Category Archives: Work Woes

New Career, Who Dis?

You know the saying, “life comes at you fast?” Well, since completing my undergraduate studies, life has been moving at light-speed. No more than 2 hours after crossing that stage in the middle of my alma mater’s football stadium on May 18, 2013, everybody asked, “So will/when are you going back?” and “What’s next?” And at that moment, and for the two summer months that were to come, my only response was, “I don’t know. Can’t I just take a moment to breathe and enjoy myself for a little?” I mean I’d just spent 5 hellish years in Baltimore, Maryland aka The Devil’s Asshole, USA. I was exhausted. I didn’t even want to think about being in school for another two years. So, with that, I packed my shit, left Baltimore and headed home to New York for a post grad summer. It was fun, but it was over sooner than I would’ve liked it to be. And with it’s end, came the inevitable return of the “what now?” Only this time, I was the one asking myself that question.

It has been two years since I’ve completed my undergraduate matriculation and those two years have had their share of ups and downs in all aspects of my life. But the professional and financial sides are the parts of my life that I always stress myself out about most. After the summer of 2013 came to a close, I began grappling with the idea of what I would be doing with myself career wise. I’d earned my BA in English with a concentration in creative writing and the only thing it’s gotten me is 92K worth of student loan debt. I had no idea how to put this expensive ass accomplishment to good use.

I love writing. I love reading. I love words. But after coming home, I remembered that hobbies don’t pay the bills. At least not for me. At least not yet. I’d have to get “a real job.” Along with my reality check, where my student loan debt served as the gratuity that nobody ordered, came a doggy bag filled with post grad style depression. Yum. I felt like a bum. I wasn’t working anymore since my summer gig ended when the summer did, I was broke and my mother was reminding me every day that I’d be getting my first letter from Sallie Mae soon. At that point any job would do. And I got one. You guys remember, right? Nordstrom? Yeah. Retail proved to be a hell almost as bad as living in Baltimore. Sure, the money was decent, but I was miserable and I didn’t go to school to sell old bitches hosiery. But, as all of you also know, I was fired within a month. It was hidden blessing, really.   Right after being let go from that slave ship, I stumbled upon what I’d later realize was my calling.

You guys already know this too, so this is just a recap, but I started working part-time at an afterschool program as a tutor about a month after Nordstrom dumped me. The hours were trash and the money barely covered my financial responsibilities, but I’d had it in my mind that some income was better than no income at all and that I’d just do what I had to do for the time being until I worked out a plan to get a better job that better suited my needs. At this point I was still lost on where the fuck I saw myself 10 years from now. I needed money. That’s all I knew or even cared about. The depression hadn’t subsided. I was still crying every week and had convinced myself that I’d racked up all this debt for nothing. And without noticing, I was started to accept that about myself. The jobs I was applying for to replace the one I had at that moment were still bullshit jobs that surely didn’t put my degree to use. I was being lazy, a character trait that I’ve owned my entire life. Only I didn’t look at it that way until recently. But while I was searching for new employment opportunities, I was unknowingly learning that I loved working with kids. I loved helping them learn. And while having a conversation with a friend of mine about my day at work with a child I’d been working with, he pointed something out to me.

“Sounds like this is something you’re meant to do,” he told me.

Bing! It did sound that way, didn’t it? The way these kids mattered to me wasn’t something I actually paid attention to but it was pretty clear that I cared deeply for them and that I found joy in helping them succeed academically. People always asked me if I wanted to be a teacher once they learned I had an English degree, but I’d always responded indifferently because I was focused on being an author. But look! Unbeknownst to be, I’d found something new to be passionate about. So it was then that I decided that I’d pursue it.

I won’t lie and say that from that moment on I got right to work on becoming a teacher. Unfortunately, it took some shit going wrong for me to get my shit right. The school I worked at offered me a full time position a few months after my conversation with my friend happened and I began getting comfortable in my mediocrity. There was talk of my moving up at the school but it wouldn’t have been much of an accomplishment looking back at it now. However, God makes you uncomfortable when He wants you to grow. And so after two years of employment at that school, they fired me this August off some bullshit. And let me tell you, unemployment is uncomfortable as hell. But thanks to another friend (my mother thinks we should send him a thank you card. She’s sweet.), I was given an opportunity to get into my career.

