Archive for the 'work' Category

Who Is It?

The Year Of Me is more difficult for the people around me than it is for me.

Sometimes people will want you to change. They will tell you how they want you to be. They will call it growing up or making progress or something like that. They will use words like “Assertive” “Honest” “Open” in combination with “be more”.

When you do what they want, they quickly discover that what they actually wanted was for you to stay the same. And then they get all bent out of shape because you did what they asked you to do and became who they said they wanted you to be!

So, what does Me do when that happens? Does Me turn back the clock and go back to who Me was before, or does Me say to that person.. get used to this Me, forget the old Me.

I’m not going back. No way. No how. I’m feeling comfortable in this new skin. This is who I am now.

Turning Upside Down

I’m on the 6pm to Midnight shift for the foreseeable future. By that I mean the next week and a bit.

While I am a bit of a vampire usually – preferring dark time to be my awake time rather than day time – I am finding this more difficult than I expected, and I don’t think it is something I could do long term at all.

The negatives are eating at very strange times, waking the other half up when he should be asleep, going to bed when it is light time outside and therefore all the animals – chooks, next doors dog, kitties – and also the humans are more active and noisy than if you are sleeping at night time, so it is harder to get a decent solid sleep.

Plus, you want to make a doctors appointment? Good luck being awake when they are there, lol.

You need to plan better in order not to wake up the other half – this means making sure everything is ready for my arrive home from gym shower, clothes to get into after that, night clothes are in a place where I don’t have to open a noisy drawer to get to them.. etc.

In fact for the first time since Sephy visited over a year ago, I used “my” bathroom for my after gym shower tonight instead of the ensuite.

There are some positives, most importantly being the gym being completely empty which I love, less traffic, the night shifts are much more challenging to my brain and tend to be moments of absolute insanity balanced out by enormous boredoms. Plus I get to work with people I like (this week shit bitch is on holidays YAY!) and in one case, people I deeply like. The pay is higher for the late shifts.

I’ve already been to the gym twice in 2013 and it is not daylight of day 2 yet, lol. :)

As a part of the year of me, I need to make work “work” for me. Which means I need to pick times I can work that suit me and my lifestyle. Two 6pm-midnight shifts a week would be ok-ish but it does kind of throw everything out, and I wouldnt want the next shift to start at mid-day because I generally don’t manage to sleep until 5-6am.. in fact I think I would have to cut out the mid-day shifts for the most part and stick with afternoons and evenings only.

The trouble is, I know there are other people who want to cut back on their evening shifts. So who knows if work is going to be a fan of the year of me. :)

I have already done a couple of “me” things mostly involving saying what I think, not what I think people want to hear. It felt good.

Focus On Me

Sometimes my life is not what I want it to be.

For a long while there things were going great at work – I had a boss who was awesome though strict and you always knew where you stood with her. And if you had a problem and took it to her, she sorted it out. Usually within a week of going to her with the issue, it was fixed.

Now I have a new boss whose performance has been.. wait let me find the right word.. Nonexistent? Imaginary? Ineffective?

I’ll give you a quick example of this. When she first took on the manager job, she had everyone into her office for a one on one chat. I raised an issue with her that I felt was a problem – we did not have a policy on how to deal with X situation. She agreed with me that this was a problem and said “Leave it with me, I’ll get a policy together”. That was in August. It is now December and absolutely nothing has happened, even though I have reminded her several times and she asked me to send her reminder emails about it.

This is not the only issue I have gone to her with only to have nothing happen. There have been several instances of inaction.

On top of that, she sends out these emails which are negative, uninspiring, unclear, and cause unpleasant gossip in the work place.

She’d sent out an email about the internet policy a few weeks ago – saying we had all signed this policy when we started working there, and we were not allowed to go to sites not work related. This ended up with

- a team leader going around monitoring screens and telling people they could not go to sites that *were* work related

- staff telling clients they could not look up information for them because they were not allowed to access the internet!

- a lot of upset people after one of the staff members recollected the policy we all signed included instant dismissal for looking at non work related sites

- the manager who sent out the email gave permission for people to play solitaire on the internet and that is the only non work related thing they can do

- the manager then had the team leader go around and tell people to hide the solitaire screens if any of the “management” people walked in.

So after a lot of whinging and whining and discussion, I decided to put my own neck on the line and go in to let the manager know what was going on. I mentioned all of the above things. The manager told me that she did not intend for people to take her email so literally and that how it was interpreted was not how it was meant.

She said the reason it was sent was because some people were posting things on Facebook from work. I told her that as far as I knew, people do that from their phones, on their breaks. I have never seen anyone access Facebook from their work computers.

