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News Archives - September 2006

: Workin' Out

September 25 2006

Move along... Nothing (interesting) to see here...

At the start of this year, I quit the job that I had been working at for almost 8 years.
Being the first job I'd ever had, it's fair to say that it was an experience that taught me a lot about people, the workforce and life in general... I'm a fairly patient person, but the ups and downs of working at that particular job eventually got to me, so I felt I had to get out.

My reasons for leaving are many and varied, but I think the main motivators are pretty obvious to anyone who knows anything about where I was... All I knew is that I never wanted to work in retail ever again.

Fun fact:
At a mere 14 years old, on my second day of employment with this company, I was told by the owner that I "might not have a job [there] for long" merely because I offered a rubber-band to a customer who had just purchased a poster from the store.

When I left my job, I spent the next six months (quite happily) not doing much at all. This was partly because I just needed a break from everything, but also because I was probably scared that when I eventually did return to the workforce, I'd have to endure the same "office politics" and crap that I was neck-deep in at my old job.

For over six months my daily schedule had a convenient 60-minute gap (between when Oprah finished and Judge Judy started), so I started to use that time to re-evaluate specifically what I didn't like about my old job and what I might be looking for in a new job. What I ended up discovering is that while I'm an extremely introverted and anti-social person, I'm (somehow) very good at dealing with people if it's in a retail context and under controlled circumstances...

So if that wasn't the problem with my old job, then much of the blame must be on who I will diplomatically describe simply as 'the management'. I figure that (being a very small company) the level of micromanagement, distrust and scrutiny I was exposed to was far more magnified and noticeable than if I were working at a bigger company. That was the theory, at least...

A few months ago a job opening appeared that met many criteria that I was looking for:

  • It was a retail job.
    (ie. something kinda in my comfort zone, even though I hate people)
  • Specifically, it was a position that required detailed computer/tech knowledge.
    (Yeah, I know a bit about computer stuff... Like that you need Steam to play WOW...)
  • Part-time positions were available.
    (I didn't need a job for monetary reasons, so I still wanted to watch Oprah occasionally :)
  • The store location was convenient, and most importantly:
  • The job opening came from a big company.
    (That should probably be 'big' with a capital B — it was actually from the biggest non-government employer in the country, an employer of over 165,000 people...)

Based on this, I decided that now was a good time to return to work. I applied for the job (this was infact my first ever job application), and those crazy fools decided to employ me.

My clever plan was finally coming to fruition — with this new job I had become a miniscule cog in a gigantic corporate machine. At long last, I'd be lost in the huge crowd of other employees and I could finally go about my duties without anybody paying any attention to me! (I know that sounds like a pretty odd thing to say, but I have a really strong work ethic and that really didn't match well with the extreme over-the-shoulder micromanagement of my old job.)

So my theory was that the less I was noticed, the happier I would be, right?
As it turns out, my theory was actually wrong!

From my 7-8 years at my first job, I was conditioned to avoid the attention of management out of fear of being nitpicked on some totally trivial issue (or being found out that I was still dispensing free rubber-bands). But as I found out real early on at my new job, there's also this strange and highly abstract concept called "positive attention", where you actually get praised and acknowledged for doing a good job or being part of the team or other such crazy things...

I've been working at the new place for about two months now — the first month was basically transforming an empty warehouse into a brand new store with a million dollars worth of stock, and from last month onwards it's been really hectic now that the store has opened.

Even after working there for only a few days, I already felt more welcomed and appreciated than I did at the job I held for almost eight years. And the more I work with these guys & gals, the better it gets... Although we all started out as strangers two months ago, we've quickly become a tight-knit family and are having fun while trying to make our store the best it can be.

The 16 people I work with are all really cool (and seriously crazy) people, and I'm happy to be a part of the gang. The fact that this people-hating, Pants-rambling, obscure-music-hoarding & Japanese-obsessed person can fit in with (and be welcomed by) such a family, it's a good feeling...

Since leaving my old job at the start of the year, it's nice to put things into perspective. At the start of the year I really wasn't that happy but right now things are completely different — given some time (and this entire boring & long-winded Pants update) to reflect, I'm happy to have finally pinpointed exactly what sucked about my old job and (hopefully) how to avoid similar situations in the future...


(The next site update will be a lot less blog-y, I promise... :)
And although you don't even know who I am, I hope you had a happy birthday today Doogs. :P

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