Shiny Shoes

Monday, 31 October 2011

I always like to polish my shoes before an interview.  Makes me feel and look smarter.  :)

My interview is at 10am which is great, less time to worry about it in the morning, I just need to get up, get ready and go.

I'm hopeful but trying not to pin my hopes on it.  I guess I'm just glad to actually have an interview!  After so many non-responses and the few 'sorry you have not been short-listed' replies.   I got another non-shortlisted reply today from one of last weeks applications.  Not a peep from anybody else.

Still, if tomorrow doesn't go well then I've got another interview on Thursday.  Perhaps my luck is starting to change for the better ...
All smart for tomorrow

Where to start?

Friday, 28 October 2011

Well ... it's been quite a week.  (This a long post, sorry.)

Short version: Monday was absolute hell.  I nearly walked out.  I was shaking with stress and misery all day long and I went home in tears.  I also had Thursdays shift taken away from me without notice so I'm a days pay down from what I was expecting this month.

It's a bit hard to know where to start.  I didn't post on Monday or even Tuesday because I was so upset and this would be nothing but an outpouring of misery.  At least today I can type a lot more calmly as things have settled down a little.

My previous post - I commented on my day of but a single sale.  One paying customer at the end of the day.  Well, Nora made it clear on Monday that she believed I wasn't doing enough - a mix of not doing enough to get customers to buy and not doing enough in the Shop in general.   It would seem that, to Nora, customers who come in "just to look" or otherwise browse, get ideas for presents etc, magically do not take up any of my time whatsoever.   She was quite scathing about it and not interesting in how much time I did spend helping and advising people - one sale was just not good enough.  The time I spent with the other customers should have been spent cleaning, organising, getting stock out, updating the website and a dozen other things I just didn't have time to do in one day.

So I got severely berated for that one sale.

During the course of that Monday, when I finally got to sit down to eat some lunch around 3pm, I happened to look at the calender.  Several weeks ago, Nora had told me she needed me to cover Thursday, and I just wanted to make certain that it was this Thursday ...

My name had been scribbled out and Billy's name had been put in instead.

Nora had not said one word to me about the change of plans.  I was still down for Thursday last Friday.  She hadn't asked me - she'd just changed it.  I didn't say anything, mostly because of everything else that was going on, and partly because I wanted to see whether Nora would say anything about it to me before the end of the day.  Suffice to say she did not.  Had I not checked the calender I would have gone to work yesterday, unneeded, wasting petrol and parking money.

I was not happy.

Nora expects me to be at her beck and call whenever it suits her, and yet favours her own son whenever it's convenient.

Backtracking slightly (sorry this is a little disjointed, it was a hectic day) right at the beginning of the day, I arrive to open the Shop only to discover to my horror that the front window had been broken.  It was like a spiders web, cracked all over.  Luckily there was no hole and no stock had been stolen from the window.  But I was shocked and quite upset at this discovery, so I rush inside and phone Nora immediately.  Understandably she was not happy with the news, but not so understandable was the way she spoke to me - I clarified, several times, that no stock had been stolen, no there was no hole in the glass, it was just cracked - yet she kept asking me over and over, there's no hole?  Are you sure?  There's no hole?  There's nothing missing??    Bearing in mind I was shaking a bit at this discovery I raising my voice just a little and said firmly, yet again, no hole, no stolen stock.   Nora then raged at me that it was her business not mine and how dare I speak to her like that and that I should 'put on my smiley face for the customers'.

I beg your pardon?  Put on my smiley face?  I'm not eight years old!  I was upset by the vandalism, I wasn't indifferent to it.   Nora, now in a foul mood, was on her way in.

Wonderful.  I've always worked Mondays on my own and I'd been looking forward to a day of working without her, now she was coming in.  I prayed that she would arrive, assess the damage, get the repair work organised and then go home.

Alas, she stayed all day long.  Almost immediately berating me about the one-sale-day and demanding to know what I was doing all day!   There was an angry comment along the lines of 'I see you were job hunting!!' gesturing at the computer ... we have an agreement that I can use the Internet during my lunch break.  Nora is also completely aware that I am looking for full time work.  I failed to see what the issue was considering I had had a brief, as in a mere five-minutes, look at direct gov.  Five minutes, on my lunch break.  Nora did not clarify why it was a problem.  Grasping at straws as to evidence of time-wasting?

