Category Archives: Work

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.

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.

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.

How To: Get your brain moving…

We all know what it feels like when you’ve lazed about on the couch for few days and your body feels like shit so you start doing stuff like exercise again. But what about when your brain starts feeling mushy and gross and uncoordinated? What about after you feel brain-dead after finals and have to get back into the right mental space for the next semester? What about after you finish a big project and your brain just wants to sleep?

However amazing these tricks may be, I’m not talking about clinical depression which can present some of the same symptoms of being ‘brain-dead’, so please take with a grain of salt if you do have depression.

Here are some tips that help me get my brain going again after a rough night or long break from school.

Step 1: Make some tea or coffee. Make whichever you don’t usually have, to switch it up. Once you have your cup of hot liquids, take a deep breath and just sit with your cup for a few minutes, 2-5 tops. Let your brain just relax for minute, don’t think about what comes next or what you have to get done. This is your break time, so take a real break.

Step 2a: If you’re still at work, make a list of every task you have to get done for the day. Include anything that takes over 5 minutes. Now, the list is not something you have to complete by the end of the day; it is something to get you focused for the rest of the day while your brain feels mushy.

Step 2b: When you get a period of extended free time, like after work or before bed, take a long bath (or shower if you don’t have a bathtub). Take the extra time for a face mask or exfoliating or whatever (no shame in face-masks if you’re a guy; every needs to take care of their skin properly). This is the time you use to be ‘brain-dead’. Most tasks in the bathroom should be pretty mindless by now, like brushing your teeth or hair. So let your mind have a little rest now that you don’t have any real pressing matters (we’re going to ignore our priorities for a bit right now).

Step 3: Now your brain has had a little break, get those juices flowing again. Jot in a journal or fantasize about an exotic trip you want to take some day. Get creative. Let your mind wander to all sorts of crazy things. You’ve probably quit imagining since you were high school. So let your mental legs stretch and think about something amazing or wild. Write or draw or color in a coloring book. Even if it’s super shitty.

Step 4: If your brain still feels a bit mushy and not quite refreshed, then make a list of everything you want to learn; a new language, or a new craft, or maybe you want to learn how something works, or maybe a new trade like electrical work or carpentry. Once you have your list, start working through it. Give all these things a chance and get excited about learning again.

Your brain is starving for something new and interesting and it wants to learn. You know that whole ‘can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ thing is total shit, right? Get into something new and learn more. Even if it doesn’t pan out, or it doesn’t click. Have you always wanted to try baking wedding cakes? Take a class. Even if it doesn’t work out, your brain will feel better because you tried something new and you tried to learn something new.

Working Retail: My nails…

I understand that this looks like it’s going to be just a typical girly gripe about my nails. But it’s really not. I promise.

Since I haves started working in retail, my hands, fingers, and nails have taken an absolute beating. I’m constantly smashing my fingers or pinching them between boxes and hard places. My nails I constantly break off (painfully most times) as I try to wrestle boxes open that are glued, not taped, shut. I constantly have to baby at least one finger with a cardboard cut or because my cuticle is pushed so far back that it splits open every few hours and bleeds.

And my skin in general has been absolute shit. I already live in a very dry climate and winters here suck ass. Even before working retail, I had a whole hand routine every night to treat the skin hurting and cracking just from being dry. Now I’m trying to figure out how to incorporate basic first aid into my routine. It’s not going well.

I honestly am very lucky if I make it through the week with only breaking 3 nails. And when I mean breaking, I mean breaking down to the nail bed; I’m not talking about the nail is brittle and breaks off looking my fingers looking uneven.

But the worst part is that when I do get any time off, like my weekends, my fingers heal just enough to stop being painful and to stop bleeding every time I ram them into everything. And then I get to go back to work and do it all over again.

But mostly, we’ve come to notice something very important about the girls at work with their nails. If your nails look anything like mine, where they look like shit, they are all broken off and blunt and growing at different lengths (because they got broken at different times), then you probably come in and do your job. Because you don’t break nails off doing nothing.

But if you have those pretty, fancy acrylic nails that stick from here to Timbuktu, then you are most definitely not doing your job of opening boxes and stocking shelves. I’m not ragging on women who have their nails that way, I understand that they are very pretty and make your day better by having something so nice in your life. But when you’re working in an environment where you constantly need to use your hands to do your job, I can’t understand how having long nails would help. Especially knowing the issue I have experienced from stocking boxes. Because you constantly have to rip open boxes or jam your nails under the edges of a box to open it. There’s no way in hell you’re doing your job with your fancy acrylics.

