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Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

Back to reality

Posted by shinymac on September 1, 2008

I am back in the UK after my week away in Italy. I’m back to new-ness. It turned out that the week the kids were away wasn’t my last week at work. I’ll still be there until the end of September, and I’m not as upset about that as I initially thought I would be, because I’ve been offered a job much closer to home, and much more convenient for the kids starting school, so it’s all good.

Alex too has been offered a new job, which he starts on 22nd September, and which he kept secret from me until the day we set off for our holiday! Little sneak!

Well, I bet you’re all wondering what I got up to on my holidays! Well, luckily for you guys, I kept a diary, and I am about to post it on here bit by bit!

DAY 1 – Sunday 24th August 2008

Today is day 1 of our holiday, our first ever family holiday abroad on our own.
As I write this, I am sat at the edge of our enormous terrace which overlooks the sea, in Hotel Mon Repos, Lido De Jesolo, Italy.
Evie and Marley are catching up on some z’s, due to having to catch an early morning flight from Stansted – we were up in our little Kings Arms hotel at 3am this morning!
We’ve had the whole day here, so we’ve already overindulged on huge delicious pizzas and hazelnut ice creams.
The kids have absolutely loved the beach, and the sea, and are becoming much braver and more adventurous, only slightly miffed that their new Barbie arm-bands have faulty valves, so won’t stay inflated!
We’re full of plans for the next 6 days, visits to Venice, walks along the beach, and even maybe crazy-golf!
I just hope we manage to squeeze everything in, before the time comes when we have to bid our farewells to this beautiful country and head back to Treviso Airport past countless fields full of red grapes.


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Posted by shinymac on August 1, 2008

Being totally honest, I really have had the absolute week from Hell!
Work is being a complete bitch, and so are some of the workers in it, and I just can’t wait to leave.

Since I started this blog, I have often mentioned tales of getting to work and back at night, being a woman on my own, how threatened I have felt, how much I hate being carted about the store, and generally moaning about having to carry out this job.

Well, finally, finally, finally, there is a HUGE beam of light at the end of the tunnel, beckoning me forward to make steps back out into the daylight of the big wide world.

I HAVE JUST 3 WEEKS LEFT! 3 beautiful, glorious, smug weeks, which would obviously be even more beautiful and glorious if I didn’t have to work them.

And at the end of these 3 beautiful, glorious, smug weeks, a beautiful, glorious holiday for 1 week in the Venetian Riviera! And boy can I not wait!

I have also found the answer to my Mary Poppins issues. Well, at least I think I have. No, I haven’t found Mary Poppins herself, well not yet anyway, but I have found a brilliant before and after school and holiday club, which is literally around the corner held in a church hall.

So I rang them the other day and asked if I could pop in with the kids for a visit. They were out though – at Maize Maze, and I could hear all the kids squealing with joy and excitement on the bouncy castle in the background! Fantastic! The very nice lady said that when it’s nice, they just whisk them all out for the day. I want to be a kid again! I want to be whisked out for the day!
She said to just pop in anytime they’re there and she’ll provide me with all the forms and information I need. The fact that she was so accommodating and not bothered about making an official visit appointment really made me happy. So, hopefully, Alphabets will have two new little ones come September! Although how we’re going to pay for it that month (my first payday from my new job isn’t until 10th October – eeek!), is beyond me as we will have no wages in September from my side of things.

On Monday I have another interview, and I’m completely terrified for it. It’s for the NHS, and I know they’re pretty good with working parents, but my new employers have also been nothing but brilliant in terms of trying to find shifts that suit me, so I’m not even sure if I should stray from my 18th Floor job. We’ll have to see.

Meanwhile, Alex is still desperately seeking new employment, and I am just hoping that something turns up for him soon that he’s happy with.

It’s all change again, but it’s all change for the good.

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A spoonful of shift work does not help any medicine go down!

Posted by shinymac on July 29, 2008

I just have time to write quickly before I go and prepare myself for the usual trip to the Trafford Centre for work. Only now, it’s becoming easier, because I really do know there isn’t long left, and before long I’ll be sat up on my 18th floor office, overlooking the world, well Manchester anyway.

I am starting to worry slightly, and becoming obsessed with keeping my options open, and the reason? Well, it’s because the new job is shift work. Not drastic, no over nights or anything, but earliest start would be 8am, latest finish 8pm. Not bad. Not bad at all. IF YOU ARE CHILDLESS!

