ROUND TWO: OH WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS?
One year ago today, I FINALLY STARTED A NEW JOB! On the 13th? Yes, the 13th. The number 13 was a significant number in 2017. My partner and I would be celebrating our 13th Anniversary, our cat was in his 13th year and our hopefully soon to be new home was No. 13. So there is no way this number could prove traditonally unlucky for us.
Everything was starting to fall into place…….
Everything was starting to fall…….
After weeks of rejections and blank stares, a lifeline was thrown. A job. A job in a shop. A job in a shop that I could do. Not many hours, but holy crap I knew this would suit me. And I it. So many parallels with what I’d been doing and what I was comfortable and at home with. It screamed at me to apply. I needed it more than I needed air to breathe, so an email application was quickly dispatched. I highlighted the good bits, didn’t mention the bad bits, and added some humour and personality to seal the deal. It worked. Within half an hour my phone rang. Fortunately, the Spirit In Charge Of Grown-Up Interactions, who’d written the email, had stuck around and answered the call on my behalf. I was very grateful as she came across as a bona-fide adult, capable, confident, with a cheery disposition. The Spirit secured us an interview and I begged her to go in my place. She refused, but did accompany me and held my hand throughout.
The interview took place in the shop’s ‘kitchen’, next to the toilet. There was only one chair, so the manager had borrowed a stool from the shop next door for me to sit on. The chair was quite tall, like a breakfast bar chair, so the whole set-up was superbly ridiculous. The manager perched high on said chair, and I answered her questions as maturely as possible whilst I squatted on my stool barely one foot off the ground.
I apologised for the state of my face. The past few weeks had taken their toll and I hoped she could see past my gaunt, sunken-eyed pallor. The only colour to my face was the dark brown-grey circles under my eyes. I needn’t have worried, this woman had been to hell and back over the past 6 months, so we both had a little cry whilst we went through the interview checklist. A kinship formed and I was hired.
So. One year ago today, nearly 2 months after my redundancy and in the midst of a house purchase, I started my new job. My manager had only been there 6 weeks herself so, that morning, we both walked into the shop with a spring in our step looking forward to learning the ‘corporate ways’ together, mutual support that meant neither of us felt like the new girl. What greeted us, soon wiped the smile from our faces. On the counter was a set of keys and resignation letter from one of the staff. We’d barely digested that newsflash when the phone rang. It was the area manager to announce another member of staff had also handed their notice in. It was a classic case of ‘the old guard’ not relishing a new manager or regime change and deciding to cut loose, now that someone new (me) was on board. It was nothing personal, but it meant my ‘not many hours’ became ‘can you work all the hours under the sun even though you don’t know anything yet’. Each shop had 4 employees. And now we had only 2. With 6 weeks and 0 weeks experience respectively.
Product knowledge was vital in this particular shop, plus we were part of a national chain, there were systems and routines to learn. Ordinarily we’d be working alone, but with only 2 of us to run the shop 7 days a week, whilst still being shown the ropes, assistance was needed. The answer; to draft in the manager from our sister store to help share the shifts.
Funny story. I knew the manager from the other store.
‘Oh, that’s nice’ I hear you say. ‘A friendly face in trying times, must’ve made life easier’.
No. Not really.
Because this person turned out to be a long time buddy of my partner’s ex-wife.
And I was to work with her on my second day.
It was only an afternoon, but 4 hours is a long time to spend alone with someone who thinks you’re responsible for her best friend’s divorce.
In an attempt to replace the 50% of staff who’d left, the vacancies were advertised and someone new started. Alas, after only a week, she decided the job wasn’t for her and I began to wonder whether the Universe was just really bored and thought it’d be fun to prank me. I needn’t have wondered, further evidence was just round the corner…….
And regular readers may be wondering if this meant I was done with the Job Centre. Hell. No. Nor were they done with me. That particular conflict was still raging in the background. Ammunition supply lines had been bolstered on both sides, the final showdown still to come.
Note from the Editor; I am not responsible for anyone’s divorce.
If you are employed or otherwise content and stable with your work/life/domestic situation, please pop over to Wanted. Not Wanted. where you can have a smug, self-righteous, cosy giggle at my crumbling self-esteem. You’ll find my self-initiated Job Club, my ridiculous misguided applications for ANY kind of work and my redundancy diary, a revealing look into the day to day life of
the lowlife worthless pits of humanity the unemployed. If you are not content and stable with your work/life/domestic situation, then let’s hold hands and stick our tongues out at the rest of the world. But you still have to go read all the stuff.