Friday, 30 December 2011

There's been a rather pleasant result for working where I am.  Given that I'm sat on the tills I naturally see a lot of people go by but it's quite nice when the people are individuals you've not seen in years!

In the past fortnight alone, I've been surprised by and chatted to:

  1. Both my managers from my two previous office jobs; one happily retired, the other about to.
  2. A young student I used to teach at my sports club.
  3. A girl I knew in middle school who recognised me, although I couldn't place who she was (clearly she'd changed a lot ... apparently I haven't) I did recognise her name.
  4. The guy who ran my school's youth club.
  5. A friend who used to run a local shop where I'd hang out on my lunch breaks when I was still employed in a local office - we're now back in touch after nearly two years (his shop closed and I switched jobs).
  6. A girl from my last office job who transferred to another department.
  7. Another girl I worked with for six months in a coffee shop years ago.

Those have been the nice surprises.

Yet, there was one that left quite a bitter taste in my mouth.

An elderly woman came to my till and I immediately twigged that I knew her, she looked strangely familiar and I was wracking my memory trying to place her - she didn't appear to know who I was.  Then it suddenly clicked - this was the mother of a girl I went to school with.  My gaze snapped to the young woman standing with her - sure enough, it was Sarah*. 

But in spite of being my 'best friend' for three years, she didn't acknowledge me.  We looked at each other, no doubt that she recognised me, I could see it in her eyes (come on, if someone I hardly knew from middle school recognised me, then my 'best friend' surely must) ... but she moved on without a word as if I were a stranger.

Rewinding several years (oh god, more than a decade now ... I feel old!) Sarah and I met up in our second year of Secondary school - I was very quiet and shy, she was more confident and talkative.  I latched onto her friendship as I'd been bullied an awful lot thus I found it comforting that this girl was eager for my friendship.  Looking back I realise now that no one else could put up with her constant chat.  And chat she did.  Mostly about herself and what she was doing / planning / had seen on TV etc.  Sometimes when we spoke on the phone, I genuinely could have put it down, gone away for five minutes and come back without her even noticing that I'd not been listening - that may sound a bit mean, but I did not realise at the time just how little I actually got to speak.  

Anyway, we took our GCSE's and Sarah decided to stay at the school to do her A Levels, whilst I opted to go to the local collage (I wanted to get away from the kids that had continued to bully me).   It was from that summer onwards that I was left making all the effort in our friendship - I was the one who emailed, phoned and texted, trying to arrange for us to hang out or just to talk - yet Sarah was suddenly too busy or already had plans.   The one time I did manage to arrange for us to meet up, we met up by the cinema, only for Sarah to bring along another girl whom I'd never met and the two of them talked non-stop, hardly saying two words to me before simply getting up and leaving me behind.

I was quite crushed by this.  I do appreciate now that we didn't have much of a friendship in the first place but at the time I was so upset by Sarah doing this to 'us'.   As the years went by, occasionally we'd bump into each other in town - Sarah's opening question to me would be 'Do you have a boyfriend?' - if the answer was no, cue Sarah's non-stop talk about her wonderful boyfriend and her fantastic life.  If the answer was yes, Sarah's face would light up and she'd squeal about double-dating and that she simply must meet him!  Yeah, sure.  I'm of no interest whilst single but the moment I get a boyfriend she wants to hang out?

All these years since I've pondered whether or not to try and get back in touch.  I'd had a cursory look on Facebook, but couldn't find her.  I did wonder if she'd married and changed her name perhaps.  Would she have matured at all?  Perhaps we'd be able to resurrect our friendship and be actual friends rather than just a speaker and a listener.

This chance encounter, however, has just proved to me once and for all that Sarah is not interested and not worth my time.  She looked me in the eye, knew exactly who I was and didn't say a word - leaving me too surprised to say a word to her as she walked away.  Puts to rest any thoughts of rekindling a friendship I've had for years.  It's quite sad when friends lose touch or a friendship fizzles out, although I've had doubts as to how much of a friendship we really had.

Lesson learnt - real friends will treat you as such.  Hang onto the good ones and don't concern yourself with the ones that aren't.

* Not her real name, as always I don't like to use people's real names here.

Christmas Eve

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Well, I can certainly say that it's quite a blessing to know that I still have a job to go to next week.  I overheard someone today saying that Christian was the only temp not to be kept on.

Quite how long each of us is being kept on for, I do not know.  I'm the only one on the tills, the other two are evening-shift / shelf stackers, so I've not actually seen them since our induction.