It’s been two weeks at my new school and I’m in love with it. After my first visit, I knew that it was where I wanted to be. And after I received my official offer to join their team, I committed myself to working at this shit. It’s A LOT of work. I missed the month’s worth of training workshops that my colleagues had attended in August, so I’m playing catch up. Not to mention, I have to wake up at 4:00 AM Mon-Fri to get to work. But I learned that when you find something you want badly enough, you will put in the work and step out of your comfort zone in order to get it done.  Plus, receiving a salary pay with benefits as well as a getting a little help paying for classes to earn my M.A in Education (I enroll August 2016) isn’t a bad motivation factor. I’ve been leading reading and writing lessons in a classroom full of kids and I’m having a blast doing so! I’m helping children learn to love something that I already love. I finally know what it feels like to enjoy going to work.

I always seem to find myself starting over in some way when my summers come to a close. As the weather shifts so does something in my life. Funny how that works. But this time, when I was left asking myself, “what now?” I had an answer. I’m happy to say that I know what to do now and that I’m just anxious start working at it.

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Saying Sorry

Summer is here! Aside from being grateful to have survived one of the harshest, bitterest, coldest bitch fits I’ve ever witnessed Mother Nature throw, I’m happy to report that I’m working full time once again and getting tanned while doing so. Yes, I’ve returned to working at the summer camp that I was with last year that is based at the school where I worked during the cooler months of this past school year. A few of my regular kids are still here with a couple of newbies. And, as always, kids will be kids and that means that their shenanigans will provide material for this here blog.
The first week of camp is already over. I did my share of yelling at them when they appeared to have lost their God-given minds. They did their share of making me laugh hysterically during times like when they all started to nae-nae in unison while yelling, “aaaayyyyyeeeee!” with their hands up after hearing the beat to We Dem Boys drop from the radio (I may or may not have joined in). And as expected, they’ve inspired another blog post.
On the first day of camp, a barbecue was thrown to welcome to children to the summer camp program. There were hot dogs and a rented moon bounce. Aside from writing a grand total of 7 incident reports due to kids being kids and hurting themselves, it went smoothly. When I returned to work the next day, the moon bounce was still in the school’s backyard. My kids noticed and spent the day pleading with my co-worker and I. After hours of hearing, “can we go to the bouncy house pleeeeaaasssseeee???????”, my co-worker, Mr. Levon, caved and brought them to the backyard. I’d almost fought a 5th grader a few minutes earlier, so I escaped to a quiet room for my lunch break. Some peace and a few French fries were necessary. But my cool was blown soon after I returned to the children in the backyard.
“What happened?”
Not a soul was in the moon bounce they had spent all day begging to play in. Instead, they were sitting and sulking.
“Someone took the sand and threw it everywhere.” Jalen reported with a broom in his hand. “But I didn’t do it.”
I looked to Mr. Levon for answers.
“A few of them decided to open the sandbox meant for the smaller children to play with back here, and threw the brand new sand that was just put in there this morning EVERYWHERE. And when I asked who it was, nobody wanted to confess.”
Of course they were throwing sand. Of course no one wanted to confess. I shook my head and looked at them.
“Well I guess they’ll never go outside again. It’s only day two and you guys are acting like animals. Whatever.”
After listening to the school’s Assistant Director scold them and ban the kids from ever playing in the backyard again, I led my group of kids back to their classroom.
“Ms. Noëlle, so we’re never gonna go in the bouncy house again?” Carrie asked.
“Nope!”
“But that’s not fair!” Nassan whined.
“Ms. Alaya doesn’t trust you guys back there anymore. I wouldn’t either. You guys have to prove to her that you can be trusted to play in the yard without destroying things. Maybe you guys should write her apology letters for throwing her brand new sand.”
“But I didn’t do anything!” Kamar whined.
“But you guys are a class and need to take responsibility for one another. No one tried to stop whomever it was. So if you didn’t throw sand, apologize for your class’s behavior.”
And so they wrote and I read 20 apology letters addressed to the school’s Assistant Director. But while reading, I noticed a trend with every letter. The children apologized alright, but their apologies were filled with “even though I didn’t do it” and “it wasn’t me though.” Not a single letter simply said, “I am sorry.” They all filled their letters with excuses, pleas and finger pointing. As I read, I shook my head and thought seriously about making them start their letters over again. Then it hit me. I know adults that apologize just like these children.
Here’s the thing about saying you’re sorry: you just do it. Of course it has to be sincere, but you don’t need many words. Your apology doesn’t require additional explanations. If you’re wrong and apologizing, do that. Eat that shit. Nobody wants to hear, “I’m sorry” followed by some bullshit justification of your shitty behavior. No thanks.
“I’m sorry, but…” does not read as being genuinely apologetic. It comes off as “I’m only going to say that I’m sorry to shut you up because I truly believe that I have no fault here and here is why I’m not wrong.” And if that’s how you feel, why bother apologizing at all? Keep it because I sure as hell don’t want to hear that.
It’s not always easy to admit fault whether you’re a child or an adult. The difference is, however, that as adults, we are supposed to know better and therefore, do better. We’re human and we fuck up. It’s going to happen and it’s going to happen a lot. But when you know your fuck up needs to be apologized for, apologize sincerely and skip the reasons and excuses. Trim the fat off of that “I’m sorry.” Be a responsible adult and take responsibility for what you did and that what you did was wrong.
In the end, the children delivered their letters to Ms. Alaya and were forgiven. They got one more day to injure themselves in the bouncy house before it was deflated and packed away (praise God!). And I now have a reminder for why I must only apologize when I mean it. Sometimes you have to take the L. Save your breath. Keep your excuses. Don’t point fingers. Just say, “I’m sorry.”

