One For District John

When time and erosion sent our buildings falling sideways, one of the district guys came crashing through my business much to its benefit. Unfortunately it was a happy accident that would only last for a little while.

Given the changes, uncertainties and things in my workplace’s personal past I saw District John as damage control: knowledgeable, guiding, and not going anywhere. I never shared my takeaways because I didn’t think they mattered outside of my own opinion. He was here, numbers were improving and I assumed it all spoke for itself. Turns out, he ended up being one of the greatest leaders I’ve ever met and I have a lot to say about that.

No one else reads other people better – and actually does something with that ability. I’ve come in to work feeling like some kind of crack fiend, sick and worried about being a far cry from my best, and John has asked above all other things, “Is everything okay?”. The rest of the world for the entirety of my life has at most, silently noted that I didn’t look good and moved on with their agendas. John noticed something different, reached out and made a crucial connection that without a doubt made a difference in my day and improved the performance of the workplace overall.

He did that kinda stuff all over the place.

We nearly lost an associate because she was habitually absent and wasn’t receiving performance development. John used his power to re-position her where she otherwise would never have had the chance to sell a shit-ton of things after the fact. The message in his lifeline? Look, this is for real. And it’s time to grow up. No one else would have conveyed that. No one else did.

What other managers, especially those residing higher up, have spent so much time on the sales floor learning about who people really are? What other managers have been seen on their hands and knees fixing signs and stocking shelves or driving to the store for something we didn’t have for a client?  John caught the balls we were dropping. He hit the targets we were missing. And he did it, following along behind us, oftentimes without blatant explanation. I believe that not everyone knew what to make of it – that some didn’t even notice because they were ignorant to what it meant and how it reflected their own performance.

So many times he would stand at the front doors and extend conversation with customers, de-escalating by handing out promotional trinkets to crying kids or running out to grab carts from the parking lot. It took a while, hearing what he had to say and watching what he did, to realize that he was showing us what more we could do. On one rainy day I looked out at a cart in the handicapped spot and I had to confess… DAMMIT. It was hard to be like him.

I’ve been listening to everyone with the audacity to share their two cents and it’s kind of ironic how the people who struggle the most in their position all happen to have serious issues that need working on. It makes me wonder if there are any more team members like me who refrained from letting John know how much we needed him…and if the chatter of anything less set the tone for his journey elsewhere (back to the offices). After all, if everything we say and do really matters, maybe the frustration and struggle of it on our part made him feel like we weren’t thankful and that he needed to be where there were more people like him. Where people are better developed and their hair lasts longer because you aren’t constantly pulling it out over unreasonable clients. Where everyone is on the level.

But the truth is that people like him need to be in places like this.

Dear Diary and Everyone Else

My brother is home again, taking some time to rest and adjust. I assume it will be a few days until he is back out on the streets making a damn fool of himself and getting arrested for ridiculously stupid reasons (reference: charging a cop car on foot, exiting a bar and exclaiming “Well, I’m gonna go blow up the cinema”, pleading at crazy love interest to not break into random vehicle before being tackled as an accomplice in possession of marijuana, riding a bicycle past homes at 4 AM while singing loudly, etc etc etc). Oh, you know, all of the crazy shit that happens when you refuse to take your medications and hang around users in the sad reality that your sister can barely wrap her head around before feeling tired and hopeless. Welcome home, Christopher.

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current Tama model with attachment

The Tamagotchi* I was carrying around, died. Correction: it left, which is equivalent to dying as the envelope flying through the air with a teary face means that all of the time you invested and any achievement you unlocked has all gone away. Suddenly what was a minor eccentricity seems a blaringly humiliating quirk, having been willing to cart a plastic egg around to the most professional of places for what you always knew meant nothing but suddenly was the big, black void in your life.

“I’ll be your friend, I mean, since you need one,” the head boss commented as he noted the toy on my desk. From back when I at least had that.

Make no small thing of the Tamagotchi departing, for it is small in size but heavy in weight – seriously though, it can feel pretty awful to lose the only save you made in a long game. Since then I have started over with an emphasis on the importance of not going to bed while the Tamagotchi is at its part-time job; it will work itself into a state of hunger and unhappiness while I’m out like a rock. Okay, so maybe I was a bit of a slave driver. But we needed those points to redeem for amazing pixelated presents and I’m not about to sit down and actually earn them with the damn thing – I’m busy.