I feel some sympathy for Christian - no work guaranteed for after Christmas, the uncertaincy of whether he'll be able to find something soon ... but at the same time I just don't feel that he applied himself to the job he had.  He was late for the training day and, he confessed to me the other day, he'd come into work with a hangover!  Call me crazy, but those are things you do not do if you want to stay in the job. Christian doesn't think anyone noticed but the supervisors are a sharp bunch.  I'll be really surprised if no one picked up on it.  Perhaps he didn't even like the work and wanted to find something else afterwards, but that grates painfully against my person view that you ought to do the best you can, even if you don't like the job or intend to stick it out.  Look at me at the Shop!  I grew to loathe it yet it didn't stop me making an effort and trying to do a good job even on my final day.

Thus, I'm in two minds about saying goodbye to Christian yesterday.  He was a nice guy - just perhaps not appreciative of the job he had (a notion that baffles me).  I do wish him all the best, that he succeeds in finding employment elsewhere in a role he enjoys and wants to work hard at.

I'm so grateful to still be employed.  I took a risk leaving the Shop, which has paid off so far.  I may only be guaranteed until the end of January but there are encouraging hints from senior that it may become permanant.  Even if it doesn't, it's an enjoyable, less stressful job than I've had in years - for that I am grateful.

Merry Christmas!


Saturday, 17 December 2011

I am officially employed until the end of January!  ^_^  I'm being kept on, Christian is not.

I believe that one of the evening temps is being offered an extension as well so well done both of us.

Very pleased - I celebrated with huge chocolate cookies and a nice cup of tea.

I feel like I may be able to justify the cost of new glasses now ...

Literally cutting the cost

Monday, 12 December 2011

This may sound drastic but I can assure you that it is not as bad as it sounds.

I've started to cut my own hair.

It's something I've been wanting to try some quite some time actually and only a few weeks ago did I pluck up the courage and pick up the scissors.  Not that I did much on my first attempt; I maybe trimmed off a centimetre at most, but it was a start.  I washed my hair first, combed it to straighten it out and (tentatively) started snipping.

I didn't look this apprehensive - honest!
I tried to keep it reasonably straight, or at least in line with the existing ends and frankly it looked fine!  I was not aiming for it to be perfectly ruler straight and even - snipping upwards to chip little sections out to soften the line thus not too obvious that I'd actually done anything at all.

Overall I was rather pleased.  Nobody gasped in horror or even noticed that I'd had a trim.  Would have been rather surprised if anybody had considering how small a change it was, but it was quite encouraging that I hadn't made a hash of it.

So this evening I attempted another trim, taking off another centimetre or so.  This time I think I've gone a little wonky at the back (my hair is still wet - shall see how it looks once dried off) but at least it's not a drastic chop .... I'm hoping to get to that later.

My hair isn't down to my waist or anything, more mid-chest length, which is getting a little heavy for me and the split-ends are doing my head in.

And it wouldn't be a typical post from me if there weren't a saving-money thought in there somewhere, would it?

I hate getting my hair cut.  I appreciate I could be part of a minority here but I genuinely don't enjoy it.  Having someone else wash my hair and massage my head - love that, I'd love to have someone do that every time I wash my hair - but I've had so many bad experiences with hairdressers that my faith in them isn't particularly strong.

It's odd - they spend all day every day cutting and styling hair, you'd think some of them would be good at it.  Perhaps it's just the salons in my town but I've been to just about all of them in turn over the years and I've just about given up.  Once in a while I've had a marvellous haircut - miraculously restoring my sullied faith - but subsequent visits would reveal that the magnificent girl who'd previously worked magic has moved on to another salon out of the area.  Thus I'd submit to the hands of another girl who would invariably make a mess of my locks and I'd leave wishing I'd had the presence of mind to bring a hat, telling myself 'Don't fret, it'll grow out.' regretting the thirty-odd pounds I'd spent on an 'experienced' stylist.

Some years ago when my hair was very long I decided to totally change my look and get it cropped short - a spiked up, pixie-like style which actually really suited me ... at least when cut correctly.  I was somewhat put out that the stylist who I asked to cut my hair was more apprehensive than I was!  She was so hesitant and kept asking if I was sure, did I really want it short, that I almost told her that if she wasn't going to cut it then I was going to go somewhere else.  Does it really make that much of a difference cutting off an inch or 8 inches?   Same principles surely?   As it happened, she did a wonderful job of it.  I was bowled over with how good it looked and when it started getting too long to spike up properly I returned to her for a trim.

Very similar to what I previously had - shan't be attempting to recreate it myself however
She then made me look like a loo-brush!  I was mortified.  I went home and cried I was so disappointed with it.  And I didn't understand how she managed to be so hit-and-miss with subsequent visits (until she too disappeared).  Sometimes OK, others awful, but I kept hoping she'd recreate that wonderful first cut or at the very least do a decent job of it but to no avail.

Other salons weren't much help in giving me a good cut - I reached the conclusion that since so few women had hair in such short styles, preferring longer ones, that most hairdressers just didn't have enough experience with what I was asking for.   After a few years I grew my hair out - partly because of the bad haircuts I was being subjected to and partly because of the cost.  Short styles grow out fast and it was costing a small fortune to keep getting it trimmed.

