Yes, You Really Do Need To Show ID

Well, today is a bust. I woke up feeling like death, dragged myself out of bed, and went to work. I am sore all over, my head is pounding, my neck is stiff and sore, and to top it all off I have cramps that could cripple a giraffe. We were also short staffed at work today, so I couldn’t even leave early. I have felt like falling down all day. Cases of coolers that I can usually throw around two at a time felt like they were filled with cement today. I could barely lift things, let alone be of much help doing our Monday afternoon load.

Luckily for me, the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend took the day off work today. He usually does four or five 10-11 hour days a week, one day of 8-10 hours, and a 5 hour day on the weekend. So, sometimes when Monday rolls around he’s just too damn tired to get up.  Instead, he stays home, watches a little tv, and just relaxes. But today he saw how sick I feel, and he’s been working at home all day. I came home to a freshly scrubbed kitchen. He even cleaned out the toaster and the microwave. The bed is all made and looking extra comfy for when I collapse after I finish typing this. And the ever playful Bowser Kitten looks like he’s played plenty of fetch today and will sleep well during my nap. He basically did everything I do in a day (except for the writing part) and is still going to make dinner, let me nap, and take care of me all afternoon and evening.

Having him around really cheers me up on days like today. On top of feeling horrible, I also had to deal with customers. For the most part, this usually goes ok. They put their item on the counter, I scan it, they pay, we say goodbye, and they leave. But sometimes, asking people for ID throws a wrench in our little routine. For the most part, people have no issue showing me their ID. There are always those few people out there who make a big deal out of it. Too big a deal, if you ask me. They seem to think they know my job better than I di, and frequently lecture me on why they don’t need ID. Or they huff and they puff and whine and pout and generally waste everyone’s time. Actually, there’s a whole lot of different things people do when it comes to ID that either really pisses most cashiers off, or gives us a damn good story to tell our families at Thanksgiving when they say, “Wow, your job is so easy. Must be nice to not have to deal with any real drama or work, eh?”.

And yes, I had someone say that to me last year at my parents’ New Years Day party.

1. I know the rules better than you do.

We get trained over and over about the rules when it comes to IDing people in our store. We’re told repeatedly about the consequences we could face if we don’t ID people properly. We know that corporate pays mystery shoppers just to come in and see if they get ID’d, and if we don’t ID them we could get in serious trouble. So for those of you who are wondering, all the different reasons we can have for legally asking you for your ID are as follows:

  1. You brought the product up to the counter, or are paying for the product, and look like you could be under 25.
  2. We saw you touching the product in the store while you’re shopping with someone else, they are buying something, but you are with them.
  3. We see you give money or any other form of payment, like a debit card or credit card, to someone who is buying booze.
  4. We hear you ask someone to buy you something.
  5. We hear you tell someone which product to buy.
  6. You came in as part of a large group, where multiple people are all picking up the product, talking about products, and it is all part of one large purchase.

If you bring a bottle up to the counter, put it down in front of the cashier, and your friend is paying for it, you both need to show ID. We actually had a guy last weekend put a bottle down on the counter in front of one of my little Kitten Crew cashiers, and his friend pulled out his wallet to pay. When she asked them both for ID, the one who carried the bottle up right in front of her said, ” I literally never touched it.”

She. Watched. You. Put. It. On. Her. Counter. Dude.

Luckily, this was the sassiest member of my little Kitten Crew. She can take abuse from customers, stare them down, and talk to them in a totally deadpan manner. She stared this dude right in the eye, grabbed the bottle away from him, and said: “I literally saw you put it down on the counter, so now I literally need to see your ID or you can literally just leave now.”

We get a tonne of young people who take a fit and claim they know the rules better than we do. We’ve had young kids claim they are the children of police officers and lawyers, so obviously, they know the law better than we do. They get right in our faces, try and taunt us, tell us their father will hear about this. They go the full Draco Malfoy.

If we ask you for ID, it’s because we had one of those 6 reasons above to do so. We’re not backing down. Once we ask you for ID, legally you have to show it to get your purchase. Once the words “I need to see your ID” leave my mouth, you’re showing me your ID or you’re leaving empty-handed.

2. No, you don’t need it.

Seriously, people tell us this all the time. We ask for ID and they say, “you don’t need that”.

Look, if we didn’t need it, we wouldn’t ask for it. You’re not the one who decides if I need to see your ID or not. If we have a reason to see your ID, we’re the ones who decide to ask for it. It has nothing to do with whether you think you need to show it.

3. Why would you threaten us?

One night, I had three guys all shopping together in our store. They were talking pretty loudly, so all of the cashiers knew they were shopping together. Like, we heard them talking about how much each of them was paying the other one to buy the rum for the three of them for the night. One of them grabbed the bottle, brought it half-way to my register, and then handed it to his friend who put it on my counter. I asked all three of them for ID.

Only one of them had it.

The one gentleman asked me a bunch of questions, very calmly and honestly, about why he needed ID, and what he should do the next time he comes in shopping and forgets to bring his ID with him. The other guy was nowhere near as nice. At first, he just kept insisting he didn’t need his ID. Then he basically took a sidebar with the friend who did have an ID. They whispered to each other just off to the side of my line, and then came right back up to my till. Then buddy had the nerve to look me in the eye and say, “I don’t know these two guys. I’m not with them. I don’t need ID.”

Seriously. He walked in with his two friends. He shopped with his two friends. He very loudly talked about giving his friend $15 towards a bottle of rum. Then he carried the bottle of run halfway up to my register before giving it to his friend to bring up. And suddenly he’s never met these guys in his life?

To make what turned into a very long, drawn-out, expletive-riddled story much shorter, I denied their purchase because they didn’t all have ID. I did what we’ve all been trained to do. Of course, this didn’t sit well with them.

These boys yelled and screamed at me, tried to convince me to sell to them anyway, and were just a general nuisance for a few minutes. I told them to leave, and that they weren’t being served by any of us there that night until they all had their ID with them. This didn’t sit well with them. They slowly walked back towards the door, still yelling at me. Once they got to the door, the only one in the group who actually had ID stood there staring at me. He stood there just pointing at me, and suddenly yelled out that he was going to “track [me] down and fuck [me] up”.

Want to know how you make sure you are watched by management and security in a store for the rest of your natural life? Threaten an employee.

I don’t think these guys realize, but they are being watched ridiculously closely any time they walk into any of our stores. Security knows their faces. We all do by now. All any of them have to do is step out of line in the slightest way just once, and they’re banned for life. You can’t just go around saying you’re going to track people down and mess them up and expect there to be no consequences.

4. We don’t take pictures of ID

I had a coworker who had the greatest reply to this once. It was so great that years later, we use this reply regularly. And I do mean regularly. Even on a slow weekend, the front end gets this situation a handful of times.

Someone will come into the store. In this situation, it’s usually a member of a small group of people. This group will walk around for at least half an hour, with a shopping cart, with all members of the group putting things into the cart. When they’re asked for ID at the counter, at least one person in the group will pull out their phone. They didn’t actually bring their ID with them, but they did take a picture of it on their phones. I mean, it’s not like pictures can be manipulated by modern-day technology or anything, right? A picture of a passport or license should be good enough.

