridiculously easy, too! But here's another dimension I must address. There were five of us working that night and at one point they all left me alone at the bar, while the rest of them went into a karaoke room. Was it really necessary for all of them to go in, while leaving me behind? Although I'm not incapable of serving drinks and working the cash register, it's a little odd to leave the new girl by herself when there's so many girls present, right? It's also worth noting that I don't speak Korean, so it's in their best interest to keep me accompanied by someone who can speak that language. If they felt my employment should be terminated, why would they leave me to tend the bar alone?

Something doesn't add up. At the end of the day, I was terminated. It's easy to brush this off as a realization on their part that I won't entertain the customers any further than what's professional. That's what my friend believes, and it's a logical conclusion. But it doesn't take away from my shortcomings, which seem to be a highlight in every employment opportunity. It may not ultimately be the reason why I was let go, but that's more circumstantial than anything.

I've been hiding from the truth out of embarrassment, but denial only lasts so long before the truth becomes clearer. I'm unable to perform basic job duties because my memory fails me in a severe way. I'll be asked to post a flier in a specific location and after ten steps, I'll immediately forget where I'm supposed to go. I wish I could say it's complicated, but it's usually something as simple as Kitchen B, instead of Kitchen A. I'll forget that a full day's parking is the equivalent of two tickets, so I'll put way more stickers by calculating in 15 minute intervals. I'd forget a vital step such as scanning documents before faxing it and filing it away. These are common procedures I shouldn't struggle with and yet I do A LOT.

Even with this blog entry, I began writing it on a Word document before I was able to get online and continue writing it on here. I forgot and was baffled on the Word document because I couldn't find the newer information I wrote. Yet I knew the Word document didn't lose any information. So I began re-writing when my memory reconnected. This may seem small but these "small" issues are constant and frequent. And much like small weapons, they have a destructive consequence.

It surprises people and I'm sure it makes them question if I do any drugs. I don't drink or smoke. I don't even drink caffeine or soda. It'd be frightening the way my memory fails me if it didn't become so mundane. I feel like I'm trapped in a cycle of insanity. The definition of insanity being that you do the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome because I obtain work with this intuitive knowledge that I'll be shortly terminated. It's more than a negative, self-fulfilling prophecy. Everything has energy and when you're exposed to something long enough, the signs become easy to identify. But I can't afford to deny work? So I'm basically sacrificing my self-esteem for short-term income. It's costing me more than the job description indicates.

I hate this cycle of gaining employment only to be fired, feel inadequate, and repeat the process over and over again. There are tons of work where I want to find employment and my experience matches what they're looking for. But it never seems to work out. I feel like the only job I'll be able to perform is being a cashier at minimum wage. Not only would that devastate me, but it's not realistic financially. Beggars can't be choosers. I know that. And frankly my pride is being torn to shreds that I no longer feel so resistant or able-minded for such a menial job. I'm saddened because I feel that it's all I can do without a problem. But I can't make enough money that way even full-time. I can't afford to work so many hours to get paid so little that I'm unable to find time or energy to get paid elsewhere.

If I were to be honest, I feel I have no business in an office-support setting. This is also where I gain the most employment. It's for such a short amount of time that unemployment insurance is unable to compensate me. I'm not efficient enough as a bartender to work in a bar setting. Many of them are too fast-paced for me. I don't have the best balance for catering. I have to diversify my skills, but even then, I'm still limited to what I can do with my memory challenges. I feel helpless, but for now I'm going to end this entry because Office Team offers free training programs. So I want to empower myself. Til next time!