Monday, March 14, 2011

There's a blaze of light in every word

Back when work was fun

Happy Pi Day Everyone!

It seems like my coworkers and guests have all been conspiring to force me to take a good, hard look at my life and my "career" choices recently. The weather here in the Chi is beginning to warm up which means the busy season is rapidly going to be upon us, which means my daily contemplations of taking advantage of the city's unenforceable handgun ban to shoot myself in the face is nigh.

It's not that I mind being busy, it's just that I mind the proportionate increase in people who are difficult, mean for no reason, unreasonably demanding, and lacking in basic human decency and compassion. A discussion with one bartender about how hard it would break into the corporate branch of our company, a guest wondering why I didn't go work somewhere fancier with better tippers, and a conversation with a different bartender about whether this location was giving me ideas on how not to run a restaurant have all reminded me that I intend to move up in this company. The Boy has begun rather frequently wondering out loud why I don't just quit and go work somewhere that has less stress and a bigger payoff and to be honest, some days I very seriously consider it. I'm 99% sure that when I move back to the suburbs my old location will welcome me back with open arms, whether or not I stayed with the company here in the city.

I then remind myself of a few things. One, getting a new job is not a guarantee. Two, I'm not a quitter. Three, I get my health insurance through work. Four, if I really do intend to move up to the corporate level quitting would reflect poorly upon me. Five, it's only five more months. They made me a "training coach" pretty much as soon as they let me into the bar here at the downtown TGIF, and a recent coach meeting actually managed to have an impact on me. This particular bartending job with this particular company requires an acceptance of what is often referred to as "corporate bullshit". If you're not willing to do what seems like ridiculous, disingenuous protocol then this company is not for you and you can feel free to leave peacefully to go work someplace where there isn't an expectation that you ask every guest if they're a member of our rewards program and invite them back, regardless of whether they're tourists from Bangkok who could barely communicate with you. In essence, be willing to be a corporate robot.

I can do this. This, I think, will help me cope with the imminent increase in business (and therefore evilness). Being able to tell myself that, while at work, I'm not Cathi, I'm TGICathi and what happens here is not a reflection of my true self and no matter what people say they're not commenting on my actual worth will make the days go by more easily. I can look at my remaining five months as an opportunity to study, to watch and learn. This place is just so different from Bolingbrook that I'm telling myself it's an invaluable learning experience to know what it's like to do six million dollars in sales a year, to experience different managerial styles, and to see what it takes to operate with a huge staff of diverse people.

With all that said, I'm going to take a deep, calming breath and get ready for work tonight. I will smile, I will suggestively sell, and I will card each and every person who appears to be under 40 years old (and I will only accept valid, current, government issued IDs--I'm looking at you, Guy From Apple Yesterday With The 3-Year Expired ID Who Left In A Huff When I Refused To Get Him A Blue Moon).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Marrying Kind

I think this entry is going to end up being a lot of things.

Wedding planning is daunting, and I say this as a mere Wedding Recruit (aka Maid of Honor) for the Poncho Wedding Extravaganza. Daunting can be both good and bad, it just means there's a lot of choices, a lot of information, and a TON of distractions. Fortunately for me, I can immerse myself into this project and allow myself to be distracted by the shiny things, the pretty things, and the hilarious antics of anonymous brides without having to worry about money, deadlines, or letting anyone down.

It has raised a lot of questions in my own mind regarding my own relationship. I've tried very hard over the last five years not to compare my relationship to Poncho's but I'm willing to admit that it's difficult not to. We started dating our dudes more or less within a week of each other back in 2006 and being the same age and going through the same timeline with undergrad and all, well, I don't think you can fault me too much for occasionally making mental Venn Diagrams. I always knew it was a bad idea to do this, if only because comparing your life to others' is never an advised activity. Poncho and I go about things very differently; relationships beings the crowning jewel of our differences. We expect different things from our partners, our communications skills are on opposite ends of the spectrum, and as time went on our academic and professional life paths diverged. Trying to compare my relationship with hers is like trying to compare cats and dogs. Everyone has their preferences and opinions, but at the end of the day they're entirely different animals.

Not that this hasn't stopped me from watching her get engaged and begin wedding planning with a tinge of envy and wondering to myself "why isn't this me?" The Boy and I have been together for five years now, we're happier together than we've ever been, we've occasionally discussed our wedding (ranging from the less-serious "let's bake brownies instead of a cake and have people vote whose they like best" to the much more serious "you know I refuse to convert to Catholicism, right?") and we quite often speculate about a life together. So, why aren't we a mirror image of my best friend and her boyfriend? Well, a hundred reasons, but none more important that "Because. That's why."

I mean let's be honest, I'm not ready to be a wife. Not yet. This doesn't mean that we're not in love, or that our relationship sucks or that I'm experiencing doubts or some need to go sow my wild oats (or whatever it is single people say when celebrating their singleness). It just means I have some personal goals I need to accomplish before I can even realistically entertain the thought. This is something that I've had to remind myself what feels like a thousand times in the last month, and something I will have to continue to remind myself as the excitement for Poncho Wedding Extravaganza ramps up. I'm happy with The Boy. I'm happy with where we are, and who we are together. We're right where we should be, doing what we need to be.

Life is not a competition. Other things are, like bartending, debate, or which sister is prettier and more successful. But not life.