A past decision

person walking on street between buildings

About seven years ago this month I got let go from my job at Gotham Bank. I have a few posts where I discuss what went wrong and my responses. Of course it led directly to my period at the Hole which proved to be better money than even the bank teller position.

I often like to state that I just jumped up and took the first job offer to leave The Show. That’s all my time at Gotham was. It could be viewed as a temporary position perhaps akin to going to that bookstore before going to the cinema as my main job. Although the difference is actually the bank was supposed to be the main gig, when accepting the job in the first place the crystal ball never said yours truly would have to find another job less than two months later.

On my end, it’s difficult to determine if accepting that position was desperation more than just being ready to leave The Show. Can’t answer, perhaps I could’ve held out for something better and when you think about it what ultimately led me to leave well perhaps as draining as it was perhaps I could’ve dealt with that. From mgmt on down to fellow associates…

Well with the information available the choice that I knew to make at the time was made. I decided it was time to go. The bank called me to offer the job first and I also had a mgmt interview with the national theater chain and they didn’t offer me a job. Perhaps I could hold out, but then for how much longer. Perhaps I could hold out for Fresh Foods once they were ready to open new stores especially.

Well either way some opportunities did arise once it became apparent that my job at Gotham was increasingly precarious – as noted before in the past it was no longer a matter of if but when. Even got one interview with Fresh before scoring another one with the store that would become known as the Hole. Also told my mother than if Fresh Foods offered me a position I would leave the bank which may or may not have surprised her, however, she did state later that it was at that point she realized it wasn’t working out.

What I must own up to for this was that perhaps I brought some bad habits with me from The Show. The primary reason why I was let go from Gotham was performance and attendance. I recognize now that the job I accepted was just not a good fit not so much the position as the team I joined. As time went on my performance left a lot to be desired and definitely did feel like the odd man out. There were a few who stayed cordial and there were a few who let out their frustration. Just have to call it the way I see it, this didn’t work for me.

And when the inevitable happened I just didn’t look back. While I may not have been happy being let go, on my end there was a huge sigh of relief once I did come home after being escorted out of the branch. The only thing it lead to was for me to take on a position in downtown Chicago which was exactly what I wanted anyway…

So perhaps I didn’t exactly get the job offer I really wanted in the two years of job hunting to leave The Show. I wanted something like a mgmt position, hopefully I could work downtown, and was willing to settle for a similar position as the one I wanted to leave the cinema for. Only to end up in a bank branch near home in a much more sketchy neighborhood.

However in 2015 for the new year finally arrived at a job that for that period of time proved to be a true gamechanger. Once the store opened I worked full-time hours and even took a quarter pay cut per hour to accept the position. Started off as part-time and became full-time in more less than three mos. Then got a raise after six mos and by the end of the year got health and dental insurance. While I did get PTO at the bank it was something I took advantage of when I got hired at Fresh.

At least for that period of time I could forget about that bank for a little bit!

The future

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some issues that are worth pondering…

Disappointment

EDITOR’S NOTE: I had to repost this and needed to add some details. Also forgot to use a title so I just opted to do a copy & paste and repost fresh.

Well I was disappointed to find out that the job denied my application to be “team receiver”. I kept getting told there was a hold-up as far as going forward and eventually my boss told me that I “would be set up to fail if they offered me the position”. They mentioned that my pacing is not good that the load that I’ve been tasked to put away for most of the summer is hardly finished. And the assistant mgrs have determined that they probably would have conversations with me about why a load wasn’t finished and other housekeeping tasks.

The boss also recognized that they hadn’t done a very good job of preparing me for this future role. He somewhat expected the original team receiver to come back to his position. At this point it seems as if that’s not going to happen he might be going to the butcher dept going forward. That’s where he’s been scheduled since he returned to work in July.

A lot of what I did for most of the past summer was not only try to put things away but also help out as much as I could on the floor. We were understaffed we had a few people who either quit or moved on. One colleague went to another dept. So all summer long things have been a bit tight. They mentioned that my “pacing” wasn’t that great and that there was a certain amount of time I should be done with the load. All I could do was try to make my pacing a lot better.

