by Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)
This is a record of my attempts to bring more to my work than just an eight hour day of
do-nothing. This mindset has caused me great grief over the years. If I had been a normal work-a-day employee I might just go though life satisfied and resigned that work meant work and nothing more. The problem is that back in the day I got into a job that got me off on the wrong foot. Enjoy this 5 part story where I not only go into my main theme but where I do some strolling down memory lane.
The next few jobs I had totally failed to provide me with adaquite time to get anything extracurricular done. Talk about spoiled! I worked at Lowes home Improvement as well as a UPS customer service company called APAC (all people are customers), blech! The Lowes job wasn’t too bad. I enjoyed working outside in the yard with all the live plants and loading timber and other miscellaneous things into people’s vehicles. I would print up my stories I was writing and make corrections to be transferred to the computer later. At least it was something. I couldn’t get along with the guys I worked with though. They were red neck kids who thought; if you didn’t like beer and huntin’ you were gay.
I can say that this job provided me with something that I had not had in a long time. While working security I never really exerted myself. I would come home after a long day of doing nothing and roll around in bed at night taking up to 3 hours to get to sleep. When I was working at Lowes I would lie down for the night and be out in less than ten minutes.
At my job with APAC I sat in class for the whole three weeks I was employed with the company. We started out with a week’s training on taking calls and giving people information on their UPS packages. This sucked because everyone was calling not to say 'thanks', but 'where in the hell is my package'. Luckily I didn’t have to do this much. There was such a high turnover rate that our whole class got promoted to being tracking agents before our customer rep training was complete (that should have been a HUGE red flag... and it was). We spent another week or so training for that.
I hadn’t liked it from day one so I was already looking for another job. I actually brought a paper to class and looked for jobs while I was on the job. That was about the only extra thing I could get done at this job. I remember the time I got a monitored call while I was doing my customer rep training. Someone called in to complain about the driver leaving packages outside some business’ front gate. I told them I would send up a complaint so that the driver would not do it again. I was very understanding and agreed with the people on the phone. I got them satisfied and the call ended. I was approached later in the day by my supervisor and he told me management was listening in to my call. They said I scored fine on almost all points but I still failed the call since I did not apologize. This was pretty much the breaking point in all this. I can’t apologize for someone else. I am not the kind of person that can fake that crap. That’s all it would be, a fake. Anyway after three weeks of this I walked out a day or so before training was completely over.
During this time I was out of a job for something like two months. I have noticed that when I am working and my free time is scarce I seem to get more done. When I am free like I was for that long period of time I got lazy and never could seem to get anything useful done. Funny that. Chris and I have had many conversations about this effect. He has run across it as well and we both have come to conclusion that when you have so little free time you value it much more and are willing to do more.
After two more jobs through to 2002 I got nothing extra done at work. In 2002 I started my own business (which you can read all about through that link) and things changed a bit. I was now running solo on the ‘job’ and I found that my free time at the shop was mostly spent trying to create income for it. I did get plenty of extra stuff done like playing games and surfing the internet but I didn’t feel I was getting the ‘value’ for the time that I was while I was a security guard. Yes, this is a short paragraph for such a big experience in my life but you can read the whole 5 part saga here.
Later the business fell through and I without a job once again. I was able to get a job pretty quickly with at my roommate’s (Tuyen) workplace, EB Games. This was an ok job but I didn’t get much extra done. I tried and was able to do things like listen to audio books (before the store opened) and brainstorm ideas for various things throughout the day as well as watch movies on the TV there. It was a certian level of All this time I was longing for the days of being a security guard. The pay at EB was a criminal and after the beginning of 2004 I tired for the prize once more, a security guard job.
Join me for the final part of this blog series next time.