March 2015

At this point I was working at the Hole for just about 2 months. I didn’t know that soon I’ll be working “full-time” for the first time in life. The transition wasn’t too difficult, however, I was in a different environment than expected. Or was I?

What I was doing at a grocery store wasn’t terribly different than for example a theater concession stand. Just a bit more prep work and certainly a clearer idea of what’s expected. The products weren’t as limited as a cinema – you know popcorn, candy, hot dogs, etc. However, I had to get used to what I was doing and when I first started looking at a jobs with Fresh Foods my inclination was to be at the front end ringing up customer groceries.

Either way, I had to do another call with the state’s unemployment officials in March ’15 as Gotham Bank had filed an appeal after benefits were approved even if it was just for no more than three weeks – from the time I got let go from that branch in December ’14 to orientation at Fresh in January ’15. As it was termed I got benefits with an initial payout then after continuing to register weekly for regular payouts after that. It wasn’t much but for a brief time I had some income coming, and still no overhead. 😛

The initial process was easy and under the guidance of a friend – no not the Friend I never told him directly what happened with the bank. There were no direct documentation that I had to sign just a lot of verbal warnings and what not. I think the only main warning I got was not from anyone in mgmt or otherwise any standing but from co-worker. And I had to guess at the final act which I was never told directly. When Ed and Stan pulled me into the office Ed fired off a number of offenses which I could easily categorize as issues with attendance (specifically tardies) and performance as a teller. A list of things that allowed him to determine that he just didn’t like what he sees. Made sure to reference the probationary period for Gotham which was about 90 days, and I was just about halfway through that once things ran their course there.

So I guessed at what the final straw had been, I made sure to tell them what I had been told. Correctly I guessed one particular incident that happened that helped Ed make up his mind about my job there. I get a letter approving my benefits saying I was not at fault and the friend based on some of what I had been telling him determined that my training was an issue. Then again I will admit I was incompetent and uneasy in that role and as stated as time went on and didn’t get on well in my new role yours truly began to dread coming to work at that branch everyday…

For the record the hearing over the phone for the appeal had been cancelled I got a phone call for it the day it was supposed to happen. Actually in a fit of pretending to be my brother who hadn’t seen lived with us for over a decade I took a message that Gotham had rescinded their appeal. If the appeal from Gotham had gone through I’d have to repay that money and thankfully at that time it wasn’t necessary.

I had read up on the company and how they handled unemployment claims. It seemed they contested all unemployment claims and if they lost they will appeal. I had the unfortunately issue of being unable to find my schedule from the bank because in the initial phone call which was before my orientation for the Hole from what the agent told me over the phone there was some discrepancies as far as when that final act occurred. If I remembered the date the agent had told me correctly I wasn’t even at work that day and looked at a copy of my schedule from the bank still in my possession. If the appeal was rescinded I didn’t have to prove that.

However, one thing I could say for Ed one time he pulled me in the office and he got his dates wrong. While he was going to get me on something that given day, he was trying to mention something that we talked about on another day in the office and it was all wrong. I demonstrated that I do remember what we talked about everytime he wanted to talk $h!t to yours truly. Right or wrong Ed seemed to have some arrogance about him and this was not the first time nor the last time I encountered this from a manager. Problem is when they want to get you on something there isn’t much to say about it on my end and was still on the defensive in the long run….

Regardless smooth sailing in the new year at the new job. We started off with a decent crew in the beginning. A few we lost for a variety of reasons probably attendance related or otherwise just realized this wasn’t for them. However, I viewed my new job and company as yet another new beginning. Besides the hot shot job at the bank didn’t work out and that was supposed to be something of a new beginning from The Show.

Oh, yeah I like to talk about the big money years. Well 2015 was the start and it’s basically ongoing even with the hiccup that came later. Minimum wage in Illinois back in 2014 was still $8.25/hr. When I moved over to the bank I went up to about $3.25 more per hour than the hourly wage offered at The Show which was minimum wage. However starting off at Gotham the position was only 20 hrs a week and yes there were opportunities to add to your paycheck i.e. make referrals and never felt too comfortable doing that at the time. I think on Gotham’s version of a social network I saw there doing this for a year would get me, basically I wouldn’t make more money than I had made at The Show. Basically under my minimum goal of making $20K/year, my yearly income assuming no changes would still be roughly in the $10K/year range.

