I’m aliiive! Fucking hell, it took me ages to write a post. This is like ‘I’m not dead, just for the record: Director’s Cut.’ I might have said this before but if I don’t feel like writing, I don’t. Some bloggers have certain days of the week they post content and my hat is off to them for being able to do that. That’s not me at all.
I did notice during my hiatus that I never had a day without at least one visitor so thank you guys for keeping the home fires burning. Without further ado, let’s get right to it.
A lot of stuff has been happening. After about a year of not working I got myself a part-time job as a waitress. A big reason why I haven’t posted for
fucking ages a while. I don’t have the mental capacity at the moment to work as a journalist (it should tell you something that I first wrote ‘at the moment’ twice). What I wanted was a physical job.
It’s not a completely alien concept to me. Before I made the permanent move into the UK, I used to work in my family construction business. Dad thought it was important that I would have an understanding of the family trade, as well as my own heritage. Also, I think he just really wanted to teach his kid to drive an excavator.
What I like about physical labour is that you see the end result of your efforts straight away. There wasn’t a hole in the ground twenty minutes ago, now there is! Don’t get me wrong, I love writing beyond anything but at the end of the day you’ll just have some words on a screen instead of a motherfucking abyss you just created.
Where I live has lots of hotels and restaurants so my applications soon started gravitating towards that direction. I was worried about being rejected right off the bat due to my lack of customer service experience. I got invited to my first interview the same day.
I ended up getting the job I was first interviewed for. I applied on a Saturday, was invited on the Sunday, had an interview on the Monday, was offered the job on the Tuesday and started on the same Friday. So you could say things moved quite quickly.
I thought about the level of detail I should give about the medical side of things. I had mentioned a long-term illness on my cover letter to explain the gap in my CV. I kinda had to. Still, I was worried about how much I could tell without making myself sound completely unemployable.
At the end the person interviewing me (now my line manager) told me how he had suffered from depression as well. This reflected the company as a whole. I have been open about how things rolled out in the past eighteen months and my colleagues have been nothing but nice about it.
This was the most important thing to me. I’ll be happy to do any job but not for anyone. To me whether or not the company is supportive of my situation was way more important than the salary or the company benefits because to be honest, I can’t afford another breakdown. My job has to support my recovery, not hinder it. So I chose the company as much as it chose me and so far it has been a perfect fit.
Also I get to use the pool which is pretty sweet.
So I’ve been waitressing for about a month now at a hotel restaurant. If you know anything about my personality, you wouldn’t expect me to be much of a customer servant. Well the joke’s on you because I’m actually enjoying it. I especially love taking orders from customers.
I’m not surprised though. As a journalist my favourite part of the job was the interviewing, not the actual writing. I enjoy the process of digging for that line that makes the story, studying the body language and the demeanour of the person I speak to in order to establish a good rapport. I was taught by the best in the business and I pride myself in being a good interviewer.
Now I just discuss desserts instead of multi-vehicle collision on the M6. Basically the same thing.
You wouldn’t think that journalism translates into working in a restaurant but it does. I’ve worked in a high-pressure environment where you need to work as a member of a team to a tight deadline. You need to have a pleasant enough demeanour to make people want to be associated with you and it helps to know shorthand to get orders written down quicker.
The little joys of my days have become different but they’re still there. Instead of a front page or a byline, my days get a little brighter when a family I’ve served dinner to in the evening greets me happily at the breakfast buffet or a customer chooses a dessert based on my recommendation.
On my first weekend I was serving at a wedding and was wearing a trainee badge. One of the guests took the time to ask me for my name and upon learning it told me that I did a great job. That made my entire next week.
I’m not saying it’s been easy. I’m fucking knackered after every shift (hence not writing) and after basically lying in bed for a year my feet have some serious protests about standing for six or eight hours straight. This post was written with my feet hoisted on top of several pillows so I kinda look like a cockroach stuck on its back.
But I still enjoy it. I enjoy having a routine, learning new things and most important of all: for the first time in a long time being Ida the Person instead of Ida the Mental Patient.
Don’t get me wrong, returning to work was fucking terrifying and my brain is basically mush after being passionately ravished for months on end by crippling depression but I’m super proud of myself for taking the plunge.
I don’t know when I’m next going to write but promise I won’t take a whole month to do so. Maybe I’ll tell more about the utterly interesting world of waitressing. Would you like to take a look at the dessert menu?