Product photos on the website - all of them need to be on black backgrounds.  I do spend time making the product photos look good, I take pride in my work, I think I do a good job.  I got six up on the website on Friday, all brand new stock.   Not enough for Nora - I'd only done the new bracelets, not the pendants.  She ranted that each photo from preparing it to uploading to the website should only take 45 minutes.

OK.  45 minutes times 6 photos, is 270 minutes / 4 and a half hours.  The Shop is open for 7 and half hours.  Minus half an hour for my break - which I don't always get in full.  That gives me only two and half hours remaining to clean, rotate stock etc etc  plus selling a few hundred pounds worth of goods to customers and replenishing sold stock.

But the real kicker of the day was that on Friday I had left a note about a customers earrings that were in for repair - they hadn't received a quote yet.  I put the note, with the bag containing the earrings together on the work cabinet behind the till.  Emphasis on together.

Nora claims they weren't there and she's never seen them.  The note is here but the earrings are nowhere to be found.  They aren't with the rest of the repairs.  I'm not convinced that Nora didn't see them; as far as I'm concerned, she moved them at some point on Saturday and doesn't know where she put them.  Nora was the only person in on Saturday and the earrings were with the note when I locked up on Friday.

Yet Nora is blaming me for the earrings going missing.  She has been on my back since Monday about finding them.  I've been crawling on my hands and knees, searching in nooks and crannies, in stock drawers, everywhere Nora dictates that I should search in an effort to find them.  Nora stubbornly denies all knowledge of the earrings.  Sorry, but fairies didn't magic them away - those earrings were in their repair bag and it was moved by human hands.  Logically, it can't be anyone except Nora.  But I'm to blame somehow ...

So the Shop has been vandalised, I'm effectively being called lazy and incompetent, and at fault for losing some earrings of great sentimental value to the customer - I felt worse than crap.

To cap it all off, a customer declares that she is taking a ring outside 'to see it better'.   Now, call me crazy, but you don't take anything out of a shop that you haven't paid for.  I wasn't about to accuse this woman of trying to steal the ring, certainly not, but what if she dropped it?  The stone could crack against the pavement, it could roll down a drain, some nasty individual might try to snatch it off her - let your imagination run wild as to the 'what ifs' but common sense says you don't let your stock, whatever it might be, off your premises unless it's paid for.

I politely ask her not to step outside - she's more than welcome to stand by the door (there's plenty of light there) but I can't allow anything to leave the shop unless it's been paid for.   That's a fair comment, right?

Oh no.  The woman shot me a chilling look and refused to talk to me, except to say that I was extremely rude, that I'd misunderstood, and that I should 'go away' waving her hands as if she were shooing away a stray dog!   Nora swoops in, beaming smile fixed in place, gushing about her long-standing valued and loyal customer, 'how nice to see you back!'    Wonderful - I'd somehow managed to insult one of Nora's most loyal customers simply by trying to ensure nothing untoward happens to our valuable stock.   Quite how I'd insulted her I don't know, but surely people know better than to wander out of shops with pricey rings they don't own!

Monday was a day that just wouldn't get better.  Nora had me rushed off my feet all day long, I didn't get my lunch break until quite late and even then I didn't get more than ten minutes to rest.

By the end of the day I was beyond exhausted and I was craving an alcoholic drink.  That's a pretty big deal for someone who rarely drinks.  Seriously, I can hardly manage a single can on a weekend.  So to go home and head for Tescos for a 4-pack of lager ... it was clearly a very bad day.

Tuesday - I wake up early, deliver my leaflets, get back home and on the Internet.  By the end of the day I'd applied to seven jobs and printed off a stack of CVs.

Wednesday - into town I approach just about every shop in the area inquiring about vacancies, even temporary Christmas work.  Several CV's handed out and a few applications to fill in.

I now have two interviews set up for next week.  One full time and permanant, the other is temporary Christmas work.  Either one will be great - I was so close to walking out on Monday and I want something to walk to.

I don't deserve to be treated like crap, a skivy and a scapegoat.  I deserve to be thanked once in a blue moon for all the hard work I do not berated shamelessly for what I haven't been able to do.  I don't want to go home in tears wanting to turn to alcohol!!   No one deserves that.

Oh, and yesterday, Thursday that Billy got the shift for instead of me?  He failed to take ANY money at all.  Not ONE sale.   Funny how Nora didn't mention it on the phone today (she wasn't in, thank goodness) - I wonder if he got berated as much I did ... somehow I doubt it.

