Author Topic: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!  (Read 5030 times)

PetiteMouche

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First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« on: October 19, 2017, 09:48:55 PM »
I left a good job in an office (data entry, basic accounting, other) at the end of 2001, just before I married.

Since then, I've been a housewife and homeschooling mother.

My oldest child is now 14. I've been inspired by you all to look for work - just part-time, at this stage.

Today, I saw a very local job (easy walking distance) advertised: supermarket cleaning, a couple of nights a week.

Despite not having a CV or references, I emailed the advertiser straight away and, a couple of hours later, received an email and then a phone call.

It sounds like the job is mine, if I want it.

The pay rate is $15.75 an hour and the hours are 11pm till 5.30am. Since I've earned almost nothing in 16 years, even that rate sounds pretty good. The hours would work, in terms of my family commitments.

I'm nervous about a few things, including potential harassment by male employees (I worked in a supermarket, years ago; I know what the culture can be like) and having to try to catch up on sleep during the day (what if I can't get more than a few hours' sleep during the day?? I'm a zombie when I'm sleep-deprived).

Thoughts, anyone?

human

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2017, 03:50:05 AM »
I did nights, overnights and early mornings when going to school. 4am to 1 was the best or overnightbon the weekend and then a short morning shift right after. Shifts like this During the week when I had to go to school after was awful. Which is why i tried my best to work friday to sunday.

I think what I'm getting at is get something where you work while they are at school. I have no idea what your commitments are during the day but you'll be getting home when people wake up or right before. In theory it sounds ok but after cleaning a restaurnt all night the last thing I wanted to do was chores when I got home. I either crashed or watched crappy morning soaps.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 03:52:17 AM by human »

marty998

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2017, 04:23:41 AM »
+1 for giving it a crack, though oh my god those hours are a killer!

Do you not get an additional shift allowance or extra pay for the unsociable hours?

I had a friend in high school who did that same job when he was 17... within a couple of years he'd progressed to managing the store, and a couple of years after that he became a regional manager.

Work smartly and connect with the right managers and you may not be cleaning floors at 3am for long...

honeybbq

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2017, 10:24:49 AM »
Working the night shift will completely change your life, even if it's a few days a week. Are you ready for that? Just google "night shift problems"... it's cruel and unusual punishment to the human body IMO. (Though, of course completely necessary for many businesses/hospitals/police).

Slee_stack

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2017, 12:07:49 PM »
Some people thrive on night shift.  I have a good friend who loves it.  He went back to dayshift one year and despised it.

That said, I think its a minority that tend to do well with nights.


I'd keep optimism and an open mind that it will be great until it proves otherwise.

No idea on the pay rate.  I suppose it depends on location, market, etc.


GuitarStv

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2017, 12:15:25 PM »
I kinda liked working nights, but would change my schedule to always get up/go to bed at the same time while working those hours.  It's usually quiet, you get to see a beautiful dawn most mornings on your way home, most place offer a shift premium, my body also seems wired to get along better during those hours too.  Biggest disadvantage is that you kinda get isolated since you're up when others aren't. . . And sometimes people are dicks about noise when you're trying to sleep.

AMandM

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2017, 01:02:55 PM »
Congrats on the new project!

Do you have a plan for how/when you'll catch up on the sleep? If you still have kids 14 and under, and especially if you are still homeschooling, you will need a pretty disciplined schedule.  Can you do that?  I couldn't, but I have a SIL who could.

Alternatively, as a homeschooler you might be able to get a side gig doing tutoring. Around here (HCOL, highly educated area), freelance tutoring can command $50/hour, and even working for a commercial tutoring center will pay around $20/hour on a W-2.

frugaliknowit

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2017, 02:00:35 PM »
Like the others have said:  There's a minority of people who thrive (for a period of time) working "graveyard", but it's a minority.  Long term, regardless, it leads to health problems.  I lead a team of 24 hour workers.  The guys who work graveyard (tech support) sleep "an hour here, a couple of hours there", etc., but do not have regular sleep patterns.  You could use this opportunity as a "stepping stone" to other shifts (I've seen it done...).

