Student life: Rewriting your notes…

So how do I study and stay on top of my busy schedule?

Most of the time, I don’t.

But what do I do when I try to study between working, commuting, and trying not to lose my shit?

I recopy my lecture notes. My handwriting is absolutely atrocious. So when I find the time, I sit down with a fresh notebook page and copy my notes down and make them readable. Then when I get time to study, I can review everything that the professor went over in lecture.

So how do I rewrite my notes to make sure all the viable content gets copied down?

First, I start with opening the lecture from the day and start writing the notes I copied down. Whenever I hit a snag from where my writing is indecipherable, I can reference the lecture slides and jog my memory.

So how do my reference notes and lecture notes differ?

In my refernce notes, I use different colors to help with memorization. For example…

  • Red is used for vocab words
  • Green is used to key concepts (either underlined or written in green ink)
  • Blue is used for chapter headings and to distinguish what will be on what test
  • Pink/purple (or another bright color) is used for chapter summaries and to summarize what will be on the test

Does this system really work? Maybe. I’ve heard many conflicting things on this way to study or that way to study. Honestly, this method helps me and that’s what counts. Maybe your method you develop involves making flashcards, or watching Crash Course videos or whatever.

There’s no right way to do anything and whatever works for you is what works.

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How to survive being an adult…

Adulting is hard.

Super super hard.

And every single adult sucks at it.

Every single post you see on Instagram about how pretty a desk looks and all that bs… It’s the biggest crock of bullshit.

I literally right now have no money in my bank account, mountains of dishes in the sink, my gas tank is riding E, and I’m a week away from payday.

Every single adult is lying about how good they are at being an adult. Some one may be really good at drinking the right amount of water and paying bills, but I can guarantee they suck at taking their car in for oil changes.

I know I’m good at paying bills and keeping my bathroom mostly clean (counters don’t count). My boyfriend/husband person is good at taking care of my our cars and doing the dishes.

However, we both really suck at eating right, drinking enough water and getting enough sleep.

So in conclusion, fuck being an adult. There is no real way to adult and there is no way to adult effectively. People over 40 have practice being adults and grew up in a time when they were allowed to make mistakes in secret, away from social media and the all-watching eyes of the internet.

Maybe we should start an internet campaign called #realadulting where we all post picks of our unfinished laundry and overflowing sinks and soap-scum crusted showers because hell, we’re here for a good time not a long time and sometimes, all the stupid shit that makes us ‘real adults’ gets put on the back burner.

I’m just so sick of everyone posting their damn fitness routines and meal plans and shit and bragging about how amazing they are. Fuck being a real adult. Fuck trying to squeeze in a fitness routine after working your ass off all day. Fuck ‘clean eating’ when you can’t afford to buy groceries on a regular basis. Fuck sleeping 8 hours a night when the only way to make rent is pulling double shifts and working side gigs like ride shares. Fuck drinking enough water when you can barely keep your eyes open half the time (from working all the damn time) so you pound coffee after energy drink after latte after energy drink after coffee.

Fuck thriving as an adult when we can barely stand on our own two feet.

So go forth, fail spectacularly, and learn. Put off whatever can wait if it means you can take a minute to breath.

Student life: Scholarships…

Honestly, I feel like scholarships are an absolute waste of time and energy.

I spent almost 10 hours a week during my sophomore and junior years sifting through scholarship after scholarship to apply for. I spent so much time trying to find ones I even qualified to apply for.

And in the end?

Nothing. Not a single damn scholarship.

I had nothing to show for my efforts, nothing to show for hours I labored away.

Does this mean you shouldn’t apply for scholarships?

Maybe.

I feel like the market for scholarships is over-saturated and the people applying for scholarships are over-applying.

There’s no limit to applying for multiple scholarships and if some are lottery-based, then yeah, other kids are going to have a better chance at winning certain scholarships.

Honestly, if I could go back in time and spend those hours upon hours differently, I would’ve picked up a hobby or a sport or a club instead. Then I would’ve been able to narrow the field of my scholarship search.

But then again, my dear cousin, who I think is brilliant and talented, never won any scholarships for her photography, IB and AP scores, for being over 5 foot 10 as a girl, or for both parents being divorced.

