blawwgery tales from the retail trenches

Things To Remember

  1. Working 11a – 4p means LEARN HOW TO EAT BREAKFAST YOU FREAK.
  2. Never underestimate the power of a sharp razor in a box cutter.
  3. The last box you pick to unpack for the day will always be the one filled with t-shirts. Hundreds of t-shirts. Note: there will be no room for these shirts. Anywhere.
  4. Take your break. Your full break. Sit down. Those 10 minutes off your feet make all the difference at the end of the shift.
Picture of Bill Murray on the field in tears after THE CUBS WIN THE WORLD SERIES!!!!

see, i’ve already waited too long / and all my hope is gone

Being on the job hunt twice (!!) this year created a bit of a crisis of confidence. Layoffs aren’t supposed to be about you.

It’s like a high school breakup, albeit with bigger stakes.

“Is there something I could have done?”
“How can I move on?”

So you crank The Smiths…

…and you try to stay positive…

[via GIPHY]

…and you think about your options.


Look other places?

Flee the country?

Go out on your own?



Bellevue definitely has its pros and cons. We’re downtown, so we’re within walking distance of everything. We pay – dearly – for this convenience. We’ve lived here over a year, and I can count the number of times we’ve left Bellevue for Seattle/Shoreline on one hand. I have no desire or inclination to go anywhere around here. (Okay, hanging out with SJ was a lot of fun. A++ WOULD PAY ALL THE TOLLS TO SEE HER AND HER FAM AGAIN)

Pathetic? Probably.

Do I care? Not really.

With that said, there’s several opportunities for great employment out here, provided you have the connections or the background (or both) to get past the recruiter-bots and automatic screeners. I wish I had more connections out here. It’s not like San Diego, where I had a network started. I’m still trying to thaw from the Freeze up here.

Look other places?

I miss San Diego. I miss the ocean. I feel unmoored, adrift, cold. We’re fortunate in that our leasing company also has several properties in San Diego – which means we could move with two weeks’ notice. Unfortunately, if you’re not in the area, it’s hard to get on a recruiter’s shortlist. I totally get it – everyone wants to move to America’s Finest City – but it makes me regret leaving in the first place.

I hate regretting ANYTHING. Ugh.


Flee the country?

Logistical nightmare. Enticing fantasy.

Moving on.

Go out on your own?


The most intriguing, and terrifying, option of them all.


Since 2007, I’ve done a lot of freelancing – primarily teaching for various colleges and universities, with a healthy dose of course development thrown in to keep things interesting. I work on websites (but, honestly, who doesn’t?). I support my friend in his writing and speaking engagements (with several projects in development), and have a couple of local clients I’m working with for their site redesigns (no links for now; I’ll show them off soon).

Eventually, I want to go full stack and embrace my programming dark side. I started this when I was first laid off; suspended the program when I took the startup job because there weren’t enough hours in the day. The only thing preventing me from starting again is the $$$ involved. This shit isn’t cheap, yo.

Actually, I see two main issues: time and money.

I have time. I’m working three part-time jobs (SIDEBAR: IF THIS IS THE ‘GIG ECONOMY’ LET ME TELL YOU IT’S HIGHLY OVERRATED) which gives me time to build my portfolio and skills.

This will also take money…and not just the money to start a program again (I can’t afford a code school right now; dare to dream). I don’t have a lot of money.

Let me be clear: that’s completely my fault.

I’ve spent too much, built too much debt, dug a hole I’ll be lucky to pull myself from before I shuffle off this mortal coil. That’s on me – my stupidity, my impulsiveness, my (previous) inability to budget, my determination to get a degree that added almost six figures to an already-voluminous mountain of debt. I can’t make others responsible for my stupidity – even though I’ve diligently chipped away at this stone, it never seems to get any smaller.

I’m not asking for pity or absolution – I merely present these facts to provide a bit of transparency. That’s all.

I pay my debts. My parents didn’t raise me to abandon my obligations. It just limits my options. Makes the math a lot harder. Makes me unwilling (or incapable?) of accepting money from others for this dream. I mean, I’ve already fucked up so much this far….

I need to suck it up. Make some calls. Arrange repayment options. Watch my credit rating plummet faster than the last drop on the Tower of Terror. Find a cheaper place to live (which probably means leaving Bellevue, and forgetting my goal of getting back to SD sometime in the next decade). Pick up a different part-time job to replace the one I’ll lose if I move from Bellevue. Go on the Marketplace for insurance and hope they’ll subsidize. Keep deferring my loans. Take as many classes as I can. Build a portfolio. Build a client base.

Build a company.


I guess I have my answer?

blawwgery tales from the retail trenches

Day One


See that box? Pull a piece of clothing from the box. Tap – boop! – tap. Check the price. Make new tags for sale items. Hang the piece you just checked. Face that label! Do it again. Again. Again. Again. Box empty? Here’s another one. Fill the rack. Shove the rack to the sale area; try to avoid the set pieces in the store. Hang new items between their older brothers and sisters already clustered on the shelf.

Take a break. Drink tea. Rest your feet. Three hours to go.

Pull stock from the back to fill holes. Hang the items while pulling to save a couple of minutes out front. Roll those clothes – don’t take out that pesky display! Tap – boop! – tap. Do it again.

Learn to fold shirts with a board. Realize you’ve folded your shirts almost the same way for years, only without a board. Spend an hour folding t-shirts. Make mental notes on what shirts to come back and purchase once there’s a little bit of fun money back in the equation.

Walk out after shift end, feet aching. Smiling. You did something new today, and you did a good job.

Now do it again.