Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Cup Runneth Over

Hmmm...that phrase really makes me want to go watch Hope Floats now.  I love Gena Rowlands and her character Ramona Calvert.  Plus, who doesn't love Harry Connick, Jr?  Seriously.  Ok, back to my original thoughts behind the post.  Several big changes have occurred in the last few months.  Some of them have received my blogging attention and some of them have not-mostly because I just don't know what to say about them or haven't had the time.  The newest change has been a job change.

I had been an assistant manager at LOFT since January.  I truly love LOFT, I really do.  Who doesn't love to play dress up?  However, it was quickly becoming clear in the last month or two that LOFT just wasn't the place for me any more.  There are a variety of reasons behind this decision.  The biggest reason is the fact that I was driving an hour in to work and an hour home.  That is 10 hrs a week spent driving, add in 40 hrs (or more) spent at work, and that leaves very little time for a life outside of work.  When I began my journey with LOFT it was at a location only half an hour from my I moved up the ladder the drive increased.  I didn't mind it at first because there really weren't any options closer to home-until the Shops of Grand River came along.  The Shops of Grand River is a new outlet center opening up a mere 20-30 minutes from my house and right across the street from where my husband works.  I knew there would be a variety of opportunities arriving with their opening.  The problem quickly became what company could I choose to work with that would be as enjoyable as LOFT with a product I would be able to enjoy.  You don't leave the only career you've ever imagined yourself in (teaching) to settle for just any retail job.  At least I didn't and wouldn't.  I wanted a company I could believe in.  Thus began my search.  I began checking the website frequently to see what stores would be opening up.  I began trying to imagine myself with another company.  I began trying to figure out how I would leave my LOFT family, because that is how I feel about the majority of my LOFT co-workers.  They are my family.  We have our ups and downs, but we were in it together trying to be successful and rallying together through everyday life. We've experienced engagements, marriages, births, and even deaths together-so many new beginnings and endings.

Recruiters began visiting the mall where I worked asking for names of potential candidates for managers, associates, etc.  I would kindly take their card and think hmmm...don't think I would really want to work there.  One company I did go through the interview process and they offered me a job.  I turned it down.  {Gasp}  I know.  It was a very hard decision.  Believe me.  In a nation with a high unemployment rate I was not only ready to quit my current job, but turned down the first job that was offered.  I couldn't explain why I turned it down either.  I felt crazy.  The job just didn't seem like the right fit for me.  I'm a girl who trusts her instincts...sort of.  I spent the next few days/weeks wondering if I had made the right choice.  Then along came a job that sort of fell in my lap.  Granted, I impressed them in my interviews and if I hadn't they would not have hired me.  I received a call from the area manager wanting to set up an interview.  I went.  I talked a lot.  Weeks went by with little info.  I finally interviewed with HR.  A few days later along came an offer.  An offer I couldn't turn down.  Not because of money, not because of the shorter drive, but because it is a company I can feel passionate about, although those first two things helped seal the deal.  My new job is as an assistant manager at JOCKEY.  (I think I'll only work at companies who capitalize every letter of their name from now on.  From what I've heard it shouldn't be too hard either because people who work at JOCKEY are said to work there for a very, very long time.)  I have the pleasure of working with a store manager that I worked with at LOFT.  And a fun side note is that another manager I worked with at LOFT will be managing a store right around the corner from my new store.  Yay!

I've been amazed at the perfect timing in so many moments along this journey to a new job.  I can't really blog about a lot of them but just know I'm feeling really blessed and my stress level has gone down tremendously.  My last few weeks at LOFT were spent being the one in charge because our store manager found a new job.  I feel like I did my best, but I also feel like it nearly killed me at times too.  Not because I couldn't manage the store, I did a great job with that-but I ended up working 6 days a week at least two weeks and didn't work the schedule I had planned all week once in the five weeks or so I was the lone full time manager.  It changed daily due to circumstances out of my control.  It left very little time for life.  A life I love and want to keep.  Then came the job offer.  A weight was lifted and I began planning my exit from LOFT and my entrance into the world of JOCKEY.