However at the Hole as time goes on that year, I get benefits mainly health insurance and dental. Also a raise after six months, and especially being lifted up into full-time status which means overtime and working up to 40 hrs a week I would ultimately reach that $20K/year goal in 2015. As far as benefits that would wait until a bit later I didn’t immediately get benefits or was unsophisticated about the company’s processes as far as enrolling in benefits once I became full-time. However, by the end of the year I’d get there.

After a couple of years of the streak era, I was going to achieve some of the minimum goals I had from roughly the start. A job with benefits and at a minimum make $20K/year.

One final drop – revisit

hoopty

Hot hoopty!

I’m revisiting the post I wrote around this time last year to consider this something of a milestone. It’s been over three years since I really last talked to Anthony the hustler. The events of this month three years ago – or in 2017 – marked the last real time I talked to him as a friend. It took some other events to cause me to reconsider our “situationship” however this month essentially marked the beginning of the end.

I called back to some of the events of this period of time in a pair of posts earlier this year. I noted his insistence on mention a certain character who I will close the character arc on him in the near future. And also Ant’s need to all the sudden expect me to chase money and consider working elsewhere in spite of how things had been going at the Hole during that period of time.

Well it took things going in a downward direction back in the latter half of ’17 which really caused me to blackout any communications with the Hustler. I was in no mood for any begging and I definitely had no intention of tell him my own sob story about how it all went wrong at that time. I just knew as I wrote that post last year also that I’d be even more depressed about it once it did come out.

It took me many years to realize at least with the Hustler trying to become part of my space, that yours truly was really under attack by him. It was unlike anything I really experienced the out of line personal questions, early requests for money, and even his seeming inability to realize I was backing off. Some of this I can recognize he knew what he was doing in some of these instances, for him it was an attempt at establishing a mentorship but as time goes on I view this as yours truly was a target for him. I fell right for the trap.

The red flags were flying all around the longer I maintained contact – essentially I’ve known him for the better part of nine years at this point. I like to believe the best in people and for a time I did believe the best in him. However, I know what it all lead to and I’m very glad that it’s over.

I must also add yes, I did write a post two months ago that I have no further stories to tell about him and that it’s probably time to stop talking about him on this blog. I recognize that I had broken that promise. In this instance it was necessary to note a milestone that seemed very unthinkable over three years ago.

Finally it must be noted that I’ve made some online efforts to cut any attempt at contact. While I haven’t blocked him from calling he hasn’t hit my phone since Christmas Day. If blocked any attempt at communication through facebook though it may be possible he could try to comment on those statuses he can actually see. I blocked him on twitter (which he doesn’t seem to use anymore), instagram (which aside from a few likes on some of my posts there he rarely seemed to use it), and even linked in (which he also seemed to rarely use). Time will tell if he’s finally gotten the hint, however, I’m trying not to be complacent.

The lesson with that individual is that he came around because he needed something. I found myself recognize how much he tried to chase me around once he made his purpose known. So I realize in this I made some mistakes, it causes me to realize that in dealing with people like him yours truly just has to be more forceful in keeping someone like this out of my space.

May I meet people who truly belong in my space.

Familiarity

photo of buildings during nighttime

Although I answered HarleyQ in the recent post when she asked the question about transferring out of my comfort zone it caused me to want to further expand that post. I went from talking about changing jobs and remaining comfortable and complacent in the roles I have accepted so far to considering whether or not I should leave my hometown.

In my answer I liken this to changing jobs (on my own terms) back in October ’14. The time to have left in reality was over two years ago before and I was very gungho for that, however, in my mind I needed a job to leave for. I had to work for that for over two years until I finally got a job offer to leave for.

