Yesterday—more like a couple of hours ago— I realized that it was my 1 year anniversary of my last day of work at New Image Thrift Store. It’s a cool little thrift store in the central coast of California for those who aren’t familiar with it. I worked there 2 years and 1 day (and yes, the 1 extra day is important).
I quit with the intent of finding something “better suited for me”, but the truth is I have yet to be anywhere close to that yet. Kind of sad, isn’t it? I tried being my own boss, and it didn’t work out to well. So after some months of searching for another job, I finally found one; and it was awesome because it was full-time which is what I’m used to. But, after the first two weeks, it sadly became a part-time job. And, now I’ve been working there for 7 months at part-time. Part-time is not enough unless you don’t have bills to pay. But, my problem is that I get comfortable and nervous to try anything that I haven’t done before. I should’ve either searched for another part-time job for a full-time job, but I stayed.
Today, I felt awful at work which is hardly unusual at my current job. I’m the type that gets into the zone at work. For example, I might have had a terrible start in the morning, but when I’m working, I’m working. I’m usually the one at work who’s complemented for my service, my smile and for being just a nice person in general. I’ve received Employee of the Month before, and have been given things from customers like a gift card to McDonald’s, a little container of strawberries, candy, a valentine card (from a kid), among with other things. I was usually known for being upbeat and happy. And, you know what? I genuinely was happy. I feel like I give genuine smiles as I work too. And, I’m not just saying this to toot my own horn. I actually have a hard time saying good things about myself, but I am only admitting this in order to try to prove a point. According to author of Even Happier, Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D, he talked about an article “Optimal Experience in Work and Leisure” by Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi and Judith LeFevre which proves my point. Here’s a quote from Tal Ben-Shahar’s book where he summarizes the article in his own words:
"In their article ‘Optimal Experience in Work and Leisure,’ Mihaly Csikszentmihayi and Judith LeFevre show that people prefer leisure to work, a conclusion that no one would find startling. However, they also discovered something else: that people have more ‘flow’ experiences at work. Flow is about being in ‘the zone,’ fully immersed in whatever it is that we are doing, performing at our best (peak performance), and enjoying ourselves (peak performance).
This paradox—that we say we prefer leisure at the same time that we are having our peak experiences at work—is strange and revealing. It suggests that our prejudices against work, our association with pain and leisure with pleasure, is so deep-rooted that it distorts our perception of the actual experience. When we automatically and regularly evaluate positive experiences at work negatively, simply as a learned response, we are severely limiting our potential for happiness—because in order to be happy we must not only experience positive emotions but also evaluate them as such.”
I normally get into the zone when I work, but I have had the hardest time doing that at my current job. I feel that the work load is far too much for a measly 4 hour shift which leaves me uneasy and unable to get into the zone at work. I get super stressed out which makes it hard to stay in the zone even if I find it for a little bit. Unlike New Image, it just doesn’t feel like a team effort at work. Instead, it feels like everyone is on their own which is unusual for me. I actually miss working at New Image. I miss the workers, the atmosphere, the way I would get into the zone, the customers, the cool merchandise, the store hours, pretty much everything except for the inflexible job schedule and having such a hard time to get even just one day on the weekend off and the pay.
I really only quit to find a job with a flexible schedule and better pay, but I just have a part-time job and only a quarter of a difference which is much less than a full-time job at $8/hr in the long run.
I guess what I’m saying is that I want something that allows me to be able to get into the zone, but also allows me to explore my passion and creativity. Now that is what I really long for.
So, a year has passed, but this next time around, I’m going to test the waters a little bit more and do a test run to see if my courage and quench for true happiness is hidden somewhere under my troubled doubt, anxiety and perfectionism (which I am trying to get past). First things first, a job search is definitely in order.
****P.S. I’M SURE THAT I DID THE QUOTE WRONG.. NORMALLY I WOULD CHECK, BUT I’M HALF ASLEEP.. IT’S ALREADY MORNING, BUT GOOD NIGHT!