The Eleventh Hour

Friday, 21 October 2011

I figured it was going to happen sooner or later.  Today was almost that day.

The dreaded day when I'm on my own at the Shop and there is not one single sale.

Back when I first started work here I was particularly fearful of this day.  On several occasions I wouldn't have a sale until nearly 1 or 2 in the afternoon.  That's quite nerve wracking for someone who dreads phoning the boss up and having to inform her of the disastrous takings.

Yet in spite of many quiet mornings, it always picked up.  Didn't always take a lot of money but at least I took some.

Today ... no sales during the morning.  Not worried, you get them semi-regularly; a few people pop in for a look or just to ask a question and go on their way.  2pm rolls around ... hmm, still no sales and it's weirdly quiet.  Not just 'not many people around', more 'Seriously, there's nobody around - have I missed the zombie apocalypse announcement??'

My trepidation steady grows as the clock ticks round to 3pm ... 4pm ... half 4pm ... oh good god, today is that day.  "Sorry, Nora, didn't take a damn penny today!"

Frustratingly, there were a number of people who came in, but they all insisted that they were "just looking", mainly for ideas, either for what to buy people for Christmas, or something they themselves would like so they can tell friends and family what they want.   That's all fine, but they all wanted to 'just look'.

Then, at the Eleventh Hour (or at least twenty to five) a woman came in with her young daughter looking for an 18th birthday present for her niece.

One pretty pair of dangly silver earrings and a smart shaped bangle later and I finally have a sale of just under £50.

I am relieved and phone Nora with revived confidence with the meagre takings.  She wasn't exactly happy with the small amount but as far as I'm concerned it's better than nothing at all!

My main concern is that these quiet days and lack of takings mean the Shop isn't taking enough to keep it going.   Seriously, last month we only hit our target about four or five times.   I'll admit the target is sometimes ridiculously high and a few times we've been perhaps £10 or £20 short, but it's a growing concern.

The Minimalistic Influence

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

I've been reading the blog of The Everyday Minimalist for some months now.  I've previously written a little about how it's urged me to get rid of stuff I don't use any more.

Today I'm working on getting rid of a large folder.  It's full of paperwork - mainly notes for my hobby.  It occurred to me that I hardly ever refer to it.  A big A4 size folder bursting with paperwork is just taking up unnecessary space.  So today I'm typing up my notes onto my computer - the files won't take up much space at all, and there are already some vaguely similar notes on my PC that I can update and improve with the ones I've got in my hand.

Paper then goes into the recycling, the folder can be donated to a charity shop and I've got myself some more space.

Pity the file is so damn big it's likely to take me all day.  Best get back to it!


Monday, 17 October 2011

I know, I know, it's stupid.

Dental Practice A - the local one I really like but has not responded to my website-application, nor my letter - which they would only have received on Friday.

Dental Practice B - further away but looks promising, application was sent off the same day as the advert appeared.  They should have received it (via post as requested) this morning.

So it just doesn't make sense for me to jump every time I think I hear my phone ring.  Does it!?  Particularly when it hasn't even rung!

Really hope they respond within the next few days.  Hate waiting.  I get impatient waiting on other people like this.

Even my cup of tea isn't helping my nervous state.  Think I might need a chocolate biscuit as well ...


Friday, 14 October 2011

My first letter should have arrived at that Practice this morning (then again, who knows with Royal Mail?)  I haven't had a call or email so perhaps I shall get a letter in reply some point next week.

I've just finished another letter application - new advert found, posted online today, requesting applications by post.  Mine is done - after printing off the covering letter and kicking myself for spelling dental 'practise' not practice.  All ready to go in the postbox tomorrow morning before I head off on for another fun-filled day at the Shop.

The wage for this job isn't wonderful; hourly rate is lower than what I'm currently on, but the flip side is that it is 40 hours a week so I'd be earning over £900 per month (minus tax) which is a hell of a lot healthier than my income right now!

I always try to do my best with a letter - some people don't know where addresses should go, how to address the person you are writing to, good grammar (although I don't pretend to be an expert on that in the slightest!) and spelling (practise / practice - don't get those wrong!) and even how to sign off a letter.

Even the envelope is important - crisp and clean, stamp perfectly aligned and address in perfectly neat handwriting.  If it sounds like I'm a perfectionist, it's because I am in this regard.  I'm always concerned that a messy address makes my application look bad or that a spelling error I've missed will reduce my chances of an interview.  You just don't know what might rule you out, especially when so many people apply for the same job these days.  Some little thing could cost you the job.

