I work at Target, and most days that simply means I wear Red & Khaki, smile at everyone I run into, and perform a passel of other tasks aimed at increasing sales so I can keep my average number of hours per week. Sounds like fun, right?
Most times it’s lonely, truth be told, because I don’t generally work with a group of people. I’m not a cashier so I don’t get to shoot the breeze with other cashiers in those lulls between guests ready to check out. I’m not on the presentation team so I don’t get to tear down and put up shelving and new products with a group of others. I’m not a backroom team member so I’m not listening to music in the backroom while backstocking or taking items from their locations to put on the sales floor. I’m the Perishables Assistant, so I work alone.
Now, working alone doesn’t mean I’m by myself. During my day I do run across hundreds of guests, most of whom are perfectly friendly, most of whom are pleasantly hygienic, and most of whom are good for brief conversations to keep me interested. But it’s one thing to have a pleasant conversation with a guest for a few seconds, and quite another to be a member of a team and have others who also work there to talk with about everything under the sun.
It’s why I like Saturday mornings because that’s when we get food shipments and the flow team comes over to my “horseshoe” area and helps put away the frozen and dairy items while I work hard on the produce and meat counterparts. Saturday mornings are when I truly do feel like a member of a team. It’s when I get to know people who I might be on a first name basis with but who I don’t otherwise get the chance to know. And while I’ve been teaching summer school for the past five weeks Saturdays are the only day I really get to have that connection.
Tuesdays used to be the same, but I’m not there on Tuesdays right now. I miss my Tuesday conversations. But anyway, Saturdays are it for now, so I treasure them even more. Sometimes I think maybe I picked the wrong job. I mean, there are a ton of workstations in the store, most of which offer more chance to interact with others. But then I look at the other side of the coin.
As the Perishables Assistant I have a startling amount of autonomy. I can change prices of items that haven’t been selling, in order to move them out of the store. I have a set routine and I follow it every single day, even if I mix up the order of operations (this isn’t math, people) from time to time in order to adjust to what else is going on in the store. And I get my job done as efficiently as I possibly can, while having those aforementioned guest interactions, and while stocking the shelves so they are free of outdated product. It’s fulfilling that I get to do that without being micromanaged. I love that about my job.
This every weekend thing is killing me though. You see, normally I work every other weekend, so I have two days to breathe after a long week, but during summer school I’m working every weekend so I can get back some of those hours I miss for being unavailable on the weekdays. After a long week teaching hopefully rising 9th graders, the last thing I want to do is work all weekend as well, but it’s money, and it keeps me consistent. So I do it, and I count down the days until the end of summer school when I can get back to a regular routine… and back to being off every other weekend.
So tomorrow is the start of the sixth straight weekend I will have worked in a row. Luckily for me two of my favorite flow team members are going to be working alongside me, and I’ll get to fill them in on all the wonderful stories of students and their issues, and I’ll get to hear from them how Target is surviving in my weekday absence. And it might be just enough to sustain me through another weekend, but just barely. Now, to find my Red & Khaki and iron it for yet another command appearance.