Maybe in an office environment, having fancy acrylic nails would be 20x more helpful. I never had them when I worked as an admin assistant, but I know many women love having them for typing and sorting documents.

But working in a grocery retailer is not the place for fancy acrylic nails or a full face of makeup. Period.

To lighten the mood a bit after I’ve basically called out 90% of my co-workers for their bad fashion sense, here’s I do to keep my hands ready and willing to strangle a man.

  1. Every night apply a heavy-duty hand lotion. People will recommend items like Bag Balm, O’Keefe’s, etc. I use just petroleum jelly with cocoa butter mixed in. You get name brand or off-brand. I know everyone is a little gun-shy of petroleum jelly but it’s that or corn huskers lotion, which works but takes forever to dry well enough for you to use your hands.
  2. Don’t be afraid to bandage your fingers. If your nail beds are aching from getting cardboard shoved under your nail, then bandage them up with regular old bandage before bed and for every day after that they continue to hurt. I usually pick up some of the cutesy kid design Band-Aids because they’re at least fun and colorful. And because I’m an adult, I do what I want.
  3. Don’t forget to take your vitamins. I know you’re probably poor if you’re working retail. Me too, man. So I bought some vitamins to help boost what I’m not getting in my diet since I’m mostly eating coffee and McDonald’s fries 4 days a week. Now, I’m not going to say that vitamins will solve all your problems or fix your diet, but the placebo effect of ‘I was healthy, I took  my vitamins’ will help you keep an eye on what you really put into your body, which will come back to helping your skin and nails look better.
  4. Wear gloves in the cold. This is a no-exception rule now. I know that sometimes you don’t think that it’s as cold as it really is and you can manage without a pair of gloves from your front door to the car. But if your area gets as dry as mine, you will feel it sucking all the good hard-won moisture from your hands as you walk the 30 feet from your front door to your car. Then your hands are going to ache all day at work because the cold set into your bones and stole the moisture from your skin causing the skin to crack and old cuts to open up again.

I can’t understand why you would spend $50+ dollars on a manicure and acrylic nails just to go work for minimum wage where 90% of your job requires use of your hands and nails.

I’m just at a loss.

Working Retail: Hobbies…

Because of the nature of retail, you have to give up weekends more often than not. Which doesn’t bother me as much as being told last minute by my managers that my weekends were indefinitely revoked until further notice.

But that’s not the point here. The point I’m making is that working retail is a soul-sucking hell for one major reason; you get to devote so many of your waking hours and energy to a retail job that it’s hard to make plans with friends or even to do your favorite hobbies anymore.

Why?

You spend all day busting your ass hoping for a raise or a promotion so you don’t have to work 60 hours a week to eat, just 40 hours. But you can’t make plans because you either a) don’t know when you’re getting off work or b) have to go in super early (i had scheduled shifts that started at 4 am. 4. In. The. Morning.). So your constantly exhausted.

Then you’re so tired that your hobbies aren’t fun anymore because you don’t have the energy to do them.

I loved to read and knit and go camping and ride dirt bikes and go to the lake and boating with my family in the summertime. I used to love working out with my sister and running with my dogs. But I can’t muster up any extra energy after being at work for anywhere between 9 and 13 hours a day.

I don’t want to do anything physical because I literally worked out for 6+ hours of the work day. And reading and knitting are out the window too, because I can’t muster up enough emotional energy to be interested in those activities because I spend so much of my time at work also dealing with drama.

Is there a way to get back into your hobbies while working retail? Sure. Just find something that you can do anytime of day and do it for the 10 extra minutes have every morning before going to work. That’s it.

Now, I know some people may come up into this post and say ‘oh, well sounds like you have depression and you should go see someone about that.’ That’s nice buddy. I do know what the symptoms of depression are, but this is just exhaustion. These tasks still interest me, but I just can’t bring myself to actually do them because I’ll be more tired than before and it will make my exhaustion-fueled short fuse even shorter. And if I do have depression, how do you think I can pay for a doctor and medication and a therapist with my slightly over minimum wage pay and the minuscule free time I do possess? Because then seeing the therapist would become my hobby instead of sleeping or watching a comedy special on Netflix with my boyfriend or talking to my sister about her day after she gets off work or talking to my parents while they deal with the Big Family Shit going on in my family.

