Time to Change – Day Forty-Eight

Today is being written of as another good one.  It’s funny that the days slated to be the most boring of the week have become some of the best.  Don’t get me wrong, even the best training sessions in the world are still classroom-based and at least moderately sleep-enducing, but this course (can three days be considered a course?  Hmmm) was definitely one of the better I’ve done.  So far I’m very impressed with the quality of the trainers my new job employs.  World’s apart from a large portion of the trainers at my old job.  I suppose it also comes down to the content as well, and I have found both three-day “courses” I’ve attended so far at this job have content worth learning.

Anyway, where was I?  Today’s training was focused on tying up lose ends for the previous two days, as well as introducing us to a few more sales tools we’ll have at our disposal.  I love sales tools.  The more they can throw at me, the better.  I’m lazy in every sense of the word (hence the weight issue), and sales tools save me time and energy.  I’m seriously excited my new store is going to be bursting at the seams with them.  I can’t wait to get in there and mess around with them and put them through their paces.

We also learnt about an existing product that I hadn’t really learnt much about yet.  It was really good to have to broken down and the differences thoroughly explained, as I really feel like I can now see the benefits for customers and I can properly sell it.  It’s not a product that was offered at my old job, and one that is very underused and not spoken about at the store I’m working at now.  I don’t blame them for not teaching me, as the product isn’t something you’d sell (or even mention) to some customers, but I really want to start talking about it more now I know about it.

We wrapped up the training with a pep talk and group activity led by my new store manager.  As I wasn’t interviewed by her and I haven’t worked in store with her yet, I only really know her by face and name.  She knows who I am well enough to say hi in passing (she may or may not remember my name).  It doesn’t bother me, given she’s now a store leader of 90 odd staff (at least 20 of them newbies), but it was really nice to hear her story and how she wants the new store to run.  She’s really big on store culture and making it a focus, which I think is fantastic as it would be really easy for a store that big to fall into a mess of cliques, chaos and gossip.  None of that leads to a workplace anyone wants to come in to each day.

She seems really friendly and down-to-earth.  I’m looking forward to getting to know her a bit better.  I’m also hoping to let her (or someone else who can address it) know that I’m looking to be trained up in other areas.  The new store is full of people who specialise in things.  I’m not really picky about what to be trained in (the more, the merrier!), I just don’t like being seen as “just another full timer”.  I know I just started so for the moment I’m trying not to let it bother me, but I know pretty soon I’m going to start getting restless.  Coming from management in my old job, it’s tough to feel like you’ve taken a step backward.  I’m trying my best not to look at it that way, as this new store is going to be world’s apart in every way from what I’m used to, but ultimately I have been demoted.  I’m not expecting to be given management for quite awhile so being trained in different areas will have to do.  Anything to keep the job interesting.

The best part of today was being let out at 3pm. So good!  We were rostered until 5 so an early home time is fantastic.  I’m currently sitting (not standing!) on a train which is full of empty seats.  I was expecting to battle peak hour madness so this is the best feeling.

The weather is still pretty miserable but no storms or tornadoes today (touch wood).  If it doesn’t look like it’s going to rain when I get home, I might take the dog for a walk.  I walked to the bus stop today so my step count will be pretty good either way but I feel bad for the dog being cooped up all day.  No promises though, the sky is pretty grey and I really don’t want to get caught in a downpour with my new phone.

Today I ate about as well as yesterday.  Chocolate snacks to keep away the headache (more successfully today than the previous two days!).  The same breakfast and lunch, with the exception I swapped an apple at lunch for a banana.  Tonight I’ve got Lite N Easy Butter Chicken.  I’m a little nervous because I’m not a huge fan of Indian food a lot of the time, but it looked good in the picture so I’m going to try to be open minded.

I best wrap it up here.  My stop is fast approaching!  Hope you had a great day too 😊

-JD

Time to Change – Day Forty-Seven

Well, today was definitely better than yesterday!  I’m feeling pretty good right now about everything.  I’m even feeling wide awake, unusual for this hour.

I had my second day of training in the city.  Unlike yesterday, the trip in was wonderfully uneventful, aside from the fact it was raining so I had to drive to the bus stop.  Not a huge deal, though it did eat into my usual step count a little.  I arrived in the classroom right on time, and only one other person was there, so technically the 15 or so others were late.  After the dramas of yesterday, that made me feel awesome!

The training itself was okay.  It wasn’t as interesting as yesterday overall, but it wasn’t totally boring either.  It was more revolving around sales and customer service techniques that I’d learnt at induction, but it was a good kind of refresher.  On top of that, there was a lot of group work so I got to know my future workmates a bit better, so that was cool.

For the most part, I ate really well today.  I started the morning with yoghurt and strawberries, blueberries and Chia seeds (I made sure I allowed myself time for it today!).  For lunch I had sultanas, an apple and light n crispy shapes – the same as yesterday, as that seemed to work well.  As an afternoon snack I was a bit naughty again and ate chocolate, but as I previously spoke about, it helps me get through all-day training sessions without getting a migraine.

The weather had been miserable all day, and we got a great view of it out the 14th story window. During the afternoon – towards the end of the session – news broke that there’d been damaging storms in some areas and a tornado warning IN MY SURBURB.  I know I have a lot of readers from outside Australia so to you, that might not seem that crazy.  Tornadoes very rarely happen down under.  When they do, they most often happen in warmer climates such as Cairns or Queensland, and mostly happen in winter.  I’ve never heard of one happening in Melbourne, in Spring, in a very non-coastal area.  Especially when there’d been absolutely no lead up or prewarning.  I wasn’t even aware it was set to storm today, much less THAT.

I knew the media had a very good track record of blowing things out of proportion (no pun intended) so I wasn’t too worried.  I’d seen some blurry cam pics on social media of the tornado and while there was no denying it was one (or at least, looked like it), the pictures didn’t show it being near any populated areas.  It’s not to say it wasn’t, I just didn’t want to stress over it, as the media hadn’t reported any damage to property or injuries to people, and they love to report that kind of stuff.