No. No, it’s not.

As my coworker once said, “If all you have is a picture of your ID, then all you’re leaving with is a picture of the booze. Sorry.”

5. We don’t care if you let your kid drink at home

Seriously, we all drank underage at some point. Ok, except for my mother. She waited until college before going crazy on the cherry whiskey and orange juice. But my friends (and siblings, and their friends) drank underage. But back in my day, because I am ridiculously old and can say that, we knew well enough to give our money to our of-age purchaser before they went into the store and told them what to get us without walking in with them and yelling, “Oooh, this is what I want! Buy me this!”

My parents knew we drank underage. Like most of my friends’ parents, they said they would rather we do it at home or at the home of a friend (with trusted parents somewhere nearby) than stealing booze and hitting up a bush party somewhere. When I really really wanted a bottle of Crown Royal for a party, and I had the money leftover from babysitting, my dad went out and got it for me. I didn’t have to go to the store with him and tell him what I wanted. My friends and I knew that if we were mature enough to drink, then we were mature enough to know what we wanted and give someone the money to get it.

Ok, so our parents knew better back then than to bring some whiney, hormonal teenager into the liquor store with them to pick something out. Dad basically said, “Am I grabbing something for you? Or do you have a 19-year-old friend who’s going to buy you booze behind our backs anyway?” Dad didn’t let me get the cheap gut-rot stuff. He sat me down and taught me about responsible drinking. Then, mum told me the story about the college party she went to where she and her friend had too much cherry whiskey and orange juice. The grass never did grow back properly on her neighbour’s lawn where she threw up. If watching your mother roll around on the floor doing her impression of 19-year-old her rolling around in the back of her friend’s boyfriend’s van doesn’t scare you into drinking responsibly, nothing will.

The point is that my friends and I didn’t walk into the store advertising that our parents were buying us booze, and our parents didn’t let on that they were buying for us either. If we did get the privilege of going into the store with them, it was a “blow this and you’re drinking Kool-Aid at parties until you’re legal age” kind of deal. I wish I could say that kids these days keep screwing this up, but it’s the parents I take issue with.

I have lost track of the number of parents who have loudly yelled across the store, “Honey, do you want whiskey or vodka for your prom party tonight?” while talking to their very under-age child. Again, if we think you’re buying it for someone who doesn’t have ID proving they’re of legal age to buy it themselves, we can’t sell it to you. It’s called a “second party purchase”, and a cashier could actually do jail time for that.

So when you’re yelling across the store, or we hear you say something like, “Just grab what you want and bring it up to the counter”, legally we need to ID your kid. And really, we don’t care if you let them drink at home. Seriously, we don’t. If I had a kid that age, I would let them drink too. I want to teach my kids about responsible drinking, the consequences of drinking too much, and the legal restrictions put on the sale of alcohol. And part of that means not obviously buying for your kid right in front of me.

Look, if you come in and buy a bottle of whiskey, I’m going to assume it’s for you. If you buy 12 bottles of whiskey, I’m going to assume you’re buying gifts or stocking up on something. Any of those could be for your kid, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about that. But the second you let your kid pick out that whiskey in my store, we have a damn problem, Brenda!

6. The drinking age here is 19

The next province over, the legal drinking age is 18. You still have to be 19 to buy alcohol here.

I’m in a border city. In Michigan, the legal drinking age is 21. Many many American young adults trade in their stars and stripes and freedom from ‘Merica to come to the Great White North and drink legally in bars. When those 19 and 20-year-olds go back across the border, they still have to be 21 to buy alcohol there.

If you’re a student here from another country, or on vacation here, or visiting a friend, or on an international quest for love, or doing whatever the hell you’re doing that brought you to my store, and you’re from a country that has a lower drinking age, you still have to be 19 to drink here. End of story.

7. No, I won’t seriously ID your 5-year-old

When someone comes in with little kids, I like to joke around with the kids. I ask them for ID.

You mean you don’t have anything? Drivingt lisence? Fishing lisence? Boating lisence? A lisence to kill? What about a health card? A sick card? A feeling a little pukey but still want to go to school card?

What can I say, it’s my schtick. If your 5-year-old grabs a can from your basket and tried to put it on the counter, I know you’re not buying it for them. While they’re not allowed to touch anything in the store, I know they’re just trying to be helpful.

When people bring their 17-year-old kid into the store, let them pick out something, and then let them bring it up to the counter, do you have any idea how many of these parents yell something along the lines of “What, would you ID my 5-year-old if I brought them in with me?”

8. We’re IDing you because we have to, not because we want you

The Kitten Crew probably gets this more than I do, but even I get this sometimes. And I’m really damn old, remember?

If I ask for your ID, it’s because I need to legally verify that you can buy what you’re trying to purchase. Not because I want to sleep with you. Seriously.

That’s just what I can think of off the top of my head right now. And that head is freaking pounding. I think it’s time for me to lay down with the always snuggly Bowser Kitten while AAB finishes dinner for us.

So is there anything else you have to deal with when IDing customers that I missed here? Leave a comment, or drop me a line at TheFailedGrownUp@gmail.com.

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Sometimes People Suck

Well, this has been a doozy of a weekend at the store, Sunshine! We opened two hours late yesterday, in order to observe a time of silence and honor our troops on Remembrance Day. Then today, somehow the world forgot our store hours even though they’ve been the same since April 1st. We’re open 11am until 6pm every damn Sunday and open until 9pm on Saturday. None of that changed this weekend, and people just couldn’t wrap their heads around that. We were getting so many phone calls the last two days that I was put in charge of answering the phone. An hour into my shift yesterday and already I had answered at least half a dozen “are you guys open” calls.  There were a few real gems in there though.

Caller: Hey there, are you guys open today?

Me: Yes, we’re open until 9-o-clock tonight.

Caller: Great. And what time do you close?

Seriously, a call went like that. My poor work BFF was standing next to me, and only heard my side of the conversation. “Yes, we’re open until 9-o-clock. We close at 9-o-clock tonight. Yes, 9pm. No, 9. Nine tonight. Ok, thank you, bye.” Most of the rest of the calls were basically just, “I drove by and saw the open sign was on/people were in the store/ my husband came home with whiskey, does that mean you’re open?”

A lot of the people I work with don’t like taking calls like that. I get the biggest kick out of it, though. I take my phone duties very seriously and was freakin sprinting through the store to get the phone last night. Today, I could answer a call before the first ring was barely done ringing. Stuff like that just gives me a silly little break to my day. Some people think that nothing can bother me if I find calls like that funny.

THey’re wrong. Dead wrong.

[Cue ominous music]

There are so many things that customers do that bother me. Like, I turned to my co-worker today and told her it must be near closing time because I was getting unreasonably angry about things customers were doing and saying. It wasn’t, the customers were just that annoying. In any job you have to deal with annoying people, I keep telling myself. This is no different, except that they stick around for a much shorter period of time than an annoying co-worker in an office would.

Do any of these things bother you two? Are there things customers do that annoy the ever living crap out of you? Here’s a list of just the very basics, the most common, the things that we have to deal with far too often that annoy the sweet candied horse plops out of me.