Personally, I tried it briefly WHEN I WAS IN MY 20'S and could not do it.  I walked around "like a zombie". 

sequoia

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2017, 04:06:27 PM »
I left a good job in an office (data entry, basic accounting, other) at the end of 2001, just before I married.

I'm nervous about a few things, including potential harassment by male employees (I worked in a supermarket, years ago; I know what the culture can be like) and having to try to catch up on sleep during the day (what if I can't get more than a few hours' sleep during the day?? I'm a zombie when I'm sleep-deprived).

Thoughts, anyone?

1. Why not get another job in the office? Even better remote jobs that you can do at home. I think there should be plenty data entry jobs that you can do from home.

2. Do you need the cash now? Working at night and with the concern of harassment, that does not sounds worth the risk. If you need the cash, I got it, you do what you gotta do. I been there, done that, but it does put food on the table. But if you do not need cash now, you can afford to be selective here. 

Zamboni

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2017, 04:45:51 PM »
Congrats on rejoining the paid workforce.

Harassment issues should not be what they were 20 years ago.

For one thing, culture has shifted to the point where it really is no longer acceptable.

For another thing, you are officially too old to put up with that crap, so you can just say "That is not acceptable! Knock it off!" If he doesn't, file a formal complaint. If it's a big chain grocery store, he will likely be summarily fired even if he is established and you are "new" and that will be the end of it. Seriously. I don't think you should let that type of concern keep you from taking a job.

Max your 401K! Go Momma go!

PetiteMouche

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2017, 10:34:10 PM »
Thanks so much for your advice, everyone. I've taken all of it into consideration.

For now, if I'm formally offered the job, I'll take it and see how it goes.

PetiteMouche

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2017, 10:20:03 PM »
Well, they end up offering me three nights a week.

It's a medium-sized supermarket and my duties are scrubbing the floors of the bakery, fruit and vegetable department, delicatessen, and butchery with a walk-behind floor scrubber. I then have to clean all the staff areas and the customer toilet: empty bins, wipe down lunch room tables, vacuum, sweep, mop, clean mirrors, basins, and toilets, replenish stocks of paper towels, toilet paper, and liquid soap. After that, I have to dust mop the shop floor, wash it with the floor scrubber, buff it with a polishing machine, use a scraper to remove any stickers, etc from the floor, and give the whole floor another dust mopping to remove any remaining dust or detritus.

They sent a man to give me a couple of nights' training and now expect me to be able to do the job solo in just over six hours. It's pretty overwhelming, but I'm trying to toughen up and learn some new skills.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2017, 11:30:45 PM »
I don't know. There are plenty of cleaning jobs you can get during the day, cleaning houses and the like. I think I'd hold out for something a bit more suitable, maybe some minor admin somewhere or something like that.

former player

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2017, 04:29:56 AM »
Congratulations on the job, hope it goes well.

There are very real barriers to women getting back into the workforce after a long child-rearing absence.  I think you are doing absolutely the right thing by taking this job: you will gain confidence in your own abilities and start building a resume.   If you give it a fair go and find that you can't adapt to the hours you are still in a much better place to move on to something else.
Be frugal and industrious, and you will be free (Ben Franklin)

PetiteMouche

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2017, 07:04:12 PM »
Last night, about 3am, I came so close to quitting. It was a combination of things, but mostly I was just TIRED.

I'm on again, tonight.

One thing has been really helpful, though: a sleep mask.

ysette9

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2017, 07:57:36 PM »
Good luck! Either you will toughen up or whatever job you get next I’ll seem like a breeze in comparison. :)
"It'll be great!"

PetiteMouche

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2017, 08:15:09 PM »
I've received my first paycheck, which is pretty exciting, after all these years.

Tonight, I'll be starting my working "week". I had ten hours' sleep, last night, to help me start off on the right foot.

PetiteMouche

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2017, 12:43:30 AM »
At work, last night, one of the men who restocks the shelves overnight suggested that I apply for a shelf-stocking position, too. He said it pays $2/hour more than my current job and there are staff benefits, including a discount on groceries and some medical insurance.

It's a tempting thought. I have two concerns, however: initially, it would be a casual/on-call position which could mean I wouldn't be working as many hours as I am currently (however, he said they usually put people on a 20-hour contract, pretty quickly, which is about the same number of hours that I'm working now); also, I'm not particularly strong physically and wonder how I'd get on with any heavy lifting that might be required.

