Apparently, I have an attitude problem. Until recently I was unaware that I had an attitude. Most people who know me would say that I am laid-back, passive and nonconfrontational. Last week I had a schizophrenic moment, and the attitude appeared. Out of nowhere. It completely took over me.
While most people got the hell out of Isla Vista the second their last final was done, I chose to work at the good ol’ Arbor. I got up and dragged my ass out of bed, just so I could be there, ready for those poor souls taking finals at 8 a.m. on Friday. Well, I should have just stayed in bed. The attitude started festering in those wee morning hours. Maybe it was because I found myself understaffed, maybe it was because three shipments had come in, or maybe it was because some drugged-out freak stared at me before the store opened because he really needed a Mountain Dew at 7 a.m. I could feel the attitude festering, but I tried to hide it.
My schizophrenic moment came when I got hungry. Like most girls – although none will admit to it – I like to eat. If I don’t eat, I get bitchy, like having a bad case of PMS. Suddenly, the attitude I had been trying to hide came out with vengeance. I got pissed. I ranted. I raved. I whined. And then I did the unthinkable. I got really pissed at my managers.
I have been working hard at the Arbor for two and a half years. Much longer than anyone should. Every day my regular customers come and greet me with those weary eyes and watery mouths. I put on a smile, help them find a cinnamon bagel, bran muffin or oatmeal cookie, and send them on their way. One appreciative customer even wrote the head manager to let him know how much she appreciated the service. I owned that store; in fact, I had been there longer than the managers. I had been through six different ones. New workers came to me with their problems. The delivery guys came to me when they had questions. Not to toot my own horn, but fuck, I was a damn good worker.
Well the day the attitude came out was also the day that forever changed my life. My managers were pissed! I apologized profusely. I let them know that I was wrong. I let them know that things would change and I would not be like this anymore. They thought about it – you know, enough to let me come in at 6:45 a.m. every fucking day of Spring Break. Well the Wednesday of Spring Break they dropped the bomb on me: “We do not want you back next quarter,” they said. I sat there stunned. “You can still work at other units, like Nicoletti’s or Buchanan.” Oh, well fucking thanks! I have been a fucking supervisor for two years and you are allowing me to work somewhere else like I am a new hire. “We’ll let the other managers know that two good supervisors are in a need of a good home.” Umm, did you hear what you just said, two good supervisors?
So, my schizophrenic moment got me in trouble. Although I drowned my sorrows away by going to Vegas, I had to come back to reality. A lesson for all those poor souls out there working for UCen Dining or any other on-campus job: No matter how hard you work, how long you have worked at your job or how much your co-workers like you, if you try to take the slightest bit of power away from a student – yes, student – manager, you are fucked. Royally. I mean, who is going to hire a graduating senior for 10 weeks of work? Now I am trying to pretend that I have money and keep myself in a self-induced drug haze just so I can survive the next 10 weeks. I count myself thankful, though. I have learned life’s hard lessons early on. Being a useless lump, not actually doing work, not actually acknowledging customers and being powerless will get you farther in life. Thank you, UCen Dining!
Becky Quiles is a senior sociology major.