It’s a flawed system, making children compete and jump through ridiculous hoops just to find money to better their future.

Working retail: culture…

I hate the culture of working in retail. I absolutely hate it.

So you’re asking, what about ‘retail culture’ do you hate?

The entire entitity that is retail.

I hate that you start in a position at this corporation and they go on and on about how wonderful the company is, with these benefits and this policy.

But it’s all a lie. It’s the culture of lying.

The policies they brag about don’t do shit for you, the employee.

The benefits they brag about don’t do enough for you, the employee.

I work every day in a place where men are constantly listened to before a woman opens her mouth. I work in a place where customers and employees alike are not only rude and aggreesive to me, but I work in a place where no matter who I talk to about it, they are allowed to act that way.

I have worked my ass off so much for the last year and where have I ended up? No where. Because the only place to go in that retail establishment is to go up the managerial ladder and get worked even harder until I either quit or collapse.

I work in a place where as an hourly manager, I was the only person not given the schedule they wanted, or given a schedule where I could work more effeciently.

And NOW! Now, that I’m out of that manager position, the person who has taken over is listened to more than me and people praise her to the moon and back for doing what they wouldn’t do for me.

I work in a place where we lie and cheat and scam every fucking day, not only our associates but our vendors and our selves.

We lie to ourselves every day when we walk through the doors to work and say to ourselves, ‘maybe, today won’t be so bad’, ‘maybe, today I’ll actually get my 15 minute break for once’, ‘maybe, today, I’ll get out of work without being harassed in any way’.

I fucking hate the culture around retail and the fact that we are used and abused like late-model Honda Civics are abused by first-time drivers and car guys that are too poor to afford a nicer car.

Getting married on a budget…

I can’t understand why people get so stressed over planning a wedding.

Why would you want to spend thousands and thousands on a wedding?

My two budget tips for planning your own wedding?

  1. Don’t bother having anybody come. It’ll cut down on how much money you ave to spend on food, entertainment, etc.
  2. Don’t hire a wedding planner. Do you really want a big wedding? Do you really want to invite your entire family and spend hundreds on clothes and food and booze?

Seriously, weddings are a waste of money. There’s no reason to spend thousands and thousands on giant party that acts as nothing more than a status symbol.

Spend that money on something else. Save up for a down payment on a house for you and your new spouse. Spend that money on a well-deserved vacation/honeymoon.

Don’t buy into the idea that you need to do this or that for your relationship to be seen as a ‘real’ relationship.

Student life: failure in 200 words…

Everyone says failure is just a mistake.

An opportunity.

Failure is actually…

Disappointment.

Anger.

Losing.

Failure is knowing that you could’ve been better and not achieving anything.

Failure is looking at yourself in the mirror every day and wanting to fight yourself because you are the only reason you didn’t become something.

Failure is having more hurdles set up in your path and being forced to jump over them.

Failure is slipping down the mountain and having to start from the bottom every single day.

Failure is not an opportunity. Failure is not a mistake to right. Failure is not having to rethink your situation.

Failure is a slap in the face every single day. Failure is trying to get up every single day and the universe pushing you back down and kicking you in the teeth, daring you to get back up.

So you get back up every day. And ask for more. Because to lie there and take it, is to let your spirit die. Failure is the sidekick in your story who gets you into all sorts of trouble and laughs from the sidelines as you figure out the puzzles and monsters.

Failure is what it is.

What is failure to you? Let me know in the comments. Or let me know why I’m wrong.

Working retail: hitting your breaking point…

My breaking point at work has definitely been when I told my manager I had to back off my hours to focus on school and he bitched at me and tried to change my mind.

Now, I’ve talked about a lot of the bullshit I’ve been through at work, from being threatened by fellow associates, being hit on by coworkers and customers alike, being pushed to the point of working 12 hour days alone to meet unrealistic deadlines, but this… This is the straw that broke this camel’s back.

I try my best to communicate with my managers about what may be happening in my personal life that can affect my work life. I try my best to work with my managers so they are not left high and dry during rushes and busy days. But this incident…

I will not allow someone to stand in the way of my future. I will not allow someone to look at me like I don’t do enough as is for my team and bitch at me about it.

