The future

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A few days ago I was walking near downtown Chicago and there is a Fresh Foods store I had been visiting for about a decade. I don’t remember how I found it, perhaps a Google search or something like that. Either way yours truly had been patronizing that location for a number of years before joining the newly opened store referred to as the Hole on this blog.

It’s a nice quaint small store that was somewhat common among the first stores in the Chicago area at least when Fresh arrived in town. And sadly it has outgrown its space which is not very apparent for me to be honest, however, it’s apparent to the company. Personally I like the space, however, there are much newer stores in the city where they have much larger quarters and it’s time for that store to follow suit.

I didn’t find anything to buy on this day, however, once I left there was a high rise development no more than a block away. Across the street from a major downtown church and I see Fresh’s logo and an empty space within this development. I confirmed at work later that this store will be moving there a relocation from their current space. It already looks like it will be a nice one.

That could mean a future opportunity that I can take advantage of which would be in the spring 2022. So I shall see what happens, it’ll almost be like a new store open except whoever worked at the old store will have dibs on future jobs there. This isn’t the first relocation I know about since I started with the company in 2015. The other relocation had my former boss open as an assistant store mgr.

I’m going to keep an eye on this situation and perhaps the right opportunity will jump out at me.

I had a talk with my supervisor I was bouncing stories off him about what happened with the Hole and some of the leadership I met since being with the company over six years ago – even with that brief hiatus between 2017-18. He has strong opinions of people whom he has observed himself being leadership, he strongly told me that one of the dept mgrs who left his role at my current assignment after just about six months left a lot to be desired in his ascension.

He had to temper my more judgemental comments, however, it causes me to think about what if I became mgmt. Some I’ve talked to over the years – many I consider friends have asked me about the mgmt thing. A few years earlier while at The Show I couldn’t understand why it was never happening. I felt as if I could do what some of those individuals could do and also recognize some of them and others I’ve met over time left a lot to be desired.

Sometimes you have to be a bit tough. I think some thrive more on being tough. Some could be a bit more artful in handling issues. I recognize that aside from taking care of employee issues they have to take care of business issues as well. There is certainly a juggling of important issues which one has to recognize is very difficult.

So I’ve gotten older and have been a bit more gun-shy on this. I’ve met quite a few young people who tried to play the commanding know everything role and more often than not either they fail when they get to that role or they don’t quite get to step up to begin with. Perhaps you don’t have to be the loudmouth and be able to tell people what to do to be successful.

Handling people hasn’t been a very easy issue for me on the job. I’ve learned that no matter how “right” you may be people still give you headaches. When people cling to a bad story I’ve learned there’s no way you can change someone’s mind when they just decide something. I should’ve learned from childhood to even adulthood when someone is paying attention to you and decided that whatever or however you’re doing something is an issue then it just blows up. And often this happens at the expense of the job well their job not really my job.

So yeah there will be issues to handle but I hope to take a different approach than the managers I’ve met over the years. I don’t want to take sides so quickly and I really don’t want to encourage workers to “snitch” on people at any time. In my mind the worst complainers are the least productive though I do get that some people’s productivity or lack thereof affects others. Regardless a hard job and I will no longer pretend that I’ve figured it out. Dealing with people whether coworkers or customers can always be a challenge.

There’s a guy I work with who’s willing to stay late while everyone else leaves for the night. His choice and though I’ve never discussed this with him I’ve heard he has no interest in making mgmt. Which is strange for someone willing to put in the time, however, he understands that he will lose some freedoms when he makes that move. Most important he’s not making a spectacle of himself thinking he knows everything and is super great at his job and thinking its his role to be very bossy.

I’ve met too many people like that and sometimes I could be that way. However one lesson to learn and in my case I did start in earnest a bit later is that you have to work with people. Yeah people may do goofy things and dig in on them, you try to help them, but then again don’t make it your job to correct them. No more than I want someone who isn’t in authority over me to just pour over my work they don’t want that either.

I found a sheet of paper from The Show which was an evaluation of whether or not I can become a crew lead. Basically I would be just over an associate, however, just below a supervisor. I learned from someone who claimed they turned down the position that this was only a quarter more than minimum wage at the time. No benefits which was true of supervisors of course once you reach senior mgmt level they you get benefits which reportedly didn’t satisfy one of the senior mgrs who we worked with.

Either way I wanted to step up and my ego suggested that I was educated enough, however, did they need an educated crew lead? So perhaps in looking back at this evaluation and meeting with one of the senior mgrs for this role I did not show why I could take on this role. So I feel as if getting promoted at all at the cinema where I worked for close to five years would’ve caused me to crash and burn quickly.

I wouldn’t have had a lot of authority and at some point the crew leads who remained started to lose some of those privileges. For example instead of getting a mgr for theater passes you could get the leads and it will be taken care of. One of them said mgmt took away that ability from them. Then again in the early days the company that owned The Show as going through some restructuring so at some point I learned that the position was eliminated. Still some were given roughly those same privileges sans pay I never was, which is fine as this is why I accepted the job at Gotham Bank in the fall of 2014.

So again if I want to be a supervisor/mgr this is something I want to think very deeply about. In the moments I applied I just jumped up and went for it and wasn’t always the best approach. With Fresh you have to come up with a plan and network. I did take part in those times when we used to have seminars to help people move up in the company. However, I’m sure I did leave a lot to be desired in my own performance and whether or not I could move up.

Now I try to be a lot more thoughtful. Perhaps I won’t be all the way there, but then I do consider the supervisors/mgrs that I have met over the years. A lot of them left a lot to be desired and overtime that made itself apparent. Some of them I just wonder how they made it to their positions and some of them knew it and moved on. Others still crash and burn.

Also I may like the authority, but at this stage income is important. What’s the money to take on such roles. A store mgr at Fresh can make six-figures and that’s definitely something that is attractive, however, again that’s more pressure. And another thing that I need to determine can I be successful in that role.

Some issues that are worth pondering…

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