Always a silver lining

image

It’s been awhile since I had something to write that I felt was worth sharing with the masses. These thoughts have been rolling around in my brain for a couple weeks now, so I figured it was time to share.

Nine months ago I was transferred to a new store (technically my old store) and I was outraged. I didn’t want to leave the family I had made in Redding. I didn’t want to commute 25 miles one way. I didn’t want to spend an extra hour in my car every day. I didn’t want to rack up the miles on my brand new car. I don’t like change! Needless to say, this unwelcome change made me miserable and unhappy in my work.

Only recently did I realize, that it wasn’t the move that made me miserable, it was ME. I had been making myself unhappy with all the bitterness and anger that I kept letting fester inside me. When I really sat there and thought about it, there was a multitude of reasons for me to be happy with where I was in life. Trust me, I thought about it a lot! When you commute an hour a day, that’s a lot of time to think, also a lot of time to rock out! Have you ever noticed how much Taylor Swift songs make you think about your life? It’s pretty crazy!

Don’t worry, I did not have an TSwift inspired epiphany. But I did find my silver lining while driving 50 miles a day.

Working in Red Bluff has actually been a lot less stressful than Redding was. This is especially wonderful, considering I suffer from Essential Tremor (ET) which can sometimes be stress induced. I can count on one hand, the number of ET days I have had in the last 9 months.

The schedule that I have now, allows me so much more time to work my Damsel in Defense business. January 2015 was my personal best month, but then May 2015 surpassed that, and I was #1 in sales on our Guardian Angels team! I love having a boss and co-workers who are super supportive of the Damsel mission and who are totally willing and flexible when it comes to scheduling conflicts.

I have an excellent working relationship with all of my new co-workers. It’s clear that we are all working toward the same goal. We’ve gotten really good at sharing ideas and brainstorming when needed. I absolutely love being on the same page with everyone I work with. It makes for a much more enthusiastic work place. In the 9 months that I have been there, we have had some set-backs, but we keep finding new ways to work things out. We brought our customer service scores up from “challenge” to “front store excellent” status! That’s amazing! I have been recognized for my “legendary” customer service two months in a row!

I can honestly say that I have never (in 12 years) been happier in my work, and it clearly shows. I love both of my jobs!

I believe it was Theodore Roosevelt who said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I have found this to be profoundly true as of late. And I don’t mean just comparing your life to your friends’ lives, which I know we’ve all done at some point. Quit comparing your life to what it used to be, what you used to have, and where you used to be. Live in the moment! Since I have started focusing on the blessings in my life right now, the things I have the opportunity to do, and people I get to share those moments with, I have been exponentially happier!

You should really try it. It’s good for you!

image

Advertisements

The road ahead {2015}

image

It’s hard to believe we’re almost halfway through February already. I am beyond excited for the things this year has in store! Personally and professionally, this year could be one of my biggest adventures!

In the world of direct sales, January is often considered one of the roughest months. Folks come down with the wintertime blues I suppose. Whether they’re recovering from the tremendous amount of frivolous spending they did at Christmas, or they’re missing all the love and laughter of their holiday guests, it seems January can be hard on everyone.

BUT, I went into January pumped and ready for change, and I ended up having the best month I’ve had since I joined Damsel in Defense back in October of 2013.

Last month served as a reminder that attitude is everything. Of course, coming off my best month ever, I’m extra inspired! On January 18th, the Damsel in Defense corporate office announced their first ever incentive trip to Vegas so needless to say, I’m pretty fired up!
image

To add to the Damsel excitement, we’ve just added a new service called Digital Damsel. It’s a one-stop shop for personal protection in this digital age. Identity theft protection, credit protection , social media monitoring and more!
image

If you’d like to learn more about the future of Damsel and the exciting journey we’re on, I’d invite you to visit my website .

As far as my personal life is concerned, that’s pretty exciting as well. My sweet husband and I will be celebrating 10 years together and 8 years of marriage! We’re planning a vacation to Southern California to visit my best friend! This is kind of a big deal because we don’t really plan vacations. It’s gonna be AMAZING to get out of town for a minute! We haven’t been to SoCal we were newlyweds! Can you tell how excited I am?

Starting with this vacation, I’m vowing to take more time for myself this year. I still need my day job, but I’m not going to feel bad about taking every opportunity I can, to get away from it and do something fun! #thisis30
image

Another day, another dollar… And a transfer?

August 29, 2003 – I got hired at my first real job!! It was going to pay my bills, and help me get through college. I was a functioning member of society and a responsible adult.

August 2005 – I was moving away to the coast for my last two years of college, and taking my job with me. I transferred to a new store, got a new job title. Things were working out great!