To give you some perspective about this entire situation, I am not the only person going to school right now on my team. 2 other people are and honestly, I feel I work harder than them. One team member only works 4 days a week, and not even weekend days, just a regular Monday through Thursday schedule. The other teammate works 2-3 days a week and only 6 hours per day. And me? I work 5 days a week, especially weekend days and rack up about 38 hours a week.

But I get bitched at because I had to back down from 40 hours a week. I get bitched at because I’ve only been on the team for 3 months and have already been asked to be evening shift lead after the managers leave and I have to take the angry customers and angry calls. But I’m the one letting the entire store down.

So what am I going to do about it?

Honestly… I don’t know yet. I wish I could find another job, but I won’t be able to find anything where I can retain the hours and pay rate I need to stay in school and pay my bills.

So I’m stuck. And stuck griping on the internet because I need to work hard to live and everyone wants to bitch about it.

So thanks for coming to my bitchfest, leave a comment about how idiotic and ridiculous I am.

Student life: support systems…

Colleges go on and on about setting up a support system to help you succeed. But honestly… You can’t just force someone to be there for you.

I think that’s one of the major reasons I’ve done poorly in college. For the longest time, I had just my grandmother vocally supporting me. And it hurt. Shit, it hurt so bad. Because I thought that nobody was there for me.

I went through some of the toughest years of my life leading up to college and then when I got there and I thought I was going to do well, and I didn’t… I felt like a failure.

And now, I feel like I finally have some people in my corner. My grandmother is there as she has always been, and now my husband is in my corner too. And because now I have people I can vent to and talk to and teach about everything I learn, I’ve actually done so much better in school this semester.

So when your school starts saying that they have resources available, don’t be disheartened. Please don’t. Don’t worry that you don’t have anyone in your corner. Because if you don’t, I’ll still be in your corner.

I know how hard it is to be trying to learn some material or write a bullshit essay and feel like you have absolutely no clue what to do and no one you can turn to. I know what it’s like to hold onto the fact that you maybe didn’t do so well, but you can’t bring it up to anyone and mourn your failure.

I agree that support systems are important. I wish I had a support system in my younger days (not that I’m that old yet), but I just have to acknowledge that the idea that everyone can come into college and have a support system and all the necessities for succeeding.

You can’t force anyone to support you and you can’t always just have a support system available when you need it. And colleges don’t understand this. So kids are walking into this world with no one in their corner, confused and scared of failing, and completely unsure of who they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to do. And then people wonder why kids fail out of college or just straight up quit and it’s because they had no one to help them through one of the hardest transitions from child to adult.

If you are a struggling college kid and feel completely lost and alone, hit me up and let me know. If nothing else I can be an open ear and listen, and at best I can maybe actually help in some way.

Student life: what to do when you’re overwhelmed…

Okay deep breath.

Take a minute.

Cry if you have to.

Or if you’re like me, you don’t feel like you have enough time to even have a breakdown.

So multitask your breakdown. Cry in your shower so your hair is clean and so is your slate.

But seriously, what do you do when you’re so overwhelmed by school you can’t think straight?

Procrastinate responsibly.

You’re thinking, wtf? I can feel it. But bear with me.

Don’t think about school. Just for a moment. Scrub at the mysterious stain on your counters for a solid 10 minutes then, when your arms are jelly, come back to your computer and grab a sticky note.

On each sticky note, write one task you know you have to do. Write the due date under the task. Make each date a different colored sticky note of you want.

Now on a flat surface, arrange your sticky notes in order to most recent due date to furthest out date.

Now take all the ones due most immediately. Arrange them from most to least important.

Now start on the first task.

If you don’t get everything done in one sitting, oh well. Call it a loss and move on to the next day.

Things will slip through the cracks. Work or a project or one little homework assignment. Push it to the back burner and cry when the semester is over.

Is this the best way to live your life? No. But it will get you through to the next day. There’s never going to be a time when you have it all down. And all those kids in your classes that brag about getting everything done and brag about their A’s, just remember that they are basically the NPCs in your life.

So just take a deep breath. That’s all I can tell you. Because there is no magic fix for your life. There is no advice I can offer you that will magically make it all better. I can’t tell you how many times I was in the middle of a breakdown, scouring Google for answers to pull me out of the hole I had dug myself into.

