On the spot…

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BREAKING NEWS!

Your hero – OK fine – yours truly is back at “Fresh Foods”! This is a fresh post and it all happened recently. When I learned I scored an interview I had to resist the urge to mention it here. Glad I did and it just means something to discuss later.

Meanwhile there is one more “Ruthless Roger” thought coming next week so stay tuned. That is one storyline that needs to be put to rest as now I have a reboot at “Fresh”.

So at this point four months into 2018 one resolution down. And as I said the easiest one to fulfill!

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A test of maturity is how to deal with a situation that you weren’t happy with. I’ve worked with people who have little issue letting me or anyone else know how unhappy they are working with them. Sometimes it’s very legitimate – for example perhaps you’re in the way – on the other hand sometimes you wonder how one deals with a complainer. To be fair it’s much easier to complain that to just keep it moving.

At some point one had to answer not for a terrible boss – and of course how could anyone – but for your own actions. For example my attendance issues which got me let go last year. Do I feel as if “Ruthless Roger” put a target on me, probably there just isn’t a lot of proof if the tardies put me in that unfortunate situation. If there is anything I can point to with that, the whole situation for the last 6 months of last year was most tedious because we had a whole new regime take over the dept.

With this said, I interviewed with my old store last week. Since learning that Roger is no longer the mgr of my former dept I had been applying to any position available in that dept. Of course it seemed as if every position I applied for saw me get rejected as the job status kept going to “no longer under consideration”. However, one of the store managers called me up recently to schedule an interview. I’m not sure if he remembers but he was in the mgmt office when Roger ushered me into the office to walk back out when the “guillotine” fell. Even though they were going with this he said “don’t think we like this” even in spite of the delay slip from the transit authority.

When I called the store mgr back, he asked why I no longer worked for the company, I told him. No frills though I just had to add the it’s a lot more interesting that being on attendance probation and was late one more time. I just had to note until that last tardy which was due to a delay on the trains that I was close to beating that probation. So anyway interview was scheduled for mid-week and I got ready to prepare to the extent that I could.

Upon going back to the store for this attempt at a return it felt like old times to get off at the train stop nearby. Because I was running out of time as far as hanging out before the interview. I headed straight to the store and unfortunately there was a short line at the customer service desk, in fact one of the people in line was an associate who wanted to buy a gift card then use gift card to buy her food…yeah more complicated than necessary. Anyway, I checked in after that and had a bit of a wait before the store mgr came out.

Ran into one of the former associates who was doing his paperwork. He had also been let go by Roger and remember what I’ve said earlier no one seems to have a good story about him as a manager. There was often something dumb with him that I hear about from either a supervisor or an associate. More indicative of the fact that he really had no idea what he was doing. Also that in making his many changes he proved to be more in the way than he was helping.

What did this associate we’ll call Danny say? Nothing specific just that Roger could be bossy and wanting things his way. Much agreed on that point he was like that with me, remember he was a by-the-book manager. That proved to be problematic as he showed he didn’t really know how to run the kitchen. The book didn’t really help him in some of those regards. This was even noted by one of his supervisors whom I talked to recently.

Anyway upon greeting Danny, I simply told him “The nightmare is over”. Of course nightmare is probably giving him too much credit, but he’s coming back to a different dept that is now being run by Larry. When I told him who came back to be the mgr, it seemed that he liked that. My comment, “the dept now has someone who knows what they’re going.” Danny agreed and furthermore I stated that “Roger trying to have things his way got him nowhere as he’s not here anymore”. I further told Danny that although I heard many stories, Roger simply upped and quit.

Ran into another colleague who himself bristled under Roger some of his “goofball” changes affected him. He seemed a lot more cheerful on this day than he had been when I left. Things were looking up far more, though there were more to tell him when I officially come back. I was telling Danny more than I should’ve…

After all this the store mgr came out after a few minutes to meet me for interview which we did in the sitting area near the checkout lines. That will be a story for another time. As I write this I’m struggling to write an artful thank you note. Trying not to be very presumptuous about getting my job back at the same time hoping to increase the chances that I will return. Although to be fair it’s much easier to do nothing when in doubt. Problem is, I don’t like playing the waiting game especially since it’s my great interest to return and work with Larry…

another interview

Concession Counter at Movie Theater

had another interview earlier this week at another theater – same company as the “dine-in show”. it was a different kind of interview with seemingly a more indifferent manager – may not be good or bad simply put he was a hard read. i think i got through on some responses which i will share some of his questions. not much different than the more personal young manager i interviewed with earlier this month.

