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

close up of a milestone at sunset

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


dreamy man resting in hammock in woods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay tuned.

Streak Era missed opportunities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Streak Era Fast Forward

I don’t want to go too far into the weeds on this one. This has been a topic that had been delved into often enough, however, I’ve been writing enough about what’s referred to as the Streak Era that this is an important episode to cover. So we’re basically going to revisit again the episode of No Interview 2014. I’ve written this initially as a two-parter and had revisited this topic every-so-often. Perhaps even damn near beat to death.

Perhaps this post was a further explanation of events and thought processes. Perhaps what I never talked enough about is my own thought process. That’s sort of an ongoing theme when discussing the Streak Era. The main thing I wanted to express was trying to find another job to eventually leave The Show.

I don’t want to further explain what happened with this as I feel as if I explained it enough. Perhaps I’ve even explained Anthony the Fiend’s stated position on this given issue. What about Jack V, yours truly?

Allow me to start with there were people whom I worked with at The Show had started at Finer Foods. That’s the company I referred to as a competitor in Chicago to Fresh Foods, a competing supermarket. Many had quit to work for them, others worked both jobs. Anthony himself at some point worked for Finer’s although his resume is a tad murky. I don’t know when he started there or when he had quit his last job or even when he ultimately left this store.

As far as my position on this all I really saw this as was another opportunity to leave the cinemas. Perhaps I heaped a lot more responsibility onto the Fiend than either he actually provided or even was willing to provide. I suppose I can’t verify that he was in the store director’s ear as far as yours truly. To be honest when I did go for the interview I wasn’t even sure which department I’d be working in. When pursuing jobs at grocery stores, I often went for the cashier position. I had been a cashier at a cinema surely I could do that, of course I hadn’t worked at the bank yet.

Well I had someone on the inside and that someone seemed to have been riding me on it. As I noted in many posts, his contact at his store called me and I got sidetracked. When he wanted an update he would text and it became clear what he wanted, “What happened with Finer Foods?”. I called him in a fit of frustration because nothing was happening either no call backs for applications or no job offer. The one interview I did have with Finer’s, there was no job offer.

Perhaps as with the cinema mgmt interview in 2012 I thought this was a sure thing thanks to presumptively Ant’s influence. Well if he had any it meant jack as well the store mgr “renegged” there was no interview. Anthony knew I was ticked at wasting that time of day for nothing, however, in trying to tell him again what happened at least in the two days afterwards he chose to be the disappointed father. He came down hard on me for not following up…

That response took me aback and I didn’t really know how to respond. I suppose he’s very good at getting you on the defensive when he wanted to. If I had any interest in working at this store on the northwest side of Chicago that interest had begun to wane. For him to just start bawling at me over this, as someone who didn’t want to be chewed out over a job I didn’t yet have he was out of line. I never blamed him – as even he accused me of when he insisted on addressing this subject – for mgmt’s behavior in this, but I can blame him for his own behavior.

As far as whether or not I really wanted this. Again I saw this as an opportunity to leave The Show, if I had gotten this job then were off to the races. However, things I think about now. If I stayed at home still, then the commute would be a consideration. Perhaps going from Chicago’s south side and then changing trains downtown to the northwest side that might be an hour + to get to work on a day-to-day basis. It wasn’t what I relished.

Another thing to be considered, is what would I be getting exactly with this job? My standards weren’t that high it was just anything was better than staying at The $h!tshow. Perhaps I might get paid better, though with this job benefits didn’t enter the picture or even paid time off. I suppose I never thought that much about the compensation at the time, my goal was to get the job and leave The Show. However, when I finally focused on working at a bank I did consider that I would definitely get benefits and better pay. Working for minimum wage and being stuck there wasn’t fun.

So anyway, why didn’t I follow up? My excuse was usually I expected them to call me as that’s what I had been told and they never did. However, I definitely didn’t like to be blown off like that. I was up there for an interview and they kept me waiting and then oh sorry we can’t interview you today. Would that sit well with you? It didn’t with me as my emphasis for my state of mind at that point was hungry, sleepy, cold and this made me more frustrated. My dear old “mentor” as it turned out was hardly understanding of this.