  1. Very stinky people. Our store is next door to a gym. For some reason, customers feel the need to have a very intense workout, sweat out days worth of booze, garlic, hot sauce, and cigars (from the smell of it), and then come directly to our store in all their stinky, sweaty glory. Then they get offended if we spray FeBreez after they leave.
  2. My hand is right there in front of you, waiting for you to drop your change and/or bills into. Instead, you throw your money down on the counter. Bonus points if it’s a wet day, you had your bag or umbrella up there first, and you throw the money down in a puddle that makes it impossible for me to pick it up off the metal counter unless I slide everything over to me, and dump your damn puddle water all over my pants.
  3. Most people will at least tell the person they’re talking to, “I need to pay, hold on just a second” and pay me. Most people. Unless it truly is an emergency, why do you need to keep yammering away into your phone? I don’t care if Crystal bought the same couch as you. Why do I need to hear about what a bitch she is for copying your style, which you just copied from an Ikea catalog anyway? Bonus points if you’re on your phone and then get mad at me for not asking for your points card, even though I did ask. You just didn’t hear me over your whole couch conundrum on the phone.
  4. I need to push a different button on my register for debit and for credit card payments. That’s why I ask what kind of card you’re paying with. No, tapping it 37 times on the machine won’t magically make it read it. And no, saying “it’s a tap/ chip/ Scotiabank/ card” doesn’t clear anything up for me. If I ask you “debit or credit”, just pick one.
  5. And that whole payment thing happens AFTER I ring up your items.  You can’t pay for things until I ring them up. Throwing bottles on a counter, saying “credit”, and then tapping your card on the machine before I even get the chance to ring in a single bottle isn’t going to do anything.
  6. Cashback is a service we offer to people who are paying debit. We add an amount on to your total, and then give you that amount in cash after your card is approved. Why do you go through the process of putting your card in the machine, entering your PIN, taking your receipt, and start to walk away before you ask for cash back?
  7. And yes, you have to buy something in order to get cash back. You can’t just insert your card, push buttons, and get money without buying something. You’re thinking of an ATM, which we have a bunch of in the plaza. We’re a retail establishment. We’re in the business of selling stuff. You have to buy something to get cashback.
  8. Again, this is a retail establishment, not a bank. If you pay for a $7 purchase with a $100 bill, there is a good chance that I’ll have to give you some smaller bills for your change. It’s not like I keep a wad of $50 and $20 bills hidden away just in case you come in and want to flash your big bills at me. If you want a bill broken, go to a bank.
  9. Same goes for other businesses wanting to buy $5 bills and change off of us. There are three banks within walking distance of my store, 2 of them in the damn plaza. Go see them! We need our change for breaking the $100 bills for $7 purchases!
  10. Again, we’re not a bank. Yes, our cashback limit is $500 if we have it in our till. That doesn’t mean you can specify how you want your money. No, I can’t give you $500 in fifties and hundreds. There is a damn good chance your cashback will be entirely in $20 bills, possibly with $10 bills in there. There is even the chance I’ll be down to giving you $5 bills if that’s all I have. Don’t try to give me back my bills and demand a $100 bill. If I didn’t give it to you, then I don’t have it!
  11. I had a woman today tell me no less than 9 times that she needed two of her wines in one bag, and three in another bag. She was going somewhere and wanted to drop the three wines off at home, and bring the other two with her. She told me this 9 times to make sure I knew to put the two wines she put at one end of the counter in one bag, and the three wines all the way at the other end of the counter in another bag. She spoke very slowly the last few times she told me this. I know I looked tired and sick (because I am), but I can follow simple instructions.
  12. And yes, just because I’m a cashier doesn’t mean I’m an idiot. I can ring through purchases, make change, do math, hell I can even read the damn labels! You’re the one who can’t figure out the self check out, Brenda, so don’t talk down to me when we’re on opposite sides of the counter.
  13. We have clearance tags that say SAVE $X.xx on them, right next to the the price. You could be saving $10.00 on a bottle of scotch, but it still costs $75.00. Or you could be saving $1.75 on a bottle of wine, but it still costs $9.00. If you misread the tag and think you’re getting the wine for $1.75, why are you getting mad at me for it? It says very clearly what you’re saving and what you’re paying. Just because you read it wrong doesn’t mean I’m an idiot. And just because you said “Wow, $1.75!” out loud when an employee was in your line of vision doesn’t mean that they heard you, or that they knew what product you were talking about. We have some really cheap things in our store too. For all we know, you could be talking about a cheap clearance beer or a wine stopper, if we even hear you in the first place, Brenda. Stop trying to make you not wearing your reading glasses in public our fault.
  14. We all have nametags. Don’t refer to us as “the redheaded bitch” or “the ditzy one” or “that fat guy”. Either read the tag or point us out. No need to insult us to another employee to try and make yourself look good.
  15. We know all the liquor laws when it comes to denying someone a sale. If someone ahead of you in line is getting denied, don’t stick up for them. We could lose our jobs AND get a huge fine and possibly even face jail time if we serve someone we shouldn’t. We’re trying to do our jobs here, and the shit we deal with when it comes to denying service is enough to warrant an entire post of its own.
  16. “It didn’t scan, I guess that means it’s free!” No, it isn’t. If you leave without paying for it, you’re stealing it.
  17. “Gee, I was worried. I just printed that $20 bill before I left the house, didn’t know if you’d take it!” You’re not funny. Do you know how many times I hear that? And how many fake bills we actually have to deny? And how much trouble we can get in if we do take a fake bill? Just don’t, man.
  18. We have to fake a chuckle at some pretty damn awful jokes sometimes. When we can’t even muster a fake giggle, then whatever you said is just plain wrong. That’s right, your racist jokes just make us uncomfortable. Same with the sexist comments, whether they’re about us or anyone else.
  19. We get paid to be friendly. 99.9999% of the time, we’re not flirting with you. I have only seriously ever flirted with one customer, and he is now my Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend. That’s one out of the tens of thousands of people who came through my line that year. One. If I smile, it’s because I have to. If I touch your hand, it’s because I was giving you back your change or your ID, not because I was hoping you’d take my hand brushing up against yours for a tenth of a second as some sort of flirtatious action meant to make you want me. No, I don’t want your number and no, I don’t wanna give you mine, and no I don’t wanna meet you nowhere and no, I don’t want none of your time. Honey, I’m looking like class and you’re looking like trash trying hit on some poor cashier.
  20. Those goes triple if you’re like 50 and trying to flirt with my 20-year-old co-workers. I will call you out on that shit man. I’m very protective of my little kittens, and you’re just making them uncomfortable.
  21. Just because our hands grazed while I was giving you back your change, don’t wait outside the store until my shift ends. That is beyond creepy. Like, we will call the cops on you and I’ll have multiple escorts home to make sure you’re not following me.
  22. Same goes for if you threaten to kick my ass, or track me down, or mess me up because I wouldn’t serve you.
  23. There are cameras and mirrors EVERYWHERE. If I look you dead in the eye and say “do you want to pay for the bottle you shoved in your pants”, that means that a) I saw you shove a bottle in your pants, b) you are on camera shoving a bottle in your pants, and c) I just approached you near the door to make sure I could get you to look directly into a hidden camera so the cops have a good, clean image of your face. And we document EVERYTHING, dude.
  24. I have to ID people who look 25 or younger. If you’re very obviously in your 60s, don’t ask me why I didn’t ID you. Don’t try to guilt me into IDing you. Don’t tell me I’m making you feel old, or tell me 37 times that it’s weird that I didn’t ID you. You obviously look older than 25. Get over it, GreyBeard.

