Something Old, Something New

Something red, something… silver!

I started a new job yesterday. I won’t work with them again until after next week because I must finish this upcoming week at my old job. It’s still a clothing store, but smaller and much more expensive! My old job turned me into a shopaholic, but I will not shop at my new store! Too pricy! The first day went well, though. Everyone’s super nice, nothing too hard, and I got all the on-boarding done. So many manuals! I am still employed with my old job, but as an on-call employee. I confess part of that is, despite all my complaints, being my first job makes me somewhat attached to them. That, and how I like so many of my co-workers. Having a heart sucks!

One of my bosses told me this recently: “Don’t burn a bridge.”

Putting aside the hope that bridge has two sides, I have to wonder how often bridges have been burned to say that. I certainly didn’t want to leave on bad terms, but I know a lot of people just stop showing up or quit that very day. I (unintentionally) gave them only a week’s notice instead of two, partly because I had no idea how transitioning to on-call works, but they didn’t hold it against me. I’ve learned anything can happen, so for all I know, I could go back to them as part-time someday (if they let me), so I very much don’t want to that bridge to become ashes.

I think the biggest change, however, is I’m paid bi-weekly instead of weekly now. That’s undoubtedly going to take some getting used to!

Empathy

A human emotion that’s apparently very hard for some people.

I have four bosses. There are two I absolutely admire. I will keep names private, but I enjoy working with them, even on stressful days. They are never less than radiant – constantly full of sunshine – and what I’ve noticed lately is, no matter how stressed they are, they never stop being kind and empathetic towards those of us beneath them. Despite they have more power and authority over us, they still talk to us and listen to us. It’s to the point I will only come in extra if it’s one of them who calls me and I’m able to say yes.

There was recently one night where I was frustrated and not feeling good at one. One of these two I admire was the closing manager. She had a headache the entire night, yet she noticed I was aggravated.

“What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

Me: (lying) “Oh, I’m fine.”

“Are you sure?”

Me: “It’s nothing, really.”

“Well, if you want to talk, let me know.”

Somehow, my night got a lot better after that. I have spoken to her before when I needed help and she’s never failed to solve it. In one case, she undid another manager’s giant mess. I have no idea what keeps these two managers able to put themselves in our shoes, but I hope they never lose it. The level of empathy they have and their ability to never lose it under any amount of stress are things I aspire to possess someday. Were I ever to leave my job, voluntarily or not, I would come back every so often solely to help them out if I thought it made even a small difference in the night for them. I’m not kidding. That’s how amazing they are as managers. Few people can do what they do.

Speaking of few people, the other two of those four bosses? I would’ve left a long time ago if the empathetic two I spoke of weren’t there. The other two have no emotion that doesn’t regard business. I guess that happens over time. I’d get more help from talking to a brick wall than talking to either of them. They only listen to what they want to listen to, and they decide from their own bias and personal ideas who’s right and who’s wrong, regardless of who truly is. One in particular enjoys exaggerating, unable to differentiate between “toss” and “slide”, and loves to blackmail and to make threats. Heck, one of my co-workers (who is older than him!) outright considers him an idiot, and I think stopping at “idiot” is generous. Both of them love to make assumptions, I suppose because taking an extra few seconds (sometimes literally only an extra second) to know what really happened is too strenuous. Heaven forbid anything serious happen at work because they could only be counted on to make the matter worse. I no longer hold respect for either of them (yes, I genuinely did think highly of them at one point, not that it matters), and the bridge has been burned to the ground and into ashes.

Granted, I feel slightly more tolerant toward one because he seems more naïve and lacking in memory than having any real malice. He did, for example, permit me to leave a shift early with no question for why I’m asking, though it’s likely he’s forgotten by now. His naiveté can be painful, to say the least, but I’ll give him half credit for never threatening me. That, sadly, doesn’t make him any better than his assistant, should he be needed for something the empathetic managers can’t do. I prefer not to talk either of them anymore because it’s fruitless. An “open-door policy” is only useful if it actually helps. I wouldn’t be surprised if there have been incidents where they wrongfully penalized someone and never apologized because, well, we’re just drones to make the store money. Who cares what they do to us? In fact, in my case, there has been at least one such incident – a different manager pushed me to mental/emotional breakdown, enough I couldn’t process my thoughts and wanted to hit my head on a railing, and I had to leave for my own well-being – but they already decided I was the monster in that situation, so anything I said fell on deaf ears. I would’ve accepted the penalty for leaving without permission, but for heaven’s sake, just listen!

Interestingly, the two managers who haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be at our level have had breakdowns. One recently told me she went in the back and cried after she had deal with a hellish customer because she was so stressed out and tired. The other admitted to having similar moments and she used to see a therapist to help her stress. In a way, it makes me hate that they can relate. They are too kind, too good, to be given hell like that. At the same time, maybe it’s part of what makes them empathetic. They deal with it, they know we deal with it, they know we break down and lose our stability, and it’s unfortunately a normality of the job, despite their positions being far different from those of us on the floor and register (especially the register; there’s a reason I was desperate to work on the floor). I suppose the two managers lacking in empathy have been managers for so long, they don’t remember what that feels like and they can no longer. I’m not saying I want everyone to be breaking down – of course not – but to still be considered valid. If the empathetic managers can still remember we’re human, why can’t the other two?

