[Sober Living] Retail Environment Essay

There’s a certain point where, after you’ve been yelled at things outside your control long enough, you just stop caring. It’s that sort of retail freeze I’d never experienced being on the backend. When I handled donations, I talked with one customer, otherwise, I was in the back trashing old donations and receiving new loads. Now, I could get a string of polite people, then get slammed by for no reason by rude, stressed-out people.

It’s helping me develop a thicker skin.

I’ve always been worried that I’ve had a “thin skin” because my upbringing socially did not prepare me for weird situations. People were generally always nice. I didn’t see the raw side of reality until well past my college graduation, probably when I lived in the first-apartment, where I began to see the desperation of people eking out a living because they lived too much outside their means and had no life plans.

I’m adjusting well enough at times.

I’ve been having headaches increasingly more and for longer. Part of it is there’s no easy way for me to unwind. I’ve just gotta power through it. I think this is why people so often inebriate themselves, because it is better to numb the pain than to fix the problems that caused the pain. How about for situations like mine where I am thrust into terrible times with rowdy rough-housers and no escape or release?

We all have the same attitude.

If you’re polite, we tend to look the other way on minor things. This should almost be a universal rule in life: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. However, when it gets to a point where there is no respite from that, day after day, I’ve seen the burnout among my coworkers even in the short time since I was hired in, and I’m feeling it myself. I wanted an easy job where I could write. I have a job where I can write.

Mostly, it’s easy enough.

I just know this won’t be forever. I can only fight for so long in situations like this before I no longer resist in certain avenues. Fortunately, through years of resolve, I can start to see some of the pressure points appear. These headaches, my apathy, and biting sarcastic humor are all signs of an individual with more on their plate than can be released. I can remove the pressure only somewhat before more appears.

I would like to find myself in more situations in life.

Part of that is learning to deflect and de-escalate pressure internally, allowing fewer external forces the time of day that would otherwise allow me to find myself in this sort of bad mood. Another part is calculatedly getting into situations where I can overcome these non-trivial stresses and then use the superfluous stress energy for good, like writing about these emotions when they come up or shortly thereafter.

I’ll be at this job as long as I’m needed, but it’s certainly not easy.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal and professional experiences.
Inspirations: Trying to figure out why my job isn’t making me happy, and I later figured it out: most of my customers aren’t college-educated, which isn’t bad by any means, but compared to the rest of my career, it does mean they typically aren’t as well-studied in the art of being polite.
Related: Other Sober Living essays.
Photo: Browsing the local supermarket before 8am on a Sunday. Try it. It’s weird walking around aisles that are filled with product instead of people.
Written On: October 14th [13 minutes, from 2:17 to 2:30, Wordcounter]
Last Edited: October 17th [Minor edits in the digi-typesetting process, so, second draft; final draft for the Internet?]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.