May 2007 – I graduated from college, and transferred back home for the summer. I was getting married in a few months and needed to keep working. We got married in July, and moved back to the coast!

April 2008 – I transferred again, took a new position, and was finally a full time employee. I had a set schedule! Life was good!

February 2009 – The company I worked for got bought out by an even larger corporation. We were lucky to be able to keep our jobs, and our years of service. The job title I held with my original employer no longer existed, but the new company gave me a new one. I was now a Shift Supervisor. Sweet!

June 2009 – My husband graduated from college, and we decided to move back home. Again, I transferred back to my home store. It was nice to reconnect with old coworkers. But there was a huge drawback to this transfer. I had a 50 mile round trip commute. It got old in a hurry, but there was nothing I could do about it. We needed the money, and I was comfortable with my coworkers and my position.

January 2011 – A shift supervisor position became available at a store only 20 miles round trip from my house. I jumped at the opportunity!

I remember telling my DM that I was never going to transfer again. I was happy at this store, and if I ever left, it would be because I had gotten a new job.

August 20, 2014 – I got called up to the manager’s office, and he told me that I was being transferred back to my home store. What!!??

I had no say in the matter, and neither did he. Apparently the DM decided that somebody needed to be sent down there, and since I had worked there before, I was the chosen one.

August 29, 2014 – Today is my 11 year anniversary with the company. I have 6 working days left at my current store. I start work at my new/old store on September 7th.

I’m looking forward to working with my old friends, but I am certainly not looking forward to the added commute and all the miles it will put on my new car. I will miss the friends that I have made at my current store.

I’m trying to look at this change from a positive perspective, but it’s hard, especially today. I never expected to be in this job, for this long, and then have it all change, without my consent.

At least I have a job, and it’s a good job. Thankfully I have my Damsel in Defense income to help supplement the negative changes with my day job.

Never enough

Remember when we were kids, and our parents and teachers told us, If you’re going to do something, do it well.” ?? I took that bit of advice pretty seriously, and I would like to believe that it plays a huge part in my work ethic. I am proud of the work that I do. Yes, I have obsessive compulsive tendencies, but I think that helps me do things the right way, the first time around.

Apparently if you work in retail, that “do it well” mentality will get you in hot water. Or at least when you work for a huge corporation that really only cares about money. Now it’s all about, here’s a list of shit to do, get it done as fast as you can, and try to make it look as presentable as possible. Don’t worry about it too much though, we’ll just spend a whole day freaking out, trying to fix everything, and make it pristine, right before the suits come to visit.

When customers give us feedback, they leave ratings on whether or not the store was neat and clean, if we had the items they were looking for in stock, and of course, the level of customer service they received during their visit. That clean and neat part, is the key to it all. To me, that means a clean floor and dusted shelves that are properly stocked and shoppable. You know it’s bad when the delivery arrives, and you can’t even put it out because other things are filling more than their allotted spot on the shelf. If there are things scattered randomly on the shelves, or things stocked in the incorrect spot, this will only cause confusion. When there is a pricing issue, due to items in the wrong place, or ad signage on the wrong product, we are obligated to resolve the issue at the register, which usually results in the store losing money. The less money the store brings in, the less hours we get, which places a heavy burden on every member in management. When hours get cut, we become cashiers, stockers, receivers, and about a dozen other things, on top of all the daily tasks that we have when hours are normal.

Upper level management (the suits who have no idea what things are like at the store level) seem to think that, regardless of the amount of hours we have to work with, or any other factors that might come into play, (a late delivery, someone calling in sick, an unusually busy, understaffed day) we should be able to complete those normal every day tasks, in a timely fashion.

How hard is it to understand??

  • every item in the store has a designated spot
  • every store brand item has an item number right on the package, that matches the label on the shelf
  • every shelf has a set capacity in order to keep things straight and full
  • every ad sign has a specific item number (shelf label) that it corresponds to and they go in order on the shelf

In my mind, that makes everything pretty darn simple.

  • If you can’t find where it belongs, don’t just set it somewhere that “makes sense”
  • If it doesn’t fit on the shelf, don’t force it. We have a backroom for a reason
  • If you can’t find the label that matches the sign, don’t hang the sign

I have given almost 10 years of my life to this company. The longer I stay here, the more I realize that there is no such thing as “work ethic” being instilled in today’s youth. There soon, probably very soon, will come a day when I just give up the fight and start doing everything half-ass like the rest of my colleagues. Why can’t we keep a nice clean store ALL THE TIME!!?? Did I mention that I have compulsive tendencies? I pride myself on making my department look as good as I can, all the time. I get angry when people (fellow employees) mess up my shelves by stuffing out extra product that doesn’t fit, or by filling the shelves with completely wrong products. Everyone knows that I have my ways, I keep my backroom in a certain order, I work my back stock in a certain way. I do everything I can, within reason, to keep my inventory accurate. It is a never-ending battle, and I fear I am losing. I try to fix the really bad areas in other departments as well, but I can’t focus on those. They think it’s just a funny little problem that I have, and sometimes they do it on purpose!

