employment

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The Joys of Retail

Published July 21, 2017 by mindfulofchatter

I like my job. I really do. It’s mostly fun, and I get to see all the cool new candies that come out, as well as learn what candies have gone away for good.

But the customers can really make or break my day.

I generally enjoy helping people find what they are looking for. The store is a little overwhelming for first time shoppers. There is a ton of things to see – 94 flavours of salt water taffy, 70 bins of bulk, unwrapped candies, 96 bins of bulk wrapped candies, ice cream, handmade fudge, handmade caramel apples, hand dipped Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Cupcakes and bacon, handmade truffles, nut clusters, haystacks and other chocolate delights (all the handmade and dipped items are made in house – fresh!). So there is a lot to see, and finding that one thing you want may be a bit difficult. So I am there to help.

And then there is the other side of the coin.

I find trash all over the place. Candy wrappers, napkins, used kleenex and bits if paper. I find it on the floor, on shelves, tucked behind displays, and in the open bulk bins. I often find chewed pieces of taffy just left on a shelf. ‘Cause, yeah, I want to clean up your chewed up food. When did it get so difficult to put your trash in the bins? Can’t you spit the taffy into the wrapper and put it in the trash bin? You know, the one that is RIGHT NEXT TO THE BULK BIN YOU DROPPED IT IN?

Apparently not.

And it is really not cool to turn your ill mannered children loose in any store, but especially not in a candy store. They really don’t need to pull everything out it’s holder and drop it on the shelf or the floor. Nor do they need to shove past people. And it’s sad to say this – but isn’t just kids. I watched a woman in her late fifties pull a candy filled toy out it’s display, play with it, then drop it on the shelf rather placing it back in the display. The one DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF HER. I also ‘followed’ and man in his 30’s up and down the aisles putting back all the crap he pulled out and then dropped on the floor or the shelf. I gave him a brilliant smile as I put back the candy bar he dropped on the shelf. He got the hint and stopped doing it.

And this is CANDY store. We sell sweets. All kinds of sweets. You ask me for cigarettes, and I will tell you we have candy, bubblegum and chocolate cigarettes. We even have bubblegum cigars. We do NOT have real, tobacco cigarettes or cigars, and I have had people come in specifically to ask for them. I have also been asked if we have feminine products (We don’t, just in case you were wondering. Oh, but we do have gummy and chocolate band-aids).

All that frustration can make for long days on the floor. I get tired of the rudeness and being shoved by customers while I am trying to fill bins. I get tired of finding nasty snot rags and chewed up candy lying on the shelves. Some days the very people who make my job possible, try my patience to the breaking point.

Then the sweet things happen to offset all the frustration.

There was this little girl, maybe 3 or 4, who had to show me her bag of candy. She had very carefully chosen several things from the bulk wrapped candy bins. She held up her bag and pointed out to me all the special candy she had in her bag. I knelt down to share the magic with her and told her how perfect all her choices were. She smiled, and then very solemnly asked me, with her eyes wide,  ‘Are you the Keeper of The Candy?’.

That made my entire week.

 

 

The New Job Is A Sweet One

Published June 5, 2017 by mindfulofchatter

candy

I started my new job on the very last day of May.  My uniform consists of a tee-shirt and jeans, or black pants. They aren’t too picky as long you are clean and presentable. The only reason I need to wear the tee shirt is that I am on the floor all day.

I am working at sweets shop. We sell ice cream, cotton candy, candied apples, fudge, dipped Twinkies, dipped Pringles, dipped Oreo cookies and CANDY. Loads and loads of CANDY.

Sweet.

The candied apples, fudge, truffles, dipped items and such are all made on the premises. It is all fresh. They even make their waffle cones. There is a huge variety of fudge flavours that include cookie dough, pistachio and cookies and cream. Maybe one day I’ll write them all down for you. The candied apples come in several varieties from plain old caramel to rolled in mini M&M’s. Some are dipped in chocolate with a fancy drizzle on them.

And then there is the candy.

There is bulk wrapped candy sold by the pound, there is bulk loose candy sold by the pound. Love French Burnt Peanuts? We got ’em in bulk. Love Pixie Sticks? We got ’em in bulk. There is also well over 20 different kinds of salt water taffy in bulk.

We have a lot of the ‘old school’ candies as well – Cow Tails, Abba Zabba, Charleston Chew (3 flavours), Sugar Daddy, Sugar Babies, Long John, Zagnut, Bottle Caps. Chick-o-Stick, candy cigarettes, bubble gum cigars… the list goes on and on.

We also have a lot of international candies. Chocolates from Germany, Belgium, Italy, France, and Switzerland (to name a few).

