Work Conversations

*Emotional Content Not Everything May Make Sense, Apologies Now.*

Here for the last several months I have been working in a grocery store as a manager of 4 different departments. I have seen many ups and downs in the last year+ in my position. I have been nearly out the door at one point before getting new upper management that convinced me to stay because in fact I do like what I do, this fact still remains true. I do like what I do.

6 Months later and I am back on the precipice ready to jump as the management we have now is pushing for more than even their predecessors.

Some recent conversations that I have had with them are included below as I just need a place to write it out and think about the problems that are plaguing my departments so I don’t see a mass exodus of my employees. Keeping in mind that some of these conversations have taken place over weeks or months even.

Regarding one of my subdepartments I have been told by different upper managments that it takes 60 hours/week to manage (Corporate Specialist), 50 hours/week (Regional Specialist), <40 hours/week (Store Director), and <40 hours/week (Same Regional Specialist as before).

Originally I had one person working 40 hours a week in the position but she kept getting pulled to other departments to help cover for them not scheduling properly. The Store Director deemed that she wasnt working hard enough because her own department constantly was in bad condition and she was getting a lot of push from upper managment until she quit. On her way out she informed me that the only reason she even finished her two weeks was because she liked me as a manager and wouldn’t do that to me.

So taking all that in to consideration I have been given one person working 20 hours per week to make the whole subdepartment operate properly, they are not trained to cover for any other departments luckily. Recently she came up to me and informed me that the job is impossible for her alone to keep up and she is already feeling burned out after just 3 weeks in the position, is there any way I can get her more help. Now she only is kinda aware of how much help she’s getting because again she is only in the building 20 hours/week. So what she doesn’t know is that my Assistant Manager, myself, cashjer helpers, and 3 key managers are putting in about another 20 hours/week to try to make the department look better and because it is not enough the department is actually just looking worse and worse. One of the keys expressed that he had a lot more respect for the work the original person in this department because it’s difficult work.

Moving on to my joint subdepartments, one supervisor for both is what joins them. I have been told a lot of different things regarding this pair. “80 hours a week is the minimum for these departments” all the way through “just the supervisor by themselves should be able to work all thier new product and backstock per week and in addition do all their management duties no problem.” My supervisor in this position is also very new only 5 weeks in and just this last week came to me to inform me that he feels like he is getting nothing done because there is never a moment of accomplishment because we are so far behind schedule. He expressed feeling like he is doing the work of 3 people by himself and can’t understand why management would do this. All I could offer was 30 minutes of my own time to assist before I had to get back to my own tasks and offer to express his concerns to the Store Director.

My own Assistant Manager just this week approached me and told me that his legs were feeling so heavy that he wasn’t sure how much longer he could keep up this rediculous pace we are currently working at. As the Primary department it should have more hours in it than the other three combined to keep it in proper working condition. For those who like math that would be between 60->140 hours depending on who you listen to. We are getting 92 and even the Store Director has acknowledged that it’s not near enough.

Both him and I are already working 10 hour days twice a week to work the primary department incoming product just the two of us. Then doing all four departments schematic changes, temporary price reductions, shrinking outdated product, workbooks, scheduling, distributions, ordering, etc… Really due to how everything is working out I am personally doing all the extra work and my Assistant just works the loads and our backstock because I have no one else. I say “just” but the man is beating out thousands of dollars worth of product every day, granted the reason he doesn’t do the other stuff is because I don’t have time to actually train him.

So I approached my Store Director with the knowledge in hand that my whole team is feeling as though their feet have been put to the coals and while they’ve been running as fast as they can to get out of the fire they are all about to collapse. His responce just blew me away.

Individually he went through my staff regarding their ineffectiveness.

The woman thats getting 20 hours a week to manage a department he saw her take 20 minutes to make a list of what needs done for the week. It shouldn’t have taken 20 minutes so therefore she is actually not working as hard as she needs to be. We need to push her harder by having me prep a list for her every week so she just has to put her head down and work.