This is a situation where if they couldn’t be bothered to at least interview you – not necessarily a job offer – then why would you continue to chase them down. There were too many other opportunities to chase after than to chase down a grocery clerk position at one store in a big city. I can’t say that was my mindset exactly at the time, however, there were other positions that I really wanted at the time. There was no reason to just stay stuck on this as it seemed Anthony wanted to.

If I had stuck with Ant’s plan at that point in time where would I be today? Perhaps he’s be successful in worrying me about trying to chase them down and perhaps I’d still have no results from this. Perhaps I’d still get an interview and still no job with them at that point in time. He would only have me chase something I really didn’t want.

The way I see it today things worked out. I do work at a grocery store today, but for a long time I believed and still do work at a better company. However, both companies have gone through mergers and changes. And with Fresh Foods I know exactly what I would be getting. One has a better culture than the other, and even then today if I was too look for another job one goal I must have is to really get further out of my own comfort zone.

I don’t have to stick with retail or even cinemas. As you can see I’m still learning the many lessons of the Streak Era.

Streak Era: Emerging crisis?

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

Concession Counter at Movie Theater

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Focus – Fresh start

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Next month I’ll be transferring to another store. I wish I can say it will be for more money or a higher level position, my only answer is that I’ve been at my current assignment for over four years and nothing will change as long as I stay put. This was what I told my current boss upon telling him my situation – filing an application and telling him about my soon to be new boss Gary.

Gary was one of the assistant mgrs at the Hole who figured in some way in the Reign of Error. My experience with him was cool back then unfortunately there wasn’t much he could do about our dept mgr at the time. Either way, I’m looking forward to this new start which sends me to the new store that opened in late April which for right now is the bright shiny new object.

I ought to kick myself in the @$$ for not taking advantage of the job positing before the opening possibly making $19/hr with experience. However, my only justification is that this would be a risk without knowing anyone in leadership over there at the time this store opened.

My current assignment is on the outskirts of downtown sort of like the Hole except that store was a bit closer and easier to get to. This new store is easier to get to at least via public transportation. I don’t know what the hours will be, if they will be days or midshifts or nights. All I know is that I’m back at square one, however, this experience will be a lot more close to what I had at the Hole. I’m up for the challenge and hopefully some opportunities will open up.

However, some considerations have come up. The pandemic these last two years have been interesting and have seen a lot of people opt to make a change in their careers. The boss who hired me at my current store has since moved on – and with that in mind my opinion of him dipped just based upon some aspects of his behavior towards me. I got jilted when pursuing a new position in my current dept. Others have sought promotions or moved onto other companies.

Recently an associate with the customer service team announced in the break room to some colleagues that she was leaving going to another grocery company to a distribution facility which pays significantly better than Fresh Foods. That’s not the only one from the job with her story and I’m hearing about some personnel issues with another team that needed support. They don’t have a full-team as I hear some of their associates have since quit and they no longer have a dept mgr as that individual has since moved onto another assignment. It seems in that dept – they make pastries – they haven’t been very solid since about the start of the pandemic. It seems every 6 mos or so they just spit out dept mgrs like candy. It’s either mgmt is not ready, can’t handle the position, it’s too much or they just found a better opportunity they couldn’t turn down.

Another aspect of what’s been going on is an inability by the company – or perhaps the store if that’s a consideration – hasn’t been willing to offer competitive pay to attract decent workers to change a situation for the better. Just a revolving door of people who for whatever reason have proven themselves unreliable. Not an unknown issue especially at Fresh Foods, you hire young people who just want a job and doesn’t care much about the company you get people who aren’t serious and would be very willing to quit at the drop of a hat.

Now most of this has hardly have anything to do with me, however, in recent months I’ve started talking a lot about the Streak Era. My goal over a decade ago was to pursue a better position with better pay elsewhere away from the cinemas. Of course in the years since I felt great about being paid a bit more than minimum wage with benefits and it has made a difference. My only frame of reference was being stuck for almost five yrs at $8.25/hr with no raises and no possibility of a promotion. Although I did go to a bank after leaving The Show and got paid more there, it wasn’t a net-gain given that my hours per week were largely limited especially during the probationary period at the time.

