How Not To Keep A Job

Good morning Sunshine! Hope you’re having a nice, relaxing Saturday morning. I’m on day 17 or 30 days straight of work this month (unless we wind up going on strike on the 26th, then I’m not technically working if I’m on the picket line), and I’m going right goofy.

For those of you who are new around here, I make my living by professionally peddling the Devil’s Brew in a government-owned retail establishment in a Canadian province (I think putting it that way works around my “social media” clause in my contract).  It may not be the greatest job, or have anything to do with what I went to school for, but it a great fit for me right now. I work with pretty much the greatest staff ever. Other stores have told me they’re jealous of our store, because we all get along so great and we’re like family. This job also gives me time to figure out my life, which I need to do very much so right now. And even though I hate people, I seem to like working with the public.

We have two busy seasons, where people buy a metric shit-tonne of alcohol – Christmas, and the summer. We get a few seasonal workers to come in at these times, kinda round out the schedule and make sure we have enough people on staff every day to keep the store open.  Usually, for a store our size, we would get 4 or 5 people to come in and help. This year especially, we needed that many people due to the possibility of a strike and the public’s usual “what do you mean you may be closed for a few days??now I need to buy CASES of booze to make sure the world doesn’t run out!” panic/ But this summer, through some combination of new management and some sort of curse, we have one. We have The Kid.

The Kid must have interviewed really well, because he’s never had a job in his 22 years. He’s never handled money, or touched a cash register, or dealt with the public. The product of helicopter parenting and a God-complex, The Kid believes that he is the be-all and end-all of cashiers. He even once dubbed himself a “cashier ninja” for his ability to hold up a line while he stood there staring into space and adding numbers in his head (we had to remind him that the cash register does all the adding for him, without uncomfortably staring at customers).

Now, I know that everyone has to start somewhere. The Kid doesn’t want to just “start” though. In his own mind, he knows everything and no one can tell him what to do.When I was just starting out as a cashier at my first job, I brought a notebook and pen and actually took notes on everything I had to do. Hell, even when I started THIS job a few years ago, I brought a notebook and pen to my cashier training and took notes on everything I had to do! Not The Kid, though. He knows everything, even though he knows nothing.

It’s only been a few weeks since The Kid first graced us with his cash-ninja presence, but it feels so much longer. Everyone but him seems to realize that he probably won’t last much longer. The only reason he’s lasted this long is because we are severely short-staffed as it is and we need bodies in the store.

Basically, he’s a walking manual for How Not To Keep A Job.  Here’s just a few of the thrilling lessons he’s given us so far:

1- Stand there. Don’t offer anyone any help. See your coworker with the huge line-up? Don’t let anyone in her line know that you’re open too. Just watch her struggle. Customer has his hands full and needs a basket? Just stand there and watch him drop glass bottles on the floor while there’s a pile of baskets next to you.

2- Stare. At everyone. Customer, coworkers, managers. Don’t say anything, just start at them.

3- Don’t think, just talk. If people are offended, it’s their own fault. Some great random phrases to get the conversation started with your customers: “Wow, you were in here yesterday too. You must be a huge alcoholic.”, “I can’t tell if you’re pregnant or really fat. Should you be buying coolers either way?”, “You’re smelly. You should go take a shower, or not look homeless or something.”

4-Don’t listen to your coworkers. They’re not trying to help you. Sure, they’re telling you what you did wrong and then showing you how to do it properly. And yes,  they’re being very patient with you. Ok, and they keep having to remind you of the same things over and over and over again. Easy things like, “Before you try to log on to a cash register, go sign in and grab your till. You can’t just walk up to a register and start using an empty drawer” I mean, all of this SOUNDS like they’re trying to help you. But they’re not. Don’t listen to them.

5- Go that little extra mile to put a personal touch on things, even if it means breaking all the rules. Coworkers told you to hit “assistance” button when you have a big line or need to use the bathroom or it’s time for your break, so that they know you need help and can come out there and help you? Screw that! You don’t play by conventional rules! Just abandon your post, wander into the back, tell them personally that you need help. That face-to-face contact is sure to impress them!