My supervisor for the two departments gets in his own head too much and that prevents him from working at full efficiency. I need to make sure to take away the chance for him to think by walking him through expectations and the order that things should get done. That way I am ensuring he just needs to work the plan since it’ll be more time efficient. Also since he should be able to do the whole two departments himself the one part-timer that works 13 hours/week in his departments should only help run the new loads in the slower department and then jump into my primary department.

As for my Assistant he is an inefficient worker who the Store Director noticed spent too much time in the back room getting more product. So therefore he is not working as hard as he could be. I need to figure out a way to light a fire in him and make him work harder.

Then he turned to me and informed me that afterall I can’t keep doing all the work myself. My only thought is that while he touched on aspects of the truth he bent it to fit his narrative. The reason they all take a little extra time to do things is because they are tired and because of that I have noticed they are indeed moving slower, but so am I. We are flesh and blood, eventually people break afterall we are not machines who can work tirelessly. I also can’t help but think that there is a reason that in my just over a year in the job I am on my sixth dual department supervisor, my third single department worker, and my third assistant. I have spent more time without these positions filled then I have with them filled and consistently when the past ones have quit I have been told it wasn’t because of me except with one of them. Most of them have even straight up told me that if they could just work for me they would keep doing the job or sought me out to apologize for quiting. I can’t help but be happy for them because I know that for many of them they got raises, better working conditions, and better hours.

Basically the message was my people who all feel overworked (most of whom don’t have a lot of contact with each other) across the board are just needing to be pushed harder. I should not be working as hard as I am but I have no idea who else would pick up the slack if I worked just a little less hard. My Store Director’s suggestion for who could pick up the slack was other people from around the store who are also all feeling overworked and more specifically people from “the reliables” a group of people my wife and I have dubbed thusly because its always someone from this group whom duties are left to because one of us will fix the problem and keep the store afloat.

My favorite part of this whole expericence was 5 months ago when I had more hours in my departments then I have now the Regional Manager and his boss visited our store and took the time out of their day to find me and apologize to me personally for how the company is treating me and my departments. They knew I was already overworked and said they were going to work on making it better. The next day a dirrective came down from them to cut my departments hours another 30 hours/week divided however I wanted.

This last year I was given 210 hours/week for my 4 departments (at this same time period, I am not comparing December to April or anything to skew the data). This year our comparable sales are consistently up +6.3% and my hours are now at 160 hours/week for the same 4 departments (Again for those who did the math from all the paragraphs my total that I mentioned comes to 165 hours/week). I am scheduling over hours and getting help from the other the other (3) key managers in the store just to stay afloat. My departments are responsible for just under 30% of the total stores sales and we are alloted 5% of the total store’s labor.

I am getting to the point that I am just tired walking in the door to work because I know it’s going to be a long day and despite everything going on I will be called to help all the other departments in the store because they need the help more than me. At least according to the Store Director and the other deparment managers. Yesterday when I got home I felt horribly ill, took some excedrin and dayquil then passed out for 14 hours waking up only long enough to eat a bagel and drink a glass of chocolate milk.

If that’s what it takes to wake up rested on my occassional day off then I really don’t know how much longer I can do this.

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Bentley, The Pet That Never Was.

Everyone has regrets. Those things that keep you up right before bed as they replay within your minds eye for eternity until the day that you have finally moved on. As you get older and do more things the opportunity for those moments grows exponentially.  All you can do is reflect and learn.

Now this is the story of a single moment that for whatever reason has stuck with me for the last decade. Some of you may read this and think nothing of it but my inaction sticks with me to this day.

My family is extremely large and on top of that we grew up on a ranch surrounded by animals/pets. Over the years my father took a job off the ranch running a Dairy Farm while my grandfather ran the main ranch. When we moved there we only had 1 dog and 1 indoor cat versus the pack of 6 dogs on the ranch and around 20 barn cats. So for obvious reasons we needed another dog.

We had always had big dogs on the ranch, to fight off coyotes and the occasional Mtn. Lion. So we went to the local shelter looking for the biggest family protector type dog we could find.

