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Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Lesson: don't take any notice of hormone driven females!

Today has been a real emotional roller coaster once again, one minute up and the next down. The day though has ended very much on the up, and also with some rather humorous conclusions. Do not listen or pay too much attention to a hormone driven female! I will not into too much detail for the sake of my male readers, although I am sure that the majority, along with women the world over, will know exactly what I mean!

I never used to be troubled too much with mood swings at certain times of the month, but have noticed increasingly during the last couple of months that I seem to be experiencing these for the first few days, and being quite tearful to boot. I don't know what has caused this change, whether it may be related to a change in diet away from organic foods and less fruit and veg, but maybe it is time to start paying a little more attention to what I eat.

I guess I just have to learn though not to pay too much attention to myself at these times and take the rough with the smooth - most important of all, I need to laugh at myself and others and just not take everything quite so seriously. To think that I was seriously thinking of leaving my job is really quite laughable, and boy am I glad that I kept my mouth shut and didn't say things that I would regret. As it stands, the waffler was a real gentleman today and I think we are going to get along just fine. Nothing then has changed, I still like working there, and am still good at it and making progress, I just need to listen to my body a little more, or at certain times it seems, a little less.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Why is life so hard?

Today I am feeling really hacked off about work, and I suppose by writing about it on here, I hope I will be able to reach some conclusions as to why I feel this way and what should be done. Everything was going along nicely until this new guy, whom I shall call the waffler, started last week. On the surface he is great and everything that we need for the store, but for some reason he just presses my buttons like mad.

I am the sort of the person who just mucks in and gets things done - and if there is work to be done I can be relied upon to sort it out and do what needs to be done. Anyone who has read my blog will know that this is true, it does not just relate to my writing life, but to my working life in general. It is just the way that I am, to be brought up with that work ethic.

The waffler has worked for the company before, when he was around seventeen years old. He left for reasons best known to himself and came into the store one day a week or so ago asking whether we needed any staff. At the time we had just offered a full time job to someone else, but he rang a few days after he had accepted it to say that he had changed his mind as it did not pay enough. My Manager then phoned the waffler up, interviewed him, checked his references and ultimately offered him the job. It sounds awful but I almost wish now that I hadn't passed his details on, as maybe things would have stayed the way they were.

It was always going to be difficult for me being the only woman in a store full of men, but until last week we had a nice little team and everything was going along well. I had consolidated my position in the store and was making some good sales and some good progress and then along comes this guy and whoosh - everything changes. He is one of those people with a very dominant personality and is also highly competitive. It just seems like he has just waltzed in and taken over the whole store and there is no longer room for anyone else.

I am sure that he doesn't intend to come across like this, and he is no doubt completely unaware that I even feel this way, although my Manager has his suspicions as he hinted at our meal on Saturday that he has also noticed how competitive he is - sometimes too much so in fact. It is not necessarily a bad thing to be like this, but you need to know when to switch it off and where to draw the line and he does not seem to have mastered this yet. It is as if he is trying almost too hard, and part of me can't help wondering what he is trying to hide or mask. Perhaps inside he does not feel good enough and that he has to compete on this level in order to feel good about himself - I am only guessing here, but in my experience, people do not act like this for no good reason and there is always some underlying cause.

It just seems though that since he started he seems to be everybody's new best friend, and I am left to just get on with things. It seems to be the waffler this and the waffler that and the sun shines out of the waffler's backside and there is just no more room for me at all. I realise that this may sound ridiculous and seem like just sour grapes as he has stolen my position as top sales person, but there is more to it than just that. I admit that I am also competitive and like to do well, but not in this blinkered way and certainly not to the detriment of others. Praise has been heaped on me since I started with this company, and although I realise that I do still have a lot to learn, I feel that I have come an extraordinarily long way. My Manager is the first one to acknowledge that, but still I feel alienated and very alone.

On the surface I would appear to have a lot in common with this new guy, since we have both worked in sales most of our lives, are both creative (I as a writer and he as a singer/songwriter), and both have an interest in holistic health, yet in terms of personality we are just poles apart. I love to help people and do my best to give good advice and good service, don't get me wrong, but I am also quite a sensitive soul and need my own space and a certain amount of solitude, hence my regular trips to Lundy. I can cope with disruption and change quite well, in fact better than most people I know when I come to think about it, and love to get my teeth into a challenge, but I recognise when to switch it on and off.

