This is a bit different than the other milestone posts that I have written here over the years.

close up of a milestone at sunset

Late last month I got another raise which is another 75 cents more than the raise from last year. The assistant mgr who gave my annual dialog noted often that I had been with the company for eight years. And usually my only statement on how long I’ve been with the company is that state the year of my first employment with Fresh Foods which was 2015.

These days I hardly bring up the events of the Reign of Error and that six mos. period after that. There’s really no need anymore as what happened has. Whoever was part of that drama had left the scene either got demoted or outright fired or in other cases they simply moved on.

This time around as discussed once I transferred out of my old store perhaps this is a crossroads moment. Where is it possible to find where the grass is greener? The difficult part as always is getting started perhaps now more than ever I just feel stuck. Of course as always yours truly is still looking for a position that’ll get me to the next level. Though now it’s time to look outside of the company and not just look at the “old standbys” such as the NTC.

Another milestone of note is that while I often dismiss the 8 year thing because it’s not actually accurate. Perhaps it’s more like 7 yrs 9 mos about, and yes that information is actually verifiable. There are also some worthwhile accomplishments such as associate of the week, it should be noted after last month April – when getting rehired in 2018 – was the fifth anniversary of my return to the company. The fifth anniversary that marked the end of the Reign of Error.

Well I’ve finally made it, this is more than as long as I had been with The Show where yours truly was dangerously close to making it to five years in one position and at one place. More than respectable but I used to say that my goal was to make it at Fresh Foods as long as I was at The Show. However, perhaps the idea pre-Climax of the Reign of Error was to stay at the Hole about that long and sadly that goal had gotten “unexpectedly” disrupted.

Oh and you know why was it an issue for me to leave The Show before my fifth anniversary? Perhaps more others were making an issue of it, they probably thought that I didn’t know anything after almost five years. Well they wouldn’t listen to me anyway if I did know anything. Perhaps as a result of that I put some pressure on myself though there was external pressure from other sources beyond young coworkers. My answer is that it was time to go and that was correct in reality the ceiling for me was reached there.

When starting this blog in 2015 my time at the cinemas was one of the freshest things on my mind at that time. And to be honest as a result of my time at The Show it was easy to latch onto the “luxuries” at Fresh. The benefits, being paid better, the discount for buying groceries, etc. This what keeps me from really complaining about how much I’m getting paid as others I currently work with are.

Most complain about the amount of work they have to do and being almost constantly understaffed and other things I worked a minimum wage job for almost five years and it was easy for me to latch on to Fresh. My goal at one point was to make $20K and I got there and then some. Now I’m looking for my next salary point and had settled on six-figures. Now it’s time to start looking and start getting qualified for the next gig.

The other day we had some folks from our corporate regional HQ sniffing around the dept. They were annoying we had one that didn’t mind freaking out quick over some food that was out of date and wasn’t of good quality. She saw the quantity and that was enough to sound the alarm bells. It causes me to wonder how do I get a job at corporate regional.

Regardless it’s time to figure out where does Jack V go from here?


You know I’ve been wanting to talk about this for a while on here. It would’ve been perfect during the unrest over three years ago but then I hadn’t thought about it until recently.

So roughly during the winter/spring 10 years ago while at The Show, I was made aware of an allegation against one of our senior mgrs. I’m going to give him a moniker – Jacques – but let’s start with his hair style often resembled the style sported by The Beatles during their peak. He was a bit high strung and tight, very flamboyant in his behavior, he almost reminded me of the maitre’d on the TV program Hell’s Kitchen.

Jacques had allegedly (I never witnessed this) been overheard talking with another mgr – the one referred to as the HBIC we might discuss her further one day – and out of nowhere stated “I’m going to go watch these monkeys“. That is a statement that should’ve gotten him fired and potentially gotten her in trouble. I don’t know how many witnesses there were, however, I do know one of those stated witnesses had been let go in a “theft ring” at the cinemas back then.

If you want to know how I became aware of it, Anthony pulled me aside to let me know about it. I’m not sure why he opted to let me in on it. At one point I called it “drama” and he objected essentially to my use of that term in that situation. This incident allowed him to further his narrative about how The Show and its owners are both unfair and racist.

Of course the next question now becomes how exactly did he get involved with this? Anthony tends to talk to everyone so it probably started that way. Perhaps as even a loud mouth and cantankerous he may well have knowledge of the internal HR process of companies and he might have been a good resource to lean on. However, he may well have his own agenda in stirring this up. As you might know I don’t entirely believe everything he says anymore so now I just take a lot of what he told me with regards to this incident with a grain of salt.

His first move was to bring this to the attention of the GM who seemed to be glad to know about this as he tells it. Anthony later showed me a letter regarding this and when thinking about it is not clear who wrote the letter. Knowing how he texts the letter was far more professional than he could really write. I know this because during this time he had me type emails to those businesses or people he wanted to do business with. I don’t know if this coworker wrote this letter either. Regardless whoever produced this letter it was addressed to the GM, the HR person, and The Show’s company executives. It would be amazing that if this incident actually hadn’t happened that he had someone else outside of this situation to write this letter.

