Back to Q4 Retail

After a decade and a half of banking, I am once again back in the retail sector during fourth quarter. Our store has had its Christmas decorations up for a good couple of weeks now (having set them up a few weeks before Halloween) and our aisles are now crammed with cardboard standees selling wares such as chocolate Santas, boutique candies, various toys, and everything else in between. Apparently our company doesn’t do the holiday season half-assed.

Am I dreading the craziness of fourth quarter shenanigans, high volume and constantly running out of paper bags up front? Not really! As exhausting as the last couple months of the year can be, there’s also a special warmth that comes along with it. I do enjoy talking with our regulars (and they are definitely such — some stopping by twice a day on the daily) end even more with new customers who are pleasantly surprised by how unique and accessible our store is. Sure, we’ll have the days with unending lines and short staff, but we survive it. And I’m old enough to remind myself not to let those particular days eat at me.

Sure, it affects my writing time sometimes, but not in the ways the bank used to. The mental and emotional exhaustion just isn’t as prevalent. Banking is very exhausting for the brain, whereas working retail, not so much. At least not for me anymore, anyway. Sometimes dealing with the front end is a bit like herding cats — coworkers and customers alike, when I’m assigned the Front End Manager position for the day — but I try not to bring it home. As long as I dedicate time to the writing, that’s all that matters.

Besides, working in retail means I get some sweet deals for the home!

Changing Things Around

Cat Update: Jules has been here for one week and thinks she’s got seniority, but new cat (and sister) Cali has proven otherwise by refusing to give in so easily. It’s been a few days together and they’re not playfighting nearly as much, though they’ll have bouts of chasing each other down our long hallway in full noisy gallop. I think we’ve cured them of waking us up for 2am playtime, but they’ve exchanged that with the 9pm tussling under our bed and the 5am Why Aren’t You Awake Yet. It’s a learning curve for everyone, I guess.

Anyway! As you can well imagine, my writing schedule is falling short due to Watching the Cats (to make sure they settle in well in their new home) and waking up early for the Day Job. It is what it is, and given that it’s also Q4, I will not be surprised if I eventually feel burnout in the next couple of weeks.

BUT! I refuse to let the writing fall by the wayside. I just have to keep focusing on it with the time that I do have. Twitter is currently having its New Owner Dumpster Fire Event which is keeping me from doomscrolling over there. I’ve got my close friends on Discord (we now have a dedicated channel just for our cat pictures, by the way) to keep me company. And of course I still have KEXP to listen to while working in Spare Oom.

It is what it is. I’m used to my writing schedule going all kinds of wonky during Q4. And considering I’m now working retail, the exhausting chaos will be ramping up very soon. I’m only thankful my job frowns on forced overtime (thank you, UFCW Local 648!) and our store is small compared to other outlets. It’ll be busy but not always overwhelmingly so. I’ll always have time to get at least something done each day if I put my mind to it.

And thankfully, the cats are currently sleeping in the cat tree so I can have some me time!