Today was mostly good. Slept in late, went to work, and work was pretty good because I've been using listening/communicating techniques to have better conversations with customers.
Typically, I'm very introverted and I'd much sooner sit in my room all day reading, writing, sketching than interacting with people. I'm trying to force myself to expand, but then, I've tried for years. I want to make connections with people, and I'm not good at it. And you really see that when I am dealing with customers because unless there is a mutual interest to engage in (e.g. A customer wearing a "Hey Arnold!" shirt) there's no communication, or it's really one-way (with me being the speaker. In this case, they've triggered an obsessive-interest topic, in which I start talking like an encyclopedia.)
It's not 100%. I'm trying to practice skills I'm reading about, but there are still some customers I really struggle to engage with, or I struggle because I'm stuck in my thoughts and can't seem to get out (being present is an issue I have a hard time with.)
But today a customer came through using EBT and they were wearing a lot of fancy clothes and accessories. I didn't notice, because I don't tend to care about that stuff.
The customer after them comes up and complains about people on food stamps spending money on designer clothes.
So, instead of arguing or refuting their point:
"I get that. It seems insensible to spend extra money on fancy things. I can see more than one side to it, though, because I've read studies that show prospective employers favor employees that are dressed in higher-end clothes, and if they notice they are driving nicer cars."
And this customer was like, "Hmm, you know, you're right!" Turned out she was a recruiter so she actually knew of and employed this type of knowledge in her line of work. And we started having this really fascinating conversation about her work. It was completely fascinating!
Maybe someday I can do that with MOST of my customers!
I mean, I would rather work as a nurse or a counselor or social worker. Something where I'm helping people. But the same applies there. I want to learn how to connect with people better. I like watching people really into a topic. I like seeing people happy. It was nice to have triggered (positively) another person into a really engaging conversation in which they were an equal or even primary participant.
I don't know how much or how fast I can learn this stuff, but I can see it doing me good. It can also help me with being present. I really struggle with daydreaming or getting stuck in my thoughts. It's not that I don't care about people. It's just like... No matter how I try, I'll get stuck in something.
I did try to busy-body into another co-worker's business, though. I realized I was going to do that and was going to try to back out, but then she was off the clock.
See, this employee is an ~18 year old who is planning on leaving this store to work at a clothes retailer, because she wants to make more money. So I told her I wouldn't do that and she asked if I really hated working clothes store retailers.
So I explained that the reason I was saying that was because:
1. Clothes retailers, bookstores, department stores, etc. tend to give hours much more seasonally. If you're getting paid 11/hour but making 40-48 hours a week, you'll make more money than 13/hour but 4-40 hours a week pending on the time of year. You get much more regular hours in grocers, so you end up making more money.
2. Union grocery stores promote from within, fast, and you learn more specialized tasks much faster, so you're likely to get more experience than just 'cashier' which will look better on a resume.
Then I said I wasn't saying specifically to stay at the grocery store, just that, if I had done things over from high school, I would have avoided retail altogether in favor of trying to develop vocational skills through ROP and other resources, and if I ended up in retail, I'd have preferred a grocery store.
Turns out, she's already done ROP courses, but she can't find a job relating to her ROP course. But her main reason is because it pays more hourly and it's the job all her friends work at.
I was going to tell her she should do it if she really thinks it will make her happy, but she also might want to look into other vocational studies where she'd be making more than that job and/or getting similarly relevant work experience.
But it got busy, so she went away.
I sort of hope she thinks about the vocational aspect though. I know it's tempting to work for a higher hourly wage or to work with friends. But long-term it means so much more to have meaningful, relevant work experience. I feel like retail - especially non-grocer retail - really put me into a dead-end in life for a very long time where prospective employers didn't see marketable job skills, relevant work experience, and saw that 'part-time' part of my work history and did not want to employ me at full-time. In fact, a lot of them seemed to think I must want seasonal work. And it's hard to explain that in such a condensed timeframe.
A co-worker tried to come through my line and buy alcohol for another (underage) co-worker. (They were not being stealthy. They were literally shopping together right until check-out.)
To which I said, "I can't sell you alcohol because I know you're going to drink with someone underage."