We got let out early from training after we struck up a deal with the trainer, so I was already on my way home by 5.  By then, the rain had completely cleared and it was blue skies and sunny.  I’m sure people think it’s an exaggeration when they hear “Melbourne can have 4 seasons in one day”.  It’s not.  If you had of flown in at 4.30pm today and someone told you there had been massive storms and tornadoes just hours before, you would have looked up at the pretty sky and warm sunshine and laughed at them.  I walked onto my morning train damp and sticky from rain, I got off my afternoon train sweating.  I’ve grown up with this crazy weather nonsense my whole life and I still can’t believe it.

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These were taken within a couple of hours of each other!

Anyway, I digress.  As I got off the train, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I’ve only ever seen tornado damage on huge scales on TV.  Hell, even big storms can leave trees upended and cars damaged.  Instead (as I half-suspected earlier), aside from some puddles, there was absolutely no evidence anything had happened at all.  The station looked exactly as it had 10 hours prior, everyone at the station looked calm and unhurt.  Maybe it didn’t affect this particular area, I thought, just in case I got home to half my house gone.

I looked intently out the window the whole bus trip, expecting at some point to see some damage.  Nothing.  No trees – or even branches – out of place, no construction sites upended, no roads flooded.  Nothing.  It looked like maybe there had been a sunshower awhile ago and that was it.  Very anti-climactic, although I’m not complaining.  I wasn’t exactly thrilled at the prospect of a random tornado blowing through my front door when I wasn’t home.

I was also relieved to see my big Lite N Easy order sitting neatly on my front door mat.  I was firstly worried it might have gotten damaged (or blown away completely) in the weather.  I was also concerned someone might steal it.  I guess the first problem kept the second one from being much of an issue.

I was so excited to open up the box and put it all away, and to pick my first meal.  I was starving and spoilt for choice.  I still couldn’t believe all these options were so healthy.  After filling up my freezer, I decided it was gonna be good old mac and cheese tonight.  7 mins in the microwave and it was done!

I was extremely surprised by it.  Firstly, the portion size was great.  It made about as much as your typical box of M&C, but with about half the calories.  Very filling.  Secondly, the taste.  While I don’t think I’ve ever really had proper home made M&C to compare it with (it’s just not treated with the same appreciation as I hear it is in the States), I can tell you it tastes a lot better than any pre-packaged stuff I’ve had.  “Of course it does”, I hear you cry.  Keep in mind, not only is this low-cal, but comes frozen.  In my mind the risk was pretty high it’d be on par with packet stuff, or potentially worse.  Instead, it was some of the best I’ve had!  If all my Lite n Easy meals are this good, they’ll have a customer for a long time to come.  I don’t want to get too carried away just yet though.  I’ll give my final verdict after I’ve had at least a few more meals!

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So overall, a good day.  Due to driving to the bus stop my step count was under 6000, but I think that can be forgiven since apparently it’s tornado season in my area.  I punched in all my food into MyFitnessPal and basically broke even, so I’m not complaining.  If it wasn’t for the chocolate I’d be well under!  Still, I’m not complaining.  This is the healthiest day I’ve had in about a fortnight and I feel like I’m slowly getting back on track!

-JD

Time to Change – Day Forty-Six

Today was a day I think I’d rather forget.  I slept badly the night before, had to wake up early to head into training in the city, ran out of time to eat breakfast, got onto the bus to find my Myki card wasn’t scanning (a problem that had been happening on and off more frequently for the past few weeks), so had to line up at the service desk at the station to get it swapped over.  I missed my train while waiting in the line.  In my haste to catch the next train (after waiting almost ten minutes for the card swap to happen) I forgot to tap on, only realizing this after I’d gotten on the train.  Great, I cursed.  Nothing I could do about it.  I got off, tried to get out of the station but it wouldn’t let me because I didn’t tap on (gahhhh) so the customer service rep had to let me out…and I walked straight into a bunch of Authorised Officers (aka Myki Police) who quickly established I didn’t tap on.  I tried to explain what happened but they didn’t believe me – or I guess, didn’t care – so I copped an on the spot fine of $75 and was delayed even further.

I raced to the building where training was, cursing the awful morning I’d had.  I was supposed to be there at 8.45am for a 9am start…I landed in my seat at 9am on the dot.  I hate running late, it makes me feel flustered and disorganised.  Add that to the annoyance and frustration of the public transport dramas and I wasn’t feeling particularly positive.  Plus I was hungry but didn’t have time to eat.

Trying to force all that out of my mind, I attempted to enjoy the training.  The morning was bearable but I wouldn’t say completely enjoyable, though the guy running it was pretty cool and it was nice to get to know some more of the people I’d be working with soon.  By the time lunchtime rolled around, I was starving, and happily ate the healthy food I’d packed – saltanas, an apple and light n crispy shapes.  This filled me up more than I expected, and I felt good that even if the rest of my day was terrible, at least I could say I ate well.

The afternoon training was more interesting, learning about all the new technologies the new store will be decked out with.  Very excited to see them in action!   Despite the interesting topic, a headache had inevitably started, as it usually does when I’m cooped up in a room all day.  I took painkillers, finished the last of my water and counted down until afternoon tea break.  When that finally came, I raced downstairs to the convenience store, bought more water and a couple of chocolate bars and some more painkillers.  I drank half a bottle of water and downed the chocolate and started to feel a bit better.  I don’t know what it is about training, but I always feel awful by the afternoon.  I guess I struggle to focus for that long, and a sugar hit seems to help.  It made me a little frustrated that I ruined a good diet day, but I’d rather that than risk the headache turning into a migraine.

After training finished for the day, I met up with one of close friends who I hadn’t seen in awhile.  It was good to see him again.  We went to get dinner.  We took awhile to find somewhere because he’s very into health food and I’m a fussy eater, but we wound up at Spudbar, where we both found stuff we liked.  I wound up getting a roast potato stuffed with cheese, shredded cabbage, corn and garlic butter.  While not 100% healthy (especially the butter part), it had a lot of cabbage and corn, so it was definitely one of the healthier options we could have eaten in the food court.  I wasn’t sure I’d like it (I’m always a little apprehensive about things like cabbage) but I really enjoyed it, and I feel good that apart from the chocolate hit and the garlic butter, I had a really good food day.

By the time I’d said goodbye to my friend, it was 7pm.  I headed down to the station (making sure it tap on, I wasn’t going to make that mistake again!) and waited for my train.  It was a long trip home, with it getting darker and darker.  By the time the train arrived at my station, the streetlights were on.  By the time my bus had arrived, it was completely dark and on top of that, raining.  Seems like an appropriate end to an overall shitty day, I thought to myself as I got off the bus at my stop, hunched over as the rain fell.  I walked as fast as I dared, but I have a tendency of being gravity-challenged (I slip over a lot and am quite uncoordinated) I didn’t want to risk running home.

