Starting Over for the 22nd Time

Starting a new job is amazingly exhausting. This one has another dimension of emotional difficulty because I am still wounded over how my last job ended. I haven’t told anyone about it at my new place. Keeping a secret like this causes me stress in itself as I like to be upfront and honest. The problem is that society is so divided over the vaccination issue that I dare not say anything. I need this job. (Read about the loss of my job, here: Vaccination: The 24/7 Helmet You Can Never Remove)

The first day I was going into work, I felt a little nervous. I told myself that I’d started many new jobs and I could do it again.

22 and Counting

Then I realized I wasn’t kidding myself – I had started many new jobs. I counted them all – every job I’ve had since my very first job as a busgirl when I was 15. This is the 22nd new job I’ve started in my life. This does not include volunteer work, which would add an additional 10 places I’ve worked over the years. There’s probably more but those are the ones I remember or that I did long term. (I volunteered at one place for 15 years, another two for over 5 years each, and many special events.) In addition, I also went back to university when I was 37 and had to start there – which was terrifying.

So that’s 32 places where I have shown up, gotten to know others, been instructed on what to do, and worked.

What’s Another One, Right?

The work itself is usually a relief. It’s all the stuff that goes along with a new job that taxes my system. Maybe I just like routine. Until that routine is established, I’m stressed. There’s the figuring out what kinds of clothes would fit in best, what time I need to leave the house, where to park, how to get into the building, and then how to sign in, and where to put my lunch and boots when I get there.

Getting to know co-workers’ names and who is who is another challenge, especially when there are a lot of people to meet. There are over 80 people at my new job in the health food store. They rotate around so that there are new people every shift. Recognizing faces is even more difficult than usual because of the stupid masks everyone is forced to wear. I’m sure I missed a lot of social clues because of them. I am also nervous about my age and wondered if I’d fit in with my co-workers. I am relieved to find that about half seem to be around my age and the other half much younger. The younger people are very accepting and fun, for the most part.

First Day, First Hour, First Disappointment

On my very first day we had training at 7am so I brought my coffee. I removed my mask to drink it and thought that was OK but a young girl turned to me and pointed to my face. Right away I replaced my mask and put my coffee down. I felt my face go red with a kind of anger because this is the kind of bullshit that the government has encouraged. People fink on each other and “call each other out” as if they are holier than thou. The HR person shook her head at the young girl, as if to say that it was OK but the damage was done. On my very first day, during my very first hour, this was very discouraging. I was determined not to like that girl.

But Then Again, You’re Not Alone

Of course, I ended up liking her just fine. She is very helpful, whenever I have a question, and takes it upon herself to know quite a lot about everything. I find her very amusing, as long as her loftiness is not directed at me.

One day an older customer approached me and was asking about something. This girl rushed over to intervene as I’m only in training and not supposed to talk too much to the customers yet. After she went away to find whatever it was the woman wanted, the customer turned to me and said, “I hate know-it-alls, don’t you?” I am not ashamed to say that I laughed very hard over this.

Physical Exhaustion

I’ve welcomed the physical difference of this new job and I know that it’ll get easier as soon as my body adjusts to it. Having worked in an office for 15 years, even with my sit/stand desk, I am not used to being on my feet all day. But staring at a computer for eight hours every day was getting harder and harder. My eyes were shot by the time I got home. In this job I am walking around, back and forth, bending and lifting, and on my feet all day. So far, that has been really good, even if I am “done” by the time I get home.

Mental Exhaustion

There is also a ton of learning required, including seminars and home study, which is tiring. Initially, I applied to be a grocery clerk but they asked if I’d work in vitamins. Little did I realize what I’d be expected to know! I’ve been following my co-worker around all week and have heard her make suggestions for stomach and digestion issues, anemia, stress, lack of sleep, anxiety, arthritis, headaches, Covid, allergies, eye trouble, hair loss, memory loss, dry skin, pregnant women, kids who dislike all vitamins, people who want more protein or electrolytes or energy, and several women who wanted makeup, to name a few!  

Vitamin Overload

I feel pretty good about my own poor eyesight and sore left foot after listening to everyone’s complaints. Meanwhile, I’ve bought so many vitamins and things that I’ve gone in the hole! I want to get my Mom and Dad on some good multi-vitamins, omegas, and Vitamin D3 + K2 (did you realize that you should always take Vitamin K2 with Vitamin D3? Vitamin D stabilizes calcium in your blood and vitamin K helps shuttle that calcium to your bones). For my daughter’s birthday, I got her the best organic vegan protein powder + omegas that money can buy plus some natural perfume and a few other goodies. I also bought myself some greens to throw into smoothies. Will work for supplements!

It feels good to spend my money on healthy things for the people I love, though.

Party Like it’s 1999

Every day is like a party for me. I haven’t been around this many people in years. I absolutely love it. The customers are hilarious, despite having some of the most hideous of physical challenges. Most of them are quite willing to joke about these conditions, believe it or not. I am also really heartened by how many people refuse to wear masks! Maybe the people that go into a health food store are more likely to be “outlaws”, I don’t know. I’m sure the customers will aggravate and annoy me soon enough but right now they are my favourite part of this new adventure. I really do love people, no matter how much they have hurt me.