6-Make sure your coworkers know you’re on to them. Be loud, be forceful Don’t worry about their feelings; they have none. Yell right in their face if you have to. Make sure they know you are smart, and you know everything there is to know about their job, so you really don’t need their help. In fact, they should be asking you for help!

7-You know how every workplace says they have their own policy for breaks? Well, they’re lying because those policies don’t apply to you. Have a huge line-up? Just walk away and take a break! Supposed to buzz for someone to come relieve you for your break? Why bother? Just walk away whenever you want your break! Supposed to take 15 minutes? I’m sure you can reason out a way to take more! “Well by the time I sat in the office for a bit, and then went to the bathroom, and then sat for a few minutes, and then heated up my food, it was 4:15. So technically my break didn’t start until then.” See, just outsmart them!

8-The same goes for the end of your shift. Sure, the boss says he’s the one to tell you when to cash out and finish up your shift, but you know better than him. He says it only takes 5 minutes to do that? You take 25 minutes! Coworkers try to tell you that’s not how things are done? Well screw them! You know better than them! Just ask your mom, who has probably already checked in on your at least once during your shift and is waiting in the parking lot for you 45 minutes early just in case someone is mean to you.

9- When in doubt, get your mom. No one wants someone’s mom not to like them. Have your mom tell everyone how stressed you are, how you stay up at night crying about your job after the second day there. Make sure she tells everyone what a good kid you are, how smart you are, and how special you are. Everyone will listen to your mom and automatically love you.

10- Do things your own way. Sure, the register adds up all the prices you scan, but isn’t it just more fun to add up all the numbers in your head, even if it takes a few extra minutes per customer because you have to scan so slowly? Damn skippy it is! When the boss tells you to stop doing that (apparently it distracts you from stupid things like taking payments, and making change, and checking ID’s to make sure you’re not serving a 15 year old when the legal age is 19), stop for the few minutes he’s watching you, and then get back to doing what you love! Remember, your way is ALWAYS the best way!

 

This is just the short list of things he’s done THIS WEEK. And that’s not counting all the stupid comments he’s made to us. The concept of keeping the doors locked until we opened so that customers couldn’t come in was well beyond his comprehension. He also doesn’t seem to quite realize that “seasonal employment” means that he’s employed for the season, no matter how many times we explain it to him. He has flat out demanded we order him full-time staff uniforms and get him his own locker (instead of the one marked “seasonal staff”).

And I know I sound like a bitch for complaining so much about The Kid. It’s gotten to the point that he’s already made the most patient workers there snap from frustration. Last weekend, I kept rubbing my temples every time he said or did something unbelievably dumb or rude. And I don’t mean he hit a wrong key on the register, or accidentally gave someone an extra dollar with their change. I mean, his 15 minute break was almost 30 minutes; he mocked out plain-clothes security guys for not standing next to him all night to make sure he was safe (which apparently makes them lazy); he refused to ID people, and then refused to log the few ID’s he got in the system (it’s just logging that yes they had ID and what kind they had, for legal purposes). This was on top of his rude comments to staff and customers, his refusal to help anyone with anything, and his flat-out mocking of certain staff members and shift leaders. By the end of the night, I had my nervous twitch back in my left eye, and I had rubbed off my eyebrows and most of my outer eye make-up from rubbing my temples so much. And I’m one of the patient ones, too! Already this week, he’s had multiple private meetings with the boss about the things he’s doing wrong, and he’s almost been fired more than once. And I have one of the most patient bosses ever! Sweet little old grannies have come into the store, dealt with The Kid, and have almost resorted to purse-swinging violence!

He’s worked all week, as we’re trying to prepare him for our own brand of personal hell called “Dealing with customers who are trying to prepare in case we go on strike, and are acting like it’s the coming of the apocalypse”.  We’ve kept him on the early morning shifts to avoid him having to deal with the night rushes and the after-work/pre-party crowd. But tonight, a Saturday night when we’re already short staffed and have a tasting in-store, we also have The Kid with us. I already have my spiked rootbeer chilling in the fridge, and a big bottle of Chilean Cab Sauv staring at me from the counter.

This is going to be one hell of a long summer!

