Vocabulary Vixen

July 21, 2009

Sheer ingenuity, I tell you!

Filed under: Health and Well-Being — VocabularyV @ 2:07 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

I got this neat little promotion at my job at the coffee shop recently. I’m ECSTATIC about it, it is a promotion that I have been seeking for a year now, and I am happy that they’ve got the confidence in me to step up to the plate. Of course, I had a few hiccups along the way of getting here. Namely in the fact that it took me an entire year to adjust from being a night owl to waking up WAY TOO EARLY in the morning for my own damn good, but I’ve made the adjustment.

Painstakingly, I have quelled the urge to rip my eyeballs out every morning when the alarm goes off at 4:30AM. I have excruciatingly and achingly scraped myself out of bed every single morning for at least five days a week for an entire year. I have actually, physically used a life-sized barbed spatula to SCRAPE my tired, bleary, and heavily unwilling ass to work every day. Once I’m at work, I’m fine, but it’s waking up and getting out of bed when my body is going: “Just five more minutes… or, y’know, you *can* just skip work today. Sure, you’ll be out of a job, but hey, you’ll be well-rested and out of the job.” With the other side saying: “YOU IDIOT! DON’T LISTEN TO THAT! GET YOUR HAPPITY-ASS MOOOOOVING! NOW! SERIOUSLY! GO! YOU’LL BE LATE!” and then side one replies: “No, if you won’t stay in bed for the day, just stay 2 minutes longer. You’ll make it.” “NO! GO NOW! NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW!!! YOU’RE GOING TO BE LATE! THERE’S A FIRE! IT’S YOUR ASS! RUUUUUN! GO GO GO GO!!!”

The fight each and every day to wake up, get up and get moving is epic. It is a full-orchestra operatic Lord of the Rings battle Epic. It is two violent forces, each with equal strength, locked in a high-school wrestling match stranglehold for the winner. Every single day. Somehow, rational thinking always wins out on this one, and I roll out of bed, already exhausted from the fight, pull some pants on, scramble around for my work t-shirt, if I’m lucky, brush my hair, and then I am off on my bleary way to walk to work. For the longest time, I was only 1-2 minutes late. If you’d like to know the value of 1 minute, ask the person who has a spotless record other than that one minute every single day and can’t get promoted. And no matter what, it seems like they WON’T promote that person until they move over that one minute hump. I’ve worked my ASS of to move over that 1-minute hump. My ass has worked it’s ass off to move over the 1-minute hump. Some days I’ve got it, some days not. The thing is, my brain is highly disagreeable when it thinks that it’s being underutilized. It is unruly, and won’t listen to me. It will twiddle its thumbs until I’ve got 30 seconds to make an hour drive, and then it races pell-mell-oh-my-god-the-state-of-Iowa-is-on-fire to get there!! I’ve always wondered WHY I’ve got this issue. I can’t ever seem to get motivated to get moving just a LITTLE TINY BIT EARLIER. Well, I’m one of those tricky individuals that flourishes with extra responsibilities and pressure, and *WILL* get that ass into gear ONLY when I’ve got the extra challenge of working a l’il harder. In other words, I do really well when I’m in a “learning” state, but as soon as I’ve learned it, if I don’t keep my mind active with new and creative challenges, I get bored. My brain will distract itself into stimulation (being late).

How does this work with the real world? It doesn’t. The real world doesn’t like the person that’s one minute late. It’s as though your entire value as an employee, no matter how awesome you are in every single other respect, that one minute will crush you down like a tamper in a portafilter. I know this. I’ve known this intellectually for a very, VERY long time. Yet, it took me an entire year to get over that one-minute hump.

But, I did it. I’ve done enough morning fighting, begging, pleading, cajoling with my body to make it at the very least on time, most of the time. Even though when I was the underling, I could usually jam out the opening responsibilities in a quick 20 minutes. So, the evil half of my brain knew that the store would open on time, and the world would keep turning. It didn’t actually matter if I was on time, because I knew that I would haul ass once I got there and I would be ready in more than enough time. So it didn’t matter if I was on time or not (to my brain). That was irrelevant. Until I wanted a promotion. And I couldn’t get a promotion. And I wanted that promotion more than anything in the world. I knew that that promotion would be the key to my sanity. I knew that with the added challenge and responsibilities, my brain would enjoy and relish the extra work. But I couldn’t get myself to win that Daily Epic Battle of Self.

