Ninety Days Working

Today is my 90th of employment at my warehouse job. Woohoo!

I also finally turned in my resignation notice to my retail job. I am no longer on call. I am not their employee anymore. One of my former managers recently posted how much the store looks like trash after she visited, and while the unexpected validation was unnecessary, I consider it reassuring of my choice. Ironically, and funny, the store finally got a new store manager one day after I quit.

What is so special about ninety days? First, and most importantly to me, I think it’s safe to say I’m… safe. If I haven’t been fired by now, I don’t have much reason to expect it. Second, it means I’ve finally managed to hold on to a job that’s not retail. Granted, at three months, I was proclaiming I love my retail job too, but that was before the store fell into the deepest pit of hell. Even back then, the store had some problems I simply didn’t have enough experience to see yet, but no workplace is perfect.

The most significant difference to me is the pay rate. I know there’s more a job than money, but let’s face it: we all have bills to pay. But I’m not talking solely about base pay. I’m talking about where it goes.

In retail, I started at $9/hr. Three years later, I left at $10.41. That would be a big deal if not for two facts: the extra dollar came from a temporary promotion (company policy forbids withdrawing a raise), and new employees with zero experience (like I started with) for the same position would be hired at $11/hr. Unsurprisingly, that contributed to some of the employees who had experience jumping ship (not that most of the new ones stayed for long). The other matter is you get a twenty cent raise once a year. In other words, if my state’s minimum wage hadn’t risen this past summer, I would’ve gotten a 41 cent raise in three years.

Meanwhile, at my warehouse job, I got a 75 cent raise. Please refer back to the title of this post.

Three years to get a raise of less than half a dollar or three months to get a raise of 3/4ths of a dollar? Tough choice.

Yes, I realize that depends on the workplace itself rather than the industry, but that doesn’t invalidate my point. I’ve been told there’s often a better chance of making more money by switching jobs than switching positions in a job. Which means I likely will have to leave my warehouse job someday if I want more money. For now, it works for me, so not someday soon.

180 days – six months – will be in January. Let’s see if I can leave this year with this job.

Starting At The Bottom

There’s a rap song my uncle likes with that lyric… Huh.

Anyway, there is a subreddit for employees of the company I now work for, though it’s not very active. I replied to one topic that asked if anyone enjoys their job (the person who posted the question does not, though they’d started only a week prior to asking, and it’s their first job ever). Most of the users who commented expressed disliking the job, though that doesn’t surprise me because the company itself has a terrible reputation. My location is good, however, and I enjoy it, so I added my own comment. Unfortunately, there was a user who doesn’t think I should like it:

I’m sorry but leaving the jobs you got from a degree to start a bottom level manual labor at Amazon doesn’t seem like the best decision…if you already have a degree apply for higher levels, it doesn’t make sense to waste a degree on a entry level job anyone can do, imo.

This is stupidly funny to me for more reasons than I care to count, mainly being if it’s a job anyone can do, why are so many people complaining? Putting that aside, this person thinks they know the best decision the life of a total stranger. Sounds like my family, actually.

It’s worth noting this user apparently didn’t read my full original comment because he/she had the idea I voluntarily left the former jobs. At least, read everything before giving unasked for advice. My reply was as follows:

As I said, [company] pays more than both of those jobs [I was fired from], so it’s not a decision I regret, especially since both bored the living hell out of me anyway and one proved to be the adult rendition of high school. “Anyone can do” retail too, yet I fucking can’t stand it.

I don’t really care about being at the bottom level. It’s more satisfying than the other jobs because I don’t have to pretend to be busy for almost nine hours. I actually am busy (and I work for six unless I choose otherwise; I hate long hours). School isn’t going anywhere, and neither is my “degree” that proved to be more of a waste (I really don’t give a shit about it at this point) of my time and money. If I’d known high school clique and seat warming jobs were all I’d get from it, I never would’ve pursued it. I didn’t voluntarily leave. I got fired, one of which, as I said, was for not having a new BFF within four days. But that’s a much better environment… /s

Obviously, some people enjoy office jobs and that’s cool. To each, their own. I, however, do not. I don’t like pretending to be busy and I’d rather my job not depend on how fast I make friends (ironically, I have made friends at [company]).

