The 5 Phases of Restraining a Free Spirit

I’m going to put you into a small crate, and lock it. Just for 8 hours a day. While in the crate you must do as I say, when I say, and there’s really nothing you can say.

That is what working a 40-hour work week feels like, in my honest opinion. It’s probably hell on earth for my fellow free spirits and risk takers. My first job out of college was at Panera Bread. It was there I learned my disdain for anyone telling me what to do in an unfriendly manner. I have always been a hard worker and dedicated problem solver. I graduated college early, I swam for the university, won awards in public speech & debate, and have held various jobs since I was 16.

I am fully aware of my accomplishments; therefore, I cannot bear to have people hovering over my shoulder during my day. Once at Panera Bead, there were no guests at the counter, so I reached into my pocket to check my texts. (That's not good right?) From clear across the restaurant a young supervisor scream at me, “No cell phones at the front!”

And without turning my head I screamed back, “There’s no customers!” and continued to text.
Bold, right?

Nah. Bold was the 7 days notice I gave them on a hand written piece of paper after the same supervisor forced me to continually sweep a corner that was already clean. Bye!

Now I know I sound sassy and confident, but over the years that behavior has not been purely beneficial. I have a serious habit of leaving a job when it:

A. No longer meets my financial needs.
B. I have been disrespected on a personal level by management.
C. I just hate what I have to do every day/I have to DRAG myself to work.
D. The job may make me miss something I want to go do.

This has resulted in a resume that can be 2 or 5 pages depending on what I choose to include.  This love/hate relationship with working underneath someone is what spawned this website in the first place. I want to be in control of my schedule, my pay, my tasks, my life.

When I was a flight attendant, crew scheduling controlled every aspect of life. After missing out on my godson’s baby shower, sitting in an empty house on my birthday, and eating Thanksgiving dinner with strangers in Utah, I realized that quality time and memories will always be more valuable than a paycheck or the false concept that is a “stable life”. I would not, could not work Christmas Day. (I ended up having to work Christmas Eve & Christmas Day with Disney the following year). To this day I am glad I quit because that was one of the last Christmases I would have while my immediate family still lived in California.

So what happens when a self proclaimed free spirit gets restrained by a job, parents, or a relationship? I have a flow chart to depict what happens using photos of my time as a flight attendant. Chart can apply to various scenarios.

 

1. Honeymoon Phase

Free Spirit is excited with new surroundings and sees the best in everything. Oh I would LOVE to pour you some tea!!! This is fun. 

 

 

 

2. Caged Animal

Free Spirit begins to see the writing on the wall. This place ain’t what it’s cracked up to be. Is it me or is this place a LIVING HELL? Why is lunch only 30 minutes? Why was my paycheck so small? Why are these guests so needy?

 

 

 

3. Meltdown/Exit Strategy

Free Spirit has had enough with the lack of control. Taking orders with no large payout. Enough with the uncomfortable uniform. Enough with the horrible schedule and missing out on once in a lifetime events. Right about know they are furiously looking for a way out. This could also mean forcing their way out.

 

 

4. Peace

Free Spirit has reclaimed freedom over their time, happiness and mental health.  Maybe they quit, maybe they negotiated a better set up at work, maybe they ended the relationship that was stunting their growth. They may be lonely or have no money but their inner peace and independence have settled back into place.

 

 

5. Plan

Free Spirit needs a new plan. That last thing did not work out as hoped, but that’s okay because you were building your resume or becoming more mature.  Grab a coffee and look into what's next. This phase may involve a haircut, new shoes or a random vacation, because it is a new season! Ready to take on the next challenge? This time, it will all work out!