Thoughts?

Goldielocks

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2017, 12:56:44 AM »
It's not that heavy lifting.

Especially as some of the day clerks are smaller women.  The heaviest grocery items:

1)  Full case / side of beef if there is a meat butcher on site.   Those are 60 to 100 lbs.  Usually limited to the butcher staff to move them.   Warehouses are not supposed to put them on top of other cases that you need to get at.
2)  40lb cases (twin packs ) of bagged flour
3)  The pail of icing that the bakery uses.   The hard part is if they put it on the top of a 5-6ft pallet and you are only 5ft tall.
4)  Produce boxes (bananas / apples etc) are typically 40-50 lbs for the large boxes.. Most are 30 lbs or less.
5) The milk cases are somewhat heavy -- at 35 lbs each (16 kg).. and you need to move them like a stack of 4-5 that you slide across the floor...often with a dolly

Honestly, I can't recall anything heavier than that... maybe a 24 case of beer if it is all glass? 
.    I worked in grocery warehouses doing ergonomic studies, which is how I know this. 

Honestly, I think you will be fine with grocery.  It's liquor stores, and hardware and paint stores that are hard / heavy.  Can you reach the top shelf to put a 15 lb case up there or stock boxes without a step stool?

 When I worked retail/hardware, we had quite a few of heavy items, like the weights for the recreational sports section and 75lb cases... bags of cement, which I was able to move, just not fast.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2017, 09:05:34 AM »
I wouldn't expect it to be much more physical than cleaning, which itself is hard physical work. I get the impression it might be more sociable as well?

okits

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #20 on: November 19, 2017, 09:59:23 PM »
Just wanted to congratulate you on getting back out there after being out of the workforce for so long.  I hope the shelver job works out for you and is a step up.

PetiteMouche

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2017, 06:56:01 PM »
Thanks, okits.

PetiteMouche

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2017, 07:02:58 PM »
Well, as I'd feared, I'm experiencing not exactly sexual harassment, except minorly in one case, but let's just say that a few of the young men who work overnight at the supermarket have what seems to be a more than friendly interest in me. As in, over-long gazes, awkward interactions, compliments, you know the thing.

It amazes me that this is still an issue for me: I'm in my mid to late thirties, for pity's sake! And these guys are in their twenties. On one hand, it's flattering; on the other, I'm waiting for them to realise that I'm old and married and not flawlessly beautiful and then they'll go off me and I'll be mortified.

Okay, this is turning into an Agony Aunt column. Sorry, but I have to vent somewhere.

former player

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #23 on: November 25, 2017, 01:48:06 AM »
I'm sorry you are having trouble.  I'm also sorry to say: it's not personal, it's predatory and doesn't depend on you age or marital status and only very tangentally on your physical appeal.

Please be safe.  Think about asking your supervisor to put an end to the harassment as soon as possible, if you are not yourself comfortable coming out with a forceful "No, and stop it, and don't ever do anything like that again or I will call the police and management, in that order".
Be frugal and industrious, and you will be free (Ben Franklin)

Sun Hat

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #24 on: November 25, 2017, 08:59:38 AM »
+1 to putting an end to any unwanted attention asap! If you're comfortable with scolding them, do so. If not, get management to do so.

Also, if you have any trouble sleeping during the day, consider taking melatonin. It'll cue your body into thinking that it's time for sleep.
"You need a little bit of insanity to do great things." ~ Henry Rollins

CogentCap

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #25 on: November 25, 2017, 09:20:21 PM »
My first response to everything you've said is "WOW, $15.75/hr?!?!  I'd take that job!"  Lol.

I guess you probably live in a HCOL area, and maybe that's not very much money?  Where I live, even cushy office jobs start at $8 unless it's a salaried position.

Anyhow, good for you, taking that step! You should be proud!


Zamboni

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #26 on: November 26, 2017, 07:56:41 AM »
First, I think you should go ahead and apply for the stocking job option. As others have said, it probably won't be more physically demanding than the cleaning. It would also be considered a step up in terms of moving towards a position like management. Cleaning is undoubtedly the lowest rung.

