As much as I love to cook, I have decided I am not cut out for restaurant work. Oh, I could do it if I had to, but I don’t want to. Because I don’t enjoy it. Now that I’ve got the school job, I find that I wake every morning and think “Oh joy! I get to work with ___________ today! Let me go through my mind and remember what this student is having difficulty with. What’s a good activity to help this student better understand this?” It’s like each day is a puzzle and I love seeing the kids and my co-workers and I basically love doing what I do. But I’ve come to dread the weekends. Because at the end of the week, I have to go the pizza parlor. Four days out of my week, I have to spend a whole four hours there. Four hours. It doesn’t seem like a lot. But it feels like a lifetime. It passes slower than Subway. Wow. Didn’t think I’d say that.

In short, I feel like a mouse. I feel like a mouse and my boss is a cat, toying with me. It’s like she lies in wait for me to make a mistake and then berates me for it. “Melissa, you’ve put too much on this pizza. See how these are stacked up like that? Too much. That’s too much. Feel how heavy it is. Come over here and pick it up. See? See how heavy it is? That’s just too heavy for a supreme pizza. And that’s only half a supreme. It’s just too heavy. That’s too much. You have to put less. That’s practically extra. It’s going to bring our food cost up. It’s too much. Just too much….” Yes. This is the kind of thing she says to me. Instead of saying, “hey, you need to put a little less, okay?” she rubs my nose in it and goes on and on and on for minutes, and she has a habit of getting in a fit over the smallest details. “Don’t twist that bag so much! Don’t twist that bag so much! Never you twist that bag like that. You don’t need to twist it that much. You’re going to tie it so we can’t get it undone…” (This was over a bag of cheese which I was twisting to make one of those knots with a loop in it so you tug on the end and the whole knot comes out. The thing is, for me anyway, when the top of the bag is twisted nice and tight, the knot is cleaner and more likely to come undone and when tugged on, as opposed to some part of the bag getting stuck and making a new knot that can’t be undone.)

She does it to the other new person two, and over even smaller things. Like abbreviations. See, I’m in the kitchen. The other new person’s at the counter, and she got snapped at for writing out the words “black olives.” Seriously, it’s this lady’s second day and she gets yelled at because she doesn’t know the usual abbreviations? It’s not like we couldn’t read the ticket. It would have been just as easy to say later, “by the way, you can write BO instead of black olives. That’s the usual abbreviation,” as opposed to “It’s not black olives! It’s BO!” as if the world will end because someone forgot to abbreviate a word. I felt so bad for her. It wasn’t fair someone was talking to her that way. But at the same time, part of me thought thank God it isn’t me

Well, last night did it. I put a pizza in the oven and forgot it. Yes, I will admit, I am at fault for that. I should have been paying more attention. (Though truth be told, I forgot about it because I was thinking about how miserable I’ve been working there and wondering if it’s worth it–I’ll get to that in a minute.) So when she opens the oven door, the crust of the pizza has started bubbling up real big–we’re supposed to pop the bubbles before they get to big they make the pizza look icky. And she says, “Well, Melissa, you have to open the door sometimes. You forgot about this pizza. You have to open the door sometimes. That’s why you set the timer. Set the timer in your head. Pay attention. Don’t forget to open the door. You have too peek in on it. Otherwise it does this. They start bubbling after two minutes. You have too keep an eye on it. You just ruined this pizza….” That was it. It was all I could do not to burst into tears in front of her. And when the other new person came to the back, she understood. “I felt that way the other night,” she said. And when my boss started talking to me all cheerful about what’s going on in my life, I wanted to slap her across the face and snap “it’s none of your business!” For all that I felt I got no respect at Subway, I feel like I get even less here, and I’m done. Maybe that’s just the way things are in restaurants, “sharp-tongued,” as my co-worker put it, and maybe I’m just too sensitive to work there. But if that’s the case, it’s time I packed up and left.

And Lord, what a blessing the end of this job would be. Aside from having a much lighter heart and no longer hating half the week, I would have a weekend (I currently work seven days a week. It sucks.) And all the time I spend working there and driving there and scarfing dinner between jobs? I would have that to go home, take a rest, and get my homework done. At a more leisurely, reasonable pace. But alas, my ethics bind me. When I hired on at the pizza parlor, I told them I expected to be around until the end of the school year. I don’t know if I can take that anymore. And truth be told, when I hired on, I expected only to be working in the schools as a substitute, not as a full time paraprofessional, which would have given me a much more flexible schedule. But the pizza parlor’s understaffed as it is, and I hate to leave them two cooks short. So, if I put in my notice, I feel guilty leaving them in a bind. But if I stay on, I feel guilty toward myself and miserable besides. What would you do?


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