#@%&!!

Dec. 18th, 2008 11:31 pm
syzygy_dw: (Default)
Christmas may be a time of Peace on Earth and Goodwill Towards Man and all that bullshit, but if I have to stay at work until 10:30pm sorting out cash problems ONE MORE TIME, I am going to go all Scrooge on someone's ass, and I don't care who gets caught in the path of my eggnog latte-fueled rage.

Ten. Fucking. Thirty. Nothing balanced, and my co-worker and her boyfriend (who does not work at the store, and had come to give his girlfriend a lift home) and I went over every single transaction to find the mistakes. In the end, we managed to get the credit and debit transactions sorted, but we were still over more than $50.00 in the cash. I have no idea what the hell happened. I swear, I almost cried.

Fun Fact #1: I don't get paid for the time spent counting the cash, so that hour and a half? GONE. Fun Fact #2: I start work at 9am tomorrow. It's almost midnight, and I am way too keyed up to go to sleep just yet.



syzygy_dw: (Default)
Way back in June, my friend Marty did a Tarot reading for me. I never went in for Tarot even when I was a practicing Wiccan, but he had new cards and wanted to use them, so I indulged him.

Marty predicted that there was a big change coming in my life, specifically to do with work. He said the perfect job was waiting for me, and that it was the opportunity I had been waiting for. I'd been going through some work angst, and it was just after we found out that John didn't get the job he wanted in Montreal. I was feeling pretty bleak, not only about my job, but the future in general. I had seen a possible move back to Montreal as a chance to get out of a city that has no real use for a not-quite-bilingual anglophone, and finally get meaningful work and out of this endless cycle of dead-end jobs that I've had since before I was married. So when Marty made his prediction, I filed it away as my best friend trying to cheer me up. And I promptly forgot about it.

Then early in the morning on September 12th, I was tooling around on the internet, and I found the a job posting for a project coordinator at an English community group here in Quebec City. It was in every way the perfect job. It involved doing pretty much what I do now-- events planning and PR-- only with more involvement with the Anglo community, plus  higher pay (and my own desk!) and a chance to get out of retail hell. I stayed up until almost three in the morning writing and re-writing a cover letter and polishing my resumé. On Monday of last week they called to schedule an interview, and I met with them on Thursday. I thought I did very well. Plus, it was my 33rd birthday. How could I possibly fail? Things were looking good. I found myself thinking about Marty and his Tarot cards.

They called me Friday while I was at work, but I had a book signing and didn't get the message until late Friday night. I spent the weekend wondering if two weeks from now I would be working somewhere new, or if they would tell me thanks but no thanks.

As soon as their offices were open this morning, I called, and I left a message for the person who interviewed me. I called back at lunch, and again just after. I finally spoke with the office manager. She broke the news to me: I didn't get the job.

So... thanks, but no thanks.

I've been in this position before. I have gone on countless job interviews in my day, and I've been rejected many, many more times than I've been accepted. There have been tons of jobs that I wanted and didn't get. But this wasn't just any job. This job was tailor-made for me. It's almost as if the job listing had said "XXX is looking for you, Heather!" I wanted this job. I needed this job. And I would have been so good at it.

The rational side of me knows that it was very close, and the person they picked got the job not because I suck, but because they're qualified. But part of me keeps wondering what I did to screw it up. Did I babble too much during the interview? Did I say something wrong? Did I fail to say something right? Is it because I took too long on the written portion? Is it my French? That nagging voice in my head keeps dwelling on this, because this job was so perfect for me, and I for it, that the only way I couldn't have gotten it is if I had done something monumentally stupid.

A few hours ago, the interviewer called and told me that it had come down to three final candidates, and that they had a hard time choosing between me and two other people. Finally, they had gone with someone else. It had nothing to do with me, but that the other person was very qualified for the job. And Rational Heather, she gets that. But Emotional Heather can't help but doubt. She can't help but ask, "What if?" Because it's not as though Quebec City is teeming with work for people like me, you know?

I want this to be all right. I want to feel as though I did my best, and that this was just a stumble on the road to something greater. But I can't help feel that Marty was right, that fate dealt me a hand and that the odds were stacked in my favour, that I had this amazing chance...

...and I blew it.

syzygy_dw: (Default)
Here are a few things you should know that would make your bookstore experience more enjoyable. Mainly because you will be able to leave the store with all your limbs, and I won't have to go to jail. See? We all win.

