The Things He Shattered

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 4 (v.1)

Submitted: February 28, 2014

Reads: 617

Comments: 20

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Submitted: February 28, 2014

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22

I felt very relieved, because at last, I was free from school deadlines. I was looking for work. I took a bus to the South Mills Shopping Mall and began to hand out my resumes to almost every store. Some looked interested, some didn’t, but everyone respectfully took my resume and told me they would contact me if need be. I did not get my hopes up.

I walked into a store called Goodweather and asked to speak to the manager. It was a clothing store. The manager was there and I introduced myself to her. She was a couple of years younger than me, and took a liking to me immediately. She told me she had time and if I did too, she could conduct an interview with me right away. I of course agreed. We discussed how my only job experience was working as a volunteer in Fair Salvation. She nodded, and I pointed out that I had a few references. One was a teacher and he would attest to my work ethic.

"Oh, that’s okay," Stephanie responded. "Now the store is divided into 2 sections. The women’s section and the men’s section. We have no more room in the ‘women’s’ section to hire anyone." She looked up at me seeming apologetic. I waited for her to continue.

"We just have a place available in the ‘men’s’ section. I can notify you if anything becomes available..."

"That’s fine. I really don’t have a preference. Are women not hired to work in the ‘men’s’ section?"

"Oh no, they are. I just thought you may feel out of place working there."

"No, not at all. I have no reason to."

"Alright," she smiled. "If you don’t mind working in that section we can start doing all the paperwork now and get that out of the way. We can only offer you part-time work now, but when I make up the schedule you just let me know what times are good for you, and what times are bad."

"So I’m hired?" It was obvious I was not familiar with this process.

"Yes, of course" she smiled at me.

At 24 years of age I finally had my first job. Not the kind of job I had hoped for after putting up with 4 very melancholy years of university, but a job none the less. I was happy. Plus, now since I was no longer a student, my family would not be receiving any financial help from the government. As little as we were receiving before to help keep a roof over our heads, it was at least something. Now there would be nothing, so finding work as soon as possible was essential.

It felt good to finally have a job, but my relationship was going down the crapper. Jeremy had become even more distant. Despite my mother’s advice against it, I had told Jeremy that I loved him. His response was, "Oh... thanks." I was in no way surprised. My mother had always said, "Never, ever, never be the first to say, ‘I love you’ in a relationship. Never! If you do he will never love you back. At that rate you’ll never get married...’

I had told him that I loved him, because I had realized that I fall in and out of love very quickly. It can take me half a second to fall in love with someone. It can take me overnight to fall out of love.

His lack of response triggered something in me to begin to fall out of love with him. Within a week I left him. We had nothing in common anymore anyway. University was over. There was nothing left to talk about. And so I left.

 

 

23

I was working at Goodweather for about 2 months. If at first the hours I was allowed to work had provided me with a somewhat sufficient income, after a month, this was no longer the case. I was allowed to work about 15 hours a week at minimum wage. My income was pathetic to say the least. I then began looking for a new job, while still holding on to Goodweather. I applied to different jobs, through a job search website. Usually I didn’t bother to find out what the job was all about, I just applied in the hopes that someone would give me a chance. Plus now I had actual work experience. Not just volunteer work experience from years ago when I attended highschool. I still had a list of job search websites I was given when I went to the YMCA. Employers would post job titles, descriptions and qualifications required for the jobs they needed employees to fill. All I had to do was write a quick e-mail and attach my resume. I was now equipped with a professionally written resume, and a scanner. Everyday after work, or when I didn’t have work (which was almost always) I would sit in front of my computer scrolling through available job postings. Most times I didn’t even bother reading what the job was really about. I just focused on what qualifications were needed and applied. If an employer showed interest and wrote me back I would reply. This however was very rare. I continued doing what I was doing and was preparing myself to be ready to give up the $470 a month to pay off my student loan. Interest had already been accumulating on it.

