Normally, the first workday after a couple of days off energizes me. Today feels like a hangover after a weekend of partying. A hangover would be easier to deal with. Instead, I’m dealing with this creepy feeling over the upcoming meeting with my boss at the night’s end. Prior to my weekend departure, Ted informed me the meeting would only address post-graduation changes. My past experiences with change haven’t turned out well for me. I can only hope Ted is being truthful.
I should have known better than to schedule the meeting for today, I keep chiding myself.
Considering all the weird stuff here, and how the boss remains relaxed, I know I shouldn’t worry. Still, I hadn’t taken a weekend off since I started working here. Ted encouraged me, saying I only get to graduate once, or I’d have worked all weekend. I’m glad I listened to him instead of missing out on such a grand celebration. The food and memories will be with me for a long time.
Remembering it all as I clock in, I’m certain I’m overthinking the upcoming meeting. The doubtful voice in my brain refuses to let me shrug it off, trying to convince me something bad will still happen.
On Monday night, customers arrive in small groups, giving self-doubt time to work on sneaking in. I do my best to keep it at bay by restocking items that are running low. I can only stock so much and the store rarely gets dirty. Within the third hour, I have the store fully restocked and almost as clean as before I left.
If only I could remove that voice from my head. The bells on the front door ring, pulling my focus back to the store. I look up to see Joe, the owner of Relaxing With Caffeine, walking in with two cups in his hands. Joe is a bald guy built like a professional wrestler and almost tall enough to be in the NBA.
“I figured today, of all days, you could use a latte,” he says, putting a cup on the counter in front of me. “Plus, it gives me an excuse to come over and say congratulations on getting your degree.”
I give him a blank star. “How’d you know?”
“Your friend, Tim, stops at my shop for coffee every day,” he reminds me.
“Sorry, I’m struggling with overthinking a meeting I have at the end of the night,” I explain to him.
“Look, you’re the most reliable employee on this block. I doubt you have anything to worry about,” he replies lightheartedly.
I can’t help but smile, “I know you’re right; I have to stop letting self-doubt eat at me.”
I take a sip of the latte, relaxing while Joe assures me I missed nothing while I was away. I’m still not sure how he has such timing, nor do I ever wish to know. We brainstorm smart-ass ideas, entertaining customers for about an hour. When I’m done waiting on the customers, Joe has slipped away. My renewed positive attitude annoys my inner voice. I grab my spiral notebook, ensuring it stays annoyed with me.
My grandmother used to tell me I could either control a situation or let the situation control me. Luckily, it stays slow, allowing me to jot down notes and ideas. Forming a rough blueprint for what I want to do with my life and career in the future. I keep it simple, using only bullet points for each idea. I’m still scribbling away at closing time, even as I ring up the last customer who barely makes it in time. Thankfully, my decision to clean the store earlier in the shift leaves me little to do after closing. This gives me a few extra minutes to finish jotting down ideas before the boss shows up.
As Ted walks in through the back door, I sarcastically ask him, “So am I fired?”
He chuckles, “Is there a reason I should?”
“No, I’m using sarcasm to keep the voice of doubt away,” I explain.
Ted gives me his word that the meeting will be fine as we begin. “Where do you want to go with your degree?” he asks.
I smile, “That’s what I thought you’d say.”
I show him my rough blueprint I have for taking the old porn store across the street and turning it into a 24/7 diner. He smiles as he thumbs through the pages.
He pauses for a few seconds before he asks, “So you finally figured out my secret?”
“Only the one about how investing in the community and building it up makes everyone richer.” I answer.
“You’re making progress towards a good life. As for this, I will gladly help. I just need one favor in return.” he says, still looking over my plans.
“Stay on staff as my head of security while you build this up. You’ll review the cameras and deal with the major security issues when I’m not here, along with advising me on improvements, and giving the cops evidence they request.”
“Taking care of the stuff I always annoy you about?” I reply, chuckling.
“Something like that, but being able to focus more on making your dreams a reality daily.” he clarifies a bit.
Ted holds out his hand, and I take it, smiling. He does paperwork while I review the weekend cameras. I’m quick with the cameras because I know what to look for. Ted is still crunching numbers when I tell him good night before leaving.
My mind is already on the last person to whom I need to explain my job title change. I’m confident she’ll be pleased as I walk toward her apartment. After all, she encouraged me to pursue my dreams through classes.