Second, please tell any guys who are making you uncomfortable just that . . . "You are making me uncomfortable and this needs to stop." Even if it is just something like they are staring at you a little too long, do not hesitate to tell them. You can be relentlessly pleasant and still quite direct about it. Are there any other women who work the night shift there?

Goldielocks

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #27 on: November 26, 2017, 10:08:56 AM »
I know nothing about your situation with the guys at your retail location, or the seriousness of it, or your specific store culture.   Instead, I can share a story that I was told by a manager at a retail grocery.

The produce fellows were working with stacking the fruit and vegetables, but would always stand facing the bakery, for some reason.  The manager finally figured it out.  There was an attractive, curvy woman who worked in the bakery.  The manager spoke to them (produce) directly to stop staring at this employee and any employee in general.   He did it because although the woman seemed to actually encourage the attention, it was a problem for any retail manager and needed to be addressed right away.   In that manager's opinion, this is sort of routine type of employee feedback, (along with showing up on time, doing the job correctly, not hiding from customers, etc) is part of his normal daily job and the reason he is hired to be a manager.   The earlier he addresses small issues, the better.

The produce clerks -- well, they were bored, and did not have direct supervision / feedback until the manager said something and the work was not that interesting but the woman was.   It only took one comment to be fixed immediately.

Extrapolating to your situation, I hope that this is just a direct cause of night shift casualness and a lack of management / supervision during the shift, not a cultural thing at the store.  The manager I talked to would have much preferred to know about this early, to address it before it becomes a *problem*.    OTHOH, I know a few stories from the 1980's with actions we would consider quite serious today (not direct assault, but more related to jokes, stares and drinking in the store after shift ends in the evening.   The culture follows the manager from store to store, so he is the best one to address an issue).

A second story for fun:
-- I was on the team that did time and motion studies to determine how many hours a store needed to operate, especially stocking and front end customer service.   We had to collect data 24 hours from the stores, and make randomized mini observations on everyone for 2 weeks.  The night shift observers reported a problem to me -- they could not find the janitorial crew for hours at a time. They just disappeared but were still in the store.   It turns out that the janitors were arriving a bit early, working hard, sleeping in the washroom for 3 hours and then finishing up just before the next day's team lead would be walking through.  (e.g., not getting the extra work done, just the basics).      Because of the confidentiality to not name persons with the study, we could not tell management anything specific, other than reporting that the observed janitorial shift at store X is from 10pm to midnight and 4am to 5am.    I hope they figured it out.

PetiteMouche

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #28 on: November 27, 2017, 02:04:46 AM »
Thanks, everyone.

Haha, Goldielocks, love that story about the two-part janitorial shift. I'm definitely not doing that!

Zamboni, the number of women there varies. A couple of nights ago, there was only one other woman and she left about an hour after I arrived. There was only a small group working that night: four men.

ChpBstrd

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #29 on: November 27, 2017, 02:09:04 PM »
Expand your options. You've been shopping and these are just the first 2 opportunities you've found. What else could you get?

Check with a recruiter.

TrMama

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #30 on: November 27, 2017, 05:24:01 PM »
Since you home schooled your kids, I'd assume you'd be a great candidate to become a specialist tutor. One of my kids has dyslexia and I've been looking for a specialist program or tutor to help her with reading and writing in a way her public school isn't equipped to do. Specifically I went looking for someone who offers an Orton-Gillingham based program. In particular, the Barton program (which is based on OG) looks really simple to turn into a small business.

In my area, these tutors charge $60/hr and they require at least 2x1hr long sessions per week. They all have wait lists.

Zamboni

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #31 on: November 28, 2017, 09:33:31 PM »
I've been thinking about your situation, and here are my thoughts. Bear in mind that I have worked in extremely male-dominated jobs in the past . . . so, while I don't know your exact details, I get it to at least some extent.

Regarding sexual harassment or other types of hostile types of work environments for women, change happens when:
1. Women start calling out unacceptable behavior and
2. Women refuse to leave and
3. Critical mass is achieved and
4. Many women get into leadership roles.