By the time I stepped through my front door, it was 8.30pm, I was wet, tired and worn out.  I’d managed over 8500 steps (one of my highest days so far!) so I felt pretty good about that, if nothing else.

Tomorrow I have to do it all over again.  At least I feel like I’ve gotten my bad luck out of the way.  My Myki card is new and working properly so I won’t have to worry about missing the first train, not tapping on and I know I won’t get another fine.  I also know by not missing the first train tomorrow, I won’t be so late and flustered.  I’m going to try to allow myself time to eat breakfast tomorrow as well, to make doubly sure my day starts off on the right foot, and I’m going to pack lunch again as that worked well today.  I’m getting my Lite N Easy order delivered tomorrow, so I’ll also be able to have a good dinner waiting for me when I get home!

Hope your day went better than mine did 🙂

Time to Change – Day Forty-Five

I’m struggling.  I have officially hit the wall.  For me (maybe for everyone, I don’t know) there is always a point where all my good intentions and positive thoughts and motivation vanish.  Sometimes, it happens suddenly.  In this instance, it’s been more gradual, but it’s definitely happened, there’s no denying it.

About 90% of me wants to give up.  Being fat sucks but it’s all I know.  I’m not going to give up though.  I’m allowing myself some time to refocus, as if I don’t I feel like I won’t be able to properly get back on board, then I’m going to get right back into it again.  I need to.

I’m taking it a step further this time.  Since I can’t trust myself to make healthy choices after a long day at work (this has become extremely apparent), I’ve ordered Lite N Easy for the first time in my life.  My friends swear by it, and I think it will really help me, firstly because it’s calorie and portion controlled and also because I don’t have to cook it.  It’s dead easy.  A majority of my issues at dinnertime stem from the fact I really hate cooking.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, when I say I hate cooking, I don’t mean all the time.  If I’m relaxed or feeling creative, cooking is fantastic.  I hate cooking, however, when I’m tired and hungry and grumpy.  I hate it when it feels like a chore.  So I really think Lite N Easy will be good for me.  I’m really surprised about the meal choices too.  That was one of the reasons I’d never done it previously – I was worried they wouldn’t have stuff I like, being a fussy eater.  Instead, they have a huge selection and I feel a little spoilt for choice.  I really hope it tastes as good as it looks in the pictures and doesn’t turn out to be the standard cardboard flavours of frozen dinners.

But what about breakfast and lunch?  I hear you ask.  I did consider going all out and ordering those meals as well, but having a look through the options, there were some that I didn’t particularly like the sound of, and this program isn’t exactly cheap.  I guess there are more expensive options out there, but I didn’t want to spend big bucks on meals I wasn’t going to enjoy either.  I find that during the day – provided I pre-plan and bring food from home – I’m generally okay with my eating habits.  Even if I’m hungry, I’m working so I just have to suck it up.  My plan is to eat healthy for breakfast – either eggs, weetbix or fruit & yoghurt – and have fruit for lunch.  While probably not the most filling of meals, it’s healthy and easy.  As I’ll soon be doing the long public transport commutes to my new job, I know even if I’m hungry by the time work ends, I won’t have the luxury of a sneaky trip through a Drive-Thru any more, which is generally what happens currently.  Plus, I’ll be walking a lot more as part of the commute, so I think I’ll start losing weight again.

Aside from the new focus on dieting, nothing much has changed since my last post.   It’s a public holiday today, so I’m getting paid to sit around at home in comfy clothes and catch up on my writing, which is great.  I’ve got three days of training coming up, which generally I’d be dreading – and maybe I should be this time – but it sounds like it should be interesting.  It’s all about the expectations and operations of my new store, as it’s going to be big and new on a scale they’ve only attempted once before.  I love that I get to work in an environment that is all about embracing the future, and I see it as a great opportunity for experience and – hopefully – advancement.  Plus, having such a huge team means I’ll no doubt wind up meeting some cool new people!

I’m procrastinating going grocery shopping.  I’ve been putting it off since Saturday, and it’s crunch time as I’ve run out of dog food and need to go.  I’m trying to hold out until at least 7pm, as trying to find a carpark there on a weekend or public holiday during the day is crazy.  At least now I’ve ordered dinners for the next two weeks, my shopping trip should be pretty quick and easy!

Have any of you tried Lite N Easy (or other similar programs)?  Let me know what you think!

-JD

“Tell Us Your Best Practical Joke Story”

I love practical jokes and am always the mastermind behind them!  These are my best two, though I have heaps more that could easily be listed instead!

The best practical joke story I have happened about three years ago.  My then-housemate and work colleague had just signed up for a new phone, and she was so excited about it.  It was her first Samsung after coming from iPhone and she was over the moon about it.  She treated it like it was her baby.

She didn’t have a passcode on it, so it was a practical joke begging to happen.  She’d left it out the back at work, and so we decided then was the perfect time to prank her.  We downloaded an app that made the screen appear to be broken (it looked pretty convincing).  Then we called her into the back office, poker faces in play, all looking upset and guilty.

Someone told her that her phone had fallen off the shelf when it was charging.  She flipped out.  She was stressing out and close to tears and asking how it could have happened.  It went on and on, with it getting harder and harder not to laugh.  Finally I cracked, I couldn’t keep a straight face any longer.  When she was told it was a joke, she laughed but was really angry too (as most joke victims are).  She was very relieved her phone wasn’t broken.

Ironically, about a month later, someone dumped their heavy bag on her phone at work, and the screen actually got broken.  She didn’t believe it at first, assuming it was another joke, but it wasn’t.  That made us feel a little guilty!

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My other good practical joke story happened last year, again at work.  My two best work friends had gone to get coffee and they sent me a selfie of them halfway there.  I decided payback was in order as they didn’t invite me with them.  I emailed myself the photo, printed it off about 30 times, then stuck it all around the back room, including in the safe, in the fridge, on the microwave and on the roof.  I had to do it quickly as I knew they’d be back at any moment.  Luckily the back room was tiny so 30 copies basically covered everywhere.

