Tag Archive: veterinary assistant


A Week Of Work

So I have now been employed by Alan’s Jewelry and Pawn for a week. I’m still training, but I’m not sure how long I’ll stick around. It has its good points and its bad points, much like any job. But the bad seem pretty overwhelming to me. I have a few major complaints…

1. The hours. I knew going in that it would be over 40 hours a week, and I don’t have a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is how those hours are arranged and what you can and can’t do during them. The shifts are enormous – typically from 8:30 in the morning until 7:00 or so at night. One week you work five days, the next week six. During those shifts you get two fifteen minute breaks and an hour lunch break. The only problem is there’s no break room, nor anywhere to sit at all except for the stairwell, and unless you’re on one of the above breaks, you’re not allowed to sit there. You’re also strongly encouraged to limit water and bathroom breaks to the absolute minimum.

With no break room, lunch becomes a wasted hour that ends up costing more money than it’s worth. No one wants to sit in a stairwell for an hour, and the summer heat makes sitting in your car unrealistic. That leaves going somewhere as the main option. Going home is cheaper than going out to eat, but either way I’m wasting gas. I’d much rather take another fifteen minute break and leave 45 minutes sooner, but that’s not an option. Also not an option: moving your days around, switching shifts with coworkers, or getting any time off around Christmas. So basically it’s 45-50 hours a week, spent on your feet, with very little water entering or leaving your body, and if you don’t like that there’s really nothing you can do about it.

2. Everyone who ranks above me tells me to do things in a different way. It’s pretty much impossible to know if you’re being trained correctly when the answers you get to your questions are completely different depending on who you ask.

3. I’ve barely been able to do what I was hired to do (sell musical instruments). I understand there are many departments and many different types of products and transactions, but it’s a bit frustrating when you take a job specifically to focus on something you like, only to spend more time learning other things. I’ve spent entirely too much time messing with guns and jewelry (our two biggest money-makers, neither of which interests me even a little). I’ve mostly gotten the hang of the pawn/sell process, bill pays are easy, check cashing isn’t too hard, and walking the sales floor is like every other retail job I’ve ever had. Why can’t I do those sorts of things when there’s no one in the music section and when I get someone asking about guns or jewelry or power tools or whatever else, find someone who knows about those things? There’s something to be said about workers who can cover all the bases and do a variety of tasks, but the Industrial Revolution was built on specialized labor.

4. The pawn business is crooked as hell. We base what we pay for things on what they sell for on eBay, giving about a third of what they go for in decent condition. Then we turn around and sell them at scarcely less than full retail. We pride ourselves on being a place where people can bargain, but we refuse to come down too low. Today there was a man who bought a $20,000 diamond who was also interested in an XBox 360. The store manager told me to treat him like the most important customer I’ve ever had. When I pulled out one of the 30 XBox’s on the shelf and he asked how low we could go on it, I assured him we would give him a great bargain. Then I asked the store manager how low we could go, and he told me to take 20% off the sticker. The “most important customer” who just spent $20,000 can only save about $15 on his video game system. Something seems a little off there. And we haven’t even gotten to the crazy interest rates on loans and the many fees for check cashing, bill pays, and using a credit card.

So yeah… those are my main complaints. I’m sure the money will be good (they still haven’t told me my exact rate of pay) but I’m not sure it’s worth it. I’m still keeping my eye out for something better, and when I find it I’ll jump. Speaking of which, tomorrow night (night?) I have an interview with one of the animal hospitals I applied to. They’re a 24 hour hospital, and luckily the person in charge of hiring veterinary assistants works night shift. She called me and we played phone tag for a while before I finally got to speak to her the other day. I’m hoping she likes me, and that they give their assistants full-time hours. If so I’ll definitely take the job, even if the money isn’t as good. If it’s only part-time hours, I’ll talk to my current job and see if it’s possible to cut down to part-time. If not I’m not passing up the opportunity to do what I’ve been studying the past few months, so I’ll settle for part-time and try to find a second job, possibly going back to the gas station if I have to. One way or the other I will have a job I like that pays well, even if it takes a little work to get there.

 

A Week of Joblessness

I thought that now since I have a ton of free time I might actually update this more often. I was wrong. But oh well. Here’s how the first week has treated me…

I’ve been dropping off resumes everywhere. I made two, one for generic retail jobs and another for veterinary assistant jobs. For the retail ones, I’ve mostly stuck to retail jobs I might actually not hate – Mr. K’s Used Books, the visitor’s center, pet stores, etc. I had an interview at Michael’s, but it’s 15-20 hours a week at minimum wage, so it might not be worth my time. Even if it is, I haven’t heard back from them, so yeah. For the veterinary ones, I compiled a list of every animal hospital and related organization in a 20 mile radius and I’ve been targeting different parts of town each business day.

