Shifting Duties

There are three major jobs for people with my skill level at work: Register, Maintenance, and Sales, which I am good at, okay at, and terrible at, respectively. This is because Register is really straightforward, Maintenance lacks structure, and Sales involves approaching shoppers out of the blue and convincing them to buy stuff.  

Almost every one of my shifts is on the Register, which is safe, because I know it and can handle it, even on the worst day, and it’s the one place I’m comfortable making small talk.  

However, I’ve noticed a new trend lately. I’ve been getting a lot more Sales and Maintenance shifts. And on top of that, I’ve frequently been pulled off the register and flung out onto the floor to help customers or to make the store look pretty. I’m picturing the managers gathered around, working on ways to get me out of my comfort zone. Kate says I’m being paranoid. 

And then one day a manager came to me and said, “You’re doing a better job at approaching customers on the sales floor. We were all talking about it at the meeting.” 

See!? See? 

One of the bits of jargon that is used at work is that, when it comes to bad sales figures, bad enrollment for our customer appreciation program, or even a messy store, these things aren’t called problems—they’re called opportunities. It gives us a chance to sell more, or to step up our sign-up pitch, or to make the place sparkle. And so, in this vein, I’m not being treated badly by being pulled away from the thing I know, but I’m being given an opportunity.  

I just wish it wasn’t so daunting. 



I don’t fit in at work. I’ve been really self-conscious of this lately as I’ve watched the teasing and banter my colleagues have with each other. When they work closely with one another they chat away; when I work closely with someone there’s silence. I know I’m not imagining things because this came up during my last two evaluations*. 

It’s not like there’s anything wrong with my coworkers. They’re not cliquey or rude. I just can’t get the hang of small talk. I used to be able to. I don’t know what happened. That’s one of the most frustrating things about depression—even when you’re having a functional day, you still remember when you were well, and the person you were then is so foreign to you. 

I’m not sure what I should do, except go to work and keep trying. 


* What also came up is the fact that I don’t smile enough. 

Summer Champ

I won a prize at work!  

You know how at some cash registers at some stores they try to get you to enroll in their email reward programs? The ones you probably say no to because you don’t want to get anymore junk mail?  

Well I have managed to sign up a higher percentage of people than anyone else at the store. Mind you, that’s still a pretty low percentage overall, but I’m way above average. So much so that the managers want me to share my secret* with other employees. 

Go me! 


* I don’t actually know my secret. I just ask people if they want to join, and a lot of people say yes. 

The Fall Guy

A few weeks ago at work I fell off a ladder. For the second time. I’m pretty sure they think of me there as That Guy Who Falls Off Ladders.  

It could have been worse, though. It could have been like my first time, where I lashed out to brace myself on the closest shelf, only to have it collapse, spilling its contents all over me, so I grasped at the one underneath it, only to have it collapse, spilling its contents all over me, so I grasped at the one underneath it, only to have it collapse, spilling its contents all over me, until I thudded against the floor, covered in kitchen organizers.  

One of our employee mottos is “Safety First,” but I am clearly too much of a rebel to abide by it. 

Customer Service

Disclaimer: I take my job seriously and treat my customers with the utmost respect. That said … 

A woman today came up to me at the cash register and told me she was looking for the “old-fashioned tabs.” I asked her exactly what kind of tabs she was looking for, she said “the old-fashioned tabs.” I asked her what she was planning on using them for, and she said, “organizing.” I asked her where in the store she purchased them before, and she said, “I don’t remember. Just that they were the old-fashioned tabs.” I asked her what specifically she was looking for, and she said impatiently, “The Old. Fashioned. Tabs.”  

Meanwhile, the line behind her grew.  

Ordinarily in this situation I would go to a computer and search for what the item might be based on a general description. But “old-fashioned tabs” wasn’t giving me much to go on (I even typed in “old-fashioned tabs” just to see if it was a brand name I was unaware of. I’ve been surprised by that kind of thing before.).  

Meanwhile the line behind her grew. 

So I tapped a bunch of buttons on the keyboard at random and said to her with great disappointment, “Oh, I’m sorry, we don’t carry those anymore.” 

“That’s okay, I didn’t think you did,” she replied, clearly satisfied with the exchange. 

The rest of the day was a bit more normal.