Maybe that’s how you ended up here; looking for answers just like me. Honestly, I wish someone would’ve told me years ago that there is no fix. There is no magic way to organize and be on top of everything. It’s all a lie what those other bloggers and your classmates tell you. There is no magic way to pull an all-nighter or to pull your grade from a D to a B in the last 4 weeks of the semester.

So take a breath. And quit pushing so hard. Clean something and come back to it all with a clear mind and a clear path. Don’t beat yourself up over missing an assignment or a shitty grade. Shit happens.

Student life: making ends meet…

How do I make ends meet as a full-time student?

I don’t more often than not.

I’ve tried those ‘get cash over the weekend’ suggestions and they honestly don’t work.

Don’t try to come to me about how you somehow managed to make ends meet working 3 jobs and a side gig and went to school full-time with clubs. I don’t want to hear it.

This is about people like me having to play by the rules, not people like that who can ignore the rules.

So what have I tried?

Blogging. You won’t make much, if anything, off that. Trust me. If I was making bank off this blog you would see a lot more bullshit ads and paid posts.

Those apps that promise you can win money don’t do shit. You will not make money off them. Treat them as a game and nothing more. I’ve tried about 5 different ones including…

  • Lucktastic
  • Lucky Day
  • Swagbucks (app and site)
  • S’mores (an app that pays you literally pennies a day to unlock your phone)
  • Playspot( one of those apps that asks you to download and play other apps and you can earn points to redeem for giftcards)

Out of all of these, after using them for months and months, I had one $25 payout from Swagbucks and one $5 payout from S’mores. Not worth it, especially when you have to devote so much time as is to even accrue points.

I tried Upwork, for freelancers. I was hired literally twice in an 8 month period. I earned about $70 after fees. This was after I would max put my potential apps for jobs and did my best to get to the top of their algorithms. This may work for you if you have a more in demand skill; I worked as a ghostwriter, so maybe programmers or translators or virtual assistants may make more or have a better chance at getting hired.

I did a couple work-study positions but honestly, it’s like trying to balance two jobs and school.

How do I make my ends meet?

  • Only buy generic
  • Only buy what I need
  • Don’t have fun
  • Don’t go out ever
  • Never take a break
  • Learn to be bored
  • Give up all hobbies
  • Give up all activities outside of your house
  • Learn to live without or make it stretch

It fucking sucks. It really does. There’s no easy way to make ends meet and everyone has some little advice or tip on the subject.

None of it really works and you’ll wear yourself out faster working 2 jobs or a job and a couple side gigs.

School can always be put on hold. And if they bitch at you about leaving, give them hell for not giving you the resources you need to succeed.

Eloping…

I know I know. I’m that bitch that goes on and on about how marriage is a sham and how I’ll never get married.

But…

I recently decided to elope.

Why?

It solves all the problems with a traditional wedding.

Shitty family?

They don’t have to be involved now.

Super fucking poor?

I only paid for the marriage license at my county courthouse. Which was infinitely cheaper than planning and paying for a big event. Or even a small private one. We didn’t even buy rings.

Same-sex relationship?

This is so much easier than planning a big wedding and trying to get your homophobic family members to come (everyone has at least 1 homophobe in the fam no lies). You get to be married and without condescending comments and unreasonable rage.

On the fence about marriage?

Then quit looking here. This is about eloping. As in, you run away with someone and get married then return and tell everyone so they can’t do anything about it.

So was it the right choice? Honestly, for us, probably. We both have too much family to keep a ceremony small and we both don’t want to spend thousands and thousands on clothes we get to wear like twice and on rings neither of us can wear outside of the house because of our professions’ safety hazards.

I’m not against the idea of marriage, just the sham industry that is wedding culture.

Being married legally makes things so much easier for me, like insurance forms, emergency contact information, taxes, financial aid for school, etc.

But I’m not doing this to prove a point. Okay, I kind of am. But the point I’m proving is that marriage itself is a stupid societal construct and the only good marriage is the kind where both parties are equally benefitting from the relationship.

Working Retail: professionalism…

Retail is the most unprofessional environment you will ever work.

Seriously.

Everyone thinks they’re allowed a peak into your personal life just because you see them 10 hours a day, 5 days a week.