a sort of take off on tell me about yourself. i had to describe what i’m passionate about. i mentioned that i follow politics, huge wrestling fan, and i like movies. these are things i enjoy doing the most. not a long drawn out answer, he essentially got the gist. and i recognize even mentioning politics could be quite dangerous in such a setting, however i tried not to say i support anyone just note that things are crazy right now.

one question that i still scrambled for as i did earlier this month – name a time when you had to interact with someone you didn’t know. i still kind of winged this one, not very good. regardless i kept it professional without giving an example other than noting something work related.

another question involved a not very good customer experience and what could be done to rectify it. i noted a time – which also happened before an interview – where i was buying something from Target and had a cashier who never acknowledged me. scanned my items and took my money with no word to me at all. not a very good experience. my response acknowlege me, say hello to me, engage me – although it’s possible he wasn’t in the mood, also say thank you, and let me know what my total is.

a time when you came into a restaurant that was dirty. another thing that happened years ago was i was at a KFC and i saw a roach. i make sure to note that my general inclination was not to complain and expect that this was a one-time issue. others who were there made a big stink about it and made their disgusted sounds. however, one could see how seeing an insect in a place where they’re about to eat would ruin anyone’s appetite.

a time when you had to stay focused. i felt i was vague on this one, however, this is one i tried to rely on my experience at “fresh foods”. you work at a grocery store in downtown chicago and there are days where you’ll just get swamped with customers. main thing is to stay on task, keep your eye on customers, be accurate when you give the customers what they want, and especially when doing all those things stay focused.

biggest challenge in taking the job. basically companies change – as they had at “fresh foods”. another thing to consider in a theater is that we’re still in the service business and things happen and the trick is to adjust. a projector could go down, we could get busy at a moment’s notice. things like that.

also what would it take to be a successful associate at this company. one thing for sure is to know what this company offers to the customers and be able to sell that. know about the membership program and especially know about the movies. i never said this in the interview but never do a job and you’re not sure what you’re doing. either you weren’t trained well or you had little passion for it anyway.

what excites me about working for the company. again it’s to be back in the hustle and bustle of a theater. i already have an enthusiasm for movies and certainly i miss the excitement of people coming to the movies. especially to watch a long anticipated release.

finally i had to sell the manager who portrayed a customer a rewards program. which i believe i nailed though i was quite dry. since i use this rewards program i probably could’ve sold it much better than i had. i had to throw in that although you have to pay for the rewards program in the long run if you frequently come to the movies it pays for itself. i also had to mention “the show” saying they have a similar program though more of a membership than a rewards, but didn’t offer as much bells and whistles as this company’s program.

with that he opened the floor to questions which i kept focused on him. he told me how long he worked at the company, how long he’s been a manager, his favorite movie, whether nor not he likes the job, and how was the current location which he said it was the most challenging. think about this we’re in downtown chicago, bound to be challenges especially with the business.

so at the conclusion he just stated the thanksgiving holiday is coming up so hopefully decisions will drop on Monday. i take this as a good sign so my gut tells me this one could be a go. all i can say is time will tell on this.

btw, the house manager here is one whom i worked with over at the dine-in. i hope she pulls my application and says yes to me even if the manager i interviewed with didn’t. for now all i can do is relax and continue to plug away with applications.

also, there’s a reason for this and it’s not merely for a 2nd part-time job. some things changed for me unexpectedly recently and i promise it’s something worth talking about.

 

odds & ends

lately my mother had another cook coming around the house of as late. her sister-in-law (my aunt) drops by every now and then to cook. she was already known as a cook. for the most part i stay in the other part of the house as her and my mother are in the kitchen.

with this said i learned something about my father’s side of the family. the reason i talk of my dad and his addiction issues is because the drama on that side of the family caused his issues. and my aunt – we’ll call her nadine – said she had the chance to come to grips with them when they brought their father up to chicago before i was born.

i never met my grandfather as he died before yours truly finally arrived on the scene – here’s some minor trivia my dad is a junior which makes his dad a senior. according to my mother, nadine said she had a talk with her dad and they hashed out some issues. alas not much was said about the convo, however, she came out feeling better whatever was said or whatever was accomplished.