However, according to him he got blown off by the GM upon asking for an update and promised to cause some trouble in some way. He claims to know people although who he knows and who might actually follow-up is another question. Anthony told me later that the House Manager updated him that Jacques had been suspended for two-weeks without pay. The explanation was more or less a matter of them knowing Jacques for so many years and this wasn’t known to the employees because we really weren’t supposed to know. Again, this is something he should’ve been fired for and instead it’s a slap on the wrist. He lasted almost another two years – not too long after I had left – before he himself moved on from The Show.

With this said, if this happened did Jacques say he was going to watch these monkeys? Was it possible he was misheard or even his statement misconstrued? Well in 20/20 hindsight the man was a d!ck and was very loose with his words. I’ve witnessed this a few times myself with employees and a security guard noted how Jacques went at it with a customer using sarcasm. So if this incident happened, it was possible that he said what he said. Like a few mgrs up there he was unconcerned about what came out of his mouth and how it came out of his mouth though he wasn’t as flagrant as his colleagues as the HBIC

The coworker who allegedly reported this got promoted to supervisor almost a year later and she lasted in that role for roughly two years though as I had since moved on only she knows when exactly she did so. However, she herself was reported as a snake and was said to have a hand in the dismissal of another supervisor, my old coworker Keith. Still I just wonder why she was willing to work under someone (basically a supervisor works under a senior mgr) who showed very clear contempt for the workers. Although in all reality if Jacques did use such language and this coworker bears that in mind when accepting a promotion it was a relatively brief time anyway.

You know I don’t want to characterize all The Show’s mgmt as unprofessional there were some who were cool or even fair. Those were the exceptions more often than not. And unfortunately I often forget about the ones who called it as close to the middle as possible. Unfortunately I do remember the ones who I felt were unfair or just with a hair trigger temper looking to take their frustrations on someone or even just to throw under the bus.


dreamy man resting in hammock in woods

A few nights ago I had a dream about a random person from the past, I will refer to him as Barney. You may know him most of the time he’s mentioned on this blog I may use other monikers such as Mr. Deranged and you may see his avatar which is either Barney the Dinosaur or as a Teletubbie.

The dream involved me riding with my deceased father and driving along it seemed like we were on the inside of a shopping mall. Barney sees us riding past and for whatever reason opts to kick the side of the car. For me this was a sign that Barney wanted to cause a problem so I repeatedly told my dad to stop the car because for I wanted to confront him. He finally stops the car I step out to have words with D.B.

Now let me stop there and tell you what happened in the real world. My last real encounter with Mr. Deranged was on New Years Eve 2019 on my way downtown. He was on the train, I identified him as he sat across from me a good distance on the train sitting there grinning. I turn my attention back to my phone because if I stare at him for too long or even respond in anyway it’ll be viewed as an invitation. It’ll become more trouble than I want because there’s no real rationale with him.

So I noticed him between stops he may have gotten on at the last stop and he gets off at the next stop. I look up at him to further identify him, he never looks my direction again, and he steps off the train. Perhaps he did indeed get the hint that I won’t engage him at all! I would observe when he got off the train his face was blank with no further expression of any amusement as I had to learn him seeing me was evidently the highlight of his day. Kind of pathetic but eh….

Let’s fast forward during that pandemic year 2020. I would see him as I was about to get on a train going home and he got off that same train. In that instance I don’t believe he saw me but I was able to identify him. On this given evening he was wearing a face mask it was so nasty that it appeared to have a stain on it where his mouth is. It was so disgusting, he needed to change that mask! Thankfully all he did was hop off the train and he ran up the stairs out of the station. OK cool!

The final time I saw him he was walking away from one of Chicago’s commuter rail stations near downtown. I was on my way to work that day it was sometime in the early afternoon. Perhaps he just got off the train – I’ve heard from people that he lived in the northwestern suburbs so it’s possible that’s how he gets around. In any case, he was dressed in an old faded Bulls jacket something that I’d pay him money for and perhaps he’d take my lowball offer. He wore a pair of faded blue jeans and a worn out pair of Timberland boots. He also had those cheap heavy looking brass earrings that I observed he wore on a few occasions in the last few years I have seen him.

The strange thing about him was that he was doing this odd shifting of his eyes. Perhaps he was trying to avoid eye contact and I tried not to draw his attention. So I didn’t spend any time staring directly at him though I gave him a side eye waiting for him to try to approach. He never looked in my direction he kept it moving and I turned back to see if he would try to turn back and approach. He never did, GOOD.

If there was a time he would say something that was it, but he didn’t. Again perhaps he finally got the hint that I would not engage. However, in my dream I broke that rule.