All I’m saying is that say goodbye to your hobbies when you start retail because if the fluorescent lights don’t suck out your soul first, the painful work schedule will demolish it.

One day off…

I would rather strip than work another day in retail.

I repeat: I WOULD RATHER WORK IN A DEMEANING JOB WHERE MY WORTH IS BASED SOLELY ON MY PHYSICAL APPEARANCE THAN WORK ANOTHER DAY IN THE WORLD’S MOST DEMEANING PROFESSION WHERE I GET TO KEEP MY CLOTHES ON BUT GET TO BE A DOORMAT FOR EVERYONE ELSE.

I would rather be groped and molested for money than work another day where I am treated like not only the dumbest person in the room, but also the only person capable and willing to do my job as well as everyone else’s job. I have been asked constantly to give up my day’s off, to wait to take lunches until I’ve finished working on projects that are hours long, and most recently, I’ve been asked to completely rearrange my schedule on short notice to suit the demands of my store manager.

Now how short is short notice? I was told last Tuesday that my schedule needed to be changed from having Fridays and Saturdays off to something else. Just so I could be there as the store of Fridays. Literally just because my store manager did not like that I had Fridays off. No other reason. I was told that this new schedule would be put into place IMMEDIATELY. Which means that for the last 9 days, I had 1 day off. ONE.

Now, everyone will scoff and say, ‘oh, but you’ll have a nice fat overtime check so quit complaining.’ Except I won’t. Because of the way the work week is structured for their pay periods, I will not be having ANY OVERTIME because the pay period recognizes my hours worked as two separate 40 hour work weeks.

And this is the first time the managers have pulled this shit on me.

They also did it in October when I had put in for a couple days off. I was asked to come in on the DAY I HAD REQUESTED OFF, A DAY THAT WAS APPROVED BY THE MANAGERS TO HAVE OFF, to work a half day. Then they tried to call me in during this period I had off to work on the day I still had requested off, that had still been approved ahead of time to be off. It’s not like I was ditching, it’s not like I was calling in. I had requested those days off a month in advanced and had them approved by the managers to be off.

All I’m saying is that it would be nice for once to not have to destroy my family life and my social schedule just to work in a shitty deadend retail job. I know that’s a lot to ask for but gods damned is it really so hard to ask for a little common respect and decency at work?

Survivng retail…

Retail is literal hell. Not metaphorical at all. I would not wish retail work upon my worst enemies.

But for those poor souls stuck working retail, here are some tips to get you through this.

  1. Treat your self. I don’t mean spend your entire paycheck on something you want cause it just came out. I mean, every week buy one little thing to motivate yourself to get through the week. Maybe it’s your favorite latte from Starbucks or maybe it’s Kitkat bar or maybe it’s a rental from Redbox for a night in. Whatever it is, I have a few ground rules to keep myself from going overboard, like nothing over $5.
  2. Go out. Not every night. But take yourself out every so often for ice cream or a movie. I know working retail is exhausting. I know it’s hard. But sometimes you have to take a break from being the responsible adult who’s going to work and paying those bills. So take a little break and enjoy something trivial.
  3.  Start a project outside of work.  You’re going to want to slap me for this, but hear me out. Start something big outside of work, say like repainting a room or starting a 1000-piece puzzle. Just start something to motivate you to finish the work day to go home to. Think about how expecting parents are more than happy to get off work to finish their nursery or how people join recreation sports teams. When you find something to get excited about after work, it makes the work day go easier.
  4.  Clean. Again, you’re going to want to slap me. But again, hear me out. I know how shitty it is to come home from a busy day and see a messy kitchen or bathroom and you feel all lingering motivation for anything flee your body. But think of cleaning like cheap therapy. No one is going to yell at you for beating the dust out of your rugs. No one will fault you for throwing out old magazines and junk mail. Or for aggressively scrubbing the stubborn grout stains on your tile. Cleaning is a good way to safely relieve some of the stress from work while still being productive.
  5. Take a fancy bubble bath. This goes hand-in-hand with treating yourself. Once a week, on your Friday (cause in retail do you ever work a real Monday to Friday, 9-5), go home and run a bath. Get some sweet ass bath bombs or some scented Epsom salts or some super bubbly bubble bath, light some candles, and soak for a few. Rest your tired feet and aching back in a nice hot bath to help relax your muscles. And there’s no shame if you’re a man. Seriously, a hot bath will do wonders for your back and hips and feet and knees. If you don’t have a bathtub, then just take a nice hot shower before bed and when you crawl into bed still warm from your shower, it’ll help you relax and sleep easier through the night.