Everyone gossips and interdates and shares confidential information.

Am I guilty of some of this? Sure.

I told everyone I could about how a coworker threatened to assault me because he didn’t like the way I was talking to him. I told them because I was afraid for my safety and the more people I could have be witness to an event the better.

But lately, my managers have been completely unprofessional and rude to me, for no reason other than he stays out too late and comes in completely hungover. A girl on my stocker team is trying to get another girl fired over their boyfriends.

I went into my personnel office to fill out paperwork and my manager and the training coordinator proceeded to talk in front of me about another associate’s attendance record and personnel paperwork. In front of me.

This past week, I asked my manager to call 2 customers about an issue that had been resolved in our network. He told me, in front of customers, that he didn’t have time to call customers, that he was too busy. I admittedly got frustrated with him and snapped at him. I then got chastised by another manager about having said conversation in front of customers.

In short, professionalism doesn’t exist in retail. And what can you really expect from a group of people who are little more than high school graduates and have never left their hometowns and now think that being a manager at a big box retailer is hot shit.

Maybe I’m kidding myself into thinking that one day I can walk into work and get mutual respect and consideration. Or I’ve just jumped off the deep end finally.

Share some of your horrifying experiences where a manager straight up embarrassed you or shared confidential info or even put you in a position where you felt that had to act outside of a professional capacity.

Spite not sugar…

Remember when you were having a hard time in elementary school with someone and you would ask your parents for help and they would say ‘kill them with kindness?’

And remember how frustrated you were because Stacy was not going to be nice to you first and why should you be nice first to some dumb slide-hog? And you would moan ‘but mom, killing her with kindness isn’t going to work!’ And you were right, because your mom had never met Stacy or knew what a raging cold-hearted bitch she was.

But then as you grew up, it was still the same advice of ‘kill them with kindness’. Well, do I have news for you friends.

You can now cut them from your life spitefully and still live a great life.

But that’s not the only place I’m going with Spite. Spite is what makes the world go round, not kindness. You don’t see drug lords and politicians being nice to regular people 9 times out of 10. You don’t see your managers at work being completely nice to everyone.

Maybe you’re afraid to take that leap into being a bitter hag like me. So let me tell you a thing; hate is just as passionate as love. You get as much emotional energy from hating something as you do loving something. So why not live in spite of everything?

When you harness spite as an emotional energy source, you feel more motivated to get shit done just so you don’t have to do it again. You feel more pressure from yourself to get that stupid meeting over with or to finish up that dumb project with so-and-so.

I live in spite of my foundations. I decided that I hated how I grew up and the foundations my family provided so I decided I was going to turn that hate into something productive. When I finally finish school, I’ll be the first doctor in my entire family. The first.

To hell with all the bullshit ‘good vibes only’ and ‘thinking positive’. I’m positive I’m going to get further than half of those wackos who only want to be positive and I’m positive I’ll have better emotional health because I’m not trying to push aside my negative thoughts or my ‘bad’ emotions.

I want you all to give me an example of how killing with kindness has worked for you, because in all my life and all my experiences I’ve never seen it work. So comment below and tell me why I’m wrong.

Working Retail: Job Hunting

I think you can figure out where this post is going.

Job hunting while you already work retail.

How do you avoid another retail position?

How do you break out of a retail cycle of bouncing between retail to retail to fast food to retail to food service to fast food to retail etc?

How is it even possible?

That’s where I come in. I’ve done job hunting. I’m sure we all have. But how do you get out of the hellhole of retail?

Start simple. Sign up on a job board, like Indeed, and keep your eyes peeled. Be patient. As soon as something even remotely plausible comes up, apply.

How do you know if you are even remotely qualified for a job?

Little tip: doesn’t matter, apply anyways. The worst that can happen is they don’t call back. The best that can happen is they have you come in for an interview.

Apply for anything and everything that comes in and fits your schedule.

And what if you do get an interview? Go. Schedule it as soon as you can. If this means calling in for a day, do it. If you’re job searching, then obviously this place hasn’t done right by you and you don’t really owe them anything.

Does it suck? Sure. It sure fucking sucks. But sometimes to get better, to be in a better place, you have to go through some shit.