In my dream, as expected my confrontation became an argument with him. I couldn’t reason with him in any way and perhaps there was some pushing involved. However, I can’t give you a real resolution because I woke up. Who knows in a situation with him, it would do nothing but escalate because that’s probably what he wants.

Thankfully it was just a dream and it wasn’t the only dream I had about him over the years but that’ll be another post.

This might be it for posting this month. Next month perhaps another Streak Era installment. And then perhaps discuss a milestone which I really achieve this month it relates to the Reign of Error. Also perhaps I can finally write about losing my temper at work and some other things I’ve had in mind from 10 years ago when I still worked at the cinemas.

Stay tuned.

A fib

unrecognizable woman with bloody wounds with word liar on lips

Sorry if this is a bit graphic, just the best illustration of the point for this post.

Three or so years ago I told you that there were some liberties taken with regards to whether or not I actually own my mother’s car. I was spotted once by a couple of coworkers and was even queried about this from a female coworker.

Most recently a coworker asked “what was the most expensive date you ever been on?”

Well I made something up quick and my basis was The Hook-up.

In which case I noted that this was actually a blind date and for some tickets to a comedy show at a downtown live action theater the tickets cost me $70. I also wanted to note that the date didn’t even like me and stated that I tried to compliment her and she was like “thanks”. While he didn’t respond to that at all my story was that this expensive date just didn’t go well. He even asked if she was “bad” and my answer wasn’t so much that she was bad she just wasn’t feeling me.

In the real world of course that date never happened. I just used the “drama” of that situation to create a totally made up story of a date that never happened though somewhat credible. Hopefully most men could relate to the story I tried to tell.

I’m sure there’s a man out there who went all out on a date spending a lot of money and for whatever reason it doesn’t go well. Perhaps in my story I point the finger at the woman, some dates it just goes that way. A woman isn’t feeling the man no matter how much he spends on the date. Either the vibe is right or it’s just not.

Of course as you know since this is based on something I told numerous times which I last discussed back in February. My former coworker I know as the Fiend decided that I needed to go out more and tried to get me to buy some tickets to this comedy show and he tried to present another ex-coworker as the date. Of course in his world because I didn’t do exactly what he asked me to do yours truly blew it.

In reality, I don’t believe she was feeling me. Perhaps she may never knew I was supposed to be her “date”. He was more of the middle man in this as if he tells the story, she called him for an update and realized the show was mostly sold out. And this wasn’t necessarily a blind date for me, I knew who I was supposed to go out with perhaps the other party didn’t. And the more he decided to rub this in the more clear it is to me that this was what he wanted as I was hardly enthused about this.

However, the coworker at my job needs not know the true story behind this. LOL.

Streak Era missed opportunities

Allow me to discuss one handicap I had during this period of time in 2013 through 2014. I could be very bad with callbacks. A hiring mgr might call me and sometimes I just let it sit.

What I would try to do is give at least a day before I called back the hiring mgr. This what I did with the call from NTC in February 2013. Alas there were quite a few that I failed to do this perhaps I did callback after a few days. The general rule of thumb in my opinion is that it’s best to callback no more than one day after they call. Beyond that one day after they call is pushing it to it’s not even going to happen.

In this case I attempted to break that rule although nothing came of it. This was a situation where I wanted to still talk my way into an interview after allowing some time to elapse before calling. Of course what would be likely to happen days after an initial call they would find some way of putting me on the back burner – this has actually happened for the record.

Now little did I know at the time that eventually a job would land in the same neighborhood as that NTC 21 screen Cinemas. Also this cinemas allowed me to interview for a mgmt position over a year later. As stated to a coworker once upon time while working at The Show there was a Fresh Foods near my then employer. And then arrive at The Hole for Fresh Foods my employer was now near a theater which I frequently went to the pictures especially when getting off the morning shift at the store.

So the NTC actually called me on a Saturday night and I was a bit giddy. Now remember my mindset anytime I failed to get a job offer it meant I was stuck at The Show. Why did I hesitate the next day and the five days after that? This was what I wanted, so what was the hold-up.

I finally called on Thursday – which was five days after they called. The person at the customer service desk, well not sure if they were mgmt, however they were helpful. I did admit they called me on Saturday which they ask “last week?” They didn’t exactly put me on the back burner as they could have. So they told me the mgr who called me would be in later and suggested I call after 2 PM which I resolved to do.

However, a few intervening events took place which includes Anthony wanting me to go to his dojo to meet with his business partner. And that turned into a bit of an ordeal. What I didn’t anticipate that before arriving at his dojo that we would be killing a lot of time downtown before going to his school on the south side. In fact, I’m not sure why we didn’t just go to his school.

The sequence of events on this day was that we went to grab a bit to eat first. He talked a lot of smack about this burger place that I suggested, evidently he didn’t like it. Of course if I didn’t like something he’d try to quiet me down as was the case when we saw Warcraft.

