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Not a great start with a new job...
Old 04-24-2012, 08:10 PM
Little Retail Rabbit Little Retail Rabbit is offline
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Location: Portsmouth, UK
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Default Not a great start with a new job...

I thought my luck had changed. Apparently not.

I haven't posted for a bit as I've had a lot on my plate. But some of you may remember my situation. Background:

Had been working for Peacocks PLC for over 5 and a half years. Had wanted to leave for sometime but had little luck in finding anything. January, the company went into administration. February 22nd, Edinburgh Woollen Mill bought the company and most of its shops...most being the key word. I was made redundant that day, affective immediate.

Two days later, my long-coveted tattoo apprenticeship dropped me...it was nothing personal and because of an insurance fuck up on their end, but they were completely unprofessional about it, did it by email and refused to pay me for the hours I did work.

I went onto the dole for a week before being signed off for my trip to see my Bear in the USA. It was a nice trip, but not as nice as I had hoped, with its own stresses and annoyances that I really could have done without.

Especially as my mum became very ill the week before I left and for a while I was worried she had cancer. As I've mentioned in Sickbay, its not cancer, thank god, its a fibroid. But I was under so much stress as I worried about her, and I'm still worried for her as she's undergoing treatment preparing her for surgery.

On top of this my little brother had a hugely sad personal problem that makes me worry for him too.

All the while I carried on job-hunting and getting minimal help from the job centre. I used my JSA one day to buy myself a pretty rockin' skirt-suit and then finally, after countless applications, I got an interview.

Very big UK hardware/DIY company.

I hadn't actually wanted the job in all honesty. I know it sounds stupid, applying for jobs you don't want, but I was trying to prove that I was committed to get back into work, but even though I put in for retail jobs (as art and writing jobs are nil), I don't actually want to work for retail anymore. I got so sick of it at Peacocks.

I went to the interview, dressed in my suit (I secretly hoped I looked overdressed)...and the interview was really good. The guy interviewing me had actually specifically requested to interview me (I had actually turned down a group assessment interview as it clashed with one of mum's hospital appointments, so the fact they went that extra mile says my CV/resume must have impressed them). And this guy had obviously read it word for word- he asked me about my artwork and my work as a writer for an online magazine (no one ever notices this!) as well as my work and customer services experience. This stuff was not relevant to the job, so I guess he was just interested and impressed.

The interview was brilliant, and this guy painted a very positive picture for me. He basically told me that the store requires some improvement on its customer service and he thought I'd just be the sort of person to help do that. I had told him I am not hardware-minded at all (it was actually an attempt to sabotage myself a wee bit before my mind got changed, but it is true ^^;; ) but as an artist I have a flair for creativity and interior design, and I would be interested in working in paint and wallpaper. He seemed very impressed. I started to think that maybe, just possibly, if I got this job, I might get something a little more out of it, you know? Some actual job satisfaction. The interview went on for about an hour, and I left knowing I'd practically got it, and actually warming to the idea considerably.

I was right. I was in a book store when I got the call a few days later offering me the job, saying it was a 3 month probationary period and better pay and more hours than what I had at Peacocks. Happy days! The shifts sounded decent, with one late-ish one, but that was cool by me, as I'm a night owl.

The next day, their HR lady (she's nice) called me to offer me the job, not realising the guy who interviewed me had called. That was when she told me the REAL hours; he'd gotten them mixed up and BADLY. No late night. 2 afternoons and 2 morning ones that require me to get up at 5:30 am. I did mention I'm a night owl right?

Oh well, I'll get used to it right? Sure. Then she tells me its "front end customer services" (checkout basically) and a 3 month temporary contract to cover long term illness.

I hid my disappointment. I felt a bit decieved...I was under the impression that it would probably become permanent after 3 months if I passed probation, but she said it might only possibly be permanent if the person doesn't come back or circumstances change etc. So much for really wanting me to come and bring something to the company, huh? I still honestly think the guy was impressed, but turns out he's new to the company too, so part of me thinks he just got carried away.

Not to mention I really do realise that with the way things are and the lack of response I was getting, I was lucky just to get this.

Well, I figured, oh well, if its not so good, I'm only there 3 months anyway, and I'll have more money. Not to mention as BONUS STORY* had occurred during this time (*will put this at the end, the only thing keeping me chipper right now).