She said and I quote “Why wouldn’t anyone else come to me and talk to me about this”. She told me to encourage others to come to her and discuss it, which I said I would do, and I did – because when I say I am going to do something, I actually do it.

She told me she would send out a clarifying email (she did not).

She told me she would talk to people one on one about this (she did not as far as I know).

It has been several weeks since this happened and nothing has happened.

I have struggled against this for a good couple of months now, this lack of action when issues are raised. After all this time, I have come to the following conclusion.

I officially give up. I surrender.

I go to work, do my job, then I leave. I’m not going to pay any further attention to the other stuff. I’m not going to try and improve things. I’m not going to go in for pointless meetings with someone who does nothing – and if I get pulled into the office for any kind of meeting, I am going to do one of two things – keep my mouth firmly shut, or let the manager know I think my saying anything is pointless and I’m not going to do it anymore.

I’m going to cut back to less hours after the holiday season, too.

My problem is that I grew up in a family business. I tend to take work a lot more seriously than other people do. I also think issues should be addressed head on, quickly, and things sorted so they do not fester.

I can’t keep fighting this like a fish caught in a net. It robs me of sleep. It exhausts me. I waste too much mental energy on things that I cannot control. No amount of my time is going to make anything different. I have tried and it has not worked.

It is time for me to focus on me.

Three Strikes..

This is going to seem a bit crazy. I’ll put that out there right up front.

Lately I have had some interactions with people in real life that made me very unhappy. I’m not going to go into huge amounts of detail about it because the majority of it is work related and I don’t know how comfortable I feel with telling the whole story to the internets at large.

These happenings, and a teevee show that I have been watching recently, have started to change my mind on some of my long held values and beliefs. The one value that I now feel I should rip up and throw out the window is “Three strikes and you’re out”.

As in, kick me in the teeth once and I’m willing to consider it a mistake. Kick me in the teeth twice and I’m going to start considering maybe the first time was not a mistake after all. Kick me in the teeth three times, and I’m going to assume you absolutely meant to do it all three times. Plus I probably have no teeth left.

I used to give people second and third chances even when they did things that should never have merited another chance. I liked to think this was decent of me, the right thing to do, a good thing. What it actually is – is stupid.

The reality for me now is – I will no longer give people a second chance after the first teeth kicking. I like my teeth, and I’d like to keep them in their original condition.

Not everyone is like me, not everyone has that same value system as I do. So what have my basic values been?

- Treat others as you would like to be treated
- Accept others for who they are regardless of race, sex, religion, size, finances, etc
- Be excellent to each other
- Do the right thing
- If you can’t do the right thing do the closest to the right thing that you can
- Be generous with time, treats, money
- Act professionally at work regardless of how you feel about the others working with you
- Treat others as a part of the team even if they are not acting like a part of the team
- Help others – if you know the answer to the question speak up
- Get to know people before making a judgment on them
- probably many more – I’ll keep thinking on this

Let me give you an example of how I am learning this lesson now. It is a very minor thing compared to some of the things that have happened, but it is a good example of why I am saying goodbye to the three strikes rule.

We have to share desks at work, and in one room there are people regularly in the same space where they need to be able to write things down. Every time I would come in, there would only be one working pen (it happened to be a red one) and all the other pens would not work, or would start to write and then stop..

Work does not provide a lot in the way of stationery. Ok, they provide nothing. Everyone brings in bits and pieces that they pick up – the NAB bank free pens have been extremely popular.

But this one red pen, it kept going and going. It seemed like it was going to last forever. And we had to write in red quite a bit, so everyone remarked on how awesome this one red pen was. And one day, I was at Officeworks, and I saw the same brand pen (it isn’t one you can find just anywhere) and I thought I would buy them and take them to work. But these pens were not cheap at $14 a packet. I bought one for work, and one for myself to keep at work in my own container.

So I sent out an email letting people know I had put 6 brand new pens in the office that were the same brand as the awesome red pen, and that I hoped they would have the same longevity as the awesome red pen.

For all I know, they are having that longevity in some other location. Within 4 weeks of the pens being placed in the office, all 6 had vanished – and then, the awesome red pen vanished too. That awesome red pen had been there for over a *year*. No joke.

So me being the idiot I am, I brought in a second set of pens. Not the same expensive brand, no, these were much cheaper. Those lasted a little longer, I guess because they were not as awesome. However there are now just two left of them.

I have here at home a huge box of cheap Officeworks pens, you get 50 in a pack. They are the worlds crappiest pens. Sure, they will write, but it is the ugliest result you will ever see. And I had been tempted to take in that pack of shithouse pens. It is the level of pen that these pen stealing heathens deserve. But I won’t do it.

I still have the 6 good pens in my pencil case, and there they will stay. I get the joy of writing with them but I make sure I put them away when my shift is over and that I know where they are at all times. Ain’t nobody stealing any more of my pens.