Entering the shelter they had it set up so you would have to walk by all the cats looking out at you pleading to be taken home as well. One of them was out in the play area with no other cats. He was a beautiful tubby grey tabby who was just snoozeling in a corner.

Me being more of a cat person than a dog person I went ahead and spent most of my day right there with who I would learn was Bentley while my sisters selected our new dog, Brick (aptly named for his intelligence.) Side note Brick was an amazing dog, so great in fact that he was stolen

By the end of our time there I had learned that Bentley had been in the shelter for over 10 years and no one would adopt him because he is not friendly with other cats or people. Yet I had just spent several hours playing with this “unfriendly” cat. My stepmoms cat, Blink, was the same way. A super old “unfriendly” cat whom I spent a lot of time befriending until she became my cat.

While we left with our objective I should have went ahead and spent the adoption fee from my own savings to adopt Bentley. That thought has stuck with me through the years and occassionally I still think back to that moment and my inaction that left this cat in the shelter where he had already spent most of his life.

The Tale of Wynnifred Pt. 1

Having left her home for the past three decades burning to ruins behind her, Wynnifred began her journey to find the Staff of the Archmage. Not knowing where to begin she headed to the nearest town that she thought she could remember. Pleasently enough there was a town where she remembered it being but everything seemed so different. People wore different clothing styles, they were using jargon that she didn’t recognize, and most strangly of all there were guards at the gate who kept asking her questions.

Now perhaps what came next was her fault but those damned guards were so pushy that when they reached for her bag to search it for contraband/saleable wares Wynnifred snapped. Striking the guard in the nose he fell back more surprised than hurt. That is how she ended up spending her first night in town in a jail cell.

She was thrown into a cell with a couple other people. One a Tabaxi (cat-person), she had never seen one before but knew of them through the books she had read. She had always imagined them being a regal race similar in personality to lions and tigers but this one talked a lot while moving around restlessly. Her name was Serenade after Rainstorm or Seru. The other person in the cell was a human woman who looked as though she had been in this cell for some time. She spoke little other than to mock and belittle the others, this made her okay. Her name was Sarah.

In the cell opposite her there was another talkative individual, a gnome who was going on and on calling the people in the cells his shipmates despite none of them acting like they knew him. It appears that he has gone mad down here. His name has too many words to try and comprehend so he goes by G5. Lastly a Firbolg chained from head to foot to the wall was in the cell with the gnome. He looked to have been here the same amount of time as Sarah. Mostly quiet except to tell G5 to shut up and comment that Sarah should do more to escape he is an interesting fellow. His name is A’varna.

After about 4 hours of being in jail a large explosion drew the attention of the guards and a shadowy figure appeared in front of their cells. He unlocked A’varna and G5 first, not wasting a minute Wynnifred Firebolted the lock until the cell door swung open. The figure unlocked Sarah and Seru. He turned to us and informed us his name was Dagen, he has all our stuff and we should follow him.

Dagen led them out of the prison circumventing the guards who were investigating a hole in the side of the prison walls. The guards saw us as we dove into a secret tunnel and they began to give chase as the door slid shut between us and them. We followed the tunnel for several miles upon reaching the end Dagen informed us that we would need to collapse this side since the tunnel is now unuasable. Wynnifred stepped forward and cast Earth Tremor to cause a small cave in.

Dagen led the group a hard two day walk into the middle of nowhere. Surrounded by trees the party started to notice other figures in the trees watching them but keeping their distance. Suddenly they were in front of a tent city that appeared from nothing in the trees. A couple permanent buildings stood out but this was definitly an army out here in the trees. What could they possibly be doing?

Dagen led us through the tent city towards one of the actual buildings and announced he would be introducing us to his leader. The one who engineered our escape. Wynnifred was very excited. Such a display of power and ability surely this person will have access to more of the secrets surrounding the Staff of the Archmage.

Entering the building we went into a large greeting hall with a table laid out showing maps and plans for the whole Kingdom. A tall woman wearing ornate armor turned as they entered and stepped towards the group as two other individuals joined her on either side.

