Today is Happy Birthday to my oldest niece. It's hard to believe it's been fifteen years since she was a dark haired newborn with her dad's eyes and not many features from our family that I could see. I did not sleep well last night, my boss said that I am always tired, and I didn't even bother making any sort of statement about it. I'm so glad that he is back in town. For the past couple days it's been the guys and me alone at work. Day one: I worked with the assistant manager. He was in a pretty good mood in the morning, and then that deteriorated as the day progressed. By the end of the day he had revealed things about himself I don't think he intended to tell me. Whatever sort of emotions he was feeling, they were not happy ones. I kept my calm, I created space, and I was glad when he left early. His moods are his problem, not mine. We finished the day at -$1 so it wasn't fabulous in any way, shape, or form.
The next day I worked with the other guy. I had hoped we could do some training, and he did tell me a thing or two, but I spent the rest of my day chatting with him which was actually pretty fun and kind of relaxing even if it was frustrating that we didn't really sell anything. We ended on a high personal note, and that made me feel a lot better about my job despite the previous day. The next day I went in to work determined to get some cleaning done so my boss wouldn't come back to a store where it looked like nobody had done anything while he was gone. I cleaned out under the sink and put all the industrial sized cans of Pledge together in the back. There were six total, I put a box of Swiffer products near the cans and the stacks of paper towels and wondered how many salary dollars had been diverted into cleaning products. I went home without any sales, but in a much better frame of mind than I had the day before.
Our store hours are changing so once again I got a text from the person coming in after me to let me know that they would be coming in at a time that wasn't on the schedule. We didn't know when the store decals would be arriving and until they do, we are supposed to stay at work until the regular posted hours. I gave the text a thumbs up, we were pretty busy and my cleaning was interrupted. One of the garbage cans was nasty so I took it in back to try and clean it out. I had the nicest customer ever, before that I had tried to receive some inventory, but I had trouble and sent the assistant manager a text I would rather have not had to fire off. To my surprise he was really nice, and even said no apology was necessary when I said sorry. He arrived and almost immediately had to fix my problem with the customer who had already been through all sorts of things with me. Some of it was me, some of it was the horrible software and tangled infrastructure.
I couldn't believe what a fabulous mood he was in, and I didn't really understand it either. He knew he was walking into an inventory issue, he had to fix a pretty significant upgrade problem I had created. I fully expected him to yell at me, but he never did. When I asked to go on break he told me I could, then he asked me to put the rest of the inventory away. I was hungry, cold, tired, emotional, and almost dizzy so I went in back and ate a quick snack before walking back out onto the sales floor. He grilled me about where I had been and what I had been doing, I was probably gone for about two or three minutes, I didn't think it was that big of a deal, but he felt he needed to question it. I didn't really answer him, and put away everything that I could. When his customer was leaving the elderly man turned and said how great the service had been. He had been talking to the assistant manager, but I chimed in and told him that was very kind of him to say.
Then he said that everyone there had been terrific so I said that if he had friends, relatives, or neighbors, he should mention the service he received here. He said he could do that and left. When I asked the assistant manager when he was going on break he said he didn't know. Not long after that he went in back and I was very relieved to have the sales floor to myself once again. A woman came in with two phones for the trade in program, we both talked to her, he did the actual computer part, and I felt bad that he had helped me earlier so I gave him the sale when he asked who was getting it. I actually thought it was kind of nice of him to even ask since I hadn't expected that. One of the less pleasant parts of my morning had been a woman who ended up crying on her way out. She returned with her daughter and my day ended on a much higher note than it had began.
I wasn't sure what the protocol was so I kind of smiled at both of them before giving the mom a hug and handing them off to the assistant manager knowing that if they ended up buying anything, he could take the sale and there wasn't a thing I could do about it. I let it go as I drove home, wanting to think the best of people even when they haven't done much to earn that. Yesterday was my day off, I spent a couple of hours chatting with a girlfriend of mine about various things, then I drove over to the home of another friend who was having a down day. I didn't get much of a pick me up from that, although it was nice to be outside of my own four walls for a change. I ordered two blouses from the company site at work. One is way too small and the other fits like a tourniquet in some areas while being too baggy in others. I picked up a pair of dress pants and made a joke about slacks and a girdle because life is short and I enjoy laughing at myself when I can.
Maybe I'm not the most impressive sales person ever, but I am super proud of myself for having gotten this far in a completely foreign industry I know next to nothing about. It's probably not hard for people who grew up with cell phones and streaming, but for someone like myself, I am an interloper. I remember reading that word when I was quite young and didn't know what it meant for some time. Today I am way more comfortable with who I am, and if these guys who are half my age think I am stupid, strange, silly, or whatever, I can learn to let go and move past it. I would rather not be super lonely at work like I was at my last job, but I may run into that, the difference here being that I can try moving to another store if need be. When I am in a more intuitive and objective frame of mind I can see things from their point of view, and realize I need to be the older and more mature person when things are not going well.
I think part of the problem is he tried talking to me when I was newer, I shot him down and put him in his place when I felt like it was warranted. I was probably hard on him because he was hard on me, he's not ultra smooth when it comes to superficial chit chat, and I don't really care for it either, but I can fake it better than him. I don't think he's actually a full blown narcissist, I think he was raised by people who praised what he did, and made sure that he knew what to do at work to keep the lights running and food on the table. He's an incredible sales person and I'm envious of that. I'm used to being regarded as intelligent so to meet someone who thinks I'm on the slow side would be amusing if the situation wasn't so dire. Part of me wonders if we are just going in circles intimidating each other while secretly regarding the other as not quite as fabulous as ourselves. It's a strange and not very comfortable work environment, and we have made it that way.
I'm disappointed in myself for many reasons. Tonight I am releasing the guilt. I'm not going to apologize for being who I am or continue to put myself down for making mistakes at work because everyone does, and I need to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Fortunately we have learned how to get by without really talking to each other which is probably a good thing even if there is some conflict avoidance on both of our parts. I really do not want to start anything with him, nor do I want to end up crying in front of him because that would be really uncomfortable for both of us. Few enjoy crying in front of others. I've done it enough in front of my boss, and I'm trying hard to learn how to better manage my emotions in front of others because it's a goal of mine to feel my feelings, but keep them in check to a certain extent. Heading to bed early tonight, have been listening to soothing flute music and that's been fun.
P.S. Maybe I will go paint something on my day off. It's been a while since I did that.