However, I had to come to a conclusion about where I am now. Perhaps I’m stuck or otherwise stalled again. There were some opportunities which I’ve discussed here one of which were botched and the other I get the feeling I was nothing more than a placeholder – that is there was no plan until there was a plan. So being jilted got me back at square one with not much feedback from anyone observing what I was doing and they just said next. And of course what affected my confidence was my experience in the deli dept before the pandemic forced that dept to have to transfer associates to other teams.

I’ve been very keen on noting that I’ve been making decent money since arriving at Fresh Foods not only in 2015, but upon being rehired with the company in 2018. I was hopeful about promotions which unfortunately didn’t happen whether thru “politics”, my own performance or other issues. I’m seeing others seeing how the grass is greener elsewhere which is causing me to ask the same question, is the grass greener elsewhere?

Perhaps it’s time for Streak Era 2.0. Unlike in the original Streak Era I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking for other than the familiar. I also sought positions that perhaps should’ve been within my reach even at The Show though my position is actually well perhaps I just wasn’t ready to be at least a supervisor there. Perhaps yours truly set himself short back then and as I continue exploring that period of time we might further explore those themes. Perhaps to get to where I need to be in the future I have to be more willing to roll up my sleeves and make something happen. I’m not getting any younger, though another aspect of the Reign of Error is that I won’t be willing to rub in anyone’s failures in the long run.

See you in the new year.

Streak Era extended?

shopping business money pay

For the most part I define the Streak Era as between August 2012 – my mgmt interview with the Neighborhood Cinemas – to October 2014 – got a job offer to be a bank teller at Gotham Bank. Now the point of this post is whether or not I could extend the Streak Era into at the very least January 2015 when I finally got a job at Fresh Foods.

How in the meantime I put in my two weeks at The Show, worked two weeks at both The Show and the bank. My final week at the cinemas I was also training at a Gotham Bank facility in downtown Chicago away from my branch located closer to home. And then work at Gotham from that point forward until being separated from there at this point in December. So perhaps another Streak Era situation seemingly.

In this case well the original Streak Era was just basically I was ready to leave The Show and well it was a process before getting the interview at the Neighborhood Cinemas. I was having one hell of a summer with primarily Barney and the collective I call the Meangirls of the $h!tshow or $h!tplace. Well while that drama was going on I continued to wait for the interview which does happen, however, I don’t get the job to my dismay.

And the weirdness after that was ongoing although in spurts now I was having issues with mgmt in addition to other coworkers especially the Meangirls of $h!tplace. And then Anthony the Fiend was being more of a hustler and also being more of a disappointed father. Also my job search which was ongoing after that Cinemas mgmt debacle just was going not far as my final count from 2012 to 2014 was 1 for 15.

However, when I started at Gotham was I in the best spirits? I probably wasn’t, this was me going from what’s the most familiar and comfortable to another culture. Going from a picture exhibition business to a bank, this I will admit was a cultural shock. All told your hero Jack V was far from mentally ready and sadly brought some bad habits with me. If I felt that mgmt at the bank – represented by Ed – was going to be hostile towards me it was possible I’d be hostile back. Perhaps because of what had been going on at The Show while this was a new start let’s just say there were moments I were a tad combative.

It was easy to sense when the coworkers at the bank were going to be hostile. For the most part it was never my goal to be hostile then again I wasn’t happy and perhaps this started early on. Let’s just say if things started off rough in the first place, it never got much better. And even if I tried to stay optimistic, there wasn’t much to be done on my end. Perhaps my fate was sealed.

The last time I was in the office with Ed and he dressed me down for logging into my station after my scheduled time this let me know this wasn’t working out. There was no answer that would satisfy him and it appeared no matter how much I asked for instruction he didn’t say anything else other than an exaggerated “alright”. He was frustrated with my progress but then I had to recognize that perhaps he just wasn’t the right boss for me. In 20/20 hindsight he was very impatient and in how he conducted any office time with yours truly it seemed he wanted me to catch up to him.

With this said I do recall he had to manage two different branches not just the one I worked at. So if he gets a report regarding yours truly, he might have to come down to address me. I can accept he just didn’t have time and it was just easier for him to just cut a struggling worker loose under the guise of “not working out”. I was under a probationary period and never appreciated how everyone would be watching me for any mistakes and also they used this probationary period to justify never having to write me up or even to adequately inform where I was in the probationary process.