Faith

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Today, one of my tutees made me cry. Maybe I’m soft. Maybe I’m hormonal. But the fact remains that I shed a thug tear because of a seven year old today and I am not ashamed.

Her name is Faith and she’s in the second grade. I first met Faith this past summer while working at the summer camp hosted by the school I currently work at. She instantly became one of my favorite campers and she was well aware and took advantage of it. Although I shouldn’t have, I played favorites with the children and Faith was in the top 5 kids I wouldn’t mind hanging out with during those bus rides to whatever place we were headed for a field trip.

But, once I began working at the school during the academic year and learned that Faith would be one of the children that needed a little extra help, I knew that I’d have to be a little less lenient with her than I was during the summer months. The hours spent trying to teach her and the other little girls how to jump rope would have to be replaced with trying to get Faith to finish her homework in a timely fashion as well as work on some of her reading, writing and arithmetic. Kevin had warned me about how she wasn’t the easiest to work with when it came to academics and I soon learned that he wasn’t exaggerating. Faith was and still is very much behind her fellow classmates.

But since working with her, as well as a few other children, I’ve noticed that confidence is important. In an incident about two weeks ago, I witnessed her parent harshly criticize the girl for a picture she had drawn of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for her book report. Personally, I thought the drawing was pretty damn good for a second grader. MLK’s eyebrows were snatched! But her self esteem plummeted as soon as her parent told her how sloppy the drawing looked and that she wouldn’t receive a good grade on her report despite all of her hard work. No wonder this poor girl doesn’t want to do the work, I thought. She doesn’t think that she CAN!

As of last week, Faith’s class has started working on their multiplication skills. Ask anyone that knows me, and they will tell you that I loathe all math. I’m an English nerd for a reason. So when my supervisor informed me that Faith was struggling to grasp the basic multiplication table, I felt her pain immediately. At least in high school, they give us scientific calculators and encourage us to use them for any and everything. But in second grade, you pretty much have to memorize that little chart in the back of your composition notebook and hope you remember what 8×7 equals on test day. Faith was not amused. She even asked me if she could read a book instead of working on math. Faith doesn’t like to read. I knew this would be one long hour.