  • I am standing here at the cash register, holding my hand out for that book you'd like to buy.  Acknowledge my presence by handing me the book. Don't ignore my hand completely and slap the book down on the counter, while my hand hovers uselessly beside it.  Even worse, though, is when you dump your books three feet from where I am standing. Look up. I'm over here.
  • I am very sorry I don't have that book you're looking for. But if I offer to order the book for you, do not then say, "Twenty-one dollars! Well, I can get it on Amazon.com for sixteen!" Because, seriously? That's just rude. Yes, I know the on-line retailers are cheaper and faster. But I work at an independent bookstore, and they are killing us. I won't tell you not to shop there (because I understand wanting to save the money), but you don't have to throw the fact that you are in my face. A "No, thank you," will do just fine.
  • I know that you are a long-time customer, and it's neat how we have conversations about things other than books. But the follow-up question to "How is the new condo?" is not "So, when are you going to fill it up with babies?" And when I (stupidly, in retrospect) say that I'm not planning to have kids, do not then go on and on about how I would make a great mother, and I should really reconsider, and aren't kids wonderful, and they'll look after you when you're old, and bla bla BLA. Because you know what? A) I decided quite some time ago that I wasn't cut out for motherhood, so you harping on it isn't going to change that;  B) You don't know me well enough to say whether or not I'd be a good mother, for all you know I could be an axe-murderer when I'm not at the store; and C) My reproductive choices are none of your business, and I don't have to justify them to you. And when I try to end this fucking inane conversation by saying that my husband doesn't want kids either, you DO NOT get to suggest that I leave him. 
Thanks, and goodnight.

B
syzygy_dw: (Default)
This morning, I finally had my allergy test. Guess what I'm allergic to? You'll never guess. I'm allergic to NOTHING. Nothing at all. At least, nothing they tested for, which was a lot. (Horses? They test for that?)

I don't get it. If I'm not allergic to anything, and I don't have sinusitis, then what the hell is causing the skull-crushing pain, the feeling that someone has punched me in the face, the pressure in my head and the constant congestion? WHAT THE HELL?

In other news, I had my hair re-reddened today. I decided to go with something more dramatic, now that I'm used to being a redhead. Last time it was Leeloo Dallas Multipass Orange (which faded to strawberry blonde), and today it's... Red. Like, Sangria-coloured. Like OMG!RED. I expect it will fade, but the hairdresser did say that it won't fade as much as last time. I like it, but it's still such a shock!



I really shouldn't be posting right now. My OMG!RED hair and I have got to study for a government French exam. I entered a job contest to have my name put in the running for any Government of Quebec public relations jobs that may come up. They need Anglophones, which is good news for me, but I still need to pass that exam. It's a two-hour multiple choice exam, followed by a two-hour essay, and it's TOMORROW, and I am so not as prepared as I want to be.

ETA: A picture of my hair, requested by the lovely [livejournal.com profile] laeb.
syzygy_dw: (Default)
It hardly seems fair that we're having another blizzard, when we just had one on Wednesday.

This one is worse than the one we had on Wednesday, though. Sitting in my computer room, I can't see across the parking lot to the next building. It's about -20 with the windchill, with gusts of wind at about 83km/h. The best part is that Environment Canada says "Light snow". Apparently they don't have a window.

At least the storm held off until this afternoon. I've been planning a children's event for the store, and the news of an impending storm (oh, you thought I was going to say "Oncoming" there, didn't you?) was freaking me out. I was certain that the blizzard would hit just before my event, after all the planning and coordination and stress I went through. It did snow overnight, but the snow stopped this morning, and there was a window of glorious weather.

We had about 22 kids, plus their parents and a group of adult fans of the author. It went brilliantly, too. Since the book had a beach theme, I asked the kids what kinds of things they would bring to the beach. They said stuff like "a picnic basket" or "a beach ball" or "a parasol", but one kid brought the house down by saying "a kangaroo!" Best answer ever, kid! The author was a huge hit and the kids had a blast.

It's a good thing we had a beach theme, too, because given the howling winds outside, it looks like a while before we'll see real beach weather.

(ETA: My power is flickering on and off. Shiny. I'm going to run around and turn stuff off, now.)
syzygy_dw: (Default)
I had Francophone call the store just now, asking for the definition of the word "wanking". He couldn't find it in the dictionary, you see. 

When I stopped laughing*, I gave him a carefully worded definition, and told him that maybe he could get better information from the Internet, and not a bookstore.

*He knew I wasn't laughing at him, BTW-- I think he got what the word meant from the context of the book he was reading.  
syzygy_dw: (Default)
Yesterday, the store had its Christmas party. We usually do this in January because December is far too hectic for us. This year, we went curling, and then the boss took us to a nice restaurant for dinner.