I told a senior manager at The Show that I was leaving. At that moment I believed that was the right thing to do upon getting the job offer to go to Gotham Bank, there was hardly anything there for me to stay. I knew the job which was my comfort level and I knew some of the workers, especially the ones I felt that I could work with and the ones who were trouble. Although some of the managers were beginning to move on I knew them too for good or for bad. I left a job of almost five years with great familiarity, however, I knew it was stagnation no reason to think I would grow there.

There lies the catch-22 I was leaving the familiarity and taking on a role where I had no familiarity. A new environment does wonders, then again the new environment is the unknown and once I did turn in my two weeks with that aforementioned senior manager I did so with trepidation. Did I really want to leave?

Although I knew it was the right thing perhaps in a way I wasn’t really set to go. I made those decisions turned in my notice and never asked the rescind it. Your’s truly was still somewhat unsure about what I was doing. Even then once I realized it wasn’t working out in the long run, I had also decided it would be a failure if I tried to get my job back at The Show.

As far as transferring out of my comfort zone I feel as if I may have that same hesitation. To leave the familiar is hard. I know the Chicago area for the most part leaving would be hard. I chose going to Mission College because where it was located it had decent public transit, but it was still an unfamiliar land.

I also consider my elderly mother who’s going through some of her current health challenges. We’ve occasionally discussed the possibility that I could take on a job outside of the Chicago area. Nothing serious comes of it, however, there are a few options I’ve noted where yours truly would want to go.

green grass field under blue sky

Iowa?

The pic I used in that last post I used a search term Iowa. It seems like an unlikely new direction for me, and especially for a state I’ve only passed through a handful of times. Most of us know Iowa as a place of agriculture, college football and even minor league baseball. I could find a decent sized city and be OK because it’s unthinkable to live in the sticks.

Someone suggested Georgia where Mission (not a real school but does represent my alma mater) is located and I basically just balked. Everyone is moving to Georgia and yours truly would rather start trends not follow them. 😛

Either way making a physical move to another city or another state is a difficult undertaking. Especially difficult without having a plan that could include a job or even a school to attend.

As always something under consideration for now.

“Showed me up”

Alright let’s try this again! This very post got deleted because I had failed to save this on the wordpress app and closed it out. As a result an older unedited version overwrote the post that was published. Dang it!

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I found myself telling this story recently after arriving at my two year anniversary of my “retcon” at Fresh Foods. I started with the company over five years ago and have seen so many changes which also included my 6 mos. hiatus.

At some point during my first summer in 2015 with the company I ran into a man who’ll be dubbed Harrison or Harry. For the remainder of this post we will call this individual Harry as in real life he shorted his real first name to the first three letters. It was sort of cool how he identified himself it was simple and short. In some respects it help to somewhat reinforce his personality as I saw it at the time.

The first time I recall Harry was when I arrived for my night shift and probably within an hour or so he was going home for the day. He and another young man was there helping us out from another store. In fact the store I often shopped at when I still worked at The Show. There would be another shift where I’d have to work with Harry.

I had opened our deli case one morning and doing my usual routine. We often put product in the case and it takes us a minute to garnish. I’m usually a minimalist when garnishing however my learning curve with that wasn’t that good I’ll admit. Perhaps it’s not good to admit that my goal is to do just enough and make minimum effort to make the product look good.

So I opened that particular morning and I see Harry come in past the department. He may well have peeped the case on the way in. He reports to our department and then I see him go to the front of the case and he’s grabbing items from the back. In my head I’m thinking what is he doing. What he was doing is he was going to work re-garnishing the case to his standards. It just wasn’t good enough for him.

Once he was done he went and got one of the supervisors who was in the kitchen behind us. Then one of the assistant mgrs walked by he was so impressed he took out his iPhone and snapped some shots of the case. And then he came and pulled me aside not only to show-off the wonderful job he just did for yours truly, he also wanted me to know this is how you’re supposed to garnish. That man just showed me up, he just had to!