It’s causing me all kinds of stress and worry. Alex gets home for about 5.45 pm each night, the after school club ends at 5.45 each night, except a Friday when it ends at 5.30. I have precisely a 15 minute childcare problem! Furthermore, Alex is seeking a new job, one where he won’t know what hours he’ll be working, and I am about to embark on my new venture, also not knowing (yet) when I’ll be finishing at what times.

It’s all just too much!


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Confidence is a preference for the habitual voyeur

Posted by shinymac on June 25, 2008

I absolutely relish the challenge of dealing with irate customers. A few months ago, a man came in to buy Israeli Shekels (I just love the word “shekels”!), and the rate had drastically dropped, meaning he would’ve ended up about a tenner out of pocket in comparison with the day before.
He absolutely went ballistic at my colleague, who was becoming increasingly upset with the way he was speaking to her, and I just couldn’t help myself, I had to step in!

However, the person who stepped in wasn’t me. It wasn’t the fairly shy, scared to say boo to a goose usual person I am during the daytime. It wasn’t the one who doesn’t like short coats because her bum looks fat. It wasn’t the girl who would rather walk around the park instead of through it because she’s worried the kids there might laugh at said wobbly bottom.

HELL NO! This was some confident, assertive, and very (if I do say so myself) professional young lady, who just overtook me momentarily and handled the situation calmly and rationally, eventually persuading the irate customer to put up or shut up!

I didn’t get upset, despite the fact that he slammed into the glass threateningly (crikey, people really do get upset when they think they might lose a little cash!), and despite the fact that security were even called to escort him off the premises, (although security never showed until after the irate man had stomped off), nor did my voice even so much as waver slightly. I was in complete control and I loved it!

I found that somewhere within me, I had this confident and breezy lady just dying to get out, and ever since then, I’ve been desperate for another awkward or irate customer so that I can set this bird free once again!

Well, I needn’t have worried, the bird was let out again tonight.

Unfortunately for me, I feel terrible about it this time!
The irate customer in question looked a little odd, and I have to admit, when he first approached the window, I thought he was leglessly intoxicated.
He asked for his money, but he didn’t have the necessary ID with him to use his card, so he threw some cash at me instead, and I changed it for him, and handed over his 1p change.

This is when everything changed, and he tried to pass the 1p back to me saying “Keep that, what do I want with that?”

I passed it back through again and explained; “Sorry Sir, we’re not allowed to keep the change, so please take it.”

He passed it back again, repeating his earlier sentence of “keep it, what do I want with it, what good is it to me?”

I pointed at the charity tin and said, “Feel free to pop it into the charity box if you want, but we’re simply not allowed to keep the change as it will mean we won’t balance”.

He then said, quite aggressively “I don’t give a sh*t!” and practically threw the penny back at me.

His conversation then started to get a little strange, and I was struggling to understand what he was saying. So I kept repeating “I’m sorry? I don’t understand what the issue is here? What’s the problem?”

He then kept saying what I thought was “I’m retired”, which I thought was strange as he only looked about 30 or so, and I was completely baffled.

I pointed out that I had his Euros, and asked if he still wanted them, as he had paid for them, and I was massively confused by this point.

He then said “Course I want them, what are you treating me like this for? I’m “retired”!”

I counted out his Euros, passed them through and he stormed off.

It was only after he had gone, and I was faced with 2 sniggering customers, who too, were also completely baffled by what had just occurred, that I realised he had been saying “I’m retarded!”.

Somehow, I had confused him, he had confused me, and in all of this complete confusion, he thought I was being mean to him because he was (in his words, because I would never use this term) “retarded”

But I wasn’t being mean, I let my confident, assertive bird free, in the belief that I was dealing with an aggressive customer, yet in doing so, I probably frightened this poor man and made him think I was being horrible because of it.

So, this assertive person disappeared for a while, as my flustered face proved afterwards.

It just made me realise that sometimes in life, no matter what you do, even if you absolutely think it is for the best, you just can’t win, and that also, sometimes you need to think very carefully before setting anything free, as it might just fly off and never return. Hopefully mine will be re-caged soon, ready for the next one who kicks off!

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We Try Harder

Posted by shinymac on June 23, 2008

I am suffering from job-seekers addiction. I can’t stop seeking jobs!
In some ways, it’s probably a little too early to be applying, but I am so desperate to get it sorted and to know where I am with it all, that I just can’t help myself.

Now I have an absolute abundance of forms to fill out, and CVs to send off, and I am so worried that I won’t get anywhere with any of them.