So my application was rejected about a week after I applied. A few weeks later I see another position of interest for team receiver which would take me back to my original dept however at another store. In fact the store where my former boss runs the operation. And what makes this a bit more appealing is that it cuts the commute in half and this is definitely a promotion!

Another thing to consider with being a buyer/receiver is that for the most part I’d have to start early. I hadn’t really done that on a consistent basis in a while 7 AM is hard but try at least 5 AM or in the case of the position I applied for 4 AM. Very hard and yet because I wanted the job I was gearing up for it, however, I still rely on public transportation which makes getting to work that early very hard. I need to rectify that in the long run with my own car as my mother even as she gets older needs her own ride.

Right now I’m just thinking about it as I just don’t enjoy just rushing into things.

Recently the new assistant manager from my old team asked point blank “Do you want to come back?” I hesitated to answer at first and while he was quick to answer no, my answer was for the right position. Telling him I don’t want to come back and do exactly the same thing I had been doing. I’d consider a supervisory position or certainly being a buyer/receiver so far if there is a need there they haven’t posted accordingly. However just as my dept is understaffed so are they which prompted the question surely.

I see as of now the number of positions available in the company as of now from an average of 100 at one point in this state to the last time I checked over 500. If you’re looking for any job now is the time, take one and keep looking for the one you really want.

Meanwhile after these disappointments I’m starting to go back to my philosophy of a job is nothing more than a means to an end. Fresh Foods Inc has upped the game as far as how much money I can make and great benefits and a very easy way of putting food on the table. I just find myself wondering what’s next for me now, finally.

To go back to the well for a moment, for a few months this year I continued to write about the Fiend’s strange campaign to move on to Finer Foods in his words yours truly could make more money. To this day I have no idea about his justification for that. My emphasis was to cut this off and usually my answer was it would take something real crazy for me to even consider it.

In 2017, I think some momentum was on my side though little did yours truly recognize a brick wall was ahead the momentum began to sputter. Before that I was good or so I thought. I had to keep telling the Fiend about this opportunity and it seemed he blew it off. In fact when I tried to tell him I’d be learning about buying he instead steer the conversation to if you come to Finer’s you’d make more money. When he did that I snapped at him but due to his bullheaded nature that wasn’t enough to cut that off.

I’ve always surmised in recent years that if he was a bit envious of how I was doing there and without him it was also that this was just a diversion/distraction. Perhaps he didn’t want to hear my good news. I feel as if it’s very natural to expect those you consider friends – not that he ever was – about the good news. Still as he stated that the mgmt at the Hole liked me and wanted to show me how to do different things, he suggested that I could make money jumping ship elsewhere.

Then I got to thinking about it in recent years, what exactly would I be doing if I had jumped ship for “more money”? Would I still be working deli? My assumption was that to justify more money would be my experience at Fresh Foods. However, since this was never an option I was serious about this was not something worth pursuing.

It just informs me that Anthony had very little regard for what I hoped to accomplish. And if I had seriously pursued getting a position at Finer’s, perhaps there’s a possibility that while making more money I’d be back where I started. What would I have accomplished if I’m still at the same level I had been since graduating college.

Jack V wants to move forward and not stagnate. I left The Show because I stagnated – and often I cited stagnant wages especially and certainly there was no growth. What sense does it make for yours truly to just stay in the grocery business make a few more cents and remain stuck changing companies.

The brick wall I referred to was the “Reign of Error”. In the context of the aftermath of that period was when I considered the job is a mean to an end. That was the time to really explore what else I could do to make money. It’s time to look into those options again!

Updates

I went out of town this past weekend a few hours outside of Chicago in another state. Nothing really to report I was about as far in the background as possible. One night I ate so much food that I took to my hotel room from the picnic and from a local eatery that it made me sick. My stomach started growling when trying to sleep and realized my no. 2 had to come out….BAD! Sounds like pee but smells like poo, yuck!