He wanted to check out this outfit called Broadway in Chicago where I learned his new favorite word YOU-nyun – union. This was one of his job leads although I never really followed up on it. Basically unionized theater ushers although that wasn’t the only job available. I could be a concessionist or a supervisor – which would be up my alley at that time. And I did witness Ant using his gift of gab although this didn’t result in a job for him.

Then we went to the Mag Mile where he wanted to go into a Coach store looking for a wallet similar to the one I carried. He got offended when a salesman for whatever reason showed him a loud colored wallet which was something I laughed so hard at. That wasn’t going to work for him….

We went into Water Tower Place where at one point he tried to get me to talk to some young sales woman at a jewelry store which I basically balked. Why was he so concerned with me trying to talk to women? After that he’d start making it an issue that I just let these woman walk past without talking to them. Actually he seemed to do that, he liked to see other guys spit game.

Then finally we went back into the Loop to go to some museum run cinema where he claimed to know people. We just went in to hangout at one point we were about to leave only for him to stop and smirk. Then he turns around to do more jawjacking. Once he was finally done he asks me where else we can go to kill some time. At that point I let him know this was tired and when were we supposed to go to his dojo. From that point we took the train back to the south side.

However, we never accomplished what I thought we would accomplish on this day. His business partner didn’t come and by the time I made it home that evening it was almost 8 PM and I was in no mood to call this mgr at the NTC.

I had resolved to call on Friday almost a week after they called me. I had an day shift so my plan was to get home and call them. Except on the way home my mother called me from work talking about doing some shopping – something she had planned while Anthony spent most of the previous day killing time. She decided to do it on that Friday and when we were all done I was in no mood to call the NTC.

I resolved to do this on Saturday before clocking into work – a week after they initially called me. Anthony again wanted me to come to his dojo to sit there are write notes of his meeting with his business partner which was probably for show. By the time that was finished I had to scramble quickly to get back home and get ready for work. My mother allowed me to drive to work and what killed this plan was traffic on the way to work to the point where I had little time before calling NTC and having to clock-in for the day. After this I just said forget about it.

I blew it! While I was frustrated by intervening events the main thing was that I could’ve been taken care of this long before those events. I could’ve called the NTC back right away and scheduled my interview and I didn’t do that!

After that well there were hardly any callbacks until perhaps that September. Anthony would begin to judge me for it later. I suppose this was my real rut and unfortunately this didn’t help really change the job search. As stated already perhaps there would’ve been more success if the jobs pursued weren’t just the basic ones with a cinema or retail. Perhaps this was the time to pursue banks more and certainly other positions that would’ve been interesting. Certainly this would be the time to identify the job that I wanted and get myself qualified.

Who knows, however, I just knew I’d find a new job in 2013.

Streak Era: Emerging crisis?

Hello, my name is Jack V and in reality there was no crisis. It was just time to go.

Concession Counter at Movie Theater

I referred to a crisis a few times in writing about that period of time – the Streak Era – over a decade ago. I suppose it was just more drama than it really was. Perhaps this crisis was as much about the environment around me at the time or at the very least the people around me.

So up to this period of time back in 2013 I had gone through three interviews from the cinema mgmt interview to a bank teller interview and then finally up this point a position with the National Theater Chain. All of those interviews I viewed as an opportunity to ideally leave The Show. The feeling of it was time to go came as a result of the action of coworkers and some members of mgmt namely the House Mgr and a senior mgr I refer to as the Head B!tch in Charge. Let’s say during this period of time both were on my case for some reason although HM was at this point more so on my case than HBiC. With both worse incidents were coming, however, that’s not the focus of this post. Main thing was I was just stuck there whether I wanted to really face that or not.

I think part of my motivation for the whole Neighborhood Cinemas mgmt deal was a case of “I’ll show them”. I thought I could’ve gotten promoted at The Show and for whatever reason they never looked in my direction. Of course, I no longer think it was a bad thing it never happened as I do consider who I would be working with at the time. I felt stuck, not that I wanted to really believe I was stuck but the feeling was it’s just time to go. It seems the negative was hanging over me more than anything positive, that was quickly becoming my reputation deserved or not.

My first interview after the mgmt interview was for a bank teller position. I had a phone interview and the pay was certainly better than the show. Sadly I didn’t get it, though based upon how I felt I performed at the time I wasn’t too surprised. I probably didn’t connect well with who I interviewed with, not sure if he had a connection with the branch where the job was located. Either way, the interview was during the holiday season so perhaps in the New Year something would happen.

So I would get my next opportunity by the end of February with the National Theater Chain. It wasn’t the job that I really wanted, however, I could stick with what I knew and hopefully thrive better than I did at The Show. Seemed like a foolhardy plan, however, I was advised by someone (Anthony) to get a foot in the door. There was an NTC location near downtown that would call me on a Thursday for an interview.

