What a week it’s been: Got an interview a week ago, sweated over the weekend, had my phone die (which meant that I had to talk my wife into buying me a replacement), got a call back, and went in for my first day of training today. I still have another training day tomorrow, at which point I think that I’ll be on the schedule for the next week (hopefully somewhere nearing full-time). So far, so good, although I did laugh through the anti-union propaganda video I had to watch, where it portrayed unions in their worst possible light, while minimizing benefits which unions have brought to the entire workforce. I especially enjoyed how the video framed its message as “maintaining your right to bargain with your employer.” Because we all know that large corporations will seriously consider the needs of its common employees out of a sense of decency. Whatever. I’m not that worried about it, to be honest. I’ve spent so much of the past twelve years in management that it really hasn’t been an issue for me. Now if I can just get through the mind-numbing computer training tomorrow, I’ll be home-free.
Today was pretty simple. I went in, filled out the necessary paperwork (in short order, with no mistakes- the benefit of having to supervise paperwork from the other side of the table), watched some (unintentionally) hilarious videos about how amazing my new employer is, and then went down to finish the day on the computer training. The first part was familiarizing myself with their POS, which I suppose was made easier by the fact that I have used three different systems over the past decade, and have the general idea pretty well sussed out. For the “Mastery” section, where I had to demonstrate that I could follow the steps laid out for me on the left-hand side of the screen, I snagged a perfect 100. I spoke briefly to the Assistant Manager about it, and had a nice conversation about how training programs are all well and good, but you don’t really start to understand a system until you’ve actually been using it. And you don’t understand everything wrong with it until there is a line out the door, and the manager has just stepped out for his break. But I’m not worried about it. Like I said, I’ve used a handful of systems over my career, and I already know the basics.
And then we got to do the “Harassment” section of the training, which almost killed me. As a manager in the “Great” State of California, I had been required to take a Manager Harassment Course every two years. The last time I took it was last summer (it might have been autumn). And, of course, it must last at least two hours, which means that instead of being able to read through at my own pace and refresh my knowledge of when it’s not appropriate to grab someone’s ass and say, “That’s a handful of sexy right there. What are you doing in the break room in ten minutes?”, I had to keep myself from falling asleep as I waited for the glacial pace of the narration to catch up with me at the bottom of the page. I’m not saying that this training isn’t necessary, just that there has to be a better way to do it which doesn’t involve some type of psychic euthanasia. By the time my shift ended for the day (all four and a half hours of it), I had only managed to finish seventy-five percent of the course, leaving me frontal lobe analgesia for tomorrow. I hate dealing with people, but it is at least slightly more tolerable than being read to as if English wasn’t my native language.
Also, they sort of lost me when the narrator said, “expecially.”
I’m trying to view this change in careers as a positive thing, as opposed to a desperate move to put some money in my pocket and pay off my bills. It’s not entirely untruthful that I am looking forward to learning something new (outside of restaurants), as this will only serve to educate me in an area in which I had previously never had the opportunity to experience. I did try to get into retail six years ago, when I wound up taking the job at Blondie’s (I dropped my resume off at the pizzeria as an afterthought, unaware that the owner there was the same as the record store down the street where I was actually interested in working. I’m trying to keep an open mind about this, and hoping that both full-time and a promotion are just around the corner, which isn’t an unreasonable expectation. My first job down in California, I made management within my first six months. My next job provided a promotion after just a couple of months (to a training position), management in less than six, and senior management in nine. I started at Blondie’s as a “Manager In Training”, and wound up as Assistant within several months, getting shuffled around to put out company fires, and then finally given my own store as GM.
Like I told the Store Manager when he interviewed me, I have no problem starting at the bottom and working my way up, although, after all these years in positions of responsibility, I would much rather begin a few rungs up. I believe that it’s important for a manager to know how everything works, and to have at least one station which he or she can rock way harder than his or her employee, while being at least competent on the others. No one expects the manager to be a specialist. He is there to make sure that everything runs smoothly, and to deal with things should they go wrong, not run a register all day. And at least at this job, there is very little chance that I will have to work with dough, which had been a point of frustration for me at both Fuddrucker’s and Blondie’s. Kneading dough just makes my arthritic fingers ache. And shut up. I know that I am a little young to have arthritic fingers.
So that’s been my week. Now that the internet is back, and I have something to write about besides my general anxiety, I’ll be getting back into a more regular schedule of posting. I don’t know if they will be done by noon everyday, like I’d been doing, but I’m definitely back for good. Tomorrow, when I get back from another fun-filled day at work, I’ll put up something new for all of you to read. Thanks for bearing with me through these trying times.
And, if you haven’t picked up my books yet (or left a review), please do so!
From The Vaults of Uncle Walt, Volume One
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I’m trying to check out what’s going on with the links for the U.K., but I can’t seem to get anything for them. If I haven’t listed your country, and you are interested in picking up one (or both!) of my e-books, please go to your country’s Amazon.com, and search for “Tex Batmart”.
See you all tomorrow!