Comfort level

green grass field under blue sky

With what’s been going on in the world I’ve been thinking again. Well actually I have been thinking about it for quite a while. It really should’ve started during my hiatus over two years ago.

It back during the period between October ’17 to April ’18 I developed the idea that a job is nothing more than a means to an end. It’s true there are many ways one can make money and this is something that had been explored on this blog also (ex. how does one make money on YouTube).

At the same the thought process with that was merely that I had lost the job that I really liked and believed that I really grew at in that period. However, what if that company went belly up and lets say I created a new company I could attempt to recreate that culture. The culture at the Hole if not Fresh Foods as a whole is one reason why I returned to the company.

The lesson here is that no matter how much you like a job and how much a job or a company has done for you especially financially it can always be taken away from you. I won’t entirely go into the circumstances of my situation just about three years ago at this point and besides it’s been written about on this blog numerous times. The bottom line is that for whatever reason you may not have that job any longer.

Still, one focus on this has been about jobs. What else would I like to do and what entrepreneurial thing can yours truly do to make money independently? I still think about that chances are I probably won’t start a store although I do have thinks I have cared about such as movies, comic books, tech, etc. I’ve tried the world of finance and still have the culture shock of that in my system.

However, another part of comfort is I’ve never left home. A conclusion I came to recently in light of this unrest is that Chicago is part of my comfort level. Jack V works for a fortune 500 company and has the opportunity to go anywhere he wants. Yours truly can go to Wisconsin, Georgia, Mississippi, Iowa, Missouri, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, etc. Just about anywhere I wish as long as I can secure a job.

I’ve also been talking about going back to school although the time you might have seen this on the blog it was to go to a local university and attain a master’s degree. Well that’s my opportunity to go elsewhere. Find out how reasonable tuition is and hopefully find a full-time job to keep the money train going.

For this moment things under consideration.

April

white graphing notebook

We’re going to go through the month of April and usually I might give you the flavor of the month from years past. This time we’re going to stay a tad current and I’ll have to admit I didn’t do the post expected last month. We’ll do some of those posts this month.

Well in this state a stay-at-home order was extended for the rest of the month. Which is certainly a bummer because I’m ready for the world to get back to some semblance of normal. This bug going around is really something and I know people are freaked out about it. I find myself taking my own precautions from it, however, I get the feeling we’re going to be wondering what were we worried about in the first place.

I noted last month that if I had been still working in the cinema business (certainly depending upon where I was on the “food chain”) I’d be sitting at home. I could hardly afford that right now and I’m glad to be working in an industry that is considered essential. Yeah it would be cool to ride this pandemic out at home, but like I said I don’t think I could afford that. I just have to do what I need to do and be very careful on public transportation and out in the world.

I’m still making some plans for my YouTube channel. I’m at 32 subs as I write this which was a very high growth curve from the start of March where I only had four subscribers. What can I do to cause further growth? I already announced some plans, but then what about beyond that?

I will be celebrating two years in my “reboot” with Fresh Foods this month. I had been rehired this time two years ago, and I know this seems to be a recurring theme now is the time to start making some plans. I have an eye on a couple of situations at the moment one of which includes my former boss – the one who hired me to the company years ago – with his new assignment as a store mgr. I saw that he posted for a new dept mgr at his store (which is the same dept where I am now and it was the dept he hired me for five years ago). I’m also keeping an eye on my former dept at the Hole, as some unexpected changes had occurred there since I’ve returned to the company.

A young lady that I’ve connected with over the years from Hillman College last month sent me a pic of herself. She has a knack for chopping off her lush hair and dying her hair exotic colors. When she asks about her next color I always suggest her natural color, and that was the pic she sent me her latest chop with her natural hair color. She gave me that and I think she likes me *says the teenaged boy who knew nothing about girls*….

As always I hope you all are safe and be well. Let’s get through this month, I feel this will be a difficult month with all the measures put in place by the different levels of governments in America. They say we might see a peak this month, the main thing is I can’t wait to see the point where we’ve flattened the curve on this bug.

New Year 2010

My first job the year before out of Mission College was at a college bookstore which had been one of the longest tenure jobs up to that point that I had. It’s what I mostly knew as a worker still trying to establish himself. It felt like a disaster.

