Bad experiences: The gateway to great experiences
In my last post I made it clear that I am a big advocate for change. Another thing I am also very passionate about is bad experiences. Well I mean, I am not encouraging bad experiences but I think they get a negative wrap.. Probably because they are titled “Bad experiences”. Here’s the thing though, in retrospect these experiences often lead to great things. Whether it is because having the experience has taught you how to avoid said experience in future or whether the experience encourages you to make a change, there is often something gained from this situation. Maybe it is because I aim to see the good and not get stuck in the past but I am so thankful for some really (to put it quite honestly) SHIT situations.
Right now, one particular experience comes to mind and that was my stint as a bakery assistant while I as studying and living in a regional town. It was the first job that I actually got paid a decent wage for hospitality work, didn’t have to work weekends and as a bonus got to take home bread and pastries at the end of the day, hashtag winning! Unfortunately the positives stopped there. I’ve had quite a few jobs where I’ve been treated pretty poorly (unfortunately this is quite consistent amongst hospitality and retail work) but this job was hands down the worst. I saw people come and go while I worked there, with many only lasting a day. This came down to the work culture which allowed, even encouraged, workplace bullying. The managers of the bakery regularly verbally abused staff in front of customers as well as abused customers, and said terrible things about other staff when they weren’t present. This behaviour only carried on to staff with staff directly making fun of other colleagues. While I worked there I copped a lot of verbal abuse from the managers and was bullied by both the managers and staff for various reasons. I found comfort in music, (think Lily Allen’s F*** You and Seth Sentry- Thanks for the hospitality) would just turn up to work, do my job and go home trying to put it as far from my memory until the next day. At the time the job seemed convenient just aimed to keep it until I had completed my university degree.
Now I have painted an unpretty picture you can understand this is something I would label as a bad experience. While working there I didn’t meet many people I felt I had anything in common with, particularly any values in common. I did meet one girl that seemed pretty nice but we hadn’t really hung out because in my spare time I put majority of my energy into university work. One day just as I was having a total stress-out because I was overloaded in uni work I received a phone call from her. She called to tell me she had just quit and walked out of work and asked if I wanted to catch up for a coffee. So we caught up, both chatted through our terrible day and have been friends ever since. She is seriously one of the best people I know, great fun, very honest and has been extremely supportive in hard times.
Today I am on my way to Belfast, Ireland to be in her wedding party this weekend. Without such a horrible experience I would not have met one of my very best friends nor would I get the chance to travel internationally and get a really local experience. That’s not all I took from working there. I learnt so much; how to stand up for myself, to trust my gut, be confident in myself even if I was surrounded by people I couldn’t relate to, and that not everyone will like you and that is okay! At the time I thought it was just a terrible workplace but I gained so much from it!
So my overall takeaway is not to dwell on bad experiences but rather be thankful for them. We always take something from each experience even if it isn't obvious at the time. Whether it is a lesson, knowledge, growth or in my case all that and a friend, we end up better for having experienced it!
I would love to know if you feel the same or your thoughts below :)