Felt this way all day on Sunday and found out my bus back to chicago was late, sat around in our hotel (me and my mother of course) went to the bus station. They kicked us out because they lock the bus station down until the next station agent arrives in an hour. I got frustrated and upset at the time traveling with a parent who isn’t as mobile as she used to be. I recognized days later yours truly wasn’t being much of a “head of the table”.

We got to another city when we finally did catch a bus ultimately my mother and I had our feel of the bus and the train station was nearby so we took a train back home. All these delays in getting back home meant that I couldn’t be at work in the morning. That’s fine because after all these issues I needed some rest a break and my excuse was my stomach issues.

Almost got hit with a “improper call out” which I have known people to get into trouble for legit sick or not. Usually if you want to use your sick days, there isn’t many questions however I didn’t entirely follow procedure. For one thing after waiting in a bus terminal in the wee hours of the morning once I got on the train I stretched out and took a nap. Too tired to care when I should let my bosses know that Jack V isn’t coming to work to his assigned shift, though that’s a piece of business that’s still necessary. Either way the truth is I did have a stomach issue as opposed to admitting that I had issues getting home in time for my shift. Because unlike an earlier tardy which I’ve yet to share with you, who knows if a national passenger railroad will allow you a delay slip for your job. Both are true regardless but I was using a sick day and I’d be miserable going to work with an upset stomach.

Well thankfully it’s largely subsided since being home. Just been using some over the counter medication and following online advice avoiding certain foods, drinking water and teas, and eating certain foods like bananas. I feel great just won’t allow myself to do what I did this past weekend again.

Travel issues held up my timeline to finally apply for team receiver at the job. I was getting updates and was told by my boss finally that they will post that job. Not clear on the status of the team receiver who has been out for a few months, although he has returned and has taken shifts with another team as of now. Don’t know if he will be leaving our team or he will just transition to a new position on our team. Just don’t know as of now though I know he’s been talking about his physical therapy and how well it’s been going so on the mend it seems.

Hopefully this new journey will get me somewhere. Our dept has been understaffed and when I do the receiving usually I leave the load out because I feel as if it’s necessary to help push things onto the sales floor. It helps me to put things away in our backstock area. We’ve been understaffed and have lost some people during this rather hectic summer. So for now I’m doing the best I can.

As always if there are any further updates will be happy to share in the near future.

And for the record, they know I want to apply have declared my intent. They have been updating me and I’ve been asking all the questions I know of with regards to this situation. Again time will tell.

Update

I’ve recently seen our team receiver and from a colleague I know more about what happened to him it was an injury. Our dept mgr told me their still working on the team receiver position as the other team receiver is still out and depends on the doctors and this that or another. He was also told to rotate the position except we’re understaffed for now and thus it will be difficult to rotate amongst different workers.

When I saw our team receiver the other day he was coming into work supporting another dept. He usually doesn’t close but on this occasion the does. So perhaps mid July sounds about right for him returning to the dept. Does this mean that team receiver is up for grabs is another question for now? Does this mean for extended period of time he won’t be able to perform the job he had?

I know our dept has made some new hires and I know one has started already. We might need the team receiver on the floor so might this be his new role if he’s needed in our dept? Time will tell although I know one thing.

The team receiver expressed interest in buying. He even interviewed for the job I tried to get over two years ago. He says as a team receiver he doesn’t have as much of an ability to learn that role. Perhaps outside of being in the cooler just about all shift putting product away, he now has the ability to campaign and learn about that role with this current situation.

Also I talked with my old dept’s new team buyer. I asked them about when they officially started and basically they were already doing the job anyway. Also the job title hasn’t just changed for them on Fresh’s social network. So it might be a week or two probably.

They asked if I missed my old dept and I just said that right now it’s “Do I really want to go back and do the same thing I had been doing?” Which leads to what would be my interest in returning. My answer was going into buying or even being a supervisor though I nuanced the supervisor deal with the stress of dealing with people. Noted some of the personalities I’ve seen on the dept since I’ve been to the store without noting any specific types. Even she acknowledged so many have their own personalities and it can be hard to navigate them all.