The store manager that hired me briefed us newbies on how the customers at a local community college had a sense of entitlement as the government gave them the money for books. However they treat government aid as if it’s their money and as if they’re paying customers. I’ve always known students to be very dutiful as far as getting their books and as always they could be the worst customers. I should understand I had been one and it’s rarely good if you don’t have your materials for class.

There is a twist though my experience at college bookstores is usually during back to school rush. This time around I was responsible for textbook buy back and this could be a pain in the butt that the manager pulled me aside for. Either way I was getting paid while I waited for The Show to give me a call back with regards to my interview in October. Basically I met with them during a job fair for that company at a local college campus which I saw a lot of people there that I will be working with. I’m including both mgmt and regular workers.

I did new hire paperwork after I did my shift at the bookstore one night at another theater that company owned. As I recall later when doing new hire paperwork for the national theater chain years ago it was a nightmare. The man I would later know as our House Manager just handed me a phone with someone on the other end of the line asking me questions for that company’s tax purposes things I would usually skip over on a job application. I did the best possible, however, HM became a jack@$$ for some of his behavior that night. In a strange fit of reading people I know this was one man I needed to watch out for.

It seemed that company was a tad disorganized as far as orientation, new hire paperwork, or even training (though I have the least complaints about training). I hated having to go into an unfamiliar part of town at night by bus & train during the fall/winter. It was a while before I would actually get to see the facility I actually would be working in. When I did training at The Show itself one person actually quit on the spot already grumbling that there were other opportunities she needed to pursue and the theater job wasn’t it.

For the record the only training I missed out on was concession. For most of my roughly five years there I basically learned it as I went. Yours truly didn’t do such a bad job learning concession and had some wonderful people helping me out along the way. Of course as I learned as time went on there will be those who provided the headaches.

All the same the end of my time at the bookstore came when I got my actual work schedule for the theater and it overlapped the time I would’ve been at the store. It wast that time though I indicated that I could still work. The manager thanked me for the help and kind of demurred when suggesting that it would be OK if they needed me in the future. So while I showed up somewhat late for my shift it was actually my last day there forever.

Time for the excitement of working the job I should’ve had either during my high school years or even in college. The first night I worked was a sneak preview as it was invite only and set up for a party. There were screenings for older movies throughout the theater and it all lead up to midnight showings of movies to be released such as Avatar.

I even manned box office for a bit and was sort of uncomfortable and management sent me to the VIP balcony to help. Remained for the rest of the night until it was time for me to punch out.

Struggled somewhat behind concessions on Christmas Eve and incurred the wrath of the immature young women who thought they knew everything. Little did I know different iterations of such characters would continue to be a thorn in my side. All the same I did alright and if anyone though I’d be short on a register fear not it didn’t happen.

I had to work New Years Eve and missed the countdown that I like to catch with Dick Clark’s Rockin New Years’ Eve. Thankfully it wasn’t long after that when I could go home. Even wished one of the managers a happy new years on the way out the door.

Interesting first few weeks on my new job and so many lessons learned over the years. Those lessons had to be mostly social as far as how to conduct myself at work. What I needed to learn at The Show – a place I grew to refer to as $H!tplace – is what informs me on how to conduct myself on the job. Believe it or not I’m still learning however I’m light years away from where I was at the start of the last decade. Believe it or not as much as I would say I could live without this experience perhaps it was necessary. Is it possible to blow a good situation if I just didn’t know how to conduct myself?

Still, working at a theater even with a college degree from a prestigious liberal arts degree was only the beginning and definitely not the end. It still enabled me to truly pursue other future opportunities, better opportunities in the long run.

 

Back to school, maybe?

I’ve largely been talking about change & growth since starting this blog. So far the topic of discussion has often been advancing at Fresh Foods or even for a brief time when I worked at the national theater chain at the Dine-in Show. I’ve gotten the closest at the Hole and even had an interview for a higher position at my current store earlier this year.

One of my long-term goals is to make six-figures and at this point I’ve gone from doing it where I currently now to finding other options. I’ve even decided, it is time to return to school. Should I just enroll at the local community college – where I left without attaining an associate’s degree to transfer to the prestigious Mission College – and take a few business courses. This is something I had been interested in anyway even back in the day when I should’ve done it.

