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Assuming & What Happens Next…

Sep 17, 2022

Wiping the sweat off my face, trying to hold it together mid-lunch service. I was working in the back kitchen of a funky cafe. I was in my mid-twenties and thought I had lucked out with a job where I could pursue my passion of delicious food. I got to be creative in the kitchen but also learn new skills at the same time. A total win-win! 

The job started off really well. I could wear whatever I wanted with my retro-style apron. I made sandwiches in the morning and then dabble around making scrumptious cakes, tarts, and savoury bites for the cabinet that were carefully picked out of the latest Donna Hay magazine. 

After a few months, one of the other gals in the kitchen was let go. My exuberant boss with her paw print tattoo just poking out on her right breast asked me if I was up to the role of covering service too. 

How could I say no. What an opportunity, I would love that. 

It turned out to be a fast learning curve, I ended up covering two people's roles. I had my tasks which I was already meant to do plus now i had to cover service. And it was as if all of a sudden breakfast and lunches got busier. There were more orders which meant I was interrupted continuously away from my old tasks. I had to find it in myself to manage all the things. 

A few months slipped by, as the days intensified, what was cruisy became a daily hustle. My legs became wobblier as I rode my bike to and from work. Tired and irritable from exhaustion. I came home starving each day not having a moment to think for myself. Time was warped. 

All of a sudden it wasn’t fun anymore. 

My young and I deserve better than this attitude. Had, had enough. I decided to give it another two weeks to see if things changed, but they didn’t. I had become this crazy multitasking kitchen ninja who got the job done, but the job sucked the life out of me. 

I kept my head down. I started to grumble to the methodical chef who I worked alongside, he was a genius baker. Complaining about how it’s not fair, we don't get breaks and I’m not sure I can do this anymore. He tried to talk me around to sticking it out. But at the end of each week, I fell to pieces not wanting to go back the following week. 

It was decided that I needed to do something about this situation. 

I mustered up all the courage I had. Because over the last four weeks somehow my boss got all kinds of scary. Her presence was loud, demanding and thick with authority. I was a scared little house cat and she was a lion who was going to eat me up in one quick swoop. Sitting down at the table as she counted up the day’s takings. Tears welling up in my eyes, filled with guilt and caution I finally said “I can’t do this anymore, I need to quit”

I figured my outburst of emotions might help sway her to change how things were. I assumed that by explaining why I was quitting she would wrap her arm around me and say don’t go Liz. I assumed she would apologise for how things have been and ask me to stay. 

Honestly, I didn’t really think it through. I had just had enough. And I was totally over it. I didn’t share how I was feeling, I just bottled it all up until enough was enough and I let it rip in a big tear-filled mess that I was struggling with. 

My boss probably had no clue. How could she, I had been pretending all this time that I was fine. I was a ninja in the kitchen. What I showed her was that I was competent in my job. I wore a smile on my face daily. 

I assumed she would have noticed that the two of us in the kitchen were exhausted by all the demands put on us. She knew what it was like in the kitchen, it was her place. She made sure that I knew that her last cafe was successful because she was in the kitchen doing all the magic. But this time she wanted to be out front. 

Here I was a blubbering mess, waiting. Waiting for a little sign of compassion. 

But what I got was. 

“I’m sorry to hear that Liz, but I can’t take back what you said - that you quit. Thank you for your feedback and when are you finishing up?” was her reply

Holy hell. I had dug myself a grave big time. I assumed she would honestly change things up, and nurture me more. Nope - that was not the case. 

Assuming that it was all going to be fine let me down big time. 

This has been my greatest lesson in what it means to assume things. 

We can never know how others are going to act, respond or react to us. 

We can’t know what people think, say or do. 

When we start guessing how things are going to work out, based on our past experiences we are setting ourselves up for failure. 

I’ve had bosses talk me back around after my big burst of emotions. I assumed the same thing would happen in this situation. Usually making a statement this big makes an impact, had I relied on it in the past to create change yes, had I tried it on again but it totally fell through - yes. 

I just figured what worked in the past will work again.

Now I also want to explain that at this time in my life, I was still not capable of voicing my feelings, and thoughts or able to communicate like an adult. It’s taken me another decade to master that. This is due to a lack of skills I did not learn as a kid. I kept using my emotions to manipulate situations, I did it so I wouldn’t get hurt. It was normal not to express emotions. It was normal to walk around assuming how things were going to play out daily - because they did. 

 

When we hold on to past experiences and assume that they apply to new situations we are in fact setting ourselves up for disaster. Each situation, each new experience,  yes needs to be met with a little caution but it doesn’t guarantee that things will work out how we presume they will. 

 

So what if instead of assuming we become open to possibilities? 

What if instead of expecting the same scenario to play out - we drop the act and step into the situation as our true selves? Where we express exactly what we need to say with clarity and honesty. No low blows, no outbursts, no snickering comments. 

What if we showed up in the here and now and didn't paint the situation for what it could be? 

Instead stayed present to what is. 

I could have said something sooner to my boss. But I felt ashamed that I couldn't live up to her expectations. I felt guilty for leaving the other guy behind in the kitchen because we had become really good friends. I was frustrated that I led myself to this situation again, where I felt undervalued and just wanted to be acknowledged for my hard work. {a total people pleaser - I was}

Aiming to please was the reason why I assumed situations - I was always on quality control, micro-managing everything. When in actual fact - I just wanted to be recognised for all my hard work. However, no one knew about my top-secret agenda. Yet I wanted praise for that too - I assumed I would get it. Didn’t people notice how awesome I was? 

OMG assuming is the worst. 

It means that we are waiting for a certain outcome, so we can tick it off and then keep things moving. When we assume things it takes away our focus on ourselves. 

Is there a situation where you are using assumptions as facts?

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