Let Me Put You On Block

In an anti-MLM Facebook group I’m in, someone shared this image from their sister-in-law’s page.

Or let’s not and I’ll put you on block.

I can’t choose what’s more aggravating here: the absolute lack of self-awareness (telling people not to shame others as they’re shaming them), the irony (same reason), the pure, unfiltered ignorance (not everyone celebrates holidays, or American holidays, and not every job has the same schedule and wages), or the blatant toxicity (it’s healthy to have time away from your family, including your children).

Of course, if the people who post these things had any amount of self-awareness, they likely wouldn’t be in an MLM. I blame myself for expecting that level of competence.

However, my bored self has decided to respond to this. Why? Well, it’s 6am, I can’t get back to sleep, and as I’ve said more than once on this blog, I have an odd enjoyment of making lists. Hey, picking apart MLM posts is a better use of them than shaming people with them.
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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.

Why I No Longer Want A Career

Short answer: I have a work ethic.

Much longer answer: I was fired from a job, not for being incompetent or breaking the law or violating their policy, but for… not making friends. I was never unfriendly or unkind or cold to anyone, but the experienced hires decided I was too “weird”, I didn’t “fit in” with them, and since they weren’t all my new BFFs within the four days I worked, I was let go. Despite the numerous times this job was emphasized as being “life and death” (a description I now know is severely exaggerated), my inability to create instant lifelong friendships and preference to prioritize learning how to do my job competently was deemed grounds for letting me go.

As a child, I wanted to become a veterinarian because I loved animals. I learned as a teenager an adoration of animals is far from enough to consider that career. This is similar. I would say as a teenager I wanted a career, and though I never cared for being part of the “big wigs”, I wanted to be high above entry-level with a long resume of worthwhile skills and a job that allowed to never again worry about money.

What have I learned now as an adult? The job is irrelevant. It’s the management I need to be most concerned with. After nearly three years in retail, and poor management in three different industries (customer service, IT, and security), and managers who are all too obviously on a power play (my boyfriend recently told me of how he was yelled at for something he didn’t do, and yelled at again when he proved he wasn’t at fault; I have too many similar experiences), I have decided I want absolutely nothing to do with a career of any kind.

I want a job that pays well, has good management, has benefits, has a consistent schedule, and has a minimum of two days off. That’s it.

It doesn’t need to be a career. I don’t want it to be a career. If this is what I must deal with – if the being part of the “in crowd” is more important doing your job well and correctly, especially in the early days – I’m content to have an ordinary, nothing special job. Similarly, this is also why even if I had the needed personality for retail, I’d utterly refuse to enter management. I do not ever want to become like the management I’ve dealt with. Never do I want to believe it’s okay to behave aggressively toward those hierarchically beneath me, never do I want to yell at someone solely because I can and allow authoritative power to blind me to treating others fairly, and I absolutely do not want to decide someone’s work ethic is a bad quality (lack of work ethic is bad). I am no saint, nor will I ever be, but I can avoid becoming what I hate and I fear any step into management would force me against my morals. I will not compromise those beliefs for anything.

My new dream is to live with my boyfriend in a comfortable and spacious apartment, and to be home with him as much as possible. Because of all the stress I’ve dealt with, and all the needless experiences I have in my memory I can never burn, my relationship with him is one of the few experiences that consistently proves to be worth fighting for. It seems a career requires me to sacrifice kindness, fairness, and humility, and I am not willing to do that. I suppose there is a reason for the expression “money is the root of all evil”, and it’s very evident, but though I am not flawless, I will not allow a career to change who I am or change me into someone I hate.

Jealousy

This is probably the pettiest post I’ve ever written for this blog, and if it’s not, I’m scared to search through my archives and find what is.

The gist of it is: My boyfriend makes more money than me and I’m mad.

Yeah, that’s it.

Okay, that’s not really it, but most people wouldn’t read beyond that. If you’ve read this far, I assume you’re willing to, so I’ll explain.

It’s not him personally. It’s that the only reason he makes more than me is he lives in a state with a higher minimum wage than the one I reside in, and we’re both paid only $2 above our states’ respective minimum wages. The cost of living is higher is in his state, but our living situations make that factor irrelevant on both sides.

I suppose that doesn’t make how I feel better. He doesn’t make the minimum wage laws, and I’m certainly not trying to insinuate he shouldn’t make a livable wage (I am very much in favor of raising the minimum wage nationwide; no, I don’t think having to work a low-skills job means someone should be unable to afford food, clothes, and shelter). My frustration is when it comes to our personal situations, the only reason he makes more than I do by chance. He happens to live in a state with a higher minimum wage than me. He works hard – I’ll never deny that – but I work hard as well, and knowing that is what sparks the jealousy to begin with.

Since I am the worst person at hiding my feelings, he knows this and I unintentionally made him feel bad. Of course, he shouldn’t feel bad, but I could’ve said nothing and he still would’ve figured it out (note: he’s very good at sensing something’s wrong with me; where and when he picked that up, I’m also clueless). I confess I also feel bad because when I was the only of us making money, he felt guilty I paid for most of our outings and constantly insisted on paying me back, despite my protests he doesn’t have to (thankfully, he hasn’t tried to pay me back for all of that; paying for our outings wasn’t a loan!). I’m happy he does have a job and he is making money, especially since his self-worth was crumbling before he was, but I’m bitter about the reason he makes more than I do.

I guess in the end, almost everyone has something that gives them an edge, even a tiny one. Now, if I could only find mine.