But then I did. I won. I won the battle. Somehow, I got over the hump. Everything clicked, and I was on time once. And then I made it early another time. Bit by bit, centimeter by centimeter, I crawled toward that “On Time” mark. I knew I wanted the promotion. I knew that it would be the key out of disillusionment and discontent. I was bored! But I plowed through the boredom and repetition, second by second. Instead of being 1-5 minutes late to every shift during the week, I whittled it down to 1-3 minutes. Then 1-2. Then I was on time. 0-2. That was the little tiny bit that prevented the promotion, but I knew that once promoted, I wouldn’t have a problem being on time. Because, for some reason, that higher step enables my brain to function more appropriately when it comes to this ADD mental time-warp.

Then I got promoted.


I am the one in charge! I choose what happens when. According to my brain, I am DEFINITELY getting out of bed earlier because it is my responsibility, and now that I am operating on a higher level, I must be on time. I am borderline paranoid about being late now, even though I know that I’m the one with The One Key To Rule Them All, but I’ve got to be on time. The World Will End If I Am Not On Time!! Even By 30 Seconds, The World Will Come Crashing Down. My brain is enjoying the new challenge. WHY it couldn’t have hopped to it earlier and done this BEFORE the promotion, I dunno. Oh yeah. It’s called ADD.

Now, being Ultimate Supremo Newly Promoted, I’m left scratching my head, trying to figure out how to be the one in charge, and how to choose appropriately what happens when.

This is really the first time I’ve ever had this responsibility… And this power… I don’t want to abuse it, for sure. But there is a definite trick to it, and I’m figuring it out, slowly but surely. I’m finding my rhythm, and I’m enjoying the process of trying to figure it out. I would have liked for my first solo shift to have been yesterday (Monday), but there was a scheduling glitch – as in, EVERYBODY and their brother HAD to go to the music festival this weekend. Which, since our staff is mainly comprised of musicians, most everybody was gone.
Everybody and their brother, leaving me to deal with ALL-TIME NUMBER ONE DIFFICULT PAIN IN THE BUTT COWORKER THAT I CANNOT GET ALONG WITH NO MATTER WHAT. No matter how I try, she will not give me the time of day. I’ve tried being nice to her for far longer than I should have, and she’s done nothing but take advantage of it and treat me like utter shit, under every single circumstance. And after awhile, I can only take so much.

She’s an insecure, miserable control freak of a person, and I do very sincerely hope that she finds her way in life. And stops making people her enemies that aren’t actually her enemies. There’s no reason to be combative, especially with me. I’ve gone to GREAT lengths to be nice and just generally agreeable. Even though I would rather rip my own eyeballs out than be nice, and I would rather punch her in the face, I have still given a HUGE effort. – For FAR LONGER THAN NECESSARY! I save combative for OUTSIDE of the workplace. Why? Because the words “immature” and “unprofessional” come to mind. ! I did NOT enjoy this weekend-trying to figure the supervisor thing out while under an oppressive cloud of something unpleasant that I can’t quite identify, but really feels like “I HATE YOU!!!” …Verified by the utter lack of eye contact. Or contact in general, unless absolutely necessary. I’ve tried REALLY, REALLY hard to get along with this coworker. I still gritted my teeth and tried REALLY, REALLY hard to strike up conversation. “Hi. How are you?” Only to be met with a disapproving glance down and silence. Great. Thanks.

Seriously, trying to talk to her would have been more productive if I had talked through a brick wall underwater without vocal chords or lungs. I think it actually physically hurt for her to talk DIRECTLY to me and give me eye contact. What the hell her problem is, I will never know. For some reason, she hates me. Or, that’s what her actions tell me. I really try not to be hate-able. I don’t have to be everybody’s BFF, but I really do go to great lengths to be a hard worker and generally easy-going. Why? Because it makes everything easier to deal with. I’ve done absolutely everything in my power to treat her with kindness, decency, and respect. Even when I got NOTHING in return but a steaming pile of poop for an attitude.

But, I generally don’t have to deal with this pain of a coworker. This weekend was an exception to the rule, and if that’s the way somebody wants to be, I’ve got no control over it. I really do wish I could say that she’s a nice person, and that I could get along with her. I say this with honesty and sincerity. But she has taken every single inkling of kindness and decency that I have given her and spit on it. Especially this past weekend. I am fed up with this, and as I’ve stated several times, I have endured her attitude problem for far longer than 99.9% of the population would have.

ALL of that being said, I still wish I could be sad that she put in her two weeks notice on Sunday. I really do, but I just can’t bring it out of myself. She’s taken every ounce of kind-hearted energy that I’ve got and sucked up, spit it out, and then stomped on me with it. Okay, dear. You can be an angry bi-atch. I really don’t care. I was just trying to be professional and civil, at the very, very least. Have a nice life.

