Change is hard, and if you're anything like me you're opposed to it. You don't want things to be different. You don't want to have to find normalcy again and forget about trying to adjust mentally.
Four months ago I experienced change. My Starbucks location closed and I was transferred to a new one. The place where I started and quickly became my second home now wasn't. The place where I got to know customers, whether they were regulars or just passing through and coworkers went out of business. It's not like closing was an all of a sudden thing but, at the same time, it was. I've known for the last few years we were standing on our last legs and that it was only a matter of time until our doors were permanently shut. When I was told we'd be closing at the end of the summer I was thinking maybe the end of August or mid-September however, with a month and a half's notice we closed. Even with that in mind, it didn't make it any less scary.
I won't lie and say everything was all sunshine and rainbows because that's far from the truth. I wasn't always happy there. I overcame challenges that I felt never truly went away. It was something I always felt lingered and never got a completely clean slate from.
When I first started, I was mistreated by a coworker which left an impact on the way I viewed myself and my performance. The more I thought about it, the more I don't wonder if it's a big reason as to why I lost my self-confidence. I used to be so sure of myself and the direction I was going in, but somewhere along the way, I wasn't anymore. Even four years later I still feel like it impacts me. Slowly but surely I feel like I'm regaining some of what I lost. I feel valued, appreciated, and respected.
While it's the same general ballgame, it's a new layout, new routine, new coworkers/customers, and a new pace. I was nervous and scared as hell. What if I didn't fit in or have the necessary skills to succeed? As far as I knew I was the newbie coming in and encroaching on territory that belonged to complete and total strangers. What if no matter how much I tried I just wasn't good enough? All I had to go on was covering two short shifts a few months prior and that still didn't really give me much of a gauge of what to expect. Yes, I liked the people I worked with during those short periods but how was I to know they weren't just being nice because I was helping them out?
After a month of working at a new store I still often questioned my place. 'I'm not trained well enough to keep up with being on the bar', 'I still think some people don't like me' or 'I don't know if I'm doing my job well enough.' These consistent thoughts ran through my head and I didn't know how to respond to them. My boss kept telling me I was doing great, but I didn't always believe her. It was never because I didn't trust or value her opinion because I did, but because I'm often critical of myself and hold myself to a standard that I know isn't always attainable or realistic. Even some of my coworkers would tell me I was doing great and one even told me they wanted to be as good on bar as me.
I've been told you have to fake it until you make it, which is easier said than done. Sometimes I might come across as happy, perky, hyperactive, and well-rested; when on the inside I'm tired, cranky, self-critical, miserable, and annoyed. However, what's even harder is being fake happy when you're actually happy. I'm not perfect-not even close but I'm starting to want to go to work. I can cut the crap of not wanting to be in an environment that makes me want to metaphorically shoot myself because I feel like I'm valued. Do I sometimes have to fake it still? Yes, but more times than not because of the environment I'm in.
Fast forward another three months and things are starting to fall into place. While I still have doubts, I'm also much happier. I wasn't always sure I fit in at my old store and to be honest, I don't think I did. It wasn't because people were mean or rude, but more because I don't think I was ever accepted or genuinely happy to be there. Sure I had friends but they're not as good as the ones I have now. I could never talk about things that might be considered personal so I pushed them down and kept it to myself. Now, there are people willing to listen and who genuinely care and I don't feel like I'm just tolerated.
People don't (sometimes I still feel like they do) think I'm insane when I talk about music, but actually talk concerts and venues with me. I also work with people who care and are there for me when I need it. I've made really good friends who want to hang out and do things outside of work.
I can't lie and say I'm fully happy 100% (maybe 90%) of the time. Sometimes I'm fake happy. Sometimes I think people don't care or just wish I would go away. There are days I know I don't fit in, or at least I think I don't. I know most of my coworkers would disagree but sometimes it's hard to not feel like I'm still someone who's a visitor from a neighboring store. While the feeling is there, someone always gives me a reason to reconsider those thoughts and make them go away whether they know it or not. It might be a joke, a funny story, someone asking how I'm doing, or trying to include me in a conversation but, whatever it is doesn't matter because it makes me smile.
Change sucks and is hard, but I got lucky. I still sometimes feel like I get in the way. Like I don't always fit in, or I'm not good enough but the more I work and get to know my partners, the more that feeling dissolves. For four months I'm settling in nicely.
Update: It's almost 2020, and as I look back on this article I wrote a few months ago, I can't help but think some of this is still true but not really at the same time. It's still weird calling it "my store" however, I feel like that's to be expected considering the amount of time I've been there. I don't question my place as much now. Every now and then I do wonder if I really fit in but that question can be answered easily now. The answer is yes I do fit in. sometimes I still feel like I stand out, but not as much as I did before. I can't help but feel grateful for my store, my boss, and my coworkers.
Update #2: After talking to my best friend about something unrelated I've come to the realization that no matter what happens, I know I can depend on my coworkers and friends.