Slacker Jacks

I feel like I’ve been steadily consuming a huge box of Slacker jacks. And the prize at the bottom? EPIC FAILURE, DISAPPOINTMENT, AND A LIFE OF RETAIL!

These taste like despair and self-loathing.

These taste like despair and self-loathing.

Every time I have a terrible shift I redouble my efforts to find a new job. But then I just get depressed. Because there aren’t any new jobs. I mean, if I really wanted to work at a different grocery store. Or an auto parts store. Or prostitute myself. Then, yeah, I’d have tons of options. But the point is to find something better and not just new.  All retail is really the same. All customers are assholes. And I really need to stop working with the public before I never go outside again because I see douches and morons everywhere. Everywhere. 

But I keep making the same excuse not to just move to Columbus, Ohio and become some sort of midwesterner. This trip Ireland. I have been really concerned with a new job being like, “Oh yeah, you just started here. Take 10 days off.” /sarcasmfont

So, once I get back in three weeks. IT IS ON. You hear that Slacker Jacks? You’re going in the trash. I’m going to Trader Joe’s and getting some bulk, organic… Successios. Whatever. Success is much more difficult to make into a snack or cereal. Productiveites? That sounds like some form of amoeba. Well…you guys know what I want to do there. Just pretend that I came up with some really good thing. Or stick with the amoeba, if you’re into Biology or something,

As it turns out, if I fail horribly, my current place of employment is apparently not above taking you back if you just walk out one day. So there’s that.

Also, prostitution is always there. The service industry is basically that, anyways.

I imagine most of my clientele like this.

I imagine most of my clientele like this.

2013:Year of the…?

2013 new year sparkler     Originally, I’d had high hopes for the year of 2013. I had this feeling that I was going to  do really cool things and make the most of my life, no matter what.

I’m a little torn on how that is turning out.

On one hand, I’m still working at the grocery store. Only now, I have three departments fighting over where I work every week.

On the other hand, I’ve Seen Flogging Molly with Skinny Lister in Charlotte and Mindless Self Indulgence in Atlanta. I’ve gone to the Atlanta Aquarium, gotten the boyfriend a super fancy new camera for our anniversary, and…we are going to Ireland in November.

Those are all really super things, I think.

But there’s that damn “job” getting in the way of everything. I had reached this point of contentment where I was okay with what I was doing as long as my outside like was rich and fulfilling. But it is getting to the point, once again, where I spend so much time at work and all of that time is miserable that it is becoming difficult to separate one part of my life from the other with any real success.

So I wanted to look into some tips for keeping yourself sane when you’re closer to 30 than you are to 20 (or past that, even) and still working a dead end job.

  1. Turn your phone off or to silent. This may seem like a no-brainer to some people and it may seem like an impossible dream to others. But everyone needs time to unplug their brains and not handle calls from work or desperate text messages from someone trying to get rid of their shift.
  2. Actually unplug. People are SO connected to everyone and everything all of the time these days. When I’m waiting for something or standing in line I automatically pull out my smart phone and start scrolling through Facebook, even if I just looked at it and no one has posted anything new. Or rather, they posted something new but it was just a share of that same stupid picture that has been going around for weeks or a site begging Like “BLABLABLA” if u luv ur mom. And, ain’t nobody got time for that. We need to remember to let our brains cool off from all the overwhelming, and constant, information. A quiet mind leads to a happy mind.
  3. Find an addiction. A healthy addiction. Whether that’s yoga or running or stretching or meditation or whatever. Find something to focus your mind on that allows you to become more connected to your own body. Focusing on that not only makes you physically healthier, but mentally as well.
  4. Join a group, club, volunteer organization. Too frequently I realize that I only have 2 friends and my boyfriend. ALL of the rest of my face to face human interaction is with coworkers and customers. This is enough to make anyone start to question their insanity. Especially once you start holding conversations with the flowers that you’re cutting or the candy that you’re stocking…
  5. Remember that if you are at a dead end job, like a grocery store, that no matter how much you need the money, it is just a job. It is just a grocery store, restaurant, creamery, factory, whatever. Nothing that you’re doing is life-altering to anyone else. They might think that it is…but it isn’t. And while this can be depressing, focus on the fact that this lack of real responsibility leaves you free to take classes, hang out with friends, plan a trip to Ireland, and not given any shits when a customer screams in your face.