And an entire section of theater box candy.

I had a customer ask me what we had that she wouldn’t find in grocery store. She was a little over whelmed as I showed her what we had. I’m pretty sure she found things no one would find in a typical grocery store.

My job is to keep it stocked and the merchandise facing the proper way. I also put things back in their proper places. On busy days I can simple continue to make my rounds, picking up strays and stocking the popular items. I can do this for 5 hours and never sit down.

It’s fun work. I like the customers. Who isn’t happy in candy shop? We get a grumpy kid once in while, but it’s a candy shop and the grumpies soon pass. Yeah, they still do crappy things from time to time, like fill a bag with different taffy flavours and then abandon the bag, but that isn’t too awful (yeah, we sort them back into the bins because they are all wrapped). But for the most part everyone who comes in is happy and amazed. They see candy from their childhood. Who can’t crack a smile remembering when they pretend smoked candy cigarettes?

I feel as though I deserve a job I like after the string of disasters I’ve had the past year. I finally found a job I like.

A sweet job.

More Changes

Published May 26, 2017 by mindfulofchatter

celebrate_life

 

Before I hit ‘real’ part of this post, a quick car update:

After a small wrinkle in getting the car to the repair shop, the car has been delivered to the hands of the fellas at my local repair shop. I am awaiting a call to tell me if the car is dead or not. Please cross your fingers.

I have finally managed to quit my housekeepers job (Yay!). I actually gave notice two weeks ago, but my supervisor didn’t want to lose me (I am a hard worker and reliable). She was trying to find somewhere else for me to work. But all the ‘let’s try this’ and ‘let me to talk the GM’ were going nowhere. I am sick and tired of hurting so much I can barely walk after work. I am also sick of it taking both of my days off to recover from 5 days of overwork. So I called it done.

My last day of work saw me and my team member with a total of 22 rooms to clean and service. And that was considered an easy day. With summer pretty much here, the workload was only going to go up, up, up. There isn’t the staff to support the number of rooms that need service everyday. I don’t want to be made a cripple by my job. I’m kinda funny like that.

When I left on that last day, I was left as an employee for back-up and for hire when laundry was allowed to have two people working. Not my idea of a good time, but at least it was some sort of work.

But today the tow truck came to take my car to the repair shop. After I got all that sorted, I walked into downtown and waltzed into the local sweets shop to apply for a stockers job.

The young man who is GM greeted me and we talked for minute or two. He then went and got the warehouse manager and an application for me to fill out. All this time I was having serious hair envy. His hair is a gorgeous shade of bright teal that blends into a deep, bright blue. I’d love to do something like that, but those colours are tough to care for and I am not only rather hair inept, but I am hair lazy.

But that is neither here nor there.

The warehouse manager came out and all  three of us chatted for a bit. Both of the guys are young men – young enough to be my kids. Both are adorable, smart and funny. We hit if off in about two seconds. I walked away with the newly created job of Stocker Supervisor/Warehouse Liaison (we don’t have a real job title yet) and a start date. The wages are little lower than the housekeeping gig, but this place is a lot more fun and relaxed. And far better staffed.

I am looking forward to starting this job, something I haven’t felt in long, long time. I have more of a feeling of this being long-term, rather just-until-I-find-something-better. If my dear little car is repairable, this will be better than a good day.

It will be fantastic.

 

 

Over 55 And Faking It.

Published June 3, 2016 by mindfulofchatter

I recently read an article about women over 50 and their lack of income. The article outlined how women fake it. They still dress nice, go out with friends and by all appearances are doing well. The fact is, they are not doing well. They hide it. And I hide it from people every day.

I am 57 years old. I have no retirement, no 401k, no CD’s, no nest egg. I am one of millions of women who didn’t work to stay home with children, or didn’t work because a significant other didn’t want me to, or worked part-time to have time with family. Because of that, I will also have very little social security money. It is tougher to find work, and I find I can’t do work I used to do.

I also rely on the SNAP program for groceries. I listen to lots of people complain about people on food stamps. How they don’t work. How they are lazy,. How they are losers. They do not know without food stamps, I would not have enough to eat.

I rarely go out with friends. I can’t afford it. When I do, I order inexpensive appetizers and drink water or tea. I save up to go to the movies and for movie rentals.

I have the world’s cheapest internet. It is slow, but it works. I lived without internet for months, and I may have to give it up again.

I don’t get manies/pedies. I often cut my own hair. I don’t buy jewelry. My clothes come from the thrift shops.

I don’t have a tons of debt. I am working to pay off my one credit card (with a low balance). I have a car payment. I have a cheap cell phone service. I stretch my pennies.

