Aug 05, 2013 0 Share

Optimism, Pessimism and Realism


Two glasses, one saying "Half Empty," one saying "Half Full."
iStockphoto

For the record, I am a glass-half-empty kind of person. I inevitably get in the wrong line at the grocery store, and if there’s a chance of rain, it will rain … as soon as I go outside. Over the years, I’ve worked hard to have a more positive outlook, but the reality is that I’m a pessimist at heart. However, there is one category where I have surprisingly found myself to be an optimist, and that is all things concerning Cameron. Here’s what I’ve learned about optimism versus pessimism: When you’re pessimistic and wrong, it’s a good thing. You assume the worst, and when it doesn’t happen, it’s a pleasant surprise. When you’re optimistic and wrong, not so much.

I have always felt there can be nothing bad about Cameron working. Any work experience is good experience, as far as I’m concerned. Cameron has always had such a good attitude when it comes to work. The thought of him not being successful on a job had never entered my mind … until I had a chat with the restaurant owner that was kind enough to give Cameron a temporary internship this summer. Cameron was taking chips and drinks to customers and bussing tables. On the last day Cameron was scheduled to work, he called me right after I dropped him off, and said the manager wanted to speak with me. (Uh oh.) She told me that business had been slow, and there was nothing for Cameron to do, and he gets anxious without something to do, so please come pick him up. I’m thinking that the time Cameron had worked previously, they had been so busy and he didn’t have time to eat. (Which did not make Cameron a happy employee.) I was wondering how at 11:00 a.m. on a Saturday, the manager already knew it would be a slow day?

When I picked Cameron up, the manager explained that she really couldn’t have Cameron in the kitchen, because it was too small, and she couldn’t have him pacing around in the dining room. Fair point. But then came the zinger: The manager told me that customers had complained about Cameron because he was putting his finger in his nose, and scratching his backside. (Ewww! I would complain too.) I think the manager was politely firing Cameron. She did give him a nice check for the work he had done, and told him to buy some clothes. (Was she also unhappy with his attire?)

I really appreciate the kindness and generosity that the manager showed Cameron. I realize that in the types of jobs Cameron will be in, he may not always be as lucky with his bosses as he was in this case. I spoke frankly with Cameron about what was said of him. (Even though he had been standing right next to me when it was said, it had not occurred to him to pay attention to the conversation.) He seemed to shrink a little in his seat when I spoke, so I hope that he processed what I was saying and learned from it. I know I learned a lesson from this experience. Just because Cameron enjoys working, he does not magically become the perfect employee.