What about you, Sunshine? Have you ever had a coworker who you knew just wasn’t going to work out? Someone who drove you bonkers? Or maybe you’ve dealt with someone like this before and found a way to make it work?  Drop me a comment below, let me know how you handled things…… or let me know the worst of the worst stories you have about that coworker (we could all use a bit of a giggle).

Aaaand I’m back!

So things have been…….. interesting to say the least. We’ve got a full house around here yet again. Me and Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend are still here with the world’s most fierce and precious King Bowser Koopa kitten-cat. M has the other room upstairs with us, and his girlfriend B is over ALL the time. She has the door code, she stays here when he leaves for the weekend, and just comes and goes all the time. In the basement, we’ve got R (who works a few jobs and is NEVER home) and A (who was M’s roommate on campus at some point). No one really hangs out together (aside from the couples being together), no one really talks much, and no one is really home much.

Still, it’s been trying. For some reason, people just started bringing in kitchen appliances to their rooms and cooking there. We had space heaters and fans and microwaves and hot plates all over the damn house. Landlord put a stop to that, and put me in charge of the thermostat. We had the AC on when it was like 70 outside!

Still, it’s not even 70 outside today, and M has his giant industrial fan going full blast. I’m in a freakin hoodie and sweatpants while I get ready for work, and this boy has his fan blasting like it’s the middle of August.

I’ve had some pretty messed up stuff going on with me at work too. Got a pay raise, then it was taken away from me because of a technicality with the union. We’re in strike position, and could be on strike in a little over 2 weeks. And the mental strain of the job is really starting to get to me. I sell alcohol for a living, and have a curse put on me where people just randomly start telling me their life stories. I’ve had people detail their alcoholism to me, tell me how smart they think they are for “hiding” it from their families, how their families try to “ruin them” (which is actually trying to help them), how they just got out of rehab or are on their way to detox or how they stole money from a relative or loved one and they’re there spending it on booze for a massive bender. Having people in my life who have substance problems, and knowing what it feels like to be those family members, this is REALLY starting to get to me.

There’s been so much more going on too. The hunt for a new jobs is getting harder. A friend of mine passed away suddenly (he wasn’t even 30, just got engaged) and I took that kinda hard. AAB and I have had our issues together (he went away to stay with his folks for a bit to work on something, and we’ve had to spend a lot of energy and time working on our issues together).  On top of this is the usual work drama, family drama, house drama, general life drama.

A good friend of mine at work and I got to talking after a very rough patch of work crapola went down. We’ve both agreed to spend more time on our artistic endeavours, find something meaningful in our lives outside of the usual work-grind. I’ve been writing a bit in my massive collection of notebooks, reading a bunch, watching some stuff online that is NOT just a rerun of Friends. Oh, and marathoning Vine compilations in the background while I work at home.

So, I’m actually making an effort to create more content. Figured out my main problem is I have endless ideas, but think and talk faster than I can type. So I wind up abandoning things half-finished because my brain has moved on to the next idea, which I will later abandon when my brain moves on again. Maybe I should get a Vlog or something, just ramble to the masses on YouTube?

No matter what, I’ll be around Sunshine.

So I read a lot of articles about how to have an online presence. Judging by the long periods I go without posting……. well, I’m not learning much yet it would seem. Part of that is because I’ve been trying to figure out this whole “branding” thing. I keep seeing article after article after article about how important it is for you to brand yourself properly.  If you mess this up, then you’re basically doomed for all eternity online.

So you can see why I’d be focusing on learning more about that, right?

The thing is, none of it was making sense to me. Register a domain name, have an email signature, pick the right avatar……… but how? And why? And what does it all mean?  No one was coming right out and saying, “Here is how you figure out what your brand is”. All they ever did was give you tips for how to work with your brand. But what if you don’t know what your brand is?

So yesterday, I headed out to the mall. Well, I headed out there twice actually. I just got my new phone in the mail (the new LG 5G!!) and had to head over to Koodo to get the stuff from my old phone transferred to my new phone. I caught the bus, made most of the almost 1 hour trip out there….. and realized I left the phone at home. So I had to come home, grab the phone, waste some time until the next bus came, and head out yet again. By the time I got there, I needed cheap mall sushi and discount clothes to calm me down.