They walked back in and only noticed one of them at first.  They were confused as to why I’d printed it, but didn’t say anything.  Then suddenly, another one caught their eye, and another, until suddenly they realized they were staring at themselves all over the room.  Everyone else taught it was hilarious, and they spent the next five minutes taking all the pictures down.

What’s your best practical joke?

This prompt, and many more, can be found here.

Time to Change – Day Forty-Two

Wow, it’s been a whole week since I blogged about my life.  I knew it’d been awhile but I didn’t realize it’d been that long.

Another weekend is here and again, I’m so grateful for it.  I really thought by now that I’d have started to readjust to full time work…I mean, I’d been doing it for four years prior to losing my job, and there was only a relatively short period of time in between that job and this.  It’s been three weeks and I still get home every night absolutely exhausted.  By the time the weekend finally arrives I wind up sleeping half the day.  I initially assumed it was just because I was in learning mode all day and it was taking its toll, but each day I’m getting more competient and independent so I don’t think I can really blame that any more.  I know it’s only going to get worse before it gets better as pretty soon I’m gonna have to start my public transport daily commute, which not only takes longer but is also more stressful and requires more exercise.  The last part is good, don’t get me wrong, but will definitely deplete my energy levels more.

Anyway, it’s been a pretty good week overall.  Much of the same of what I’ve been doing, but with more confidence this time around.  So much so the guys trust me to help teach the other trainees (who have all been there longer than me).  Lucky they didn’t take offence to that, because I probably would have if the roles had been switched.

I had my first aggro customer since starting there yesterday.  It’s weird, at my old job as part of management I’d serve heaps of aggros and it was fine.  I mean, not my favourite part of the job but I could do it.  At my new job though I just couldn’t.  She wasn’t even yelling, she was just really rude.  I’d made the mistake, I guess that was part of it (I’d have never made a mistake like that at my old job, but the systems were much different there).  I was really taken aback by the whole thing.  I guess I’ve always had an issue with rude people to a certain point, even at my old job.  There’s just something worse about it than yelling or swearing.  I think it also came down to not having the confidence yet to believe what I’m saying.  It didn’t help they were questioning everything I was doing which made me doubt myself.  It was a stupid mistake I made, but in the whole big scheme of mistakes I could have made in this job, it was probably the least damaging possible.  She didn’t see it like that though and I had to ask one of the other girls to help out.  I just couldn’t deal with it.  I suppose that’s what they wanted though – the second I said I was training they kept hounding me for stupid requests and questioning everything.  They basically didn’t want to ask for someone else (heaven forbid that might come across as rude) but they wanted me to feel obliged to get someone else.  Why are people so horrible?  I don’t know.  Either way I ended my working week feeling frazzled and horrible.  At least I learnt something out of it – double check everything, even if it seems simple!

My diet was very up and down.  I’d eat a pretty good breakfast most mornings (strawberries and blueberries with no fat vanilla yoghurt and Chia and quinoa), then back it up with fruit for lunch.  I just couldn’t see it through to dinner most nights and would wind up eating something really bad.  It all comes down to how exhausted I’ve been…I just don’t have the energy to cook.  My friends have been telling me to get onto Lite N Easy.  I’ve been putting it off because it’s expensive, but I think I might have to bite the bullet and go onto it, just for dinners.  I’m not losing any weight at all at the moment and it’s because I’m sabotaging myself at night.  Plus if I don’t have the energy to cook now, I definitely won’t in a couple of weeks.

What else is new this week?  I upgraded to the iPhone 6s Plus.  I already had the 6 Plus but I wanted to move my number over so I could get my staff discount.  I’d been waiting for it to come in stock and it finally did on Thursday.  There isn’t heaps of differences (as expected) though I have noticed it’s a lot quicker to unlock with fingerprint unlock, and the camera is a lot better.  3D Touch is pretty cool too, though I haven’t found a lot of use for it yet.  It’ll no doubt be better once more apps support it.  The best new feature of the phone though is the colour – rose gold is so pretty 💜

As part of my upgrade I also got a Sonos Play:1 WiFi speaker.  I haven’t had a lot of time to put it through its paces but so far it seems pretty awesome.  The set up was a bit of a pain.  It needed to be connected to the modem via an Ethernet cable, and my modem is plugged in up high in my wardrobe.  The speaker isn’t light so holding it awkwardly while trying to follow all the instructions was tough.  Plus the instructions were vague at times so it took longer than it should have.  Still, I got there in the end and it’s got decent sound quality for a semi-small speaker.  My other annoyance is that it doesn’t support Apple Music (apparently it will by the end of the year but we’ll see) so it can only play the songs physically stored on my phone, or songs through other paid streaming services.  A year ago it would have been fine because I used Spotify back then, but I made the switch to Apple Music and I’m not too keen to have to go back to Spotify just for the speaker.  I guess I’ll just have to ride it out.

This week is going to be interesting.  I’m in store again Monday, then it’s a public holiday Tuesday (yay extra sleep!), then I have 3 days of training (another round of it), then I’m working my first Saturday shift in store, which is going to be mental.  At least the day will go by quickly.  I guess I should get used to crazy though, my new store is probably going to be like that all the time.

I don’t think I have any more updates to add.  I really need to find time to write more often!  Hope everyone had a good week 😊

-JD

Mourning

So, as I’ve discussed in previous posts, I lost my job a few months back.  I’d been there for five years, and while it had it’s rough patches and downsides, for the most part I was happy there.  I’d met heaps of wonderful people (some who are now my closest friends), learnt a lot, found myself and honestly thought I’d be there for a long while to come.

The last year I’d spent there had been the best yet.  We had a great team, I was 50% of the management and the other manager was a close friend, we called the shots and everything was running as smoothly as can be expected.  I loved going to work every day.  About three months before the end, things started to go downhill.   The manager told me he’d found another job, which was devastating for me on a personal level as he was a lot of the reason work was so enjoyable.  It was also devastating for the whole team as he really was the glue that held us together.  After he left, things fell apart.  The new manager tried to change things that shouldn’t have been changed, I felt unheard, the part-timers got their shifts cut back, the roster was full of gaps and mistakes.  I dreaded going to work as I felt like I’d gone from co-store manager back to just one-of-the-team.  Alongside that, I was also copping it from my Area Manager, who told me brutally and in no uncertain terms that she didn’t believe I was ready to be Assistant Store Manager (she’d only been in charge of my store for about a month at that point, prior to her we’d had a different Area Manager who was really laid back and whom we barely saw).  I was furious.  Firstly because she’d been there for so little time so how would she even know?  And secondly because I’d been acting-ASM for nearing two years.  Her main issue was I wasn’t focused on sales coaching (I was very admin-focused at the time) and she believed that was what was required of an ASM.  It didn’t matter I’d done it previously, or that the old Area Manager never once had a problem with me doing admin, or that both the old AM and herself had looked me in the eye and told me the paperwork for my promotion was coming through.