A Quandary.

So I have this interview tomorrow. But I’m unsure of what I want to do. See it’s this marketing internship with a well-known and respected IT company. $12 an hour and 40 hours a week. Pretty sweet deal, right?

But, here’s the kicker. It’s only 60 days. At the end of the period there’s a review. If I’m doing really well and there’s a job opening they’ll give me a job. A real, business, marketing fucking job. If I do horribly, they’ll just terminate the whole thing. If I do really well and there is not a job opening…I don’t get a job…

So I realize that the only way to succeed in life is to take chances and make waves and all that. But I also realize that there are these very real things called bills. And I have quite a lot of them. And if I don’t have a job at the end of 2 months, then I don’t have a way to pay my bills. I also forfeit the raise I’m about to get at my current job, dental insurance I’m getting, and quite probably my full-time standing. I can’t take a leave of absence because I have only been there a year. My coworkers have informed me that if I leave on a good note I can get my job back in 2 months if things with this other company don’t work out. And judging by the amount of people I know there who have left and come back repeatedly, I know this to be true. Mostly. What I don’t know is that my specific job will still be there. The job as the only actual full-time cashier/respected department floater who has been depended upon for the last week to run a department while the department head was working at another store. So I could come back, lose any and all benefits, and only be working 15 hours a week. Do you see the issue?

My mother does not see the issue. She’s says to go for it. And I understand where she is coming from. But, my mother and I have always differed in the way we think about the future. As well as money. I like to know that I can pay my bills and eat my food and be what I consider to be a contributing member of the household and not a total drain on my wonderful boyfriend’s money. She responds to this with “Well, just get a different job.” Yes. Because that’s been going so well for me thus far. I actually have amazing jobs thrown at my head every day, I just find the joys of working at a service job even though I have a degree to be really rewarding… I get that too I guess. As a woman who hasn’t worked for “the man” since about 1982 when she and my dad went into business for themselves and who is currently a real estate agent who, while she works at Century 21 and technically has a boss, still essentially works for herself, she might not have the best idea of getting a job these days. Frankly getting a job in the 70’s when having a 4 year degree was still impressive and the population was a lot lower and so was the cost of living (and hitchhiking across the country was still considered relatively safe) was a bit of a different experience. I try to explain that “just getting a new job” really doesn’t exist anymore. As I ‘ve discussed I’m over qualified for a lot of things and under qualified for the rest. It becomes a matter of finding someone who is either willing to hire me even though I have too much education and experience or hire me even though I don’t have enough. Quite the gamble.

It seems like settling to stay at a job where I make just enough to get by and that is not a career. But it seems silly, also, to take a chance on something like this without the guarantee of a career. If I was still a college student, this would be a no brainer. If I was younger and still having things like my car and health insurance as well as my cell phone paid by my parents, this would be a no brainer. But as an almost 26 year old entirely on my own with an all too familiar understanding of what happens when you don’t give companies the money you owe them, I’m unsure. I guess if I take it, don’t get the job, and can’t go back to the one I have now I could go back to writing about the woes of being totally unemployed. Without the benefits of receiving unemployment…

Thoughts?

Things I don’t understand about customers.

You complain to me.

We don’t have senior discounts. We don’ t take EBT. We don’t carry that brand of whatever anymore.  We don’t provide enough food at our sampling event. We are out of whatever. That lady let her kids get candy out of the bulk bin with their sticky hands.

None of these things has anything to do with me or my existence. Not in any way shape or form. There is nothing I can do about it. I can’t order different products, force the bakery to make more things, follow mothers around the store, etc. I really can’t. And what’s more? I don’t actually give  a shit.
You seriously fail to understand the concept of carts.

The store I work at has three item carrying options. The big metal carts, the green plastic baskets, and these weird bastard combinations where you can stack two green baskets to make a little cart. I see so many people making poor cart choices.

Old people are constantly getting those huge carts. For an avocado. Or a muffin. What the hell? You might be 90 but you’re really telling me that the muffin was beyond your ability to hold?  And now you want a bag for it too? Or some lady will come up with one of the tiny green baskets totally overflowing with stuff. Crap is falling on the floor and if you move it the wrong way everything starts to collapse. Men are the most amusing, though. Apparently asking for directions is not the only pride-injuring thing out there. Grabbing a cart when you can no longer hold the 16 items you’re buying is too. They’ll walk up with everything stacked precariously between their hands and chin or propped in their armpits. It’s easy. Make a freaking list and then use your critical analysis powers to deduce what size conveyance you need. Done.