I returned the call from a supervisor there on a Friday. Once I got the supervisor who called me on the phone she immediately hits me with “Why do you want to leave The Show?” I was caught off guard and stumbled through the response only stating that I wasn’t growing there. We went through a quick pre-screen and scheduled an interview for that coming Sunday and I do believe that was an off day for me. She told me that her manager would also be part of this interview.

I told Anthony about this and offered the unsolicited advice of if I don’t get a guarantee of some hours “be prepared to walk”. Huh? I’m not trying to walk away from a job offer, I’m trying to leave The Show. Walk away from what? Hold out for what? I wanted to leave….I was more or less convinced that staying there was out of the question under all circumstances. What am I sticking around  for if my income nor career there was growing?

The interview I thought went well. The manager tried to get me with a likes and dislikes question, considering my state of mind it was likely very difficult to come up with a solid like and I really didn’t want to discuss dislikes. You see where this is going, it could lead to badmouthing my then employers which is something I wanted to avoid. What probably didn’t come through was that yours truly just wasn’t growing at The Show. Then the manager abruptly ends the interview with the parting words “if you don’t hear from us, don’t take it personal“. Wait, I thought this went well…

With that stated as I wanted to leave The Show I suppose the question that might pop-up into a hiring manager’s head might be if you hate where you were, is it possible you’d also hate it here? That was a question never asked, but that never occurred to me during that period of time. I pursued a mgmt position at the Neighborhood Cinemas, however, would I have hated there with the added responsibilities? The cinemas owner picked up on something also as her parting shot was that she knows “you’re frustrated but everything will work out OK”. Then again I wasn’t in the most positive of spirits in both of those particular situations. For most of the Streak Era I really wanted to leave a workplace that was beginning to become more and more toxic as time went forward.

About a week after the interview Anthony and I was out near downtown, he was following up with a job at a security firm whose offices was located nearby the NTC Cinemas where I had interviewed. I hadn’t heard anything and since he was into following-up, we pretty much decided I needed to go in and follow-up with them. I asked for the hiring manager (or perhaps HR manager) and when he came out I realized he wasn’t the one who interviewed me.

So here goes my follow-up and I don’t really remember what I asked nor remember the sequence of events. He did ask when was my interview and then stated that if I hadn’t heard by that point then I probably didn’t get it. This was not the answer I wanted to hear. He would then ask who did I interview with, and then he told me that the manager who interviewed me would be working tonight. He suggested that I give him a call that night.

Meanwhile Ant was looking at the showtimes at the ticket counter and suggests we see a movie right there and right now. I say no, let’s go. He starts to object, then I repeat with more bass in my voice “LET’S GO!” He realizes that my follow-up didn’t go that well. You see I did get an answer just not the answer I wanted.

We later go get a bite to eat and he starts talking. He begins to work on me. He starts talking about this is what I wanted and we should go back down there catch that movie and catch that mgr off guard. He’ll be surprised and he’ll give an answer such as “oh yeah, I’ll get you in the next round”. Coming from him it was just more pressure, I finally just told him that I’ll just call that manager tonight. We went home after that.

Of course I never called that manager, I suppose it was just time to move on from this. There were going to be other opportunities, this one wasn’t meant for me at that time. Anthony tried to follow-up later and ask if I spoke to him my indirect response let him know that I hadn’t. We never talked about it again after that, but he let me know he was disappointed. Going forward his best advice was for me to just keep applying to those jobs that never gave me a response. Wasn’t very useful advice, but then I was expecting something he couldn’t offer which was how do I get the job. He really doesn’t have the answer to that question other than to express his prowess in getting a job for himself which isn’t necessarily what I needed to get the job.

If you want a lesson here, avoid badmouthing your current or previous employers. Check your attitude if you finally do get some bad news, especially when it comes to a job that you interviewed for. So I don’t think I badmouthed The Show, however, perhaps I did during my interview stepped out of bounds with regards to my background or even in trying to address why it was time to leave. Perhaps they picked up my feelings about the job I had at the time which caused me to refer to it as $h!tplace.

Whatever happened with this interview, it was clear that my attitude was going to become anytime I don’t get a job offer it meant that I would remain stuck at The Show. The more I hit that realization, the more I created this crisis in my own head. While I had offered an alternate explanation for why it took two years to leave The Show for another job, part of the answer was my interviewing. Perhaps another part is mindset, if things weren’t going well at The Show how do I present my best face to have a very successful interview?

Either way I attempted to remain optimistic and in 2013 I just knew I’d find a new job that year.

The hook-up shoot

Valentine’s Day is coming up so I wanted to retouch bases on something that was somewhat relevant about 10 years ago. I refer to this episode as The Hookup.