I decided to start out with showing her a few strategies that would help her solve the simple stuff. She seemed to be getting the hang of it so I decided to test out just how much she was retaining.

“Ok so I’m going to give you three problems and set the timer on my iPad for 5 minutes. Sound good?”

“Yeah!”

“Now what do I always tell you?”

“Take your time and don’t rush.”

“Exactly. If you don’t finish in time, it’s okay. I want to be sure you get them right. Its not a race.”

But of course, she was excited and rushed through the problems. She finished with two minutes to spare.

“Done!”

“You don’t want to check them?”

“No.”

“Are you sure?”

“No, I don’t want to check them.”

“I think it’d be a good idea if you did.”

She reluctantly picked her pencil back up and “checked” her answers. I knew they would be wrong and I knew she would be upset. As suspected, the first answer was incorrect. So was the second. So was the third. With each swipe of my pencil to draw a small “x” near her error, he shoulders slumped and her face turned redder.

“They’re all wrong. I knew it!”

She hung her head and looked away from me.

“Faith, look at me. Faith!”

She raised her wet eyes to meet mine. I could see that she felt defeated once again.

“We’re going to get this right! I’m here to help you. That’s what my job is. Don’t give up on me. I’m not going to baby you but I’m here to help you. Now lets work.”

So we did. We went over those problems and corrected the errors. We practiced our strategies again and again.

“Alright now. I’m going to give you three new problems and set the timer for 5 minutes again.”

She looked at me with hesitation.

“You got this. What do you have to do?”

“Take my time.”

She used all five of those minutes to answer each problem and check them twice. She put her pencil and head down once the buzzer rang signaling that time was up. She was preparing herself to be wrong again. I was all too excited to show her that she had in fact solved every problem correctly.

“You did it!”

She fought back a smile as she wiped her eyes. It was then that I felt myself getting choked up. I opened my arms and told her to come over to where I was seated. She embraced me and I held back a tear.

“I told you that you could do it. Don’t you feel silly for doubting yourself now? You’re an amazing and smart girl, Faith. Don’t EVER let anyone tell you differently. Don’t EVER think that you can’t because you CAN. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help because everyone needs help once in awhile. I’ll never turn you away. I’ll never give you more than you can handle. I’ll never stop believing in you so don’t you ever stop believing in yourself! You can do whatever you want if you work hard enough and don’t ever forget that! You’ll make mistakes sometimes. You’ll get stuff wrong. But that’s okay. Just take your time and do your best and I promise you will get it. Understand?”

Faith looked at me, nodded, smiled and embraced me again. My heart was so full it almost burst.

Every now and then, I feel like Faith. I get frustrated and want to give up. Everything I do feels like I’m getting it all wrong. But to see her want to give up reminded me that I do not have the option of giving up. I have to keep going so that I can reach more kids like her and remind them that they too can do whatever they want. You won’t always get it right on the first try. You wont always get it right all by yourself. But you have to take your time. You have to go over things and make sure that it’s the way its meant to be. You have to trust yourself. You’ve got to have faith.

“We have 10 more minutes. Do you want to read or do you want to practice some more?” I asked.

“Lets practice some more!”

And so we did. She got 3 more problems right with 50 seconds on the clock to spare.

(FYI I didn’t cry in front of her as I was talking to her. I excused myself and went to the ladies room after she went home.)