Going to Mission College definitely put me outside of my comfort zone for that time. Ive learned a lot from that experience and my only regrets were some of the mistakes I’ve made. One of those mistakes was depending upon financial aid to keep me enrolled. Would I have been better off choosing a lower-cost option or having my own skin in that game? Would I have been better off with a real plan once I graduated and especially while there?

So either way I like where I am now as my income is pretty good so far. I feel as if there’s a lot more going on for yours truly now than back during my 20s. If only I had the persistence as far as finding employment back in the day. This was the type of experience missing from back then being so wedded to a classroom and even worse it took some time to finish my degree.

Now I feel as if it’s time to step out of my comfort zone and move on to the next step so I can arrive at that six-figure mark. And in addition to taking some courses at my community college for my “enrichment”, now I find myself wondering if it’s time for a master’s. I do have a goal in doing so.

When graduating from that prestigious liberal arts college I had failed to take advantage of student services to really find a job in my chose field. This time around I need to do that so I can truly take advantage of a masters degree. This won’t just be a vanity project this must have a return on investment.

I’ve even identified one program of great interest and will continue to look into other programs. The program I like has some flexibility and while rigorous, seems like one that could ease me into other academic programs. Just pick a field: business, social sciences, humanities, etc. I could still stick with the field I got my undergrad degree in, however, I could dabble in other fields especially if it pertains to what I hope to study.

Since I do have a job at a fortune 500 company I hope to expand the research outside of Chicago. Perhaps take my job with me as I study elsewhere to finish my master’s degree. However I choose to do it, now is the time to come up with my plan and get going.

Meanwhile back at Fresh Foods I wanted to tell about a new posting for supervisor. We lost another one last month and there’s no need to make this a longer post than necessary. It’s a position to consider, however, there are others within the company to consider. Bottom line is we got something to talk about for now and also Jack just make a move man!

When things happen

I recently found this video of Steve Harvey and it starts with him illustrating how broke he was. He was so broke he was living in his car and snuck into hotel bathrooms – especially notes the high class hotels – which had tall doors from floor to ceiling where he would bathe by snatching towels. He’d snatch a towel to put some soap on and then snatch another towel to get the soap off.

Unfortunately the interesting part of the story is he realized how sad it was to live this way. He was an aspiring comedian and wasn’t any making money and he admittedly was ready to call his family to come home. Well just before he threw in the towel he gets a phone call from a producer at Showtime at the Apollo. This was his dream, just one problem he couldn’t get to New York due to costs.

He starts crying again until he calls his answering machine again! Some guy in Florida where he was got a paying gig for him, ahhhhh now he can afford to take that trip to New York. That gig went so well, the comedy club asked him to come back one more time! So he got few more dollars to make the trip to the Apollo Theater once he was finally ready to call that producer. And guess what it worked out for him!

It’s a bit jarring to see young Steve Harvey with a high top fade versus bald Steve Harvey. But that young Steve Harvey knocked his TV debut out of the park, and he’s still on TV.

Not to bring you down from the high of this story, I have a dubious history with situations such as these. Bottom line is that when things work out and you hit that ball out of the park it’s awesome!  He was moments away from throwing in the towel and the planets just lined up for him. I hope you enjoy this!

June 2014: Another rejection…

bags business commerce hanging

For a moment I’m going back to the middle of the streak era. If you don’t know for a period of over two years while still employed at The Show, I had a number of interviews and yet no job offer. This month marks five years since I had one interview where I had someone on the inside helping me and got nothing for it.

This story I told my mother in full recently. My dear old friend Anthony somehow went from a job at Finer Foods to a “Homegoods” store. The month before I called him and was trying to discuss with him another subject only for him to put the spotlight right back onto trying to get me on at “Finer”. Well anyway I showed a lack of will on that issue and Ant just let it go at least for that time.

One month later I get a random text from Anthony asking me if I wanted to work at that “Homegoods” company. I answered affirmatively and texts me to come up to his store that day. I get dressed to go for an interview, he’s worrying about when I’ll get there. I’m sure I made sure to give him an ETA if you will just so he won’t get worried. Knowing him if he’s involved he’ll get worried and I’ll hear about it.