One day I received a phone call from a manager who worked at a place called Frisbee Home Fitness. I at that time had no idea that this store was a division of Fitness Now and that the company had stores all over Canada. The manager and I set up a time I could come in for an interview. We picked a day when I wasn’t working, which was very simple to do since I now worked about 6 hours a week. In other words, I had a lot of free time. I asked him how to get to the location because I did not drive and would have to take the bus. Without hesitation, he gave me instructions on what number bus I should take, and what landmarks I should look for to know when I was approaching my destination. Or I could simply ask the driver to notify me when we were there.

I was excited, and strategically picked out what I would be wearing for my interview. I came up with an outfit that looked professional with a hint of sexy. I had to work with what I had since I did not have an impressive work history, so if my resume failed, hopefully my looks would chime in and help get me the job. Hopefully.

I was making just under $60 a week now at Goodweather. It was pretty shitty I have to admit. OSAP at this point had all of my banking information. They had needed it in order to direct deposit my student loan into my bank account to make things easier for me to pay the tuition and buy books in the beginning. Now 6 months after my graduation, they would perform the opposite of a direct deposit. I was prepared, and after weeks or work, I had $488 saved up in my account. After they withdrew money, I would have $18 to pay for bus fare to get to work for a few days. I hoped my hours at Goodweather would pick up, and if I could get the job at Frisbee I’d be making enough to cover my OSAP payments for the following months along with bus fare and rent payments. I was so prepared and optimistic that when the day finally came for OSAP to withdraw my money, my reaction to this was one I had never expected. I logged into my bank account over my home computer, and saw that $18 remained. I was preparing myself for this, but apparently I was not prepared. I sat by the computer for several minutes looking at the screen as if I was trying to will the number to increase with my mind. It didn’t work. I got up and walked away from the computer, with a million thoughts going through my mind. I thought about how much effort I had put into my job. All of the late nights, where I would clean up the store, folded and sorted clothing, swept the floor etc... all of that, weeks of it, for what? 18 dollars? There is no way to accurately describe how I felt, and the closest verb I could think of is rape. I was a broken young girl. I crawled into the shower and sat in the bathtub and turned the water on.

 

 

24

The manager of Frisbee, Stephan, had scheduled an interview with me for the following week, as he was busy. And for the week I waited, I felt lost and nervous. I prayed I would be hired at Frisbee so I could have 2 jobs. It could be draining work, but I would make enough to pay off the loan, bus fare, rent, and maybe have more than $18 left each month for myself. I took out the $18 and went to buy myself some wine. The biggest and cheapest thing I could find was a 1.5 liter of it. It cost $15 and had a screw on cap and no cork to struggle with. I was upset and felt that I needed to get drunk immediately. And I had $3 left over, so I spent it on a lottery scratch ticket, just in case I won the $50,000 jackpot. Then I would pay off my student loan right away, take a vacation with the left over money. I would give my parents $5,000 to pay my share of the rent for a few months up front.

I went to my room and began to drink myself silly.

So I satthere watching TV and drinking wine, when I saw a commercial for a college. I won’t say which one it was specifically, but this college commercial would be aired on several channels, countless times a day. These commercials would be impossible to miss, as they were constantly bombarding me. I just never paid much attention to them. I paid attention now. The commercial promised that I would be accepted into the college and trained for a career that I wanted to pursue. Not only that, but they would actually help me find a job afterwards. This is really not something the university bothered to do. To top everything off, they would help me with the financial process. It seemed too good to be true, but perhaps this was God’s way to point me in the right direction. Plus I was a little trashed and feeling optimistic. I decided to check out their website. I did, and requested that they send me some brochures, providing them with all of my contact information when asked.

 

The next day arrived and I received a phone call from the college inviting me to visit the campus.

"Well I was actually hoping you could send me some information." I was told they do not do that. That I had to come in for an orientation, because all of the wonderful aspects of their college would be lost in brochures. I had to see for myself. I agreed, and a date and time was set for me to come by to get a tour of their campus. Now I use the term ‘campus’ very loosely here, because it was located on the upper floor of an office building. But I did not know this then. I had attended the university of Toronto. Now as I saw it, what the university had was an actual ‘campus.’ The appointment was made and I marked it down in my calendar.

