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Up with Caffeine and Down with a Shot

I’m going to be honest.  I’ve been having a hard time lately.  You know, in case you didn’t figure that out here, here and especially here.

Sometimes I’ll be working at the bar and some customer will feel inclined to comment on my boobs or my tantrum-loving boss will throw a public conniption my way because, you know, it’s okay to do these things in a bar.  And then I’ll think to myself, for the umpteenth time, why the hell did I quit my awesome-paying, cozy little cubicle job for this?

You know, the boob thing doesn’t even bother me so much.  I expect that kind of behavior from drunk people and, if I’m going to be honest, I have nice boobs.  And taking it in stride leads to much better tips.  But the conniption thing?  Why someone this prone to high blood pressure and stress-induced hissy fits and all-around bouts of purely childish behavior would ever, ever own a bar is beyond my comprehension.

Photo source

When my boss is in the middle of a tantrum, I stand there and stare with disbelief for a few minutes because I honestly thought, at age 28, that my days of standing in front of a “grown-up” and enduring a verbally abusive rage of hysterics were over way back in my teenage years when I actually deserved it.

Then, when he finally stops to take a breath, I calmly ask, Are you finished?

Which is a little amusing to me because that ticks him off even more, and he gets revved up again with consternation and petulance, and his energy builds like the Little Engine that Could, painfully trucking his way up the hill, face turning red from the exertion of it all, only to putter to a stop at the top in an extremely disappointing and anticlimactic excretion of watered-down anger and spent steam.

It’s like emotional erectile dysfunction, and it’s exhausting just watching him.

Photo source

Now here’s something you should know about me.  I can get mad in certain trigger situations very, very easily.  The trade-off is that my anger is ridiculously short-lived.  So if you ever tick me off, don’t worry about it because we’ll likely be bonding over a couple of beers like the BFFs we were always meant to be in a matter of hours.

Which is how I’ve managed to continue working at this bar.  I get mad at my boss for his asinine behavior, but then I get over it.  That’s the nature of the food/beverage service industry, after all.

But anyway.  My hard time.

When I ask myself why I gave up my career to revert back to my college and pre-college days of professional food distribution, I have to force myself remember how I felt when I wrote this post, and specifically, this paragraph:

First, let me just say that the hardest thing about going to work when you know you want to quit, is going to work when you already have quit.  The gray cubicle walls seem a little… grayer… and the harsh neon lighting seems a little… neonier.  It’s like the last couple weeks of a prison sentence.  Except with coffee breaks and I don’t have to worry about my co-workers shanking me on my way to the bathroom.  Usually.

That place is not where I’m supposed to be.  This much I know.

But neither is the bar.  Not by a long shot.

So.  Where does that leave me?

I remember my 2-month adventure in Costa Rica and how it’s when I’m traveling that I feel the most alive.  I remember the sinking feeling I had when a dear friend invited me to India with her next month and I felt like I had to turn her down because travel costs money, and I don’t feel justified in spending money I’m not actually earning.  I want to earn money from traveling and writing, but can’t travel without money and can’t write without travel.



That’s not 100% true.  I can write without travel, although the ability to say “yes” to these lofty excursions when the opportunities arise is my ultimate goal.  (And another opportunity has arisen.  It may not be as exciting as a trip to India, but it does involve a road trip and one of my favorite bands ever, but more on that as plans – or my typical lack-thereof – evolve.)

In the meantime, I’m going to jump into this writing thing with renewed zest.  I know it seems like I keep saying that on this blog, but that’s because I get inspired to write a post every time I’m on the up-slope of this emotional roller coaster.

I don’t write as much when I’m down, because… well… it’s dark down there and it’s hard to see the pages.

But then, then I get an encouraging comment on this blog or an email from a reader, and it’s like I can breathe again.  It makes me feel like I’m on the right track.  So thank you for that.


You’re the best uppers ever because you’re free and just as addictive.

I’ll leave you with a question and some lines from Talk on Indolence by the Avett Brothers (hint, hint) because, as usual, they can express how I’m feeling much better than I ever could.

Question:  Have you ever had an extremely shitty boss, and if so, how did you deal?  I could really use some advice on this one.


Well I’ve been lockin’ myself up in my house for sometime now
Readin’ and writin’ and readin’ and thinkin’
And searching for reasons and missing the seasons.
The Autumn, the Spring, the Summer, the snow.
The record will stop the record will go.
Latches latched the windows down,
The dog coming in the dog going out.
Up with caffeine and down with a shot.
Constantly worried about what I’ve got.
Distracting my work but I can’t make a stop
And my confidence on and my confidence off.
And I sink to the bottom and rise to the top
And I think to myself that I do this a lot.
World outside just goes it goes it goes it goes it goes it goes…
And I witness it all from the blinds of my window.


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I heart you for not verbally assaulting your boss, esp. when you know he deserves it & he’s ONLY paying you $2.13 (or less) and hour, NOT $100, because you’re NOT a / his therapist. AND you just started, so I’m not sure how anything you might do could warrant hysterics, esp. since you still have the whole “I’m new” excuse for everything short of cussing out / assaulting a customer and / or spitting in food.

But I digress.