When I get up there Anthony had just finished a shift up there at this store on the northern edge of downtown Chicago. He wanted me to meet with one of the managers up there and needed me to have a resume with an application. For a manager to be available we waited a moment even after Anthony had approached one about me. Eventually Anthony went home for the day as he was there early in the morning.

I waited a minute and one of the managers pulled me aside to a nearby desk in another department and we start talking. I try to sell myself as a man who can carry different hats as I had been doing at The Show. I answer questions as far as availability not really knowing the store’s operations. I also noted that I had been a longtime shopper with that company. He did open the door to questions near the end, however, I felt as if I didn’t get to ask more questions as the mgr cut the interview short.

Once it was over we shook hands and in 20/20 hindsight as I maintained my optimism he seemed to move onto the next thing rather quickly. I stopped him and thanked him again before I left just to be sure he hadn’t forgotten about me. However, I got the feeling perhaps this interview didn’t go as well for me as I thought it had. However, I got a rough timeline as far as when the store will call me about next steps.

Within the next few weeks Ant would send a quick text to let me know I will be hearing from the store. I was like great however just one problem, I never heard from them again. I didn’t know what info Ant was getting from mgmt – especially since I know he will follow-up if he’s really into something – however in the time after I interviewed (actually it was termed a screen) I just heard nothing. Who knows if his bosses just told him something just to get him off their backs.

Either way at least two months after this “screen” Ant texts me again simultaneously asking if I heard from his store and if I hadn’t call them. Of course true to form when in doubt I did nothing. While he showed some persistence with Finer Foods during the course of that year trying to help me find another job elsewhere from The Show he wasn’t as tenacious about this opportunity.

During the course of the remaining Streak Era period I had moved onto other opportunities which at this point were mostly banks and then one interview to be a theater manager at a national chain. I had finally gotten an offer which I accepted at Gotham Bank with whom I interviewed with at different branches over three months. Still even with some knowledge of the interviews I was starting to get Ant still would bring up the topic of Finer’s asking me to call his contact to get up to his then store who couldn’t interview me when I had been up there.

Needless to say I was really able to move on and not rest my laurels on contacting anyone who may or may not have the interest in me that I expected them to have. Thankfully I finally had found a employer away from the movie theater willing to hire me though in the long run it didn’t work out for yours truly.

Raises

abundance achievement bank banknotes

I know I’ve covered this ground recently. I often stated about my time at The Show that my dream was to make over $20k per year. At the theater I only made between $10k – $12K per year. I also got no raises at the theater other than say one minimum wage increase. Needless to say as far as my income growing it just wasn’t going to happen there. If nothing else working there was really just the boost of regular income.

To make a few more dollars I’d have to change jobs which is why I went to Gotham Bank. Unfortunately that was shortlived, however, if it had worked out I learned that I wouldn’t have made that much more than I would’ve made at the show. How did yours truly know? Well it said as much on Gotham’s version of a social network. Of course this assumed that I still worked a limited amount of hours which I had to start and remained at the same hourly wage although the wages were at least $1.25 $3.25/hr more than what I had made at the theater.

Then I arrived at The Hole and while I took a 50 cent per hour paycut to take the job there, my hours were generally pretty good and then I became full-time. After that I could literally do overtime and couple that with the holiday pay of time & a half my time these were for yours truly the big money period. I never before saw the amount of money I saw on my paychecks! And couple that with the hourly wages I was getting, it felt great having that extra money in my pocket and the opportunities to make more to boot.

This is why I get excited over raises, as yours truly never received any for performance at The Show. I need not retell the lack of opportunity for growth at the theater and the fact that I never became a manager. Needless to say for more income and opportunities it was time to leave and see what else I could do in the work world. It was truly refreshing to know that I was worth becoming a full-time worker and to know that I could get a raise for my efforts.

About 6 or so months after arriving at Fresh Foods I got my first raise and told my mother (I also told one other person who would continue to leach off my gains). I got another raise six months later and then another a year after that with an opportunity to learn something new. Although that in the long run didn’t go so well due to some unforeseen changes, but regardless before the wheels fell off these were better than say the last two years at The Show.