I’ve noted some of these personalities since I started this blog. The knowitalls, the ones who have a concept of what’s supposed to be done and trying to force others into doing it their way, the not very studious, the outspoken, the scatterbrains, the complainers, etc. This is why I’d rather receive product or do the purchasing.

As a supervisor/manager I know that it’s not just associates I’d have to deal with it’s customers with their various personalities. While associates have to be careful in their interactions so do supervisors/managers although in the case of that level they can hurry up and cut off an interaction if it’s not going well. They can decide if a customer is always right or they’re just @$$holes.

I suppose so far I just don’t know how I can navigate these many nuances successfully. Yours truly just tries to do the best he knows possible in those situations. And there is one person who knows me pretty well who I’m sure expect me to fail in such a situation.

Another thing that was asked is what I prefer doing and just noted that I’m doing receiving in my current dept now. I noted that I put product on the floor working off the load while putting stuff away in the backstock. Sometimes it’s great to be away from customers for an extended period of time.

As always I’ll keep you posted on any new developments.

Complacency

I’ve written a lot about this over maybe the past year. Complacency is a dangerous thing, some have accused me of being complacent when at The Show. I have no idea what that really meant at the time.

It’s accepted that there was a comfort level. I knew the job at The Show, and just knew the people and their general attitudes which as time moved forward got into my head. And those other individuals had their own issues whether their own complacency or comfort level with their own behaviors.

All the same once the pandemic came into full swing last year I began to consider the issue of complacency in my then current position at the time. I was beginning to wonder about my own stagnation and worse still to move up or just move on was more difficult especially when the economy just started shutting down. There weren’t as many jobs going around as there normally would be in different times. And in some cases not many opportunities to move up.

For yours truly complacency can be a very easy trap to fall into. When things go on a normal routine then all the sudden it just switches whether by mgmt or even by coworkers then it can be jarring. However, as I’ve learned with the calamity of 2017 especially being complacent can prove to be dangerous. It almost was at the theater and it was at the Hole (something I want to finish discussing this month).

Here’s another thing to consider, I’ve been discussing the setback or the Reign of Error for perhaps the last year at length. The goal I had in my head back in 2017 was that perhaps my tenure at Fresh Foods would last just about five years almost like my time at The Show. It’s a good round number where who knows yours truly could try to do other things, unfortunately the setback of about six months ruined the non-consecutive tenure.

I got an award recently based on my time with the company which also came with a $50 gift card which I definitely used up for some provisions for home. It was cool to still have achieved that even with my setback, and yes that includes that one share of Fresh Foods stock which divested over a year ago. Thankfully that setback didn’t keep yours truly from achieving those things.

As for the current situation the pandemic I’m sure took a lot of people out of their complacency. Your’s truly was taken out of mine with a change in departments. However, I’m very slow about making my next move. There were opportunities out there however it’s never a wise thing to just rush into something without a plan.

Right now, I see positions at the Hole I could pursue though as explored last month should one go back to square one or wait for a higher-level opportunity. Too bad I’m not ready to take on the role of my former boss’ dept manager position which was just posted at my current store.

Either way in spite of the sixth month setback and the transfer due to the ongoing circumstances

Odds & Ends – late pandemic edition

Originally the clever title of this post was vaccine edition but changed it later, I have no plans to get the vaccine unless the job requires it. I don’t remember the last time I had been vaccinated was it back in high school or grade school? Hmmm, perhaps it’s time get a physical to see what vaccinations are necessary other than for this bug.

My mother should be ahead in line for this vaccine as she’s elderly and probably needs it more than I do. I was in on a call with her doctor where it was discussed though she’s still debating it. My answer is that she should go ahead, but as for her and the rest of you if you have questions ask before you do the deed. Allow medical professionals to put any doubts out of your own head. Sadly the doubts are out there when everyone should just find out the facts for themselves with people they trust.