Harry just couldn’t resist taking this one opportunity to show off his skills. He often spoke not only to our management to show off what he did, he even talked to even store management. Look at this wonderful job I did and did it all by myself!

I’m going to give him his due though he does a great job and takes the effort to present the food. Yours truly just did what he knew to do at the time, however, was Harry the right teacher? I find that he just likes to bust you out if it wasn’t done the way he thinks it should be. Not so sure that’s a good thing to insure people learn the lessons you want them to learn in the long run.

Because Harry just enjoyed showing off his skills and was shamelessly promoting I just had to ask him why wasn’t he in mgmt. His only response was to state that it’s in the cards. Another coworker who experienced behavior I considered very hyper at the time just thought that Harry was just too comfortable in the role he had to go for a higher position like that. I could read his actions as that of a person who was taking control of a situation, however, he really doesn’t seek a position with those real responsibilities.

The next episode I remember where he really made a spectacle was one day he designed to rearrange the deli area to his liking. The people who already knew him working with him for years noted themselves that he’s trying to turn our department into the department he worked at his own store. However, what he did at this point wasn’t entirely wrong my issue was how he went about it.

I would say his goal was to make our workspace more efficient and he was going to fix it. He was empowering himself to make the changes that he deemed necessary to make. He rearranged the furniture and got upset when he saw the filth behind the furniture. Harry had enough of a sense of entitlement to try to get a supervisor to look at this. At this point he was just looking for something to complain about.

He tried to tell one of our assistant managers of what he saw and that mgr took Harry to the back for a quick word. One of the supervisors – actually Larry who later got promoted to dept mgr for my now old dept at the Hole – showed no sense of urgency when Harry got up in arms over the dirt. By my eyes, I got the idea that he was finally giving our dept mgmt a headache in that time.

I had later heard little things about Harry such as he got himself to the point where if he wanted some OT he never had to call our store to ask, he could just come in. That lasted until he did come in one day and mgmt told him they had no more OT to offer him. So it seemed we could expect to see him at least once a week and then at some point we hardly ever saw him again. I would go to his store sometimes and see him working with me usually avoiding him. I don’t characterize our interactions as clashing, but our styles weren’t going to mesh. He might stress himself out, however, based upon how he was it was nutty working with him. Although admittedly I picked him brain on somethings, however, did a lousy job implementing them. Yours truly was still learning.

I was gone from Fresh Foods for six months and not long before the “reign of error” I saw that Harry had finally left his home store and found a position at another Fresh store in another state. Once I returned I couldn’t find him on Fresh’s social network and that likely means he’s no longer with the company. I suppose that mgmt opportunity never materialized for him or he didn’t want it anyway.

Once I arrived at my new assignment after my brief hiatus I asked a couple of colleagues whom I figured worked with Harry about him. Only one agreed that he could be annoying, however, I told both about his behavior. One was a bit more open about how he was as a coworker, the other hardly commented. They both were unsure about what happened with him later, one even thought he got promoted to a supervisor.

Hmmmm, while it’s great that he can show what he can really do in that role I get the idea he would be an absolute headache for not only the people he’ll supervise, but the mgmt team as well. From what I can tell through my own digging he never rose to that role, however, only he knows and I have no inkling to talk to him in the near future.

I just wanted to add that in passing two women at work were talking about him one day years ago. One lady not from my department though helped us out occasionally could not remember his name was talking with one of my dept’s supervisor about how he was busting his moves on her but she already knew it wasn’t going to work. Saying some key words like he didn’t work at the Hole, but another location and the supervisor asked “Harry?”. They both agreed that he was making some bad moves as far as how he related to the women he worked with even briefly.

This guy made a change

I can somewhat relate to this video where a man who had at one point in his life worked a high pressure job making $80K per year and then decided to downshift. He went from working such a job and letting go of his condo and house and job to an apartment riding a bike to work at a grocery store three days a week. He got tired of the rat race and left it behind working for eleven years.

This is one of those videos that probably doesn’t fit here, however, I wanted to share it anyway. It likely belongs on the new blog that I want to start.