So that’s just the short list. You know there’s so much more to retail like that can get on your nerves. Luckily I’m not in a store that has stacks of clothing that can be destroyed in seconds, or those big bins of big rubber balls that internet folk kept diving into for ‘the lulz’. Are kids still saying for the lulz these days? Are lulz on fleek? I don’t know anymore. Kids these days, am I right?

So what kinds of customers really grate your goat cheese? Is there something you hear 37 times a day that just makes you want to rip off your ears and shove them in a blender? Or makes you want to shove parts of other people in a blender? Leave a comment, or you can send me your retail horror stories at TheFailedGrownUp@gmail.com . I’m sure I’ll have another one (or 97) of these posts in the future. Let me know what you’re dealing with that I don’t have to at my little piece of retail heaven.

What The Devil……

The always enchanting Bowser Kitten is taking the day off from being a cat today. Instead, he has crawled under the big heavy blanket on our bed and has become a big blue bed slug. I tried everything to make him happy today, too. I laid in bed an hour longer than I wanted to so he could sleep on my leg while I wrote and looked over my to-do list for the day. I put out his favourite classy cardboard box I sniped from work (it’s from the very limited edition Canadian Club 40 Year whiskey. I couldn’t afford $250 for a bottle, but I sure as hell could manage a free cardboard box from it from the discard pile). I put all his favourite toys out on the bed, put a few treats in his box, and even put all the Pillow Pals on the bed, so it looks like a 6-year-old sleeps there instead of two 30-somethings.

Maybe he’s just depressed today. I mean, I did have to spray him 3 or 4 times already with the water bottle for getting into things he’s not supposed to. Why does he keep trying to eat plastic bags and onions? Or maybe he’s still traumatised from Halloween. I love the holiday. He seemed to like it until the Trick-or-Treating started. He wore his cute little cape and played with me in my Jake the Dog costume. But as soon as small children started coming to the door, he freaked out. He hid around the corner and would only peak his head out to see what was going on.

Speaking of Halloween, I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before (like yesterday) that I like to wear odd things with my work uniform. Nothing that technically breaks the dress code; just cute little accessories that customers will notice. On Saturdays, I wear a pair of cat ears to celebrate “Cat Saturday” or “Caturday” with some of my customers. I like to buy headbands and add stuff to them, like festive decorations or tiny top hats. And at Halloween, I love breaking out the devil horns.

At least, I used to love it.

Most people really seem to enjoy my little head adornments. Most of my regulars love trying to guess what I’ll be wearing each day, and a few have even made friendly bets with each other on it. We chitchat at the till about other terms we could use outside of the holidays we could use to keep me in tiny hats all year round. The crowd favourites so far are “fascinator” and “jaunty chapeau” by the way. There is even one customer with a Very Small Child who got a few tiny hats for the kid and brought her into the store so we could compare! These people get the fun and wacky nature of the hats, the very brief distraction from all the stress and hustle and bustle around us to just laugh at whatever I have on my head.

There’s this very specific, not so small group of people that just ruins all of this. Every single one of these people has been male, with almost all of them over the age of 50. They’re classy looking individuals, well dressed and normally well-spoken. They buy moderately priced beverages and just seem like your average older man. They could be your dad, your uncle, your neighbour. And to them, me wearing a headband with festive adornments on it is an open invitation for them to make disgusting sexual comments to me at my counter.

Normally Saturdays would be my favourite day to work because I wear cat ears and all my favourite cat ladies come into the store. They tell me about volunteering at cat shelters and fostering kittens and taking cats for walks in kitten strollers. It’s just a fun experience that I look forward to every week. But that’s ruined as soon as one of these older gentlemen comes into the store.

Oooh, hey there pretty pretty pussy.

Can I pet your pussy?

Has someone been a naught little kitty today? Do I need to punish that pussy?

These are some of the milder ones I’ve heard, too. I’m not sure if these guys actually think I want to hear this crap from them, or if they just don’t care. They seem to genuinely think that I should enjoy being spoken to like that, like I wore cat ears on my head that day just so they would have an excuse to make pussy jokes. What’s worse is, if I don’t play along and talk about along the same disgusting vein as them, they get insulted!

Well what do you expect me to say when you’re all dressed up like that?

Dude, I am literally wearing the exact same thing I wear every single day to work: my uniform. I’m in black jeans, black steel toe boots, and my light blue baggy buttondown shirt with a t-shirt or tank top underneath. The only thing different about today than any other random day throughout the year is the cat ears on top of my head. The CHILDRENS cat ears. Somehow a headband with two little pieces of felt stuck to the top of it suddenly makes my uniform sexual, like I’m walking around in a latex catsuit with a giant sign that says, “Please, sexualize me” hanging around my neck. I’m not doing anything differently than I would normally do. I’m not pawing at customers, reaching for their zippers and fondling them through their pants. I’m standing behind a counter, asking people if they collect Airmiles and giving stickers to small children who are out shopping with their parents.

These men honestly seem upset that I’m not giggling at their comments and blushing while batting my eyelashes at them all flirty and thankful for the attention. If I give them anything less than a giant grin and a wink, they feel the need to tell me how I’m insulting them. I’ve had men lecture me on how “the customer is always right” and “this younger generation is so damn sensitive”. The number of times I had to have one of those disgusting comments followed up with the phrase “back in my day” is just mind-numbing.

It’s not just the cat ears, either. Devil horns seem to bring the perverts out of the woodwork too. Again, I’m wearing all of these things with my regular, everyday uniform. Hell, sometimes I even have a big baggy fleece jacket over that, so I basically look like a giant shapeless black blob with a funky headband.

Oooh, someone’s a horny little devil today.

Damn honey, you’re making me horny!

Someone’s feeling naughty today, aren’t they? Someone need a spanking?

Feeling a little evil today? I can think of a few dirty things we can do to help with that.

Seriously, my headband is not some sort of secret code meant just for you to signal that I want your dick. No, wearing a silly piece of a costume with my uniform isn’t some sort of flashing beacon to show that your perverted comments turn me on. It’s a headband. Just. A. Headband.

These guys seem to get all bent out of shape if I shudder, or make a creeped out face (which I can’t help when the comments get real bad), or actually say something to them about it. In all my years of doing this, only one customer has ever apologized for his comment, and that one was an honest slip of the tongue. We were actually talking about the stupid comments I get, and how mad they make me sometimes, when he said something along the lines of “ya, I can only imagine that if I said something like that, you’d get all evil and spank me or something”. After some blushing and sputtering, he was able to say that he meant to say “slap”, but we had talked about the spanking comments so much that word just slipped out. He apologized, and that was that.