Working Retail: What to do when you feel like quitting…

Honestly, from the bottom of my heart, I can offer only a few words of advice on this. Mostly because of the fact that the last three times this issue has come up, I’m rejected my own advice. So maybe one of you will have more common sense than me.

Quit. Just quit and move on.

Maybe you’re the overly responsible type like me and just can’t quit. So what do you do now?

Step 1: Find a new job. Seems hard and scary, but it will save you the headaches and emotional detachment that comes with working retail. Take advantage of having days off in the middle of the week to get interviews. Take advantage of the fact that you have some of the best customer service experience out there and people will kill for that. Take advantage of the fact that you can have flexible hours and can work well with others (if on paper).

Step 2: Quit. Just like that. Put in your two weeks if you’d like, but honestly, if you burn that bridge on the way out of the door, you’ll be less likely to want to return to that hellpit that is retail.

It’s that easy. I promise. The hard part comes in finding another job and worrying that job is going to be just as bad as a retail job.

Just have a little faith that anything will be better than retail. How do I know?
I’ve worked so many other places and retail is by far the worst. So don’t worry when an equally-shitty job pops up. Anything that can get you out is a win.

Long time no see…

Sorry kiddos. I’ve been working like crazy and haven’t taken the right time to keep on top of the blog bs.

My summer semester started on Monday so I’ve running around crazy between commuting an hour each way for classes, working 40 hours a week still and having to manage some home issues (broken pipes and all that jazz).

So I’m going to work better at updating and making sure I don’t fall off the radar entirely. Like I have for the last month or so.

Student life: why scholarships are a waste of time…

You’ve heard it time and time again as a student; apply for every scholarship you can. I’m hear to tell you why this is a waste of your time as a student.

Is free money a waste of time? No, of course not. But when you have to devote hours upon hours to jump through unreasonable hoops to get free money, then it’s not worth it at all.

I spent so much of my time filling out scholarships when I was a young little high schooler, hoping that somewhere I would get one, just one. Just one. I would’ve taken any of them, even one for just $100, which is just a drop in the bucket for college expenses.

But I didn’t get one.

Even though I applied religiously to one a day between sophomore and senior year, sending in essay after essay, I received nothing. Zilch. A Big Fat Goose egg. Not a damn one.

But with everyone in the world applying for every scholarship they can find, the market has become saturated. Of course I understand that not everyone can get one, but with all the time and effort that is necessary to apply, it should seem that somewhere along the line, you should at least somehow secure at least one measly scholarship.

But that’s not taking into account all the ways that scholarships are rigged against some. I’m all for giving people from certain backgrounds the step up they need to get to higher education and to have the same opportunities that other demographics have. But to assume that some kids have control over their parent’s careers (which you can get scholarships for) or that all kids fit into very specific fields (being a certain ethnicity AND LGBT+ AND studying for a business degree AND being apart of a certain club AND being an amputee from a freak car accident in 2003, for example, to qualify for a $300 scholarship).

Seriously, I’m not trying to demonize the groups that need help getting into college. I’m trying to demonize the people that control who gets money and aid to go to school; the major corporations making too much and not reinvesting properly into communities, colleges that are not distributing aid properly to students and are not allowing students to petition for aid if they truly need it, and the government for not providing enough aid to students and not properly calculating how much a family can truly afford to pay for school and refusing to provide real aid for students.

So I quit applying for scholarships after my senior year because after investing 3 years with no returns, I decided it would be easier to just spend my free time doing things I liked instead of stalking my email for a new scholarship opportunity or spending hours reviewing a 200-word essay about ‘What College Means to Me’, to submit for a $100 scholarship.

Am I saying you should quit applying? Maybe, but only if you feel like that’s the right decision for you. Maybe you can’t find any scholarships that fit you and your background. Maybe you already received enough aid through your school’s financial package. Maybe you’re like me and you’re done trying to check all the boxes and jump through the hoops.

And I hear some of you in the background; well, how do you know you even qualified for certain scholarships and you weren’t just being greedy with someone else’s money?