Pizza

assorted flavor pizza

For the first time in a longtime I tried something new at work. It was something that yours truly had been working on for years at Fresh Foods but the opportunities weren’t presenting themselves. Nor was I willing to just take the “bull by the horns” and go for it.

I made some pizzas at work. To be honest the four pizzas produced recently weren’t the first ever made with my hands. Still yours truly feels as if I’ve made quite an accomplishment recently not even achieved during my time at the Hole.

The other pizzas ever made with my two hands occurred earlier during my time at the Hole and then later once I arrived at my current assignment. The only concern is would I be able to handle the rush during a “normal” business day as it could be very stressful for anyone who has worked pizza. Also at this moment my concern is over whether or not it’s possible to handle a custom order for a pizza. Regardless, it’s hard to say that I have an out as far as making pizzas now.

Keith – whom I formerly worked with at The Show – even chimed in on my snapchat that my beautifully crafted pieces of culinary artwork looked like something from The Show. The pizzas sold at my old job were shipped pre-made and frozen – definitely not freshly made not matter how often customers at concessions insisted on a “fresh” pizza. My only response to which he agreed was that the pizza I made was better than what you’d get at The Show. 😛

As always I continue to change and grow and learn new things!

Enough

There were a few post I had in mind for this month that I hoped to have shared with you last month. And then it was decided that they’re not important. One reason for this is basically writer’s block another reason is continuing a circus of years past that I realize it’s draining to even discuss.

I wanted to tell you about more about the drama from a few years ago Anthony the hustler’s push to get me to work at his Finer Foods store. He might have pushed and stayed on topic and even convinced me to do it his way. To be fair, I wasn’t entirely comfortable with it and it failed. He can turn around and assign blame, however, in my mind when I expected an interview and ultimately a job yours truly got neither.

In the long run it doesn’t matter since I found another job elsewhere later that year – over six years ago. The irony was that he wanted me to cold call some connection he picked up – and who knows if it was a real connection – that would enable me to enter a job that “suited me“. I definitely wasn’t very comfortable with that and without his or anyone else’s help I got the job that “suited me” until it didn’t.

And last month I wrote a post about him beginning his “campaign” – “come over here to Finers you’d make more money” – while things hummed along at the Hole…before the Reign of Error.

However, my epiphany is that I need to move on. Surely for those of you who continued to follow this, it’s a conclusion you’ve long realized. And the many posts about this person have always trended towards the negative. Those stories only serve to really bleed together with very little to distinguish any of them other than a different story but same conclusion.

I often like to say that I’ve had the greatest sense of peace since the last time I spoke or saw him. It feels as if I told a lie, the peace comes from ending communications or better yet not giving a response to his increasingly rare yet persistent attempts at contact. The peace I don’t feel is that he got very close and I treated him as a friend only to realize years later that our situationship was very unequal. It served him the best and served me the least in reality.

At this point I’m hoping this post will be the last time he will be mentioned here. For this blog it’s probably enough of this very uninteresting soap opera that unfolded over the years. I often said if he tries any attempt at contact it won’t be broadcast news but I’ll let you know. Now my goal is to put this situation into the back of my mind where it belongs and turn my attention to things that will better yours truly.

Update

I often refer to me years – and two different stints – with Fresh Foods as the big money years. Then the bug hit us and the business had to adjust to the pandemic. The hours have gotten a tad more erratic in recent weeks. I’m not like it at all.

Earlier last month full-timers got hit with the policy that we’d have to be available for at least 70% of a store’s operating hours. And the added threat of possibly losing hours which two people confided in me about. One of those people I don’t see as particularly versatile as this seem to stick to one job and show no interest in learning anything else about the department.

Indeed and I’m keeping this in mind that this person seems to have things going on at work. They want to limit the times they can work – not necessarily what they do at work – in light of what’s going on at home. I think what would help them out is expanding beyond what they have done since I’ve started there. If this was my advice it’s unsolicited and just need to steer clear of that. However this bug hit us and that person hasn’t said anything else about it.