I know working retail is a thankless job and it’s hard on your mental health and your body. Let me know in the comments below what you do to get through a long hard day in customer service.

Working Retail: Expectation vs. Reality…

This is the only post I want anyone to read if you’re thinking about working retail.

Long story short, it sucks.

Long story, it sucks ass.

So here’s what I expected walking into retail:

  • Standing for 8 hours a day
  • Lifting things that are really fucking heavy by yourself
  • Cleaning up after grown ass adults

 

Here’s what I get every day working retail:

  • Standing almost my entire 8 hour shift. I get to sit for lunch and when I take a 5 minute pee break once a day.
  • Lifting things in the stupid conditions and having to be the only girl on any team willing to lift the 50 lb. dog food bags that are literally HALF my body weight.
  • Cleaning up after both customers and associates because not only do the assistant managers not do shit, our maintenance doesn’t do shit, our overnight stockers don’t do shit, no one does anything.
  • Giving up my weekends and days off that I put in for because my managers can’t figure out how to run a department for 2 days.
  • Giving up 90% of my free time because not does overtime exist, but the hours as so shitty for starting positions. I started out as a daytime stocker, with the shift running from 4 am to 1 pm. I was dead on my feet by quitting time and asleep on my couch by 7. I lost any social life I had and my boyfriend and I barely went out on date nights ever because I was always fucking tired from not only getting up at an unholy hour but because I was busting my ass all day, putting in overtime to make up for the shitty hourly wage of $11 an hour (which YOU CANNOT LIVE ON NO MATTER WHAT ANY ONE SAYS)
  • Being constantly cranky because I only have time to grab fast food on lunch and I constantly want to eat the fries at the McDonald’s across the street. I gained a good 10 pounds working here (I’ve always been a bit on the underweight side), but I also probably gained heart disease and diabetes because I’m downing fast food and energy drinks and anything with sugar in it to keep going throughout the day.
  • Managers who don’t care to do their job. They act like since they have a fancy title and a nice salary that they get to push off every responsibility onto every other employee, including other managers. But they want to keep their jobs because they like the pay.
  • Unreliable co-workers who will leave you high and dry on those horrid weekends with high traffic. These are the people who do the bare minimum already, expecting you to pick up the slack because they’ve been there for long enough that the managers can’t figure out how to get rid of them. But they will call in all the time and leave you to deal with the rude customers and high-strung managers.

 

Obviously, each job is what you make of it and attitude is everything. But coming in day after day and busting ass to get shit done, being nice or at least courteous to every single person, staying late and coming in early, all this shit wears you out so fast.

I’m in my early twenties and I feel like I’m in my late 40s, the way I ache and cramp and lock up especially with my knees and back. I would definitely recommend never working retail if you can help it. But I know you probably got bills to pay and mouths to feed, so only start in retail if the only other options are turning tricks or stripping.

High school mentality…

I can’t believe how often people working retail act like high schoolers. It’s ridiculous.

I just witnessed a grown woman afraid to tell the salaried managers that she was being bullied by other members of her team and it had escalated to the other team members now shoulder-checking this woman if they were in the same aisle. Like a grown woman was afraid that it was going to turn into a ‘he said she said’ thing. And she was worried about being seen as the guilty party.

I had to finally go to a manager and tell him that I was concerned for her safety and that this isn’t the first time the transgressors had tried to start drama. Luckily, he confirmed that he had suspicions about them and assured me that the woman they were victimizing was going to be treated as the victim in this situation and there was no need for her to feel that it was her word against theirs. But I know this isn’t the case everywhere.

I know there are managers who play favorites all day every day. Many of my managers play favorites all the time. I was lucky enough to have 3 siblings to contend with and know how to play the favorite game. But not everyone had a dysfunctional childhood like me. They help contribute to this bullshit going on and on, where someone can’t report sexual assault or harassment without fearing that they’ll lose their jobs, where girls are allowed to act however they want and do whatever they want while everyone picks up their slack.