I got a call from the Haw Creek Animal Hospital, who evidently have an ad on Craigslist. The woman said she was going through all the resumes and trying to narrow it down to see who she wanted to call back for an interview. I was caught off guard when she called (I was on the toilet!) and I probably didn’t come across as eloquent as I would like to. I doubt she’ll call me back, but you never know. After hearing they had an ad I decided to be more diligent about checking Craigslist, and I saw Brother Wolf had a posting. I went down there and as it turns out they have four open positions, including one that is mostly data entry. When I told the woman I have over six years of data entry experience her eyes lit up. I went back there today to see if the positions had been filled and they gave me the hiring manager’s card. I called but got her voicemail. I left a message and the woman at the desk said if I don’t hear from her by the end of the day to call again. So I guess that’s what I’ll be doing. Fingers crossed!

I have yet to actually get anything from unemployment. When I got my letter in the mail it said my claim had an open issue. I went back there to see what I should do now that I’m not working at all, and they told me to do my weekly certification and there would be a question asking if I had gotten fired from a job. I clicked yes and submitted my certification and it said there was an issue. It said the main office in Raleigh would contact me within three business days, and if they didn’t to call the number on the screen. I tried calling today but never got through. Once I was on hold for over 20 minutes and gave up. Every time I tried back after that I got a busy signal. Perhaps I should get a job answering phones for the ESC? It seems no one else wants to do that.

Tomorrow I’m going downtown to finish applying for food stamps, now that I have my last pay stub and a copy of my lease to show them. While I’m downtown I’ll try the unemployment office and see if there’s any other number I can try to get through to Raleigh or if I should just keep calling and getting put on hold. I’m hoping something gets resolved quickly, because I honestly don’t know where my next meal is coming from. I’ve been putting everything on my credit card, but eventually I’ll have to pay the credit card bill, and then what? I do actually need some form of income. After my trip downtown I’ll hit up a few more animal hospitals and the humane society and hope for the best. At this point in time it almost seems like I’ll find a job before the government gives me anything. I have to wonder how people can stay on unemployment for so long. My friend told me that if you say you’re homeless your case gets immediate attention, but evidently if you’re honest about your present situation you have to wait until you are homeless to get a response. Fun times.

Other than that there’s not a whole lot to write about. I’ve been spending most of my free time working on new Predator Drone pieces and watching Arrested Development DVD’s from the library. Oh and cleaning. I’ve finally organized my room and my apartment in general so it doesn’t look like a complete disaster. And cooking. I’ve been making lots of big elaborate meals that make a few days worth of leftovers each, because it’s a lot cheaper than a bunch of single serve meals. And that’s really about it. I’m going somewhat stir crazy, another reason I don’t understand how people can stay unemployed for so long. Me and my stupid work ethic.

 

I never really mind being single until I’ve spent some time around a couple. I mean, sure, I’d rather be with someone. But if I’m not, no big deal. I have friends, I have other outlets, I’ll survive. But for some reason, whenever I spend any amount of time around a couple (not just any couple, but a couple) I get super uncomfortable with my singleness. I feel extra lonely, and every moment of every day is filled with dread – what if I never find someone? What if I’m single forever?

My roommate and my neighbor (I like both of them, individually at least) have become one such couple. They spend a lot of their time together, and they often do couple things, like cook together. They’ve even gotten comfortable enough with their relationship that they’ve started with various levels of P.D.A. They’re too cutesy, and too joined at the hip. I understand that because of their triangular situation they can’t really spend any time at his place. But that doesn’t mean they have to spend all day and all night over here. Thankfully tonight they’ve gone out, so I can finally have some alone time. I’m still just as single when I’m alone as when they’re around, but for some reason it feels much more bearable.

I’m hoping my singleness might end soon. My neighbor Michelle is going to try to play matchmaker for me with her awesome friend Kat. Evidently she tried to get up with her tonight but she couldn’t get ahold of her. Obviously simply bringing her friend over won’t instantly change my status one bit. But over the past year or so I’ve built up this previously unknown level of confidence, and when we hung out last week we really hit it off nicely. So there’s probably a good chance I’ll at least get a date out of it. Whatever happens I’ll definitely be in debt to Michelle, I know I’m probably a huge pain in the ass. But yeah, fingers crossed…

In completely unrelated news…

The other day a course catalog from AB Tech came in the mail. I’ve resisted the concept of “going back to school” for a long time now, but I’m really sick of the world of retail. I was browsing through the online classes and saw a three level course to become a veterinary assistant. I’ve always loved animals, and while it probably wouldn’t pay any more than what I’m making now, it would be great to get out of retail and spend my day surrounded by animals. I sent an email to the address listed in the catalog asking if there were any prerequisites that I didn’t see listed, and if these three classes were all I would need to become a veterinary assistant. If so, I think I’ll go for it. The classes aren’t that expensive, comparatively speaking, and with it being an online class I wouldn’t have to worry about missing work. I’ll keep you posted.

In further unrelated news…

I have a painting that I’m attempting to sell CHEAP. I did it one day at work, I think I might have posted a picture on here. I used nothing but store-use supplies and a damaged canvas, so it didn’t cost me anything. I don’t really like it either. I figure if I sell it dirt cheap someone will want it. I might post a picture to Facebook and see if anyone is interested. If not I might end up giving it to Michelle as a reward for her matchmaking abilities. I guess we’ll see.

Aaaaaaand that’s about it. I’m pretty boring lately. The End.