Indeed on my last day there, Ed outright said for the record that he just didn’t like what he saw. Now again, he was barely there he probably saw a snippet when he was there heavily informed by supervisors who were there at the bank when he wasn’t there. However, it’s too long ago to characterize this as unfair. I accept that this position just wasn’t a good fit for yours truly.

So let’s say I had to do a count of interviews from after I left The Show. Before being let go from Gotham I already had an interview with Fresh Foods, down the street from The Show. I didn’t get it probably due to my expected availability anticipating that perhaps the bank gig would work out. In reality I’m doing this to quit the bank eventually because it was no longer a matter of if but when. However, conventional wisdom for me at the time was I need to avoid the implication that I’m trying to leave the bank after just starting there. And since The Show was nearby some references to the cinemas were made by the store mgr I interviewed with who said she was a customer there.

And then I got into contact with my future boss at the new store opening that I would refer to as the Hole. And then had two other interviews after him for positions with the store until he hired me which extended into the day after New Years’ 2015. I also got a phone call from the National Theater Chain however their facility was a long way from home and I just couldn’t garner enough energy to even want to interview there. I also followed up with the NTC cinema which was very close to the Hole to see if they were hiring the day I got separated from Gotham, they said they weren’t so I just hoped for the best with Fresh Foods after that.

So really I had four interviews with two stores, different mgrs and departments for Fresh Foods and got an offer – so one for four. And the funny thing is, I never got the jobs I thought I could pursue. Perhaps my first inclination was to be a cashier well that didn’t work out and two interviews were for those positions. My next interview was really to be a porter, however, my new boss saw I had customer service experience and put me in a customer facing position when he hired me. The next interview was for actually butcher although I would be dealing with seafood mostly but then I needed knife experience for that. It was after speaking with them that my boss finally hired me!

So for whatever happened with Gotham Bank. Well I had a hearing for unemployment and while it seemed like an uneven experience it seemed their lack of communication or write-ups and especially from mgmt or supervisors help me get unemployment. No communication on the final act just a laundry list of gripes – although I’m not saying this to be offhanded it does seem the justification for the separation was intended to be overwhelming. I guessed correctly as far as the final act which ultimately allowed me to get no more than three weeks unemployment before I started at the Hole. The final act as I was told by the unemployment agent over the phone was basically a mistake on the teller line.

Of course, the funny part was that after I had started at Fresh and was no longer getting unemployment Gotham Bank filed an appeal about a month after that. I prepared not knowing how to defend myself other than to state that the date the other hearing provided for the final act was a day that I had been off. My only gambit was to show they did a bad job of getting their own facts straight. Thankfully that appeal hearing was cancelled I learned over the phone.

So the extended Streak Era was over and seemingly smooth sailing after that.

Holidays 2013

green christmas tree with orange bauble

My last holiday season of the Streak Era and my employment at The Show wasn’t very joyous. Perhaps just a sign of things that just weren’t going to go my way. I feel as if this was the most miserable I had been since I worked with this particular company.

Mgmt often portrays working holidays as MANDATORY. Meaning don’t you dare try to get any of the holidays Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years off. If you have plans go to mgmt, of course if you’re good with them then they accommodate you. If you’re not good with them then you know you’re going to get what you’re going to get, and if you don’t like it quit!

Weeks before Thanksgiving I had got myself into a weird situation with one of the senior mgrs, some mgmt saw me walking around aimlessly on a slow evening and decided to start taking action. I felt as if I was being singled out, but there was one person who was probably on my case and I call her the HBIC – the Head B!tch in Charge – and once I got frustrated with one of the supervisors once he reported to her game on. But she’s a small part of the situation here.

Anyway usually for the holidays you have to get a sheet which allows you to prioritize which holidays you prefer not to work or at least the shifts that you want. A bit of a slippery system but if holidays were MANDATORY you had to choose. So basically you get three choices. I suppose I was indifferent to working on Thanksgiving so I suppose I often gave it a three. Christmas was a two, and the one day I really wanted off or at least to not work that evening was New Years Eve.