After the last two days, and several interactions with my store manager, it seems pretty clear that my way of doing things is too slow. We have too many things to do, and too little time to accomplish all of them. When I was told that today’s project was taking too long, I gave a reason. My boss is aware of the problem to which I was referring, but there isn’t enough time to deal with it right now. Okay… So I asked, “Do you want me to do it the right way? Or do you want me to do it the lazy way just to get it done?” At this point I was told to “do it the fastest way possible.”

There you have it folks! We don’t really care what our store looks like, as long as we can pretend it is amazing when the important people come calling. Our customers don’t complain enough yet, so it’s not a priority.

Some day they will realize that the longer we let things slide, the harder they will be to fix. I just know when it comes down to it, people will start pointing fingers and throwing each other under busses in order to save their own asses.

No matter what we do at the store level, it is never going to be enough to keep the big wigs happy. If I take the time to make things right, I am too slow, and being too meticulous. If I let it slide, then I’m doing a crappy job at keeping my department in order. I’m stuck in a dead-end job, with daily struggles that seem to always end up in a lose-lose situation.

Good thing I have some pretty awesome co-workers to vent to and drink after-hours margaritas with!! That, and knowing that my husband appreciates the fact that get off my ass and go to work everyday, are the only things that keep me sane.

Greener pastures??

My ten year anniversary with my current employer is rapidly approaching, and I can honestly say that I am a little frightened. Lower-level retail management pays the bills, but it’s a trap! There is no room for advancement when everyone in upper-management is, or has been, where they’re at until they get nixed or retire. I’ve always thought that if I hit the ten year mark, that was it. I’d be a lifer.

I’m afraid I’ve been stuck here for so long that I don’t know how to do anything besides retail, even though I have a degree. Maybe I wouldn’t feel so trapped if there was a promotion available. But then if I took that next step, would I be stuck here for another ten years? Would I be happy enough with a promotion to enjoy another ten?

Don’t get the wrong idea here. I am thrilled to have a job, and one that pays above minimum wage. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone when I say, there has got to be something better out there!

My husband and I have recently been entertaining the idea of moving. When I say moving, I basically mean running away. Getting out of the state, away from all the stupid people who seem to be piling up around us. Every day the news gets scarier and closer to home. I am so sick of it all! I never really saw myself living in the methamphetamine capital of the US, or #5 on the list of 10 most dangerous cities for women to live in the US. Needless to say, we are ready for a fresh start.

Granted, there are stupid people everywhere, crime is in every neighborhood these days, and government idiocracy is only getting worse. I know that there is no “perfect place” out there, but I’d like to believe that there is a perfect place for us. Somewhere we feel safe and comfortable enough to raise our children and grow old together.

The tricky thing about moving somewhere wild and crazy (out of our comfort zone), is whether or not we can find employment, and how fast that might occur. That’s where the ten years of service comes in handy. I can transfer to any location that has a position available, but with the differences in state minimums and things of that nature, I might have to consider a pay cut or a temporary demotion. We have over 7,000 stores nationwide, but there are a few blackout states. If I left my job now, things could get hairy in a hurry, should this moving venture actually work out.

I want a new job, one that’s actually a satisfying career, but maybe what I’m doing now will have to pay the bills for a little while longer. It would definitely make for an easier transition, if we ever get around to making that giant leap.

I have a ton of research to do in the coming months. We’re going to have to do a lot of praying and have a lot of serious conversations to figure just exactly what we think we want and what God knows is best for us.

All of our immediate family lives in the area, and most of our dearest friends live nearby. If this ends up being more than just some crazy conversation that we had once or twice on a long road trip, then we would be leaving all of that behind. For a little while at least.

The hardest part right now is the not knowing. The saving for someday. The thousands of ideas bouncing around with no legitimate walls to contain them all. Sometimes I feel like my brain is going to explode with all of the what ifs and maybes. And then sometimes my chest feels like it may burst with all the excitement and anticipation of starting this crazy adventure with the love of my life. If it doesn’t actually happen, at least we’ll be miserable together. If money wasn’t an issue, I would be packed and ready to go anywhere by the end of next week!

20130728-035304.jpg