Earlier this week, I applied for 2 jobs at a prestigious television channel, working on a very famous soap opera, and I know I don’t stand a chance in hell of getting either of them, but I had to give it a go anyway, because, well you just never know unless you try. So I’ve tried, but I’m not sure I’ve tried hard enough, or whether there will be anything sparkly enough about my application that will make me stand out.

Back in the days when I worked for Avis (for which I have just successfully arranged a reunion for, so far rounding up 40 confirmed and 37 maybes.. or so), their motto was “We Try Harder”, and I really feel I need to put that into practise, once again, because honestly, I really did try harder when I worked there, hence me landing the secondment in the USA, if I want to be successful in my obsessive job-search. (Long sentence there! Phew.)

So, tomorrow, on my to-do list, I have loads of jobs to apply for. Most of them are at the Universities of this fine city, or the local college, which I kind of favour, as I’ll need to ensure I’m home quickly to pick the kids up from school, or the after school club, or the childminders, whichever we decide to use. It’s all so much to organise, that I’m exhausted just thinking about all that!
And at the bottom of this to-do list, I have typed in extremely large letters: REMEMBER; TRY HARDER!

(Hi mum, by the way x)


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Celebrity customers make my day slightly less dull!

Posted by shinymac on April 24, 2008

Oh how I’ve neglected this place of late!
It’s been forever since I wrote here, or at least, that’s what it feels like.

Things haven’t been particularly hectic, or busy, or stressful, I just didn’t feel the need to write as much over the last few weeks, and for that, I am sorry.

To top it all, nothing of any great excitement has actually happened in my mundane life. I get up, I do bits of housework and washing, look after two hilarious 4 year old daughters, eat a few things, and then get ready for work.

Then I go to work, get incredibly bored, and then get the same bus home with the same driver and the same people. The same old thing each and every day, and now it’s actually only 4 months to go until I can leave. I am hoping that as it will be summer, and I love summer, it will just whizz by and I won’t even realise where the time went. I kind of doubt this will happen though, because when you’re not particularly enjoying the moment, the moment drags.

I can’t complain in terms of meeting people, as most of the people I work with are great, and furthermore; we get to meet and serve the occasional celebrity!
In the last 2 months or so, I have met and advised Sherrie Hewson (ex-Coronation Street actress, now a regular feature on Loose Women for all you daytime TV addicts in the UK!), Kieran Cunningham who is a rugby league player for St Helens, and only last night we were graced with the custom of the one and only Ray Quinn, who came second in the X Factor (beaten by Leona Lewis a year or 2 ago). So it can be exciting at times, I guess.

My eyes are letting me down now, so it’s time to switch off, forget about work and get some well deserved rest. After all, I need to look fresh incase the next celebrity who pops in for some Euros turns out to be someone like Russell Brand!

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Oh Lord, won’t you buy me, a Mercedes Benz

Posted by shinymac on April 8, 2008

As I grew up, I was forced into going to Mass every week by my mother.
She had grown up in a strict Catholic family, and wanted to pass on the same values and beliefs to her own 3 children. However, unfortunately for her, none of this really worked. Although we are 3 good people, we have not carried on the tradition of the Mass-going, confessions, communion and all that sort of stuff. I just have no interest in it to be honest. I found it quite boring as a child, and didn’t feel the need to have to believe and practice anything.

Now at my work, one of my colleagues is a guy who is religious, although not a Catholic, but a Christian, which is all well and good, and yeah, I respect anyone’s beliefs if that is what they choose to believe in.
However, he does not respect mine! Every time I am on shift with him, he makes a comment. It started out as quite a strong one saying he wanted me to become a Christian. I ended up arguing with him, explaining I had been there and done that. I got back; “Yes, but you should do it again. Jesus loves you, you know”.

And on and on it goes. Every single time we are at work together, I get a snidy little comment, or a blatant outright comment about how I should become a Christian.

Last night I was having a bit of a whinge about our financial situation, and saying I was fed up of being poor. Well, he used the word “poor” as I tailed off into a daydream about winning the lottery.
He then went on to advise me that if I let Jesus into my life, I would be rich.
Yeah, cos he drops pennies from the skies to pay my nursery fees, or to fix Alex’s car, or to ensure I have enough for my rent, or even, even to buy a loaf of bread, or take me to work on the bus.
I was so angry. I explained that I have a lot of things in my life that make me rich already, the love from my children, and my love for them, my family, Alex, my friends etc, etc. I did not need Jesus in my life to enrich it. He sucked his lips and went in a mood. Yeah, cos Jesus loves him, he can’t take it when someone else rejects that notion and gets all moody about it.