I just can’t wrap my head around how these people allow high school behaviors to rule their lives and make them act immature while at work.

It’s even worse that people don’t seem to understand that in these situations, HR is your friend and that documenting everything is what will keep your ass covered.

It’s sad to think that the American public education system can turn out bullies instead of giving people the tools to succeed and therefore keep the cycle going. It’s sad to think that people are still so afraid to reach out for help in these situations, as though they’re going to get called tattletales and snitches.

It’s a vicious cycle and it’s a vicious way that people have to live their lives; coming to work to pay their bills and getting bullied by some high school drop-out who thinks they’re hot shit, when they’re nothing more than children playing at adulthood and addicted to drama.

Working retail: Dogs…

I fucking love dogs. I really do.

My dream is to own a cute little cabin in the woods and have at about 6 dogs and a little herb garden and a library and scare all the local children into thinking I’m a witch who will eat their souls.

The best part of my day at work is when people bring their dogs in.

Now, I know some of you are jumping to conclusions and shit, but let me say first; every single dog I have seen come into the store is better behaved than any of the children that run around screaming and breaking things and throwing stuff every where.

I even have a couple regulars who come in with their dogs (some are service dogs, of course) but it still makes me happy just to see them.

  • One couple comes in and they have this big beautiful Saint Bernard service dog and every time I see them, I imagine that putting that dog is soft and sweet. (I don’t ask because the dog is working and he’s on duty full-time)
  • One lady comes in with her sweet Golden Retriever, who i have pet and she is the sweetest thing and reminds me my golden who lives with my parents.
  • One lady came in a few weeks ago with her fat Dachshund, and I got to pet him and he was a sweetie and kept trying to get pets from everyone who passed by.
  • One man comes in with his dog sitting on his shoulder regularly. I have not pet this dog, but I love seeing this man come in, cause he wears a cowboy hat and his scruffy little dog perches on his shoulder like a parrot. It’s the oddest sight, but it makes me happy.
  • One man came in with his dog (I make faces when I see dogs at work because they just make me so happy), and he saw me make my stupid face and told his dog to go to me and I got to pet him and the dog gave me kisses and I fed him treats and it was the happiest day working retail because that dog was so sweet and the man was really nice about letting me pet his dog and give him treats.
  • One guy came in with his beefy pit bull and I was petting it when a lady came up and i was worried she was going to make a fuss over the dog being a pit bull, but actually just asked me and the man questions about the service dog laws for our area. The dog was very sweet and had this big blocky head.

 

These are the only fond memories I will hold of working retail. And I know what you’re all saying, if you loves dogs so much why don’t you just switch jobs to work at a doggy daycare or a kennel or something?  The short answer is I’m poor af. The long answer is that I cannot afford to switch jobs at the moment and expect to get paid the same amount I am currently getting paid because any job I find at a kennel or clinic or even retail will be at minimum wage and I can’t afford another year of working minimum wage if I want to go back to school or eat.

Honor…

I’ve come to the conclusion that many people live without honor.

I come into work and constantly have to pick up after fellow employees and customers alike, from trash to equipment to products to slack. I don’t think I’ve ever worked a day in retail without coming in and having to clean up after grown ass adults because they decided to leave it for someone else.

And by witnessing this, day in and day out, for over a year and half, I have come to the conclusion that many people live without honor.

Now, this seems old-fashioned and frankly unnecessary, but I think it’s what’s creating this rift of people thinking group A is better than group b, that generation a is better than generation b, so on and so forth.

But it sucks having an honor code. It sucks have that ethic to come in and feel obligated to pick up that trash, to return that shopping cart to the proper areas, to take that box of cookies back to its home three aisles away from me. It sucks that I have to have that integrity and that honor and that ethic to get shit done and people will still look at me like I’m the one slacking at work.

That’s why I believe 90% of the people I work with have no honor, especially in the way they treat each other and their areas. And the customers are the worst. It doesn’t take that much energy to put something back. It’s not like we’re going to yell at you for putting a bag of chip back. We may have to check if the meat you’re putting back is cold enough, but that’s just for the safety of everyone.