I think your technique seems to be working, as it’s not feeding his flame. You might try various things to see if they have a positive effect on his behavior…

Humor? Like Brennan here from Step Brothers, particularly his second to last line:

Randy: “I don’t know what it is about your face, but I wanna deliver one of these right in your suck hole.”
Brennan: “Is there anything I can do to work on that?”
Randy: “No, not really. It’s your face. And I, again, you know, you’re doing great, man. This is the Catalina Wine Mixer. We’re all having a great time. Everybody’s having fun. You pulled it off. Alright? But if you don’t change your face, I’m gonna change it for you.”
Brennan: “Okay, okay. All I can do is take that in, consider it, and I’ll just try to do my best version of whatever I think that would be.”
Randy: “I– I don’t even hear what you’re saying right now, ’cause your face is driving me nuts.”
Brennan: “Okay. Thanks again, though.”

Evoking sympathy?

When I was 17 a boss of mine yelled at me for “Not taking enough initiative” on my first day of HOSTING / bussing tables, because, you know, it’s just really important – and I started crying, not on purpose, but because I was young & emotional & and didn’t realize until later that he yelled at EVERYONE on their first day, simply to assert his dominance. He freaked out & got all apologetic & was slightly nicer after that.

You could of course try being bitchy, brutal, sarcastic, etc., but I suspect those techniques would piss him off more & he’d be a bigger jerk.

But kudos & respect for going back in spite of the abuse. It seems like you’re handling him extremely well. I definitely wouldn’t take him seriously or take it personally. His behavior sounds like a personal problem.

Re: Talk on Indolence…It’s funny, for some reason I thought that song would cease to apply once the cubicles were but distant, gray and fading memories, but it’s funny how relevant those first few lines still seem.

V. indicated that having something to look forward to sometimes helps…

Thanks for your post and the laughter it induced. I’m gonna listen to “Talk on Indolence” and then finish the chem homework I’ve been putting off, knowing well it’s not as bad as when I was doing, but still hating it nonetheless.

In the meantime, I hope you’re as happy as can be!


You crack me up. Thank you. :)

international woman of mystery

I’m with you! All I can think about is traveling and how I feel more alive when I’m traveling (although preferably not as much for work).

As for dealing with your boss… Well, it sounds like you are doing a good job at it on your own. I think the only thing you have to master is trying not to let it bother you. Just laugh it off – or blog about it if it’s funny. It sounds like it is kind of funny, right? Try to just see the comic humor in it and know that you are way better than it and rise above it.

Can’t wait to read more posts about it!


You’re right – in retrospect, it’s a little funny. But also just SAD that I’m finding myself in this situation at my age, you know?? I’m still envious of all your travel! Even if the majority is for work. There’s so much world out there to see! :)


I feel for you I have many bosses like that . On one occasion they were really power tripping and asking me to do stuff that wasn’t even in my job description simply to make my job “harder” because they thought there job was harder than mine an they didn’t like that ……… so I talked to his boss and asked them if my job description had changed when they no why i told them,m… suddenly my job returned normal…… However right now in order to have the boss yell at me I would have to be looking in the mirror lol


Hahaha, just rub it in!! I would love to be my own boss ONE day…


After all of that, I still feel the urge just to comment on your boobs.

But I won’t.

Listen…don’t get down and keep on the writing…because you got ME started in this whole writing mess. And I have a feeling I’m going to have to thank you with multiple bottles of wine when I’m out there for a visit.


Haha, but you DID!

Sort of. :)

And woohoo! I can’t believe you’re coming for a visit! Hopefully I’ll have my 50mm f/1.4 back from the repair shop by then. This event will warrant a blog post for sure.


Even if you don’t, there is no way I’m traveling without my Canon and 50mm f/1.8.


You are a GREAT writer! Don’t give up.

I can relate, though. When something in my life is getting me down, I tend to have no motivation for anything. Try keeping the work sphere completely separate from everything else and when you’re annoyed at work, be annoyed! It sounds like you are definitely justified in that. Then when you come home, be done. (Easier said than done, I know).


Thanks, Audrey. From one writer to another, that is much appreciated. :)


Crappy boss, I’ve had a few. In corporate land you have a few choices. One is to outlive them via Peter Principle, i.e. a person rises to the level of their incompetence. Once they ae discovered, they usually move on. Another choice is to move on. I have done both of these. In your situation, because they are the owner, outliving them probably won’t work. So you are left with enduring the abuse or moving on. Your choice.


Or, I can change his ways and make things better for everyone. Because that always works, right? :)

Marisa Wikramanayake

I had a couple of tough bosses. Tough, annoying bosses who never grew up. Much like my thesis supervisor, come to think of it.

I quit as soon as I could each time.

And you know what? Each time there was something far better waiting for me that suited my needs.

I got hired for my science journalism job by one of the nicest guys I ever knew. His current replacement is absolutely stellar and is also extremely nice to me.

And he’s good for me too because he pushes me to try harder and be better at my job. It’s great because he makes me want to push the envelope and work harder.

So as soon as possible, Katie, quit. Quit and move on. There is something better for you and I see no reason why you can’t travel and write for a living, if I am writing for a living since you write far better than I do.


I do NOT write better than you!! =P But thanks for the encouragement… hopefully I’ll be able to make money from writing soon, but I understand it takes a bit of time to generate income…

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