Another One Bites The Dust

It seems that I cannot keep a job for long. No, I haven’t been fired again. But, I’m typing this from a desk at my current place of employment, fighting the urge to walk into the HR office and scream, “I QUIT!” What I thought would be a job that would serve as a step in the right direction when I comes to having a career in a field that I love, has turned into a pain in my ass. I accepted this job with good faith in those that hired me when I should have heeded the warnings of members of the community that advised against me applying for a job here in the first place.
What bothers me most about this institution is the level of unprofessionalism that administrators show. On Monday, hours were cut for certain employees and those employees weren’t notified until a couple hours before they had to report for work. How professional is it to call someone 20 minutes before (s)he has to leave his/her home to inform him/her about something like that? How about taking into consideration that these things affect people’s lives. Our pay checks are fucking comical yet it’s a well known precaution to wait a day before depositing them into our accounts because they might bounce. UN-FUCKING-BELIEVABLE!
I love the children I work with but love isn’t paying bills or student loans. Everyday I try not to cry just thinking about the financial hole I’ve dug for myself for the sake of getting a college education and to just not use the stupid piece of paper sitting in a bin in my bedroom. My mother’s constant lectures that she tries to disguise as pep talks do little to comfort me either.
So here I am, a depressed postgraduate, dodging Sallie Mae phone calls like bullets and drinking more than what is healthy. A month ago I was optimistic about things but the dark clouds have rolled the fuck in and there is no sign of sunshine in sight. I’ve traveled to work too many times, despite my urge to call out, only to find out that each child that I was supposed to work with that day had been sent home early. And when there’s no children, I don’t get paid. It’s time to move on.

Live From The Hosiery Department: This Is The End

As predicted, my retail career has come to an end.  It seems that the big heads at the NORDSTROM (I’m no longer an employee so I can say the name) cooperation found a few tweets that reflected my distain for the company and my nagging department manager.  I gracefully accepted the separation, fought my very hardest against the urge to tell the HR manager to deep throat a barbed tiger penis, handed them my dressing room key and left.  So much for that.

But as the saying goes, “When one door closes, another opens.”  God must be used to my big mouth and my not so sugar coated writing getting me into trouble because on Wednesday, my old job at the school I worked for in the summer called me and asked for me to call back to set up an interview.  There’s also a school opening up in Queens that is looking for assistant teachers and they told me to send in my resume.  I really do miss working with kids and although the salary isn’t as much as I was making at the store, I’d rather be doing something I enjoy for less than doing something I hate.  Besides, at a school, I get my weekends back and Lord knows that I miss those with every fiber of my being.

The job at the school won’t be forever but it’s a step in the right direction when it comes to using my degree that has acquired me thousands of dollars in student loans to pay off.  I didn’t spend hours and hours in class just to sell over priced sheer stockings to elderly women that are just going to return everything two weeks later.

I’ll miss a couple of the people I met through the job but I’ll charge it to the game and I wish you guys the best (Jazmyne, Chloe, Sandy).  As for everybody else, fuck you.  =] (especially my manager for making me come in this morning, knowing what was about to happen.)

Live From The Hosiery Department: Week 5

It didn’t take me very long to realize that my adventures in retail will short lived.  In fact, my co-workers have told me that it’s too soon for me to have the attitude that I have towards the company.  I had to inform them that it doesn’t take me very long to get hip to bullshit and once I’m hip, my tolerance is set at the minimum level.  After only a few weeks, I hate my job and can’t wait to quit.

As I’ve mentioned before, my work environment allows me to observe the 1%ers of our society in one of their natural habits.  Everyday, I encounter bored housewives pushing strollers looking for Spanx that will suck in the excess baby weight, elderly women that are fussy about the cotton blend that their socks are made out of, and everyone else who’s going to a black tie event wearing a black dress, black shoes and looking for black sheer stockings to complete their Wednesday Addams look.  They all want your undivided attention and special treatment because their husbands’ hard earned money is paying for their over priced hosiery that they’ll be returning in a week and complaining that it didn’t fit.

With the recent Barney’s incidents making news headlines, I’ve started to pay even more attention to the color lines that are created in my store by customers and employees.  Not all, but a few customers and co-workers have made it awkwardly clear that they don’t know how to curb their inappropriate comments and behavior towards employees that are non-white.  Sometimes its funny and sometimes I want to sit them down and take them through a lesson or two on the African diaspora.

