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Jett Superior laid this on you on || September 23, 2004 || 7:34 am

I hate “snooze” mornings.

I’m not a morning person, but I generally don’t have that much trouble getting up in the morning. Now don’t tell my parents, because they’d laugh at you. But believe it or not, I have changed just a teensy bit in the three years that I haven’t been living with them. For instance, I have graduated from college. And gotten married.

Anyway, back to the snooze button. Usually I hit it once or twice, or sometimes not at all. But this morning was a five snooze morning. A grumbling, headachey five snooze morning.

Last Tuesday I started a new job. After graduating in May with my B.F.A. in Advertising Photography, my husband and I moved to Buffalo so that he could start taking classes to get his teaching certification (he’s going to be a high school biology teacher). I’m not thrilled to be living in Buffalo, but it’s fine, and not a whole lot different than Rochester (where I spent the past 3 years). The job I got is in my field, so that is good, but the pay is not stupendous, and I’m not sure how much room there is for advancement. Once I finish some “training” classes I will get a $2/hr raise, but that won’t be for about 2 more months. So right now, my husband (who is a full-time grad student) and I are eeking it out on about $275 a week.

Yesterday was my first bad day at work. I was frustrated by several things.

1) I feel that the place I work is getting off very easy since I am already very knowledgeable about certain aspects of the job and therefore have required much less training than the average employee. Also, I am a very fast learner, even by all accounts of the people with whom I work.

2) Regardless of the fact that I am (one week in to my employment) an excellent and above average trainee, the district manager (the girl with whom I usually work) took most of yesterday off, and left me with another girl who is nice, but whom I had never met, on the busiest day we’ve had since I’ve worked there.

3) People get frustrated when I don’t know the answer to a question and I have to admit, “I’ve only been working here for just over a week… is it okay if I put you on hold for just a minute and I’ll get the answer for you?” The response is often a heavy sigh, as if to say, “Well if you’re so damn incompetent, why do they have you answering the phone?” Please refer to frustration #1.

I just felt like, “Yeah, I’m doing really well here, but thanks for leaving us alone all day, on the day when we have people scheduled to come in every half an hour, and we have to make people feel rushed because there really isn’t enough girl-power here to fully satisfy all of these customers.”

We had a “good day” financially, but it was at the cost of me thinking, “Holy ass, is it going to be like this often? We should have 3 fully-trained people working right now.”

On top of all that, we (do a lot of senior portraits and) had a girl come in and pick out a “seven pose” package. That’s great, because it’s a money maker for the store and both the photographer and the person who “sells” it make 2% commission. (Ooh, 2%?) But the girl and her mom finished picking the pictures at 4:50 and the studio closes at 6. I told them, “Give me about an hour to finish all of this.” They exchanged glances. I said, “You can always come in tomorrow and pick them up. We’re open 12-8 tomorrow.” They look relieved and confirmed that they would come in the next day to pick them up. The other photographer had just finished viewing pictures on the other computer with another girl who only ordered a few shots, so I let her print those first for the people who decided to wait for the prints. Then I got started on the 7-pose. I thought they were coming back the next day, so I took my time, was very careful with details, etc. All of a sudden, the mother is standing at the counter, 10 minutes to close. “Are they done yet?” I’m left sitting there like an idiot, because I can’t say, “Well, damn it, you said you were going to come back tomorrow for these.” “Uhhhhh,” I said slowly, choosing my words, “I was under the impression that I was going to have a little more time to work on these, so they’re not all done printing yet.” I also hadn’t cut apart the ones that had already printed. “Did you want to come back tomorrow?” “No,” she said, “I’ll wait right now.” I, stupidly, had arranged to have a client meeting (I shoot weddings also) at 6:30, so instead of printing two more sheets then cashing up the drawer for the day, I had to take 12 precious minutes to finish printing and cut apart all eighteen sheets that she had ordered.

On top of all that, the other photographer’s 5:00 appointment had shown up 10 minutes late, and brought her best friend so that after senior portraits, they could get their pictures taken together (no mention of this when booking the appointment). So they were viewing right up until 6:05 and we basically had to hurry them up a little so that we could cash up the drawer and get out of there.

In hindsight, yes, it was stupid of me to make a client meeting at 6:30. However, every day before, we had never been in the store more than 15 minutes after “close.” Had that been the case yesterday, I would have had plenty of time to get to my meeting. Luckily, the girl I had to meet was very understanding.

Anyway, I said all of this to say, man is it ever hard being content in a full-time job, no matter how passionate you are about the core aspect of the job (in my case, photography). There are so many details that need attention, jerk customers, and problems that can occur that I have a hard time not freaking out. I think that the worst thing about the job is that I work an 8.75 hour day and I never really actually get a break. Sure, I can sit down for a few minutes between appointments, or on the rare occasion that one doesn’t show, but I seemingly never actually get to take my 1/2 hour lunch, or any other real breaks. Once in a while I get to run next door to the car wash and buy something to drink. Ooh.

I’m hoping the job gets into a little more of a groove, and that very soon I will get to the point where there aren’t really any questions I can’t answer, and that I’ll feel more comfortable being rushed and badgered. And that Joe will find a teaching job right away next fall, taking the $%&# financial burden off of me.

Oh yeah, and my blog. It’s called Screw Flanders. Have a read sometime.

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