Most of these dudes have a serious problem with me being bothered by their gross, disgusting sexual comments. Almost every single one of them has told me not to get upset at them, that it’s my fault their mind is “in the gutter” because I dressed so “provocatively” and “guys can’t help themselves” because “boys will be boys”. Again, I am wearing very loose-fitting clothing and steel toe work boots, with only my face, neck, and arms below the elbows showing. And I dress like that every day at work. These same guys are usually at least semi-regulars at the store, and see me dressed like this year-round. They never comment in the summer, when I wasn’t wearing any headbands or ears or horns. They don’t comment when I run into them during non-working hours when I’m in my usual jeans, tank top, and a flannel shirt (which shows a tonne more skin than my uniform and would be a much better fit for their “provocative” label). It’s just these damn headbands that a handful of these guys seem to think excuses their disgusting behaviour.

Yes, it’s only a handful of guys. Their whole “guys can’t help themselves” and “boys will be boys” argument is pure crap. I have a tonne of male customers who manage to see me in my uniform daily, with my little cat ears or tiny hats and whatnot, are they are able to be just normal regular customers. I have male customers who are able to comment on my cranium accessories without making me cringe internally. They say things like, “I like your ears” or “hey, cool costume”, or “my kid sister would love that hat, where did you get it”. Most customers just say things like “I like your hat”, or “cool ears”, or “you have something different every day, don’t you”. Some say nothing at all and almost seem to not notice them.

So why does this one small group of men seem to think that they are entitled to make comments that clearly make me uncomfortable? What is it that makes them think that it is perfectly alright to make sexual comments to a random cashier in a store, when it obviously makes her uncomfortable? And what are they expecting to come from these comments?

I would like to be able to get through my workday without fighting the urge to throw up in my mouth because some older dude decided that I’m wearing a tiny hat because I want to hear about how not tiny his dick is. In what world is it acceptable to go into a store and tell a random cashier about your genitals? And the worst part is, it’s not like we can really do much about this. Now, my manager is pretty damn amazing. If he finds out someone is treating his staff in a disrespectful way, he takes care of it. He has banned people from our store for us before. But the guys who feel that they’re entitled to tell me that my headband makes their dick hard are the same pricks who would send off an email to corporate with some over-dramatized story of how a cashier was rude to them and made them feel uncomfortable, all while leaving out any details that make them look any less than a perfect angel. I know that my manager would have my back, but I’m still afraid for my job if I speak up. These guys have a way of thinking the world revolves around them, and like remind others that they should act accordingly.

Now, I want to know what these assholes would do if someone came into their workplace and talked to them the way they talk to me. Can you imagine what they’d say if walked into their office and said something like, “damn boy, those khaki pants really show off how tiny your dick is” or “why you gotta wear a tie like that? You’re such a damn tease”. They would have security throwing my ass out of there so fast, it would make your head spin. So then why is it ok for them to talk like that to me? I hate using this argument (because we’re all people and all deserve respect, no matter how we’re related to men), but what would they do if someone was talking to their mother/daughter/sister/wife like that?Do you really think they’d laugh it off and excuse it?

Well sorry mom, but he obviously thought your bifocals were seductive. Maybe you shouldn’t dress like such a whore?

What do you expect, working the counter at a donut shop? Your brown uniform shirt and all that coffee is obviously going to excite men. You just need to learn to smile and take it as a compliment, sis.

Don’t forget my mother is coming this weekend hun. And don’t let Mr. Jenkins comments bother you. He’s an old man. I’m sure he meant “you look like a tart, and I want to shove my dick in your butt” in the nicest way possible.

Of course not! So then why do they think it’s ok for them to say this shit?

Well, what do you think Sunshine? Is a pair of dollar store cat ears an open invitation for sexual harassment? Should old men be able to talk to cashiers about their genitals and the dirty things they want to do to them? Can men talk to random women like this, just as long as they make sure to tell them that “back in my day, women took this stuff as a compliment and never complained, no matter what we said or did. You kids today are too damn sensitive”? Or am I completely justified in being utterly disgusted with these dirty old men and their harassment?

Shit Advice for Your Job Search

Hey Sunshine, remember when I said your life is full of well-meaning people who want to give you well-meaning advice on every aspect of your life? One of the times they come out in full force is when you announce you’re looking for a job.

Everyone and their uncle come out of the woodwork to tell you what worked for them when they were looking for a job. It doesn’t matter if the last time they had to write a resume was in 1972, what worked for them should work for you! The thing is everything changes with the times. I’m sure your Uncle Howard looked sharp in his plaid suit, with his crisp one-page resume showing that he was fresh out of high school when he walked into the local department store or factory or whatever was the major employer back then. And sure, walking in off the street and asking to see the manager worked for him then. He got his entry level job and was able to stay there until retirement, slowly progressing his way higher up in the company until he was in charge of people.

Yeah, that doesn’t work anymore.

Even in the years I’ve been looking for work (on and off since I was 18), things have changed. I’ve been to dozens of resume workshops over the years, and just the changes in writing a resume are drastic. In high school, there was one format that everyone used because a streamlined resume made it easier for employers to find information. It was one page, with your name and info at the top, and a section called Objective where you explained why you were applying for a job. If you brought a resume like that into a workshop these days, they’d tear it to shreds.  Still, this is the way almost every well-meaning relative and family friend has told me to write my resume even to this day.

This is actually something we’ve talked about at length at quite a few job hunting workshops over the years. It seems everyone is somehow getting the exact same advice from people, who then get mad when you either don’t follow it or you do follow it and don’t get results. A bunch of us over the years talked about getting attitude from (or straight up yelled at by) someone who seems to think we lied to them about taking their advice because “if you really did do [xxx] then you would’ve found a job by now!”

But what exactly is this shit advice we’ve all gotten?

#1:”You don’t need the internet. You need to get out there and pound the pavement! Back in my day, you walked right into a place, asked to talk to the manager, and you shook their hand and gave them your resume. It helps them put a face to the name! You’ll never get a job just sitting around playing on that internet all day!”

When I was looking for a part-time job in high school, I walked through the mall with a folder full of my resume. I passed them out to every store that had a “help wanted” sign in the window, and eventually got a job at a mall kiosk.

Fast forward to four years ago, when I graduated from University with my first degree. I needed to pay rent and buy food, so I went back to the mall. No one takes paper resumes there anymore. Every sign in the window said, “apply at [jobs@storename.ca] or check our website”. The mall itself even has a page on its website telling you what stores are hiring, and where to email your resume. And this is just at the mall.

At the store where I work right now, all our hiring is done through corporate. You apply online, they do one massive day of interviews for all the stores in the area, and you wait to hear back from them. All of our job postings are done on the corporate website, and you apply online by filling out forms and uploading your resume. Still, we get an average of 3-4 people a week walking into our store with their resume, asking to speak to our manager. And every time, I have to tell them that they can only apply for jobs with us online.

#2: “Well even if they say to apply online, you need to show up there with your resume! They need to be able to put a face to the name. And showing up there with a copy of your resume after you applied online shows your dedication.”

Actually, when a company tells you to apply for positions with them online, showing up in person with a resume just shows that you don’t know how to follow even the most basic of instructions. They specifically ask that you fill out an application and submit your resume online, and leave it at that. Showing up in person shows that you can’t even do that. If you can’t follow instructions to get the job, then what would make them think you can follow instructions enough to do the job.