 

 

25

My interview at Frisbee finally came. I took the 43 bus, just as Stephan, the manager had instructed me to. It was the exact same bus my father took to work, just at a different time. I arrived without incident. As I walked into the store I found myself first surrounded by treadmills, and as I continued walking I could see a large number of ellipticals (at the time I didn’t know what they were called), and behind the counter stood a large out-of-shape man, and to his left, there were several home gyms. I assumed correctly that the tubby man was Stephan and proceeded to walk up to him and introduced myself.

We shook hands, and he seemed to take a liking to me right away. The interview was relatively painless. He looked at my resume and said,

"You graduated from the university of Toronto?"

"Yeah I did. I just find now it’s become a pretty hard task for me to find a good paying job."

"What did you graduate with?"

"Specialist in English"

"I actually graduated from a university in Newfoundland, and have a degree in biology. After graduation, when I was trying to find a job, any place hiring didn’t seem to care that I went to a university. I understand what you must be going through," he seemed very sympathetic.

"I realize you don’t have a great deal of job experience, but that’s not going to be a problem. We’ll train you in everything. We’ll go over all of the equipment starting with the soft goods, then home gyms and wrap up with the treadmills. This way you’ll know all of the products inside and out before you start selling. Now the starting salary is a little higher then minimum wage, but you’ll get commission on everything you sell. 3% of the store profit. Then if you sell a large amount of product, making the store a large profit your commission will be raised to 6%. Basically the more you sell the more you make."

"That sounds really good. So where do we go from here? Do you need some time to consider hiring me? I can give you my references, I brought their information with me."

"Oh no," he chuckled, "If you want the job, you’re hired."

"Yes I do! When should I start?"

"How about tomorrow? You said you can work full time in your e-mail application. We usually have our employees work 6 days a week, but no more than 40 hours a week. We’ll start you off slow and get you familiar with the products."

"6 days a week? Not 5?"

"Yeah, 6 days because products come and go on a daily basis, so if you miss one day, you might be a little lost. If you miss 2 days, you’ll be really lost. So we schedule you for 6 days. Just over 6 hours a day. Sometimes more or less depending on how busy the store gets."

"Yeah, that sounds really good to me."

"We open the store at 9am tomorrow, so come before 10am and we’ll start the paperwork."

"Yeah, that sounds great."

"And Robbie is working tomorrow. He’s the assistant manager, so you’ll meet him then."

We said our goodbyes and I was so happy. I now had two jobs. A full time, and a part time one, so I would be able to pay the bills no problem. I was overjoyed. I felt then that I was hired because of my university degree. Not for the reason Iwould havepreferred. I think he could relate to me and sympathize with the fact that I basically spent so much time and money to acquire a university degree, just like him, and now I had a huge dept, and no one cared to hire me besides retail stores, who tend to hire highschool kids.

The next day I came in, the training began. I met Robbie who was half the size of Stephan. Well Stephan was a very large man and looked like he hadn’t taken a minute to work-out on a single piece of exercise equipment. Bluntly put; Stephan was fat, while Robbie on the other hand looked a little malnourished. I studied him and estimated that he must have weighted around 130 lbs, while Stephan must have been around 265 lbs. They were a funny looking twosome and so I liked them right away. I felt very much at home at that store, from the very beginning. We worked out my schedule that same day. Robbie pointed out some soft goods (dumbbells, resistance bands etc...) and I was told I could go home, as they did not want to overwhelm me on my first day. The next day I would work at Goodweather, and have the day off from Frisbee.

 

 

26

I arrived at the South Mills shopping mall with my Frisbee schedule in my pocket. Frisbee had expected me to work 4 days that first week, as not to strain me. I got to Goodweather and signed in. The manager Stephanie was not in yet, so I decided to leave her a note, letting her know that I would not be available for work for 4 days that week. That way she could keep it in mind when she was making up the new schedule.

I got ready and said hello to my co-workers. They had all taken a liking to me. I migrated myself to the ‘men’s’ section where I belonged and began straightening out anything that needed it. It was very nice to work in the men’s section of the store as not many men would stop by. And when they did, they didn’t tend to require any help or advice from me. They’d just grab the first thing they saw that looked good, and sometimes on a rare occasion ask for my opinion. In the end they would usually proceed with me to the cash register.