* Earlier this year I noted that Larry from my old dept at the Hole had finally posted back then though for a part time position. I chose not to pursue it because in contravention of my own advice with regards to this vaccine, I didn’t ask enough questions. For one thing my biggest concern was for my own full-time status would it get bumped down to part-time. And would it lead to me getting the position I had hoped to achieve even during the “reign of error”?

Well this new posting is full-time, however, here’s my hesitation. I feel as if it brings me back to square one. A lateral move when it’s more important in my mind to get roles that allow me more responsibility and especially higher wages.

I suppose here’s the big picture at least yours truly would be back at square one but in the paint to get back what your’s truly felt was lost just about four years ago. And if that meant I’d have to apply and interview that would be alright with me. At least this time around there is a fair opportunity and no issues with points in this case.

What is recognized is that team has changed so much since the calamity of 2017. Many of the people I had gotten to know since opening are gone. To be honest my fear before the main one was realized which is getting let go is that yours truly would be the only one left. Everyone else is gone for a variety of reasons and my thought had went there even back then.

If yours truly goes back I just know aside from some of the leadership there won’t be a person there who opened the store with me or had been there any length of time before my separation. Also add to this we have this pandemic going on and there was some attrition as a result as many were transferred outside of the dept as I have been. Also the store is located near a lot of the unrest of downtown.

* When I first wrote this post, there was another posting from the Hole which is a different dept and it’s definitely a receiver position. Basically my role is to maintain the backstock area and of course receive and store product accordingly. I’m working in that dept right now and occasionally entrusted with doing the receiving especially while our main receiver is out of action. If that position came up I’d take it, however, it means I start earlier than I had been. Though it means no more nights unless I make another change.

I talked with one of my supervisors about it told him about both the full-time in my old dept and the receiving position. He offered some good information and good pointers. If I don’t get a raise and normally transfers come with a bump in pay it’s just not worth it. A receiver position is guaranteed raise the other I just don’t know, but I had been thinking about reaching out to the mgrs I know at least in my old dept. Besides I expressed my interest in buy/receive to them then and Larry himself gave me a bit more info than the other had.

He let me know about the leadership in that other dept and says they have a solid team. And alerted me to the associate store mgr – the one who interviewed me over three years ago and it went down in flames. Not many good things according to my supervisor were said about him. And I consider that usually they rotate those positions around every couple or so years in his case he’s been in that role for over three years. Might be saying something who knows…

Either here’s my thought process, the receiver position is worth it. On the other hand if I can go back to my original dept and parlay that into going back into the buy/receive area. I’d like to find a way to talk myself into that. The scary part remains could I succeed in this gambit?

* I wrote about dwelling in the years since I first started this blog. I think it’s time to stop dwelling on one situation which was the Reign of Error. As far as I’m concerned it ended in reality the day of my return to Fresh Foods. There are ups and downs it’s going to happen no matter what, however, it was triumphant even if it wasn’t the story I really wanted to tell.

I think I still have some thoughts about that time. Thoughts that no matter how small needs to be address, however, at the end of the day yours truly had spent too much time on it and it’s time to move forward. The people I had been concerned over have moved onto to where they needed to be. And my goal is to worry about myself.

Perhaps the one thing that hasn’t escaped me is there is a chance I failed to play the game. It’s just me hoping for the best and often the opposite happened. The goals that I had weren’t realized and perhaps there is still a way to go on my end. However I realize sometimes you have to change with the times and I shall.

Another part of going back to square one is going back to where I started. Going back to the past, am I? Or is going back to where I started just a way for Jack V to say you can’t get rid of me that easy.

Perhaps there is another story of the end of the Reign of Error to tell yet. Time will tell.

Stay safe, and hopefully you’re ready to be vaccinated. 🙂

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.

Nuisance

A few things to rehash here. This was part of the drama of almost four years earlier and it ended halfway during the course of that year of Calamity 2017.

Actually I don’t know if I can call this drama. Yours truly never intended to leave the Hole or Fresh Foods Inc. Perhaps it was part of the “complacency” at the same time with things seemingly going in the “right” direction why would I?

