You’ve asked; I’ll answer… Since inquiring minds want to know, here’s a glimpse behind the dressing room curtain of my first few weeks as a working woman:
Fit to be tried: The first thing I did at my job, after piles of paperwork, was to try on pants. Lots and lots of pants. Our store carries several styles of workout pants and they come in multiple lengths. The best way to learn the fit and unique features of each? Try them on! In more than one size to compare. And then I moved on to the capri or cropped lengths. I haven’t tried them all, but I did try a lot. I see more trying on in my future:)
Three pants and a capri: Before I started work, I owned two pairs of their pants. One I had purchased as a splurge for my spa trip last November. One was a hand-me-down from my mom which I had never actually worn. And I also owned a pair of fabulously comfortable capri pants that weren’t workout clothes. Knowing that I was supposed to wear primarily their products while working, but having been told by the manager that I could “wear the same thing everyday if I want to,” I had not intended to buy anymore bottoms just yet. Instead, I really needed tops. But the fit of one pant style (from my trying-on-a-palooza) unexpected won me over. The new pair is much more form fitting than I usually wear but made with some amazing compression material that holds things in and makes my jiggly bits less jiggly and my muffin top less muffiny. Gotta love that!
In the red: I have yet to receive my first paycheck. Or, rather, my first direct deposit stub. Actually, I have no idea when or how often I get paid. But I made some error filling out my W4 form that probably delayed things. Not that it much matters… I have so far spent more on new clothes for work than I’ve earned wearing them! Shhh. Don’t tell my husband.
What’s your hang up: I had no idea there were so many nuances to hanging clothes. How they sit on the hanger, how the hangers sit on the rack, how the sleeves drape, where the tag is tucked, the position of the zipper pull. And then there’s the folding. Yes, there’s an art to that as well. One of the first things I learned, and I’m happy to say that I (almost quickly) mastered, is how to fold the pants that go in bins on the wall. And again, tag placement. It gives me new appreciation for going into another store and putting something back after I’ve looked at it!
The germ hands are coming: I’m a bit of a germophobe. But there’s not much I can do on the job about touching things that have been touched many times before me. I’m doing a great job of (mostly) not even thinking about it since it’s pretty much out of my control. At the end of my shift when I get in my car, I break out the hand-sanitizer. And when I get home I immediately wash my hands. And for now, that’s as good as it gets.
Into each life a little train(ing) must fall: I’m still in training. There’s no official program or process, just learn as I go. But learn slowly. So far I’ve been mostly learning about the clothes. And some about the store’s approach to customer service. This slow process is hard for me because of the unknown. I never know when I go in what I should be doing; I have to ask. I never know if the person who will be supervising me on a particular shift has a plan to “further my education” or is just flying by the seat of her (well-fitting, great performing workout) pants. I’m rearing to go. But I don’t want to overstep. Or screw up. And there’s so much to learn just about the clothes!
No waiting. I haven’t waited on any customers yet. That’s kind of awkward, when they walk into the store and I feel a bit like a deer in headlights, standing there, saying nothing. A couple of times I’ve been the only one in the front when someone’s come in so, yes, I did greet them. And, honestly, I suspect I could handle it fine if I wasn’t so worried about knowing I’m not “trained” for this yet. Soon, I hope.
Study hard – eeeeh. My memory is bad. Really bad. And I’m a (reforming) perfectionist. And a people pleaser. So I want to do well at this job and I want to learn fast and I want to know the clothes. Really know them. So I can really help the customers. So I’m studying at home. After my pant trying extravaganza, I came home and got on the company website and looked at the pants and wrote some short notes about the features. That wasn’t enough. So, thanks to a scene on a TV show, I was reminded that in college I had relied on flash cards for memorization. Yes, I made myself flash cards. About pants. And the next week I added bras. And slowly but surely it’s sinking in. I know that over time it will all gel, I’ll learn the products, I’ll remember the features. But for now, it’s slow going and frustrating. Darn memory!
The back up plan: I worried that standing would be hard on my feet. I’m pleasantly surprised that, probably thanks to wearing my supportive running shoes with their Birkenstock insoles, my feet don’t bother me at all. But I can’t say the same for my back. Which I also sort of expected, from past experience anytime I had to stand for long periods. By the end of a shift my lower back is screaming. I’m optimistic that over time I’ll adjust and this will get better. And I suppose I should do more planks and core exercises:( For now… ouch.
The names have been changed to protect the duplicate. As in the blog world and most of my life, I am once again the other Karen. Of all the names (in all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world), there just had to be another Karen. I did give a moment’s thought to suggesting that at work I go by my last name which happens to be a women’s first name, but then I thought I might not respond to it. So, Karen it is. With my initial added, when necessary, to differentiate me. Liza with a Z, meet Karen with a C. So far, in addition to Karen 1.0, I’ve met about three-quarters of the staff and liked them all. Four are about my age, give or take a few years (and that estimate is based on what I’ve learned about their kids’ ages), and one is 27. Yes, I asked; it came up in conversation. You had to be there. I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone over time but am being very careful to not be “the new girl who talks to much.” I think I’m probably already the “new girl who asks a lot of questions.”
It’s all about me. I’ve never been a very confident person. And I’ve always been an over-thinker. Combine the two and picture me, laying in bed, awake in the dark, or watching a TV show without really watching, thinking about work, second-guessing things I did, replaying and rewriting conversations, thinking about other pants that I might have suggested to a particular customer, coming up with more questions… Aaack! Make it stop!
My Google Reader runneth over: Working has definitely impacted my time spent in cyberspace. In the blog world (my own and yours), on Twitter and Facebook. I’m still here! I’m still reading. Okay, maybe I’m not tweeting as much. Priorities, after all:) And I am probably commenting less and later. (Or not at all if you have a wordpress.com blog that keeps giving me an error message!) But I’m still here. And I plan to stick around.
Does anybody really know what day it is. Before I had a job, I lost track of the days of the week. No one in my house went to school or work so every day was much like another. Sure, my workout schedule varied. I had to figure out by my second cup of (decaf green) tea if it was a strength training day or a yoga day. But often my first waking thought would be, “Think, think, what day is it?” Well, having a job hasn’t much helped. Because my work schedule varies week to week. (Both in terms of the days I work and the hours, when and how many. So far it’s been some morning, some afternoons, and a lot of evenings.) So, yes, now I have more reason to care what day it is, but the fact that I work or doesn’t work hasn’t helped my internal calendar one bit.
Patience is someone else’s virtue. I’m trying. Really I am. I am trying to be patient with myself and what feels like an inordinate amount of time to learn all the clothes. I am trying to be patient with the training process. I am trying to be patient with being the new girl and wanting to be a fully contributing member of a team. Patience is not my middle name. I know it will all come in time. I know that as much as time flies, I’ll look back a few weeks or months from now and… well, honestly, I’ll look back and be glad that I’ve come as far as I know I will have come by then!
Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work I’ll go. The bottom-line is that I like having a job:) I thought I would. I knew I was bored. I knew I needed some focus and purpose in my life. Will this job become my passion a-la Oprah? Probably not. But maybe it will be enough.
Breaking news: Since I drafted this post I have graduated to actually waiting on customers! I’ve made several sales, been able to answer most questions but not all, and actually had fun doing it, although I’ll admit to lots of nervousness too. (Good thing most of our clothes are moisture-wicking and odor-inhibiting since there’s a whole lotta sweating going on!) I still haven’t learned anything about the register. Except that in this day and age it’s maybe referred to as a computer instead:)
And with that, I’m off to work today, Thursday, 4:30-9:30. Catch ya later!
Photo credit: [IMDb]