Every employee was kept track of. Charts of how much each employee sold every week were produced in bar graphs and hung up in the ‘brake room’, so that we could all see how well we were doing, and who was outselling whom. That’s what the bar graph charts’ purpose was. To create competition. None of us received commission, yet we were always trying to outsell each other.

I was folding men’s shirts when the manager came out of her office to see me.

"Karina, where are you?" Stephanie spotted me. "We need to talk."

"Oh okay. Is this about the days I requested to have off?"

"Yeah. We need to talk."

I followed her into her office, or the brake room at the back of our store, as a small section of it served as her office.

"Have a seat."

I did and began to feel anxious.

"I took a look at the days you requested to have off."

"Oh, that’s good. If you need me to work on any of those days, I’ll attempt to switch things around."

"Karina, do you have another job?"

"Well... yes. I have bills to pay, and I wasn’t making enough money here. Not even close."

"This isn’t gonna work Karina. You can’t have 2 jobs. What do you think will happen? You’ll be tired from your other job and come here to work and not give 100%. Is it a full time job? How many days a week do you plan to work there?"

"6."

"That’s really a lot! I’m telling you now, you have to pick one job. You can’t work here if you’re working somewhere else as well. So you have to make a decision."

"Well if I really have to decide, I guess I’ll have to let this job go then, since I’m not full time here, and the other job offered me full time hours. They also pay commission and more than minimum wage. So if you insist that I can only have one job, I think my decision is already made for me."

"So what are you saying pacifically?"

"Well, looks like I’m going to go with the other job." I was sure she meant to say ‘specifically.’

Stephanie looked at my face, confused, as if I had just presented an impossible problem for her to solve.

"I was gonna schedule you for more hours next week."

"Would you make me full time?"

"Well no... no workers here are full time. It’s company policy. But sometimes we need to schedule you to work 40 hours a week. You would still be considered part time though."

"Well Stephanie, I really want to thank you greatly for giving me a chance and a job for the past 2 months. I greatly appreciate the opportunity."

"So you’re picking the other job?"

"Well... yes. But only because the hours are more stable."

"I see. Well I guess you can just take all your stuff and go."

"You want to fire me now? I have 4 hours of work scheduled today, and I’m the only one working in the men’s section."

She looked at me with distaste.

"Okay... well I guess if you want you can work the rest of your shift today and that would be it."

So I went to my section of the store and continued to carry on with folding men’s pants. One by one the girls must have heard the news, and made their way to my section to wish me farewell. This made me tear up. They took turns hugging me goodbye. I was sad because I knew I would probably never see them again. Stephanie looked over at us with the utmost disapproval. This kind of spectacle was very bad for business. She was not amused by the cry-fest I had created, but busied herself with merchandise and let me be.

At the end of the day we closed the door and cleaned the store and Stephanie was already gone. The mall was officially closed as it was after hours. It was very peaceful. We cleaned up and left. Some walking home, some walking to their cars, and me to the bus stop. We took a moment to hug and say goodbye, and they made me promise I would come back to visit. My first real job was over. But I already had a new job, so at least I wouldn’t have to worry about that.

I came home and got ready for bed and told my parents I was fired from Goodweather because I was not allowed to work both jobs. My father said, "typical," my mother said, "Your new job, from what you’ve told me sounds a lot better than this one anyway."

So I began work at the new place. I felt horribly silly that I got so upset over losing the other job. I had thought that Goodweather was the best thing that was out there for me, simply because I had nothing to compare it to. And yes, I was very naive. I realize that now.

A week into work, Stephan assembled a new schedule for me for the following week. The days I worked, I had to be present either when the store opened or closed. So I’d start at 9am or 2pm. But unlike Goodweather, the store schedule was not set in stone. Sometimes we would all have to stay longer depending on how many customers needed our attention. We were not allowed to work overtime, and Stephan would make sure of this, because the company offered him bonus money to implement this rule. He was serious about it. So when Robbie came close to 40 hours, Stephan would demand for him to ‘sign out,’ so that way he would no longer be on the ‘clock’ and be paid overtime. Sometimes Robbie would work for free for a couple of hours here and there, because as the assistant manager, he was expected to complete certain tasks.


© Copyright 2018 Criss Sole. All rights reserved.

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