If I look back in my life, I cannot give you one example where someone treated me badly just the one time. I gave them second opportunities to treat me badly and they took that chance to treat me badly again. If I gave them a third opportunity, they took it.

I know one person – a person I considered to be my best friend – she treated me badly so many times I lost count. But I kept forgiving her because I thought she was my best friend. She was not. She was a user – she would take constantly but never gave anything back. And let me tell you, she is still doing that to people today – until recently she was doing it to my own sister.

So what teevee show is changing my mind on this and other things? It will sound bizarre. The show is called The Walking Dead. It is a show about a Zombie Apocalypse – not like plants and zombies on iPhone. These are not cute little animated zombies. It is horrible to watch. It is gory. But it has made me see things in a completely new light.

I haven’t completely formed my thoughts on it yet but I think there are things I want to say about this show and how it relates to the society we find ourselves in. I’m still processing and when I can get the words together in the right way, I’ll put them here.

What are your values? Have they changed over the years?

Snoskred Is Getting Organised – Are You?

I am all for making positive changes in all areas of my life, but sometimes you have to put the blinkers on and focus your sights on one specific area. Right now for me, that area is organisation – or organiZation if you’re from the US – and time management.

I have good reasons for wanting to get organised. I want to start a business over the next two months. I realise that if I started a business now without having the right skills in place it just would not work. So it is time to take a deep breath, suck it up, and get to it. At the start of this week I made a personal commitment to myself – I am getting organised.

Now some of the stuff I am going to say here is going to seem.. lame.. silly.. possibly even stupid. In order for you to understand where I’m going you need to know where I am at now. I’m not going to lie to ya’all. ;) here’s my major issues.

I am easily distracted.

I have trains running just fine on the tracks but then suddenly they crash. IE – I can be in the middle of doing something and then my mind throws out something else I need to do, and I will stop and change direction.

I’ll be in the middle of writing something and remember I wanted to check a website. I will be in the middle of one task, and remember one that needs doing RIGHT NOW. Yes, this is happening as I type. I haven’t updated the Aussie Blogs List yet, cos I took a day off today.

It happened again just then, as I was typing this. I noticed my glasses were dirty. This brings us to another issue I have -

I don’t put things back where they belong.

I was watching a West Wing in the lounge room yesterday. Part way through, guess what happened? I noticed my glasses were dirty. So I came in here to my desk and took my lens cleaning cloth out to the lounge room. I had to stop typing this post to go and get it.

My computer is a mess.

On the inside, that is. Information goes in, but I have no easy system, no good way of finding things, my desktop has always been a nightmare of files just dumped there. In fact here is how it looked at the start of this week.

I need to take charge NOW.

When I am running my own business, working to deadlines? All those little distractions and things not being where they should be and not having a system of where things get put and how to find them again on the computer – these things are going to add up and drown me. Especially because the business I want to run is computer orientated.

So how to fix it?

Step One – Done!

Get my computer organised and start a system of where things go that will work for me.

Thanks to this wonderful article – How to Keep your Desktop Organized (without getting insane) my desktop now looks like this.

Step Two – In Progress

I am a digital packrat. There are folders full of files. Take for example our photographs. We have a lot of them. We never had a system for organising them other than to put dates on the folders. Consequently, we now have a lot of this – Yes, that right there is the date we began putting some kind of name on the folders. But the no name folders go back to *cringe* 2 years before that date.

There is no magic wand I can wave here, but thanks to another article I read – A 3-Step Cure for Digital Packrats, and How to Know If You’re One of Them – I now know how to cure it.

I’m looking through two folders a day, naming them, putting aside good photos I want to use for the thought of the day photos. I am also looking through two bookmarks folders a day, sorting, deleting, moving. This will take time – If I tried devoting one day to it, I’d still have a lot of folders not labeled. Better to do little chunks daily than overwhelm myself right now.

Step Three – Time Management – Done Daily

1. Create a daily list of tasks.
2. Give each task a priority A, B, C,
3. Ensure that you work on the “A” tasks first.
4. Handle each piece of paper on your desk only once.
5. Ensure that you make the best use of your time.
6. Don’t postpone anything – Do it now!

Step Four – Day Planner

Click the above for a bigger image

I have done this for the last three days and spent a day preparing for it before that. It’s rocking my socks, ya’all. You have no idea how focused I feel right now. It’s a happy feeling. :)

Step Five – Checklists
Yes, this is possibly the most lame of all the things I am doing, but it is helping me remember the things I do daily. I plan to update it in a week or so when I have identified more things I do daily. This is laminated so I can tick the boxes each day with a whiteboard marker and then rub that off ready for the next day. Yes, in the past I would forget my head if it were not screwed on, apparently. Now I have the checklists, sitting right in front of me, there’s not much chance of that.

