This week I got fired or ‘let go’. I was kind of surprised but also very not surprised.
I could do a 10 hour retail shift but the most I could do behind a bar was 6 hours, which is a nightmare for the rota over time. Yet another repercussion of doing flips on a trampoline. It’s so tragic I can’t help but laugh.
It was weird to feel aware of being the weakest link, not that anybody has ever made me feel like that, it just feels like a given in my head now.
I used to be good and fast at my job. Working weekend closes all the time and getting destroyed but feeling amazing when I got home. Feeling like family.
I never thought I would miss that but I miss being able to do it.
I miss when people were happy and relieved to see me walk in to work when it was busy and the place was messy, in a way that people wouldn’t be now, because they don’t even know that version of me and probably never will.
That version of me came at such a good time. I started hospitality when I was 22, recovering from losing the plot and towards the end of many messes I’d made throughout the year.
Which is the worst part, because when I was in the middle of messing up, it didn’t seem real yet and there was all that gooey emotional context, which seemed so important at the time.
When there was some distance between me and the messes and the red mist had gone, the shame and carelessness and cruelty were there and they’re not gooey at all.
I was in the middle of moving but things had gone awry and I wanted to be home for a while, so I quit my retail job in the city and applied for bar jobs in my hometown through the festive period.
I’d never really stuck at a job for long, so everyone was telling me I’d hate hospitality and I’d be there for a week tops.
Honestly I thought so too, but then I fell in love with the rag tag band of people who end up in bar jobs and become part of the furniture.
Hospitality is one big Breakfast Club. We would all probably never have spoken otherwise, but if you lose enough blood, sweat and tears with anybody you’ll become friends whether you like it or not. I did like it though, if you’re reading this.
Also you seem to get more money in hospitality, or you’re always too busy slaving away to spend it. And tips!!!! I’ll miss the tips.
I started around Christmas and I had a one way ticket to Spain for Valentine’s day. At this point, George Michael is dead and there’s really no hope for anything.
I felt all mixed up in love and I knew I didn’t want to be here on Valentine’s day, because I would either cry or do something I’d regret. My emotions are ruled by public holidays, sue me.
I wanted to go into the mountains and make pottery, or something else that is so dull it’s considered crazy.
(Don’t come for me, pottery is objectively quite dull, that’s why Patrick Swayze is a ghost in that movie.)
People kept referencing Eat Pray Love to me but I hadn’t seen it, so I would just say, “you are SO RIGHT it IS!!!!”.
I mean it’s pretty self explanatory. She must eat, pray and love. I only done one of those things when I went away so I feel like I can’t watch the movie now.
And people from work actually texted me asking how it was going, which blew my mind. Maybe I was an ice bitch before but nobody from work had ever asked me about a holiday whilst I was on it.
That was another thing too, I never felt like I could really be myself in work and that I’d have to dress up in a girl suit for people to like me. Even when I am being myself I don’t get great feedback on my warmth.
I’m nearly twenty-five and I believe I have redeeming qualities so I don’t beat myself up about not being bubbly anymore, but when I meet new people in work I still don’t know if I should fake it or not.
My mum and brother have the gift of gab but I genuinely don’t realise people are expecting me to talk to them until it’s been too long to say anything now and ahhh.
I returned from the mini-travelling break and wanted to do it again. I found a picture of Positano and I wanted to be there, sitting on that little beach with all the colourful villas floating over the cliff.
Again I worked, saved up and booked another one way ticket. This time I got a bit braver and went through three countries. If you’ve ruined your life I can’t recommend it enough.
Especially if you’re the kind of person who puts things to the back of your mind and wont let yourself think about them. They all came out when I was alone in a foreign country, and I could finally get over them without my friends and my home comforts there to make it easy for me to avoid how I was feeling.
When I finally got to Positano and sat looking out at the sea, still alive, drinking an iced cosmopolitan (sounds like blasphemy but in 30 degree heat it’s just right), I kept thinking it was so worth all of the nonsense I put up with in hospitality.
A month of bumbling around France, Italy and Croatia, getting up each day to sunshine and whatever I wanted to do – it was so worth the gruelling, stressful days behind the bar, glued to the one spot for my entire shift or until someone mercifully tapped me out for a two minute pizza break in the back.
Plus when you meet people travelling and they agree with you or laugh at things you say, it just feels more sincere. It feels like ‘I am funny’ and not ‘I made ___ laugh’.
It’s kind of selfish but it made me feel shinier somehow. And it made me feel a little better about finite friendships. It was a little more okay for things not to last forever.
When I got home my friends were happy I was still alive, but my work friends were happy to see me. More than happy. Screaming, hugging, drinking, gossiping, smiling.
I used to wander into work after a bad day, knowing there would be someone either working there or drinking there who would wipe my tears and talk it out with me.
I learned so much about human decency and the importance of being nice to people just for the sake of it. I was probably mean and inconsiderate in ways I didn’t even realise before I worked in hospitality. And by the end of it all, I didn’t feel so dark and twisty anymore.
It’s sad to feel like I’m saying goodbye to that version of myself. I hope the next one is even better. For now I want to concentrate on media work, so if you’re reading this and you can offer me any experience or job advice, it’s more than welcome!
If you want to give me a job, you know where to find me!
(It’s my emails. Find me in my emails.)