My summer of fun – two new jobs, future plan?

Adam was made unemployed by his furniture store employer during Covid, earlier this year and he struggled to receive unemployment support payments. In this blog post, he reviews his job experiences since, providing an insight into two very different job roles and their demands. The piece was first published on his blog.

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It’s been a while… which immediately gets the song by Staind stuck in my head

It’s been a while,
since I could,
hold my head up high,
it’s been a while

– and now it’s stuck in yours.

But yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve posted in here. Oh shit FOUR MONTHS?!?! Damn that’s crazy, especially since it’s not like I’ve been super busy – well at least not on my days off, which is something I had plenty of in May since I was basically unemployed. And not collecting. Which made me the ONLY person that hasn’t gotten those free handouts for not working during the pandemic.

Truth be told, I would have LOVED a free handout, but hey that’s what happens when you work for an employer who lied and said “oh no we won’t contest unemployment if you quit” which they basically forced me to do a month after likely having Covid which completely fucked with my head before going back to a job that completely fucked with my head and mental health. Yeah don’t ever work for Jordan’s Furniture. Or buy anything from them. I’ve been gone since February and just seeing a commercial, driving by a store, or even seeing a delivery truck makes my blood boil to this day. If it wasn’t for the cool co-workers that I had I would completely hate that place with every fiber of my being. But hey at least I now know what a loveseat is and that you’re not supposed to sleep on your sofa (which EVERYONE does) or sit on an ottoman (which EVERYONE also does). God bless those who still work there. But I digress…

I did pick up a short-lived part-time gig writing for Seekonk Speedway in May/June, which was a lot of fun and something that I wish I could still do. I can’t because I started a full-time job working as a merchandiser for Pepsi in early June – actually just eclipsed 90 days on the job which is an accomplishment in itself – and I just didn’t have enough time in the day to do both jobs.

Now, let me tell you something about short-track racing… it’s insane. And it has it’s own little (or not-so-little) community which I was totally unaware of. Seekonk Speedway is like 20 minutes from where I’ve lived my whole life, and I’ve always liked watching NASCAR, but I had never been to an actual racetrack. Seeing the track before racing begun literally blew my mind. It is tiny – it’s only 1/3 of a mile for one lap – and yet they often have 20+ full-size cars going way faster than the speed limit during the events. I couldn’t even fathom how 20+ cars fit on that track without getting in each other’s way – which honestly is the best part of racing.

Opening night was nuts. It got postponed because – shocker – it rained when it was actually supposed to happen, but when we did finally have a nice night, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I figured, how hard could it be to write about a race, not knowing how quickly everything happens during said race. You’d think since the track isn’t that big that you could see everything at the same time. And you’d be completely wrong. You look at one car making a pass to take the lead, while another three are side by side by side on a section of the track where three cars don’t fit that way, and then someone who started 15th is now up to 5th, and oh there’s another pass at the front, and now there’s two cars in the grass and I have no idea how they got there which I can’t write in a recap… and all that happened in about 10 seconds. And happened again a lap afterwards. Did I mention there are like four or five races a night and some are like 30-50 laps each? Holy shit there was a lot going on.

Thank goodness I had lots of help from the staff in Seekonk, especially from Doug and Kevin, the two public address announcers who were excellent at their jobs and really helpful to someone who had to learn a lot about racing in a short amount of time. They seemed to know everything and everyone, which brings me back to the whole racing community part. The Speedway can hold a lot more fans that I imagined, although I never saw it at full capacity due to Covid restrictions still being a thing until after I had to stop writing for them. What I did get to see what a group of people that seemed to know each other, know all the drivers and the lingo, and basically grow up and even almost live at the track. It was like being at Cheers – yeah that reference just aged me big time – because it was the place where everybody knows your name. And what’s even more impressive than the fans are the drivers and their crews. They work on those cars for hours on end, week after week, and risk it all on the track where all that time, effort, and I’m betting a lot of money can come crashing down (literally) in the blink of an eye. Which you shouldn’t do while at the track because you’ll definitely miss something. It’s truly a labor of love because I don’t believe they get much in winnings and they don’t really seem to care. It’s about the thrill and the love and the history, because a lot of those drivers grew up in that community themselves. I wish I had gotten to the point where I could’ve started to interview some of the drivers and other members of this not-so-little community because I’m sure there would have been some really cool stories to hear.