My last day at LOFT was a lot of fun.  I went out with a bang and I hope my team had fun.  We rocked our numbers and I think our clients enjoyed themselves.  There are things I know I will miss at LOFT.  (New shipment anyone?)  I then had two days off to run errands and pack for Georgia.  Tuesday-Friday I stayed in Locust Grove helping move JOCKEY from one store to their newly remodeled store across the street.  I learned so much about the company I was amazed.  (Personally I think you should look them up on facebook, it will give you a glimpse into how relaxed and fun they are as a company.)  I was able to meet my fellow manager peers in the area.  I even met some lovely ladies from home office.  They patiently put up with all of my questions.  Trust me, I asked a lot.  The days were long-10 to 12 hours long.  The nights spent sleeping were short.  Especially when you stay up til 3 am brainstorming ideas and writing a list of questions you want to remember to ask.  We were done ahead of schedule so I was able to come home Friday instead of Saturday.  This left me with a weekend off.  My first Saturday and Sunday off since July.  Really.  I was able to learn a lot more about my new store manager and I think she was able to learn a lot more about me.  There are high expectations for our new store and our team.  I know we will be able to achieve them.  I'm hoping we can surpass them.  Just a note about how relaxed and fun the company is: the two ladies from home office hugged everyone before they left to catch their plane back to Wisconsin. (One of them even swept and mopped the floor.  Really!)   Retail friends: when was the last time anyone from home office hugged you, let alone did the grunt work in your store?  I'm so excited to work with them again next week in our new store!  Every job has its draw backs and I am sure that I will learn those in due time.  Right now though, I'm ready to have some fun!

In case you were wondering my weekend will be spent sleeping, laying around the house resting my tired muscles, and reading.  At some point I will venture beyond the house to shop for groceries.  I will unpack my suitcase and do some laundry, then repack for another three days of training in Georgia before coming back to set up the new store.  I may be out of touch online for the next few weeks as a result.  Can you believe we are halfway through October?!  I made my first pumpkin roll of the season.  The rest of October will pass in a blur.  Maybe I'll get caught up in November...nah probably not.  

Off to watch Hope Floats I think.

Friday, October 1, 2010

What's a Wizzel?

Last Sunday we had Jordan and Laura come for a visit.  Jordan had graduated from boot camp on Friday and is officially part of the USMC brotherhood.  Laura is his proud older sister.  Dave and Jordan had fun talking about covers, ribbons, blouses, and all kinds of other uniform parts while the ladies talked.  It always brings a smile to my face to see my Marine spending time with other Marines.  (No offense to those who aren't Marines, but they just relate to each other in a very special way that you have to witness to believe.)  During the course of the evening we brought out a montage of videos that Dave had sent to me during his deployment with the 22nd MEU.  One part of the video was a bus ride back to the ship from being out in port.  He introduced the Marines around him and asked if they had anything to say to "Wizzel."  Well, the guys who frequented our house on weekends were already familiar with my nickname, but on Marine was like "who's weezel, weezer, who?"  Then Goodson kindly explains, "you know like fo shizzle my nizzle?  She's Wizzel."  It goes on to show their conversions for the next 5 minutes or so, which at this point I should add they had indulged in a lot of alcohol while in port.  {Sigh}  I really miss those boys.

Last night I decided that I was going to make lasagna.  Lasagna is a meal I only make when we are having guests over for dinner because we don't really do leftovers well in my house.  I sent Dave a text asking if Jordan was back in town (he had driven Laura back to her home in New Orleans where she is finishing grad school).  He wasn't sure, but soon got back to me and said the Jordan would be coming over for dinner.  You see, lasagna is a meal for Marines.  They love it and almost always have seconds.  Hence my facebook status about making lasagna and wondering where my Marines might be.  It was nice to have a Marine over for dinner.  In a perfect world there would have been a few more Marine faces at our dinner table, but maybe some day I'll get them all together in one place for dinner again.  I really miss them.  (I know if I miss them, Dave must really miss them and vice versa.) 

Sidenote: My lasagna was a topic of discussion at one point during the bus ride video conversation.

Now for a complete subject change.  I was driving somewhere this week and my mom was along for the ride.  We were talking about people hoarding things or having too much junk.  I told her that I realized that I couldn't run away from home when I was younger-we've determined maybe around age 13 or so.  One time I made up my mind to run away and packed up all the stuff I wanted to take with me.  By the time I was done packing I realized I couldn't leave because I had too much stuff and I couldn't carry it all.  (This little story snippet tells you sooooo much about me, lol).