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In the Loop
Sunday, 8 March 2015, 9:42 pm

 Hi guys. It's been really long since my last update. A lot has happened in the past few months and I've got so much to put down here so extremely wordy post ahead. First month of the new year wasnt spectacular for me and I'm really grateful that things are finally starting to settle down now.
  1. 16 Jan- my first day of my very first job at D, which most people would know used to be one of my fav places to shop kawaii things. Decided to get a job to kill time while I hadnt decided what to do for uni yet, plus D was really close to my place so I thought why not. First day was pretty cool cos it mainly consisted of sitting on the floor with my co-workers talking and getting judged by customers (LOL). Basically we didnt have much to do unless you went to find work to do (like taking an entire rack down to rearrange the merch), especially on weekdays. Everyone complained a lot that the manager (not sure what position she is, she's never around) is a crazy bitch though I didnt know why cos she seemed really nice on the phone when she hired me. Had to sign a contract on my first day so I did.
    I looked over my employment contract again when I got home and thought some parts of it were ambiguous. Asked my supervisor, R about it and she told me a lot of unpleasant things that were not written in the physical contract, all of which were confirmed by my other co-workers too.
    Started to have some doubts about continuing work especially since I figured out that I was not entitled to any leave (not even for cny- my salary would be negative if I didnt show up), plus I was working more than 10 hours a day for 6 days a week (our schedules were changed without our discretion). The long working hours were exhausting but it didnt bother me much cos I love doing retail work. The major problem for me was that our salary was completely at the manager's discretion- me and S were most worried about working such long hours every day but ending up not receiving any salary at the end of the month.
    Every day my co-workers and I were asked to sign contracts, which we were told were just copies of our original employment contracts. I looked over it just to be safe and realized that my working hours were extended even more, whereas YJ's schedule was completely changed as well (he couldnt make it for the new schedule). There were faults in 4/5 of our contracts and most of them signed it without checking thoroughly because of the misrep.
    Basically, 3 of us had been bugging the manager to have our schedules changed cos it was not what we signed up for at all. But just like R had promised us, the manager was a pro at ignoring every single one of our requests. The longer I worked the more I was told about the number of employee turnovers/employees not getting their salaries/other drama. By my third day of work I was already seriously considering calling it quits cos the company was too damn exploitative.
    My parents wanted me to leave because my working hours were unethical. But I wanted to stay because I loved my job. I had always wanted to work in retail and the stuff we did were so therapeutic for me (lol like restocking kawaii ribbons and washi tapes, reading Japanese instructions on fake eyelashes). I was pretty much in my own haven of cute things. But there was so much to worry about every day- whether we were gonna get paid, whether we were gonna get our schedules changed, what would happen if we missed a day of work. I decided to just wait and see if the manager would reduce my working hours to what I initially signed up for, otherwise I would leave.
    The manager continued to ignore us. One day a new supervisor, A came in. None of us liked her cos she didnt treat us like we were human, especially me. She gave me more work to do than everyone else and called me a wimp for requesting to change my schedule (lol). Dont know why she had so much against me but I'm guessing because I was new and didnt know she was "superior". On the same day A told me that my schedule would remain unchanged for that week, but they would consider changing it for the week after (no promises). I asked about YJ's request to change his schedule too but his was ignored (I was persistent enough to continuously call the manager LOL). Besides the two supervisors, it was just me and YJ working that night. Happened to walk into the staff room and saw a woman I've never seen before shouting at R and it looked really serious, so I went out to ask YJ what was happening. Decided to go back into the staff room and do stuff in there instead (don't even know why, instincts I guess LOL). By the second time I entered the staff room things already got super ugly. Didn't know exactly what for but the woman was threatening and forcing R to sign something. R was so close to tears and I've never seen anyone with so much fear in their eyes before, to the extent that even I got scared so I went out to look for YJ again (he was working hard but I was walking around shitting myself lol). After a while R came out with no uniform and I saw her ask A for her bag, so I went to her and asked her who that was. It was the manager and R was forced to sign a letter of resignation, and the excuse she was given was completely ridiculous. R told YJ and I that they had no intention of changing our schedules, so basically we were free labour buying time while they looked for new employees who are willing to work the hours we weren't (because we would receive no pay if we quit before the contract expires). After R left, we figured A suddenly showed up that day knowing that she was there to replace R, so we couldn't ask her for help. I decided that that was the last straw and couldn't work in such a dump anymore.
    A got YJ to help her at cashier work after that while I was too busy walking around the store thinking what to do LOL. Finally I decided to punch out for the 10mins break but never punched back in. Grabbed my stuff and told A that I was leaving, and then walked out.
    Later that night YJ texted me and told me about the shit that happened after I left. A fight broke out, the whole place was chaos cos YJ was the only one working (it was closing time which is always the busiest).
    I really wished for a happy ending (they would change our schedules, give us leaves and we would work happily until our contracts expired naturally~) but there really is none. I feel really bad that I just left without saying anything to the rest who had taught and helped me so much since day one, but I guess everyone already kinda knew that I was leaving. I'm grateful that I at least had the option of walking out of there cos I didnt need the money, but it sucks that I couldnt do anything to help anyone back there who did. I really learned that there are people who do retail not to "kill time" or to "earn extra cash to shop things you dont need", but because it's their only source of income to pay the bills, feed themselves.
    No one called to question me about why I left, I guess it's cos it happens so regularly. Since it's March now there would be an entirely new crew cos everyone's contract would have expired in February. I guess that thought is a little comforting cos I knew that my previous co-workers were all dying to get out of the contract, but then again it would mean an entire new crew is going through all that now.
    Fast forward to maybe a month later when I happened to be around so I looked into the store from afar (still couldnt bring myself to go in). Saw J working at the cashier which meant that S left soon after I did too. Walking into the mall, past the places where we ate every day while I was working seriously disgusts me. These places are saturated with huge companies making huge profits while exploiting people who have no freedom or choice. It was like experiencing everything I learned in socio in just a few days.
  2. Got really sick about two weeks later. Only about the time when I was recovering we discovered that me and my sis actually had dengue at the same time lol. 
  3. Met with my dear friend JR and bought her Inside Scoop a day before she left for Melbourne for uni. Met up with some of the lovely CAL classmates the next day for Ricky's farewell, who flew off to Sydney a while ago~
  4. Bro was admitted to the hospital for dengue so we couldnt do much for cny. 
  5. 1 March- went for a scholarship interview for my uni, which I'm so grateful for it went smoothly cos the interviewer and I saw eye to eye on a lot of issues.
  6. 8 March (today)- uni officially starts for me tomorrow and I'll finally be pursuing my degree in law. I know that this may come as a surprise to a lot of people because I've been the socio girl for as long as I've been in A levels (not only to my friends but possibly the junior classes cos of my countless appearances lol). Sociology has been and always will be something that is very dear to me and I know that my socio journey will not end here. But in the end, law has been something that I've wanted to do since I was very young and honestly, I am not brave enough to go for an arts degree (which sucks). Heck, I even came to A levels because it was required for me to do law here. Nonetheless, I am so grateful that the two are so closely related so I do not have to forgo sociology to pursue law, because socio is life LOL.
I know I failed miserably at keeping this space alive even while I was on holiday. I've also been working a lot on my shop which I'm grateful has been growing steadily. I'm going to put up my Taoabo haul really soon so stay tuned!

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