In a lot of cases, whoever you leave your resume with has absolutely no bearing on whether or not you get the job anyway. My manager has pretty much zero say in who we hire. All applications go through corporate. Two managers for the whole county interview every prospective employee, making notes and grading each applicant on certain criteria. Then, they sit down, divide the applicants up by what store they’re nearest to, and pick out the best employees for each store. My manager right now has no say in who we get at our store. The only thing he can do is, if someone worked seasonally for us before and is applying to us again, tell the hiring managers if he liked that employee or not.

My store isn’t unique in this either. The only time most managers, whether it’s a store or an office, get to see an applicant is if they’re chosen for an interview. For a lot of places, it’s not even that manager that gets to pick applicants: it all goes through algorithm software, corporate managers, and then the chosen ones end up on the manager’s desk. It’s only then that they would be able to ‘put a face to the name’. And from what a few friends in HR positions have told me if they have to interview someone who previously insisted on bringing in their resume in person, they toss the application as soon as the interview is done. Again, if an applicant can’t follow basic instructions to get a job, then what would make them think the applicant could follow directions on the job?

#3: “You just need a killer resume. Get a template to follow if you need to. It’s easy enough, just objective, education, work experience, and then references.”

This is so wrong these days. For starters, most people realize your objective for applying for a job as soon as you apply: you want to work there. You want a job, or else you wouldn’t be applying. You don’t need any of that “It’s my goal to use my 17 months of HR experience to further my career with…….” bullshit anymore. Yes, putting an objective in was THE thing to do for a very long time. No one reads them anymore. They just take up valuable space at the start of your resume and give those reading the resume a reason to toss it.

Second, stay away from just filling out templates!  Yes, you can use one as a guide. I have 4 or 5 different templates printed out and kept in a file folder at my desk. Different types of jobs or industries require different resumes, and it’s good to have a guide as to how that resume should be done. Don’t follow it step by step though, or just fill out a template. This is especially true if anywhere on your resume you mention being able to you Microsoft Word or any other word processing program. If you can use Word, then you should be able to create a resume pretty damn easily.

Resumes are more than just a list of your past jobs and education. Your resume is your own personal advertisement for yourself. It’s a marketing tool to show people what it is you can do, and what you can do for them. They don’t care for a list of your grade school and high school, or a list of your college and university courses. A job in a corporate office may not care that in 12th grade you worked as a line cook on weekends.

What do they want to know about? Your accomplishments, anything that shows that you can do the job you’re applying for. Can you spin your line cook job to show that you were willing to give up free time to work, that you showed extreme dedication to learning any and all new skills to advance your work, that you were able to work your way up from dishwasher to food prep to line cook despite being a full-time student and only being able to work nights and weekends? That’s the kind of things that make you look good. Showing up for a shitty job twice a week to flip pancakes for a few months is nothing. Unless you need to give a chronological list of past employment, or your past employment if only part-time student jobs, leave off what isn’t relevant to the job you’re applying for.

And while we’re at it, forget the references. I actually know someone who, on top of having the most shittily formatted resume I have ever seen, would also include a page of references (each one formatted differently), and 3 or 4 letters of reference from past employers and a family friend. He never updated any of this and used the same little resume package for everything he applied for. Yes, he was able to get jobs while he was using this package, but to be fair he got them despite this. He already had the job and just needed to formally apply. You don’t need to include references with your resume unless a job ad specifically asks you to. And forget the “References Available Upon Request” line. Every employer knows that if they request references, you’ll give them some.

#4: “Ok, well now that you have a resume, just spread it out there. Blanket the city with it. Apply to every job you can, put your resume in everywhere. Print stacks of it, mail it out to companies and ask if they’re hiring. Just get that resume out there.”

Ok, how about you don’t do that. First off, we already went over why you don’t apply with a printed resume to places that ask you to apply online. Same thing goes for mailing them a resume.

Secondly, you shouldn’t be applying to every single possible job out there with one resume. Remember a few paragraphs ago, when I said that different jobs need different resumes? Well, that means that different jobs need different resumes. You need a different resume depending on your past work experience, your education, the type of job you’re applying for, and to make sure the algorithm software chooses your resume.

I know, that sounds pretty messed up. Hear me out though.

If you have a lot of relevant experience in the field you’re applying to, then a chronological resume should work great for you. It can showcase that you’ve spent years working towards the position you’re applying to and that you have a growing knowledge in that field. Just be careful with this one: if you have any gaps in your employment history or made any major career changes, this is going to highlight that like your mother pointing out every calorie you’re eating at Thanksgiving dinner while telling you you’re looking “a little more Monroe-esque this year”.

If you don’t have a solid build-up to the exact job you’re applying for, you were out of work for periods of time, or you are applying for something in a new field, then go with the functional resume. This just emphasizes your skills instead of your past jobs. I’ve got education in office administration, psychology, criminology, women’s studies, and a bit of business. I’ve worked in offices, customer service, academic research, security, food services, and have volunteered in everything from fraternity parties to food banks to fundraising. There is no way laying that all out in chronological order would impress exactly no one.

You can combine both of these types together like I do. My resume starts out as a functional resume, but then just lists my past jobs and education. Above all, it needs to be tailored. Like I said, companies use computer programs and algorithms to sort through the hundreds of resumes they get. If you throw a basic resume out there, putting the same resume in for every job, the chances of that resume having the words those programs are looking far are pretty damn slim. You really need to be tailoring your resume to each job you apply to, pulling words from the job ad that match your experience.

How the hell are you going to tailor your resume to every job you apply to if you’re applying for every single job out there? Well, you don’t. You just don’t apply to every single job out there. Want to make a general food service/fast food resume and use that at every restaurant and fast food place in town? Go for it. Make a general resume tailored to a certain field if you’re going to send out mass applications. But you can’t just use one resume for everything though, and you can’t apply to every single job out there.

#5: “Oh you Millenials are just lazy! Why don’t you pry yourself away from that computer screen for a bit, go out there and network! It’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and you’ll never get to know anyone sitting at that damn computer!”

What’s your LinkedIn profile looking like these days? I’ll tell you right now, mine is a complete mess. My summary is too long and wordy, I have too many former jobs and volunteer positions listed in detail, my photo is really old, and I don’t even have a decent headline. I know this holds me back at times. LinkedIn is a tool that more and more big companies are using, and it’s becoming a much more important part of job hunting and career planning.

Fact is, a lot more of our job searching now revolves around the internet. Job ads are sometimes only posted online, applications are submitted online, background checks by employers are done online, and networking is done through email and websites like LinkedIn. The internet is becoming more and more important these days.

#6: “Well that still doesn’t excuse anything! When I was young, I walked into the local factory and got a job there. I worked my way up to the office job I had, I didn’t just expect to have a job handed to me!”

You have no idea how many times I have heard stuff like this over the years.My hometown has one major industry that the town has revolved around for decades.  Back when my dad and all of my aunts and uncles were young, anyone with a grade 9 education could go and apply there, get a job right off the street.Starting on the line in the factory, a lot of these guys were able to work their way up to nice office positions by the time they retired.