I have my dogs. I have been told to get rid of them. I have been told I have no right to have them. What people do not seem to understand is my dogs keep me here. They keep me looking to tomorrow. They give me a reason to get up every morning and fight to survive.

I have no safety net. No spouse. No significant other. I do have a handful of real friends who have been a huge help when I needed it. I am so grateful for those friends, I can not express it.

Think about this the next time you go to lunch with your best friend and notice she orders appetizers only, no drinks and politely turns down sharing a bottle of wine. Think about this the next time you hear someone complaining about food stamp recipients. Think about this when you realize one of your friends no longer has fancy nails and high end hair cuts.

She may be faking it. Right along with millions of other women.

 

 

Getting Ready For a Job Interview

Published May 7, 2016 by mindfulofchatter

getty creative -- royalty free -- awkward interview, uncomfortable businessman, job interview, office, work, nervous, anxious, boss employee Just Shoot Me

Have you ever noticed that getting ready for a job interview is like getting ready for a date?

You plan your wardrobe accordingly. If the job is for a factory, you don’t want to show up in high heels and a designer suit. If you’re a guy, you never want to show up in high heels. Uh, unless it is for a drag show or theatre. And you don’t want to under dress for that office position.

It also depends on where you live. I live in an area where over dressing is easy to do and will not get you the job. This is a casual area. Many jobs will let you wear nice jeans and very casual office attire. If you show up in your designer, high-end suit, you will not be hired. They will automatically assume you want more than they are willing to give you.

Dates are the same way. If you are going to the movies, a formal gown may not be the proper choice. On the other hand, if you are going to a formal dinner, you may want to have some sort of formal attire ready and waiting.

Hair and make-up (if you wear make-up) are also key factors in both dates and job interviews. Along with this goes personal taste and preference. Tattoos and piercings are now a part of our culture, but some employers still want tattoos covered up and rings and studs removed on work days. This also depends on the job you are applying for.

But all in all, we do the same things for a job interview as we do for a date. We balance the job/date with our wardrobe. We balance our hair and make-up, choose footwear accordingly and plan departure time to arrive a little early.

Today, on a Saturday, I have an interview. We are meeting at a local coffee house. The job is working for a new company and may require everything for packaging to office work. My kind of job. So my choice will be more casual, but still looking ‘put together’.  So I have chosen nice jeans with a blouse type top and sandals (it’s hot). I’m trying to balance the ‘office’ look with a ‘I can do floor work’ look. I feel like I am going on some weird date.

I am hoping we are looking for each other (see? just like a date).

Wish me luck.

 

Ready For Changes

Published May 1, 2016 by mindfulofchatter

There has been much to think about these last few weeks.

I started a new job which I thought would be interesting. The ladies who already worked there seemed nice. It is a business I knew nothing about until now. It is a company I had never heard before now. It seemed to be something I would like.

But I find am not liking the work, or the business as much as I thought I might. While this is not earth shattering new on any count (most of us have found out we didn’t like a new job), it has made me really think bout my life, what I want out of, and what I want to do with it.

It is not this.

Perhaps I am simply getting too old to let things slide, or put up with snarky remarks, hostile reprimands and thinly veiled anger. So much of this particular persons actions remind very much or passive aggressive behavior I found so disgusting in my ex-husband and his family.

I do understand that employees has no rights. We have no protection from the law. We are required to work as our employers demand. Overtime, time off and even sick leave is all controlled by the employer.

My current employer demands unannounced overtime. If they think I need to stay at the end of my day, I have to stay. Even if my work is done, I have to stay when ‘asked’. To be clear, I don’t mind working overtime if I am asked ahead of time (could you stay late tomorrow? – sure, not a problem).  I will come in early if asked (sometimes even if I’m not asked and I am allowed, I will come in early). I find I DO mind being told at the end of my work shift that I need to stay late. And being told in nasty ,snarky manner doesn’t help the situation at all. I can not make plans if I do not know my work schedule., or I have to cancel plans already made. I dislike decisions about my life being taken away from me.

I find I am not happy with my life, so this unhappiness impacts how I feel across the board. Some days it feel like a one feeds off the other. Ugh. Not good.

I want to make changes in my life. I want to do a different kind of work. Long ago, and far away, I worked taking care of the ASPCA impounded horses at my college. I have volunteered my grooming skills at shelter to make animals more adoptable. I have worked with abused animals on a very small scale. From time to time I help with a breed rescue. While I can’t do much, I do what I can. All of these things made me feel like I was doing some good. Maybe it is was a small good, but was good.

I want to work for an animal welfare program, rescue or non-profit.

I know it isn’t easy work. I know it is hard work. But it is work I will enjoy at the end of  the day.