In one situation, a woman was being helped by one of my co-workers who happened to be black.  My co-worker disappeared for a second to help another customer and I noticed that the customer was looking lost.

“Do you need help with anything?’

“I was being helped but I can’t find who was helping me.”

“Okay.  Do you remember what she was wearing?”

“No”

“Do you know what she looked like?”

She paused for a moment and looked uncomfortable.  It was then that my co-worker came back and let me know that she was helping the customer.  From the second the woman paused I could feel that she didn’t know whether or not it was alright to tell me, “She was black.”  She could have even said, “She was brown skinned” to distinguish between which black girl she was talking about since there were three of us floating around that day.

Dear white people, it is okay to acknowledge that a black person is indeed black.  We know we’re black.  We won’t get offended, I promise.  By being afraid to acknowledge that she’s black, you kinda look bad already.

In a more recent situation, I experienced a white co-worker get a little too comfortable and let her white privilege show.  She was feeling upset that her manager seemed to be making her do all of the work in her department while the other employee didn’t seem to be doing much at all.  The poor girl even started crying.  I felt bad for her and she’s really a sweet girl so I tried my best to make her feel better.  She’s one of the few white girls on our floor and sometimes it looks as if she feels left out because she can’t always relate to our topics of discussion when we’re bullshitting around the cash-wrap.  Her manager and fellow department employee are both black and she’s kinda the odd girl out.  But she’s great at what she does and I often tell her that I always see her do more than any of us do.  She’s always cleaning, re-sizing racks and such.  All in all, she’s a good employee and I was sad to see her so upset and feeling like she wasn’t being appreciated.  But as always, you give someone an inch, and they take a mile.

“I don’t think its fair.  I get less hours to work and less chances to make money but I am always doing the most in the department.”

“Talk to your manager and explain how you feel.  Weren’t you interested in switching departments?”

“She said that she doesn’t want to lose me and have me go to another department.  But she’s not treating me fairly.”

There was a short pause and then she said,

“But I’m not racist.”

I blurted out in laughter at the statement.  Not because it was funny but because it was the only thing I could do other than make her feel even worse about herself by telling her that she was indeed racist by saying that she wasn’t.  Nowhere was race brought up in the conversation so there was no need to reassure me that she wasn’t racist.  It’s like when people begin a statement by saying, “no offence.”  You just know they’re about to say some offensive ass shit that they’ll need to get popped for.  But like I said, I like her and she’s always so nice so I gave her a pass this one time.

“Nobody said you were racist.”

“I know, I know.  I just wanted to be sure.”

“Yeah yeah its fine.  I’m sure you know that there are lazy people of all races.”

We laughed again and I hoped that the awkwardness would stop there.  She walked off to see if a customer needed help and I pretended to be busy looking things up on the register.  About 4 minutes later she was at my side again, ready to lodge her foot even farther down her throat.

“I feel like they’re racist towards me.”

“Huh?!”

“Like, they’re racist towards me and it’s not fair.  It’s the two of them and they just make me do all of the work.”

NO.  NO NO NO NO NO!  My mind filled with responses such as “Oh like slavery?!  Yeah, we loved all the cotton picking we were forced to do while your great-great-great granddaddy raped our women and beat the men!” or “Your white privilege is showing, bitch.”  News flash but what you’re experiencing is not racism, dear.  You’re just good at what you do and your manager, who is new at her job, is doing a poor job of showing you how she appreciates how you work.  She’s giving you earlier shifts because it’s easier to make money before the down time in the evening.  I guess God knew that this was not the time or place for me to get my Angela Davis on because a customer was sent over in need of nude sheer stockings so I was called away.  But I’m sure she was able to read my discomfort and she never brought it up again.

The color wars don’t end with white people though.  I’m starting to think that one of the black girls has an identity issue of her own.  I started noticing things awhile ago but one conversation in particular solidified that somebody needed a wake up call from Malcolm X himself.

