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.

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iNsane iCare

So, when I start volunteering with the YWCA I will be working with their newly implemented database system, called iCare. Katherine, the program director, told me she wanted me to go through the tutorials offered by the company and learn a bit about the software.

And, frankly, I can’t decide whether the program is really complicated. Or if the Indian man explaining everything in the tutorials makes it seem complicated. I have the urge to write them an email outlining how they need to go about using these tutorial videos.

For instance:

  • One of the most important things a company looks for in an employee who interacts with the public is the ability to speak clearly. This man can barely pronounce the simplest of words and tends to run everything together.
  • His explanations are completely disjointed. Instead of starting at the beginning he jumps around the program, hardly ever explaining what it is that he is doing.
  • He moves way too quickly. He never spends more than a few seconds on a topic. And when he actually does show you what to do on the screen, he moves through it like crazy.
  • He stops in the middle of sentences frequently. And when he starts back up it tends to be in a different place all together.
  • I left each tutorial completely unsure of whether or not I actually knew what I had learned.

The program itself looks like a combination of Excel and the program I used to use at work called SMB Pro. So nothing too alien to me. I just really hope that it’s as user friendly as they claim that it is.

Judging by the videos and the man they chose to be their representative…I’m not overly positive of the outcome.

But! The key here is to stay confident and positive. I’m sure that I can learn everything pretty quickly.

This should be a good starter “job” for me. One of the main things that kept me at my previous job for so long, aside from the money, was the fact that I knew what I was doing. I was familiar with my surroundings, my employees, my expectations, my daily activities. I had the same schedule every week, for the most part. It got boring, yes. But there was a level of comfort that was nice to have.

Starting all over is a little scary. A little stressful. A little nerve-racking.

I’m hoping that starting off with something like a volunteer position will help me get used to the idea of having to learn new things and start at the bottom of the work food chain.

So, here’s to all that. And..,I might just write that email up now…iCare clearly needs someone to tell them they’re doing it wrong.

Volumes of Volunteering

In an attempt to fill my days, pump up the resume, and do some good in the world  I have started looking for some volunteer work. It turns out that Asheville is just teeming with volunteer opportunities.

I did sign up for something called the Book Sorting Bonanza! on September 19th. It’s a 2 hour long event where people get together to sort, organize, and clean out used books. Once that is done, the books are taken to children in need, the homeless, and prisoners. Should be  fun event and it’s  a great cause. If anyone is an advocate for more people reading, it’s me.

I also expressed interest in:

  • Helpmate – Reception
  • Western North Carolina Alliance – Office Support
  • Asheville City Schools Foundation – Education Coach
  • Asheville Greenworks – Office Support
  • YWCA – Clerical
  • The Rathbrun Center – Front Desk
  • Our VOICE – Prevention Education Volunteer
  • Green Opportunities – Office Support
  • Three Streams Family Health Center – Office Support
  • Smith-McDowell House – Museum guide
  • Asheville Art Musuem – Shop and Guest Services

I realize that is a lot to try and do all at once. But these are all “ongoing” opportunities. So I figure the ones that actually need volunteers right away will contact me first. And in this case it’ll be first come first serve.

Some of the things I want to do simply because of personal interest, like the Art Museum and the Smith-McDowell house. I chose Our VOICE because I’m passionate about sexual education and the prevention of sexual crimes. The rest are a combination of interest, passion, and the fact that the present really great opportunities for job related experience.

The more I can prove myself now, the better my chances are at getting a decent job later down the road.

Plus, I have always really wanted to spend more time volunteering, but have found it to be difficult with my insane work schedule and constantly changing availability.

I really think this should a good time for me.