Another person actually started doing receiving more than I have in recent years. And view him as having the least to complain about, they don’t like the idea of a job “owning” a worker. However, if they’re concerned about their availability I see their solution – and had offered unsolicited advice to them – perhaps they need to find a buy/receive job. More often than not that’s guaranteed early hours do your ordering, receiving, and replenishing and then go home.

They’re not complaining as much as they had been, however, we have the added concern of this bug and we have some more problems. Our boss sent an email recently with regards to scheduling and hours letting us know we’re making less sales than normal. Suggested a few things like taking some hours in new departments, taking an extra day off or a whole week off, or even taking some hours at another store. Then it got me thinking.

I often liked to say that it’s more likely that I will return to the Hole than return to The Show. Yes, they are two different industries and right now The Show is closed so no return as of now is even possible. But what if I could help out my old department at the Hole and it leads to returning for good. Of course what I realize in that situation is that given the many changes as far as personnel there are many changes.

Another thing in consideration is that while grocery is an essential business as of now and many stores are still hiring there isn’t as much hiring given the current circumstances. I get the opportunity to learn a different department and how they do things and saw a job that could be of interest which is in another department but is a buy/receive position. So once I send this e-mail some big picture thinking is involved and besides this is a period of change & growth.

Regardless, this bug going around where I hear there is some progress – though not enough so that the world can go back to some form of normal – is causing us to adjust far more than we may be comfortable with. My goal right now is to just take advantage.

Nuisance

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I hinted a few days ago at how Anthony continued to bring up the name Finer Foods at random a few times when we were still “friends”. It was often at random the first time he wanted to talk about what happened a few years earlier occurred after I mentioned that I visited one of their newer stores. He wanted to know what happened with that and I knew what he was referring to. Unfortunately only he knows why he wanted to re-open the dialogue with regards to that.

There was a time and I don’t remember if this was before that or later that I was talking about how much I liked Fresh Foods. I had been with that company for just about two or more years at that point and his response to how much I liked where I was “I think you’ll like Finer’s better!” He said that really matter of fact and quick and I shot that down just as quick.

I worked with a few people who formerly worked with Finer’s and they all give that company a thumbs down. There’s a reason many of them chose Fresh and like it there better. They were more passionate about Fresh than they were about Finer’s. It was always about the managers, how much they were paid, the rules, the pettiness. There was a different story with a different person and it wasn’t good.

Only Ant knows why he was so into talking about how much better off he thought I’d be at Finer’s. My best theory has been as I was making raises just about every year and things seemed to have gone well at first he probably got envious (and remember he’s generally miserable) and decided to do something about it. He was in my head enough to try to convince me to reverse course and jump ship. Of course I was assured of how much better off if I stayed put at the Hole at least during that period of time within the first six months of 2017.

The irony of what he was doing was that he was indirectly benefiting from what I was doing at Fresh. He decided that I was making good money which was barely $25K a year, but it was enough for him to beg on occasion. Still he’s begging for money and he thinks I’d do better at Finer Foods which I attributed to his “skill” in negotiation and his experience, however, only he knows in reality. I still say he probably got jealous and used his rather domineering behavior to convince yours truly to work elsewhere to chase “better money”.

So a few times he’d bring up that if “you come to Finer’s, you’d make more money”. It would be different times, but it would be the same line and usually my response was often it “would take something real crazy for me to even consider it”. I think he hardly ever pays attention to what I’m saying and he often repeats himself.

I think one day we were talking on the phone and it was regarding being on an interview panel. I had to explain to him a few times I wasn’t of any real standing to be the final decision maker I was just part of a panel to help determine a new assistant manger for our department. I mentioned that I might be learning buying in the future although he found a way to dismiss that and suggest I’m better off as a supervisor. Thank you for that, but one thing to learn about business is numbers as much as it is about working with people especially with a more visible and higher level role.

Even with this, he turned around and brought it up for the nth time that I’d make more money at Finer’s. I hit him with “YOU MUST REALLY HAVE A HARD ON FOR ME COMING TO FINER’S!!!

