Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Gainful Employment

I got a job! I had interviewed, probably back in September for a part time position at an international cosmetics* company but, alas, didn't get the job. I avoided the shop for a while but on Friday, when I was in the mall to have my eyes checked, I stopped in to pick something up. The manager remembered me, asked if I was still looking for work, and if I wanted a seasonal position starting Monday (yesterday). Um, yeah! I spent the rest of the day buzzing around, planning celebratory things to buy with my first pay cheque (none of which I've bought yet - see, I have self-restraint).

Yesterday was my first day, a 4hr shift. I'm guaranteed 4hrs a week which is a minimum and the opposite of the US system which seems more geared towards maximums. This week, for example, I have another 4-hr shift scheduled for Friday. The schedule is called the "rota". That was a bit of confusion as my request for the "skedu-ol"** was met with blank looks and I tried to talk my way around what a schedule is ("uh, hours and days when one will be working?") while miming a sort of calendar. Rota. Right. The day was a bit higgledy-piggledy, or as my manager put it, "we're all at sixes and sevens right now."

I spent most of my day restocking shelves, which is generally a good way to learn the product. I have the advantage of having been a fairly loyal customer for years, but things move around and there's a different level of attention given to browsing and knowing the stock. I didn't get any training on register but I did sell a woman two bottles of perfume (for her mother) and ring her up on my manager's till (while my manager stood next to me and told me which buttons to press). I was also taught how to enter and exit the store without tripping the people-counter which corporate uses to track customers vs sales.

As far as dress code goes, we only explicitly covered the need to keep one's hair back off of one's face and wear "five points" of make-up. Five points wasn't clearly defined, but I took it to mean five items of make-up with things like multiple shades of eye shadow being counted as one. So mascara (ma-SCAR-ah not ma-SCARE-a), eye shadow, foundation, blush, lipstick (lippy). This explains the dichotomy between fully made up faces and less than perfectly coiffed hair and a t-shirt. Normally I'd take a dim view of dress codes requiring make-up but, as part of the job is specifically selling make-up, it seems reasonable. Happily I'll be given "five points" of make-up, hopefully at my discretion. Wearing make-up once or twice a week is "fun dress-up" territory, right?

The other dress code we covered (minus a couple of allusions to not wearing flip flops or sandals) was a seasonal red t-shirt exhorting the happiness to be found in giving CosmeticsCompany gifts. My manager said they originally sent out one size of ridiculously small t-shirts that she wasn't confident would fit an 8 year-old and managed to get some larger ones in. The larger ones are "medium" and don't fit over my considerable bosom so it has been suggested that I just wear a red t-shirt of my own and she'll try and get a larger (x-large) shirt for me. I find it somewhat unlikely that I'm the only medium+ employee on the sales floor.

I also got to watch a Health and Safety video which could have been greatly improved had it delivered on the implied promise of potentially dangerous situations ending badly. The video demonstrated the proper technique for cleaning shelves - almost elbow-length rubber gloves and a clear plastic welder-style face mask (the bit about taking everything off a given shelf, wiping it down, and putting it back was merely implied). The not-properly-instructed-in-H&S employee (who was just wiping around the objects on the shelf) cut his un-gloved hand on a shard of glass and then decided to spray the cleanser directly into the open wound - between sucking on the cut and bandaging it roughly with the dirty cleaning cloth. As you do.

I have a few more seasonal or part time things floating around out there, so hopefully this is the start of a busier, less financially dependant, period in my life.

* in the broader soaps, perfumes, lotions sense of cosmetics in addition to the "make-up" sense

** as opposed to the British "shhed-ule

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