So I’ll tell you all the boxes I tick for common scholarships:

  • Bisexual
  • Woman
  • First-Generation College Student
  • Studying a STEM field

I could go on and on finding all sorts of things in rare fields that I qualify for, but that doesn’t mean anything in the end. Because somewhere along the lines, I’m never going to be good enough to qualify for all these damn scholarships. So I quit and I want to encourage some of you out there that scholarships are not the end all be all to go to school. I want to encourage all of you that shouldn’t get discouraged about getting a scholarship because the market is saturated, there are too high of bars to meet for a normal student, and there’s so much competition.

Working Retail: Ruining your Resume…

Maybe I’m just imagining it, but I feel like working retail leaves a stain on your resume. It becomes a black mark the longer you stay there. I can’t think of any reason why a real job would look at a resume with only one job at the local grocery store for the last 6 years and determine that this person is more qualified than the guy who has had at least spent the last 6 years finishing school, working internships, and working part-time at 2 different employers.

The second person seems much more rounded and knowledgeable about how a company functions on multiple levels than the first person who only progressed one position up within 6 years at the same company.

But that’s not the issue I have with working retail. The issue I have, when looking at the differences is that when you work retail, you get sucked into the mindset that you have a steady job, so you don’t worry about finding another one. It’s the way that even if you get mistreated and overworked at a retail job, you won’t try to leave. It’s that fact that you get comfortable working at the same place for 2, 5, 10 years without looking for other employment.

And that is what kills your resume.

Even though you have steady employment and have recommendations galore from managers, you only know how to work retail. You only know how to stock a shelf, scan items at a register, move boxes from a pallet to a cart, move boxes from a shelf to a cart. You only know how to do a limited amount of tasks. If I were any other business leader and I saw a resume that said some retail business, I would automatically count that person out of my hiring search.

Because while you may be adaptable and hardworking, you don’t have any transferable skills. I would assume (maybe wrongfully) that you have no critical thinking skills because you were working at a place where there’s no real need for you to solve complex problems since most everything follows a chain of command and most everything follows a standardized process across a nationwide chain to maintain a brand image.

This is coming from someone who is currently working in retail. I see this shit day in and day out; the lack of needing to really think about anything, the lack of problem solving capabilities, the amount of sheer stupidity and ‘sheeple’ attitudes within the associates.

So what do I suggest?

Only work retail while in high school. It’s more forgivable than working as a 20-something and over on a resume.

Don’t stay in retail for an extended period. 6 months to a year should be your max if you’re in a position like mine, where you are still going to school or trying to go back to school. If you’re stuck like me, then be able to put school or another job on your resume simultaneously while being in retail.

Don’t make a career out of retail. While you may jump around within that company and hold several different positions, you will still not be living up to your full potential as an adult and you will get too used to being used and abused by the salaried members of the company.

Working Retail: Paper vs Reality…

What I have come to hate most about working as an hourly manager in retail is watching my store manager lose his shit over every little thing.

Now, he’s usually a chill guy. He sits in his office doing who knows what and leaves most of us alone to do our jobs. But if we have a walk scheduled by our market or regional managers (both of which are over him), he starts going batshit.

Lately, he told us that we were one of the only stores in our market that hit our budget goals for the previous month. Which means our regional manager is stopping by for a visit. While my store manager believes this is a ‘good things’ visit, I know it’s really because throughout the entire holiday season our store was a shitshow, so how are we suddenly in the green now. I have a feeling this upcoming visit is nothing more than a check to see what we’re doing wrong to look so good on paper. So I’ll tell you all, since complaining to corporate got one of my previous supervisors fired.

  • Half of our hourly managers are too busy cleaning up each other’s messes that it’s a miracle that anything gets done. How? Any ‘non-essential’ managers (read: anyone not over a food department) gets pulled to work on the seasonal departments, like holiday or garden area prep work.
  • Our hourly managers are consistantly told by their salaried assistant managers to ‘plug’ product so the shelves look full (this is when a product is not in it’s proper location on a shelf, usually just to make the shelf look full or to reduce then number of boxes of overstocked freight.) They believe that be making the shelves look extra full and the backroom area looking spotless of overstock, then the regional/market managers will believe that our store is running efficiently.
  • We get asked to rearrange our entire schedules last minute to come in on the weekends to work in our areas. However, most salaried members of management will not have to rearrange their schedules ever. And because we are currently in a ‘no overtime’ budget, then we cannot stay late, and our days off get shifted to inopportune times later in the week.
  • Hourly managers have a specific schedule they are supposed to follow to keep their departments running. 9 times out of 10, we are not allowed to follow that schedule because our assistant managers pull us for tasks they can easily do themselves instead of sitting in the office all day on their asses. And then, we, the hourly managers, get our asses chewed for not follow the schedule because we have to do 20 other things in our day.

