Revisiting My MySpace Blogs – “I Admit: I Don’t Know” (Posted 2006)

So, like I mentioned briefly last night, I finally got ahold of all my old MySpace blogs.  Some of the stuff I posted is highly embarrassing and I wish someone would have given me a swift kick in the pants for writing it, but other stuff is actually really  nice to look back on.  The one I’m going to share today both resonated and amused me when I read it.  I’ve cut out the irrelevant first half (it was a really long blog!) and just left in the bit that I wanted to address.  This was written towards of year 10, back when I’d only recently turned 16 and was heading into my big final two years of school the following year.  (I decided to leave all the terrible grammar and spelling in to keep in authentic…apparently capital letters weren’t cool back then).

I Admit: I Don’t Know (Posted : 2006-08-02)

the time had to come of coarse. there was no denying that. it’s the time where we have to choose subjects for our final two years of school, and with that, a career path. and i hate it. i was never the kid to think “i’m gonna be a firefighter” or whatever. well, not for more then a few days anyway. and although the thought had crossed my mind once or twice, i never really thought about it, just chucked it on the too hard pile for another day. and now the time has come where there really isn’t any time left for thinking…well, there IS of coarse, but you had to at least have a loose idea. and i sort of do. but i just can’t see myself staying with one job. and that isn’t a good thing. if you jump careers all the time, it’s not going to be a steady income. and i’m not a moron. i know how important that is. damn, just covering the cost of petrol is more then enough reason to just decide on a proffesion and stick with it. and i’ve narrowed it down to two fields – music or computers. i know, big shock huh? lol. not really. music, well, i’d LOVE to be in a band, but i can’t sing, and am only just moving into a sort-of-okay guitarist. i’m not brilliant, but i definately have stepped up quite a bit since i started. gimme two years i think, and then maybe i’ll be ready. but nah, even if i was in a band, that’d be gigging at nights, and it wouldn’t be an income. i know that. so i was thinking maybe a sound technician. or if it was computers, it would either be something to do with the internet like a webmaster/designer, or like a computer programmer. had a “taster” at the local nmit tafe two days ago, and it was on the visual design coarses. that isn’t for me. i know that. but there was a Q-and-A after lunch, and one of the students they got to talk was studying music, and they’ve just brought in a diploma in it, and the guy talking was in the band we saw afterwards. and it made me want to do that, but at the same time think that i’d complete it and then go “nah, i’m over this” and do computers. ohhh i’m so confused. that’s another reason why i was probably crabby. i don’t know. and that’s the extent of it, of all of this i suppose, I DON’T KNOW. i’m only sixteen! twenty-year-olds don’t know what they want half the time. i can’t vote. i can’t drive without someone next to me. i can’t smoke (not that i would). i can’t drink. so why in the hell am i am even thinking about a career path? i’m not saying that i should be treated like a four year old, coz i’m not. i want to be part of the adult world. but at the same time, you can’t expect us to know when we’re sixteen. not properly. well, not me anyway. i just know that i’ll choose something now and in six months time go “what was i thinking?”. and by then it’s too late. urgh i just want someone to tell me what i want. it’s draining and stressful and confusing. but i’m not complaining. well, no more then anyone else.

I really liked this post in particular as I still completely agree with what I wrote, which is unusual considering I’m now well and truely on the other side of the fence.  A majority of the stuff I wrote/complained/whined about back then I now understand better and therefore, don’t really agree with any more, but this post is still so true!

I can’t believe schools expect kids to know what they want to do at such a young age.  As I addressed in the post, kids that age have no legal rights whatsoever, and yet they’re expected to know what they want to do as a career for potentially their whole life?  I mean, I understand that choosing the wrong subjects isn’t the end of a particular career path should you decide later on, but between the ages of 18-21, further education places do check what subjects were taken and the results, and if something wasn’t taken you’d have to jump through some big (often time consuming) hoops.  That’s a lot of pressure to put onto people that young!  Especially when on top of that, the teachers are all crying “Year 11 and 12 are the hardest years of your lives, you have to study, you have to get good grades, you need a good final score or you won’t get into further education and you won’t have a good job!”.  Essentially, if you don’t do well, you’re life is over.  Looking at it from the other side, it’s 100% a dirty, dirty lie.  Let’s not even get into what schools consider “careers” – if it doesn’t have a fancy title or a 4-year coarse behind it, it isn’t one.