He replied defensively: “Nah, I’m just saying…”

Then one day he tried to call me at work and I was actually in the cooler putting product away. On that morning I forgot to turn my ringer off and I hear my phone ring. I send a text letting him know that I’m at work and will call him back. He texts: “Why don’t you come over here with me to Finer’s, you’d make more money and you’ll be closer to home”.

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I call him later and further reiterate that some good things were happening at that point at Fresh. Officially I would be doing more buy/receive in the future and there would be an opportunity hopefully to “negotiate“. And he lauded this as such a good thing, “they like you showing you how to do something new” he says. This ended for a moment his continued “campaign” to come to his more favored company and possibly take more cash.

To which let me set up the come over here with me to Finer’s. He allegedly had worked for a Finer’s store where he had attempted to get me on with them. I went to the northwest side of Chicago for an interview which was botched, and he insisted at that time on worrying me about calling them to make it happen. I often resisted and he amped up his efforts in my mind I just wasn’t interested I came to be interviewed and was sent back out the door after waiting an hour. Then not long after those events perhaps going up to maybe September 2014 when he decided to bring it up again he quit. Like I said he really has the tendency to not settle down in any job since he quit the Show in October 2013.

By the time I started doing buy/receive at the Hole he was talking about going back to Finer’s. According to him he wanted insurance for his son for a pre-existing condition and he got some “connections” at Finer’s to get hired at a store closer to where he lives. And as per his insistence closer to where I live also.

I just have to add that pre-existing condition for his son became a prelude for the episode One Final Drop. He may have insurance and yet still needs money for his son’s medical bills. It was during that episode that he brought up Finer’s again though for the last time.

Ant: You’re thinking about jumping ship yet!?!?

Yours truly: *confused* It’ll take something real crazy for me to consider it!

Sidenote: You already know right? The scenario I had in my head was something that I hoped wouldn’t happen…

Ant: *nods his head* Just get an interview, see how much money they’re talking, and know your worth.

Y.T.: *shoots Ant a blank stare attempting to convey no interest*

When we leave the barbershop where I requested he meet with me, he started talking about how much he likes the candied popcorn at Finer’s. He said there is no residue on his fingers after eating the popcorn which I suspect is his way of continuing to sell me on moving on to Finer’s. He states his opinion that it’s better than a Chicago treat which does leave residue on your fingers.

It was my opportunity to ask him about his pay, since it’s his most consistent talking point. His claim was that he makes at least $700 or $800 per check. And I wanted to establish if this is after taxes and just simply states that it’s take home. I know how much I might make week to week in my head and reason that I’m no more than either $100 to $200 less at my then current level away from his rosy income from his checks (presumably he gets paid bi-weekly as I would at Fresh). I process this and find myself not very impressed, perhaps he could tell though he has a history of bullheadedness as far as my responses or lack thereof.

With that said that was the last time we talked about Finer Foods. I don’t know if he remained with that company or at least when he left though I suspect he had when I unexpectedly and with great trepidation saw him in his security guard uniform at a local hardware store. Perhaps he didn’t need the insurance anymore nor did he fit in with them anymore in spite of his pretenses.

“That’s a bad career move”

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Five years ago I was going through just about three months at the Hole. It wasn’t too long after I had started that I made full-time. Yes I was concerned if it was a good fit, what I was hired to do wasn’t much different than being behind a cinema concession stand. When I applied to work for Fresh Foods and to find a plan B upon realizing my new career in banking just wasn’t working out my goal was to stay as far away from customers as possible. That didn’t quite work out…

I applied to be a steward for my new department and instead found myself in a customer facing position. Well it can’t be said that yours truly didn’t have the experience and yes what I would be doing is somewhat different. At the same time it was familiar and the period I had been in up to that point was to leave behind the stink of $h!tplace. It was time to rehab myself after stagnation and the “failure” of working for Gotham.