Well it’s been an interesting period of time at my latest Fresh Foods assignment and it feels great to get yet another raise. It feels great to be so close to that optimal real living wage of $17/hr. I’m pretty sure after a couple of more raises or even a promotion I’ll not only get to that point I’ll have finally arrived in the $30K/per year range. If I’m lucky it won’t be long before I arrive at $40k/yr in wages.

I know that I did a personal finance post fairly recently. Talking about depositing tax refund checks or putting into my savings any loose change I collected over the years. Oh yeah and I almost forgot about my one share in the holding company. So I’m glad to be able to continue gaining and achieving some of my financial goals.

My hope is that it will continue and I recognize that now I can truly count my blessings!

Opportunity

Finally some modern day news and we’re in a period of change & growth!

img_2594

One of the supervisors is leaving soon and in our dept is a email advertising for an open position in our dept. He’s leaving for a job and for some reason it surprises me as it hasn’t even been a year since he took on the role. Then again who says you have take on a career at Fresh Foods just use that role and the experience as a stepping stone.

To start I told the soon to be departing supervisor that I am thinking about going for it. Even confided in him that I’m a bit concerned about the pressure and the same pressure to be experienced by a buyer. He seemed to boil down his role to you’re basically doing the same thing you’ve already been doing and yes the pressure is to fill in where you can. For myself I would count being being answerable to other managers over you and dealing with customers is another consideration also.

I often said this year I’ll never know if I don’t try. Need to get away with that as it’s almost like saying I’m going to give this a try to see if I can do it and then just do absolutely nothing to prepare for it. You get the job and then prove yourself to be deadweight in the position. However, if I want to work a six-figure job eventually I have to take some risks and taken on jobs of significant authority or responsibility.

I can stay where I am and allow another opportunity to pass me by and remain comfortable in the position I’m currently in now. I feel as if there are times that I have been there, but my mindset has always been to want more. I’ve been lucky to have opportunities to move forward, especially coming from a company that chooses you as opposed to bidding for a higher level position and being given an up or down vote. It’s not possible to progress or grow if you’re not willing to take on other roles that are a great fit.

At my current job it seems they’ll often close a requisition after maybe a week. It went down after that time, however, I checked the company’s social network and see the position is back up. There was talk of a candidate between a colleague and one of the supervisors (they never would say who especially since that candidate is said to within our department), however, I also heard that this candidate dropped out. Thus the position remains open and who knows who’ll replace the supervisor who’s leaving.

He was very even keeled as a supervisor very cool and I’ve only seen him make a “boss” move once. He reminded a colleague who was returning from his break that he was out of uniform. He is very much someone you would want to point out your mistake vs one who’s only looking to take their frustrations on some wayward associate. If I went up for that position and got it, I can only hope I can display similar traits.

Lately

I know I promised one thing, but isn’t time for a break. Calling an audible. Let’s get back to today for a second. We can get back to the hustler later. Meanwhile….

I’ve been looking on Fresh Foods’ social networks checking out available jobs throughout the company. I saw that my former assistant mgr Gary who works at a suburban store as a dept mgr finally has a posting for a buyer in his dept. Which caused me to reach out to Wil who remains the associate buyer at The Hole. He had expressed interest in working with Gary as a buyer and that particular store was closer to his home.

I made sure to mention it to him but to my surprise he wasn’t interested. According to him Gary never reached out to him and thus he probably won’t try to get it. It means my return to The Hole in a higher level position isn’t so assured as of now. He’s not going anywhere and perhaps the people who are there including Mr. Boastful as the team receiver aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

We had talked about another buyer position at another store. I had just gotten through the process for associate buyer at my current assignment so I felt as if it wasn’t time yet. Although if I dance around and wait for my time the opportunities for yours truly will slowly but surely dwindle. Perhaps I should’ve went for it, and with Wil I know what he went through when he went through the process of becoming a buyer at another store.

So I continuing looking for those opportunities that are a great fit for me. That’s up my alley based upon my experiences. Perhaps the time will come where I will return to The Hole. And still this remains my year!

