Unreliable Instincts

So we have a new employee at my job. The good news is that I’m no longer the newest employee. The bad news is everyone is now more expendable. But let’s talk about this new employee for a second.

She’s a mess. Like a big ol’ mess. Everything she does is sloppy except her haircuts. She spreads out her tools like cinnamon butter on Texas Roadhouse rolls. She does little things that seem like nothing to her but it annoys a lot of other employees in the shop. She screamed at a coworker that was trying to help her and give her advice. The minute she got hired I knew something was off.

The last time I got a subconscious dislike of someone was in high school. The second that girl stepped into the choir classroom I got a gut feeling that she wasn’t as perfect and friendly as she put on. I became friends with her anyway and it wasn’t until after high school that she ended up dropping every single one of her friends because “God told her to have Christian friends”. Real piece of work but she’s apologized so I guess forgiveness triumphs.

I try to rely on my gut feelings because I believe those feelings are there for a reason whether it be the back of my mind or a supernatural feeling from the Holy Ghost. A gut feeling has some accuracy.

Now, how reliable can a gut feeling actually be? Science surveys says:

Not very.

Tragic but apparently true. According to the Harvard Business review from 2003 about gut feelings and intuition, it’s as likely to end you in a bad situation as a good one. Our brain bases these feelings off of things we’ve already experienced. If you just got out of a really bad relationship, you’re more likely to see a new prospect as unfaithful and untrustworthy.

It also makes sense if you think about in an animalistic way. We have animal traits (though I firmly believe humans are not animals) and those traits are shown through survivalist manners. We naturally don’t want to be hurt and we naturally don’t want to feel cornered or threatened. The fight or flight hormone plays a part in this. When we burn our hand on a stove, our brain reminds us of this instance every time we get near a stove whether we’re fully aware of it or not. We see something that reminds us of a situation and we become wary of it even if it’s irrational.

That’s where a gut feeling comes into play. I’ve worked past jobs where new employees turn out to be failures and disasters. They cause drama and tension and make the workplace all-around even more unenjoyable as before. This new job holds value in my mind. With this new coworker causing problems at work, my brain is probably sensing a threat to my career or my wellbeing or just that the whole situation is causing me stress. I’m sure my other coworkers are thinking the same way.

Now to stay out of drama at work I’ve been trying to stay lowkey and just get my money and stay focused. But lemme explain what happened. There are stations in the barbershop. Most of them are lined up against the west wall. But there are two stations back-to-back in the middle of the shop. One faces north, the other mirror faces south. The north-facing station is the one I’ve sat at for months. The last employee that sat there found a different job. I took over that station and there was only 6 other barbers working there at that time so we all kind of respected each other’s space.

Stay with me here.

This new girl comes in. Gets a part-time job. Almost immediately takes my spot. Now, every time I come into work on the weekends she’s set up at my station. She moves everything around, moves things in odd spots, changes the shampoo bottles around and leaves the station dirty.

BUT I can’t get angry about it because we don’t have set stations. Anyone can take any place. But there’s an unwritten rule that also applies to college classrooms. But apparently no one informed her of this so I have to sit somewhere else. I’m not just saying all this to make it seem like it’s a big deal, but it’s enough to make me feel irritated at her. When you work for some time with a certain setup and someone comes in and moves it all around and forces you to change your routine, you understand how annoying that is.

I’m complaining. I’m irritated. In my mind, I know it’s not a big deal but she’s made me move to different spots for the last two weeks. It makes my haircuts take longer which brings my numbers down. I’m full-blown frustrated.

Maybe listening to my gut feeling would have saved me time cause then I would expect her to do something like that. But then again, it’s not reliable. Right Harvard? Or maybe it is and humans are so complex creations that we can sense something before it happens.

My cat can sense when he needs to be taken to the vet the day of and then disappears for 12 hours so he doesn’t have to be taken in. If my cat can have a sense like that, surely humans can too. Or maybe it’s just coincidence.

Some food for thought if you will. Have a good week.

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