Step Six – Email Check

One of the ways I get distracted is by the little envelope that pops up when I have new mail. Solution – open the mail in the morning, check emails, reply emails, close emails. Open again at lunchtime, dinner time, before bed. So if I don’t reply urgently, now you know why – and you can know when to expect that reply.. approximately.. ;)

Step Seven – Time Off For Good Behaviour.

This new stuff I’m doing is pretty intense right now, because I have a lot of organising I am doing. The major two things I need to finish are sorting my google reader and going through my archives here. These are both time consuming. So at lunchtimes, I step away from the computer for an hour. At dinner time, I step away for two hours.

I plan on having at least one light schedule day each week until I have a good handle on things, but I still want to make sure I get two of photos and bookmarks done each day. I took today off, got a haircut, went to see a house, put in an application so we might be moving, got my glasses fixed, did a little shopping. Whoa, what was that? Yes, we might be moving to my dream location. More on that tomorrow.

Step Eight – Buy In Bulk

The inexpensive things I find myself looking for, I need to purchase them so I can have one in each location I may need them. The lens cleaning cloth is a good example. They’re not expensive and it will cost me less to buy 2 more of them (I have 2 now, one in the car – one on my desk) than my time is worth to keep chasing them from room to room.

Step 9 – Put Things Back

The things that I can’t buy extra of, I need to put them back when I’m done. Simple, hey? It’s not as easy as it sounds, but I am committed to doing it.

What happens next..

I’m taking it one day at a time right now. I am hopeful that in three to four weeks I will become unconscious competent in being organised. However I think it may be a habit I need to keep working on and these skills of time management are going to be so useful to me in my business, I’m going to keep using them.

All I know is, I’m feeling motivated. I’m sleeping a bit less because when I wake up, I want to get onto the daily tasks I have set. I’ll update you urgently on developments. ;) so stick around!

Karma Police – This Is What You Get..

Long time readers of this blog will recall that I used to go to work and in that workplace there were some.. hmm.. how shall we put this.. people who didn’t treat me too nicely. Which was odd, given I was the Boss’s Daughter. I mean that’s a pretty bad career move, one would have thought. But for those who haven’t been long time readers, here’s a bit of history so you can understand Karma in action.. this post will be long, my apologies in advance.

One staff member who I nicknamed Birdsnest NEVER spoke to me – no hello in the morning, no conversation during the day, no goodbye at night. That would not have bothered me, had it not been combined with a few other factors -

- That whenever my Dad left the store she and several of the other staff would congregate around a desk, chat with each other, and ignore the customers. I was forced to watch customers walk out without being served and I could do nothing about it.

- That she washed her hair once a week and on the days in between she would not even brush it, she would just put it into a pony tail. Can you say skanky? It looked bad but it smelt even worse when you got up close – cigarette smoke mainly but sometimes with a hint of I don’t even want to know what. When you’re serving customers personal hygiene is a *little* bit important.

- That she was running several at home businesses (catalogs, party plans) and that she would use the phones at work to call her customers and on occasion she would get them to come and pick up the goods from in the shop – an absolute no-no and against her terms of employment.

- That she would deliberately steal sales from the other staff members. There’s a simple rule – if a customer walks in and says “I saw (staff member) and I want to buy one of these” you write the sale up in the name of (staff member). If the customer comes in and says “I was in speaking to (staff member) but I’d like more info” and you spend a significant amount of time with them, its now your sale. Birdsnest was the only member of staff who never followed this rule – and the other staff often would not know she had stolen their sales.

- That one of the staff’s husband went away for an overseas tour of duty, and that girl began hanging around with Birdsnest, going out at night, partying – and soon she stopped speaking to me entirely unless it was necessary. Which did not go down well with me – we’d got along fine previously and I hadn’t done anything to deserve that (which she has admitted since).

- That she befriended one of the very young and impressionable girls who worked in the shop and started taking her out partying at night – and that girl soon stopped speaking to me also, previously we had got along very well. I could see a pattern here.

- That my parents and I would argue about *all* of the above, and they would tell me to let it go off my back like water off a duck and not pay any attention to it. Much easier said than done.

Now I’m not going to pretend like I was a perfect person during all of this. If she were writing this, I’m sure she would come up with a list of things that I did wrong and it would have a lot more things on it than what I’m about to say I did wrong, I’m sure.

- When I realized she was not going to speak to me, my attitude towards her could be called frosty at best, disapproving at worst. I had no respect for her, a 40 year old woman with two kids who acted like a teenager and a spoilt brat.