my mother futher told me that my dad was having trouble with school because not only his mother left home when he was 8, she died relatively young – as my dad did years later. in fact nadine was scheduled to graduate on the day her mother passed away unexpectedly! so unfortunately the son could never really reconcile with his mother and i also heard he was about to move with her. because she died it wasn’t going to happen!

the cooking has been excellent, there’s no shortage of cornbread around these parts now. last week we had some salmon patties with potatoes. we’re not short of collard greens with turkey wings and ham hocks. another time we had a cornish hen which lasted us a few days. one time she brought a lemon meringue pie which i never touched because i for whatever reason don’t like pie.

another visitor lately has been one of my mother’s old coworkers from the bank. she also lost her job when the bank was shut down by the feds and sold to another company. she’s been coming over to help clean up the basement and the closets. for the most part i find somewhere to go when she’s here though last friday i stuck around. didn’t really help out unless asked although my mother and i could knock out some of the clean-up. besides i would like to clean up my closet in the future!

finally i have another interview. trying to get back into the movie theater business – not “the show” of course although things might have changed for the better by now who knows. either way my first interview was a bust but i hope to retool try it again and hope to be successful this time around. perhaps do the reverse of what i did the last time.

also i have a post that is locked and am still working on writing it. hopefully it will be fully available in the near future. just trying to tighten some things up with this story, which i will admit will be quite awkward. i’m thinking about doing this sometime after thanksgiving.

there are some other things worth sharing, however, i’ll just wait until next month to tell you this. somethings have changed for me recently, unfortunately it doesn’t involve a woman at the same time these still are some important changes. unexpected though i hope to bear through them at this current time.

meanwhile wish me luck on this interview this week!

interview

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in light of some of the changes at “fresh foods” i applied & interviewed to return to the “dine-in show” that i had upped & quit. i hit a few bumps in the road which included they wanted to know why i left. my basic reason is that i made the determination that i couldn’t be fully available to the job when scheduled. it was basically because of my other job at “fresh foods”.

of course the interviewer tacked this on at the end of my interview before letting me know that he’s still interviewing and will make a decision by 5 PM on friday and this would never hear from them at that time. the interview didn’t go that well for me at that time, i wasn’t that comfortable with it. i didn’t prepare but for an entry level job these were questions that i should’ve been better able to answer.

for example, i need a better answer to the opener “tell me about yourself”. i did mention some aspects of my resume, but made sure to note considering the setting that i like movies. somehow i need to come up with more to answer this question and not seem like a deer in headlines. i also consider that as part of the opener for “fresh foods” almost three years ago the manager i interviewed with took to heart the fact that i like wrestling.

“name a time where you had to interact with someone you didn’t know”. not the first time i ran into that one and it caught me off guard. perhaps it showed and i got quite jittery with this one.

“what do you think the greatest challenge is if you take on this job?” Really? I pulled an answer out of nowhere to tell you the truth. to be honest it made no sense, but i tried to relate this to the job i applied for which was to be a busser at the “dine-in show”.

“are you excited for working for our company?” this i really tried to answer honestly. sometimes i do miss the excitement of a new release the hustle and bustle of the roving crowd. even if i may complain about those customers you can’t please it’s still very exciting. it’s a genuine answer i do miss that.

they did ask about dealing with difficult people you saw an example of that answer above. you realize difficult people have a problem that really hasn’t nothing to do with me or you or anyone. they need to direct that negative energy to someone who directly affected them. in my case i need to let it bounce off of my back – and to be honest with you guys that has been my Achilles heel.

regardless i think even after having one interview in 2016 and two in 2015 (one each for the theater and at “fresh foods” before getting hired at both) i’m out of practice. perhaps i need to get myself into that interview mindset again. if i don’t then on some giveme questions i’ll be caught flatfooted.

btw, since this was the theater i quit immediately from and made sure they knew that i had been an associate there. made sure to note that – when they wanted to know why i left – i made a determination that i wasn’t going to be available for them thanks to the fact that i had another job at the time. hopefully that was enough to satisfy an explanation, especially if i choose to pursue opportunities at other theaters with that company.

as of yet, i still haven’t heard from them. hopefully if i had a better interview then it’s possible how i left the “dine-in show” wouldn’t matter. alas there’s only one way to find out, get another interview and then be determined to perform better. perhaps that interview will be more to my liking. the day of my interview seemed quite hectic a lot of people waiting in the lounge area.

