Today I had to clock in at 7 in the morning, meaning I had to wake up at 6 in the morning. That was the first time I had to start my shift so early, the earliest I had to before was 10 not counting having to show up at 8 for the orientation.
At first there really wasn’t much for me to do, the cart reservoirs were full and the corrals were empty. After an hour or two things started to pick up, and soon it was same as any other daytime shift.
At Walmart we have what’s called the “10 feet rule” which means employees are expected to interact with any customer who comes within 10 feet of us. I’ve never been one for asking random passerby “how’s it going” or such, but I do tell customers “welcome to Walmart” if they are walking into the store and “thanks for shopping with us” if they are leaving.
I was in the middle of loading some carts onto the cart bay when I told an exiting customer “thanks for shopping with us.” She asked me what my name was, I told her, then she told me she used to me a manager and that I’m “doing a kick ass job.” I thanked her and moved on to the next row of carts, but I overheard her tell another employee how great a job I was doing.
So I guess its been fives years since I set up this blog. Damn. Doesn’t seem like all that long ago. In that amount of time I’ve finished my Bachelor’s Degree, visited two countries on two continents, tried and failed to get a Master’s, worked five jobs, and so much more. I haven’t always been diligent or vigilant in posting here, but lately I have been. Here’s to another five years!
Today marks the end of my first week working for Walmart. I’ve been working long hours and have been to exhausted to remember to update here. My days off seem to be rather random, I had today off but I didn’t post here until just now because I was busy finishing up a short story for an anthology with a deadline at midnight.
Turns out being a “stockman” doesn’t mean being the one who keeps the shelves stocked with merchandize (which I what I thought I signed up for), stockman are the ones who organize the carts in the parking lot. At first I was a little upset I didn’t get the job I wanted, but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Its a nice physical job and affords a lot more freedom than the one I thought I was going to get. Much easier too.
Like most everyone my age Aladdin was a major part of my childhood. The Genie always seemed like such a cool guy and I always thought it would be cool to have a genie of my own. Not just for the wishes, but because of all the other cool things they can do. If I were to get a genie of my own I have two scenarios imagined. In the first one I quickly piss away my three wishes on whatever impulsive shit crosses my mind, all within a week. In the second one I hang on to those wishes for when I truly believe I need a deus ex machina, it would take years for me to spend all three if ever.
The next Toastmasters meeting is tonight and I’m going to be giving a speech. I’m three speeches into my Advanced Storytelling Manual, once I give this next speech I will only have one speech to go before I finish that manual and will move on to another one. It’s been over a month since I have my last speech, sometimes I fret a bit when I haven’t done it in a while.
When I was working on my Competent Communicator manual I gave a speech from it every week with only two gaps, so I knocked out a ten speech manual in twelve weeks. I’ve been working on this current one since January, it’s taken much longer because we have a lot of recently joined members who are beginning their Competent Commicator so meeting have usually had their three speaking slots filled. Sometimes I fret when I begin writing a speech, but for the next project we aren’t supposed to use notes and I plan to give my speech from memory. It’s about a life experience so I needn’t write anything down.
Most people associate the word froth with good things like beer, root beer, or shampoo. Not me. The first thing that comes to mind is something unpleasant. I live in a rural area with lots paths, many of which are by creeks and streams.
My family has two horses and we used to have more and ride them all the time (I only rode maybe five times if that, wasn’t my thing). None of us have been riding in at least ten years, it’s a very time consuming hobby and we donated all of our tack years ago. Lately I have been going on plenty of walks down those trails. However lots of our neighbors still go on trail rides, and plenty of people from the area come to do that. You can always tell if someone went riding recently if there is a manure pile in the middle of the path. Near the water there is another way to tell: a white frothy mass flouting in the water that happens when a horse urinates in it.
And that is why “frothy” isn’t a word I’m fond of.
