Friday, December 07, 2007
Non-Progress Report #2

I am now a book-checking robot.

Work has become a single, non-stop rush into and from which I periodically insert and extract myself. During that time, I am merely a conduit between patron and computer system, a being that can make eye contact and smile and use fuzzy logic and abstract reasoning, that can respond appropriately to questions both simple and complex. I am the ultimate user-friendly interface. And that's about all I am.

Hi, how are you? Good. Did you find everything you were looking for? Do you have a Fnorders Reward Card? It's our free discount program, I'd be happy to tell you about it. Do you need a gift receipt today? Your total is $42. If you could please sign this copy for me... and here's your receipt, and you also have a coupon for 25.7% percent off an item starting May 12 of next year. Would you like your receipt in the bag? There you go, have a good afternoon. I can take the next customer!

I cycle through that routine easily 150 times in a shift.

And I'm not even especially good at it. I'm fine at dealing with customers, and I'm fast -- I've even been complimented by customers on my speed. But when it comes to hitting the corporate numbers that my managers care most about underneath the rhetoric about satisfaction and the shopping experience, I'm no better than mediocre. My stats for new sign-ups are slightly below-average, my percentage of Fnorders Rewards transactions in the bland middle of the pack. I ask every single customer, but when they seem rushed or terse I don't pester them for it. Because I hate it when that happens to me, and frankly, I could give a shit how much money they spend, could care less if they ever come back. And that's why I'll never really find a place in retail.

There are worse ways in which to be mediocre, I suppose.

And I'm still only a temp, while some of the girls who came in with me have been taken on permanently. In my defense, that was more a question of circumstance than anything else -- they were taken on after being trained in some other aspects of Fnorders operations, a training cycle into which I was also invited but ultimately left out of because I'd previously requested a day off in the middle of the week in which training subsequently took place. There's every likelihood that I'll still be taken on, seeing as I haven't actively fucked up yet, and I am actually better at making customers happy than some of the others. But it hasn't happened yet.

But as December rolls on, I'm becoming a little anxious again about finding the next thing to hop to -- Fnorders will last at least into January, but I don't think I can afford, either financially or spiritually, to stay for very long.

So the feelers are beginning to reach out, however tentatively. I'm meeting with the executive directors of a local film non-profit on Wednesday, and they seem keen to talk about how I might work with them. I don't expect to see a paycheck out of it, of course. But sometimes if you can make yourself useful to people who know other people, they might be inclined to look out for your interests when they can, and the paychecks can eventually come, even if indirectly. And I have a few other people on my list for starters, courtesy of one of the most awesome filmmakers I've ever met. With Christmas coming up I don't expect immediate results, but perhaps afterwards some new opportunity will arise. I just hope it arises by January 11.

And I desperately want to edit -- I come home every night and think about it. But so far I still don't have any semblance of a facility at which to do it -- my little windows box is no match for the 100+ GB of video I've got on my hard drive. So much for a rough cut by Christmas. I was also rejected recently, in a very nice way, for a part-time film writing gig for a local freebie alt newspaper. They were super cool about it, though, and had actually read my stuff and liked it; it just wasn't, as the classic rejection-letter phrase goes, quite what they were looking for. And I knew it wouldn't be, but it was encouraging to hear, at least, that it didn't completely suck. I do still tend to believe that really I'm not a very good writer. Anyway, they said they'd hold onto my contact information if anything else came up -- and yeah, that was probably complete boilerplate, but I'm not too proud to admit that it worked and made me feel not-so-bad about being turned down flat.

There's a place for me here somewhere. It'll just take a little time to find it.
11:43 PM ::
Amy :: permalink