My first day was today. I went in, and I should have known things weren't going to go well when I got covered in a shower of pigeon feathers and then said pigeon shat on the table inches from me and my handbag. GROSS. There was another newbie, so at first I was a bit heartened at the idea of not being the only newbie, but he ended up really winding me up. Thank god he's going to be in a different department when we finish training. I don't think he's an idiot, but he kept saying some kinda dumb things...during the training computer programs (which took HOURS and aren't done yet, and the headphones left me in considerable pain) he kept trying to talk to me about stupid things even though you can't pause the videos and I was trying to pay attention to the program.

Oh those programs really wound me up too. I failed the test on restricted sales three times, mainly due to trick questions. But I know the law well! I had to sit for an hour watching a thing about how to not hurt people's feelings...the health and safety ones were okay (in all honesty the warehouse scares the crap out of me, everything is so big and could squash a bunny like me!) but I resented the customer service ones a bit...not the managers, but the patronising programs themselves. I know how to do that side of the job, apparently better than some of the existing staff!

The reception was a bit frosty. We sat in on a team meeting (I had mixed feelings about that...on one hand I liked the team dynamic, on the other, I'm so disillusioned by retail crap now that I also find most teams kinda fake and I find it hard to care at all about numbers and figures), and everyone said hi, but at lunch no one said a word to us, and sat in a circle excluding us. I tried to smile at several staff members who just stared back at me blankly.

And the other newbie was just plain annoying all the way through...I found myself having to guide and direct him even though thats not what I do! (I hate being bossy!) Heck, he's weird too...he's gone to the trouble of looking me up on Facebook...turns out he has a "mutual friend" (if a local musician can be considered as such) which is probably the only reason why he found me as I'm apparently hard to find otherwise. I blocked him...although tomorrow I'll tell him its because I never have colleagues on Facebook (this is very true, I'm only now starting to consider adding former Peacocks employees....but he is weird!).

But yeah, now I'm feeling very...uncomfortable...about everything. Really uncomfortable vibes. The HR lady who gave us our uniforms was really nice and I do feel that she'd be the sort to help us out if we need it, but I kinda felt...weird about everyone else.

Tomorrow is more of today (fuck it >.< ) but apparently after Thursday its actually getting stuck in, and thats what I want really. I just want to get on with the job now, and get it over with. If, while working in the department, I manage to get a rapport going with my colleagues, then fine, but I know now that I was strung along. I don't have any interest in renewing the contract in July. And I know people will say I've not given the job a chance, but crappy first day aside, I have been told one thing and then another, and the job isn't what I thought it was going to be. So, I'm disappointed.

But at least I'll have money I suppose. Next week is my birthday and I'm thinking of taking a shopping trip to Camden to treat myself. Because I'll have some monies

Well if nothing else, I can justify shopping eh?


This one has got my ego inflating a bit.

As an artist and general creative type bunny, I was rather interested when I saw a visual merchandising supervisor job at a local Debenhams department store. Brits will know that its a pretty good store, quite up-market but accessible...I'm not sure what a US equivalent would be like though. But its a nice store.

I worked super hard on the application, but in all honesty thought nothing would come of it. So many companies had rejected me, I didn't think anyone like Debenhams would think to look at this wee little bunny

Until I got an email requesting to arrange a phone interview

I was so shocked! And a bit scared, as my last phone interview (Estee Lauder) ended in 5 minutes and I was rejected instantly.

But I did it anyway, even though I had actually already accepted the Hardware-Store-Job ^^;;

This one also lasted almost an hour. The guy seemed to like me also, I got a very good vibe from his tone and language, very positive. Now in all honesty, I've never been a supervisor, I was a senior member of staff, and I did struggle on some of the jobs regarding supervisor experience, but he was still pleased with my answers and said that even though I didn't have direct experience to work from, I had used a lot of thought and common sense in my answers. He put me on hold for a few minutes and then talked to me again.