I haven’t even hit ninety days at [company] (79 days), so I’m not comfortable applying for something higher yet. I’d rather stick around for at least a year before I do. I’m also not a fan of management in any industry (management positions have too much stress and too many restrictions), so even if I wanted a higher position, that’d be out.

No job is a waste if you actually like it.

I’ve yet to receive a reply, and I doubt I will. It seems to stun people others may not share their view what of life’s goals should be for each and every person. While I doubt I’ll stay at this company for the rest of my life, I’m happy with it now and I’m not looking for a new job or another position. Frankly, I wish it were more common to recognize everyone lives a different life and sees things differently, and what’s a bad decision for one person may be better for someone else. Someone’s life choices don’t have to make sense to you. They’re not yours and they’re not affecting you.

Do not use your life to judge’s someone else’s. You have your life. Let them be with theirs.

EDIT: The user did reply, and to sum his responses, he doesn’t consider himself an asshole for telling someone they should live their life according to his standards. Of course. Well, that’s part for the course for Reddit. Or really, for humans in general. If one job made someone miserable, it must make everyone miserable. Isn’t that called “crabs in a bucket”?

Goodbye, Mi Amiga

Yesterday, my favorite manager – and my friend – told me this would be her final week.

I knew she would quit eventually because she previously mentioned her intentions to return to school. But to my surprise, that’s not why she’s quitting. Her reason is one that surprised me.

She’s tired of the store manager.

The surprise isn’t so much the reason itself as it is being the one she’s leaving. She is genuinely one of the kindest and most cheerful souls I’ve met in my life, and she’s the last person to complain about anything. Even when she does complain, she smiles through it, like she’s trying to brush it off. I knew of her frustrations, but I didn’t know she felt that badly.

I admitted to her I considered returning to being part-time for the seasonal period and she vehemently advised me to remain on-call and ask periodically if I need more work. She worked at this store for four years – since the day it opened – and it was her first job while the manager that eventually pushed her over the edge has been there for less than a year. Were there ever a clear example for the expression of people quitting bosses instead of jobs, this would be it.

I wished her well in life, and I know wherever her next job is, she will be excellent, and hopefully, with better management. While I am sad about her leaving, she unintentionally taught me a lesson in telling me so: never waste your time.

Most people cannot quit without a back-up plan, including myself, and after my experiences this past summer, I’ve been working three jobs out of fear of being fired. However, one has been nothing but trouble since the start due to payroll (they still haven’t paid me for the first day I worked, despite I brought it to their attention no less than four times and was told the problem was fixed, and it’s possible they no longer have the record of the day), lack of breaks during shifts as long as nearly twelve hours, smoking, and ultimately being stranded due to the travel required. I’m not the only one with those struggles at the job. The long-term employees have also expressed them.

The other job is my retail job, which I’ve wanted to quit for over a year due to the store essentially being a sinking ship and paying the least of any job I’ve had, but kept because I have history there, they’ve never screwed up my paycheck, and I genuinely love my co-workers.

The problem is juggling three jobs makes it hard to commit to the one I care about most. However, I’ve been at that job for only 39 days, which is not long enough to fully commit to it and quit the other jobs. While I have no reason to believe I’ll be fired, I thought the same with the two jobs I had in June, and that obviously turned out poorly (one involved a manager attempting to intimidate me due to being nearly twice my size and required getting a police officer involved to retrieve my stuff; the other dismissed me for not being social enough and worrying more about learning the job properly; my school faulted me for both, and I’ve since disassociated with them as a result). I’m too afraid to risk having a false of security again, and want to stick with the newer jobs for at least a year. But I also do not want to waste my time like my friend feels she wasted hers (“four years down the drain”), nor do I want to burn the history I have with my retail job. Even she advised me to always have a back-up plan.

Granted, the job I want to commit to is nothing like the jobs I was fired from, namely in that you get fired if you don’t do your job and you don’t spend the majority of your shift (think seven out of nine hours) doing literally nothing while being expected to pretend you have work to do. However, I feel that’s not sufficient reason to believe I’m safe. For all I know, they could decide they dislike how I style my hair and fire me for that (yes, people do get fired solely because a boss dislikes a trait or feature about them; US laws do not protect against that if it isn’t a protected class and most states are at-will, so employees can be fired at any time for any reason that isn’t illegal in written law; it’s one of the reasons I never want to join management, no matter how long I work somewhere, as that’s a level of coldness that’d keep me awake at night).