As you can see, I was having a miserable time.  I applied for another job and hoped like hell I’d get it.  I didn’t hear back from them at all for almost two months.  Every single day I’d wake up and think about quitting.  I’d written out two different resignation letters, ready to hand in when I finally broke.  I guess there were a couple of reasons why I didn’t quit.  Looking back, I wish I had of.  The first one was that, despite being taken for granted, lied to, overlooked and basically treated like shit, I was comfortable.  I knew the team very well, I knew the systems backwards, I knew the products we sold, I knew where everything in the store was located, I knew the processes involved with everything.  It was easy.  That’s what it came down to.  Five years experience gave me a confidence in the place that I knew I wouldn’t have in another job.  The second was I couldn’t afford to be unemployed.  I was renting, in the midst of building a house, had bills to pay and a dog to feed.  If I still lived at my parents, it probably would have been a different story, but I was trying to be grown up about it.  Grown ups can’t just quit their job, even if it sucks.

The day started out like all the others.  I woke up, hated the thought of going into work, went in anyway.  Started doing my admin stuff, because that’s basically all I did.  I found comfort in it when I couldn’t in anything else there.  Out of the blue, I was told by the new manager that HR were here to talk to people about “stocktake results”.  I’d been on leave when stocktake was done, and I wasn’t even aware there were any issues.  I assumed that it must have just had a bad month or something and shrugged it off.  I kept going with my day, resenting every minute of it.  I remember texting my friend that morning saying that I should just hand in my resignation then and there.  I honestly felt like I was at breaking point.  I don’t even remember what exactly made me feel that way…I think it had just finally caught up with me.  Oh how I wish I’d actually handed in my resignation then.  Though I suppose it wouldn’t have mattered anyway, it was probably too late by then.

Anyway, for most of the morning I’d forgotten all about the HR thing.  I hadn’t seen them and I didn’t notice anyone leaving the store for extended periods of time (though it had been happening, I’d just assumed they’d gone on break or I’d just overlooked them).  One of the girls came back in shaken up, and it was only then I realized HR had been in the centre the whole time, quietly pulling people out of the store to speak with them.  That’s when I started freaking out.  I’d been through meetings with HR about six months prior and I knew it was bad news, especially because I had an overwhelming feeling it had something to do with me.  It wasn’t a huge leap to make – the new manager had only been there a couple of months, and the old manager wasn’t there any more, and I was the acting ASM.  I messaged the old manager and he said not to worry, it can’t be anything too bad as HR didn’t give notice about the meetings like they were supposed to.  He has a way of calming people (especially me) down, and I did feel a little better.

I remember the next part clear as day too.  I was on the floor, chatting to one of my closest workmates who’d just randomly cracked the screen on her phone, out of the blue.  She was really upset about it and we were trying to work out how it happened when the new manager interrupted and told me to go to my HR meeting.  I was a little nervous but I kept telling myself it was nothing.  I’d have known about it if something bad was happening, surely.

I headed into the meeting.  There was a guy I’d never seen before on one side of the table and a girl from my previous HR meetings on the other.  She was lovely; he was not.  The first thing he asked was if I was okay with the meeting being recorded.  The previous meetings I’d had with HR hadn’t been recorded…what was going on? The meeting turned out to be one of the single most traumatic experiences of my life.  He fired question after question at me, trying to catch me off guard, accusing me of lying, demanding things of me that my brain couldn’t keep up with.  I don’t do well in situations where I don’t have time to think.  I’m an introvert.  I like to think things through before I speak, otherwise who knows what will come out of my mouth?  The meeting seemed to never end.  He had so many questions, and the more he had, the more incriminating my answers became.  Some of the questions were so absurd or random that all I could do was gape at him.  He was a terrifying presence.  He enjoyed making me squirm, I could see it in his eyes.  After an hour and a half, he then finished the interview by asking if I’d felt intimidated by him.  What was I going to say?  If you’re intimidated by someone, you aren’t going to admit it to them.  Especially someone who would get enjoyment out of it.  Then the HR lady (who’d been quite almost the whole time) told me I had another meeting the following morning which “may result in suspension or termination”.  I knew what that meant.  We’d previously gone through it with another employee and my manager had to give him that line (word-for-word) over the phone.  I knew I wasn’t going back to work.  At the very end, the guy told me he’d be forwarding everything onto the police.  Well, if I wasn’t already shaking (and I was), that really got me.

I raced out of there and called my old manager, as he was just as involved in everything as I was.  He tried to calm me down but it wasn’t going to happen, not this time.  He hadn’t been there, sitting opposite a guy who spat questions at you, who wanted to make you upset.  As I couldn’t be consoled over the phone, he agreed to meet up at our other friend C’s house.  We talked for a couple of hours about everything, and although I was still reeling and shaken up, I felt a little better knowing I wasn’t alone in this, and that they thought I’d been treated poorly in the interview as well.

The next day came and I headed into the second meeting, with C coming as my witness.  I was terrified.  I could barely hold back the tears.  How could this be happening?  After five years of loyal service and hard work, were they were really going to give me the boot?  We wound up going to the wrong building and having to race down to the proper one, which didn’t help my frazzled nerves.  We were ushered into a tiny room where my area manager (the one who’d told me I wasn’t good enough to be ASM) and the HR girl from the previous day were sitting.  I was absolutely shitting myself – I didn’t realize my area manager was going to be there.  Looking back I guess I probably should have, and I was grateful it wasn’t the asshole guy from yesterday, but this wasn’t much better.  I actually went okay though, considering.  The area manager read off a piece of paper, she asked a few questions, talked about the findings and outcomes from the day before, they took a break, came back in and told me I was terminated effective immediately.  I handed in my keys and left.  It was all over within half an hour.  Considering the horrors of the previous meeting, this was actually quite good.