However, allow me to go backwards about three months. In December 2014 I was maybe two weeks away from losing my job at the bank. Perhaps the same amount of time before scheduling my interview with my soon to be new boss at the Hole. I met with my old friend and former co-worker Anthony at a local greasy spoon on the near north side of Chicago. I paid for his lunch because he request it though he had this tendency to do this because he wants me to believe he’s hard up. He’s hardly got any money to play with to even buy some food….

Anyway he seemed impressed with the fact that I was Mr. Banker. To be honest there was some recoil at that moniker on my part. When I met with Ant my feelings about my new role was more or less $h!t. I even admitted as much to him, I was having a hard time with the new role I had accepted. What went bad, did so very quick and it’s something that is my responsibility and thankfully it was such a short time that it’s very difficult to dwell on.

One thing he made sure to state was “I had such a sigh of relief when I found out you were no longer at The Show”. It sounded like he had to confirm with people who were still there and although I told him what branch I was working it seemed no one remembered what company I went. Ant even assumed although I told him differently that I was working with my mother at a much smaller bank.

Sidenote: Gotham Bank is really another name for a major bank that does business throughout the country. How he could confuse that with a small neighborhood bank just shows how much he pays attention to what I say sometimes.

Also allow me to add that while I’m concerned whether or not a career in banking was for me at that point he might feign that it was his idea. Was it one I had pursued yeah, however, in reality it was for the wrong reason. Perhaps I did choose salary and certainly the possibility of benefits to pursue this path. It turned out the job I had accepted proved to be a terrible fit. If it was his idea based upon the idea that “it suits you” it just shows what he knows.

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Let’s fast forward back into the new year 2015. I texted him about being hired on at Fresh Foods and he lauded the fact that it was good news for the new year. At some point after I first started he called me up at work and we talk I tell him how much money I make per hour his response “NICE!”. Whatever I was saying was sounding good and my new role at a new company in the new year had that “new car smell”.

So then I meet with him at some point after talking to him on the phone. I think on this day we were supposed to see a picture. We went to that same greasy spoon to buy some food to sneak into the cinema with us. I don’t recall paying for his food on that day although he’s such a bad date with his unwillingness to as much as pay for both of our movie tickets.

After this we drop by a local grocery store as he’s looking for something to buy. I show him the approximate department that I work at the Hole. “You left the bank for that? That’s a bad career move! You could’ve been a personal banker!” That takes me aback because me working for Fresh sounded good with the pay and surely he’s heard of the company. Instead he turns around and $h!ts on it, the guy who seems to have inability to really settle down in any job since leaving the Show is criticizing the job I had just took on.

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We leave the store to head home for the day and as we wait for a train I approach the subject of Fresh again. He repeats his line “It’s a bad career move, dude”. I just reiterate that I like the move I made better, but he wasn’t having it until I put my hand on his elbow with “You know what I don’t miss about you? Your judgement”.

To explain that line a few times that day I engage in my own sometimes sarcastic and smart aleck responses with regards to some of the stupidity he spews. It cuts deep enough for him to just decide he needs to hit back. I often view it was me being me, but it sometimes ruffles his feathers and would angrily respond accordingly. Sometime he may even state that he’s “going to stop talking to you”. He never does and it’s probably because he needs something and I have a history of giving it to him and it’s probably why he still had the need to get into touch with yours truly.

Anyway once I make my statement I remove my hand from his elbow, he merely chuckles and then states “At least you left $h!tplace.” This was the last time we talked about my banking career and how much I could’ve made as a personal banker. Another time when we met I made sure to tell him I had such a hard time at that bank. Otherwise he dropped it, I think he respected my point once I did what I did.

However, what never ended in his unbelievable thought process was whatever happened with a company he had worked for Finer Foods. He tried to get me on board with them the year before and it fell apart. It took him just over two years to decide to ask “Whatever happened with that?” When he did I knew what he meant, fell right for the trap as we talked about another store that opened.

And amazingly during the last actually year that we were in regular contact he started his strange campaign for me to jump ship. I was never really interested remembering how it all fell apart and he was undeterred for quite a while when I didn’t show a lot of enthusiasm. Well I’d like to share some of that story later…