But you would not believe the shit I have seen people leave on the shelves, or squirrel away behind other products because they decided to have a sample. I have found yogurt, probably 3 days old that no other employee picked up because they didn’t feel like it. I did because it’s what you’re supposed to do. I once found, in a cart of products to be returned to the shelves, rotting tripe. Yep, tripe. It had been sitting in the backroom in my bins for a week and I finally was able to get the cart unburied from the other pallets and carts people continuously leave in my area instead of putting them back in the right places.

For all the safety standards and OSHA regulations and health codes, the people I work with are lazy, horrible people and the people who shop here are lazy, rude, inconsiderate, and overly-entitled.

#thecustomerisneverright

The Lie about getting up Earlier…

I absolutely hate this fucking lie that hustle culture promotes.

Getting up an hour or two earlier is not going to change a damn thing.

All those people who preach about getting up before 5 or 6 am, they don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. Maybe they’re freelancers or something, but for everyone else with a regular job or a school schedule, getting up a hour earlier won’t mean shit in our day to day.

I already get up at 5:30 am to get ready for work. I get up, get ready, pack lunch for me and my boyfriend, then check my emails and have breakfast.  I get to work at 7 and work until 4. I get home and do chores, blog, cook dinner, the like until I go to be at 10 pm.

So if I get up an hour earlier, then I’m going to be asleep on my couch by 9. Maybe this isn’t the case for everyone. Maybe some of you can survive on 6 or less hours of sleep. I know my limit is 6 hours a night. If I get less than that, then I start turning into a confrontational bitch who slowly starts losing her grip on self-control. Maybe you can live on 4 hours a night and function perfectly well.

But based off the numerous studies conducted about how much sleep people need to functional well, cutting back on sleep is not the way to get ahead in this world. Cutting back on the basic necessities, like sleeping or eating will not get you far before your body decides it can’t keep up with your ambition.

So every single person who claims that staying up late and getting up early and working hard are what will get you there. It’s not. It’s being clever with your time, smart about your resources, and open about your options.

Procrastinating: what helps me…

Everyone procrastinates from time to time.

Some people (like me) do it all the damn time and we get very frustrated with ourselves because we feel like we should be able to get over procrastinating.

But every single time we look for help, the advice is usually along the lines of ‘well just stop procrastinating’. It doesn’t work like that, Brenda!

That’s like telling someone that their leg should just quit being broken or that they should quit having depression.

I know I procrastinate a lot because I feel inadequate. I know, I’m the queen of this hell hole and I feel inadequate? But its true. I feel like anything I turn out is substandard to anyone else even as I huff and mutter under my breath that I’m the best damn (insert progression here).

But that’s what’s helping me get through some of my procrastination.

Fake it till you make it

My life motto most days.

All you have to do is pretend that you’re a spy and you have to do this task and it doesn’t matter how bad because you’re undercover.

But seriously, you just have to tell yourself that whathisname is just as good as you so you have to be better. Or that if this guy can do so can I.

This method usually boosts my motivation for a half-second to at least consider getting my shit done.

But this doesn’t help you magically get your shit. There is no answer that I’ve found for waking up and everything being done.

Baby steps

I’m bad about this. Logically, if you can’t complete the whole task you can at least start on something small to get the ball rolling.

Now I’m an all or nothing kind of person and that has bitten me in the ass more times than I can tell. Sometimes from procrastinating and sometimes because I’m just too damn stubborn for my own good.

But this method has helped me get through so stupid ass essays for school.

Everyone will go on and on and on and on and on about their favorite way of breaking down a task into steps. Do this thing first or that thing first.

But you have to find what works for you. This means brainstorming. If that means sitting down and staring at a computer for three hours trying to break down an essay into parts you can handle, or if that means doing the bare minimum at work while trying to figure out how to handle that big project, then do what needs to be done so you have the right plan in place.

Take Your Damn Time 

This seems counter-intuitive, but here me out. You know how it feels when you half-ass a project and then feel guilty because you could’ve done better, but you rushed and scrambled to get your shit together.

Well quit rushing around like a headless chicken.

Stop for 15 minutes. Take a deep breath. Take another deep breath. Take another.

Now you’re good to keep going. Make a list of everything to do for the day. Now, what has to get done in 10 minutes? 20 minutes? An hour? By the end of the day?

