Little Pub

Things happen that make us question our self worth. Right now
that’s what I’m going through, but instead of wanting to fight,
this time, I wanted to stay down and give up.
Perhaps it’s the result of impact shock.
I fell hard, far and fast. So fast I’m still not convinced it happened
and certainly don’t understand why it would have happened.
I got a new job a month and a half ago and it, in just a month’s time,
had changed my life back to the way I remembered it years ago. Then,
I was able to pay my rent on the first of each month. I was able to walk
into a grocery store without worrying about how much I spent. And best
of all, I was able to take my son out to dinner, to a movie, maybe even on
a day trip to Mystic Seaport, without being concerned about time off and how
much pay I’d loose.
We were happy then. Douglas never worried about where he’d live or if
he’d have food.
But times changed. After a bout with homelessness and being wrung inside out
by the social services system my son developed anxiety and a deep rooted disappointment
in me.
That was the hardest part. Knowing that my son blamed all this instability on me.
Who else could he blame it on?
No matter what I did I couldn’t find gainful employment. I always worked, full time, but
what ever I did I couldn’t find work that paid enough to bring us back to that old situation,
where we were safe and comfortable.
But then, about a month and a half ago, after once again falling dangerously behind on rent,
requiring town financial assistance to appease my landlord and food stamps as well as trips to the
town food bank to insure we could eat, I got a job at Little Pub Wilton.
I’d tried numerous times to get a position at their location in Ridgefield, CT but they were never hiring.
They didn’t need to. Every day and night their parking lot was packed. Their employees
rarely turned over. So, as soon as I saw the “Hiring” sign outside of their construction site in Wilton,
I ran in and got myself an interview.
It went very well and I was soon offered an opportunity to train. I was hired in April and had been working up until this Monday.
All was going well. Very well. And for the first time in years I felt proud of myself again. Proud because I was actually providing for my family again, providing the comfort and security they deserved. My bills were paid on time and my son got new summer clothes without us busting our monthly budget (he grows about two inches every month I swear!).
All seemed so perfect.
And then…
I’d worked this past Sunday and thought it odd that my manager didn’t ask me for my availability for the coming week. I brushed it off as paranoia and his being generally exhausted and I waited. But come Monday I began to wonder why I hadn’t received a copy of our schedule for this week. I was surprised by a text from a co-worker asking me if I wanted to work for her this Friday night. My first response was “Did you get a schedule?”
“Yes” she responded. I asked her to wait just a little while for my decision while I found out what was going on.
I called my manager and left a message.
He called back.
Turns out I’m no longer on the schedule.
Without warning, without discussion, he no longer has shifts for me.
I begged him to tell me what went wrong, why I’d been fired?! He insisted that I wasn’t fired.
I wasn’t fired???
He just didn’t have any shifts for me.
What? (What was the difference? Was it then more like being laid-off?)
He had to give preferential treatment to those employees that
had committed themselves to full-time work with the company and so had no more room for me.
When I reminded him that I had been hired as part time, that they’d known my schedule limitations, he assured me he understood but that he still had to give any available shifts to others who had more flexible schedules.
So, after a Sunday that seemed like all others I had no more shifts at a restaurant I’d come to look forward to working in four times a week.
No more shifts,
but I wasn’t fired?
I asked him to be straight with me, to tell me what the real issues were.
He insisted there were no reasons other then the one he’d told me. It wasn’t my performance he insisted, yet for some reason I was still expendable.
Worse yet I had to go home and tell my son what had happened. The first thing out of his mouth was “So what do we do now?”
I had no answer.
I understand that some people rely on that job as their only means of income. But what my manager
didn’t seem to understand was, so did I. I have a full time job working for the Stamford Public Schools as a Substitute (usually permanent substitute) teacher. But the pay is horrible ($90, no paid time off, vacations or sick days). Trying to live off that income only was what lead Douglas and I into homelessness to begin with.
I rely on my restaurant income for almost 85% of my monthly income.
Doesn’t that count at all?
And why is full time availability the only consideration that seems to matter?
How about considering the fact that most of those employees are young adults who have very little responsibilities beyond the rent they split with their roommates or significant others? Would one shift less really hurt them?
I have a child.
I’m the only earner in my house hold.
Why doesn’t that matter at all?
Beyond that, how could they not warn me?
I had no idea but it seems that my first month was little more then an audition.
They intentionally hired too many people to see who would work out best for them.
But they hired us.
They employed me and thus reserved my time for a month, a month in which I turned down
two other positions because I believed I’d already found a stable job at the Little Pub.
Now, in late May, all other restaurants have already hired their summer wait staff.
Even the school system has collected all of it’s applications for summer employment.
I would have had to begin applying around the time I believed I’d been hired by Little Pub.
Now, not only am I without shifts,
I am without any summer employment.
And this seemed perfectly natural to my manager and by reflection I can only assume
perfectly natural to my bosses.
To treat people as tools without any further consideration.
Disappointment hasn’t set in yet.
I’m still in shock.
And to be honest, really just sad. I miss being in the place.
And I’m scared as hell. I don’t really want to get up from this one.
This time, I’ve lost so much wind, I just want to stay down and have everything
else go away.
June rent is due in a couple of weeks. Maybe I’ve made enough over the past month to be okay.
But then, there is car insurance to pay. And once again this is my life. Always worrying, and wondering if or when things will be okay,
if ever.
I’ve lost a lot of energy on this one. I have already started putting feelers out for new jobs.
But I’m tired. And discouraged. And disheartened.
Once again, I’ve been treated like trash. And somehow I have to find a way to digest that.

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