I’ve always wondered how butter was invented. What made someone think “I’ll put some fresh cream in a barrel and churn it around to see what happens!”? Some academics believe butter was discovered by accident when ancient nomads stored milk in skins or organ bags. One time I saw an antique butter churn for sale, I thought about buying it but it was like $200 dollars and I don’t want to spend that kind of money. Especially since you can make butter in a sealed off mason jar!
Even more intriguing to me is how bread was invented. I’ve never seen a satisfactory answer to that!
One new thing I started doing shortly after my most recent blogging hiatus was joining Toastmasters International. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Toastmasters is an international public speaking club. Each meeting two or three speeches are given by members. After the speeches are done each one is given an evaluation from another member. Evaluations are brief, with usually two or three positive things mentioned about the speech and one (no more than two) things to improve upon.
I’ve never been afraid of public speaking. On the contrary I’ve always enjoyed it. I joined because I wanted something new to get into and it never hurts to hone your public speaking skills.
When you first join you are given a manual to get your first title, Competent Communicator. In order to achieve this you must complete the ten speeches required by the manual, each one is focused on a specific task that will help you when you give speeches later. Once you have your Competent Communicator you are free to start on a more advanced manual (there are a ton to choose from) or give speeches unrelated to to any manual.
Another thing you will learn to do well is writing. You’ll write almost all of the speeches you give in the club, and writing is just as important as delivery when it comes to speeches. If not more so.
I managed to get my Competent Communicator in 12 weeks, which senior members of my chapter told me is the fastest any member has done it in recent memory. If you want to sharpen your speaking and communication skills I highly recommend you check out Toastmasters. Here is a link to get started: https://www.toastmasters.org/find-a-club
When I initially withdrew from grad school I felt relieved. A dead albatross was no longer hanging around my neck, I was so happy I took it off on my own terms. Naturally I started job hunting and at first it seemed like there was a world of opportunities. However there wasn’t. For every promising lead posted on any job finding site there are at least twenty postings for jobs outside of my skillset and completely irrelevant to the search terms. Staying at home all day every day with little to anticipate is soul crushing.
Last month I started volunteering for two local museums. One is a historical home and the other is a more general town museum. Volunteering there three times a week has done wonders for me. Now I finally have something to do and look forward to and am beginning to hone skills relevant to my history degree for when I apply for a promising job in the future, along with extending my network.
Another thing I have been doing is taking DSLR classes. I got a Canon for my birthday, so I’ve been doing a weekly class at a local nearby community college. Right now I’m doing the second part, the first part three weeks ago. Pretty soon I’ll be creating an online portfolio, I’ll post a link here once I do.
As I had mentioned in an earlier post, last quarter I was on academic probation and was at risk of being dismissed from my grad program in I failed to get my GPA up to the minimum. Well this time my quarterly GPA was better and did go somewhat up, but it was well below the minimum. In fact, I got the first D of my academic career. My ADA coordinator told me the best case scenario would be that I be allowed to stay another quarter and be allowed to complete the degree if I adequately raised my GPA. It’s a year long program. If I did, I would get permission to take two classes a quarter instead of three and retake the classes I didn’t do so hot in, which would mean graduating the year after.
That option seemed unsavory. Having just scraped by a quarter with the risk of dismissal over my head, I didn’t want to go through another such quarter. Even worse, this time there would be the risk of of spending all that extra time and money for me to be dismissed from the program after completing 75% of it. Another concern was that being able to stay and complete the program would be a Pyrrhic Victory, where the battle is one at the expense of winning the war.
For that reason I decided it would probably be wisest t0 withdraw from the program. Initially I was waiting for word back from the department, if they dismissed me it would eliminate the choice for me and if not I wanted to know what they offered. However after returning home I decided to go ahead and withdraw before they did. I wanted to leave the program with some dignity.
On December 20th I was no longer a Duck. It only went uphill from there.
Now I am looking for full time employment. Hopefully I will find a job before the end of May, when the cohort ends. Obviously the sooner I get something the better, but I do want to enter the real world earlier than I would have if I stayed in the program and graduated on time.