Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January 29, 2014

January 29, 2014

I try to look at the everyday as a positive day, but at night I have dreams that pretty much expose my anxiety.  Claudine, who used to be my manager and eventually boss, was in the habit of being a sign of comfort and support, but that was till she arranged for me to leave my occupation that I had for the last twenty-five years or so.  

Claudine first came to the store ten years ago looking for a job, and when I saw her I prayed that she would get it.  Not due to her working habits, which at that time, I didn’t know hay from the horse if she was skilled in any fashion, but owning that she was a great beauty.  Attractive people always make the work place a more enjoyable experience, for the customer as well as for the co-worker as well.  

Right off the bat she was hired as a manager, and it seemed that she had this special knack to get along with everyone.  She was one of those who would always invite you into her back office if you have a problem or a concern.  Everyone at work loved her.  It was during this time that I started to have dreams about her.  For whatever reasons my dreams at night were anxiety driven, but if there was one person that consistently showed up, it was her, and that made everything OK.  

When you work together with someone, especially in retail you have to watch everyone’s back.  It’s very important that all on the sales floor are on the same page, which is total devotion to the customer, but also moral support to your fellow employee and boss.  Claudine was the type of person to be sensitive to her employees’ concerns.  I remember on my birthday, which to be honest, is a day of embarrassment, she got me a biography of W.C. Fields, my favorite comic actor.  I was a little bit of a film nerd, and occasionally when work was slow, I would argue the merits of Fields comedy skills against Charlie Chaplin.   A total time-waster of course, but it was one of those conversations that made the day go faster.  

By the policy of the store, each employee must have a review, where they are judged by their work, getting a raise issue, health insurance issues, and so forth.  On one level, it was sort of a joke, because the store couldn’t afford to give raises, due that the store was always in-between total disaster and just getting by.  Nevertheless, it was nice to spend time with Claudine regarding my job.  Often one feels nervous, but she had that knack to make one comfortable in such meetings.  Every meeting we had, she told me that I was doing a fantastic job, that the staff has nothing but praise for me, and I was a solid credit for the store.  Like her, I had the talent to walk into the sales floor and make everyone happy.  I was good with fellow employees and regular customers loved me.   It was super nice that she recognized my talents in this very specific field of work. 

Not the final meeting, but the one before that, I noticed an ugly doll was placed on one of her office chairs.  I asked her what it was, and she mentioned she just got it in the mail and addressed to her, and she doesn’t know what to do with it.  At a closer inspection, it seemed to be a voodoo doll.  I told her to throw it away, but she said she can’t. It was obvious that this was bothering her, and finally I said to her, “I’m going to take it with me, and I’ll take care of it.” At this point she was concerned that I will throw it in the trash.  I said I wouldn’t do that.   So as my shift ended I took the doll with me. 

On the Metro bus line 2, I was on Sunset.  The bus itself wasn’t crowded, and when no one was looking I took the doll out of my tote bag and placed it on my seat, right before I got off on Sunset and Parkman.  As I watched the bus pull away, I thought to myself that was that. 

Our relationship remained on track, but about a month before our next scheduled review, she started to send me memos concerned about my work.  They struck me as odd, because nothing has changed, with respect to how I do my job, and I was not getting any complaints from either staff or customers.  One day she called me to the back office and told me that my manager and some of the staff were upset in how I was doing some of the work.  I was shocked to hear this because normally I get along perfectly well with them, and sometimes we go out to have a drink after the store closes.  I told her this, but she said to me that they didn’t want to tell this to me because it was too awkward for them to get involved.  I felt bad about all of this, and I actually approached some of the staff as well as the shift manager in question.  When I mentioned this, she told me “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I can tell how she stated this that she wasn’t lying, she was totally clueless when I approached her. 

A few weeks later, when I had my official review with Claudine she mentioned this to me again. I told her that i talked to various staff people, and they had no problems with me at all.  She said that is not the situation, and they didn’t want to tell me face-to-face.  I didn’t believe her.  She then went on to say maybe I am not suitable for this type of work, which was unbelievable because I have been employed here for twenty-five years, and my previous review was fantastic.   When I checked out of the meeting, I knew my days were pretty much over at work.   The meeting was on a Friday, and by next Monday I resigned from the job.   It was that evening when my dreams of her became more hostile and disturbing.  Yet, I like to think changes are always for the best, so perhaps it was time for me to move on. 
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