I was lucky.  Little did I know when I posted that blog, that halfway through Year 12 I’d get accepted into film school and it would make my end of year results irrelevant.  Little did I know at that time that film school (although fun) would take me absolutely nowhere and I’d be forging a career in telco.  This is exactly what I mean by putting so much pressure on young people though.  In that post, I’m frantically trying to pick a job out of thin air that I know very little about.  I landed on a sound technician (which I’ll bet is generally a super boring job aside from the occasional live-show gigs) or a computer technician (ha, with my maths skills?  I don’t think so).  It wasn’t until partway through year 12 I decided to pursue film, and honestly, even that was on a bit of a whim.

You have to do something.

That’s the mentality of the final years of high school.  As you’re finishing your education, it’s like a rite of passage that you go to uni.  I mean, sure, you can take a gap year if you need some time away from study, but even then the idea of that is you’ll go right back to uni after you’ve had your fun.  Not once did anyone ever say “keep working in retail until you know what you want, it’s okay”.  I wish someone would have though.  Maybe I wouldn’t have wasted my parents money doing a coarse I’ll never use.  Maybe I’d like retail.  Granted, the pay isn’t fantastic, but it’s still a career path.  You can still work your way up like any job.  And if you’ve done retail for awhile and then finally work out what you want to do with your life, what have you wasted?  Only a little bit of time, but chances are if you hadn’t given yourself that, you’d probably be studying something completely different.  What’s a year or two in a shitty job if it means you’ll make the right choice longterm?  This is what schools should be saying.  They won’t though, because I’m sure it makes them look fantastic if they can say “two-thirds of our year level went on to do further studies”.  They’ll never follow up to see how many of those same students wound up working in the field they studied in (or even how many finished the coarse in the first place).

This is where the education system fails people.  It’s all a big competition.  Instead of making it about the students, it’s about the results.  All that means is students are worked too hard to get grades they may never even need, to be brainwashed into thinking they absolutely have to do further studies.  It results in depression, anxiety, kids dropping out of school early or, worse, suicide.  Over what?  A stupid coarse that’s make-or-break over a stupid final mark?

Fuck that shit.

Especially because after 21, that mark becomes absolutely irrelevant.  You’re classified as a mature-aged student and you have free choice of almost any coarse you like.  Let me restate that again for you: kids are literally killing themselves trying to get into a coarse at age 18 they could breeze into at age 21.  All because the schools are acting like it’s the most important thing in the world.

To anyone still in school reading this, please don’t get caught up in all this bullshit.  You’re so young.  Enjoy it.  Don’t let anyone convince you that your final marks are the be-all-and-end-all.  Please don’t think you need to have a life plan now.  Things will change, people will come and go from your life, your attitudes and ideas and mindsets will shift.  You have no idea what lies ahead, and making a life plan before you’re out of teenage-hood is absolutely crazy and a waste of precious time.   Don’t get me wrong, if you have an idea, go for it.  Ultimately, a couple of years spent in retail, or on a coarse that doesn’t help you, is nothing.  Stressing about it all is something though – it’s bad for your health and you’re too young for that.  You’ll have so many reasons to stress later in life, don’t let it get to you now!  Go out, be crazy and take heaps and heaps of photos.  You’ll never be this young and free again!

What are your thoughts?  Did you wind up doing the job you thought you would at age 16?

-JD

Time to Change – Day Fifty-Two

Today was my first working day of the week, so I suppose that pretty much sums up how it went.  No, but honestly, it was average.  Since my car playing up on Saturday, I’m paranoid every time I have to drive it.  I mean, I know the occasional stall is hardly worth getting stressed over, but like I discussed previously, I know nothing about cars, so when something goes wrong, my brain goes into meltdown and I panic.  I can feel my car isn’t running like it should, but because I’m the only person who drives it regularly, I’m sure anyone else would think it’s nothing (like my dad).  Plus, on top of that, it seems to be sporadic in when it happens.  Yesterday it ran okay, this morning on the way to work I could feel it threatening to stall and not going into gear properly, on the way home it was fine again.  Very frustrating, mainly because I feel like even if I took it to get looked at, they probably wouldn’t fix it.  Meanwhile I’m expecting it to break down at any moment.

So yeah, that’s how my morning went.  I woke up, rushed around getting ready because they wanted me at work extra early today because there were a lot of changes happening, I ran out of time for breakfast so ate a donut instead (it was my one splurge at the grocery store and I knew I shouldn’t have grabbed it.  At the time I promised myself I’d eat it appropriately and in moderation.  Yeah, right.), got stuck in peak hour traffic (worse than normal) and on top of that, expected the car to crap out at every intersection and round about.

Stress.

Once I got to work, I started to calm down a little.  Everyone was in good moods, I got a free hot chocolate and I started to relax.  The day got a bit better from there.  It was busy and hot in store – as always – and at times I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath between customers, but I didn’t get yelled at and I learnt some stuff I’d previously not even bothered trying, so I think that made the chaos more bearable.