I was a mess for about a week afterwards.  I couldn’t believe I’d been fired.  I had so many emotions running through me.  Firstly, I was embarrassed.  I knew how everyone was there – I’d be hot gossip for sure.  Everyone would be talking.  I hated knowing that people would see me as a bad person…I hated knowing I was forever going to be the “manager that got fired”.  I was ashamed.  I didn’t like being caught out for something dumb I’d done a year before.  I didn’t like that I no longer had a way to support myself.  I was hurt.  So many people I’d trusted and thought were my friends had caused this to happen.  They’d ratted me out for no reason other than self-gratification or because they were bored.  They had no need to do it, but they did it anyway.  I was lost.  My whole world for the past five years had been that job.  I’d put in long hours, I’d do extra work, I’d treated staff like family, I’d spent my own money on things to help the store.  Now all that was gone, just like that.  I’d never use the systems I’d come to know so well again, I’d never get to say goodbye to the people I’d gotten to know so well over the years.  I’d sit and cry for hours.  What if I couldn’t get another job?  Who’d want to hire someone like me?

After about a week, my despair turned to anger.  I was furious that people had done this to me.  How could they?  Granted, sometimes I’m not the easiest person to be around, but they were supposed to be my friends.  I’d never done anything to them.  Nothing intentional anyway.  I was angry at the company.  Okay, I’d fucked up, but did they need to fire me over it?  After all the loyalty and long hours?  Where was my recognition for all that?  I felt like the last five years had been a giant waste of time.  I’d worked my ass off and this was all the thanks I got?  I was angry that my old manager had gotten out of it all scott-free.  Even as I was feeling it, I knew it wasn’t fair.  He was one of my closest friends and part of me was happy he’d quit before this all went down, but another part hated him for it.  He was just as responsible for it happening as I was, but he’s got a great job now and I’ve got nothing.  I had to go through that tortuous interview alone.  They couldn’t point the finger at him so I copped it twice as bad.  I guess mostly though I was angry at myself.  I’d had a moment of weakness, and instead of stopping myself, I let it happen.  I knew it was wrong but I did it anyway.  Coupled with that, I was angry at the people around me who knew what I was doing but didn’t stop me.  It was fine for them to tell me now that it was dumb, but they certainly weren’t saying that at the time.

After the anger passed, I just felt hopeless.  By this stage I’d been knocked back for the job I’d applied for a couple of months prior (you can read about that here), as well as a slew of other jobs.  I felt like that’s all I did all day every day.  Search for jobs, change my cover letter, apply for it, wait to hear.  When I heard, I’d go to the interview, and inevitably get knocked back within the week.  This happened time and time again.  It was made worse by the fact that the asshole interview guy had said he was going to the police with everything, and I had no idea if he was just being a dick or whether he was actually going to.  I hadn’t heard from the police at all, but I wasn’t sure what that meant.  A lot of jobs these days run background checks and I didn’t know what would come up on mine.

After three long months, I finally landed a casual job, and then within a week, a better, full time job.  I was relieved as I’d had to rely on my parents again up until then, which I hated.  I hadn’t had to do that for years.  I was still nervous though, as although I’d accepted my contract, they still hadn’t gotten the results back from my background check, and the contract would be voided if anything was found.  My old manager said that the police would have contacted me months ago if they’d been involved but I still wasn’t confident about it.  I went to my induction, each day expecting to be pulled out and told to go home.  It was stressful and it sucked because all I really wanted to do was celebrate my newfound employment but I couldn’t.

I finally knew I was in the clear when I tried to login to the background check website a week later and couldn’t.  That must mean it’s done and came back clear.  Phew!  The asshole interviewer really was just a sadistic bastard.  You’d think after all that I’d be celebrating my new job, but nothing in my life is ever that simple.  I was told I was going to be training two stores down from my old work.  I was terrified.  All it would take was one person from there saying something to someone and it was all over.  I didn’t know what had been said about me, or who knew what happened, or who was on my side.  All weekend I was stressing out, thinking that now that I’d finally landed a job, I was going to lose it and have to start all over again.  I didn’t think I’d be able to deal with that.

On the morning of my first shift back at my old shopping centre, I finally decided to stop worrying.  I’d come this far – I’d landed the job, passed the background check and reference checks, survived induction.  I’ll be damned if I’m going to keep stressing about losing the job again.  I also refused to let the people who dragged me down at my old job, drag me down at my new one.  It was out of my hands where I was told to train at and out of my hands what was said, but it was completely in my hands as to whether I let them win or not.  If I was going to stress the whole time, and avoid them, and let them ruin my time there, that was letting them win.  I’d been working in that centre a hell of a lot longer than them and they had no right to make me think I wasn’t welcome there.

I’ve been at the centre over a week now and it’s been fantastic.  I’ve run into one of the people I don’t like (which was awkward), but I’ve also caught up with quite a few of the people I do and they’re supportive and it was great to see them again.  The people I don’t like haven’t said a word to me and are unlikely to say something to anyone else, so my fears were unfounded.  I feel like I’m back at home again in the centre.

That being said, I still really miss parts of my old job.  I still have dreams where I’m working there, and wake up sad.  I miss the old team and the way we used to get on so well.  I miss being confident in my role.  It’s tough being the new kid again when at my old job, I was the person everyone would run to with their random, difficult questions.  I miss doing admin and rosters.  I miss feeling like I belonged there.  I know with time I’ll get that feeling back with my new job, but right now I just feel out of place – partly because I’m training at a store I’m not based at, partly because it’s a different company with different systems and policies.

It wasn’t until I read an article that I realized this was normal.  People do mourn for their jobs.  It seems like a weird thing, particularly when you hated it towards the end anyway, but it’s legitimately a thing and it’s exactly what I’m going through.  The article said even when you get a new job, the grieving doesn’t stop, and it’s true.  I guess it’s like anything really…you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.  I took for granted my job security, my knowledge-base, my passion for the job.  When it was pulled out from under me so abruptly, I didn’t know what to do.  I think if I had of quit and had two weeks lead up to the end, it might have been different.  I could have mentally prepared myself.  Instead, just like that, it was gone.  I didn’t know waking up that morning, it would be my last shift.  I didn’t get that luxury.