Today, just to be considered a TPT (temporary part-time) job in that same factory, you have to be a full-time student in either college or university, under the age of 25. To get the same job these men got as high school drop outs 40 years ago, you now need a high school diploma with grades high enough to get you into post-secondary school, and then you need to basically win the lottery and be one of the dozens of people hired among the hundreds of people who apply. I know a tonne of people who would love the chance to get in there and work their way up the way people did 40 years ago. That’s just not possible there anymore.

I have seen job ads for entry level positions that required degrees and years of experience. More and more people are having to work at unpaid internships and volunteer positions to get experience just to get their first job. Jobs today require more education to qualify, more experience to qualify, need more specialized training to qualify. Basically, jobs are harder to get these days than they were before.

To top it off, the job market is changing. More and more jobs are popping up online, or in small start-ups. Now, these jobs can be risky to take but offer the chance to work your way up back like our parents’ generation did. Every single time I have applied to one of these jobs, the ‘work your way up’ crowd has laughed at me. It’s like they’re not respectable jobs.

Pretty much, no matter what you do in your job search, you’re going to get these questions. Nothing you do is right, you’re not trying hard enough, you’re not trying the right way, and everything you do is wrong. Fan-fucking-tastic, eh? Just remember that we know what we’re doing. We know things have changed, that markets have changed, that ways of doing things are different. Don’t let all of this get you down.

As always, if you need someone to vent to I’m always here. Drop me a line at TheFailedGrownUp@gmail.com and vent away. Don’t worry about annoying me, or bumming me out. Nothing’s gonna dull my sunshine, and I’m pretty much a recluse when I’m not at work. Emails are nice from time to time.

The World is Full of Well-Meaning People

So I’m a little lost right now, as you know. I’m working a customer service job that I absolutely love most days. Problem is, I went to university and took out a shit tonne of loans. Then, to afford basic survival right out of university, I lived on very sporadic shifts at work, my life savings (which wasn’t a whole hell of a lot, to begin with), and credit cards. I have the education, the skills, and the knowledge for a whole bunch of jobs out there that pay a hell of a lot better than Customer Service Representative wages. There’s a tonne of competition out there from other people with the education, skills, and knowledge though, so shit is rough.

I’ve talked a bit about my struggles with job hunting. I’m not too worried about it because I have a job. I’m saving up to get more permanent residence in the next year or so, and trying to focus on the things I have in my life as opposed to the things I’ve been told I SHOULD have at this point in my life. I used to focus on those things a lot, and it puts me in a very dark place. I don’t like that place, the music is depressing and no one will dance with me. I know something else will come along at some point, and I’m not about to stress myself out any more than I have to about my job hunt right now.

But there are so many well-meaning people out there who just want to help, and it’s driving me crazy right now.

I have a few people in my life who send me job ads online. They’re usually accompanied by the usual “I thought you might be interested in this jobs, it seems perfect for you” message, followed by repeated “did you apply” messages in the days to follow. I always read whatever it is they send me, and I’ll tell you that a good 95% of the jobs are things I am completely NOT qualified for. It’s not even like “well they want 5 years of experience, and I only have 4 years” or anything super close like that. I mean, if I meet around 60% of the qualifications they want in an ad, I’ll apply to that job. But the job ads I’m sent are so far off of what I’m actually qualified to do, I have to wonder if these people actually read the ads before they sent them to me.

Case in point: a relative who will remain nameless (hi mom!) keeps sending me these job ads. I’m pretty sure they just see the company name, assume it’s something I could do, and send it off. She seems to think that, because she knows a few people who work for that company who have less education than me, I should be qualified for pretty much any job there. By now, she starts pretty much every job ad message with something along the lines of “I know you don’t like when I push you like this, but I just couldn’t pass this up”, followed by a job I am in no way qualified for.

Today’s job ad was for a company whose website I check weekly for ads. I knew for a fact that there were three jobs on there, none of which I am qualified for. The one I was the most qualified for (I don’t have the necessary experience, but I can’t pass up applying for a job that actually requires a degree in Criminology), I met maybe half the qualifications. This wasn’t the one she sent me. This job required at least 5 years of call center management experience, an advanced degree in Business, knowledge of computer programs I’ve never even heard of, classes in advanced statistical analysis using software I’ve never used, and bilingualism (English and French, since this is Canada). Like, the only things in the long list of qualifications that I had were customer service experience and the ability to use Microsoft Word and Excel.

So I messaged this relative that may be my mother, and I told her all of the things in the ad that I’m not qualified in. She didn’t believe me. It didn’t seem possible to her. She knew two or three people who got jobs at this company (in their call center, not in the positions available right now) who don’t even have degrees, who had jobs that have nothing to do with the industry, who had no experience. In her mind, because these people got jobs with this company, me and my multiple degrees should have no problem getting any position at all there. It doesn’t matter what the qualifications are, or what the position is. The fact that someone without the education I have got a job somewhere in this company means that obviously, I can get any job there I apply for.

This totally pisses me off and puts me in the foulest mood. Like, I was in a pretty decent mood this morning, drinking my coffee and planning my shopping trip to the local international market. Had a cat at my feet, flannel on my back, and caffeine in my veins. I was ready to get my day going, and then that message came through. I was in such a shit mood after that.

I know she was just looking out for me, and thinking about me. But all she did was see the company name, not the ad, and decided to send it off. The way most people send me these messages, it’s almost like they’re guilting me into applying for a job I either have no interest in or am totally not qualified for. Like I said, I have a job right now. I’m not going to rush out to take just any job. I like the job I have, even if other people seem to think it’s below me (I hate that thinking, but that’s a whole other post for a whole other day). I still continue my job search, but I limit my applications now. I’m only applying for jobs that I want, that I think I would be damn good at, jobs that make me think I could really make a difference doing that job. If I’m going to find a career, I want to make sure it’s not something that will make me completely miserable until I (maybe, possibly, hopefully, someday) retire.

We all have those well meaning people in our lives. They’re the ones who, without asking you what it is you want, push you forward in the direction they think you want. They’re the ones who say things like, “But you’ve always been so smart! Why wouldn’t you go to university” when all you’ve ever wanted to do was be a mechanic. They’re the ones say things like “well hopefully soon you’ll find a real job” when you really enjoy your job. They’re the ones for whom your life is just never good enough somehow. They want you to get a better apartment, or buy a house, or change jobs, or relationships. They’re totally supportive when you’re doing something that plays into their concept of you and would bend over backward to help you. But it’s that concept of you they’re trying to push, not the real you.

I have no clue how to really handle these people, Sunshine. Like I said, I have more than a few of them in my life. None of them seem to want me living where I live, working where I work, or writing what I write. In their minds, they’re just pushing me to be a better me. But for them, nothing is good enough.

Do you have these well-meaning people in your life too? Comment below, or drop me a line at thefailedgrownup@gmail.com . We can find a way to deal with them together.

A Little Research Goes a Long Way

I know people have been asking you this since you squeaked out your first words, and you’re probably sick to death of hearing it, but what do you want to be when you grow up? Any idea?

I wanted to do two things, Sunshine: I wanted to write, and I wanted to work in criminal profiling and research violent crimes.  They both seemed like the ideal career paths for me. I mean, I wrote all through my teens and early 20s (and then just gave up hope on everything for a good 10 years before trying to give it another go). And I’ve been reading true murder novels ever since I stole my first one from my mother’s bedside table in the 5th grade.