I finished the day slightly earlier than everyone (I have a good roster for the first couple of days of the week!).  We were supposed to have a work meeting that night, and honestly, I wasn’t going to go.  Don’t get me wrong, I know they’re important and in my last job, I think I missed maybe two or three meetings in five years, including when I was casual.  When I was in management, I got really annoyed when people didn’t show up for them.  However, I made a promise to myself as I started this job that I wasn’t going to let it burn me out, I wasn’t going to get taken advantage of, and I wasn’t going to hang around if I wasn’t getting paid.  This fell into the latter.  I don’t mind hanging around without pay occasionally, or if I think it’s going to be very beneficial.  The reasons I had not to go were solid: this isn’t my home store, I wasn’t getting paid (my shift finished at 5:45, the meeting wasn’t due to start until 6 and would most likely run until 7:30, and I live 45 mins away), I could find out all the information I missed tomorrow (although I think I heard a large portion of it this morning anyway), we had a meeting a fortnight ago that I attended without pay, and I’m just a trainee.  I know I’m a very advanced, competent trainee, but I don’t have set targets and I still ask for help a lot.  All this lead me to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth over 3 hours of my time without pay.  That’s what it comes down to…although I may not have had plans, I need to start valuing my downtime more.  I never did at my old job and it consumed me.  And for what?  I was still continuously overlooked for promotions and treated poorly.  I’m not suggesting that will happen again at this job, but I just need to work smarter, instead of burning myself out.  If I was getting paid then I probably would have gone to it, but given my new store is paying me out of their hours, there was no way they’d cover me for a different store’s meeting, even if everyone at that store was getting paid (I’m not sure if they were or not).

I got home earlier than I normally would have, caught up on some of my recorded TV shows and had dinner – Lite n Easy Beef Tortellini.  Once again, a really nice meal, though probably not quite filling enough.  This is the first one I’ve felt that about.  That being said, I’ve been hungry all day.  It’s been one of those days, really.  I ate crap for breakfast, healthy for lunch, snacked on little chocolate bars that were up for grabs at work, then ate dinner and another donut (they’re all gone now, thankfully, so I can’t be tempted by them any more!).  I really didn’t do too well with my healthy eating today, but I’m trying not to let it bother me.  It’s a process, I have to keep reminding myself of that.  Some days are going to be bad and full of weakness, and some are going to be great.  It’s all about breaking habits, and it’s a gradual thing.  Some people might be able to go cold turkey, but I can’t.  As long as slowly, there are more good days replacing bad ones, then it’s working.  I’ll get there.  I just have to really focus on making each day better than the last, and making better choices.

After dinner, I had a long soak in the bath and caught up on everyone’s latest blog posts.  I love reading everyone’s updates and stories.  There’s so many talented people on here!

After I got out, I finally finished washing the rest of the dishes that had piled up, and I cleaned up the mess that had gathered on the dining table, mostly just stuff I’d neglected to put away.  When I sat down afterwards, I realized I was still hungry.  God, how is that even possible?  Still, I knew I needed to snack on something or it’d just get worse.  I decided to have Savoy crackers and lite peanut butter, and that seemed to do the trick (finally!).  I really like this snack, so I think I’m going to try to replace some potentially bad choices with this option in the future.

I’m back at work early tomorrow, but get to leave the same time again, which is awesome.  I’ve got my inspection Thursday, so I have to finish cleaning tomorrow night.  I think I’ve spread it out over the last few days well though, so all that’s left is vacuuming (there was no point doing it earlier than the night before as my dog sheds continuously), cleaning the sliding door window (again, no point doing it earlier as my dog jumps on it with dirty paws when I get home each day) and wiping down the stove and benches.  I also have to tidy up my room and bathroom but that can be done Thursday morning.  Otherwise, my house is pretty neat as it is, thanks to the work I’ve put in.  Like I’ve mentioned previously, I hate cleaning, so for me, this is quite an accomplishment.  Now I just have to try to keep it this neat!

I hope your day was as productive as mine 🙂

-JD

Showdown at Big Sky

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Showdown at Big Sky.”
How do you handle conflict? Boldly and directly? Or, do you prefer a more subtle approach?

I hate conflict.  Like, it actually makes me extremely uncomfortable to the point it can leave me feeling physically sick.  It’s almost like I’m allergic to it.  I don’t know when that reaction started happening…I don’t remember it being there as a kid.  I also don’t know where it stems from, though I suppose my years in retail haven’t helped the issue.