He didn't keep me in painful suspense- I didn't get the job. But he then proceeded to almost ramble (I mean that nicely!) for several minutes that it wasn't a bad interview by any means, and that I only missed out on this position because it was probably more the equivalent of an assistant manager level of position at Peacocks, and that I would probably rank as a "senior" at Debenhams. So sadly, I didn't qualify for that lovely job...BUT. He asked if he could keep me on file! He said that senior-level positions for Debenhams are rarely publically advertised as they tend to recruit from within, but I was essentially the sort of person they want in their company, with the competency, experience and skill they expect. He said he wanted to see if anything more suitable would come up and then he'd contact me again!

I actually would like working for Debenhams, especially if I can get into visual merchandising (my creative skills were not in fault at all, apparently), so you never know, my luck might change yet

Old 04-24-2012, 09:00 PM
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wagegoth wagegoth is offline
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Woo hoo!

I searched to find a gif of a rockin' rabbit; it turns out that's the name of a personal stimulation device.

But, anyway, WOO HOO!
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:41 PM
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telecom_goddess telecom_goddess is offline
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Quoth wagegoth View Post
Woo hoo!

I searched to find a gif of a rockin' rabbit; it turns out that's the name of a personal stimulation device.

But, anyway, WOO HOO!

I know of this device ....I like the nice euphemism lol.

But yeah good luck on the job you ultimately want bunny!
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:40 AM
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RealUnimportant RealUnimportant is offline
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Well done LRR! I can relate to what you said about applying for things you (don't) think you're worthy of... When I applied for my current job 4 years ago, the wage had been mis-described on the job centre card; if it had been accurately portrayed I wouldn't have applied because I didn't think I was worth that much!

It does sound as if your interviewer got carried away, which is a shame; still, sounds like the Debenhams job might be viable in a while and as you've said, at least you now have a wage coming in while you wait!
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Old 04-25-2012, 02:23 PM
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SongsOfDragons SongsOfDragons is offline
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Is it 'Bee and Kew' perchance? There's one down the end of my road...they have a reputation for being 'fluffy' with employment details.

If you end up back on JSA for an extended period of time, try asking to go on the Work Programme. At least the one I'm with - Maximus - is bloody awesome. They act as job brokers and hold sessions to help with skills and such.
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:38 PM
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Merriweather Merriweather is offline
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You said the technicaly you're just replacing someone who is out on medical leave? Could that possibly explain the odd reaction from your new co-workers? They may not even know all the details of how long their co-worker will be gone, etc. So perhaps there's either mixed feelings about the person "replacing" their old co-worker, or they are viewing you as just a temp, not someone joining the team long term. Either way, not a personal reaction to you, just a reaction to the circumstances.

Hope things improve, or that you find something closer to what you're wanting soon.

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Old 04-26-2012, 06:45 PM
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Congrats on finding something at least, and it's money - Debenhams would be pretty cool, so I hope you hear back on that! Might be worth giving them a call in July if you haven't heard back, or at least keep an eye on their website/jobs boards.
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:08 PM
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I'm glad you're making money, at least, and good for you for going through with it even when part of you really doesn't want to be there (I'm like that with new jobs too...part of me wants to run away and just live in a sewer drain, but the rest of me wants to actually be a productive part of society and all that

I hate the old bait and switch when it comes to hiring...seems like it happens too often. But I hope this leads to better things for you, LRR. Good luck!
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:48 PM
Little Retail Rabbit Little Retail Rabbit is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Portsmouth, UK
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Thanks everyone

Merriweather, I didn't think of it that way.

SongsofDragons, you're right

Well, an update.

Day 2 was much better.

I think I managed to give a good impression by turning up for the team debriefing (which meant I got a bit lost and turned up late, but the its the initiative that counts) while the weird new guy just sat in the training room by himself like a lemon until someone came to find him. A manager asked during the meeting if anyone knew our names yet and I guess it may be a good thing that several said my name but none knew the other guy's ^^;;

I was given a warm welcome at that point, and then one lady came and put her arm around me and was really nice .

I had several more hours of pooey computer training (URGH) and being with weird newbie (who not only tried to add me on FB after the first day but also kept following me around >.< ) who got his work done before me, but instead of deciding to go and look for the managers to tell him what to do, decided to spend ages just watching ME do the final exams- creepy and distracting! Also annoying as I made some mistakes and I didn't like him watching that.

But the last hour I spent at the checkouts with a lovely lad who allowed me to use his till log in to give me some real-time checkout practice.