You are perpetually confused by how to use the credit/debit machine.

Every single store in the world, basically, has one of these machines. You swipe the card. It prompts you to do various things. You do it. You leave. Every 10 minutes I have someone glaring at this machine in contempt. Like it’s trying to trick them.

Why does it want my zip code?? Hell I don’t know. You can’t pay for this without putting it in, so get over it. What do I push now? Which is enter? Seriously? There are two universal colors that mean the same thing no matter what. Green = yes, go, accept, enter. Red = no, stop, decline, cancel. Always. For everything. When would red ever mean enter? Why are you still punching the machine with that little plastic pen? It say processing. It has to process, so chill the hell out. Or keep smacking it. That might work too.

You blame me for…everything.

I had a lady actually try to come into the office while I was counting my money at the end of the shift to tell me that I needed to “get out there” because there were like four people in each line. No. I’m done with my shift. Get out and go wait in line. This is a grocery store, you do that. Go to Walmart on a Saturday morning and see why 4 people to a line is nothing. Don’t tell me I need to “get another person up here right now to help.” Like who? You? Are you going to get on a register and ring up these lovely people? No? Right. All the people here are the people here. I can’t clone myself or make a gollum, so just wait.

Oh your check didn’t clear? Your card was declined? That would be your fault. You don’t have enough money to buy the $200 worth of snacks and alcohol you’ve put before me. This woman actually was going to call her bank and put them on the phone with me. Me! Apparently I cut her paychecks.

You assume I am uneducated.

Don’t tell your brat of a child that if “they aren’t careful they could end up a cashier.” Are you serious? Well maybe one day they too can accrue thousands of dollars worth of student loan debt to scan stuff at the local high-end, over-priced, snooty ass grocery store! People are honestly freaking surprised when I tell them that I do, in fact, have a degree. Like someone was supposed to hand me my diploma and appropriate job assignment the day of graduation.

You go out of your way to be complicated.

So you’ve collected approximately $336 worth of “organic” spaghetti, potato chips, mini cupcakes, and some weird drink with chia seeds in it (yes, chia seeds. The seeds that produce chia pets. I am riveted to know what the health benefits of this could be…).

I start scanning and the courtesy clerk starts bagging. Half way through you remember that all the way at the bottom of the cart, under 6 bottles of wine, are your reusable bags. Or you really need paper bags. Out comes everything from plastic and we get to start over.

Oh and that tomato was $5…that’s too much just put that back for you? Sure. Let me void that and walk back over to produce for you…

Now you’re half way through paying with a credit card and realize you wanted to pay for half of it in cash. Cancel, cancel, cancel. And I have to wait for you to rummage around in you D&G purse for that $100 bill.

Now, you suddenly need cash back after you’re already done and I’ve started on another person.

Now you realize that the bottom of your container of figs is sticky and you want a refund.

Long story short?

Get your shit together!

It’s a job, isn’t it?

“Roar! Customer always right!” (This was basically my day)

It’s been a hectic few days trying to get back into the swing of working, especially since I’ve been going in at 8 or 9 am. There’s also the fact that I basically have no idea what I’m doing and by the time I get off work, I’m exhausted and have four hours before I have to go to sleep so I can wake up and do it again.

In between all of that, though, I’ve had one question put to me repeatedly by friends and family, “How is it?”

The only way I can possibly put it is, “It’s a grocery store job.”

I mean, what do people expect me to say? It’s everything I ever wanted? It’s much better than I expected? It’s a job and it’s exactly what I expected. I stand there. I take items out of a cart. I move the items across the scanner or punch in a series of numbers that relate to the item. Those items are put into a bag.  I take their money, hand them receipt and off they go. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Part of me really, really wishes I had just stayed on unemployment and waited it out. The other part of me realizes that I really need a job in order to make it to a point where I can find another job. The other thing I keep hearing from friends and family is, “It’s always easier to get a job when you already have one.”