I've never been curling before. The closest I'd ever been until last night was watching Men with Brooms. (Mmmm... Paul Gross....)  The boss, his wife, and the store manager were the only ones who had any experience curling, so mostly it was just us throwing rocks up and down the ice and making fools of ourselves. I had a fantastic time, and I would totally consider doing it again. If I ever stop hurting, that is. There isn't a single part of me that doesn't hurt right now. I used muscles I didn't know I had. Also, I fell a lot. Today has been pretty unproductive, because I can barely move without whimpering.

After the curling, the restaurant. We decided that since we never get a chance to dress up, we would go all out. Aside from the boss, the store is entirely staffed by women, so everyone wore fancy dresses. Except me. I wore a tux. I couldn't find a dress I liked, and a store near where I work was having a women's suit sale, and lo, the tux was $50. Plus, I had a sparkly pink tuxedo shirt to wear with it. (Sorry to disappoint, but I did not wear Chucks with the tux. Hey, that rhymes! No, I wore heels.)

I loved wearing that tux. I need my best friend to hurry up and find himself a man to marry so I can be his gender-bending Best (Wo)Man. Or a job as a secret agent.
syzygy_dw: (Default)
Dear Book-Buying Public,

Please stop asking why books in Canada are still so much more expensive than books in the US, even though our dollar is currently worth more. Moreover, stop giving the people behind the counter so much grief about it. There is nothing we can do. We do not set the price of books. Getting mad at us will change nothing.

Just about everything is still more expensive here than in the States. It's just more obvious with books, because the prices are printed on the cover. The Canadian dollar fluctuates too much for us to change the price of books to reflect it. We would have to change the price every day.

Books that are available now are more expensive because the price of the book was fixed long before it was printed. So when you see a book that has a US price of $7.99 and a Canadian price of $10.99, it's because when that book was priced, our dollar was still low. When the store bought that book, it paid the price as it was then. So if the Canadian price was $10.99 retail, that was the price that appeared on the store's invoice, even if the book was ordered last week.

We will not really see a big difference in the price of books until at least the new year, possibly later. The books that are being printed now for spring release will likely reflect the Canadian dollar as it is now, even if it goes down again by the time the book is released.

The rise of the Canadian dollar is not lining the pockets of your average independent bookseller. As a matter of fact, they are actually losing money. In response to customer complaints, small stores are giving out discounts they can't afford. They are making less money for books they paid for when the dollar was low. We are starting to see things change. Some distributors are starting to charge the stores less, meaning the store can charge you less than the price printed on the cover. This is still the exception to the rule. For the most part, if you are paying less than the price printed on the book, it's because the store is accepting the loss. 

Please understand that the people behind the counter share your anger over this. We are not just bookstore employees, we are also book lovers, and this price difference affects us as well.

Thank you,

A Bookstore Employee.
syzygy_dw: (Default)
So, in case I hadn't mentioned it before, I work in a book store. I plan events like book signings and Potter parties, and do the store's PR. Sometimes I work with the Literary and Historical Society, which houses the city's only English-language library, when they have author events. I bring books for the attendees to buy and have signed.

Last night, the Lit & His hosted two poets and a novelist from Calgary. The authors' publicist originally contacted the store to do an event, but Tuesday afternoons are terrible for book signings at the store, especially with unknown writers. So I asked the library if they wanted to do it, and they were thrilled to. Sadly, because it was a Tuesday and nobody knows these authors, there was only one attendee. But the authors said that even so, Quebec City was the best stop on their book tour so far.

Because it was just the three authors, their friend, myself, two girls who work at the library and the woman who showed up to hear them speak, we all sat around a table and had tea and cookies while the authors read from their books. We had a discussion after each reading, and it was really a lot more fun than most book signings I've been to. The authors were more relaxed, and it was a really friendly and fun atmosphere. It was more like having a bunch of friends over and having a chat than a book signing.

Afterward, we walked up to a local bar (me, with my inconvenient box of books on a little luggage cart) and had some drinks and chatted some more about everything. I discovered one of the poets is almost as geeky as me-- Except he prefers Battlestar Galactica to Doctor Who. Poor sod. He doesn't know what he's missing! The other, with her pink hair and orange Chuck Taylors, is recently married, loves to bake, and managed to get me to promise her the recipe for my chocolate mocha spice anniversary cupcakes. She in turn, will send me the recipe for the world's easiest pie crust. She also likes tall skinny geeks (in fact, she married one), and agrees with me that David Tennant is fucking hot. The novelist and I discussed books. His favourite book in the world is Love in the Time of Cholera, so I reached into my bag (it's bigger on the inside) and pulled out my copy, which I think made me his lifelong friend.

I hope the three of them have a fabulous time in Quebec City, and have a lot of success on their book tour.

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