The Deli Across the Street

by Ginger on December 14, 2011

in The 9-5

There’s a deli across the street from my office that I tend to visit at least a few times a week. They know to grab me the big soda cup as soon as I walk up, they know I’m always going to take whatever I order to go, they know I don’t want cheese on anything ever.  In the four years I’ve worked at this office, I’ve been there countless times, bought hundreds of Diet Cokes, eaten more than my share of bacon cooked on their grill.

I’ll be honest, sometimes I walk over there more for the break than the soda. It’s often my if-I-don’t-get-out-of-this-building-I’m-going-to-explode destination–the Diet Cokes are sometimes just the excuse to leave the building for 10 minutes, step into the sun, feel the air.

Today, I headed over at 9:15 for my first Diet Coke of the day (yes, I drink Diet Coke in the morning. I don’t drink coffee, where else am I gonna get my caffeine fix?). I had gotten to work early, after a really hectic and stressful day yesterday, because I needed to follow up on a few of the issues that hadn’t resolved themselves before quitting time the day before. I walked in to bad news, on about 5 fronts. I wish I was exaggerating.

I’ve been finding myself struggling lately in my role at work. I’m expected to make certain things happen but not given the tools to do them. I’m expected to get results that aren’t realistic for the kind of publishing that we do. I’m expected to create results out of thin air. On top of managing more people, a shrinking budget, and new business models that somehow I get put in charge of, despite the fact that they’re not anywhere near what a marketing professional should be handling. I’m buried, drowning, suffocating, with no idea how to get out of it. I’ve talked to my boss, but I know (and she commiserates), that the answer is just: Make due with what you have.

So when today, after a mere 30 minutes at work, I had already felt defeated and broken by the day? I walked across the street to the deli for my soda. As I stood in line, I began to daydream about how much simpler it would be to work somewhere like that. To just…take orders. Ring up Doritos. Hand over soda cups. Make change. No brainstorming, no upper management red tape. No feeling like you had failed 5x over within 30 minutes of arriving to work by virtue of expectations there’s no way you can live up to.

Of course, then it was time to place my order. I snapped out of it as I walked to the register–I know every job, every situation, every EVERYTHING has challenges. I can daydream about the easier life of a non-“business” job sometimes, but the reality is that nothing is easy, and there are trade offs in each case. I know that I’m lucky to have a job (period), but especially to have one in my chosen field, in my chosen industry, in my chosen city. I know it’s just a series of bad days, but I’m so tired of feeling like I’m so bad at something I know I’m actually not bad at.

Or maybe I am, really, and I should just get out of this racket. The deli across the street is hiring…

Tara December 14, 2011 at 7:58 pm

I swear, sometimes I think you might be in my head…or at least, living my parallel life on the opposite coast.

I just started a management position this past March, and it has spent most of 2011 kicking my butt up and down the corporate ladder. Part of it is due to company changes, part of it is due to a lack of training for the group I manage, but holy heck is it exhausting. And it makes it harder to feel so defeated when I know that there are a zillion other qualified candidates who would give anything to be in the position that keeps knocking me down.

I am sorry things are so rough for you right now. It’s miserable, feeling like you don’t measure up. But you just need to keep telling yourself that you ARE good at what you do. And things WILL get better.

They almost always do, right?

emily @ the happy home December 14, 2011 at 8:52 pm

i thought this yesterday… escaping to starbucks for an an overpriced coffee after my boss had just given me a verbal lashing of a lifetime because his headphones were busted, i overheard the barista talking to a more frequent customer about her horses.
horses, in LA. i thought to myself– i want that. starbucks barista, happy, chummy, with horses. or, at least enough land where owning horses was legal. i don’t much like horses, but i like the IDEA of horses. and yet, i’m getting my butt kicked because someone doesn’t like that technology sometimes fails for no reason?
i know it’s not blogmaterial, but i would be really interested to learn about what your company is expecting from you– i’m assuming it has something to do with e-publishing?

clara December 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm

That just licks. All of it.

But I used to work in a cheese shop / deli and it’s not great. Mostly because the customers will want things like “prosciutto sliced really thin, no really thin, no thinner than that, paper thin, it’s for a recipe, no really thin, OK like that, and can you put paper between all the slices because otherwise they’ll stick together because they’re so thin, but can you take the paper out before you weigh the prosciutto because I don’t want to pay prosciutto prices for wax paper!”

Also they will pronounce it “Prosectue-o” and god forbid you correct them.

Also you would smell like cheese all the time.

Mostly I’m sorry your job sucks right now. I think your first commenter had a good thought: just know you are doing the best job. And if anyone says “you should be doing better,” say “I am doing the best I can with what I’ve got.”

Kim December 15, 2011 at 12:59 pm

I have this thought all day, every day. Lately it’s included postal workers & trash collectors. Seriously.

Also, because I live in the south, there are a lot of pickup trucks adorned with logos for the driver’s business. I have actually been driving, seen one of these trucks, & thought to myself, “Hmm, stump removal. I could do that.”

Amber December 17, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Mmm, I love Diet Coke. I drink it daily. It’s how I get my caffeine, since I don’t drink coffee.

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