About a decade ago, the man I now refer to as the Fiend was trying so hard to get me to buy some theater tickets to see a comedian at a downtown theater in Chicago. Long story short I never got those tickets and by extension I never went out with the young lady I refer to as Greta whom he wanted me to take out. My answer was just a lack of real interest, and he probably picked up on it but was undeterred as this was what he wanted.

Funny thing about this was that he sort of took his foot off the gas on this until according to him Greta called him to ask about this comedy show. I never updated Anthony on it, just simply put it in a pile of things I just didn’t view as a priority. I saw the ticket prices which were much higher than to go to The Show for example and I just thought about the money and definitely put it on a low priority.

Now for one thing, why did Anthony just have this strong belief that I needed to go out more. That was his statement every time I started coming up with excuses and when I tell this story I might emphasize that he’s a bad matchmaker. For whatever reason he wanted to see me with a woman and have made various statements to that end. So he chose for whatever reason Greta, I never chose her. And he was not smart enough to allow things to really develop he just thought get them on this date.

Of course, I can’t say there was a real plan. He never fully revealed his plan other than I was supposed to take Greta out. Of course since the plan didn’t fully get executed I get blamed for it. And overtime – until I finally just stopped communicating with him – he’d find a way to bring it up. In his world, I blew it with Greta and of course I failed to adequately stand up to that decrepit old man. And who knows if that would’ve mattered.

Regardless after over four years from 2013 to about 2017 he’d find a way to bring it up. Usually in response to something that I said, however, increasing he would just bring it up by himself and the last time was during the episode One Final Drop. I just decided my response was to throw back “I blew what? What did I blow?” beyond “I blew it with Greta” there was no answer I just saw his face go blank. And one thing I realized about this is that it was all about him. Usually when he brings it up, often it’s in response to what I had said perhaps something that would lead to him thinking about that time I blew it with Greta. The last time he brought it up with no encouragement from yours truly it was for whatever reason on his mind.

And here is an interesting question to consider. If things worked out and I went on this date and Greta was feeling me or I was feeling her how would this work in the long run? Is this what Ant would want for yours truly? If he was about control and dominance would it be in his best interest for me to have a girlfriend? Something tells me that if things actually did develop between us he’d find a way to sabotage it and perhaps he’d blame me for it in some way.

You know, I had to think about this for a second, there was a time during this period perhaps after this episode that he started to give me some “beauty suggestions”. For example, he suggested I grow a beard like he does and let it go gray. In his words “women like that and it’ll make you look distinguished”. My best answer to that was being young still at the time there was a time for that and I wasn’t there yet. And stating further “I want a babyface”. Which later became a repetitive yet silly debate.

T.F.: You don’t have one

J.V.: But I want one

T.F.: But you don’t have one

J.V.: But I want one

One time we were in an auditorium cleaning having this discussion let’s say there was a break in the “debate” and then he starts right away with “You don’t have one”. Funny thing is after getting a haircut one time Anthony had come over to me and had to state with regards to the babyface remark that he can see it a little bit. He actually gave me that one.

Of course consider one thing. I did refer to him as a decrepit old man. He is not a very good looking man, he’s not aged well. He can groom himself well as there are pics to that effect. However, he’s balding he often has a frown even his smile isn’t that appealing. I like to refer to him as perpetually miserable and it’s on his face. I’m supposed to take that type of advice from him?

Anyway in the next post lets go back to the Streak Era. Later this month 10 years ago I had an interview with the National Theater Chain which I hoped would enable me to finally leave The Show errr $h!tshow. He was somewhat involved with this, however, not a major factor given that well I still walked away from this with no job offer.

Stay tuned.

Focus – Fresh start

A feature of this blog since about the beginning was how was work. And since starting this blog I’ve many ups and downs. For two years I had a pretty good ups, though there were some downs. My statement on this is that from the time I was hired at the Hole through the Reign of Error was basically a great period for me. Consider that my wages had stagnated when I was still at The Show.

And of course also consider that as I cut off one relationship from The Show – yes I’m talking about the Fiend – I had to hear about some bad stuff from back then allegedly from his own huge trap. When I still talked to the Fiend I try to emphasize today’s good news. Sadly I might emphasize I’m better off now than I was at The Show. At some point he tried to dig in on the negative from The Show, you see he can be an energy sucker.

So second hand I was the worst worker, I was rude to customers, the meangirls of the $h!tshow constantly complained, nobody liked me up there. In his world I was horrible and why is that because right now I’m horrible, perhaps in his world I always was horrible. If he’s really saying those things to someone who knows me, I don’t think this came out of nowhere. He probably has always believed those things, he is the type that just takes a position no matter what the reality is. Besides he does have a very fractured relationship with the truth.

And then I consider the situation later during the Reign of Error at The Hole and even my situation at the store (which needs a new name) where I got rehired at Fresh Foods. That turned quickly less than ideal and in my humble opinion I feel some actions by leadership at my new assignment was very unfair as time moved forward. I had one final job review with them after leaving the deli team and the funny thing about it was even though I consider that a very negative review I still got the largest raise ever at Fresh. They revealed a laundry list of deficiencies and issues and another thing that sort of hurt that because I’m very low key that I merely blend in and don’t stand out. I feel as if the leadership let me know where I stood with them and it wasn’t good.

