So, I was a student at university and very, very broke. My bank account was looking so damn miserable, that I decided it was time to juggle my full-time course, my occasional babysitter/tutoring role as well as a part-time job.
I ended up interviewing to work as a waitress at this restaurant that had just opened. I got the job and began working immediately. I assumed my first day would be filled with training, but it was so insanely busy that they delayed training and threw me right in. I started my shift by somehow knocking over an entire tray of clean cutlery. I exhaled, and told myself “It’s okay. Just pick everything up, and ignore the stares”. About an hour later, I tipped over a tray of empty glass beer bottles. I exhaled again, reframing from letting it get to me. Four customers were then arseholes to me, spread beautifully across the hour that followed. I was on the brink at this point. And then, the thing that always tips it? A colleague asks if I’m okay. I fucking break down: hyperventilating, full waterworks, the lot.
My manager takes me to his office and was lovely. He told me how great I am, and asked if there was anything he could do to help me out. He sends me home and tells me how he’s going to try and get some of my shifts covered, and looks forward to seeing me the following day for a 4-close shift.
I go to my boyfriend’s house and cry again. This is where I have a full-blown panic attack. He cuddles me, tells me I’m great and pours me a pint of water. At this point, I’ve cried so much that I’ve given myself a migraine. We go to sleep.
The next morning his work alarm goes off. His alarm goes off about an hour and a half before I need to get up, so usually I would just fall back to sleep. On this particular morning however, my migraine is still present (usually I’m able to sleep these off), and it hits reality that I have a full day to contest with. 9am – 2pm at University, then 4pm – close (12/1am-ish) at the restaurant. My panic attack at this point became so bad, that I threw up.
I ended up phoning my manager up, and telling him I quit. That I couldn’t do this.
This experience was so difficult. It made me feel useless, and completely incapable of handling any amount of stress. I worried I would never make a success out of a full-time career, because I couldn’t even handle this particular part-time job.
For anyone who can relate to this experience, and/or is going through a similar experience currently, you’re doing great. I am so glad I put my mental health as a priority on this occasion, and went with my gut to quit. There are plenty more jobs out there. Alternatively, if this is a career/job you want to remain within, you’d be surprised at how supportive managers can be when it comes to poor mental health. Talk to people. You’ve got this.