If that’s what happens when Jesus is in your life, I’d rather be without him.

So yes, financially I am poor, but otherwise, I am rich in many things. I just wouldn’t mind a few of those pennies to drop from the sky, even if they had to hit me on the head on the way down, but I won’t be asking someone who, I believe, doesn’t exist.

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Trains, buses and trams = stress

Posted by shinymac on March 3, 2008

I have returned from a lovely weekend away. I decided some time ago that I would whisk the kids up to Scotland for a break whilst I’ve got time off from work, so we booked bargain fares on the train, and went on Thursday.

I took my little notebook/diary type thing, thinking that a 2 hour train journey would allow me plenty of time to scribble away and take notes, and instead, I ended up with earache from two 4 year olds who couldn’t stop showing me their drawings of trains, sheep and people. It was a good journey though, and we all had plenty of food to munch on that we’d made and packed earlier in the day.

Once we got to Carlisle, we had a wait of around 15 minutes for my aunty to come and collect us, and as we drove over the border, we encouraged the kids to cheer and wave their arms about. They sat there stony-faced and silent, and would not even smile. (They were being incredibly shy!)

We chilled out at her house, and waited for Stevie to come home from school. She walked in all grown up and tall, and totally changed from the last time I saw her, all contributing to my feeling old. From then on, I never saw my kids! They followed poor Stevie and her friend Shannon all over the place, and I started to feel as though I’d lost some limbs! I have to admit however, that I did enjoy it, it felt like a bit of a break, and I relaxed knowing that they were safe in Stevie’s hands.

We had a chinese, we had drinks, we had visits to shops where I found some plain cheap plimsols I’d wanted for ages, and I even managed to squeeze a night out in, where I discovered the most gorgeous garlic mayonnaise, which lingered the next day regrettably. All in all, we had a great time, and I can’t wait to go back again, or for them to come and visit us in Manchester.

Unfortunately, the end of a relaxing break tends to lead to stress, and this was no truer than the events of yesterday and today.
We got to Carlisle to discover there were no trains running whatsoever, due to high winds causing a freight train to blow all over the tracks on our route. So, we were faced with a coach journey to Preston. As the coach filled up, the driver came out to tell me that there were 2 seats left, but they were separate. Now, anyone who knows my children would know that there is no way in the world they would sit away from me, next to a stranger on a huge bus that they’ve never been on before, and I explained this to him, using “they’ll cry their eyes out” as the clincher. Thankfully, he asked some kind man if he would move, and the 3 of us squeezed into two seats together. As we drove past countless grazing sheep and the beauty of the Lake District, Evie had a little snooze on my knee, as Marley sprawled out in the seat she had all to herself. We ate chocolates and drank Ribena, and finally we reached Preston, where we had to get a train.
When this train pulled into Manchester Victoria, we went to the tram stop for our tram home. We waited, and we waited, and we waited, for what felt like hours, and no Altrincham trams came by. Eventually, we decided to just get on a Piccadilly one (ticketless!), and change there to get home (with ticket!).

We walked home from the tram stop, laden down with suitcases and bags galore, looking like a trio of pack-horses trudging through the town, and poor Marley gave in and fell over sending her little tartan suitcase and a Tweenies bag flying over the concrete.

Finally, we got home, and bursting for wees and so hungry, we discovered my Mothers Day presents. 2 books I’d wanted for a while, which is better than chocolates when you’re trying to lose weight!
Alex came home soon after us, with a pizza in hand, and smiles and cuddles for the kids. Oh, how they had missed him, and this was so evident when they saw his car pull up and ran to the door shouting “WOO-HOOOOO!”.

Today has provided me with further stress. I’ve found out I can’t have the time off I wanted incase we manage to get tickets for Glastonbury, or manage to find work at Glastonbury, and my work have such ridiculous rules regarding it, that I feel like telling them to shove the job up their bums. It’s complicated to explain, but they have holiday “ceilings” which means only so many people within the store from certain departments can have time off at the same time, but our department are grouped together regardless of whether you work days or nights, and also with the office, who have nothing to do with our staffing. It’s not like we cover their work or they cover ours! So I am not happy, and I’ve told my boss this. I don’t know if this will help, I think the only thing that will help will be to leave. Yes, that would help my sanity, but may not help my purse.