However at the midpoint of my time at this old store I get transferred and as time goes forward while I had some disappointments there, things turned around for me. I one time became associate of the week and even was in the running for that store’s associate of the year. Perhaps the criticism of the leadership or even some of my former coworkers in that dept was all shown to be bull$h!t. I won’t say they were wrong, however, they had unnecessarily developed a very negative opinion of yours truly and there was nothing I could do to turn that around.

Of course in talking about this, there is a point. As I made my most recent move to the store I now refer to as Flagship 3, one of the things that I must learn to do is not allow the past to follow me. I feel as if any situation can be turned around and of course if people are deeply holding those negative points of view it will be difficult. However, I recognize that it’s not necessary to allow this to mark myself in my own head.

The past is over. Everyday is a new start and I also don’t have to bring past events with me. No one at my new store needs to know how things turned out at the Hole or even later on. I’m at Flagship 3 for a new start, perhaps to reinvigorate my current career although I may recognize that it’s time to find other opportunities.

One mistake I made just about five years ago was that I did discuss once too often the Reign of Error at The Hole. And again I let that situation mark me and while I felt as if it was a motivation for me to do better. It was still a weight upon yours truly. This time around I want to release that weight and then some from the last six years. Perhaps the next four years at this new location will prove to be another great period.

So almost a month after I made the move, I must dedicate myself towards looking forward. If I continue to dwell on past negativity, that makes it very difficult to move forward.

Mr. Boastful update

You know I’ve been having trouble finding a topic of discussion beyond me changing jobs (actually transferring changing jobs within the company). Perhaps this is the perfect time to talk about some loose ends.

Last month I wrote about a character I refer to as Mr. Boastful. Sometime in the fall after being a buyer/receiver for over four years about, he got bumped down to a cook. He had transferred stores twice during that period. He was officially a team receiver for over a year at The Hole, and then for over two years he was a buyer at a store I will refer to as Flagship 1 and then he moved onto be a buyer at another store Flagship 2. And then after maybe about four months his job title changed to cook.

I’m on the outside looking in so at Flagship 2, I can’t say what happened only Mr. Boastful knows. I can conjure up a story in my head and say this move didn’t quite work out for him. Perhaps it wasn’t going to work out for him for long if he maintained his outspoken attitude which is why I call him Mr. Boastful.

I gave a quick sequence of events over time starting in about 2017. I can tell you that once the Reign of Error commenced with our boss Ruthless Roger and he was starting to make changes or moves, Mr. Boastful was right there paying attention. Being an opportunist, seeing a potential opportunity, basically waiting for yours truly to fail so that he can take advantage. Once a requisition for a position did come up and I got hit with that attendance probation I couldn’t go for it and it immediately comes out that he applied.

And here was the real problem I had with his behavior during that period of time. It’s not so much that he was going to get the position that I had, it was that he was very much into rubbing it in on yours truly. He was essentially gloating about this and that was my problem the more he just insisted on doing so. Couple that with him starting to talk $h!t about it way before he got into that position.

I feel as if there was a lot of uncertainty during that period of time which started to hit me in some ways with the tardiness – all of it unintentional however those issues had built up long before the summer. And also Rog’s need to be very by the book by his measures which unfortunately made that issue much worse for yours truly. This is why I call this era the Reign of Error, not so much because of any errors by yours truly – though I could say I make a lot of “tactical errors” – it’s because the main error was this fool was allowed to live up to his level of incompetence.

Anyway, I suppose Mr. Boastful’s boorish behavior has lasted in my mind. And I got one more piece of news for you as far as that goes, he’s no longer with the company. I looked for his name and couldn’t find him on the company’s social network. My best theory on that – if I held to my own narrative – is that he didn’t want to be cook. For someone who had proven himself to be very ambitious and cocky I could see him viewing being a cook as a step down from where he wanted to be. I believed that the move that happened at Flagship 2 wasn’t something he really wanted. From what I recall he never expressed interest in being a cook, whenever he pursued other positions when I worked with him he wanted to be a supervisor although he sort of quieted down on that once he started doing the buy/receive.

I also consider now what my motivations were at the time when I took on the role. Was this something I really wanted? My goal was to make mgmt at the time. Also I never really learned numbers which is what’s necessary to do buying. I did have product knowledge though I didn’t know about all the products of the dept or even how much product the dept needed to make whatever the dept needed to sell. I feel as if I didn’t get the education that Mr. Boastful – whom I felt put on a show to illustrates how much he wanted this – actually sought out.

So while I didn’t like his behavior I’ll have give it to him that he got what he sought out. He clearly played the game, I would dare say he outplayed me however in his need to talk he had to let me know what’s up. It worked for a while, though I wonder if he somehow did himself in ultimately.

