I’ve been around the cafe long enough that they’ve started handing me people to train (which, I must admit, was really rather surprising, because I’ve only been there for, what, a fortnight, now?) and that’s mostly been good. I’ve had really good experiences getting to know people, and also figuring out ways to explain things when I only speak English, and the person I’m talking to only speaks a different language.
It’s been ridiculous, and awesome, crazy fun.
The other day, however, I was working with a girl who was just…absolutely dependent. She wanted to be directed in every single action that she should take, and it was *so* stressful. I actually went into the kitchen to help cook for a while and hide from her.
She would walk up to me and say things like “Well, they don’t want to order yet, so I’m giving them more time,” and then stare at me, like my job includes telling her what to do next.
And I kind of wanted to fire her until she was able to come up with independent thought.
She did this thing where she would beg out of stuff by just claiming to be bad at it. I introduce her to a Sri Lankan man working in the kitchen, and instead of even trying to say his name she just says “I’m bad at names”. Instead of trying to figure out how many plates there are, she says “I’m bad at math.”
How can you be bad at something if you never try? Seriously!
I’m sure she’s a really lovely girl, but it seems to me that she’s been conditioned that perfection is the only acceptable option, and if perfection is unachievable, then any attempts should be abandoned.
I find it really hard to deal with people who have been conditioned this way. I have no idea what to say to them. I don’t know how to communicate that it’s okay to make mistakes. I told her I was going to make her put a dollar in the jar for every time she apologized, then she apologized, and then she asked if she actually had to put a dollar in the tip jar.
I know that being aggressive or confrontational with folks who act like this is really counter-productive in most cases, but it’s so hard for me to watch a person, particularly a girl, engage with life in such a passive manner.
I do understand that there are a lot of people in the world who are happy living quietly. That’s great. The world doesn’t need every single person shouting to be heard. However, I think there is an extremely important distinction between not taking up too much space, and *apologizing* for taking up space.
Don’t fucking apologize for the space you take up. It’s your life. Fucking own it.