I don’t know where my friend will go. I don’t know where I will go. But wherever we do go, I hope there’s a bright future for both of us in the places we want to be in our lives.

“People leave managers, not companies” – Marcus Buckingham

Micromanagement

How many times have I eaten my words? I’m going to stop counting.

I have a post from September of last year where I talk about not wanting to give Amazon my business because of their reputation for treating their warehouse workers terribly. If only I’d known ten months later, I’d be giving something more than my money. Like my time!

Four of my co-workers from my retail job work at Amazon, two at the same location I do and the other two at a different location. Three of those four also quit the retail job. All the complaints I heard were solely from the internet, and while I don’t doubt they do happen (no company is a saint!), my co-workers have had zero complaints beyond the normal gripes most people would have about work (being tired, etc), One has worked there for nearly a year, and he’s told me Amazon is more stressful, but he likes it better. That definitely says something.

After being fired twice (one of which was for being competent at my job; I still don’t get that), I decided to give Amazon a shot. Opportunities for the location I’m at disappear fast, so it was hard snagging a spot. When I finally did, there were only two left! Their hiring process could use a bit of work. I only got a start date because I contacted customer support (ironic) to find out what was going on. At only three days in, I know better than to get my hopes up, but for those three days so far, the job has been going well. Considering it pays more than both jobs that fired me, and this summer as a whole has been horrid since June, I hope the job continues to go well.

The lesson I’ve learned is if you’re looking for a job, take your friends’ word above all, including “professional” references.

Let me explain the last three words of that sentence. The jobs I got fired from were considered great places to work… by my school. They turned out to be micro-managed and awful. The irony is in both jobs, there was rarely any real work to do! The first job, at SHI International Corp, had me with a team, and we spent most of our nine hour shifts talking or doing anything to occupy ourselves because we had nothing to do. We couldn’t even pretend to be busy, unless you can staring at a device while it’s loading for over an hour. The manager didn’t even want you to read a book while you waited. The expectation was to sit there for the most of those nine hours and do literally nothing if there was no work.

In other words, it was boring as all hell! Maybe that explains why they paid only $12/hr. Yes, I know work isn’t supposed to be fun, but that’s usually because of the work, not lack of it! I hate them for what went down the day I got fired, but them turning me loose is what they let me go to Amazon (which has all the perks they do, except the gym, but the job itself lets me get enough exercise!), so I’m not disappointed I’m gone. Oh, and schooling wasn’t needed to do that job in the first place. Any person who can operate a smartphone, which is just about every able-bodied person born after 1980, can do it.

Next job was an “emergency” call center. I put “emergency” in quotes because no real life-and-death job is going to fire someone for 1) actually being competent and 2) not fitting in. Like SHI, not much of the shift was spent actually working. They didn’t expect me to sit and do literally nothing, but they did expect me to be the whole center’s new best friend within four days’ time, hence being fired for not fitting in. I still don’t know how it makes sense in their head to tell someone as you’re firing them that they’re good at their job, but must be let go because they can’t into a clique. This one actually makes me a bit more bitter than SHI because my school had the nerve to blame me for this nonsense. No, assholes, I’m not changing my personality to fit in with what amounts to high school culture. That’s why I left high school! If being friendly and getting along with everyone isn’t enough to fit in, I’ll pass. Not even my best friend of eight years and I were best friends in four days.

Meanwhile, there’s constant work at Amazon and the employees seem to never stop. I’d think that’s the place that would be micromanaged versus a job where work is actually a small part of the shift. Instead, the managers back off! They leave us be to do our jobs. They sit at a desk to do their own work, and we go to them if we need help. That’s it. In a micromanaged job (two), there’s little real work to do, but in a job with hands-off management, work is done around the clock. “Irony” is an understatement to describe that.

I snagged a position at Amazon back in April, but gave it up for the IT jobs my school found me. It goes without saying I regret that, especially since positions for my location are hard to come at all. I know it’s better late than never, but I wish I listened to my friends sooner than I listened to “professionalism”. Though, maybe it’s no surprise personal references would be more accurate. As my friends, they know me a lot better than anyone at my school would.