another possibility is that one of the managers at the “dine-in show” now works for the theater i frequent. it’s one place that i’ve been applying for years and once had the chance to become a manager there. now i have an possible in and she recognizes me, thus perhaps i could just broach the subject and see where it goes as far as a job. she’s basically the assistant general manager there last i heard so this may be my way in. and hopefully she might be the one who could overlook any issues i may have as far as how i left the “dine-in”.

we shall see how i approach it, if i feel bold…

being on the other side of an interview

i did my interviewing today. i can’t really talk about the interview, but just draw upon my own experiences interviewing with for a management position. a difficult process but to be in the hot seat.

my first management interview as hinted here was for a management position at a locally owned movie house. while at first my observation was that it went well i was floored when it didn’t go my way. for a long time it was hard understanding what happened. it never occurred to me that i won’t get it.

then with today’s experience i know why. my second opportunity was with a national movie theater chain and i’ll just say that i blew it. i somewhat know why it didn’t happen for me, but it’s acceptable to me now that it didn’t happen. perhaps it wasn’t meant to considering the experience i was hoping to leave behind at “the show”.

finally, i consider my experience seeking a supervisor position at my current company in grocery. i didn’t do a very good job preparing although my understanding of the job is somewhat strong even if not entirely. i consider the fact that i came back from a vacation and the interview came so soon (a day) after returning to chicago that left little room to prepare.

so with the movie theater – even if i worked with people who questioned everything i did managers and colleagues – i knew that business. i worked for almost five years in a theater so surely something has sunk in even if i know nothing about financials i have an idea about operations. perhaps the leadership skills are untested, but it’s possible to learn them.

most of my interviews for manager or not was largely improvised, i “winged” it. most of the time i didn’t do me much good, but most of the time i relied on my own experience. if my experience is in retail or theaters that’s what i relied on to get through the interview.

on the other hand, what i’ve realized i failed to do in a few interviews is that i didn’t know what a particular company offered. i at two different points interviewed with two grocery stores. one of them was the company i currently work for – we’ll just call them “fresh foods”. the other company we’ll just call “finer foods”.

a few months after graduating from mission i interviewed with “fresh foods” and crashed and burned. years later i figured out why, i had no idea what that company had to offer. the first time i heard of them was on tv with news stories advertising their health care plans. essentially that’s all i knew and while i did attempt to talk of their product offerings i had little clue about them.

in other words i could’ve know the goodness of this company years before i joined and  i would’ve had good benefits and good pay long before joining “the show”. if this was a sure thing i only talked myself out of it. i talked and the manager i spoke to chose not to hire me.

after my recent experience now i know how to approach future interviews as a job seeker. regardless of whether or not i’m staying with my current company whom i hope to last 5 years or i choose another. preparation will be key and no more winging it. have some semblance of a plan.

movies

I worked at a theater for several years and again picked up a part-time job in that business in addition to another full-time job so why not outline a movie about a mid-30s male virgin. Not sure how compelling a story could be told hopefully it could be both drama or comedy. Hell lets throw in the theme for “Curb Your Enthusiasm” as incidental music.

This film can be inspired by “Don Jon”. It’s a movie about a man who loves women has encounters but can’t let go of porn. This is a young guy who has to start dating a cougar to realize he’s addicted to porn and he’s not satisfied with the women in his life.

The drama and stupidity – whether of my own making or from anyone else – at the movie theater I used to be employed with could factor. There are several incidents that either involved me or otherwise that could be a plot line in the film. Hell I can always throw that poor girl Candace into the fold.

The bank I can always tell as a flashback but lets say we end the story of the theater with me leaving for the last time. Then we may pick up with me at my new job and then flashback to my firing from the bank. The flashback would probably just involve handshakes, a closed door to an office, and then an indoor shot of me outside walking out of the branch.

Perhaps we pick up my time at the current job – perhaps my orientation period – before we flash back. In my new role I’m unsure of myself until I gradually learn the new job. Better yet me getting ready for this interview exactly the day after firing. And there will be flashbacks to the day before.

Of course the ending of this film is up to me. It could end with me and the girl finally having sex or in a relationship and on my way to living the life that I want. And that life should involve a girl.

Think of this as a three act play, similar to “Steve Jobs”. The beginning is the low point – as the writer and the person who lived it this is exactly what it was. The middle is the beginning of the recovery. Then the final act is merely taking shape things start moving in the right direction towards the end.

I really would like to live that movie and find a way to share it in the near future. When you think about it, this seems like an art-house film that could either be a cult-classic or a forgotten work that could only be discovered by film buffs years later.