Wednesday, September 21

Sometimes it's just as bad as you'd think

It's reassuring actually, when things are every bit as horrific in reality as they were in your imagination.

I had a root canal recently, and although I'm not afraid of dental work, I am at least a little bit sensible, and was certainly *not* looking forward to the exploration of my tooth's roots. Day of the work, though, I found myself relieved when the hands were removed from my mouth mostly cause it meant I could finally ask all my questions about what the f*ck had been going on in there, and less because it meant the root exploration was complete.

All this to say that I'm sitting with a beer having just finished my first shift at my new retail job. I'm working at a clothing store. I'm not going to name it--one of my smaller life goals is to die without having been sued--but let's just say that I'm certain that you own at least one item of apparel from this store. Let's further say that this store, and the stores related to it, are much like Law and Order: inescapable, and relatively likeable to the vast majority of people.

Why was the first shift so bad? I think mostly because it exceeded all of my negative expectations. I expected to feel cranky about the hours, the pay, the giving up of hungover Saturday brunch. And expected too that I would inevitably be given the Locker That Does Not Open Once It Has Been Closed. I expected my feet to hurt and my brain to feel numb.

On my interview, I was asked four times about how I work with difficult people. I had hoped, at least during my first shift, to not meet the reason I was asked this question. But I did.

He's not so bad. But he's pretty terrible. A toucher, a sweet-talker, a non-manager manager. There's sort of nothing more lame than wanting to be a manager at a retail store and not getting to be one. It means that the managers don't give you all the respect they would for a peer, and the fellow employees can only hate you for your attempt to cross the party line.

What else was terrible? Well, there was Melvin, who tried to bond with me cause we both work 9-5 jobs. Melvin, in case you're wondering, was a wanker. He told my future work friend, Duane, who pretended I'd performed more customer service than I ever will in my life, that he was a failure. Not quite so bluntly as breaking out the "f" word--but pretty shocking. A direct hit at D's lack of higher education. And let me just say this: I do not think Melvin is the brains-champ of the Queens.

What else was painful? Well, how about the sweater folding lessons, where I spent more time learning how to correctly fold a sweater (quick hint: it involves use of a board) than some medical students would spend learning the correct way to perform an appendectomy.

I could go on. But haven't we all had painful jobs? So I'll just end by saying that this job is as bad, if not worse than I thought it would be. And some small part of me thinks that must somehow be related to how much fun I had during my root canal.

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