It started with a simple joke that referenced the movie Roots.  Even if you’ve never seen the movie in its entirety, as a black person, you know of it and you know the famous scene where Kunta Kinte is being beat and told that his name is Toby.  Well my manager didn’t.

“What?!  You dunno Roots???”

“No. “

“Yeah but everybody knows that scene though.  I’m taking your black card.”

“That’s fine.  I’m only 25% anyway.”

If my life was a TV show, it was then that I would have turned to the audience and gave them the “is this bitch serious?” look.  But instead of an audience, I had my co-worker and we both looked at one another waiting for the follow up and if it’d sound even more ignorant.

“You’re black.”

“My mother is this southern, silver spoon fed girl and my dad is this hood, Brooklyn guy.  I have Native American in my family and French.   I grew up around everybody.”

“Yeah but…you’re black.”

Native American?  Did she really pull THAT one?  Lets be clear.  You may have a whole bunch of stuff mixed up in your gene pool and that’s nice.  But to these white folks, you’re a black girl.  Your edges get just as kinky as mine do, boo.  Again, God knew that I was about to stand on my soap box and start talking about how she sounds totally ignorant, so another customer popped up and scurried her away so that she could sell em a pillow or something.

As much as I love to complain about my HBCU experience, I must say that I’m grateful for what I learned there and how it helped me to become the black young woman that I am.  My eyes are a little more opened than some others are because of it.  I’m far from a member of the black panther party but I’m not blind to the fact that life as a black woman is just….different.  It breaks my heart when my fellow black women feed into the ignorance that’s been created around our identities.  Be who you are, but also understand that who you are includes being a black woman.  There’s no need to throw in a whole bunch of additives to make you seem more exotic.  French, bitch?  You can’t even pronounce Au Bon Pain correctly.    We’ve got to do better.

I know that as long as I’m working in this store, there will be more moments like this and I hope that God keeps sending random customers in need of assistance as soon as I feel like I’m about out scream “THE BLACK MAN IS GOD!” with my hands raised in the air as I storm out of the department.  Jesus be a fence around me.

Live From the Hosiery Department: Week One

My first week as a retail employee has come to a close.  First, let me begin by saying that I have a newfound respect for those of you out there that work in retail or that have jobs where you must stand up and be on your feet for hours.  I applaud you and now share your pain. 

This is my first retail job and going from customer to sales rep is a bit trippy.  In my first week, the concept of “SELL!  SELL!  SELL!” has been constantly drilled into my head.  It felt like I was sitting in on a conversation while somebody was talking shit about me without knowing I was there.  Is this how customers look to people that work in retail?  Am I a dollar sign in the eyes of every salesperson that sees me walk through the double doors of their store?  Of course many people are getting paid off of commission and so your money does affect their income, but I can’t help but to feel like a slab of meat being dangled in front of a pack of salivating hyenas.  And now I am a hyena, only I think I may be a vegetarian.  I hate to be harassed or feel like I’m being persuaded into a purchase that I do not sincerely want to make but now I’m required to schmooze little old ladies into buying 5 pairs of the same stockings for what I feel to be ridiculous amounts of cash.

Realistically, my store is meant to draw in the customers that have that extra stack of cash to blow on frivolous items that us commoners would never.  But that doesn’t stop me from feeling a twinge of guilt every time I swipe one of their credit cards and watch them sign away 200+ dollars just for a pair of Spanx.  But I guess if you’ve got it like that….

Aside from having to drown out my conscience when pushing embellished tights and organic socks, my job isn’t half bad.  I do enjoy the feeling of knowing that I have some sort of money coming in.  I don’t plan on making this a permanent career choice, but it sure as hell beats sitting at home all day eating everything in sight and lying to my mother about my level of productivity.  I also hope that this job can serve as a means of inspiration for a couple of funny stories and lessons about human behavior.  There is nothing like watching the 1%ers in their natural habitats.  This is also an opportunity to work on my people skills.  A writer must live many lives and I think having various occupations helps in that department.

So here’s to week one being a success and to taking every experience and turning it into something worth writing about.