Cheaters in Isle 3

Yesterday there was an awkward moment as I was sweeping the store with one of those wide floor brooms used in industrial places. I know how to sweep, thank you job #6, and remembered the wide back and forth that I need to do to contain anything picked up. It felt good to actually know what I was doing and I was happily going through the store when I ran into someone I knew from my old workplace. He is a professional who worked on the floor above ours so he was surprised to see me. I did not elaborate on what happened and tried to paint the job change in the best light I could but the fact was, here I stood, in an apron and simple clothes with a broom in my hand.

Then I remembered that I have been where he is now and wouldn’t trade him places for the world. He is very unhappy in his marriage and does shady things. Like messaging me privately and trying to engage me in those kinds of conversations that are called “emotional” cheating. I know that if you’re doing something you cannot tell your spouse, even if it’s just talking, it’s still cheating. I have learned this the hard way. Your spouse is the one you need to tell your unhappiness and dissatisfaction to. This I told him, in a kind of bemused way. I also told him that leaving was hell and he would be better off making the best of his marriage. He stops messaging after I say these things. I don’t think he has the stones to go through what I have.

That’s the Trouble With Married Men

Now, any single woman has stories like these of propositions by married men. Most men are too frightened of being alone to be honest and get out of their marriages before lining someone else up. At least, that’s what my single friends and I have found. Maybe that’s not true where you are. Rare it is for a guy to become single and happily stay that way while they figure out what went wrong. They tend to jump into another relationship quickly and permanently. For better or, usually, for worse.

This guy is incredibly unhappy and looking to get out. The funny thing is that I know two other women that he has tried to get involved with. Forget six degrees! This town is two degrees of separation. One of them was quite offended and afraid to be alone with him afterwards. Not me, of course. I would welcome a deep conversation with him about what he’s doing. I wish someone had done the same for me. Be intentional at the very least. However, he avoids these conversations. I am not a comfortable person to be around if you don’t want to talk about your motivations and the repercussions of your behaviour.

Flirtin’ With Disaster Every Day

Worse yet for him, I am no longer flattered by some smooth talking guy who talks me up. In fact, I dislike the forced small talk he uses as he reaches out. It’s annoying and I don’t have time for it. (The Molly Hatchet song, “Flirtin’ With Disaster” comes to mind. Ha! In more ways than one!)

Did I mention that I have no interest in someone else’s husband? I don’t care how successful or wealthy he is. I don’t want any part of the mess he’s going to make. Guys like this are the worst. *shudder*

But of course we spoke politely in the store, me with a suppressed smile knowing what I know about him, grateful for the mask after all. I imagine to outsiders it looked like an incredibly unbalanced relationship – a well-dressed, fit man deigning to speak with a pudgy woman little better than a janitor. The truth is that our relationship is unbalanced, with me standing in my power because I know full well who I am and what I’m doing – and he, sadly, not at all. I feel for him, I really do. He told me I could still check my messages even if I’m off Facebook but I just laughed.

Shiny Happy People do not Exist

Later the same day, the first boyfriend I ever had came into the store. (Another awkward moment as I was training and shadowing my co-worker but he didn’t see me at first. He was detailing what ailment he came in for…if I could have melted to give him privacy, I would have!) But it was fine. When he saw me, we had a chat and have texted back and forth since. I knew him before I had my first job and we’ve been friends for many years, although we’d lost touch. He’s had a rough time of it and I’m kind of wondering if everyone has. Everyone looks perfect on the Facebook surface.

Being Seen & Showing Up

So the exhaustion will lessen and I will get physically stronger within a few weeks. I am also going to have to prepare myself to see people I haven’t seen for a long time. This is something I hadn’t factored in when I decided it would be a cool place to work. I kind of thought I would be best hiding away in some out of the way place and leaving everything behind.

The Universe (God?!) has other ideas, as usual. Let’s exclude Kathy from every social circle and every cultural event in the city she grew up in and see how she copes. What if we get her fired so she has to start yet again and make sure she can’t go back to the type of job she had with its good pay and security? And then we can force her to end her relationship so she’s alone while she deals with all this. Finally, we’ll put her in awkward situations to see if she really has been able to abandon her ego.

Oh, yeah?

The problem with people that have lost everything is that they have nothing left to lose. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, God-o.

My Road Rage Incident

Seriously? I did get mad as hell at God this week when someone was driving too slowly in front of me when I wanted to go faster. I lost it – road rage, screaming angry style, pounding the steering wheel. Wound up tight and barely coping. It doesn’t take much for my defenses to come crashing down.

Familiar Feelings

I recognize the anger, the insanity. What I’m doing is taking Ashwagandha to support my adrenals, which are working like a bugger spewing out cortisol, and giving myself a huge break. This starting over is hard work, emotionally. If I sometimes slip into my addictions at this time or forget to wish someone a happy birthday or where I put my keys, it’s ok. It will pass. It always does. More quiet time (not a problem these days), more Carol Burnett on my iPad, more hyper-focused writing on what is going through my head and I will survive this.

You’re Fired

Writing about my meltdown in my journal, I wondered: why did I get so crazy so quickly? Then I remembered. The day before I received the official “fired” letter from job #21. It is just a formality since I’ve been gone for two months and I dismissed it as soon as I filed it. But apparently, it was a body blow to my emotions.

Here is how my former boss ended the letter: “You are a wonderful person and you were a fabulous employee. I would be delighted to be a job reference for you because I would have a lot of great things to say about you.”

Not wonderful enough. Not fabulous enough.

Ouch ouch ouch.

Job #21 is Officially Over

I am moving on, I have to. Job #22 will become a routine and will turn from a source of stress into a source of comfort and enjoyment in time.

If it doesn’t, I’ll be looking for #23.


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