She introduced herself as Freya leader of this group and the woman who sent Dagen to break us out of prison. She introduced her two compatriots as well. Zephir a Half-Orc in dark leather armor who acted like a body guard and Zorin a Half-Elf in robes who Wynnifred found the most intriguing of the three.

During our discussions with her we learned that in fact we were not who she wanted rescued. We were supposed to have been some group called the Silverbane’s. However Freya didn’t miss a beat in telling us to repay our depot to her by helping track down a group of goblins who stole a journal from one of their informants/spys. She gave us a small map with nothing specific other than a general area the goblins are supposebly from and sent us on our way.

Not wanting to owe anyone a thing we agreed to do the task. On the way we learned little about each other. The Firbolg does morning stretched. The Tabaxi chases butterflies. The Gnome has decieded Wynnifred’s tomato plant is the next in command of his ship. The Human girl is snarky.

With A’varna leading the way we eventually made it to where the goblins possibly live. Sure enough we started to encounter scouts and hunting parties. We were able to follow their tracks back to where a small cave entrance was guarded by two goblins. Using some trickery and stealth we disposed of them without an alarm being sounded.

So began our assualt of the goblin caves.

Sarah firing Ray of Frost, A’varna punching, Seru Eldritch Blasting, G5 swinging Rapier in hand, and Wynnifred Fire Bolting.

As a cohesive unit despite our obvious differences we dispatched of the goblins with ease. Taking only a few injuries on the way which G5 cured with ease as his magic inspired us.

We pushed throughfor over an hour as our assualt only slowed once as we rested to bandage and regain our strength. Onwards we pushed into the final room. We entered to find a Bugbear and goblin. G5 quickly dispatched the goblin with a thunderous burst that also sent the bugbear flying into the back wall. Everyone ran into the room and unleashed their hurt upon the bugbear. Wynnifred went very last even after the bugbear tried to retaliate. Seeing where everyone was in the room and knowing that the bugbear could seriously hurt one of them she made a decision that ended up hurting Sarah. Wynnifred ran in and cast Earth Tremor. G5 dodged as the ground beneath him shook while both the Bugbear and Sarah were knocked to the ground prone and taking damage. The team quickly dispatched the now helpless bugbear. Wynnifred was reminded of how an Earthquake spell felled her home while the rest of the group celebrated the defeat of the bugbear.

The walk back to the tent city was quick and hurried as they went to return the journal. Wynnifred of course read the journal on the way. It was mostly boring to her. Troup movements and the such, the politics of men mean nothing to her.

They returned the journal to Freya who thanked them for their service and offered to let htem go with their dept repaid or they could join her cause and find further rewards. Wynnifred asked if she would be able to pursue who own interests while working in the service of Freya. With the promise from Freya that she could indeed still pursue her own interests Wynnifred agreed to join. The other people she was with also agreed though both Sarah and A’varna requested private audiences with Freya.

For joining the cause the party was given a tent to themselves seperate from the rest of the rabble. Wynnifred spent some time finally able to reflect on the events that had transpired and was reminded again of how she hurt Sarah. She turned to the one thing that always had answers, her book. Turning through the pages of “The Staff of the Archmage, a Collection of Myths.” she asked it aloud, “How do I avoid hurting those I want to protect with these new powers you granted me?”

One of the pages she had read a hundred times before caught her attention and Wynnifred was drawn in. Reading and rereading until she thought she understood what that particular myth was describing.

Welcome to Fenris

“Hello and Welcome to Fenris. It is time yet again for all you Blood Bowl fans to welcome back your favorite Norse teams as they compete in the off season for top spot in our arena. Who do you think can become the greatest Space Wolf and take home the trophy of becoming the next Logan Grimnar?”

The opposing sides of Fenris’s coliseum open allowing the two opposing team to enter the freezing tundra as fans cheer on all sides. Some of the players can be seen riding large mechanical wolves.

