Swimming in a Sea of Anxiety

And so it begins… An anxiety ridden college student has finally taken the plunge and received a job offer. You may see it as a small and simple cafe job; however, I see it as a sea of new information I need to soak in to stay afloat in this workplace and to stay alive. Okay, so ‘stay alive’ is a bit melodramatic, but in my mind this restaurant job is completely new and littered with places for me to fail.

I started off this job searching journey as a kind of pass time. I knew that eventually I would have to dive in full force when I would actually get a response back and then eventually be stressed about learning all of this new information, and yet, I took the process slow and didn’t really think too much into what would come soon after.

I applied for a barista position at a local cafe that I go to on a regular basis but got turned down because I could only work part-time. Then my dad noticed that another cafe/restaurant I enjoy going to is also hiring. I expected this application process to be very similar as my last: sending in my resume and cover letter but not hearing back for a few weeks. Instead the day after I sent in my resume and cover letter for this cafe I had a response by the next morning.

At first I was elated. Finally I’m one step close to having my own job and I will actually have some kind of real income (so long babysitting and dog walking). We (the owner and I) then set up an interview for the following day, which went very well with barely any nerves coming from my side (which surprised me) and then I was invited back for an evaluation period where I would shadow a few workers. Even this didn’t stress me out, at least not yet. I went home after the interview and felt accomplished and ready to dive in, but then when I was picking out my outfit for my evaluation period that would take place in two days, I began to panic.

Everything suddenly sunk in and hit me like a tidal wave, I know nothing about food service, I barely know their menu because I can only eat a few things among their meat filled entrees, and although I aquired a free working espresso machine off my neighbor’s stoop (true story), I know nothing about making a latte, cappuccino, macchiato, americano, cafe au lait, chai tea latte, mocha, miso caramel latte, or any other espresso beverages! I was diving head first but I had no clue what to expect just below the surface.

Yesterday was my evaluation period and did not learn as much as I expected. The workers I shadowed were extremely nice and helpful and through the process I only saw the owner once, so all that he would go off of would be the word of the workers whom say they enjoyed having me around and said that I was helpful. Because of how busy they were, however, I only poured cold or hot brewed coffee, a few ice teas, or ran food orders. It was a fun experience that was relatively low in stress for me (at least until I became challenged with knowing what different orders were when I have not been visually familiarized with their meat selections). I’ve studied the menu before going through the evaluation period to memorize the order names but didn’t use that as much as I expected either.

I left the cafe yesterday feeling proud of myself for what I managed to get through and for not screwing up too bad, and later that night got an email from the owner with a job offer. I GOT THE JOB! Of course I have way more training to go through before I am fully comfortable and have all that I need to know scratched into my brain, but I am officially of the cafe team.

So studying I will continue, stressing I will also continue, and causing mini panic attacks I will also continue as I think way too far into this whole process. Not only will I have to memorize the cafe menu and espresso drinks, but also a small cocktail list and how to make them, a wine list along with the different glasses used for each drink, and a beer list. I will have to memorize and become familiar with the different meat options and try to understand and explain to a customer how each one is prepared (even if I cringe each time I think of it), and finally I have to realize that this environment is new and mistakes will happen. I am destined to mess up sooner or later but I need to push past those moments with a semi crazy smile on my face and just keep pushing forward no matter how embarrassed I get.


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