No interview 2014 pt. 2

img_3872

The reason I’m telling this story in full is because this illustrates the evolution of my friendship with Anthony. It became him helping me get the next opportunity away from The Show. Often I would say he came up 0 for 3, in spite of him putting in a good word for me in all Rthree opportunities including the one for theater mgr with the difference being he never worked there. Usually a person on the inside helps you get the job in this case however it didn’t work out that way.

I won’t entirely blame him for it, he may have talked himself up but in the long run didn’t have the influence he believed he had. It was the case with Finer Foods and the third opportunity at another retail store he had worked for. So with this said I never blamed him for what happened with the interview that never happened, I only blame him for his behavior afterwards.

In the last post, Anthony had finally reached me two days after the non-interview as I was about to get on the train to go home after getting off my shift at the theater. His first question once I answered his call was “What happened with the interview?” I begin to answer my way and he’s quick with a question. Seemingly he’s trying to find holes in my story, he was looking to go on the attack. Once he got out of me that I never called them, he quickly fires off “That’s the problem, YOU DON’T FOLLOW UP!” He then states that he heard that I never followed up, problem is if he let me finish my story I would’ve told him that I was told they’d call me. It may not have made much of a difference for him.

I repeat OK as there was an awkward silence letting me know he was pissed (and I can only imagine his aged grizzled face showing his anger). He assured me that he’s still on the phone. He takes a deep breath and tells me to call them tomorrow. I may have agreed to that but before he quickly tries to usher me off the phone I tell him to call me tomorrow. He ends the call once I said that with no acknowledgement. His quick flash of anger has me taken aback and is an important reason why I never try to call his store again to reschedule the interview.

So for the rest of the night into the next morning I consider whether or not I should call them, however, I had very little interest and never do. Later that day Ant texts “What happened?” Now he wants to know what’s going on but because of how he went off the day before as I attempt to explain, I really began to avoid him. Unfortunately with no explanation on my end as to why I won’t call them he presses on.

He tries to text me saying call the store they’re looking for me. He also states that I should call because they have positions to fill, however, he’s keeping this alive when I was in move on mode. I did what he wanted me to do, went up got sent away with nothing and realized this wasn’t really worth it. Meanwhile he treats this as the only opportunity I need to consider.

Even better by the time I finally connected with him I had other interviews lined up, the one for my mom’s bank where although I called the branch mgr that I was running late she still had a problem and never heard from them again. Otherwise I finally did call him later that month, and while I intended to discuss something else he ignored that and when into “What’s going on with Finer Foods?”

Basically he goes into how they now owe me and I need to give them a call. He was even trying to go on the defensive claiming that I blamed him for what happened. Just bear in mind I sent him an email explaining what happened and he’s the type that still wants me to explain what happened almost as if what I’m telling him he just needs to hear it from my mouth not a written explanation. However, he acknowledges that I was ticked off and trying to calm him down I reassure him that I don’t blame him for what happened.

What I should’ve told him and he probably blew this off when I fired off a quick email during the radio silence is that I do blame him for his behavior. His quick flash of anger was as important and not being interviewed when I was at his store. It was the reason why I backed off ultimately, if I’m getting yelled at for something out of my control and for not doing everything his way. Better yet for realizing that those folks never valued my time by not interviewing me this just wasn’t worth it for me.

So he tries one final time before we end our call to tell me to call his HR contact tomorrow. My response tensely without acknowledging his request, “I’ll talk to you later!” We hang up and meanwhile I’m finding other opportunities. Ultimately I started getting interest from other banks, although I used one more job lead from Anthony which also goes nowhere.

By late summer either August or September I got a few more interviews under my belt and one day Anthony calls me. And once he again he says “I’m going to need you to call [his Finer Foods HR contact]”. I write this down though I don’t know if I’ll do it, but it just shows how bullheaded he was. He was set on getting me up here at his store even if he had to wait a few more months for things to settle down. In the long run as I find other opportunities I never did.

We never addressed this again until over two years later when I talk about another Finer Foods store that opened and once I get entrenched at Fresh Foods and he asks the pointed question “What ever happened with that?” Really Ant? You’re going to ask about something I consider ancient history, it still remains in your mind after two years and I had moved on to other opportunities?

I’ve gone over the first time Anthony had tried to borrow money, and then a second time he tried to borrow money. Well how about the last time he borrowed money? That’ll be the next post in two days!