I wish I'd tried to trim it myself back then - who knows, I could have mastered it by now!

Prices of haircuts are also a factor in my attempts to snip my own.  The cheapest price I can find in my town is about £14, which incidentally is at an awful salon that I will never go back to, in part for their habit of adding 'extras' without informing you - "Oh I'm just putting this gel / wax in your hair!"  and it's in your hair before you can object, adding another fiver to your bill.  At the other end of the scale, there's a salon that starts from £28 and goes right up to nearly £70 depending on who you want to cut your hair.

Personally, I think £70 for a cut and blow-dry is pretty extortionate!  Maybe if it were being styled for your wedding day, I could understand, but that's not a price tag I can even contemplate for a trim.  What are they using that the stylist charging £28 isn't?  Magic scissors?  What can they possibly do that's worth over £40 extra?  OK, you're paying for experience, maybe additional training (but how much of that training is going to be applied to what you want?) and maybe creative flair for 'special occasion' haircuts ... but all I want is a trim.  And right now, the best part of thirty pounds is too much for me.  I've not been able to justify the cost so my hair has simply been growing for about a year - split ends cut off as they appear and the occasional knot that's been beyond untangling.

Overall, I think simple trims at my local salons are over priced.  So I started asking myself, what are they doing that I can't do myself with some scissors and a mirror?  I've watched them do it enough times (cringing as I await the dreaded result) - holding the ends between their fingers and snipping sections away at a time - seriously, it's not rocket science and I know very well that there are people out there who cut their own hair without being pointed out at in the street for the mess they've made of their hair.  They go unnoticed because it's perfectly possible to do a good job of it yourself.

Practise and confidence - that's all I believe I'll need to give myself a half-decent haircut for free.  And perhaps my long utilised mantra - it'll always grow again!   (Hey, I'm anticipating making mistakes, bound to happen.)  I'm looking to cut my hair to about my collarbone - not too short and not too long.  A basic trim will do me just fine until I potentially venture into doing any kind of styling with the cut.

Youtube, wikihow and various other websites have videos and advice on cutting your own hair - a quick search will bring plenty up if anyone is interested.


The Little Things #11

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Returning a lost item

Trundling along the streets with my leaflet-loaded trolley, eyes peeled for dropped change, I happened upon what at first glance looked like a watch lying in the gutter.

Picking it up, I realised that it was a little girls bracelet with her name in large sparkling letters.  It didn't look particularly dirty and given the lousy weather the night before it must have been dropped quite recently.

So I went to the nearest door and rang the bell - there were several small houses close together so it could have theoretically belonged to someone anywhere along the road.  I figured if after three or four houses no one had claimed it I would take it home with me and maybe put up a notice in the street next time I came by.  It was a dead-end street so its owner can't have been too far away.

As luck would have it, a man opened the first door and my eye was caught by the cluster of little girly items piled up just inside the door.

He was so relieved as the bracelet was indeed his young daughters and she'd been in tears because she couldn't find it!

I felt really good about myself being able to return it to her. ^_^


Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Well, I'm very glad I didn't phone in sick with a cold - primarily because several other members of staff had come down with colds but were in work all the same.

I was drugged up to the eyeballs with medication and going through a pack of tissues almost every hour but I got through the week without too much of a problem.  The medication I was using (the company's own brand as it happens) was very effective.  I only had one night of struggling to breathe and therefore sleep, the next night wasn't as bad, thus I continued to be rested enough to keep working.

A week on and the worst of my cold is gone - just left with a lingering cough and an intermittently drippy nose.  Methinks I shall try another flu tablet or two to see if that helps to shift it for good.

Improved health aside, I received some encouraging words from the manager today.

Essentially, I was asked if, were a job to be available after Christmas, would I accept it?   I actually said 'yes please' before he'd even finished the question!   I think he likes my keenness!

It's a shame that he can not confirm just yet whether a job will be available.  In the first instance, it's likely to be an extension of my existing contract, probably until the end of January.  In spite of someone retiring a few weeks ago, there is the fact that two members of staff are due to return from maternity leave.  So that leaves the manager in a position where he has to look into whether these women are actually intending to return in the first instance, what days / hours they could work etc as no doubt they'll want to work around their childcare arrangements.

That's all fine by me.  At the moment all the manager can do is to ask Christian and myself whether we'd accept an offer.  As he said, there's no point in offering a job to someone who doesn't want it or perhaps has made other arrangements for work.  So there's a definite yes from me and I presume a probable yes from Christian.

I still believe that I'm the front runner but it's just too early to get my hopes up.  Manager says he hopes to give us both a definite answer in a week or so.

I look forward to it.

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