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A possibility

Posted by shinymac on February 19, 2008

Today has been Monday, incase you were wondering, and it’s been awful. First of all, I slept in a little this morning, only to be woken up by my mobile phone ringing. I ignored it as I didn’t recognise the number.
Then when I came round, I found I had no energy, and aching limbs. For goodness sake, I’ve only just got over the worst cold in the world, and now I feel achy and lethargic and constantly tired.
So, I toiled with the idea of ringing work and declaring myself sick, for all of 5 minutes, then remembered that my colleague Michaela has recently been given a written warning for time off sick, and has lost out on her bonus and is not allowed to transfer or apply for other jobs. Scrap that, I’d rather go in on my death bed than have to miss out on my bonus or any opportunity to transfer my butt out of there!
So, I went into work, after forcing myself to bath the kids, wash up the dishes and tidy a bit, and arrived to find that there were 3 of us in our section, meaning one of us has to go off somewhere else, as it only has to be dual control, and there are only 2 serving windows.
I ended up on Menswear for half an hour, half an hour I can handle, but this was the longest half an hour I’ve ever had to endure, and I was bored and kept thinking “so this is what I’ve been reduced to? Shop-work”.

Lately, I am all over the place in terms of what I want to do. I have no direction, yet I have brains. I don’t have relevant qualifications, due to being forced into quitting University, and I just don’t seem to be able to get anywhere.
From time to time, I scour the internet in the hope that some amazing job in a publishers proofreading, or editing, or just simply reading for a living, with 8 weeks holiday and a salary of 30k a year will jump out and scream “YOU CAN DO ME!” but this never happens.
A few days ago, I found a job online with a company called Meltwater News, and the title is Trainee International Manager. Sounds good, but I am always wary of these Trainee Manager positions after I went for a Trainee Sales and Marketing Manager position after quitting Uni, and ended up traipsing around Sale centre with some poor student guy, carrying extremely large sports bags brimming with goods and selling them business to business. I lasted a couple of hours, and would have stuck it out for the whole day had my shoes not been killing me.
However, this Meltwater one sounds genuine, their website looks professional, and they have offices worldwide. It does state that the training will involve a high volume of sales, which I am not 100% sure about, as I am not naturally a pushy person. I am not sure what the salary would be, or if it will be some kind of OTE salary, which may put me off a bit.

I did apply though, and they called me this morning and left me a voicemail….. the number I did not recognise as I awoke. That was them. And now I am too scared to ring them back incase I end up traipsing around Sale with some poor student guy and two huge big sports bags brimming with goods. I’ll have to ensure I wear flat shoes to the interview if I’m invited for one.

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It’s Not Forever

Posted by shinymac on February 9, 2008

I would love to be saying that I have thoroughly enjoyed my week off. Oh, how I would very much love to be saying that. I would love to be telling you that I filled it successfully with lots of action, lots of fun, and lots of general “doing stuff”. Yes, I would love to be telling you all about it. However, this would all be lies! Lies I tell you! And the reason? Because for the last few days (in fact most of the last week), I have been suffering with the worst cold I’ve probably ever had. At times I felt like my head was going to pop. I have struggled to hear things, I have had to use endless supplies of tissues, and have made my nose all chapped and sore and (dare I say it?) ….. crusty. Ugh!
So, no, my week off has not been the fruitful, productive week off that I hoped it would be. Instead it has been miserable and boring. I just wish I’d had more energy, more umph, more zest, and less cold. That would’ve been lovely.

The end of the week was okay though, I guess. Yesterday I went to meet my old work friends from my previous job as it was one of the girl’s leaving drinks. She’s a lovely girl, and she’s now going out with one of the guys who works there too, and they make a really lovely sweet couple. I like to think I had something to do with them getting together, as I kind of told the girl that the guy liked her some time ago, and it all kind of led to them actually going out in the end. Awww.
There wasn’t many people out, but it was good to catch up with the few who were, and despite getting a bit tipsy, I had a nice time.

Tonight Alex has gone out to see a band in Manchester, Sons & Daughters. He texted me earlier to say he was stood next to them, so I urged him to get talking to them, especially as he’d gone on his own. I would’ve gone had we been organised with money and babysitters, but it was all a last minute decision for him seeing as he’d won £10 on his football bet today.

So it’s back to work for me on Monday night, and I am not at all happy about it, but needs must, and again, it’s not forever.

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