So they went to go buy alcohol from another store.
It's funny because the underage coworker talks about their work ethic and professionalism, but if that were so, why would they risk two other co-workers' jobs for alcohol? Not to mention a possible $100,000 fine and up to six months' jail time.
Like I say to anyone else I don't sell alcohol to: "I don't know you well enough to do six months in the pokey for you."
Not my business, I guess. Unless it's me you're trying to get alcohol from. Then it's my business.
I was thinking about inviting Patrick out to hike again tomorrow - I could get up early enough to do so. But I'll try inviting him next week, because I believe I get out of work earlier and will have more time to sleep. But I want to try hiking with my camera equipment a bit so next time we go hiking I'm not slowing him down.
Next week my schedule officially changes at First Job. So there won't be any more conflicts with Full-Time job. But I'm struggling:
1. I have a lot of responsibilities at First Job. I'm trained in a cyclically very under-staffed department (and more specifically, I am sufficiently trained to manage it if the management cannot.) I'm not supposed to be scheduled there anymore, but I end up there a lot due to said understaffing. I'm also trained as a back-up bookkeeper, though I am currently not allowed to bookkeep except in extenuating circumstances because it's seen as a conflict of interest to book keep when you're on register.
Then on top of that, they've put me in charge of safety. Now, 'being in charge of safety' is supposed to mean that I hand the paperwork out to department heads and they do their work, I fill things out on the safety website, I print the minutes and lead the safety part of the meeting.
Instead it means "I do all the safety work." According to the assistant manager.
That's a futile job. One person can't make over a hundred people safe. They all have to be participating. It basically sounds like there is no safety culture, there's not gonna be a safety culture, so just do it.
I'm going to try to simplify it, organize it, make a system and try to bring in more people to participate. I made a system for transferring merchandise in Starbucks. I can make a system for people in the rest of the store that's simple and, hopefully, rewarding. Hopefully if I can do that, I can make the safety culture people are so resistant to and do less work. Ideally the program wouldn't exist anymore because everyone would be watching everyone else's backs.
2. I love the work at Full-Time job (I'm hoping to develop skills so maybe someday I can be involved more on the other side of things or feel more competent/confident during day work.) However, the rules are changing up from when I was hired.
This may be good. Maybe it will mean more work that is geared toward our professional development. I don't know yet because we don't have the new task list. The work we've been given to date is mostly custodial, but that it's less than half the picture if I understand correctly.
So it may be really good. I'm trying to remain positive and assume it won't all be custodial. I don't have a problem doing custodial work, if I feel the work will also lead to professional development. I told them I think we could probably clean the common/public areas each night and then focus on 2-4 additional rooms each night.
If it's all custodial, then that will be really great for a student just making their way, but probably not so much for me who has been hoping to get units, volunteer work, supervised and clinical hours.
But until I know, I'm just jumping to conclusions and guessing. It's really hard for me not to do that. Also, I feel like a lot of my ideas get shut down really quickly. Granted, not by supervisors, but by immediate co-workers I rub elbows with.
For instance, I threw out a suggestion that maybe we get more supplies so that the work can be divided among 3-4 staff in the morning instead of just being the burden of one staff, and someone told me if I suggested it, I would be in trouble for over-stepping.
I suggested making a checklist we sign off on tasks, so that 1. We knew more explicitly what was supposed to be done and 2. We'd know if it was done already and 3. Who had done it. I was told that was a bad idea and people would hate it.
I was also working (in conjunction to being told to do custodial work) a room check-off list. In the form a person would write the room that was being detail-cleaned, and check off things inspected. (Windows. Locks. Doors. Outlets. Etc.)
No one explicitly shot that down. But no one said anything positive about it. It was like I'd never suggested it at all. Which might be good, because it might mean I'm seriously overestimating how much of the work they want to give us is custodial versus career-centered. Maybe they were like, "What? This is all housework. Doesn't she know about all this administrative stuff she's supposed to be doing?"
Though I suppose it might also mean that they saw my suggestion of cleaning the common areas and then additionally cleaning 2-4 rooms a night and thought that wasn't enough. But until I hear a response and see an updated list, I'm just guessing with no real idea of what is coming my way. Which is pointless.