May 11, 2018

Day Job Part1

Whiling away the hours...
When I got offered that full time job 5 minutes away from home in late 2016, I seriously couldn't refuse. I needed/wanted the money,and well, in the Belgian job market it was quite unexpected. Of course I knew it would be way below my skills and education but I sincerely didn't mind. I felt a bit guilty  because that position was usually for people without high school education, but as I just said, job market is so bad, even those types of jobs are being taken by people with higher education.
So, there...I was going to work in a "social shop". A shop for people with very low income where food is cheaper and where you can also get free European Union aid.
I, very naively, thought it would be like any small grocery shops. Ha ha ha, right, a shop run by the Belgian administration.
Day one. When I arrived on the first day I was told that my direct boss and 2 colleagues were absent that day...and that  a former worker had been called back and was going to guide me through day one.
OK. Fine. A nice Polish girl with medium knowldedge of French and... 8-month pregnant.
Second surprise, the shop is located in another building...across the parking lot from the main offices...and  we work there unsupervised. OK.
The shop itself was the third surprise. It was an old grand house with stairs everywhere, turned into a shop on the ground floor and flats on the other levels. Though it was clean, the whole place looked kind of decrepit...and not suited to be a shop. To get to the storage room you had to go down 2 high steps and then up 2 higher still steps...so practical when you're carrying boxes...and to get the stuff in that room to start with...well, muscles required as there was no way a truck, nor a car, not even a cart could come near the building.
The main shopping space had super high ceiling, was lit by ancient neon tubes...and had a large fridge dating back to the disco era...and it was barely...staying alive...staying alive. When it turned on, the noise would make everything vibrate and the electric tension would drop in the whole building. New tennants above the shop always came to check what was making that horrendous noise.

Shop was only opened in the morning and  the afternoons were for re-stocking and cleaning.
The morning went by very slowly...the afternoon was even worse as there was nothing left in the storage room and cleaning was not really necessary after our 5 clients.

What I learned on my first day:
(Imagine the Polish accent) :"You never count the till money here, but we always count the till money here" and "we cannot have lunch in this building  but we usually have lunch here".
Fine, I'm flexible  😹 I was now officially a civil servant!

To be continued....

2 comments:

Natalis Iolalis said...

It was interesting to know. Your boss should arrive the next day? I expect to continue.

Star of the East said...

Even odder than I thought it was from your other stories, can't wait for the next 'episode' :D