- When she did things wrong, I marked it down on my mental note card, and you can bet I brought all those things out during the arguments with my parents. I allowed these things to add up to the point that had she suddenly decided to treat me nicely, I would not have been able to return that niceness.

- I was not the only person who was upset by the ignoring customers etc, and when other staff complained to me about it, I cut them off and encouraged them to speak to the boss and tell them how it made them feel – I made it clear I was not there to pass their messages about being upset on to the boss for them however these all got added to my mental notecard as well and brought out – I should not have done that.

- Once, in a post I called her a skanky ho here on the blog, but two weeks later after THREE weeks of those braids not being washed and absolutely feeling sick to the stomach from the stench of three weeks worth of cigarette smoke – you cannot imagine the smell and everywhere in the store I went I could smell it, she was finally called into the office and TOLD to wash her hair before returning to work.. She complained about this in front of me and when she walked away I called her a skanky ho to other people – not to her face. She’d pushed me to my limit that day. I honestly would have preferred to say it to her face, but my parents would have deaded me. The message did get back to her, though.

The whole episode came to a fiery blowup in September when the younger girl who she had befriended hung around a rep that was in the store all day ignoring the other customers in order to get some sales from the rep and there was this big blowup over a sale she stole from one of the other girls – and I did not stop myself from saying what I really thought when she came to me looking for sympathy. All I said was “If it were your sale, your name would be on the invoice”. But it was enough to cause her to have a major meltdown.

After that I stuck it out for a little bit longer, before fizzling out to a quiet end in October last year – a quiet end which I never blogged about, but one day it all just got to be too much, and when the other half and I came home at lunch time I simply could not stop the tears, and decided I never wanted to go back. This resulted in the other half calling my parents to tell them I wasn’t coming back and he needed a bit of time but he’d be back later that day.

Within minutes the parents turned up here, there was a quite unpleasant confrontation where they kept telling me I should just let it go off my back like water off a duck, again, and I kept saying it wasn’t fair to ask me to do that and they should sort things out within the store. In the end they decided the best thing to do for the time being was for me to stay home and for them to help us out financially in order to do that – which they have done, they pay our rent.

Really I have never been happy with this outcome – I enjoyed my job, and I felt like they should have stood up for me because all I was doing was going to work and trying to do my job in quite unpleasant circumstances. To add insult to serious injury my mother keeps asking me “Do you think you’ll get a job”. When she does that I have to firmly hold onto my temper and try not to remind her that I had a perfectly good one, it’s just that the employers were stupid.

On the other hand, it has enabled me to do a lot of things I really wanted to do, like read more blogs, comment on blogs, and work on my own blog. I really have no desire to go back to work anytime soon, and am considering my own starting a business options – if we move where I want to live I have a few pretty good ideas.. we’ll see.

So finally Karma has caught up with Birdsnest – as it always inevitably does. If you have doubted that Karma is real and that it exists doubt no more. But also be aware that I get all of this third hand, so I’m not 100% sure on the details of some parts of this.

After I left the workplace Birdsnest has been quite nasty to the other half – he’s still had to go to work and deal with her. For months now he and several other staff members have been hoping, wishing and possibly quietly praying that she would leave.

Birdsnest met a new man who lived about an hours drive away from here. After a couple of weeks she moved in with him. I will not comment! Driving between there and here, she was caught doing over 120kms in a 80km section of road. When they told me which section of road I honestly believe she is lucky she was not in a major car accident – it’s a curvy windy stretch of road where 80 is possibly too fast for most cars.

Not long after that, she was in a serious car accident where she ran the BMW of the new man into the rear end of the car in front of her – what caused this? She was looking at a wedding dress in a shop window and didn’t see the car in front had stopped. The car was apparently not able to be repaired. I’m sure this did not go down well – especially as it was a company car.

I’m not sure what the laws are here but I suspect she didn’t just get charged with speeding for the first incident. I would suggest she may have been charged with reckless driving and that is why she had to attend court. She’s been thinking for the last few weeks that she would be able to charm them into allowing her to keep her license – and she failed. They took her license away, for how long I’m not certain. So today she had to resign because she will no longer be able to drive to work.

Me, I forgot about her for the most part after leaving work. I didn’t have to deal with her and out of sight, out of mind. But there were some days when the other half came home angry or upset about things she’d done and I know the other staff have still had issues with her. My mother has been quietly angry with her since I left but has had to tolerate her and pretend to be nice – something my mother is excellent at. The other half said he and my parents had trouble hiding their happiness at the news she is leaving.

Upon hearing this news, I felt pretty much nothing for the most part – if I had to put a word to it I would call it content. I have no wish to gloat – though the thought of dropping in and congratulating her on losing her license did cross my mind momentarily -but I feel very happy for the staff and I really am hopeful this will mark the beginning of a more positive workplace for all of them.

