I started the year still tutoring at GCC. Just before my birthday in early April I started a retail job at Wilson’s department store in Greenfield.
Now, when I was hired, I was promised 28 hours each week and a regular weekly schedule. In the five months that I worked there, the “regular schedule” never materialized and my hours varied from 13 to 25. In addition to not getting the hours I was promised, I had to drop all but one of my regular tutoring hours. I never saw an employee handbook; in fact, I’m skeptical one even exists. We were forbidden from sitting down except at breaks, forbidden from drinking water except at breaks, and forbidden from leaving our department registers unattended (i.e. we had to call the office to get coverage if we needed the restroom). If you worked over 6 hours, you’d get an hour (unpaid) lunch, but if you worked less than 6 hours you got ONE 10-minute break; Many of my shifts were 5.5 hours long.
Now, Wilson’s register system is ancient. They don’t use barcodes. Everything in the store has a 4-digit class code, so when someone brings their purchases to the register, the cashier has to manually enter the 4-digit code. Then they have to manually enter in the price from the tag. Then, if the item is on sale, they have to do a manual override to change the price, because the computer system doesn’t know any of this. And gods forbid you get an item from a different department; you have to call the other department using the phone system and ask the other cashier what the sale price is. Before I left they’d “updated” the register system to use the new chip readers for credit cards, and it took longer per transaction than before the update, as the computer had to think a lot harder and we had to wait for two receipts to print that we didn’t need and were just stapled to the main receipt and put in the drawer for tallying at the end of the day. Because the system couldn’t do that, either.
I am very glad that I heard about the job fair at Yankee Candle. I was able to be directly hired for the same job in the Fundraising department I was doing last fall while temping. I was able to quit Wilson’s, as Yankee is a grownup job:
- 40 hours a week (8:30 – 5, Mon-Fri)
- 15-min breaks every 2 hours
- a 30 min (unpaid) lunch
- I can drink water at my desk, and go to the restroom when I need to.
I also love being able to wear jeans and sneakers to work, and can listen to my iPod. I am not so fond of my commute (current office location is a 45 min drive) nor of the time I therefore have to wake up (6:10 am), but it’s still a step up, so I can’t complain too bad. I maintain that tutoring was the best job I’ve had yet.
Though the two months (started Aug 1) of averaging 5-6 hours of sleep during the week have led to some interesting consequences, to be discussed later…