Noticing that my post is already 1,660 words long, I’m trying to get to the original point, I swear. I guess I’m a writer and storyteller at heart.

There are challenges to be met as a Supervisor. At first, especially over the weekend, I had started to wonder if this is really what I’d wanted for so long? And I realized the old adage: “The grass is always greener”. If I’m not the supervisor, it’s what I want. If I am the supervisor, it’s nice having less things to worry about.

But, I know that deep down, I definitely enjoy the challenge, and the creative problem-solving that’s involved.

One of my challenges has been counting money. For some reason, when counting and calculating large quantities of cash, I’m kind of an idiot. I’ll have to go back and count things four or five times to make sure that it’s right, and then it’s not right until the fourth AND fifth time that I’ve counted it. I lose track of what I’m counting in long strings of numbers. $2.35 in nickels is a hard thing to remember when I’ve got to keep track of the $.38 in pennies, $4.60 in dimes, and $12.75 in quarters. It’s easier when I’ve got a visual – so I had tried writing things down and going from there, and that proved to be difficult because of the screw-ups in calculation. There’s a cloud of “I can’t count to more than 15 while keeping track of 4 other quantities of change”. Yes, that’s what the calculator is there for, but how am I supposed to keep track of the dimes when I’m on to quarters, nickels, and then pennies? It’s difficult for me. I realized that I had two choices: #1, I could call myself a “tard” (yes, derogatory, awful. DON’T USE THAT WORD), and get really upset that I’m just miserable and stupid, and that that’s the reason why they waited so long to promote me anyway, and they just did it this time because they were in desperate need of getting me to push pennies in the office for two hours every day. Or, #2: I could recognize that that’s part of the attention-deficit disorder problem, it is a focus issue, and that I lose focus on long strings of things and that’s what’s snarfing down my time while I count, and that there MUST be a way to solve the problem.

I went with #2 this time. I saw that I do well when I’ve got a visual grouping, so I can have little piles of money and count things at a glance. 5 piles of 4 quarters = $5.00. And the like. It still took some time to arrange all of my change into stacks, so I opted for something different. I decided that I would create a spreadsheet that would keep track of how much of each category of money that I had, and then add it all up so I had the total amount, and what amount of money for what category all at a glance. ($240 in 20’s, $45 in 5’s, etc). So, if I found that I was, say, .25 off, I could check the quarters again, instead of checking the ENTIRE DRAWER.

Since I started counting drawers over a week ago, it has taken me 1.5-2 hours to do it each and every time. That makes for a LONG fucking day when I am starting at 5:00 in the morning. It has taken me too long to count the drawers and cash box for verification in the morning, which led to me getting out on the floor late, which led to being late on getting all of the baked goodies out. And, the problem is that I take a LONG FUCKING TIME TO COUNT A DAMN DRAWER!! So, I created my l’il spreadsheet today during my break, made a few tweaks while I was counting the drawer and cash box…


I was completely done with EVERYTHING: ALL of the math, ALL of the crappy adding up that’s been a huge challenge for me, ALL of the writing down, recording, and depositing in LESS THAN AN HOUR.

Sheer ingenuity. I am pleased as a goddamn pickle. In fact, I’m more pleased than a pickle. I couldn’t be more pleased if the pickle got tickled next Tuesday, I recognized the problem, AND FOUND A SOLUTION THAT WORKS FOR ME!!!

This is something new to me. And I am going to toot my own damn horn about it. I figured out how to solve the problem, and how to solve it with flying colors. I ROCK!!! AND ROLL!!! Knowledge really *is* half the battle, isn’t it? If I didn’t know that the focus was the issue, then I wouldn’t have been able to come up with a work-around. I would just assume that I was stupid and get angrier and angrier about it until I would explode in a nervous breakdown about my idiocy.

But I’m not an idiot. I’m smart. I’m smarter than I ever dreamed. But it took me a long time before I could even THINK that, let alone say it. I’m smart, resilient, and just generally on top of it. THAT’S the value of finding a worthy therapist AND a valid diagnosis.




  1. Congrats on the promotion–but ugh! the hours! I had to get up at 4 a.m. one summer when I worked opening at McD’s–I share your pain.

    Comment by Lori — July 22, 2009 @ 9:58 AM | Reply

    • Thank you! Yeah, the hours are rough… But fortunately, I’m used to it. I pretty much do the barrel-roll out of bed, or break out the mental barbed-wire flaming spatula to do it every day, but it’s getting easier. It’s also easier when I’m medicated and I can think about facing AND ENJOYING my day! 🙂

      Comment by VocabularyV — July 22, 2009 @ 12:46 PM | Reply

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