Please bear with us – technical difficulties

If you are viewing this with Firefox, it will all look fine. That’s because Firefox rocks. If you are viewing this with Internet explorer, you will see one entire sidebar missing which is now at the bottom of the site somewhere. That’s because Internet Explorer is pure evil.

Let me not get into my.. hmm, how can I word this.. prejudiced view of people who use Internet Explorer. I’m not racist or sexist or any other ist, except for *browserist*. ;) It’s wrong of me to think like that, it is unfair and I know I’m a browser snob but I can’t help it! I just don’t know how anyone could use Internet Explorer when Firefox exists. I know a lot of people end up using it by default and switch over when they know more about the interwebs.

I know a lot of workplaces make people use Internet Explorer but damnit, people, RISE UP and fight such stupidities! It’s pure discrimination in the work place, forcing you to use one kind of browser. In my opinion, this is just as bad as saying “you have to be heterosexual to work here”. But they’re saying “you have to use an evil piece of software to work here, and compromise everything you know to be right and good in the world”.

And no offence intended to you if you’re using it by choice. But if you are, this site will look pretty bad until Sephy and I figure out how to fix this. May I recommend..

Mozilla Firefox – get it here.

The Only Thing Stopping You..

My Grandfather started a business in his shed many years ago, not long after the 2nd World War. By the time I was 13, it had built into a successful business with 5 stores. My Dad was the general manager. Of course I spent a lot of spare time at the stores, and in school holidays would go to work with my Mum, who was the courier for the company and took stock from the central warehouse to the stores.

Coming up to Christmas that year, I begged to be allowed to work in one of the stores. I *said* I would wrap Christmas presents, but I had a secret hidden desire that nobody knew about. My parents finally agreed to me working in the main branch, where my Dad was, so he could keep an eye on me. On the very first day, he had a meeting and left the store shortly after it opened. By the time he got back, I had sold $500 worth of small appliances. I’d written down each item I sold on a little piece of card. There were 28 of them. Dad hit the roof! I was supposed to be wrapping presents, not selling things.

I knew then that I was born to be a salesperson, and this was just second nature to me, and I explained it to him, and the next day there was no more talk of wrapping things, I got out there on the floor and sold stuff all day. A passion was born, and I was hooked.

I learned a lot from my Dad. He was the best salesperson I ever knew, but he was also one with plenty of bad habits, all of which I picked up. The good did outweigh the bad and I survived for years on what he’d taught me, working in several of the family’s stores. There was no mention of training, because I was doing just fine.

There came a point where I had to go out on my own. If you can sell, you can work pretty much anywhere, but I was drawn to the same things the rest of my family was. Electronics. I went out into the real world to discover that the place my parents had owned was unique in terms of looking after your staff, being as loyal to them as they were to you. In the real world, someone would have a knife in your back while smiling to your face.

I’ve done a lot of training over the years now. You can approach training from several angles but the two most common are – this is a waste of my time and I’m not going to get anything out of this so I’m going in with closed ears – or – I’m willing to listen and try new things out to see if they work for me. I always chose the second path. I have seen many people choose the first and I always find it hilarious when they get left behind because everyone else in the store is trying the new stuff and it WORKS.

One thing salespeople hate to do is “ask for the sale”. It’s something I have struggled with all my life and it really is ridiculous. Imagine for a moment that you were the customer, and I was serving you. You wanted a washing machine. During the time we spend together, I would ask you a number of questions. It’s sort of like a funnel. We salespeople ask all the questions, we listen to the answers, and then we think about what product is best going to suit you – and that is what pops out at the end of the funnel.

So by the time we get to asking for the sale, I probably would have asked things like –

- How often do you wash?
- What kind of washing machine do you have now?
- Have you been happy with that machine?
- What do you most like about that machine?
- Would you prefer a front or top load machine?

All those, and probably a bunch more. So a salesperson will have been asking questions for a good 15 minutes, then they show you the options you have. At the end of all that, many salespeople are too scared to ask the most important question, which is essentially do you want one? Though you have to find the right way of wording it.

I struggled against it like a fish trapped in a net. I would just rather not ask. I felt like if someone appreciated my service they would buy from me. Until one day I went to a training session and finally understood it when someone explained that I’d already asked them a lot of questions, what is the harm of one more? I just had to find a way of asking the question that I was comfortable with. And I did, and my sales figures went up and up.

Sometimes it is about someone presenting it to you in the right way.

Sales is a bit like sport, many people compare it to that and they are right to do so. You can not improve unless you are willing to try new things, experiment. And one of the things so important to a sports team is to think positive. Imagine if you went out onto the field thinking “I can’t win this game”. Imagine if when you lost you took it very personally and that negative self talk starts up in your head. “I’m no good at this game. I lost last week, and I’ll lose this week. I’ll always lose. I’m a loser”. You’re defeated before you even walk out onto the field.

