Archive for the ‘employment’ Tag

Lessons of an Employment Vagabond   2 comments

July 24, 2017 – What Kind Of Lessons Could Anyone Learn From What You Do In Your Career?
Are there life lessons that people who aren’t in your career could learn from? You might be amazed.

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Related imageI’ve been a fair number of things in my employment career. My first “real” job (not working for my mother’s daycare or babysitting the kids down the street) was washing laundry and running the cash register at a laundromat. Then I was a waitress at a family-style diner, a janitor, a maid, front desk personnel at a campground, a cashier in a few businesses, a reporter/journalism, and then I went into administration. When I first decided that I needed a job that actually paid money (reporting wasn’t providing me with a living wage), I decided my existing skills best suited office work, but I didn’t have any experience in that field, so I signed up with a temporary placement agency while I was still working as a reporter part-time. I showed what I could do. I also learned that temps, though they aren’t eligible for benefits, make more money than full-time employees, so I actually temped for about 2 1/2 years in a variety of offices — medical, legal, insurance, University of Alaska, did some research for private investigators, took minutes for some boards, and transcribed a lot of depositions and the minutes for Doyon’s annual meetings.

Then I took a break to spend time with my daughter when she was little. That company went out of business, so I had to start with a new company when I went back. I didn’t like it so well, so as soon as a temp position offered me a full-time gig that I thought I would like, I landed a “real” job. I worked in a construction company, a travel agency, and then went into the mental health field. Now I work in transportation.

I’ve probably had 25 “permanent” jobs in my working career, one for 15 years and then the one I’m working now will probably be the one I take into retirement. I expect to work about 12 years here. That job number is not unusual for Americans these days. We’re all employment vagabonds. The era where you took a job right out of high school or college and worked there until you retired has been over for about two decades. I’m not sure whether that’s a good or bad thing for society, but this one thing I learned from my own employment journey … be flexible.

Image result for image of flexibilityFlexibility is the most important tool an employee can bring to any job. Even in the long-term job I had with the mental health agency …. I used a variety of skills, the demands shifted from time to time and I had to learn new skills occasionally to continue to do my job correctly. The job I am currently in added a component to my position that is journalism-adjacent. I aggregate the transportation news for Alaska on a daily basis. Although I had a background in journalism, it required adding new skills to my set because it had been nearly 25 years since I’d worked in the field.

Flexibility keeps employees in demand and, as an indie author, it provides me the confidence to say “I can do that.” Maybe I’ve never done “that” before, but I am confident that I can learn how to do “that” because I have been acquiring new skills and being flexible my entire working career.

Flexibility is the key to employability.

Posted July 24, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop, Uncategorized

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Dropping a Penny   1 comment

Normally I pre-write a post so I have time to think about it, but I was scattered this morning, so am not prepared. Besides, I feel like saying what’s on my mind today.

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of complaints by waiters concerning customers and I have to say — shut up! I know, that’s rude and it’s not like me, but really … are you idiots?

I’m coming at this from the most respectful of places. My dad was a professional chef and my mom was a professional waitress. I calculate she waited tables for the better part of 40 years back in the days when being a waitress was something you did for a living, not just while you wait for a better job. I waited tables for a while in college, myself. I know it’s a tough job. I also know that there are better ways of handling it.

From my mother (with some influence from Dad, I’m sure) —

No, the customer is not always right, but you get better tips if he thinks he is. The customer is, after all, the reason you get paid at all. If the customer didn’t come to eat in the restaurant, the restaurant would close and you’d be panhandling on the streets. The waiter doesn’t control the quality of the food, but he/she does control the quality of the service. If you’re rude, you don’t deserve a tip.

That’s right! I said that! If you’re rude, you do not deserve a tip. If you give half-hearted service, you do not deserve a full tip.  It is not the customer’s responsibility to pay your taxes. It is your responsibility. It is your income after all. If you want more than the standard 10% tip, then give service that is over and above the standard level of service.

I’m not talking lap dances, or anything like that. I’m talking good service. My mom used to call her tips — “My applause”.  She considered her shift to be a performance and the collected tips at the end of the night to be a performance evaluation. If she got 8% or more, she figured she’d done well that night. If she got less than 8%, she asked herself “What did I do WRONG tonight?” She didn’t complain about the customer. She examined herself and took responsibility for HER performance. Mom rarely had a night that was less than 8%. She had a loyal following of customers who would follow her from cafe to cafe all over town. She had bosses who lived in fear that she would quit and paid her accordingly. When she decided to “retire” to open her own daycare center, the customers threw her a party at their own expense.

Following her advice, during my months as a waitress, I made more in tips than I ever did from my paycheck. I also had quite a few customers leave compliments with the hostess on their way out. I’ve carried that work ethic into my real jobs for the last 30 years and it has served me well.

So, shut up! Stop complaining and give the customer some good service and see if — maybe — you’ll learn something.

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