“Looks like the Fell Hammers have invested some of their credits on some Thunderwolves, how will the Wyrm Slayers be able to respond?”

On the other side a group of five men step out wielding giant hammers and holding massive shields.

“Now ladies and gentlemen we have ourselves a fight. Calvary versus Thunder Hammers!!!”

The cheers from all around grow louder.

Thus begins the first round of a 2 month long tournament where Norse teams from all over come to compete to take the top spot and name their mvp as the next Logan Grimnar. It is the greatest lasertag event ever created and each year the spectacle grows. Maybe one day they will get those damn dreadnoughts to work correctly.

This post was inspired by Ann’s post linked here.

Wynnifred “Winnie” Dylans

Wynnifred celebrated her 61st birthday like she had the thirty-three prior ones, alone in her cabin surrounded by her research. A slow leak over her dining room table watered a tomato plant she had potted and placed beneath the hole. The smell of the wood fire and old manuscripts gave the home a sort of soft feeling that could almost be described as homey. Wynnifred sat in her chair as she had for the last several years and thought about what had led her up to this moment.

It had all started when she finished school at 23 and became a registed historian. Little did she know that this would set in motion a chain of events that would lead to her living in the middle of nowhere all alone. She was married off to Frans Dylans that very winter as her parents finally convinced her that it was a good choice for her. Frans wasn’t mean or anything but Wynnifred simply had little interest in the idea of marriage. As if by some miracle Wynnifred conceived and bore Samantha Dylans, the best thing to come from her marriage to Frans. Wynnifred would take Samantha everywhere with her and told Samantha every story she ever found.

Wynnifred found an elite couple who were looking into some investment opportunities. They were hiring historians to do research on lost magic items/relics in an attempt to locate them. Wynnifred applied and was selected by Preston and Molly Garvinex. Later she found out that she had even beat out esteemed historian Lythendal Gordius for this position. Preston and Molly hired Wynnifred two research assistants; Marshal Von’ Heuter and Brandi Carlson. The three of them became fast friends spending hours at a time going through all the manuscripts that were brought to them. As a group they made several discoveries that made the Garvinex’s quite wealthy as they turned around and sold off the information about the artifacts to other interested parites.

One of their discoveries turned out to be a wand capable of creating earthquakes. After telling the Garvinex’s about what they had learned for its potential location the Garvinex’s sold that information immediately. A mad dash for the item was made by several interested parties. Wynnifred is not sure who got the item but what she did know was that it was used in her home town of Free Meadow. The quake knocked down her home with Samantha still inside, luckily she survived. However this was an eye opening moment for Wynnifred, Marshal, and Brandi and it was after this moment they decided that they would no longer be researching for the Garvinex’s.

Wynnifred with her two friends returned to their workplace to collect their things and turn in their notice to find a new book had been placed on their desk. “The Staff of the Archmage, a Collection of Myths.” Curiosity getting the better of them they began to read what they could. While the title was in common every other page was written in a different language and sometimes the languages would switch in the middle of a page. The three of them worked on this book for a year for the Garvinex’s while having no intention of turning over the information contained inside. What they discovered is only what the staff was rumored to be capable of. Fearing this weapon of legend they attempted to destroy the book; tossing it into the fire, taking an axe to it, and lastly pouring ink on the pages. Despite their attempts it remained unscathed, in that moment Wynnifred decided that the best course of action was for her to take the book and disappear forever.

It was the night of Samantha’s 4th birthday. Wynnifred slipped into her bedroom and held her child for the last time. Samantha woke up to see her mother’s tear streaked cheeks and began to tear up as well. “It will be alright my little miracle. Mom has some important work to do. Always remember that I love you.” They remained like that for what felt like a lifetime but was still not long enough for either of them.

Wynnifred left that night with the help of Marshal and Brandi. They had gathered her some things to head out and a horse with a cart. Wishing Wynnifred luck on her trip they didn’t ask where she would go knowing that it wouldn’t do any good.

