I just finished my last shift at my summer job! Yippie!! For the past few months, I have worked in a deli; up to my elbows in lunch meat and cheese all day.Glamorous, right? A deli is one of those places where it’s really easy to be grumpy. It’s hot and sweaty, customers can be a pain in the butt, coworkers are sometimes cranky, and certain lunch meats are just gross. Needless to say, some days are an awful, stinking mess.
Last week, I found myself in the rut of self-pity and job-hatred, both things that are easy to slip into. I would gripe and groan at work all day then come home and be grumpy and unsociable for at least the next hour. My parents and family would ask me, “How was work?” Although I felt awful and overly grumpy, I couldn’t think of one thing that made it a particularly bad day. All in all it was a good day with just a few hiccups, yet I couldn’t explain away my lousy mood. I would say, “I’m just ready to not work there anymore.”
After a few days in this rut, I was talking to my mom and the How-was-work-today-honey? question came up. I started complaining (again) with nothing to complain about it. She listened for a while, then looked me in the eye and gave me some of the best advice I have gotten in a long time:
Put on your big girl panties and get over it.
Now anyone who knows my mom knows that she would never say something that harshly. She’s too sweet. However that was the essence of what she was saying. She pointed out that while some people work in a deli their entire life, I only had to do it for a summer. In just a few sentences, she broke down any excuses I had for being grumpy.
At that point, something became real to me that I had been mulling over for a while: My attitude about a situation is entirely up to me. I can choose to be grumpy and unpleasant about a situation, or I can choose to look at the good and smile as I go about my day. I don’t have to let the situation control my attitude. Only I control my attitude, and no one else has that power.
Since that conversation with Mom, work has been a whole lot better. I’ve been able to smile and joke with the other employees and the customers. I’ve felt light-hearted when I get home instead of dragged down. I was able to walk out of work today with a genuine smile on my face and a spring in my step; a great way to end a summer job.