Sunday, August 27, 2006

Letting go

On Friday I endured a blow to my self-worth and self-sustenance: I lost my job at the Wild Oat. What it came down to was that I wasn't properly fulfilling the duties of my job, which involved stocking up the supplies for making sandwitches and crepes. Ever since I started there, I felt like I was holding onto that job by a very thin thread because I found it a challenge to remember to do everything and to do it quickly enough. This is the first time I have ever been let go from a job due to a failure to perform my job (I've gotten terminated due to overstaffing before). I was not disappointed, because -- as much as I like the product and the environment of the Wild Oat -- I wasn't really happy there. I appreciate that I got lots of delicious free food and drink and got to work with cool people, but there were some thing I found disagreeable

The pay was too low for the amount of work I had to do. I judge this from the other restaurants I have worked at. Once someone commented that everyone just accepts that they are making some sort of sacrifice to work at the Oat because they are driven by a higher purpose. That left a very bitter taste in my mouth. Working for a company that provides healthy and socially responsable (i.e. organic, fair trade) food/drink doesn't equate to creating positive change in the world. I was still working for the interests of profit, and for the comfort of those who hold economic priveledge. As much as providing healthy food made me feel a little better, that doesn't mean I shouldn't get a fair living wage.

Everyone pretends like it's "one big family" there, but the communication is pretty weak there. One day I showed up to work and Michal told me that I was being let go and that I should go home. I was totally shocked. As far as I knew, everything was going fine, and the little feedback I did get was good. But people were complaining about my performance for weeks, without so much as a word to me. I told him this, there was a phone call to the other co-owner, and then I was back on the job like this *finger snap*. Also, for the whole summer, there was not one meeting nor company get-together (aside from one organized completely by a co-worker). They pretend there like this is no authority, there is no boss, and that everyone just fills their role and things all work out. But there little democratic process to work out issues there so they just kind of lurk around in the collective concious there.

I've heard a lot of people complain about the management at the Wild Oat, particularly about Michal, and how's he's "crazy". Well, I didn't work with him much, but whenever I did, I felt appreciated by him. He's probably the reason why I didn't loose my job earlier. Ironically, a couple of days before I was let go, he said to me, "I'm so happy you're still working here !", and I smiled with hesitation, holding crossed fingers in the air.

It does hurt me to lose my job because it reinforces fears I have about supporting myself in this world, but really, I'm working to frame this situation in a positive light. Clearly this was not a job that maximized my strengths so now I have some motivation to find a better fit.

Well, that is in no way a complete account of my feelings about this situation, but it's a start. And speaking of start, I must start working now. I mean... I've got to pack up my stuff. I'm moving into a new home ! My new address is close to Preston @ Elm. Let me know if you're in the neighbourhood.

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