My Job Away From Job

So, I’ve got a dilemma and I’m either going to be the first person to tell you this or I’m about to find out that this is a magic thing that happens to everyone as they near the middle of their life and my mind is going to be blown. Either way, have a seat.

My email address is simple. That’s not the problem, it’s just something you need to know. It’s my name and my domain. That’s it. Problem is, for some reason there’s some people out there that just fucking guess when they can’t remember emails and suddenly every Eric with my last name is me.

For a while I kept getting emails from this woman yelling at me for being late. Even after I’d convince her I’m not her son she’s forget and email me again a month later. Eventually she learned and is now a delightful part of my LinkedIn circle. (The girl’s super connected)

The issue and reason for this blog though, it happened over a year ago. I got this email from this guy who works at the restaurant in Canada. Super high end, super swanky. It looked like a spam email but I was curious and read it. There I realized what I had, the minutes to a meeting in crazy detail.

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And I mean this place is swanky.

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This is part of the first series of emails containing the minutes. All important info has been removed.

I read through it and saw at the end they were looking for ideas how to get people interested in becoming members of their benefits program as well as finding ways to keep track of people’s spending habits at their establishment so they can better locate high end clientèle. As a fairly creative person with some experience in this sort of thing I just said “fuck it” and replied with a very detailed answer.

I sat back and waited the awkward responses and the apologies and the requests to no longer contact them.

Instead I got a bunch of surprise praise and follow up questions. For days. Eventually they even put the system I came up with into play and started benefiting from it.

But they kept emailing me thinking I was the guy that worked at the restaurant and I’d just go with it and reply with other ideas. Never harmful ideas. Things I felt would be helpful. Shit, I even gave them ideas for a baby shower for one of the employees.

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During all the emails for their “diaper party” for the new parent I even tried to drop hints I’m in Cleveland.

It’s been over a year now and this is still going on. They have no idea and I’m still offering suggestions, still helping them. Effectively apparently.

Sometimes I think, “how is this still happening?” How do they not notice I’m not the guy they see every day. Also, how has this other Eric gone an entire year not curious as to why he hasn’t been a part of a single email meeting. Did he realize some weird internet genie’s been making him look good? If so, fuck that guy.

But I also think, “why am I still doing this?” The answer’s painful plain. I need it. My first job was a teacher. I lucked into it at 19 and I was great at it. 95% success rate, 85% employment rate (meaning they’d leave the class and enter a class in that field). Over time I became the manager of that department. I’d write curriculum and handle crisis situations and design this and that and basically run house. Later on in life I got a coffee shop of my own and despite my business partner desperately trying to drive the place in the ground I was able to drive enough profit to compensate for his madness. And I mean there was some madness.

I miss having control over a career. Closest I’ve had in almost a decade was when a gym in Cleveland hired me on as a manager almost two years ago. I was so excited. The job would have been so easy. From the moment I walked in there I could see every problem as if there was a big poster on the wall listening out each thing I could fix and how in plain English. I saw that they had a few problems with aesthetics.

For example, they had giant potted plants on the gym floor that customers constantly bumped into. Those had to go. By the end of my entrance interview I had identified exactly where the housekeepers were going to chill off camera. And the advertisement. Jesus it was so bad. They made fliers that looked like the kind of chain letters you get from the most southern of family. I was excited. I was going to change things.

Except I didn’t because they never let me. I ended up practically chained to the front desk unable to do anything and the owners did everything in their power to avoid talking to me or anyone. Locking themselves in an office upstairs or straight up taking their laptops outside and away from everyone. Emails with issues I wanted to address and work on wouldn’t get answered for weeks if at all. It lasted for a year before I finally got to walk away from that damned place.

And all my other jobs have just been jobs. Nothing wrong with them but no control. I come in, do as I’m asked and that’s it so maybe this is just me doing some career roleplay or something. But I miss it and I love doing it.

Eventually it’s going to get to this point where I’m absolutely going to have to tell them. They’ll do something like give me personal info and I’ll have to tell them that this has to stop. I’ll have to break up with the first job in years that’s respected me enough to listen and it’s going to hurt in the weird way.

But, I don’t know, it’s such a weird thing. I know I should absolutely tell them now but I love doing this sort of thing and I know it’s been benefiting them and…argh. Thoughts?

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