So, in my mid-20s I decided to go back to school and start working towards that whole profiling and research career. I studied Criminology (got my BA.H in that one) and Psychology (my second degree, just a BA), worked as a research assistant for a while, and obsessively read books and papers on murderers. I talked to a professor who was a former RCMP officer (those police officers in Canada that the rest of the world seems to think rides horses all day while they wear bright red jackets and doofy hats), and he told me all the steps I needed to get into the RCMP for a research position.

Dumbest fucking move ever.

You see, he hadn’t been an RCMP officer for a while now. Things change over time, like the qualifications for different positions. He told me I just needed my BA.H in a social science, preferably something where I studied crime (hence the Criminology), and a background in research. He sounded like he knew what he was talking about.

One simple Google search would’ve shut that down real freakin fast!

You see, in order to get the position I wanted, now you have to first BECOME an RCMP officer. Not only do I have no want or desire to do so, but my eyesight is bad enough that it disqualifies me from the position. Like, it is impossible for me to ever get this job, ever.

If I had realized this while I was still in school, there is a metric crapload of stuff I would’ve done differently. For starters, I would’ve done a little bit more research into what jobs my damn degree qualified me for. I would’ve gone for more career counseling, volunteered with different organizations, looked into addition certificates and courses to help me out. I would’ve switched to a double major in something else, got a minor or two to fall back on. Maybe even got a part-time job to fall back on once I was out of school (but that’s a whole other post).

As it stands, I have two degrees I got specifically to get me a job I can never have. They don’t qualify me for much specifically in the town I live in. I work customer service in a ‘spirits dispensary’ who would prefer I don’t name them in blog postings. I have tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt from those degrees, plus credit card bills falling out my ass crack from trying to live on 4 hours work a week for months without falling behind in my rent and other bills. And I have to pay this all off with the CSR wages I’m making now, NOT the profiling and research job and salary I had been working towards.

And this was all totally preventable if I had just sucked it up and done a bit more research.

So, as I say way too much to be healthy for my self-esteem, don’t wind up like me. Do a little work towards the work you want to do.

Check Out the Education Qualifications

If you have a job or career in mind, know what you need to get in order to get hired. You wouldn’t expect to just show up on a movie set one day and say, “I’ve never acted, written, produced, or directed in my life, and I have a degree in forensic science. Let me direct your next big budget movie”, and to actually get the job. Some places or careers require schooling, while others prefer you get experience for yourself.

Want to be a teacher? Find out how much schooling you need for that, what courses and majors you need, how many years you’ll be in school. Want to write? You could go to school for creative writing, or you could just write constantly. Neither one is wrong, but they’ll both take you down different paths. Same goes for other creative pursuits. You may be better off just creating content than getting formal school sometimes, while in some situations an education might give you that little something extra that could land you a position.

Have a Company or Position in Mind?

Study and use LinkedIn like it’s your lover: learn it inside and out, make it the best it can be, make it feel appreciated and wanted. LinkedIn can help you get an in with a company, meet people working there, find out more about the company’s culture.

Most businesses have a website these days too. Ever think to look at it? You can learn a shit-tonne from half an hour browsing a company’s website. Find out what they do, their mission statement, who works in positions you’re interested in, who is in charge of hiring.

Find Out Every Step Needed to Get That Job

I knew I needed to get that honours degree. I had no idea I needed to become an actual RCMP officer, which I physically can’t do. A lot of people see that you need to become an officer before moving on to a different job and give up altogether. They’d rather not spend 5 years working in a remote northern community, far from home and everything they love, dealing with criminals and violence and such, to get a desk job doing research. Hell, even if my eyesight didn’t disqualify me from the job, I probably wouldn’t have gone for the officer position anyway. I was just over 30 years old (and still am, btw) competing with people in their early 20s for a physically demanding position, which I am in no physical shape to hold. I’m a desk job person, not chasing perps through vacant lots and hopping tall fences kind of gal.

There are a gazillion different things that a job could require from you that could wind up being a dealbreaker. Believe me, it’s better to know what these are before you throw down $60,000 in borrowed money for a degree that is going to do you no good once you’ve realized you can never get the job you were getting that degree for.

Basically, you need to go and power up The Googles, as my mother calls it. Start researching shit. Look into the jobs you want, the companies you want to work for, the schooling you’re doing, the people you admire. See if what you want is even feasible, and see if it’s something you can definitely be in for the long-haul.

Don’t wind up like me, Sunshine. I kinda love-hate my job most days. It would be great if not for the crushing debt of the schooling and living I did over the last 10 years. I could make a living off of it if I didn’t have all these damn bills.  Make sure you don’t make the same mistakes as me, Sunshine. Do your damn research. Plan shit for the future.

How Not To Keep Your Job — Update

OK, so things with The Kid got interesting during his last shift.  Aside from snapping at me that he already knew how to do everything (when I was trying to show him how to do something he hadn’t done before), he made a big bunch of glaring errors.  Then, at the end of the night while everyone was cashing out, a few of us ran to the back to throw our uniform shirts in our lockers and change into regular clothes. I had on my jeans and work boots, and a very high-cut tank top (which I made sure showed zero cleavage, since The Kid seemed so nervous even serving a customer with big boobs, let alone having to work alongside a set of Double D’s), and a co-worker threw on a pair of shorts. When the shift leader asked him what he drawer total was, The Kid started to answer, but mid-number he just mumbled and stared at my chest.

Now, I’m used to people staring at my chest. Hell, even I stare at my chest sometimes. It’s damn, near majestic. But The Kid sat there with his jaw dropped open, eyes wide, and was almost drooling while he stared at my non-existent cleavage. I even asked a coworker if maybe my shirt had been pulled down a bit while I was lifting drawers. But it was pulled almost up to my collar bone.

Still, The Kid sat there gape-jawed and silent while the shift leader asked him THREE TIMES what his total was.

The next day, on my laid-back Kid-less Sunday shift, a senior co-worker asked if I noticed any issues with The Kid that we could address. Now, we had been making lists of things he did wrong, not to shame him or get him in trouble, but to make sure we knew what to go over with him the next time he was in. Well this list was more than a page front and back.

Very long story short, the other night The Kid came in for his shift. The Big Boss Man made all the other people getting ready to count their drawers go out and do stock while he and the assistant manager had a “little talk” with The Kid. A few minutes later, The Kid was escorted out of the building, never to be seen again.

The Big Boss Man came around to each of us on shift that night to let us know that The Kid was “no longer under our employment”.

Shocker, I know!

(Actually, my reaction was,”Really? gee, no one saw THAT coming!” in the most Daria-esque sarcastic tone I could muster).

So it turns out, that last post really WAS a list of things to do to make sure you Do Not Keep Your Job.

Hope you’re having a better weekend than The Kid, Sunshine. We have our strike deadline at 12:01am Monday (so tomorrow night), so there may be some Customer Service posts coming up from that. Also, I’m working on a series on files you need to keep. I mean, filing is probably the least fun and sexy thing you can think of right now, but keeping certain things filed away in an orderly manner can save you a RIDICULOUS amount of times sometimes. Time that could be spent on much more fun and sexy things.