This quote from Arthur Golden’s “Memoirs of a Geisha” explains my philosophy on negative thoughts in your head..

“I made up my mind to be like the fisherman who hour after hour scoops out fish with his net. Whenever thoughts of the Chairman drifted up from within me, I would scoop them out, and scoop them out again, and again, until none of them were left.”

You have to scoop those negative thoughts out, or else you end up dwelling on them. But you have to replace them with something, too. My preference is to replace them with a positive thought.

So, in light of this, each day from now on I will be posting a “thought for today” as well as my usual blog post. They might come from the cards I use here, they might be quotes from books or other places. I hope you might find them useful. If any of them really speak to you or you feel like you want to work on that thought, it might be an idea to write them down and put them in front of your computer screen.

If you have any thoughts to put forward, just email them to me.. ;)

Karma. Or why it’s bad to be bad.

In my work life, I’ve had to work for people who weren’t related to me from time to time. Working in family businesses does a couple of things for you.

- You tend to work a lot harder overall, because you’ve got a personal stake in the outcome
- You generally trust the people you’re working with because they are family
- You get out of the habit of watching your back because you feel (right or wrong) that your family has it covered for you.

I started out working for family when I was 13. That continued until I was 20, when the family business was sold. A manager who was not related to me was put in. I soon found he was a smarmy evil person only interested in career advancement. I was sent into the head office for 6 weeks, then sent back to my old store where he was now the manager. My first Saturday working for him, he sent me home to get changed. At head office, the staff were all told to wear jeans and a t-shirt for weekend trading, to make the customers feel more at home. He did not believe in this view. I returned dressed like I was about to take over the Presidency of the USA. And I took my time about it, because he’d made me very angry.

Working for him was not very much fun. He was the biggest ass kisser I ever met to anyone above him but the staff below he treated like dirt. He forgot the rule of do what you’re told.. He was fired soon after I told head office about the Saturday thing – several months later during a training session. I actually was kind of joking about it, but I’d made very good friends with the main boss and he had sent out a memo about this Saturday thing stating the dress code, and he was NOT happy with this manager going against his express wishes.

The second boss I had who wasn’t family didn’t know who I was when he hired me. My Dad had actually given *his* Dad a start in the industry. After sitting down and filling out the paperwork, I thanked him for hiring me even though I was the daughter of… The look on his face was horror. He said “Excuse me” and ran off to call his Dad right away. When he came back he had clearly been told that he couldn’t fire me having just hired me, so he was all nice again. He’d already made the decision to keep me on a couple of weeks then get rid of me. Two weeks later, I was politely shown the door. Two months later, his store figures were terrible, and he was replaced by head office with a new person not related to him in any way. He ended up going back to his Dad’s store with his tail between his legs.

What he didn’t know was, I was always loyal to my employer, just like I was loyal to any family employer. I think that was the major concern – I had several family members working for opposition stores. Whether he thought I was going to “steal” information or something, I don’t know but he misjudged me completely and karma bit him in the ass for acting like an asshole, not just to me but to many other people.

I wasn’t out of work for long. The next place I went to was a mobile phone store. I’d always sold mobile phones and had in fact won many awards from Telstra (our major phone company) for being mystery shopped in the past. The store I went to work for was a Telstra store. There’s about 200 of them in this country, they’re everywhere. This one was owned by a family business but they also had several other Telstra stores around the country, so I was in a store with a manager.

Managers can be excellent, or not. This one seemed to think every day was time for him to take time off without ever telling anyone where he was going. He’d open the store in the morning and then go out for coffee and a cigarette. That generally took an hour, putting him back in the store around 10am, where he would get on the phone and sound intelligent for all of 15 minutes, at which point he would duck out for morning tea coffee and a cigarette. This event usually lasted between 1-2 hours, at which point it was time for lunch. Lunch led into afternoon tea. He’d return to the store about 5pm for closing and general staff chit chat. By the end of the day he would have spent maybe 2 hours in the store, if we were lucky.

I worked pretty hard there, and the deal was you worked for three months full time on probation without being paid your commission. When they ended your probation, you were back paid all the commission. I had racked up a princely sum (especially for mobile phone sales, where you get maybe $5 per phone) which was enough to put a deposit on a house. Over $10,000.

The day came for the ending of the probation, and I was told that things weren’t working out, and they would not be employing me further. I felt like I had been hit with a truck. What was worse, was the guy LIED, saying he’d discussed issues with me. He’d barely discussed the *weather* with me, ever. He was never in the store long enough! I was so angry. He told me I was no good at my job blah blah blah. I left completely shattered.

