So I've already said that I would like to write about employment and use this blog to address work issues and help to spread my knowledge of the dark world of work...
Going to work can be scary when you first start out, but the majority of us have to start work somewhere, whether it be the local corner shop, a busy office or under the wing of a family member or friend, but what is the actual point of starting just somewhere, anywhere?
My reason to work was for money. Being a teenager in a city with no money to learn to drive or have a decent night out was awful! So I decided that searching for a job was essential if I wanted to keep my hair trimmed and purchase some posh slap.
Finding a job, however, was the easy part. A quick interview with a pleasant lady in a well-known department store, a lot a smiling and a firm handshake was all it took. Getting on with my future boss was not as straight forward...
After a few weeks of learning the ropes by cleaning, getting to know other girls at near concessions and selling overly priced garments to serial shoppers, I became aware that above the general boss behaviour, my boss had started to become...well...a little bit anal.
No one was allowed to use her stock-taking pencil (specially engraved with her name) and if a hanger looked out of place she would hit the roof!
As time went by I started to receive 'to do' notes at the start of every shift which became longer and longer detailing the simplest of tasks such as ensuring garments were in size order and that I had a 'decent face-full of make-up' on.
Now, I will defend myself here- these were tasks that I adjusted to within two-three shifts, but yet the notes started to make me feel belittled and insufficient for the job.
So after months of putting up with this I started to rebel...leaving items of clothes on the changing room rails, 'forgetting' to switch the lights off at the end of a shift and so on...
Eventually we both 'popped'.
In the middle of the shop floor we had a barney- a massive argument. We yelled at each other in full view of staff and customers (probably some managers too) and I even declared that the department 'looked stuffy and dirty and reflected the clothes we were selling'!
O gosh...I knew I was stuffed.
I walked out and never looked back.
Until recently that is.
I've often thought about why I am sometimes a little insecure about tasks that I undertake in work even if I have reassurance from colleague that I am doing just fine. After leaving the department store I buried my head in the sand and found another job relatively quickly. I didn't think about the incident in the department store and only started to re-tell my story when coaching school leavers and advising them to search for their first job.
Sometimes experiences (no matter how small or petty) can leave an imprint on our behaviour for years to come. Shouting at a boss to relieve my stress left a small chip on my shoulder for a long time and only after I bumped into her not so long ago did I forgive her for being so picky.
We spotted each other Christmas shopping this winter and we both quickly approached each other. For some reason we hugged and I immediately apologised for our argument. She laughed and said that she had often thought about it and still found herself going red at the thought of getting so angry!
We had a quick chat and I was sad to hear that she was made redundant at the start of the recession. Fortunately, due to her perfectionist traits and loyalty to the company, she managed to find work at another department store under a partner brand.
If I were able to talk to my former teenage self, I would urge myself to appreciate that small things can often mean big business for those with the responsibility. If I were the boss of that department now, I would make sure that everything down to the folds in the curtains were perfect!
How did you rate your first boss? Or do you dread starting your first job? Let me know!
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