So I sat down with my new phone, shoving cheap sushi in my gluttonous face hole, trying to decide which stores to check out. Different stores have their different styles, and there are certain stores I gravitate to more than others. Despite my age, I still hit up Forever 21 pretty regularly ($2.99 tank tops to wear under my uniform? How can I go wrong?). While checking out their clearance racks, I overheard two girls talking.

“I know it’s a great price, but it doesn’t go with anything you own. It’s so outside your style it’s crazy to even look at it.”

“But it’s a $12 coat! I’m sure I could make it fit in somehow.”

“Name me three things in your closet right now that would go with this coat. And then look at this $16 coat and try to do the same thing.”

I stood there listening, and finally asked the girl which one she was going to chose. As someone who loves a good deal, a $12 coat sounds amazing. But $16 is damn good too, especially if it goes with everything you already own. After a few minutes, the girl was still undecided. So her friend asked her what her style was.

Now, I’m the first to say that I have no style. I can’t take some look off the pages of a magazine and work it. I’ll take odd items, mix them together, and make a look from that. I’m a bit of a mish-mash of things, and apparently this girl was too.

So we made a list of the things that really spoke to us in the store. For me it was denim jackets, ripped jeans, combat boots, dark sun glasses, blazers, vests, tank tops, and lots of dark patterns. Throw in the random jewellery I liked (a range from hippie love beads to spiked rings to 90’s style chokers), and they determined my style.

“You’re like a Corporate Goth Punk Hippie,” they decided.

And suddenly it all made sense.

My closet is like my brand. It’s all the things that are me to the outside world. Not everyone will have the absolute pleasure of talking to me, and getting to know me, but they can see me. I have a look, a style, a brand.

It’s the same thing online. What am I doing here? What am I writing? What am I posting? That’s my brand. That’s what I need to develop; the essence of me that you all can see.

So, Sunshine, now that I have that figured out a bit more, hopefully I can put it out of my head for a bit and get back to writing more. Hopefully you’ll hear from me again very soon!

Groceries: What The Hell Do You Even Need?

We’re in the process of re-teaching a co-worker how to shop for groceries after years of bringing fast food to work every day. So I thought this would be a good time to make up a grocery list for myself. I do this semi-regularly. It’s not like I shop entirely from a list, or have one of those pre-printed lists on the fridge that lets me check things off as we run out of them. And I’ll never be one of those people who always seems to have the well-stocked pantry, with all the ingredients for a three course meal ready at the drop of a hat. Truth be told, I’m trying to chose between semi-stale granola and toast made from bread the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend’s parents bought for us to go with my coffee this morning. I don’t think I could handle the responsibility of having one of those Insta-worthy pantries.

Still, I like to have a nicely stocked cupboard and fridge. There are some things I just need to keep in stock, like milk for coffee, or bread and cheese slices for emergency sandwiches. For some reason the other night, though, while making a grocery list so I don’t forget cat food and bacon, I thought “Gee, I wonder if there’s other things I should be stocking, to really up my cooking game”. So, off to the Googles!

A quick search for “Grocery List Essentials” pulled up article  after  article  of   pre-made  grocery  lists.  There was everything from slide shows of sleek-looking produce, clean eating walkthroughs, and  how to live on an extremely tight budget while still enjoying pancakes and pineapple. While the lists were a great ready (although sometimes overwhelming and huge), and each one was unique, they all had one thing in common: they were full of crap I don’t want or need.

Neither AAB or I are big on fruit. I keep some bananas and berries in the freezer for smoothies on Sunday morning, and he buys the occasional apples for his lunch. So why would we need to stock apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, and pomegranates in our kitchen? All that’s going to do turn into some mighty expensive compost. Things like yogurt and feta cheese would just go bad in the fridge, since we hardly ever use either one. And there is no way in hell I would EVER keep avocados  stocked in my kitchen. As the video says, those things can kill a damn horse!

You’re probably think, “Well shit Sunshine, how the hell will I know how to stock my damn kitchen if all these lists are full of crap I don’t even need?”