I surmised at the time that Anthony was just jealous or at least that had to be part of his willingness to inject “if you come to Finer Foods, you’d make more money”. Now to this day I still don’t know where this comes from, but being jealous was an easy answer.

Though to be honest, perhaps I did talk too much about what I thought was my good fortune at the time. Perhaps he got tired of it and just decided to throw doubt into the wind because he knew he could. Who knows, but if he had an issue with how seemingly content I had been with where I was at the time that’s on him.

Of course couple his unneeded and unheeded advice with the fact that he was begging. Remember the episode One Final Drop, he brought up “jumping ship” for the last time. Either way I never took him up on his “lead”, at least until the Climax of the Reign of Error had passed and well still never got interviewed/hired with Finer’s.

Also I couple this strange “campaign” with the fact that well years earlier I tried to get on with them twice. Once for another store set to open and yet another at the Hustler’s insistence. Still got no offer and worse still with his connections and insistence the other case resulted in no interview even if I was at his old store to be interviewed. So I had that history in mind whenever he continued to bring it up, and as per usual I wasn’t as forceful to tell him then that I just wasn’t interested at all.

Finally I took the photo of the Finer Foods sign at a corner store somewhere on the South Side. It seemed fitting for this fictionalized company I created. Perhaps it’s time to create a fictionalized logo for both Finer’s & Fresh Foods. I got photoshop hmmmm.

I hope you enjoy this brief look back.

Feeling No Love

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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…

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The Modern Day

I saw recently that my old dept at my current assignment is hiring for part-timers. I overheard a discussion between my old boss and one of the store mgrs. He specifically asked would staffing help.

So far from what I can tell the requisition are for part-timers only. A part-time customer service and a part-time porter. I don’t know if they had any discussion with the part-timers they transferred out. I was told if they’re looking to restaff they’d pull us aside, but it’s not clear if they had pulled aside the part-timers they transferred.

I have to really ask them about it and haven’t allowed myself the opportunity. Although one of the part timers who works for the butcher team has been picking up shifts where he can including our former dept. Though perhaps over a month ago he mentioned they may pull us aside at some point. It’s amazing that we’re just about four months into this out of the blue change thanks to the after effects of this bug.

I see that jobs in this state for Fresh Foods are on the uptick. The numbers seem to go up and down the last I checked there are 172 jobs available in this state for the company. This includes jobs at the regional corporate officers, a distribution center nearby, and the various stores which are in the Chicago area.

I’m keeping an eye out on available opportunites. And I still got my eye on the Hole especially any higher level opportunities as discussed with Larry. The opportunities are out there and if I get tired of the current situation the hard part is making a move. This is the time to do it.

My old department is down one assistant manager. I spoke to him when I learned he was leaving and he told me where he was going. I wished him luck but this was an out of the blue move though closer to home for him which I understand. That means maybe my old dept will be looking for a new assistant mgr though as of yet a requisition hasn’t been posted.

There is also some turnover in my former dept as a few people have left including one outspoken and troublesome older woman who didn’t mind finding things to complain about. She was so stuck in her ways it was very difficult to correct her. Others have commented that as far as her job she was woefully inefficient.

I went on a 15 min break as she was making sandwiches to be packed out and sold on the floor. When I came back she was still working on those sandwiches. My reasoning is that if it was me I’d have moved on to other sandwiches by that point or packing them out as opposed to still making them.

Anyway just judging by some of things she talked about she knew some people who could help her. Especially as far as with opportunities she talks about how she was a professional and didn’t belong in a retail environment. I was glad to see things were progressing for her and she felt confident in leaving a situation that she decided wasn’t working for her.

And I also know there were some people who breathe a sigh of relief when she moved on. She was miserable and was said to brought people into her misery. That includes yours truly who came to that store after sitting at home for six months after the climax of the Reign of Error.

We got a presidential election coming and I know who to vote for this time. My plan is to go to my precinct and cast my ballot in person. I don’t trust electronic voting and I definitely don’t trust mail in especially now. As always I hope for the best with it as this has been a wild year in my memory and in this case worldwide too.

As always, stay safe & be well.