I had to step away from that job once I got my current full-time gig with Pepsi. I’m considered a merchandiser which is something I really enjoyed doing in retail – I even took a couple college courses many years ago in retail merchandising – but this isn’t quite like figuring out how to put out seven boxes of clothing when you have zero space in your store. This is basically stocking shelves full of Pepsi product at various grocery stores and Walmart/Target. I have a group of different stores to go to every shift, some of which have their deliveries coming that day (no I don’t drive the trucks or unload it… the pallets of product are waiting for me in the backroom), and I need to stock, rotate, fill coolers, and make the stores look pretty and full before I move on to the next one.

It’s a long and exhausting job which requires lots of driving, early mornings (I HATE early mornings), and some LONG shifts. I was averaging at least 50 hours of work a week to start without counting the 30-45 minutes or more it would take to get to and from home. So yeah I wasn’t doing anything when I got out of work except shower, eat, and die/sleep. The first few weeks were brutal and not very enjoyable… everything took so long and it seemed like there was way too much to do and not enough hours in the day to do it. I really just wanted to quit and told my boss that I’d love to go to part-time if possible, but at the time they didn’t have enough workers because everyone is still getting those free handouts to not work (except people who work for shitty companies like Jordan’s). They did move me to an easier group of stores that were further away, and I’ve definitely gotten a little better and more comfortable at the job. Oh and the pay is really good… like way more than I made at Olympia or Jordan’s.

There were weeks at the beginning when I was racking in 10+ hours of OT that I’d make just as much in a week at Pepsi that I did in two weeks at Olympia, which goes to show you how poorly they paid someone who was there for 19 years (and why they can’t keep stores staffed right now). I definitely don’t miss that job either just some of the people that I worked with. That’s the thing with this new job… you don’t work with anyone. You’re alone, you get your shit done and you leave. Which honestly is really nice because I always liked working alone when doing tasks like merchandising a store or organizing or most retail tasks. And I’m an introvert with social anxiety who doesn’t really enjoy talking to strangers so yeah this is perfect for me. I am a perfectionist which apparently is a terrible trait to have as a merchandiser, because you could literally be in a bigger/busier store for hours trying to get everything done and fully stocked. Which would be fine if you didn’t have 4-5 stores to typically go to in a day.

I’m trying to get better and stick it out because the pay is really good and I seem to always quit things when they’re not really easy for me or I’m not really good at them from the start. Not looking forward to driving in the winter to stores that are like an hour away when I can go 80 on the highway – 65 when there are cops around of course – but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. My hours have gone down to like 40-44 a week and I’m not nearly as totally exhausted after my shifts or on my days off – they go by so damn quickly can time slow down a bit on Tuesdays and Wednesdays please? – so that’s good.

I tend to have a lot of ideas that I either forget or never follow through on for one reason or another – mostly probably self-doubt or not wanting to take chances – and one of them that popped up recently (that I clearly remembered) was possibly going back to school for the third time. Not sure if it was from seeing pics over the summer of everyone graduating – since most of the 2020 class had their ceremonies postponed until this summer due to the pandemic so I had a bunch of former co-workers getting their diplomas in 2021 – or just realizing I’m really not doing anything productive other than working or just trying to figure out how to do something other than a physical job that’s more well suited for people in their 20’s and not in their 40’s – I still look like I’m in my 20’s though – but I’ve definitely considered it.

I’m not even sure what I would go for or what major to pursue or where to go or how in the world people pay for college. Was thinking about communications and either an Associate’s (I’d need like 3 courses to get it) or a Bachelor’s, but then my friend Renee said if I go back I should get my Master’s which I had no idea you could do without first getting a lower degree – I have a Bachelor’s in computer science and an Associate’s in sport management already. So I looked up a couple things and contemplated either communications, creative writing/journalism, or sports leadership/management. I’m just not sure if it would be worth it, if I’d have the time to get it done in a reasonable amount of time, and how to pay for it. Plus I didn’t hatch this idea until late August so it wasn’t like I could actually enrol like a week later to start school right now. Still time to figure it out or likely ignore it and not do it.

So yeah that’s about it. Still single too but that’s likely never going to change either. It would probably be easier to get my Master’s than ask a girl out. Or even find one to ask out. Other than friends – actually I don’t even like asking them out and I’m not trying to date them. And don’t ever get feelings for friends because that apparently is a death wish.

Hopefully it won’t be another four months until I update this. Thanks for reading and as always drop me any comments or advice.

Adam, Sept 7, 2021
https://theinnerworkingsofaredhead.wordpress.com/

Author: Workers' Archive

Covering sensitivity at work and beyond on my website: https://samuelaliblog.wordpress.com/

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