I do make a note regarding my notice period - I can provide one week to my current employer, which gives them an indication of when I can start with them.   Sounds blissful!  One week!

I live in hope.  I'm tempted to write my resignation letter in preparation for that glorious moment but I don't want to jinx it!!  ;)

Another route

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Found another trainee post to apply for.  Not in an ideal location but it's worth a shot regardless.

Now, re-visiting those three applications I sent last week - one I got a reply from (the sorry-too-late-but-we'll-keep-your-details one) and the other two have been silent.

That's not all that surprising these days; you tend to only be contacted if you're shortlisted for interview.  I don't often get a 'sorry, we've filled the post' or 'you have not been shortlisted' reply - I do like them because you can stop needlessly getting your hopes up.

However, I'd rather like to work at one particular place I applied to which has not responded.  It was the one I had to apply a second time as the email address apparently didn't exist so had to go directly through their website.

It's been a week and no reply.  I don't know how often those messages are checked, who checks them or what happens.  Emails are easily ignored or simply missed, read and then forgotten about.

A tangible letter and CV that's in your hand, however, is something that is more likely to be dealt with.  So I wrote out a covering letter, much like the one I tried to email in the first place, and have posted it this evening.  I imagine they'll receive it on Friday morning.

It might just garner a response from them.  It's just plain rude to ignore a letter after all.  So many people apply for jobs via email these days it does make me wonder if the old fashioned letter works better at getting the attention of the employer.

Just an idea really but we'll see what happens.  If it's a no, then fine, it's just nice to get an answer, don't you agree? And it's not like there's a closing date either, the advert is constantly on their site - if you're not accepting applications then it shouldn't be there, so it makes sense that they'd consider each application that arrives.

As always: fingers crossed.

MY time is important!

Monday, 10 October 2011

So much for meeting Nora's daughter on Saturday.  I got a phone call from Nora around ten to tell me that both her children have 'come down with the lurgy', so I'll be working on my own.

That's not so bad.  I was a bit apprehensive of meeting her daughter, or rather talking to her and either being honest about my thoughts of working at the Shop or having to be very guarded about my opinions.  Billy was quite forthright in that he feels that Nora isn't a good boss and doesn't treat either of us well.  But her daughter is nearer my age and I have no idea how good their relationship is, hence my apprehension.  Although at the same time it would have been nice to have someone to chat to about anything!

However, that's not the end of the phone call.  Recall how Nora is off on holiday this week and gave all those extra days to Billy rather than me?  Well, guess who Nora needs now?  Yep - muggins here!

But I'm not being a mug this time!

Since I was not allocated any extra days, I made plans.  I'm delivering my leaflets tomorrow as usual, then I'm off to London with friends for a music festival.  Given how late I'm likely to get back, I had planned on staying over at my boyfriends' and going home on Wednesday morning.

I inform Nora than I'm not available Tuesday or Wednesday, but I could do Thursday.

All of a sudden, Nora seems very interested in what I do outside of work (which she never does) - what am I doing?  Am I working?  Is it something I could get out of?

I don't think so!

Don't get me wrong - I need the extra cash, no denying it, but why should I abandon my plans when she never considered giving me those days in the first place?  Now her son has the sniffles, suddenly I'm needed again?   Please bear in mind that this is Saturday morning.  What's to say he won't feel better by Tuesday anyway?

I'm quite firm against Nora's rather persistent verbal probing - no, I'm not available, no it's not something I can change.  Aside from anything else, the tickets have been paid for, plans are set and I'm the designated driver (I rarely drink) so it'll inconvenience others if I drop out.  Which I won't.  Not for Nora. 

I was vague as to what my plans were exactly but I made it clear that they could not be changed.  She even attempted to make me feel guilty by saying I might have to put a sign up to say the Shop would be closed on Tuesday ... as if I'd actually feel bad and say of course I'll come in!  Sorry but Thursday is all I can do if needed and Nora hangs up.

A little while later I get another call.  Could I do Thursday?  Billy is feeling a bit better today so he'll do Tuesday and Wednesday.