But is that really true? Is it easier? I mean, I worked at my last job for four years and I don’t think I was any more capable of getting a different job than I was when I was on unemployment. Of course with the money I was making and the fact that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I was much less motivated to do something different. Being back to barely making enough to survive will probably provide the necessary jolt to keep me going in my job search.

There’s also the fact that several companies actually admit to completely ignoring applications from unemployed people. That’s just insane! It’s the people who don’t have jobs who really need them! I mean, I’m sure people like myself with menial jobs need better jobs too. But I think it would be more fair if everyone qualified was given a chance. Wouldn’t a manager rather hire the person who is most qualified rather than  the person who just so happens to be lucky enough not to lose their job in this economy? Apparently not.

Frankly, I  think the way businesses are run these days needs a serious makeover. Unfortunately that won’t happen until several other things in this country get a makeover. But I’m not here to discuss politics.

So here is my to-do list for the last part of 2012 ( which has NOT turned out the way I had anticipated…):

  1. Try my best not to kill any biotches at the grocery store
  2. Continue to look for and apply to better jobs
  3. Continue taking online courses
  4. Continue attempting to get an internship/volunteer position
  5. Put together my graduate school application
  6. Have as much fun as humanly possible because I realized I was letting my job drain my life of happiness and enjoyment

I think these are relatively manageable things.  I started my Craft of Magazine Writing Course today. And finish my Intro to Microsoft Excel 2010 next week. I was hoping to start Introduction to Internet Writing Markets today as well. I just can’t afford to take 2 classes at the same time right now unfortunately.

Anyways, be prepared for amusing/enraging/sarcastic anecdotes from my new job! I already have some pretty good ones.

She Works Hard for the Money

Well. The day has come. I have been offered a job. I really cannot decide how I feel about the whole situation. Part of me is relieved that I’ll have an income again. Part of me is disappointed that I am taking another service industry job. Granted, as far as being a cashier, there are worse places to work.

It’s at a  brand of super nice grocery store. The atmosphere is much better than your usual fluorescent, over-crowded, 80’s hits playing store. They offer all the usual stuff like produce, meat, fish, dairy, dry goods, etc. But they also have an amazing prepared food area with organic meals and classy looking little desserts. A wider variety of food options and better quality looking food overall. The focus is more on the experience and what they offer than on cramming as much GMO crap into one space as possible. There are lots of organic, vegan, whole food options all set out in a quaint looking little store with soft lighting and friendly people.

So I could do worse. When I think about the idea of working in another grocery store like the one I had my first job at, I cringe (like I mentioned in this post)

The screaming kids and angry customers with fake coupons wanting their money back…ick.

The pay is…eh… much better than what I was getting as a cashier before. Not actually enough to continue living the way that I was, but better than minimum wage. There’s a review after 90 days and the possibility of a raise. So that’s nice.
And they promised full-time. So I kind of had to take it. Who am I to turn down the offer of full-time work that pays above the minimum wage? So many people are out there, in worse situations than I am, looking for work just like I am. Am I to decide that I am ultimately better than they are? Am I too good to work as a cashier? No. I did go to college and get the degree and gain tons of debt. But that doesn’t mean I’m a better person or a better employee than the other people with the same education, more education, or even less education. Turning down this job after over a month of trying, putting in over 50 applications, and literally no other viable opportunities just seemed… self-righteous and a little silly.

This also ran through my mind: What if I don’t get another chance at work for another month? Or two? Or three? Am I really going to live off of $244 a week from unemployment for several months? Plus, the longer you are out of work  the worse it starts to look to future employers. They start asking for explanations. So what do I tell them? That I was offered full time work and turned it down because I thought I could do better? If the next job offer is another service job that probably wouldn’t go over so well.

Sometimes, in this life, we all have to accept what we are given and then do everything we can to try and improve our own situations, as well as the situations of those around us. That’s why I’m still very interested in volunteer work while I have this job. Fitting it in could prove to be much more difficult, of course. But it’s something I’d still like to attempt.

So, what do you guys feel about this? I’m truly curious. Did I make the good choice? Should I try to back out while I still can (I have a pretty good excuse. My boyfriend and I are sharing one car because his is no longer okay to drive)?  A friend of mine works there and it literally took her 2 years to get moved up just one position…so it doesn’t look like there are too many opportunities to move up in a reasonable amount of time. Do you think that going from management to peon will look bad on my resume? Let me know! I could really use some feedback.