Now as she sat in her chair remembering her daughter and how she would be 38 now Wynnifred hoped that all the notes and books she had sent over the years successfully made it to Samantha. It had been tricky finding courtiers who would deliver notes to Brandi or Marshal living as far out of the way as Wynnifred did now.

Wynnifred opened “The Staff of the Archmage, a Collection of Myths.” again for the thousandth time. She had read and reread it enough times that even though she couldn’t speak all the languages she could make out most of this text. It was weird, she felt somehow connected to it now as though it were a part of her. Reaching out her hands she felt a surge flow through her as 3 bolts of bright light burst out of her fingertips and knocked over a latern. 

It was Wynnifred’s 61st birthday and she could feel that her moment was yet to come. As the latern started a fire to her small cabin she felt a fire in her heart. Grabbing her tomato plant and “The Staff of the Archmage, a Collection of Myths.” Wynnifred left her home for the last 34 years behind and began her quest to find the legendary staff.

Stabbington Lane

Yesterday my wife and I helped celebrate a close friends birthday at a restaurant of her choosing. (Super nice sushi place.) We had a wonderful time and all was great. Not the actual point of this story.

The point of this story was getting to the restaurant.

We were driving to downtown Minneapolis which is cool and all, been there a couple times now. Kinda sorta know what to expect. As we were driving there it became very apparent that we have not ever been to this part of downtown. Okay now we are a little nervous. Like how are we going to find a parking spot?

My Maps App tells us that we have arrived. Looking around there is no restaurant. So obviously the map app is lying. Guess we will have to find a place to park to start taking a look around. Being downtown we figure anywhere within 6 blocks is probably as close as we are going to get.

We turn down a one way street with cars parked on either side of the road. Graffiti on every doorway. Just the absolute best place we could find to park. We actually find a spot to park in front of a door that says “steph” with a little heart. Great something to identify where the hell we parked.

Walking towards the supposed restaurant that may or may not exist we passed several fun buildings. One of them was a really nice brand new looking apartment complex that towered over a little 4 bedroom house that obviously had several people all renting different tiny rooms. Also the walls were see through in parts so you could absolutely tell which renters were home.

The next best house was a small little home that stood between equally as nice houses with trash covering their yards. However this one was special because in addition to trash, it had Scarecrows. Not just one. Scarecrow/s, several of them all facing the sidewalk. Their eyes followed us as we walked by on our way yet still to the place that may serve food.

Arriving at the destination we found out that is we had driven from a different direction we would have seen a fantastic parking lot just feet from the restaurant. Also it was a real place and it had solid walls that protected us from the 100 mph wind.

After a joyous evening filled with lots of conversation we once again braced ourselves against the wind and wandered down Stabbington Lane. Aptly named because this is where teenagers go to get stabbed. – A rip off qoute from “Camp Camp”.

Making it to our car and getting ready to go home to our nice little apartment. My wife and I looked at the door we parked in front of only to find out that it did not say “steph” with a cute little heart. It said “satan” in nice caligraphy and a heart.

Another Music Post

It has been a while since the last time I wrote even a little bit about music. I mean a whole 60 days since K/DA.

So here you are another music post by me.

I have been listening to a lot of music. Partially to boost my stats on Spotify for next years individualized stats that they send to all users, I find them absolutely fascinating, and partially because I just absolutely love music and find people who don’t like music beyond weird.

In the last couple days though I have gone back to listening to some highschool favorites and the memories associated with them.

The absolute surprise on my mother’s face when she heard me listening to Ozzy Ozborn and not Crazy Train since that’s the song everyone knows but “Mama, I’m Coming Home“. We were sitting at the dining room table in her first serious boyfriends house during the divorce between her and my father. It was then that she decided that maybe my taste in music wasn’t terrible. I then proved her wrong immediately afterwards by having her listen to the following songs.

Hum Hallelujah

The Diary of Jane

She went from impressed to “mmmm how about you turn off your MP3.” However even today I still feel connected to that music and I know that part of it is the nostalgia but I still do believe it is also just good music.

Then again according to my wife I just like all music so I am not a good judge of what is actually good.