The next 2 days (last 2 days off that week) were much better also, as I was now starting on Returns desk (which is basically going to be my job, so yeah, all the stuff from before was a bit fluffy), but I basically enjoyed it. New experiences, getting stuck in, the shifts raced by. Not to mention shorter, less intensive shifts. Not to mention creeper is in a completely different department and I've not seen him since Thursday last week (baaaii).

I was in Monday, which was also nice. Tuesday I had off, for my birthday. There has been much birthday happy

Yesterday was my first officially shit day though Wednesdays are massively busy and I was on the returns desk for much of the day with another inexperienced guy, and nearly everything I had to deal with was beyond my current capability level. I also had my first shitty customers (it was only on my 4th day on the desk that I got one, I'd call that beginner's luck!) but I'll put that in the Sucky Customer's section (worth their own topic). It was manic and hard work, and the other guy wasn't experienced enough to help me. I only learned today where all the phone numbers for the other departments are XD I really struggled in all honesty, at one point I had 3 people wanting me to help and all 3 situations were things I couldn't do anything about.

But people have been consistently saying I seem to be coping very well.

Today was better, but we had another very nasty customer and some till problems, but otherwise it was much better.

I actually feel a bit stupid for complaining like I did before, because a lot of my fears have been alleviated. So far, this is how I feel about the job:

Bad Things
-I have no idea what some things are or where they are, so getting accosted by customers on my way to the office is a pain...I've also recieved things at returns that I don't know what they are ^^;; My job role does not involve much working within the actual warehouse

-Still a bit disappointed by how fluffed up the role is

-I have become aware of some level of bitchery, which I am determined to stay out of. I suppose thats to be expected to some extent in such a large store, but one thing I've been hearing is about complaints being made against the manager who interviewed me, some of them claiming to be of a sexual discrimination sort...however, I'm also hearing other people say that the claims are ludicrous. In all honesty, my experience with this manager is actually good, he checks up on me regularly to see how I'm getting on and I find him quite relaxed and friendly. I honestly think (especially going by other comments) that he's trying to change things and some people don't like it.

Good Things
-I'm gonna have to take back anything about people being unfriendly, and I'm putting it down to a combination of what Merriweather said (because thats understandable) and the fact that on my first day I was not in uniform (the aprons are very distinctive XD). Everyone smiles at you and says hello, and several people ask me how I'm doing regularly. I've not yet had anyone turn me away when I need help (which is often) and some people I really like already.

-The training has been good, so apart from some hiccups, I'm not generally floundering something terrible.

-The managers and supervisors are very nice, asking me how I am, and being very patient when i struggle.

-There have been offers of overtime, but no pressure to take on inconvenient shifts that I have not been rota'd to do. Very nice!

-I actually kinda like the uniform! And no one cares that I wear gothic makeup and accessories XD (been wearing a bat necklace for 2 days and no one has even mentioned it! Freedom!)

I'd be lying if I said that I still want to be here long term (I don't see me getting much more out of this job then what I'll get out of it by the time I'm fully trained, you know?), but definately feeling better! I have struggled a little bit over the last 2 days and I was VERY tired after yesterday (I only worked for 5 hours, but I was knackered- mentally and physically- and slept like a comatose rock baby last night), but its an ok job. I am getting on with people, but I'm also feeling comfortably detached from the job in the sense that I switch off once I'm done.

Relating to the previous "bonus story". On my birthday I got another call from Debenhams- already! There is a Visual Merchandising Assistant job and the guy who interviewed me on the phone previously thinks I'd be great for it. It IS less hours than what I'm doing at Orange Aprons, but I can get by just about on it, there is opportunity for overtime and...career prospects. As an artist I do want to do something that could lead into a career involving creativity...returns desk is not going to give me what. But visual merchandising with a very reputable department store...well...even my folks are saying I should take it if I get it (even though it means paying them less rent) as it could give me something much more.

I have an interview on saturday

But even if I don't get it...well...Orange Aprons ain't so bad And I'll keep looking.

Things are a'ight.

Old 05-03-2012, 08:54 PM
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CloserToSane CloserToSane is offline
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Glad it's going better and good luck with the Debs interview.
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