Either way I might have looked at this practically like I didn’t have to deal with customers of course that changed. And also consider I’ve had other opportunities that didn’t work out for me at the new store and even in a new dept. Perhaps on my end something was missing in both recent cases. Thankfully it wasn’t a case of “unfriendly competition” perhaps just a case of I just came up short anyway.

I suppose if I was still attempting to pursue such positions in the future, perhaps I need to evaluate whether or not these are opportunities worth pursuing. These are added responsibilities which it seems I haven’t been able to show that I can handle. And as stated it’s very easy to be comfortable and complacent and I’m getting too old for that. Something has got to give even if that means I want to leave Fresh Foods in the near future as I made the move to Flagship 3.

So, I have some serious thinking to do. Will an opportunity open up for me at my new store? Will I prepare myself adequately for that role and for the interview? And how do I address someone who is very willing to challenge me in every way once I get into such a position? I would never do it anyone to be honest even if I knew someone was doing a $h!t job, however, it’s more stressful when someone decides to do it to yours truly.

I think this month I will skip discussing the Streak Era and talk more about that period next month. Also I may cover the story involving the Fiend and Greta next month. One topic I’ve been trying to figure out how to write is the idea of losing your temper at work. So perhaps this article will be the last posting for this month.

How has 2023 been for you all so far?

Updates and history

As currently I’m learning my new role on yet another new team in over four years, I can compare this current time with me joining the team at the Hole after being hired with Fresh Foods. We had to go through what they call “hit the ground running” their take on orientation which we did at a local university and later a local hotel and then eventually we moved over to the store itself which was just opening. I learned my role eventually and would dare say I latched onto my role to the point where it was a shock that I lost my job there over two and a half years later.

However back in the time between Dec. 2014 and Jan. 2015 it came in a very quick fashion. I had just lost my job at the bank, and it was a job I really was starting to despise. It wasn’t going very well and the people I worked with there let me know it. My goal was to find something else and I’ll drop them like a bad habit of course they dropped me like a bad habit. Today I would say good riddance, back then it came with some uncertainty although I had some interviews lined up with the Hole.

If I had it my way perhaps I’d be a cashier, though I’m glad I didn’t start off in that role. I’d deal with the issues of a deli counter instead. It’s not much different than working a concession stand. I’m actually working in a real kitchen with real food. And of course picky customers who can’t help but make food an ordeal. Sometimes you just wish you can tell them to cook for themselves.

Anyway once the change happened eight years ago, I told a few people from The Show. I did tell Anthony that I got a job with Fresh, he had a positive spin. When I told him how much I got paid he was like nice, until sometime later I told him what I would be doing which he characterized as a bad career move. What I tried to steer him towards is how much I like the company, though not so much I didn’t like the bank which was true. He held onto the idea that I could be a personal banker and make more money. There’s no pleasing him it seems, he’s very judgmental.

Anyway, to be in this new environment was as much a culture shock as was leaving The Show for the bank. Except perhaps in some ways I set myself up to fail quick with people who were very willing to allow you to fail. Not so much they were supposed to have your back, however, as I learned with them they weren’t very patient and of course the more mistakes I made the more upset with me they were. Like I said it wasn’t working and I accept that today.

Sometimes a fresh start is nice. To leave The Show for a fresh start was necessary. To have a fresh start at Gotham Bank only to find some of the the same issues cropping up is a bit of a problem. And then to have a fresh start at Fresh Foods and for a decent period of time it seems to work out is something that is great for yours truly. I think compared to what happened before or even after, this is a period of time I would want to repeat.

So I feel as if my recent transfer is somewhat of a repeat. In the New Year a fresh start in another location. And I feel as if it’s slow going, however, I already have experience within the dept I’m in and the company. I still have to learn their way and of course avoid the issue of stepping on toes. Just be helpful, yet not be the person who has little idea about what I’m doing. And you know that was the bank job, I think I just joined a team that wasn’t a great fit for me.

I got the latest fresh start in another department at my last store. Well it wasn’t entirely what I wanted and perhaps it was what my boss wanted at the time. I can recognize that he seems to have difficulty really communicating with expressing his frustration. In some respects he was nitpicky and seems to side with the rabble rousers of the team. The ones who seem drama prone which my old dept at the store I just left will be picking up one such person at some point after I transferred. Of course that person who I will characterize as drama prone – either they stir the pot – is transferring teams because they’re clashing with their boss. I just look at it as a bit of a bitter pill and yet it probably was necessary because it just wasn’t going very well at all in 20-20 hindsight.

So either way I’m glad to have made this leap on my own and in a new setting at Flagship 3 – this is what I’m calling the new store. It’s truly a great space though the layout is odd, however, this is befitting a store near downtown Chicago. As always I hope for the best where I am now.