You’ve got your priorities now. So take your baby steps and get the ball rolling. If it means just taking it a little at a time, it’s better than getting burned out and feeling bad about shitty work.

Now, this does mean that some priorities are going to have to be put aside or even dropped to keep other obligations. Let them go. Don’t feel bad about it.

So you miss a homework assignment. So you have to cancel a dinner with your friends to finish a project at work. So you have to stay late at a study group instead of catching another shift at work.

You have to know when to make those calls. But don’t feel bad, because at the end, you’re work is going to be whole-assed instead of half-assed and you’re going to feel motivated to get onto the next task.

Remember, it’s that whole thing of ‘to make an omelette, you have to break a few eggs’, but this times eggs means obligations and omelettes mean meeting deadlines.

 

 

Everyone procrastinates. Just don’t forget to keep moving. And for the love of whatever gods exist, don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re not going to stop procrastinating overnight (if you could, I would have done it already and then summarily conquered the world by now). But you can still make progress.

Image that procrastinating is being stuck in one of those foam pits at a gymnastic gym. Those things are incredibly hard to get out of, but you have to keep moving. Just a little bit will get you closer to the edge of the pit and you can get out. But if you stop moving, you’re going to sink. If you stop moving you’re going to get even more stuck. So take those baby steps and think about how if some stupid grade schooler can get out of a stupid foam pit, so can you.

 

Working Retail: Supervising….

I hate being a supervisor. I hate my supervisors.

I have to babysit other employees, full grown adults that should be able to take care of themselves and do their jobs without constant watching.

I get micromanaged by new managers who think that micromanaging will change how much I get shit done daily.

It’s infuriating.

I can’t do my job if I’m having to spend half my day hand-holding adults who don’t want to act like adults, as well as taking the initiative to get every other little thing done because anyone who’s been there longer than 3 years doesn’t feel like they need do anything outside of their literal job description.

And when I have to take 5 minutes out of every hour to explain what my daily task list is to my managers, that eats up a lot of time through out my day. Or having to do every other little task for my managers because its above a salaried member of management to do some tasks apparently, like taking care of trash or playing the clean-up crew for the previous shift, or taking the hits because the previous shift left us a shit show to deal with.

Maybe it’s because in my previous jobs I was spoiled by managers that understood what I could accomplish in a day and they listened to my input and didn’t treat me like a dumb kid.

But if I’m not living up to all of their expectations, why don’t they just can me? Oh that’s right, they won’t can their little errand girl because then they’ll have to do everything themselves.

I think if my managers laid off a bit and the people I had to supervised acted like adults, then maybe I wouldn’t walk into work every single day looking to throw blows and scream from the top of my lungs every single time I hear a stupid ass question.

Working Retail: Men…

I hate working retail with men. Now, I know this seems sexist. But let me explain.

There is not a day that goes by when I am not subject to belittling based on my gender, or hit on by customers and colleagues alike.

So when I say I hate working with men, I really men that I hate being demeaned by them while I’m literally doing nothing more than working.

Now, I consider myself cute. But I don’t show up to work in a full face of make-up or wearing anything provocative. I show in jeans and a t-shirt. I don’t go above and beyond for my appearance because this is work, not a club.

But it is utterly distracting and border-line rude when a male customer, male vendor, male colleague feels the need to flirt and ask me out while I’m just trying to do my job. It is uncalled for to be checked out by someone who honestly doesn’t have a chance.

And any man in what they think is a position of management? Dear god, do they ruffle my feathers. There’s one guy who’s an old marine and acts like everything he says and does is law. He’s new, been there less than 6 months. But the way he treats women in his department, talking down to them and acting like they don’t know anything when those women have been in that department for years. He talked down to me once. Once.

He doesn’t talk to me anymore.

And that also astounds me. That when you give back to a man what he’s been giving to you in attitude and tone, he acts like you spit on his mother. What about having a dick and most things handed to you makes you an utter dick to be around? Oh wait…

I can’t grasp how a guy thinks that treating women like this is respectable, let alone acceptable. It’s absolutely nuts that I have to worry about fending off nasty unwashed miscreants instead of getting to do my work.

And for all of you that want to whine to me about how I should be flattered that guys want to date me, I hate that. You don’t get it and I don’t care if you’re a man or a woman when you say that shit. You don’t get it.