From what I can understand, we look good on paper, but as an employee day in and day out, I think we look awful. And I know people complain about it all the time, because old people have nothing better to do apparently. But this doesn’t excuse our managers from doing their jobs and actually helping us get shit done.

My Spend Less Challenge…

You see these damn things all over the internet. Those 2-week or 30 day challenges to help cut back on spending. And I’ll admit, some do work. I’ve tried them. But some also don’t take into account what it’s like living paycheck to paycheck and barely making enough to make ends meet.

So here’s my Spend Less Challenge for people like me, who try really hard to keep track of your money but somewhere between a little pick-me-up cookie at lunch and extra gas after running your mom to the airport, you seem to be short right before every payday.

This is a 30 day challenge to get the ball rolling, but really you can keep it going however long you see fit. Start at the first of the month or right before payday for the best effects.

Prep steps:

  1. Get an empty coffee can (i got tons, of course) or an old piggy bank or a jar or a cup. Any kind of receptacle that can hold all the junk you’re going to now take out of your wallet. You heard me. Into this receptacle, put all the loose change and credit cards that you have in your wallet. You can keep any bills and you debit card (or one if you have multiple).
  2. Take stock of what you have in your kitchen pantry and fridge. Then make a list of staple items you need (rice, cooking stock, milk, etc.). Now make a meal plan for the next two weeks. Put the ingredients onto the list. Now shop and DO NOT STRAY FROM THE LIST PERIOD.
  3. Pay all applicable bills now while you have money. The credit card bills, the utilities, rent, car payment. Anything that will allow you to pay early, pay while you have money.

Now comes the fun parts. You are prepped and ready. Here are the rules you have to follow throughout the month.

Rules:

  1. Credit cards are to remain in the jar unless it is a life-threatening emergency.
  2. You can only eat out lunch once a week. You can only eat out dinner once a week. Pick wisely. (this means you have to pack your lunches)
  3. Take out $20 a week from your bank as your allowance. This is the only money you can spend on fun things (a smoothie to treat yourself, a neat little figurine for your desk, etc.) FOR THE WEEK. When it is gone, it is gone. Whatever happens to be left over at the end of the week, put into the jar of change.
  4. The cash in the jar can only be used in life-threatening emergencies, unless the end of the month has come. At the end of the month, you must take the jar to the bank and split it 60/40: 60% into savings, 40% into checking.
  5. The debit card can be used but not for anything fun. E.i. if you know that you filled up your car on payday but will need to fill up again before the next payday, then the debit card can be used. The debit card cannot be used to buy that neat video game you’ve been waiting to come out for 6 months, that happens to come out between paydays.
  6. Grocery shop as close to payday as possible. Make a list, meal plan for the next pay period, do not abandon the list. While making dinner each night, use some of the downtime (like waiting for water to boil) to start packing your lunch for the next day. Throw in everything that doesn’t have to be refrigerated if your fridge is packed or fully pack it so it’s ready to grab and go in the morning.

At the end of the month, compare how your bank account looks now instead of previous months. It may not look like much at the moment, but if you continue to do this, then you’ll start to see where all your money went in little onesie-twosie purchases.

When I see that I have more money than usual I try to make extra payments to my student loans or credit cards to keep that snowball running. Maybe you want to put that extra money into savings. Maybe you want to use that extra money to take your mom out to dinner because you’ve been a shitty kid lately.

This is the hard shit that people don’t talk about anymore. We accept it with careless shrugs and ‘what can you do’ smile. But that’s how They keep you in line and under thumb (you know Them, the government, the insurance agencies, the credit card companies, the banks, the corporations,the people controlling your money and how you spend it). So if you’re even half as much of a bitter hag as me, then let’s make all their lives harder by spending less and living less so they can’t tell us how to live.

A life half-lived is still better than a life wasted under someone else’s control. Control your money and you control your world.