I guess the most important part in all this is to learn from it.  It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been somewhere, or how hard you work, or how loved you are, companies don’t show mercy for mistakes.  If it’s big enough, you’re out of there.  It doesn’t matter if you didn’t do it intentionally or if you didn’t benefit directly from it or if you were trying to do the right thing…if they don’t agree, you’re gone.  I’ve also learnt how tough job hunting is.  Oh sure, I’d heard about it enough, but until you go through it and get knock back after knock back (even for jobs that are basically identical to what you’ve been doing previously) it’s really hard to deal with.  You have to have a thick skin or you’ll sink into depression, or give up and go on benefits and never get off.  I have a new appreciation for how easy that would be.  Luckily I never had to go that far thanks to my family’s support.  Even on my low days, even on the sleep deprived days, I’ll never take having a job and an income for granted again.

As for moving on, I’m trying.  It’s tough having to walk past my old work five times a week, knowing that I used to spend so much of my time there and now I no longer do.  Everything is so familiar there, it’s like looking into my home.  I could tell you stories about every inch of that place.  They still have my hand-created posters up on the walls.  So much of myself is still locked in there and it hurts to know I was evicted.  That being said, I feel myself getting stronger each day.  I have my good days and my bad ones, but I think it’s really helping that I’m enjoying my new job.  Once I start feeling comfortable in it, I think that’s when the mourning will truely end.  Until then, I’ve always got my wonderful memories and amazing friends to be thankful for.  I now know it wasn’t a waste of time…if I hadn’t of worked there, my life wouldn’t be as rich and amazing as it is now.

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-JD

Time to Change – Day Thirty-Five

I can’t remember a time where I’ve appreciated a weekend more.  At least, not in the past year or so.  I can’t believe how tired work makes me.  I guess it’s just trying to learn so many new things at once (coupled by the way the shop heats up so by the end of the shift I feel sweaty and sticky and horrible) but it still surprises me how draining it is after doing a similar job for so long.

Yesterday was another good day.  Aside from maybe an hour, I worked independently and fairly confidently.  Everyone is super friendly there and are all really easy to talk to and ask questions, which is really helping.  I wound up putting through two contracts and had three add-ons for the day.  The add-ons I’m especially proud of as I feel confident in selling them and processing them now, which I’m happy about as I feel like without knowing that, I’m dragging the store down with the contracts I was doing.  Plus, I feel like it’s another big thing I can tick off my ‘Need to Learn’ checklist.

I was practically running for the exit at the end of my shift.  I was so pumped to be heading home for a relaxing couple of days.  I had a long sleep in this morning, then went out to lunch with my best friend.  It was nice to catch up, and I got some extra steps in walking around the shopping centre.  I came home, tried to tackle my overflowing TV shows that had been piling up all week, then had a long soak in the tub.

I also decided to bite the bullet and update my Facebook details to reflect my new job.  I know this may sound mundane and not worth mentioning, but it was a big deal for me.  Initially I wasn’t going to change it until after my probation (that’s still my plan for LinkedIn) but the original reason for me not updating it is so the people who threw me under the bus at my last job didn’t know where I was working.  Well, that lasted a whole 3 days now that I’m working two shops away.  Plus, I don’t have any of them on Facebook anyway and my profile is set to “Friends Only” for everything.  On top of all that, in the week I’d been working in store, I’d had quite a few people spot me and come in and say hi.  I figured it was about time everyone was let in on the change so I didn’t have to tell them individually.  I just hope updating it doesn’t lead to issues down the line (my new job doesn’t know I got fired), but I’m 95% it’ll be fine.  I deleted anyone who I thought might be an issue prior to doing it.  I feel better for updating it, as it felt weird having my profile still saying I worked at my old work after how it all ended.  I didn’t really want to be associated with that place any more.  I’m trying very hard to close that chapter and this is another step towards it.  Plus, now I’m slowly adding people from my new job, I was worried it would be confusing to them if it isn’t accurate.  Can you tell I’m an overthinker?

Tomorrow is housework, a walk and grocery shopping…after another long sleep in, that is.  I can’t seem to even make a dent in my sleep debt but I’m going to give it a good crack!

After I go grocery shopping I’m going to get back on my healthy eating plan.  It’s been a terrible week with what I’ve eaten and how little I’ve been exercising and I need to get my focus back.  I refuse to fall off the wagon completely.  This is just a bump in the road.  I need to keep it up so that in the future, I don’t have to look back and wish I did.

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-JD

Time to Change – Day Thirty-Three

I’ve had another busy couple of days.  It seriously feels like I’m making up for all my laziness over the past few months in one big hit.  I’m enjoying it but it’s exhausting and a little overwhelming.  I’m trying to adjust but I’m struggling and I can’t wait for the weekend so I can relax.

Yesterday I started doing most things alone at work.  I decided anything I didn’t know I’d just try, and if I got stuck I’d ask questions.  I know that makes some of the other staff a bit nervous but it’s the best way for me to learn – I struggle to focus when other people do it and I have to watch, and most of the staff don’t explain what they’re doing or slow down for me to learn properly.  I don’t blame them – I’m sure when I was teaching new kids at my old job, I did the same thing.  I think I did well, considering.  It’s tough though.  I feel pressured to do things fast as I don’t like to make customers wait and get annoyed they’re stuck with the trainee, but the systems are a lot more complicated than my old job and going fast sometimes just isn’t an option.

After work I had to go to training in the city.  I’d only found out about this 24 hours before and I was in two minds about going at all.  It was basic training on one of the products I’d been selling at my old job for years.  I didn’t think I’d learn very much, and I dreaded the idea of having to go to it after a full day of work.  I decided I’d probably better go.  I was worried if I didn’t go I’d look bad, and I don’t want that if I’m aiming to get promoted sometime in the future.  The training was long, dry and boring, as I was expecting.  It didn’t finish until after 8pm and by the time I got home, it was after 9.  I picked up some pizza on the way home, throwing my diet further off track, but there was no way I was cooking that late…especially when I had work at 9am the following day.

