Some of you may know that I have been working in a pub for the last four months. This came about after I had run out of all available sources of money and had failed to deliver the goods on a sales launch that I had been involved with since the beginning of the year which followed me leaving the company I had co-created and built for the preceding fifteen years. That company has since then been asset stripped and lies broken and lost. The speed with which that happened is still shocking to me and I have grieved for the lost potential for my employees and fellow director and its comfort and stability for me personally many times over during 2015.
Part of the experience of my own “Ground Zero” has been to get really clear that I needed money and to go out and find some way, anyway really, to generate enough to live on from week to week. I gathered my pride and headed off to ask for work from someone I had met recently, who I knew was looking for staff and liked and I thought I would at least be able to do this and find my useful place once more. It was apparent that I needed to at least feel useful, I very definitely did not want to be a liability or a weight for anyone. I had already left my business and it foundered, my home and children and they were suffering the loss of me and I needed to at least support myself even if I couldn’t be a support to them in the way I had been used to.
Well, dear reader, it hasn’t worked out like that. My thinking was so clouded when I started the work I wasn’t able to take on all the information I was receiving in the way I might have expected to in the past. I couldn’t retain information that was given to me on the hoof during a busy shift, assimilate it and then continue. I was great with the customers but I didn’t understand the various ways in which the landlord wanted the interactions managed. My instincts were apparently wrong about who was to be encouraged and who was to be discouraged. The dimly lit bar, when cleaned at night after a busy shift, did not pass muster the following day when viewed in daylight. The till was short, the tips had to be left in, then sometimes taken out in other circumstances. The younger staff were also subjected to scrutiny, and regularly hauled over the coals and when I suggested mitigating circumstances I was told I was protecting them. I have had two before work meetings to tell me where I have fallen short and that “this isn’t rocket science”. In short I have been failing, and failing badly, whilst still to my regular customers seeming like a person who is entirely capable and who, in fact, kept the pub open during a power cut and them happy.
This sense of dissonance is what is most difficult to me about this circumstance, whose assessment do I trust of my abilities? I know I struggle with maths sometimes but I even did the BBC giving change game to make sure that I was calculating correctly and I passed, everytime, with full marks and in time. Can I not do even this job properly, or is something else at play here?
Perhaps, in deliberately putting myself into a new environment I have stretched myself and failed and got back up again and repeated that process. Perhaps this is both a failure and a success in that I have failed repeatedly but I have carried on, going back in for every shift even when I am so stressed by what I perceive to be criticism that I have triggered an anxiety attack that has me light headed, off balance and feeling nauseous. I have not let anyone down except myself by not speaking up, not asking him to get off my back and let me do my work and not believing what is implied about my abilities.
I still don’t think I will do that. I can’t be certain that I am not the problem that the till is down at times but I will just say this. Last week on a Friday, the till was down £20 and it was implied that I had given out the wrong change, however on Monday when I checked my wages I had £20 too much in it. I haven’t received an apology yet, I don’t think I will.