All of the above said, the one thing that officially made my last shred of respect for the latter two managers crash and burn is finding out they’re cowardly. They can yell, threaten, and take sides to their hearts’ content, but they could not tell me to my face they thought my performance with a certain aspect of work was low. I had to find out through my own questioning and, still, not much was said about it. They just kept moving me elsewhere, I suppose under the assumption I’d be too stupid to realize something was suspicious. Assuming I’d be slow to figure it out would make sense, but not that I never would. Weird. I’d think people with such a callous outlook toward anyone beneath management would be more than to tell someone they suck. I take more offense to thinking I can’t see through a trick.

Never Try New Things

Really, that’s the lesson I take from this whole experience.

I talked about this in one of my previous posts, but to summarize: I took a full-time position as a sales floor associate, failed miserably, did not improve in the slightest, and as I learned yesterday, I will be returning to part-time hours on the 11th of February.

Although, one of my bosses stated it as not being able to handle the responsibility rather than failing. I fail to see what difference exists there. I’m pretty sure incapability of handling a responsibility ultimately amounts to failing that responsibility.

No, it does not feel good to know the only thing I’m good at is what’s the easiest job there is at my workplace. This is like praising someone for being able to pass kindergarten while everyone else passes twelfth grade. I’m good at ringing, talking, and being punctual. Yay. I’m good at what a five-year-old can do.

One of the reasons I relate so much to Princess Luna. She knows what it’s like to be second-best. And in my case, not even that.

In the end, the whole experience turned out to be worthless. I ended up doing nothing except making a fool of myself (apparently, certain co-workers enjoy talking about me behind my back) and this is one of the times I strongly resent being an introvert. Were I an extroverted person, I wouldn’t have distaste for being a cashier and could possess the energy needed to avoid having the soul sucked out of me by dealing with several people for several hours straight.

The bright side, if it can be called that, is I am being permitted to remain on the floor and simply act as a back-up cashier, but it doesn’t change I really shouldn’t have tried something different to begin with. I wasted everyone’s time, including my own, and proved I can’t handle anything beyond standing in one place and operating a price gun. I did not expect to succeed anyway, but I also didn’t expect to not even show a hint of improvement and fall utterly flat on my face. I’m used to being slow. I’m not used to never getting past the starting line.

Ironically, another boss of mine, despite also agreeing I was horrendous at my soon-to-be-revoked position, believes if the opportunity arises, I should try again. Up until recently, this particular boss and I did not get along at all, so to come from his mouth, that’s hugely shocking. It’s not a suggestion I plan to take to heart, however. I am never asking for anything again. Everyone else can take the bigger jobs. I’ll stay at the bottom, the only place I can’t fail. Truthfully, I don’t think it’ll be long before I’m bested at even that, assuming I haven’t been already and I’m failing to be aware of it.

Too bad she can’t help with co-workers.

A Lesson Unlearned

What else is new?

If you were watching the news earlier today, and maybe following Twitter, you know about the blizzard that raged about today. And despite one experience to my name, it seems I’ve still yet to learn my lesson about traveling during horrid weather.

However, once again, I have no regrets.

I got my hours mixed up and came in for a morning shift instead of the evening shift I was scheduled for. In my defense, they tend to edit the schedule often after putting it out, so it’s possible it was changed after I copied the original and I never caught the revised one. Since I came in, my boss decided to switch the shifts anyway instead of send me back home immediately. I am glad she did, not only because this particular boss is one of my favorites of the management team, but also because if she hadn’t, I would’ve missed out on getting paid today since the store closed early.

It may seem odd to care about getting paid when I have previously said some things matter more to me than money. However, the difference is this wouldn’t have been voluntary. I wouldn’t have had a choice in missing out on getting paid.

In addition to that, I also had the chance to not only get away from my home for a few hours, but to spend a blissful morning on the same shift as a manager I very much like. If every work day was as peaceful as today was, I’d have never been so desperate to get away from being a cashier. I can’t regret peace and time spent with someone I love working beside.

I confess I also have a certain sense of pride. I’m uncertain in which particular posts, but I don’t doubt I’ve made my stubborn nature known over the years I’ve run this blog. Truthfully, I was going to consider calling out, though I was waiting on a phone call the store was closed since I assumed I had a morning shift. However, some words from a certain relative once again quietly sparked my temper.

“My job didn’t call.”

“You’re supposed to call them and tell them you can’t make it!”

This makes me understand the stereotype of getting a woman to do something by telling her to do the opposite. Jokes aside, one of my pet peeves is indeed being told I cannot do something I want to do, and it’s in my nature to prove that person wrong. In this case, I could make it to work and I was going to. Now, of course, this was dependent on public transport being available, but fortunately, the bus system doesn’t shut down so easily, so I didn’t need to be concerned about that. I must confess I do have a certain pride about this, though it’s more for the example he set than my own stubbornness. I work in another city and took a bus to and from work in a blizzard. Yet, he works in the same city and drives a car, but won’t go to work. What he will do, however, is walk in said blizzard to go buy more alcohol.

Perhaps I’m arrogant or narcissistic for it, but I can’t exactly take seriously someone who considers the ability to get drunk for the day of utmost importance while he will trash talk my commitment to my job. And I say this after toning down my strict outlook on alcohol (though not enough to try it myself or want to be around drunk people).

I want to say this will be the last time I travel to work in a blizzard, but if it keeps proving to be worth it, I’m not sure I can say that with honesty.