This guy in comparison is a total people pleaser. Since he started here last Thursday, he has offered to collect stock from another store after work, even though he does not drive, and has also personally delivered goods to several customers in his own time. He also has this incredibly annoying and as I see it false habit of calling customers 'buddy'. To me that just sounds trite and patronising and I would hate it if someone who was serving me in a store of any kind called me by that name. Worst of all though, on several occasions when I have been talking to customers about certain things, he has butted right in with what he wanted to say, over ridden what I was telling the customer (because of course he has more experience and knows best) and ended up taking the sale!

This is not an isolated incident but something I noticed about him almost straight away. I hate it though because one has to be continually looking over one's shoulder in case he is there, and as a result it feels like I can no longer relax and just be myself. It is just such an effort to continually watch someone like this and I get exhausted just watching someone him. I was though really upset today when he pinched one of my customers when I was showing them the features of different products - I really think this is incredibly bad manners and not good for the team or the store. I mean it is one thing wanting to help customers and all of this, but you do not do this at the expense of others.

I realised that I had to say something as there is no way I can allow this kind of thing to continue. If I don't start after all as I mean to go on, then things will only fester and get worse - I have been down that road before in other jobs and know this from bitter experience. I took him to one side then and explained that although I did not want to big thing of it, I did not find it acceptable for him to do that and I would be grateful if he could make sure it did not happen again. He looked very chagrined and apologetic and said that he genuinely had not realised I was talking to the customer. I somehow though found this hard to believe, as if the customers own husband noticed and commented to me about it, then he as the salesperson must have blind as well as rude!

I have to concede though that he did give me a sale later on that day, just as he was going to lunch, but this is really not the point. It just should not happen and is just not acceptable.

I worked my backside off for that company during the busiest time of the year, struggling against the odds to get the sales in and the money in the tills with really very little training at all. I stood my ground though and dealt with it all and did damned good job, to the detriment I hasten to add of my own business and personal life. I am damned then if I am going to let some smart Alec know it all just waltz in and take over.

It has left me though I confess close to tears at one point, and wondering whether it is just time to leave. The reason I am so upset is partly to do with the fact that it took me so long to find this job, I was looking for something suitable that would fit in around my book for almost a year, so now I have found it and have started to settle in so well, I do not want to go through the rigmarole of starting again somewhere else. Yet if I am to be brutally honest, I have to concede that I have been feeling unsure and under the weather for a while, ever since we went to back after Christmas in fact.

Some of it is just a seasonal thing, some of it is the conflict between the need to work outside the home and earn money and the need to dedicate time to my writing business. I knew it was never going to be easy, but did not expect it to be this hard. The ironic thing is that I gave up my job at 2 1/2 years ago as it did not give me sufficient time to finish my book, and now 2 1/2 years later on I find myself in the same situation all over again and still working 4 days a week. At least at my old job I worked one late night each week, which would have given me an in effect 2 days a week to do my book stuff, plus the weekends. I can't help wondering sometimes if I made the right decision to go, and yet I know there is no going back. The misery I feel now is nothing compared to the misery of working in that place, and no amount of extra money or time for book activities would adequately compensate for the misery of that place. I doubt if they would have me back anyway after the letter I wrote telling them what I thought!

I really feel though that it is time to re-evaluate what I want from this job and what my motivations are. I will give it until I am back from Lundy to think things over and make a decision as to whether or not I wish to continue in this role working four days a week. I made the decision to do this a few weeks ago, much against my better judgment, and while I do need the money, some things are just more important. One good thing about this new guy might be the fact that he is so good at bringing in the money that we start to get our bonus on a more regular basis, which may go some way towards offsetting the lost wages if I do decide to go back to 3 days.

It occurs to me though as I write this that maybe this is what he is highlighting for me and what it is really all about - the fact that I made the wrong choice in doing this. It just feels like there is no balance in my life - I am continually having to work for others and do not have time for myself - time to go to the gym, time for my book, time to just be and enjoy life. Another thing that annoys me is the fact that they have changed my day off without letting me know and I now have to cancel a hairdressing appointment which I may not not be able to re-book. It is just all seems to much effort and so much hard slog for too little reward. At the end of the day though, I have to do what fills me with joy and at the moment work does not. I just wish that life didn't have to be so hard!