Pardon me?  I offered to do Thursday because Billy is ill.  Suddenly he's well enough to commit to Tuesday and Wednesday but not Thursday?   I'm not the only one confused by that, am I?  Especially by the 'he's feeling a bit better today' comment.  If he was unwell yesterday (Friday), why did she not mention it and discuss the possibility of my working this week when she was at the Shop with me on Friday?  Why wait until Saturday morning and bring it up in spite of him feeling better?

Forgive my suspicious nature but it just wasn't ringing true to me.  Perhaps he is indeed ill, but what's with ditching Thursday?  If you're well enough to do Tues/Weds then you're well enough to do Thursday as well.

I was quite annoyed by that all of Saturday, but now I figure it's extra money in my pocket and it's a day of work without Nora.  I can't really lose on that score!

Had I not had any plans, I would have jumped at the chance for some more money.  Yet I weigh the options - £100-odd extra cash but stuck in a dark and dingy lonely little shop all day versus a great day out with friends.

I'm making the right choice for me!  I will have a fantastic time tomorrow!  :)

Not a bad result really

Friday, 7 October 2011

Out of the three jobs I applied to, I've had one reply so far.

Unfortunately, I was too late and the vacancy had already been filled (they go so fast!) but they obviously liked my application and have offered to keep my details on hand should another vacancy come up in the future.

So that's a positive in my book!

Got to run out to a class this evening so I shall have another look for job adverts when I get back home.  I also have the joys of the Shop tomorrow and I get to meet Nora's daughter for the first time.  Hope she's not like Billy - she's closer to my age so I'm hoping she'll be nice and it'll be a good day with good company for a change!

So nervous

Thursday, 6 October 2011

I was somewhat gutted to get back home last night after applying for that dental nurse job to discover that the email address they had supplied did not appear to exist and my application had not been sent.

Stomach knotted, I had to apply again, this time through their website - something I wasn't thrilled about, having to fill in various boxes instead of the covering e-letter, but oh well!  That should have made it to them, so I'm just waiting for a reply.

Then I found a second job to apply for and a third this afternoon.  All training positions so I'm praying to whatever deities may exist that one will give me an interview.

My stomach is still in knots with nerves.  Shouldn't be this nervous about it, surely?

Stomach in knots

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

After working quite hard on re-vamping my CV to a more concise and professional format, plus researching dental nurse roles ... I have just applied to a dental practice.

My stomach is giving me the weirdest twisting and flipping feeling.

I have hopes for this one as it seems that most if not all of their dental nurses are in training for their qualification - so what's one more to the team?   Plus the post is advertised on their website and it's clearly updated regularly; a new receptionist has been added to the team page, so clearly they are hiring people.

So why do I feel the urge to run away from my PC, nerves jangling uncontrollably??   Just getting my hopes up and fearing the potential disappointment?

I'll admit it's a scary process.  It probably doesn't help that I've not applied to anything in for a while, what with being on holiday and busy whipping my CV into shape.

Oh god, I bet there's some idiotic spelling mistake in there somewhere - or else there's a dumb grammar mistake in my covering e-mail letter.   "I have an excellent eye for detail ..."  yesss, except when extremely nervous about applying for a job I really want, not just a 'job' to get an income but a proper career.

Great.  Going to listening out for my phone all day tomorrow, no doubt thinking I can hear it ringing ... done that before, quite often it wasn't ringing at all!

OK - heading out with some friends for the evening - take my mind of this for now, I hope.

Wish me luck people!  Fingers crossed for an interview!!

The Little Things #9

I found 50p on the street yesterday during my round.  :)

Some may think 'It's only 50p, so what?' but you can't deny it's a nice feeling when you find money.  When I was at school I'd always be scanning the pavements on the way to and from school, picking up all the pennies that the other students dropped.  I must have picked up several quids worth.

An elderly lady I used to work with thought I was quite odd for continuing to look for money on the ground.  She honestly didn't see why I did it.

Well, it's free money!  All those pennies, the occasional bit of silver - they add up.

There doesn't seem to be as much these days - obviously not a surprise - so it's extra nice to find yourself a few pence up.

She shops, she saves, she scores!

Monday, 3 October 2011

I have purchased another gift. :)   And it has come in drastically under my budget.

Several months ago I signed up with a website for market research.  I get sent questionnaires and surveys to complete in order to earn points, which I can then exchange for vouchers.  It took a while but they're definitely worth it.

I traded in some points last week for a £10 Amazon voucher.  Found a DVD box set for my dad for just over £10 plus postage.

Total spend: £2.70!

Running total: 3 presents at £22.69

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