In terms of how I handle it, I guess it depends on the situation.  If it’s between friends, for instance, I am all about subtly and talking it out.  I guess I’m bold in that I’m usually the first one to openly address the problem, but I won’t do it in a confrontational way, even if I’m angry or upset about it.  I know most people tend to shut down when you approach them that way, and the last thing I want is to lose one of the few good friends I have left over something that, even at the time, I can usually appreciate is small and probably trivial.

When I was in management at my old job, I handled confrontation differently.  I wasn’t afraid to tell angry, abusive customers where the door was, and that they are out of line speaking to staff in that manner.  I was never comfortable in those situations, but it was part of the job, and I learnt pretty quickly that subtly doesn’t usually work as they think they’re winning and getting their way.  My worst confrontation happened about six months or so prior to me leaving the job.  It was a flat out Saturday, all the staff were exhausted and run off their feet, and an older lady (not elderly, but not young either) came in, carrying on about her bill and the wait time to get served.  Basically, just being a real sour puss.  One of the girls served her and tried to explain the situation but the lady wouldn’t listen; she’d overtalk and argue and basically was being a rude cow, intentionally drawing attention to herself by speaking loudly and looking around the shop at all the people patiently waiting to be served.  This went on for a long time, I think maybe half an hour.  That’s a long time to put up with someone’s rudeness, even in retail.  Eventually the girl couldn’t handle it any more and excused herself to take five minutes out the back and cool off before she lost it at her customer.  Anyway, I was serving a different customer but I’d been keeping tabs on the rude bitch since she came in (that’s what managers in telco have to do in case it suddenly escalates).  My store manager was also on the floor, serving customers, listening to everything.

The rude bitch decides she’s had enough and gets up and marches over to the store manager, demanding he help her at once.  At this stage he’s at the register and there’s at least five people waiting, and her issue was one we actually couldn’t fix in store (the girl who was serving her tried to explain that many times).  Anyway, the store manager tells her in no uncertain terms that she is to sit back down and wait, and he’ll be over when he can.  He wasn’t rude about it, though he was blunt.  She wasn’t happy about this at all, and decides she wants to speak to the original consultant right then and there.  She marches over to the door leading into our back room and slams her fists against it so hard I thought she was going to punch through it.  I was standing right next to her (literally about 30 centimetres away) and I lost it.  I’d been getting pretty angry at her from the moment she’d come into the store, though I’d kept it inside as she wasn’t my customer, but I couldn’t handle it any more.  I completely forgot I was halfway through serving a customer.  I whirled around, screamed at her “EXCUSE ME, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”
The lady took a second to realize that the yelling was actually directed at her, and from a member of staff no less (I have a feeling she didn’t even notice I was standing there).  She looked up at me, anger dancing in her eyes, but also a little bit of fear.  I’ll bet she wasn’t expecting anyone to stand up to her.  “I want to speak to the girl again.” She spat.
“SHE’S OUT THE BACK CRYING FROM THE WAY YOU TREATED HER.  YOU WON’T BE SPEAKING TO HER AGAIN.  NOW GO AND SIT DOWN LIKE THE MANAGER TOLD YOU TO OR GET OUT.”

I’d never raised my voice to anyone in public like that before in my life, let alone a customer.  I was seething.  She was rude, aggressive and wasn’t willing to listen.  The whole shop – which was still packed with customers – had gone dead silent the moment the old bitch started trying to break down the door.  I guess she’d only just noticed because suddenly, she looked around, embarrassment slowly overtaking her anger.  She slunk back to her seat, sat there for about ten seconds, then got up and left.

The customer I was midway through serving was so nice.  “Are you okay?” she asked.  “If you need to take a break, I’ll wait for someone else to serve me.  I worked in retail for awhile, I totally understand how that must have felt.  People just have no respect or manners any more.”

I assured her I was okay (a giant lie) and finished serving her, before going out the back.  Three staff members (including the girl who’d been serving the bitch) couldn’t stop talking about what happened and how brave I was and how it took them a minute to even work out it was me yelling because they’d never heard me do that before.  I felt physically sick.  I sat down, hunched over, my stomach in severe pain.  I don’t know why the yelling caused that reaction, but God did it hurt.  It took a good twenty minutes for it to start subsiding.  I was the hero of the store for the day, but I felt rotten for it.

This is why I’m kind of glad I’m not in management right now.  I mean, I enjoy leading the team and organising events and whatnot, but having to be the one to resolve conflict and disputes…it’s tough for someone who can’t handle fighting or aggression.  I’ve definitely gotten mentally stronger since I started in telco all those years ago (the first few times I got yelled at, I started crying), but the trade off is physical pain instead of mental.  Why can’t everyone just be nice to one another?  It’d make my life so much less complicated!