Miss Woodhouse's Musings

…about life, the universe, and everything. Don't panic!

It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye

My manager quit this week.

We all knew that this day was coming eventually, but across the board all the partners thought that it would be later rather than sooner. Monday she turned in her two-week’s notice; Tuesday she worked her last shift. I’m still reeling a little.

The reaction has been varied to a degree, but the first gut reaction from all of us was shock. Do you know that look people get when they are hit in the stomach so hard that they lose their breath? That’s the look we all had on our faces as the news traveled from person to person.

I understand why she is quitting. Life at Starbucks gets more challenging by the week. There’s never enough labour to go around, expectations seem to rise exponentially, and morale is dropping like a barometer during a hurricane. Physically, we are all exhausted. Emotionally, we are strung out. Mentally, we have been pushed to our limits and beyond. Through everything, our manager was there to keep us informed, help us learn and understand, and to make sure that we didn’t kill each other.

Now, we’re on our own.

Shock has been replaced with acceptance, even happiness that she is finally going to be able to call her life her own again. Happiness that she doesn’t have to deal with the hassle. Happiness that she will be able to pursue some of her other interests. She gave everything to the store. She was salaried to work 40 hours each week- often she worked 65 hours, sometimes more. She never asked us to work any harder than she did. If there was something to be cleaned, she would clean it. If we were shorthanded on the floor, she’d leave her administrative duties to lend a hand. She’d drive the 45 minutes from her house at night just to take inventory so we didn’t have more to do at night.

We’re going to be okay though. One of the most important things she did was make us into a team. At first this concept was fodder for a bunch of jokes. Every note from her (and there were oh so many!) contained the word “team” in it at least once, usually more. One of the running jokes was that if you wanted to post a note that everyone would read, you had to use the word “team” to make it look official. However, at some point we stopped laughing at the idea of being a team, and instead started acting like one.

We have each other’s backs. We don’t turn someone in when they’re doing something wrong- instead we try to help them correct the problem themselves. When tragedy hits, we’re there with meals. When people have to leave the store, we’re there with cards and gifts. We know what school classes everyone else taking. We know each other’s family and close friends. We have most of each other’s partner numbers memorized. All this is pretty much our manager’s doing.

She could turn any night into a party. If she had to stay late to keep an eye on a special event, do an order, write a schedule, or count merchandise she would order out pizza or Chinese food. Then, we would take advantage of any slow moments to grab a bite together in the back, talking and laughing about stupid things.

Most importantly, she made us work hard. She took over our store from a poor manager. The store was filthy, not known for being overly friendly, nor for making exceptional drinks. Within months, we were the cleanest store in the district, were ranked the highest store in the district by customers for a year straight, and were in the top three stores in the region (that’s over 90 stores in competition!). She won manager of the quarter last year, and totally deserved it. Even though we are tiny and relatively low volume, we are now the store to beat- it’s a real coup to be friendlier, make better drinks, or sell more promotional items then we do.

That’s what will get us through the next few weeks while we wait for a new manger, and what will sustain us through the first few months of a new person in charge. We have each other- no matter what happens, we can turn to each other and talk things over, try to make sense of everything. So far, we are doing amazingly well on our own, and I have no doubts that we will continue to do just fine. It’s an adjustment, but she trained us to survive on our own. We are independent for now, and it’s going to be okay.

So, goodbye friend. Even though we may not want to admit it, we’ll miss you in the store. We’ll miss the notes, the impromptu parties, the conversations about bowling. Don’t worry about us; we’re going to be just fine.

Go, Team!

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Raining Sideways

The big news of the day is…it’s raining! Ah yes, though our little area of the country thought that it had been spared by the hurricane fairies, they decided that they just couldn’t go a season without stopping by. Add a bit (translation: a LOT) of north easterly wind, and you have yourself one wet, windy, miserable day.

You also have a day where university is cancelled. Yippee! I wasn’t looking forward to trekking across campus in this whirlwind of water and dying leaves.

You also have a day where girl’s night is cancelled. This…is disappointing. We were going to hang out and be all English-geeky and play word games. It, apparently, will have to wait. *sigh*

I also cannot have my Starbucks espresso. This is inexcusable.

I must say though, that looking out at this horrible weather has made me appreciate what benefits I have. I have a roof over my head, and a nice comfy bed on which to study (on-line classes don’t get cancelled for inclement weather, even if your internet keeps cutting out). I have this little laptop to write my papers, and being an English major, I have many books to read should the power *touch wood* go out.

I have my family safe at home, and we plenty of food and water should this turn into a worse-case scenario (it won’t). I have my cell phone and my puppy close at hand. So yeah, I think that despite being stranded at home, I’m pretty lucky.

I tried to take some pictures of what’s going on outside, but they aren’t coming out too clearly. So, close your eyes and imagine with me…

Picture a fall day. Add dark clouds; no, more dark clouds than that. Now, picture a heavy, steady rain. Drop the temperatures down into the low 50s. Envision leaves in various stages of colour-changing dropping with the torrential rain. Make sure you imagine the rain pooling in the dirt, and bathe everything in a grayish haze. With me? Good, just one more thing.

Add wind. Lots, and lots, and lots of wind blowing- vertically. Picture the rain and leaves blowing at mach force…but sideways. Yep, that’s our weather!

I’ll try to come back later and add a picture….

Update:

So, apparently there are power outages all up and down my stretch of the coast. So, I’m taking the few precautions I can- everything is charging, batteries nearby, etc. I must say though, I’m a little unnerved that this song just popped up on my iTunes playlist. As if the storm and lighting candles weren’t creepy enough on their own…. It’s like Vincent Price meets Alfred Hitchcock. *shivers*

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