#1 is often the rate determining step . . . People are afraid to speak out because doing so can be a career limiting maneuver and nobody wants to be branded as “crazy” or a “troublemaker.” But what do you have to lose, really? You have tons of other options, so nothing at all to lose. Don't let them run you off without creating an HR shit storm for them on the way out.

My solution for becoming a change agent was to stop caring so much about my own career, which is a very liberating thing to do.  FU money helps a lot now, but I did it long before I had the cash to back up my attitude.

PetiteMouche

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #32 on: December 01, 2017, 06:52:54 PM »
I appreciate your advice, Zamboni.

PetiteMouche

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #33 on: January 08, 2018, 01:58:43 AM »
Just to update: I'm still doing the cleaning job. It's getting easier, now that I know my way around and know what is expected of me. That's not to say it's always easy, though!

I've decided to stick with the cleaning and not move into shelf-stacking, as I much prefer it. The small increase in pay is not worth it to me. 

kei te pai

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #34 on: January 08, 2018, 02:20:51 AM »
How are you coping with the daytime sleeping? Summer can be tough, its hard coming home as the sun is rising and trying to get to bed. On the other hand it can be rather nice on a cold dark winters day!
I coped ok with shift work when young ( like you!), but it became more difficult to get over constant fatigue as years went by. I hope you get the opportunity to work better hours soon, and your family is stepping up a bit on the domestic front while you are on the night shift.

PetiteMouche

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #35 on: January 23, 2018, 10:34:28 PM »
Thanks, kei te pai.

Yes, getting enough sleep is not always easy, but I've found a sleep mask makes a big difference. The family's stepped up pretty well, although they don't keep things as neat and tidy as I used to. LOL

PetiteMouche

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #36 on: February 10, 2018, 10:15:58 AM »
Well, last night was shit. Machines malfunctioned, I unwittingly made a permanent mark in the supermarket floor (not huge, but noticeable), and I worked an extra half hour, which I won't be paid for.

I saw a notice in the staff room, advertising Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening checkout shifts. I worked as a checkout operator when I left school, so it's a role I'm very familiar with.  Those hours would work very well with homeschooling my children - at the moment, I'm only doing about three days' schooling, as I'm sleeping or groggy the other days - and, since it would be daylight when I started, I'd feel safe walking to work.

I'm pretty sure the advert is aimed at current staff members, though, so I don't know if I even have a shot at getting it. Also, the shifts are available less than two weeks from now, whereas I have to give my current employer four weeks' notice. I don't know if my employer would be able, even if she was willing, to let me go earlier than that, as I don't think there is a replacement for me.   

okits

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #37 on: February 10, 2018, 02:43:07 PM »
Apply, apply, apply!  If you get the job, do your best by your current employer, but take the job that's better for you.  Employees move around all the time, it's part of running a business.  Four weeks' notice sounds like a lot.

Goldielocks

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #38 on: February 10, 2018, 11:00:09 PM »
I worked in a hardware store.   They moved to a new store location.  Within 1 month, i had managed to drop and spill an entire can of latex paint over the new white floor tile.  I did get it 98% cleaned up but 2% on grout is still quite visible.

I did not get fired.

PetiteMouche

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #39 on: February 12, 2018, 01:24:55 AM »
That's reassuring, Goldielocks!

Actually, I noticed last night that someone else had made a mark of exactly the same type, in another part of the store. That made me feel a bit better.

Bicycle_B

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #40 on: February 13, 2018, 11:30:02 PM »
PetiteMouche, way to go on returning to the workforce!  Very glad you are making your decisions and sticking to them.  Here's hoping you keep standing up for yourself and making good choices.  The other job sounds great.  I support 4 weeks being plenty of notice.  Good luck in anything you do.

CestMoi

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Re: First Job in 16 Years - Advice, Please!
« Reply #41 on: February 16, 2018, 01:04:50 PM »
My fiancee has worked a night shift for years. It takes a toll on you physically, so if you try it, take care of your nutrition and make sure you can get enough sleep during the day. You'll need to learn to shift your internal sleep/waking cycle every week from being awake at night to being asleep at night. I know several people who have done it, but it can be challenging.

That said, I'd say give it a try. Maybe if you dislike it, you can put in for daytime hours once you've been there a while.
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