I’ve also learned getting paid to do nothing is not as fun as it sounds. Granted, my regular shift at Amazon is only four hours, but it’s four hours that go very fast. I look at the clock and I’m shocked I’ve already been there for forty-five minutes.

I suppose this is an example of a good thing coming out of a bad situation. I’ll never be happy I was fired, especially for a reason as terrible as “you can’t sit with us”, but those firings allowed me to get a job that pays more than both of them, is in my town of residence, has good management (I really hope I never regret saying that), and actual work to do. And yes, I get along with everyone. I may not be able to make brand-new BFFs in four days, but I can certainly get on someone’s good side in a minute! Seems I fit in nicely.

Let me sum up how I feel about these past jobs in three words. If you listen to pop music, you can probably guess.

This song is way too relatable right now. This GIF nicely sums up my feelings too.

Money Can’t Replace Time

“You’re getting paid for this.”

So, what?

One thing I have never had tolerance for: the idea getting paid means you should be content devoting every minute of your time to work, whether or not it’s necessary.

Apparently, no one remembers it’s (almost) always possible to get more money, but time can never be replaced.

Baby, you’re all that I want
When you’re lying here in my arms
I’m finding it hard to believe
We’re in heaven

This doesn’t mean I don’t ever work overtime or I’ll never clock back in for a while if something pops up. But there are some days I am ready to go home! I don’t live to work. Yes, while at a job, I want to work, but after my shift ends, my work is done. I’ll have other shifts to make more money, and it’ll be the same money. But I’ll never have the same day or night.

Sure, I usually spend my time out of work catching up on sleep or surfing the internet. But I also make plans. I write silly fan fiction. I talk to my friends. I meet with my boyfriend.

And love is all that I need
And I found it there in your heart
It isn’t too hard to see
We’re in heaven

I’ve talked many times about how that last activity has changed my life. Yes, that’s including the awful times. Until we live together, it will never feel like enough, and when we do, it possibly still won’t. Money makes time spent together more fun, but it does not replace it outright.

In fact, though I enjoy traveling with him, my favorite times with him are when we’re in bed with each other. I love to wake up next him (snoring and all 😛 ). There’s not enough money to replace the few times I can do that.

Oh, once in your life, you find someone
Who will turn your world around
Bring you up when you’re feeling down

There’s not enough money to replace the fewer chances I’ve had to spend with my friends, who I hope to have for a long time, if not for life. I’ve met some through my retail job, which is why I don’t entirely hate it, but that still isn’t enough for me to want to spend most of my time at work if it’s unnecessary.

I’ve read no one on their deathbed wishes they worked more. I doubt that’s true. There are probably some people out there who died wishing they had a bigger career, or something similar. I doubt I’ll be one of them. I think I’ll be the person who wishes they spent more time with their loved ones, even if I spent every waking moment with them. Or made more memories. Or had more pictures. Say what you will about my generation (Gen Y/Millennials) and the current one (Gen Z/the iGeneration), but I take a lot of pictures and I don’t regret it. No, I’m not snapping my camera every minute of the day, but I love having the reminders. Physical photos are still awesome though, and I plan to print some pictures out and put them in a photo album I bought at my retail job.

Yeah, nothing could change what you mean to me
Oh, there’s lots that I could say
But just hold me now
‘Cause our love will light the way

I know so many people will call me “foolish” or insist “I know nothing about life” because of ideals I have like this. I know very well life isn’t a fairytale, though some people do get to live that life (like my co-worker who found the love of her life at 14 and became a parent at 17; at age 20, they’re still together and she’s clearly happy). The good news is all fairytales are different. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Disney (though I’ve learned many), it’s that when things reach the very worst, they can still get better. Life isn’t Disney, so sometimes, it will get worse… but not always.

I simply like to hope they get better. If only because I want another day with the ones I love most.

It’s cliche to say, but love – platonic and romantic – is powerful. You can’t pay your bills or your taxes with it, but it makes the time we spend on this Earth not so bad.

And that’s as fair a trade-off as anyone can get.

You’re all that I want
You’re all that I need

(And let’s just say every so often, I’m reminded why time is precious. We’re not here forever.)