However I did get a nice new shiny job earning a lot more $$$ working for Telstra who at the time were an excellent employer. He did not fare so well. The family behind the business decided to sell all their stores except the one he was in. They moved their head office into that store. That guy can’t even go to the toilet without it being noted now. No all day long coffee breaks, no long lunches, and he has to actually work!

Some months later a very good friend of mine at Telstra went to work for the same company. I warned him and told him what happened to me, in fact I begged him not to go there. He was a fantastic salesperson and worth much more than they would pay him. After three months, he was also told seeya later, he got in touch with me, we found out this was actually something they did to a LOT of people in order to make more money. My friend reported them, last I heard they were being investigated for several things. I should have sued to get that commission. He did get his, after taking them to court.

I do believe that Karma does come back to bite people in the rear eventually. Sometimes it might not be in this lifetime. I’ve not been a perfect person in my life and I have seen the Karma due to me actually come to me in some of the things I have been through.

I really wish that more of us explained the concept of Karma to our kids, because maybe there would be a little less unpleasantness, a little less bullying, a little less of the things that go on in school. Many of the people who were unpleasant to me in school have seen that Karma come back to them and I am sure if they knew then what they know now.. they would have chosen a different path. I would have chosen differently myself.

Let me know what you think..

Well, it’s Christmas and all. Tonight the ex-workplace had their Christmas function. Seeing as the other half still works there, he went, and of course my parents work there, so they went. I was left at home to contemplate my navel.

While doing so, I realised I’m really not mad anymore at the evil cows. I guess absence makes the heart grow less angry, or something. However, I do feel that I never got to have my say on things, and that maybe an idea might be to send Christmas Cards. Not like being all nasty and in your face and stuff, but more along the lines of “I’ve forgiven you and all, but one day Karma is going to be all over your ass for the way you acted, not just towards me but towards others, too and I hope that when it happens you’re the only one hurt by it and not your friends and family”.

Because I’ll be honest with you all. My Dad was not sent here to sort out this store because everything was all rosy. My Dad was sent here because the store used to turn over approximately 13 million a year, and it was down to about 2 million. That is one hell of a drop. Why it happened has been easy to work out – the former manager was never in the store, he preferred to spend his time at a local coffee shop and restaurant, and he trusted the staff (yes, this was a huge mistake on his part) to take care of things in his absence. He thought they cared – he was wrong. All they cared about was earning 50 grand a year to sit on their ass and chat with each other.

Many of the staff were on guaranteed salaries, they made up their own rosters (which involved working one weekend out of four, they now work three out of four) and they would order in stock for customers without taking any kind of deposit, and customers would just cancel anytime they liked, and the stock would stay out the back unsold. The stores are charged a fee by head office for old stock, and this alone was costing the store a fortune. There were 31 fridges out there which were special orders – as in, the customer asked specifically for the hinge to be on the other side, and that is done before the fridge is shipped to the store. There was a lot of stock that was over 2 years old. The place was a real mess.

While the former manager has to take his share of the blame for this disaster, to be honest a fair amount of the blame has to be given to the staff who were in the store as well. Realistically they screwed him over, and now they’re mad because they’ve got a reward (their Karma) for doing it – a new manager who they don’t like too much. A manager who has turned up and stopped their guaranteed extra $250AUD (yes, I’m not joking) a week. A manager who expects them to actually *earn* their $50,000 a year salaries. A manager who wants them to work when they are at work. Shock horror, how disgraceful! Yeah that new manager is a real asshole, yano? ;)

That’s what is called Karma. That is how things work in the world. And for how those bitches in that workplace treated me, there is to be another karma, which will come to them as a surprise possibly years down the track. For the negative vibe they have put out there in their dealings with me will come back to them – and they will eventually pay the price for how they have acted. Who knows what that Karma is going to be?

I have let it go, I have to. I can’t hold this hurt and anger inside of me anymore. And I sort of feel like a part of doing that, something that might be helpful to me, would be to write them a card. It would be closure on my part, at least, and it might cause them to think about what they have done. So what do you think? I’ll have to find the right way of wording it, of course. Something like -

In science, they say that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In general life, this is known as Karma. I am a firm believer that what you put out there will come back to you eventually. I just hope that in your case, when that happens, it is yourself, and not someone else that you love, ie friends and family, who ends up getting hurt.

There was no need to treat me the way that you did. I still have no idea why you did it. It no longer matters, really. I can’t hold onto the hate, hurt and anger I feel about that, so I have forgiven you. I need to do that for me. I also need to express that my hope is when Karma does deal with you, it is kinder to you than you have been to me.

So what would you think about me sending something like that? Too nasty? My Mother will absolutely hate it, she will be so mad if I do it, but realistically I feel like it is something I need to do..

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