One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

by

I just got in from my first staff meeting at work.

I was the only woman there.  Nine employees, one girl.  Granted, there is another woman on staff, she’s out sick, so I am not the only woman employed there, it just felt like it tonight.

I also have not much to bring to the party, besides my ears and a cup of tea.

Being that I am relatively new to the shop, that did not surprise me.  What did, was the very, very sweet card that the shop received this morning.  It was in a little green envelope with heart stamps addressed to the fine folks at Mission Bicycle Company.

It was from Helga, the girl who had an accident outside of the shop a week ago.  She extended her gratitude and thanks to us for providing her a safe haven to decompress after her bike accident.  Kai checked out her bicycle, advocated for her with the driver of the car, and generally took control.

I made her a cup of tea.

I think that’s my tour of duty so far.  I make tea.  Why, I am drinking some right now.

I am poking a little fun at myself, but I did wonder what my contributions to staff would add up to if tallied against the marketing skills, the bicycling skills, the management skills of the staff.

As Carolyn pointed out to me last night, my ego is pretty big and it’s obviously time for me to let myself be just a worker amongst workers.  So, today instead of regaling some one with the miracles of  using Proofide on their Brooks leather saddle, or explaining the difference between a Phil Wood Hub and a Velocity, I cleaned.

I dusted that bitch down.  I wiped down all the ledges.  I windexed the hell out of the store.  I organized, I re-arranged, I tidied.  I re-folded t-shirts and handed out stickers to little girls that straggled into the store, pulling on the shirt hems of their papas as said papas debated the angle of stem length on their headsets and choose between different frame sizes on the bike.

I did not avail myself of FaceBook, or Tumbler, or Kickstarter.  I did not Tweet about the famous person that bought a bicycle there.  I did not post something to Mission Mission blog or interface with anyone via Skype.  I just practised being a worker amongst workers.

I smiled.

I answered phones.

I played nice music for the store.

I agreed to pick up a weekend shift, sigh.  But I did not agree to work split days off.  I will either have to work a Saturday or a Sunday, but I will still have two days in a row off.  I will not sacrifice my days off.

I let them take my picture for the “year book” photo and I thanked the photographer.

I was nice.  I was pleasant.  I said thank you.  I restrained my tongue when I wanted to be cutting and I sat through the staff meeting without saying anything.

Well, I introduced myself.  I quietly acknowledged that I was the one who gave the girl the cup of tea, really, nobody else would have done that, I am surgically attached to the tea-pot; but other than that, nothing.  I just listened.

I listened and I kept my opinion to myself.

There may come a time when I say more or do more than I am currently.  I can already feel a lot of the load shifting from the GM’s shoulders to mine, imperceptibly he keeps adding things on to my job description.  I have also let go of the idea that he’s going to acknowledge when I do extra work or go above and beyond.

He doesn’t notice it.  And that’s ok.

I really thought I might get a little acknowledgement or a pat on the back for some of the things I have done for the store in the brief time I have been there, but I did not.

Rather, I get to receive acknowledgement when the check is deposited to my account.

The other thing that Carolyn and I talked about last night was that I am an employee.  I am going to stop looking at the GM as any kind of personal friend.  He’s just some one I get to be employed by.  I keep my opinions about others to myself and my opinions about him and the business to myself as well.

I do my job and I leave.

That’s it.

I do my job, well, I should add, and I leave.

The acknowledgement, aside from the paycheck, and getting to build an awesome, fantastical, brilliantly mine bike, at wholesale cost rather than retail, is in the job well done.

That is it.

I don’t need to be Yelped.  I don’t need to be told I do a good job.  I don’t need to be told that I am doing really well troubleshooting.  I don’t need to be told how efficient I am becoming–because I know.

I know I am getting better and I know where I have already made improvements.  And despite wanting to smack my GM’s hand away from the slightly askew postcard (how come it felt like I was being scolded when he put it back in its place?  I wanted to stand up and holler at him–hey, motherfucker, did you not notice that I dusted every freaking ledge in the shop, wiped down every counter top, re-folded all the t-shirts, addressed the 25 e-mails that were in the inbox, took out the recycling, packaged up a shipment to Brazil–which I had been told was impossible to ship to, but I figured out how, processed a bunch of online sales, negotiated the schedules of three mechanics to assist in a customer build together, and….)

….and what did you do?  You walked into the store, looked down at me as I sipped my cup of tea, tisked, and picked up the postcard that was mislayed–I had given it to a customer to describe what other shops were around and he’d just set it back down on top of the pile wrong–and looked at me like I was the laziest do nothingest, tea drinking waste of a paycheck).

Gosh.

Did I want to smack you?

Maybe.

Did I want to say something.

Maybe.

Did I?

Nope.

Because today I am practising restraint of tongue.  Tomorrow it will be restraint of e-mail.  I did not participate in the shop gossip and I did my job well today.

And regardless of my status as the only representative of the female gender in the meeting tonight.  I know my value very well.

Just another worker amongst workers.

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