My deepest apologies to my followers, old and new. I haven’t been writing much up here, thanks to my ever demanding job on the bottom rung on the retail corporate ladder. The fact that it’s the holiday season doesn’t help much. No. It definitely doesn’t help.
But that’s why I decided to take a few minutes to share my thoughts. Working in various retail positions, both high and low, for ten years has put me in a slightly jaded attitude during this time of year. So many people need help, want your undivided attention, are stealing left and right, arguing for undeserved discounts, fist fighting, telling you how to do your job, you name it. Bosses demand numbers at whatever cost. Coworkers seem to have perpetual PMS. And don’t get me started on the mess. This year I started taking photographic evidence of the destruction customers (and coworkers) leave behind. Apparently, my stories of retail disasters “sound worse than they probably are.” Can’t say I’m exaggerating now, suckers.
Anyway, I digress. The gist of what I’m saying is that working in this field during the holiday season can be very demanding, stressful, and devoid of cheer. I’m usually battling between feeling jolly like Santa–my normal disposition–and evil like a pre-merry Grinch. This year, however, I’m taking things more in stride. Yes, I still have moments when I feel like someone is riverdancing on my last nerve, but the feeling doesn’t last. It doesn’t linger. This is new for me. And I like it.
One thing I have learned ever so slowly is that a lot of the stress factors stemming from working this industry are small, minute even. The problem comes when the small problems snowball into a big mess. That’s okay, though. I finally learned to face each small, nerve-wrecking annoyance with a Coke and a smile. Sounds simple, right? It is, but it helps. I do my best not to let seemingly negative things affect my mood. I’d be lying if I said this always works, but I can say that it helps me to stay focused and not allow the small things to become big. I treat everything like water off my back; I just let it roll off.
I can see a difference in my mood. I don’t wake up ready to kill the world nor do I approach each day with fear and trembling. I just accept the challenges of each day with the best attitude and effort I can offer. Occasionally I falter, but I have a good support system that won’t let me stay down no matter how much I want to.
That’s another thing I learned; you have to have a release system. Whether it is a tasty cocktail at the end of a shift, a kick-back at a friend’s house, or shopping, doing something fun for yourself takes a lot of steam out of a rough day. And let’s face it, Christmastime retail workers have plenty of that. It’s funny, though, how easily we forget ourselves in the mad rush to serve other people. Taking a little time for ourselves can make all the difference in the world. Me? I’ve kept my nose in books. Every spare moment I have before, during, and after work I spend reading. That’s my outlet, and I’m so getting my money’s worth. I think I burned a hole in my Amazon account buying books every day. Those things add up.
Holidays can be a trying time for anyone. It’s taken me a long time to find out how to balance a hectic work like with a hectic personal life. It’s far from perfect but I can see the progress I have already made. I consider it a blessing. I’ll leave you with this: Things are not always as bad as they appear. Take everything in stride as best as you can and have patience. That last part is the most difficult. Patience with yourself, your family, your coworkers, and even random strangers is so necessary in maintaining your sanity.
With that, I say take heed, farewell, and if I don’t get a chance to say it later, happy holidays.
Yeah, that works, too.