New Job at The UPS Store and the Boss Bites -- Hard

I'm now working at The UPS Store. Not the warehouse where the drivers and package loaders are, The UPS Store; where you can ship items, print, hold a P.O. Box, etc. I'm glad I have a job and making consistent money but this is easily one of the toughest jobs I've held.

It starts with my boss. She's owned this store for 15 years and she's very good. She could pack your house and make it fit in one box. She turns the science of packing into an art. But she holds herself and myself to an impossible standard. She's a perfectionist.

I happened to land the job because I have friends who work above her store and frequently mail and ship things. When one of my friends who works above found out I was looking for a job, he and the others put in a good word for me. When I interviewed with her, she decided to take a chance on me. Yes. Take a chance.

She took a good look at my resume and noticed no retail or shipping experience. She wasn't looking for that but she decided to take me on anyway. That's when I encountered her perfectionism and complete lack of grace.

On my first day, she raised her voice at me. On my second day, she gave me a deathly cold stare. On other days, she's shaken her head in front of customers because I've asked questions that have obvious answers to her but not so much to me. Continuing on until now, she still raises her voice, though I will say she's calmed down some.

On top of that, she micro-manages too much. I'm new and I understand there are many, many minutiae involved with this job but when you detail in which way I put a box against a wall that was already less than six inches away from the wall, it's overkill. To be fair to her, she's lost three employees - one was stealing money and another became extremely sick and I'm not sure what happened to the other. So, she's on edge. The holidays are approaching and she has to train this new guy who hasn't got a clue. Stressed? Understandable. But she decided to take me on. She knew what she was getting, so while I do feel sympathy and empathy towards her, the cold stares and raising her voice are completely uncalled for.

So, dealing with her is already a huge gorilla on my back. That minutiae I mentioned is the other. We all know what it's like to ship a package. We bring it to our store of choice packaged ourselves or the store packs it. We approach the register and they ring us up weighing and measuring our item. Moments later we're out the door. That's it on the consumer side. Behind the register is a totally different beast.

Mail services are a machine and I have new respect for anyone involved in it, including my dad who delivers for UPS. At our store we have USPS services and obviously UPS. That means I have to know what both offer. What's the standard rate for both services? What's our next day options? How about 2-day? Three? Freight? What kind of package did the person bring in? Is it a parcel, flat, or just an envelope? Which packages can only be shipped express? What kind are trackable? Etc, etc, etc. That's also not including our print services, P.O. Box services, third-party services like ATT U-Verse, key copying, mail forwarding, drop-offs, deliveries, and everything else we sell in the store. And of course, actually packing items properly. It's a ton to take in. And none of it is really all that interesting.

I'm slowly picking it up. I finished my ninth day today and I could say I can take an ATT U-verse return fast, I'm packaging better and I'm able to help customers and identify packages more frequently. But at the end of the day, the job is far less satisfying because I'm working with a boss who demands unrealistic perfection. Obviously, get the shipments right. Obviously, put the mail in the right boxes. Obviously, charge the customers the correct prices. Obviously, pack fragile things with the appropriate cushion. But if I get the job done, even if it's not exactly how my boss would do it, I think it's fair that I don't get the raised voice or getting pushed off the task cause she'll just do it herself.

This situation is off in so many ways. However, I can't deny how much I can learn from her concerning this job. But after that, there's nothing to take away from her.

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Modeling a New Career

As I was working on a project, I became frustrated. There was a level of detail and technique that I realized I was not ready for and the amount of energy the project was consuming was taking the fun out of the project. I decided to test a few things and then shut the project down and watch a video on different techniques and tools.

What I'm talking about is modeling a chair in 3DS Max, a 3D modeling program that is commonly used in the video game industry. I am working on this because I am trying to get into this industry as an environment artist and in order to do that, it's good for me to be able to model random things like a chair.

Finding the right balance between pushing myself and creating things within my skill is a tough medium to find. It takes experimentation, failure, experimentation, failure, experimentation then success--maybe. In it, I've learned a lot but the project is more frustrating than I imagined it would be. There are a lot of things I don't quite get.

What you see above is my "sketch." It's good to "block" things out before going into the detail so there is an understanding of proportion. From this sketch, I can start to model my first "draft" which gives more accurate shape to the piece. From there, it's adding detail upon every "draft" that I have--basically taking it one step at a time so as to not overwhelm myself.

This is what I've doing for the past few weeks and why I haven't spent as much time here but since I miss y'all, I figured to include you in this endeavor of mine.