Needless to say, it was a struggle to get out of bed this morning.  It doesn’t matter how much I’m enjoying work, I don’t do well on little sleep.  I’d had weird dreams all night, which also didn’t help my mood.  I headed in, feeling fairly average instead of my usual excited self.  Luckily, my day actually turned out quite good.  I ran into a couple of people from my old work who I’m still on good terms with, and they were really interested in what I’m doing now and happy to see me, which was really nice as I’m used to getting the cold shoulder from a lot of the people still there.  Then I had lunch with another friend from my old work who isn’t there any more either.  It was great to see him again.  I also got to have a good talk today with my (temporary) manager about how I’m progressing at work and hear his suggestions on how to learn more.  He was impressed with what I was already capable of doing by myself, and is really keen to get me filling in the learning gaps quickly, which is great because that was what I was hoping he’d say.

On the way home I stopped off at the automatic carwash, after procrastinating about it for months.  I don’t care what anyone says, these things are the best.  $10 and the car goes in filthy and comes out clean, and you get a cool show while it’s happening.  I wish there was one closer to me…I guess maybe there is, but I haven’t seen it.  I should probably take the time to find one, as I won’t be working in that area very much longer so it won’t be my local one any more.  End of an era 😦

My foot is starting to feel a bit better, finally.  I still haven’t gotten back into my walks as it’s only just started coming good and I’m still worried I’ll do damage by pushing it.  Hopefully by the weekend I’ll have a bit more confidence in it.  My weight is back up a little but there’s no surprise there, with my diet and no exercise.  I really need to get back into it, and will.  I’m slowly starting to adjust to my working life, so by next week I should be right back into it.

One more day and I’ll be in relaxation mode!  That’s the only thought that’s going to get me through tomorrow!

-JD

Time to Change – Day Thirty-One

Sorry I’ve been a bit slack in updating this.  It’s a lot harder to maintain a daily blog after a full work day and a Foxtel box filling fast with TV shows.  I’ve had an okay couple of days.  It’s my first full week back at work that doesn’t involve sitting in a classroom.  I feel like the store doesn’t know how to treat me.  It’s not their fault, I was always going to be in a different league to the normal newbies.  They want to treat me the same but I get bored and zone out.  I put my own contract through almost without help today (three days into the job) and I know they were all really nervous I’d mess up.  I did okay though – no major issues from what I could see.  The only problem with independence is that they then assume I can do everything and while I’m advanced, I’m not that far ahead, purely because I just haven’t shadowed people enough to witness them doing certain things.  So then it’s this awkward “ready but not ready” phase.  I want to serve customers alone, I hate following people and being treated like I don’t know anything…but I also hate it when they try to give me something to do and I have to admit I don’t know.  I’m sure it makes them think I’m not ready and I should be shadowing.  Urgh.  Who’d have thought having experience could make things so complicated?

Speaking of experience, my old workmates have finally caught on that I’m back in the centre again.  I accidentally crossed paths with my old manager as I was buying breakfast, and she obviously told the ASM, and the two of them kept walking past all morning.  Seriously, grow up.  Particularly the ASM, as I worked exactly half a shift with her and so doesn’t know me at all.  From what I’ve heard, almost the whole store hates her, and she can think what she wants about me and my actions, but at least I was well-liked when I was there.  I know it shouldn’t bother me that they’re being so immature, but it kind of does.  A little.  I expected it, of course, but I still don’t like it.  I’m trying to move on with my life and they’re there, dragging me back into the drama.  I’m not expecting them to be happy for me, but I also didn’t expect to have to put up with this rubbish.  I just hope they get over it quickly.  I feel like I’m in a zoo or something.

I’ve been eating…okay.  Better than last week but still not great.  I’ve been having banana bread for breakfast (not great), lite apple crumble yoghurt from my favourite place in the centre for lunch (not too bad)…but then by dinner I fall apart.  It’s my fault, I was supposed to have a gameplan lined up but it hasn’t happened.  I’m going to do it properly from next week, after I’ve gone to the shops and collected food to take to work.  I need to eat a better breakfast, that much I know.  I love banana bread but I know it’s really sugary and not at all as healthy as the name suggests.  I also need to go back to healthy dinners.  Tonight I had fish, but last night I had Maccas…not great.  It’s tough being back in my old stomping ground in some respects, because it’s so easy to slip back into old habits, such as take away on the way home.  I’m going to really try not to let that happen again.  My self-control is definitely getting stronger, but it’s still not great.  I think planning meals out will help me stay on track and not get lazy or let my cravings get the better of me.

Although my weight hasn’t changed dramatically on the scales, I definitely feel like I’ve lost weight around my tummy.  It looks smaller in the mirror.  I’m grateful I can see some changes, because I’m a month in and feeling very deflated that my weight isn’t dropping.  I know I’ve had a rough couple of weeks with my diet but I didn’t think it was that bad, save for a few meals scattered throughout.

I haven’t been going on my walks.  My foot isn’t getting any better and I don’t know what to do about it.  Wearing a brace doesn’t seem to help, wearing supportive shoes isn’t helping, resting it doesn’t change anything and exercise makes it worse.  I don’t know whether to just ignore the pain and go out anyway (and risk making it worse), or continue avoiding exercise and risk gaining weight.  Part of me wants to go out and exercise (especially for the dog’s sake) but I’m terrified of doing more damage as I don’t know what I’ll do if I can’t stand.  I can’t risk anything that will affect my job.  It’s just so annoying it isn’t getting any better!

It was payday today, my first one at my new job.  I’m super happy as it looks like my hourly rate is higher than my old job – I only worked for two-thirds of a payrun and my pay was only slightly lower than a full cycle at my previous work.  So good!  I need all the extra money I can get as I’m building a house at the moment and I know little things are going to crop up as it happens.  Super excited for it to be done though, I hate renting.  Such a waste of money and you don’t have the freedom to do what you want either.  Unfortunately the land settlement keeps getting pushed further and further back so who knows when the construction will actually start.

I’ve got three days left of the week and I’m already hanging for Saturday so I can nap.  I feel like it doesn’t matter how much I sleep, it’s never enough.  I don’t know why I feel so drained…the job isn’t hard or anything majorly different to what I’ve done for what feels like forever, but I’m more tired every evening than I can remember being in a long time.  I guess it’s just a big adjustment coming from three months of relaxation and unemployment…and it’s stressful being in a new environment surrounded by people and systems you don’t know very well.  I’m sure after a few weeks I’ll get used to everything and maybe I won’t feel so wrecked.  Until then, I’m going to savour my weekends and catch as many z’s as a I can.

-JD