This week I’m giving a presentation at the district training for asset protection. It’s going to be pretty sweet because I will be toting along my A-Game, which admittedly is much harder on a daily basis than when I have advanced notice of needing to show up and inspire the company I work for. Much like Britney Spears, between performances I can get pretty scary looking (acting/sounding/alarming to others…) and it is best to just focus on The Autumn Machine than the girl with the online journal and virtual pet and all of that nonsense.

Ap’s Log, fiscal date 6/24/13. The crew has started to display an uncommon behavioral trait of heightened awareness surrounding my CCTV surveillance. It seems that an unknown element has recently made my capabilities known to them, more so than before, and while their means to wonder is only natural… the underlying reasons for their incessant whistle-blowing is proving to be counter-productive to what a “crew” should be.

“Hey, go to the cash office. Who is that? Who is in there with them? How long have they been in there?”

“Can you keep an eye on Whatshisface and let me know when he comes off from his break?”

AP’s Log, Supplemental. An unknown virus has continued to cause attempts at invasive, abusive power of the Eye In the Sky. I have refused all requests while hoping to discover a cure. Even GoodyGoodguy, who normally does jumping jacks for our mission because they make him giggle, has started to show symptoms.

“Hey, zoom in on MyCo-worker.”

“Why, GoodyGoodguy?”

“I just…I don’t know. I have some questions there.”

Disorienting, distracting, whatever this is has the potential to knock us completely out of alignment. I’ve taken it upon myself to address this with the council and hopefully my message will alleviate some of the madness in time. Also, I have been researching park visits on the Tamagotchi during certain hours and it seems that if you talk to the dog-looking ones three times you can adopt it as a pet, essentially, a pet for your virtual pet.

Perhaps I amuse myself with simple games to avoid playing the foolish ones.

*Link Provided above is Youtube: Many Tamagotchis Were Harmed In the Making… a video about hacking the Tamagotchi

That Would Have Been Cool

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This year’s snapdragons. As hard as I’ve tried to lay off bright, tropical colors, I really like seeing the range of hues pink-orange-yellow in one thing. Very neat.

While scavenging for food, I happened to spot a large Snickers bar with a price tag directly blow it that read: Snickers Squared, $1.29:

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You can clearly see that the label appears to read Snickers2 as in, Snickers times itself. And this particular candy bar is over-sized and fashioned into two separate chunks, all the more seeming like a clever, wallet-friendly snack.

But oh, oh no.

When I got up to the counter these chocolate turds rang up for an entire dollar more, throwing off the entire scale of savings. For a dollar more, I could add an entire drink. For another dollar, why not go across the street to a fast food value menu?

Having doubted everything and refusing to look like I wasn’t in the know, I paid my two dollars and proceeded to investigate. Nothing wrong with someone lurking at the front lanes’ candy selection, hell no. Before I would unleash a verbal lashing I would have my facts in order and price tag in hand. This wasn’t just about everyone getting ripped off on their way out of a store – this was about me getting ripped off…and on an average day at a moment’s notice I am 10x the fury of everyone else.

As it turns out, ‘Snickers Squared’ is not a cheeky math reference aimed at those with a decent IQ who are looking for a sweet bite to eat. ‘Snickers Squared’ is a tiny square bar of Snickers shit (which I had to research because the store didn’t have any in stock) and the wrong product was sitting above the price tag. ‘Snickers 2’ means to suggest to idiots the fact that you can eat half of something and save the other half for another time: ‘Snickers 2 Go’. And to help that point along they have sealed both halves separately in chocolate in case you forget what the plan was.

There are two of them. It is technically squared. And priced wrong. And it took more of my money than it said it would. As I relayed these facts to the manager on duty he looked blankly at the various items I had set on the counter, like he had gone somewhere far, far away, perhaps back in time when there was only one kind of Snickers and life was much more simple then.

“I’m no candy bar expert,” he began to persuade, “but I’m pretty sure the ‘Squared’ one is little squares or something.” (haha,Cubed3) He was perfectly content with being void of all passion for any point I was trying to make. I crumbled the incorrect tag in my hands and walked away.

Then I ate my Snickers bar, reflecting on the Thing That Would Have Been Cool But Wasn’t.

Maybe I’m just thinking too much.