Well, sit your ass down and look at what you actually like to eat. Then, imagine eating it. Sounds crazy, right? Hear me out though: I love eggs. I love spinach. I love grains and carbs of all kinds. And I love salads. Before I make a grocery list, I have to figure out which of these things I need, and what I can do with them. One of my favourite things to pack for a quick lunch at work is quinoa, boiled spinach, and a poached egg. So if I know I’ll be getting shifts with lunch breaks this week, I’ll make sure I have those three things on my list. I never eat that at home, though, so I won’t keep all that in stock as much if I’m on evenings and nights. Also when I’m on nights and evenings, I need simple things to make for dinner since AAB doesn’t cook a whole hell of a lot. So, I’ll throw a few frozen pizzas and some crock pot friendly foods on my list.

Another great way to make a kick-ass grocery list is to look at recipes and store flyers. I like to look through Flipp on my phone and see what proteins are on sale at the two grocery stores near my work. Then, I’ll look up a few quick recipes for those: one in the oven, one crockpot, and one more complicated one for nights I’m not working. Then I’ll go through the recipes and make my list based on that, with a few changes. Depending on what is on sale, I’ll substitute a few ingredients here and there (why shell out for organic kale to sautee when you can get a bag of spinach on sale for $1?). This is great because now I have meals planned out in my head, and can shop for other things accordingly. Making spicy chicken on Monday night? Grab some peppers and onions, bust out the tortillas, and the leftovers become fajitas on Tuesday. Want to get that bag of discount spinach but only have it down in one recipe for the week? Boil or sautee some a bunch to add to omelettes, throw in with a bit of pasta, or eat as a side dish with breakfasts and lunches. Bunches of tomatoes are on sale, and you want them for pizza one night, but hate them in your salad? Make some salsa, bruschetta, or pico de gallo to snack on for the week with the leftovers.

So Sunshine, don’t think that you need to follow some sort of pre-made list to stock your kitchen right. I don’t care of Oprah or Gwyneth or Dr. Oz makes the damn list: if it doesn’t work with you, your tastes, and your lifestyle, then don’t bother with it. That’s not to say you can’t take inspiration from them. Check out the spice section of their lists, see if there’s anything there you could use but constantly overlook when shopping. Use things like lists as suggestions, not as can-never-stray-from-guides. You do you Sunshine, whether it’s in the kitchen or the boardroom. Stay golden!

Stomach Flu Woes.

So that stomach bug that’s going around hit me HARD this week! I’m starting to feel better now, but it’s been rough.

Sunday night after work, I had a meeting with some coworkers. Had some pizza and two glasses of wine while I was there. Felt fine, just a little run down. Got home, curled up on the bed to watch some old school Gordon Ramsay reruns with the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend. Poured another glass of wine, since I had the next day off anyway. About half way through, it felt like I had just chugged two bottles. The room started spinning a bit, my balance was off, and my stomach felt weird. Dumped out my wine, chugged some water, felt a bit better. I just figured, with the stress of the last few weeks, my body had enough of everything and wanted to sleep. So, I curled up in bed.

About an hour later, the room was spinning like crazy. I tried the old “put one foot flat on  the floor” trick, and that did nothing. Decided to go to the bathroom just in case, and that when the trouble really started.

I stayed up, stumbling from the bedroom to the bathroom, for the next few hours. It looked and felt like everything I had consumed in the last three days was shooting out of my body through one exit or another.

The next morning, AAB made sure my water bottle was full, the kettle was full, and there was soup in the cupboard before he went to work. And I somehow slept until almost 1pm (for comparison, today I slept in a lot more than usual and was awake before 10am). For the first time since the three days I spent in quarantine years ago, I spent the entire day in bed. I tried to stay hydrated, eat some soup and toast, but nothing stayed in me long.

And this lasted for days.

On Tuesday I did a little online training for work, and threw on Sims3 for the rest of the day (and yes, I’m one of those people who kills of random Sims for fun). By Wednesday I had some energy back enough to deal with the student loan people on the phone, and to get laundry done (mainly because I threw up in the dirty clothes basket).

Thursday I had to go back to work for a half shift, and barely made it through. Friday I had ALL the energy and spent the day cleaning, and only threw up once. By Saturday the vomiting seemed to have stopped, although I’ve felt pretty queasy on and off all day today.

In all of this, I started about 8 different blog posts, but didn’t have the energy or focus to follow through with any of them. So hopefully today, I can go through the bits and pieces of what I wrote and find some semblance of a storyline in there somewhere.

