Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Even though it's tempting, I can not quit my job and become a poor, struggling writer no matter how glamorous it seems

I’m at work right now and intend to post this on my blog later. I would just write it then but my computer is a little cranky in the summer and I feel inspired now.
Like everyday, I’ve spent the morning dealing with an ignorant boss and rude customers. (It’s funny how I get one or two customers a day and they are always the rude ones.) And once again dealing with these things has filled my head with the thoughts that this job is completely pointless and that I should be looking for more meaningful or enjoyable work. And yes I know that I wouldn’t make as much money but really, oh well. I just don’t care.
When these thoughts pop into my head I have to reason with myself that maybe this job may not be so bad and that it’s helping me toward my goal of being a published writer.

First off, it’s incredibly slow as far as sales and customers go. If I added up all the time a customer was in the store during the day it would be about an hour. That usually gives me about 6-7 hours to read, write and edit. Plus, I’m getting paid for it.
And no matter how much my boss and the customers annoy me I feel like they are training me for dealing with editors, publishers and critics. Sometimes editors are going to veto my opinion even if I think they are completely wrong. Just like I truly believe most ideas my boss comes up with are stupid but he’s the boss.
Also, every time a customer calls me stupid I have to let it go and continue to politely smiling. So when critics say that my work is awful I’ll have plenty of training of polite smiling and hopefully, by then I’ll have learned to not take it personally. Although, insulting my writing is a bit more personal than calling me an idiot over something I am certain is not my fault nor do I care.
So the demands of customers and practicing the art of multitasking will probably come in handy when I’m dealing with deadlines and multiple projects.

Another good thing about this job is the air conditioning. I don’t have it at home and the summer heat makes my computer crash every ten minutes. So it’s fabulous to have another computer chilling in the air conditioning at work, ready for me to use.
I am really not a big fan of hot weather. Once it gets over 85 degrees I’m in a bad mood. I know, all those people that live in the south are telling me to quit complaining but if they let me complain about this I won’t make any comments in the winter when they think 30 degrees is cold. Anyway, I’m not a fan of the heat and maybe I would get used to it if it was around longer. But when it is hot here I don’t feel like doing anything except sitting in front of a fan. So it’s nice to come to work where there’s air conditioning and I can comfortably type away.

I think one of the best things about this job could actually be the shoes. Not because I love to buy shoes but because I feel like shoes have their own personality. You can come up with great characters by trying to figure out what kind of person would buy certain shoes. And some times real customers help the idea along. Of course the company names and style names often help inspire character names.
We used to play this game at the store where you had to pick a shoe that had the same characteristics as a fellow employee or yourself. It’s really interesting what you can get from shoes. Remember Jenni’s project for her students about walking in someone else’s shoes? It doesn’t just give a writer character ideas, it helps us understand people and who they are, which makes us better people and better writers.

Of course what shoes they bought or wore, weren’t the only things that gave me character ideas. There were some people that became characters because they were just entertaining. Sure a customer demanding that we either drop her shoes off or open early for her may seem like a pain but without customers like her Behind the Naugahyde would be empty.

Out of all the things that have been good about this job, the best would for sure have to be the awesome people that I’ve met. I’m not talking about the annoying customers, jerk bosses and the lazy employees that make great characters; I’m talking about Jenni, Angie and Sharon.
Without Jenni there would be no Behind the Naugahyde. I also can’t figure out who would have done all my proofreading and given me so many ideas to make my stories better for the last few years.
Sharon reads anything I write and is always asking for more, which is just fantastic.
Angie has given me a few good story ideas too and her artistic personality can be inspiring. Yet, I still have to harass her to stop by and read my blog or sign the guest book at Behind the Naugahyde.
And of course they’re amazingly supportive and encouraging. I can’t describe how nice it is to have people to talk about writing to that don’t roll their eyes at me.
There’s also no way I could forget to mention that they are remarkable people who are the best friends a person could ask for.

Oh my goodness, I almost forgot to mention the office supplies. I can print out everything at work and save paper and ink. Plus I get some use out of envelopes, paper clips and other random things. Don't worry, it's not stealing. When I tried to conserve this stuff to save the store money my boss actually lectured me about how it was a waste of time because it was all so ridiculously cheap.

Needless to say there are a lot of good things that have come from selling shoes, aside from having unique job titles such as Bench Wench and Ass. Man. It’s also pretty obvious that I was grasping to find some purpose in a few of these things. But this is the list of stuff I have to go over in my head ever time a customer comes in and tells me that people have no idea what they go through and complains about how hard life is for them because they have a narrow heel.What are they suppose to do? The agony. At this point going over the benefits, keeps me from shouting out “well at least you can afford shoes. I'm pretty sure that people who can't even afford to eat would love any shoes no matter how they fit you whiny, selfish *beep*”.
I thought I’d write them down so I can reflect on it and so everyone can remind me that things aren’t bad when I’m screaming that I’m going to slap my boss and I don’t care if I get fired.

I don't have to worry about going over these things for the next few days because I'm on a mini-vacation. Two days off plus my weekend. My boss wasn't too thrilled about giving me the time off because apparently it's pointless to want a break for yourself if you can't afford to go camping for two weeks or Vegas or Mexico, which he has taken off enough time to do all of those things in a five month time frame.
When he said this to me I had to really think about the good things listed above and I for surely need them when I'm forced to go back after seeing how great four days of not being there is.


jenni said...

This is a really great post!Although it's also sad because so much is sadly true... I still LOL'd at the office supplies and I love that you put a positive spin on all the negativity. I am getting addicted to your blog here and every time I come back there is something more exciting to read! :) KUTGW (my new internet slang for keep up the good work!)

Ashley said...

Thanks Jenni, I'm glad that you are enjoying my blog. Of course, now I feel pressure to write good post so I don't let you down.