For the most part over the years I was lucky more often than not I didn’t have to work Christmas or New Years. This year I worked both Christmas Day and Christmas Eve – and on Christmas Eve no big issue since well they close early on that day. Christmas Day I was hoping they’d send people home, however, the big show at that point was The Wolf of Wall Street sooooo needless to say that day got very busy!

New Years sucked. I had to work New Years Eve that night and hoping to get home before midnight asked my mother to pick me up. However, it was snowing on that given evening which meant my mother wasn’t going to gun it to pick me up. So we brought in New Years Day 2014 on the expressway instead of at home.

New Years Day I had to come back in the morning, probably not that early, perhaps 9 AM or so. One of the mgrs allowed me to work a few hours and allowed me to go home early which was cool. However, I started off the New Year in a diminished spirit.

Another interesting incident that happened during this period was there was a conflict emerging between me and another one of the “meangirls of the $h!tshow” let’s call her Wassa. She had always been a thorn in the side over the years just had a very bossy disposition and she decided to start something with me when I was trying to help close the concession stand. She decided to start criticizing my sweeping as she decided to come near me to pour herself a soft drink. After a few words and some smart alecky responses from me, Wassa quickly turned with the harsh parting words, “This is why NO ONE says anything to you, and this is why I won’t say $h!t else to your @$$. You’re a fcuking idiot!”

And it spilled over to when I tried to get my register counted down by a supervisor. She was about to get off work anyway so she blows me off and Wassa decided at that moment to point her thumb at me and I take umbrage. She rolls her eyes and says she’s going to say what she’s going to say. I object the supervisor now has to calm things down and Wassa’s last retort was “Can somebody tell him I DON’T LIKE HIM?” And that was the last straw I blew up someone had to pull me away from her because she was going to make it worse she wanted a fight and she was getting one. My real anger was on display and she shuts up finally, however, her response once that coworker pulls me away was to act like my anger was a threat to her.

Regardless after that anytime she’s around I had a sense of dread there was a sense of conflict for me so anytime she approached me the negativity from her or even me would come out. And worse still she was basically seasonal, she goes to school the rest of the year comes back for holiday and summer break which is long enough to cause as much drama as possible. She always liked to complain about how “petty” the Show was and yet as a college student who could get internships she’d come right back to work. While she seemed to want to be friendly let’s not forget she has a bossy demeanor and when not happy can be downright abusive and she had been in the past towards me on one occasion. She might come around friendly on one day and then another time she treats me with hostility. I remember that hostility from her so when she comes around rying to shake hands with me I remember the hostility. Now if you respond to her negativity in kind she will turn around and act like a victim.

Anyway this was a snapshot of my last holiday season at The Show. And upon arriving at the Hole after New Years 2015 it gave me a glimpse of what I was missing while working at the cinemas. Time and a half on selected federal holidays such as Christmas, New Years, MLK, etc. I wouldn’t have gotten that if I stayed at a cinema, especially The Show which was a barebones operation. And Thanksgiving Day was double time and it wasn’t MANDATORY, you could sign up for it and mgmt may or may not schedule you. Of course another thing is that Fresh and perhaps most retail stores were closed on Christmas so that’s one guaranteed holiday off. I suppose this was the pain I had to go through to get to this point at least seemingly.

UPDATE: I have a few other posts planned before New Years or I’m optimistic before Christmas we shall see. Also there is a recent update coming soon. Of course here’s a bit of a spoiler, a change in coming and I think of it as a good change. Can’t wait to let you in on it.

Also I have to do another edition discussing the Streak Era of which the post you see above was part of that period of time although again the focus needs to be the job search from that period of time.

Mr. Boastful


If you want to know after over two months I logged onto Fresh’s Social Network and see that position I applied for was filled and yours truly is no longer a candidate. The Team Receiver job went to someone I formerly worked with at my current assignment. I would say good for him, however, it would be nice if even I got an automated dear John note from them once they made their decision. So back to the drawing board again. GRRR!

On the other hand, I applied for another position at this new store still on the same team with Gary – my former assistant mgr at the Hole. I made sure to get in touch with him and he said drop by anytime when he’s scheduled to work. I also touched bases with my current boss and he seemed OK with it. Told him my justification perhaps a fresh start elsewhere, if I stay in one place I’d stagnate although it’s possible I might not like what I see. Though emphasizing my prior relationship with Gary in the past. Again let’s hope for the best, I’m trying to avoid the trap of comfort and complacency.