Hope you’re staying healthy out there, Sunshine!

The schedule at work dropped of quite a bit. I went from my 40 hours a week before New Years, to 37 hours the week after. The following week I was down to 23 hours. And this week, I am scheduled for 5 whole hours.  I could always get called in to cover a shift, or possibly pick up a shift at another location. But for the most part, I’m SOL.

So, I thought I would make the most of this time. I have books to read, things to clean, make-up brushes to wash, laundry to do, crafts to craft……..which can only mean one thing: I wound up with the stomach flu.

So for the better part of this week, if my posts come out looking or sounding a little bit wonky, there’s good reason for it. Not only am I forced to be within 25 feet of a toilet at all times, I’m really wear and light headed from not being able to keep food in my body for very long. Also, I usually blog from my desktop computer, which I can’t exactly bring into the bathroom with me. So, I’ll be trying to get my WordPress app to work on the new iPad, or possibly on my phone.

The Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend made sure I have plenty of soup, and there’s Law & Order SVU on Netflix. My little Bowser Kitten is keeping a close eye on me, and naps next to me. Hopefully this all passes quickly. I’m really not good at just relaxing. I need to find little things to do at least to stay busy. But it’s damn near impossible to do laundry and wash the kitchen floor when you’re chained to a toilet.

Doing Some Very Grown-Up Things

So as I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been trying to do some very grown-up things. Among those things are:

  • getting through to the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend that his debts can hold us back in getting the things we want in life.
  • taking a serious look at my own debts (which I admit, I let get way out of hand)
  • talking to someone about my debts who is in a position to help me (debt counsellor , bank loan officer), instead of just my mother and AAB
  • look at what I can do in my current job to help advance myself AND add to my resume
  • learn to use the new iPad AAB got me for Christmas for something other than Mario Run (which I refuse to pay for more than the basic starter levels right now) and Pokemon Go.

So, since the first of the month, I’ve been doing some Very Grown-Up Things. I laid out to AAB how his debt and credit score affects our future. If I’m working towards fixing my credit, and he’s not, then it makes no financial sense for us to ever become common-law or think of getting married. I know that sounds horrible, and it really does tear me up inside to say it. But I’m taking steps towards someday owning a house, or a condo, and want to at the very least get out of this house in the very near future. If I get my credit score up to a level that will get me a mortgage, or a good loan, then we can’t really do anything that would link us together financially. Doing that would mesh our credit together, and his score would affect mine. I think he’s finally starting to see that.

Also, just this week I had an appointment at my bank. Even though I am in a less-than-ideal position for a bank to lend me money, I have handled my debts well enough that there is a very good chance I may be able to get a consolidation loan to help take care of my credit card debts. I’ll have some tips on how to handle your credit like I did later. For now, I’m just focusing on getting my paperwork together to work on this loan, and get my other paperwork together to send off to the student loan people for my Repayment Assistance Plan (otherwise they just take $700 out of my account each month, which I really can never afford).

Well wouldn’t you know, right after my bank appointment I dropped into work to eat and study my new Wine Folly book before my shift, and my former manager was there to do our appraisals! It seems I’m a bit of an overachiever when it comes to the online training. He showed me how much training someone with my seniority would normally have if they only did what they had to. Then he showed me mine. It’s like twice as long! So what did I do when I got home? I signed up for more training. I’m going to do my shift leader training, some extra customer service training, a whole lot of extra product knowledge training, and some mentorship training. Then, the next time the District Manager is in our store, I want to ask him if there is any sort of mentorship programs in place with the company. Even if I have to be the mentee of the Weird BowTie Guy from our flagship store, or Cute Asshole who used to work at my store, it would totally be worth it for the opportunity.

In all of this busy-ness though, I haven’t picked up the iPad once! Hopefully once AAB’s birthday present is all set up (got a nice TV package for him), we will be chilling in the office a bit more, and I will have more of an excuse to pull it out and use it.

So there’s my current foray into the Grown-Up World I’ve failed at so far, Sunshine. I have a lot of big plans coming up, which will hopefully bring some big lessons and experiences you all can learn from (so you don’t have to screw up as bad as I did).