That’s it for a recent update onto the rest of the post…

So sometime in October I logged onto Fresh’s social network looking for opportunities and saw at another store that a buyer position for the deli was posted. Now this was significant because of my knowledge that a man I refer to on this blog as Mr. Boastful was there. He was the buyer and it turns out it was his position that was up for bid.

To give you a shorthand about the Boastful one, I had considered him something of a friend when we worked at the Hole and that changed not too long after the arrival of one Ruthless Roger. Mr. Boastful was looking for me to slip up and due to my own issues with timeliness I did. Also bear in mind that I for whatever reason just didn’t mesh well with Rog, perhaps he wasn’t there to mesh well with anyone. Regardless I was stalled and Rog made some decisions led him to remove me from being on the buy/receive team.

Now the expectation was that this was going to be my future role, but before Rog decided to take me off I still didn’t officially have it. It’s like he was going to give it to me and yet he was going to change his mind later. Boastful was letting me know in some ways that he was paying attention to my missteps or the stalemate as it were. Once things ran its course he started being more boastful and I took this as him rubbing it in. I had a problem with it, eventually he cooled it down not long before I had to depart the scene – you know the climax of the Reign of Error.

So in the five years since, Rog had moved on because he lived up to his level of incompetence. I tried to come back and was blocked by an assistant store mgr I call Kenny. I heard little things about Mr. Boastful still working in that role it was between it was working out and he was a tad abrasive to he had to fill out paperwork to insure he got paid his extra money. Eventually he got the role for good after about a year.

Then he moved on to be a buyer at another store, one of Fresh’s flagships locations in the city. He in fact worked with someone I had worked with at my current assignment that guy is still there. So Boastful got there at about the start of the pandemic and lasted over two years there before moving on to yet another location. I do wonder if this was a pattern he gets abrasive and shows an inability to get along with people he works with and realizes it’s time to move.

Either way he was at his third store for perhaps four months as a buyer before his job was posted and his position is now as a cook. Which causes me to wonder, after almost five years in his newly found role did his presentation finally catch up to his reality? Is it possible that the change from being a buyer to a cook is what he wanted?

What I can say for sure having talked to him that he seemed ambitious. He pursued various higher level or stepping stone positions overtime and none of them panned out. He claimed that he was pursuing positions outside of the Hole and often store leadership would call these hiring mgrs and say don’t interview him. Now from the people I spoke to outside of this situation they may say he might be making more of it than it really is, or that it didn’t happen. Who knows, however, that was his story that he was sharing.

And since Morley did get fired from his position over three years ago, perhaps if that was the case the Holes former store mgr may well have been the source of that. Although if that was true than Mr. Boastful shouldn’t have even gotten as much as Team Receiver, which I do view as the role I should’ve had although intervening events kept me from it.

However, perhaps Mr. Boastful’s mouth and self-promotion got him bumped down to cook. Or perhaps Mr. Boastful after wanting this position while I had it just got tired of the role and wanted a change. Or he wanted to be a cook which I definitely doubt, I find Boastful to be ambitious and it would be hard for me to believe he would be willing to work in a kitchen in that capacity.

I think he had expressed that he didn’t want to deal with customers so he did pursue buy/receive and certainly it makes sense for him to be a cook. And to be honest I’m tired of customers also, I’m used to it though one goal I do have now is to find a position that is more behind the scenes. Perhaps while I’m still pursuing buy/receive positions perhaps he might be somewhere he’s OK with for now.

At this point I can only speculate about the state of mind of Mr. Boastful since I’ve not spoken to him since 2017.

I have another interesting workplace update to share with you in a later post. It involved my ill fated interview to be an associate buyer and the person who ultimately got the position. While I have to accept that perhaps I could’ve worked harder on that I get the idea that it led to some of the changes with my team”s leadership after that. I was an afterthought to the guy who hired me back to Fresh in 2018 and ultimately I was ushered out of the dept due to the pandemic. I see it as a bit of a blessing today.

That will be explored at a later time.