Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Why working as a Shop Assistant is actually good for your Career

Original picture taken from unsplash
 About 6 months ago, I got accepted to work as a shop assistant for a brand I actually really care about. I was very luck that I got accepted,but I was also worried, because I hadn't work at a shop before and, as you probably already know, I am not the best with people.
But during the past few months I actually developed quite a few skills, which will surely come in handy once I dive into the "real world" and get a proper job like almost every other adult. 
Of course, if you are still in university like I am, internships and part time job srelated to your field of study are important for your CV and work experience (which I completely neglected to be honest), but even at a minor part time job like this you still acquire some useful skills.

1. Presentation
As a shop assistant it is, of course, your job to sell products. In order to do that you have to introduce new costumers to the entire brand itself or certain products. That way you learn how to showcase not only the goods, but also yourself. A lot of jobs nowadays require a certain degree of confidence. If you have it, great. If you don't, you can at least learn to fake it. 

2. Hiding your bad mood
To me, there is nothing worse than waiting in line to pay for my stuff at the supermarket, only to be greeted by well... actually not being greeted by the cashier. Oftentimes they just sit or stand there looking very, very bugged out, the corners of the mouth dragging down toward the floor. 
While I understand that on some days, you just don't feel like working for God knows how many hours at the store, having to handle annoying customers, it is part of your job to make the customers feel welcome. In the end, they are the ones who pay you for your services. So, act accordingly!
Do you think, your boss will appreciate it, if you slouch behind your desk, looking at the clock every 30 seconds? Certainly not. Even if you want to go home, the key is not to show it, or to quote one of our favourite films,  Frozen:
"Conceal it, don't feel it. Don't let it show."

3. Organisation
Working as a shop assistant involves so many more tasks than just selling stuff. There is a lot of behind the scenes work going on and depending on the company you will have more or less responsibility to keep the wheels turning. You will have to take care of the store and see that everything is in stock. You might have to take on some extra duties that require more organisation. 

4. Learning what people want
By observing and interrogating your customers, you will slowly learn how different kinds of react to the way you approach them and what kind of questions you have to ask to get the answer you are looking for. But, please note that it not about seeing someone and instantly knowing how their brain is wired. Instead it is about developing techniques that will help you handle different kinds of people in a competent way. 

5. Dealing with stress
I guess, most jobs have their highs and lows when it comes to workload.On some days there are phases when nothing happens and on other days it feels as if there is not a single minute left for you to take a deep breath. The same rule applies to shops and let me tell you: if the place is busy, you will need all the energy and concentration that you can get. Especially on the weekends and the last weeks before Christmas things can get really messy. This is the time, when you basically have to combine all the aforementioned skills to the max, or else you will drown. 

While for some potential employers "shop assistant" is not a sign for competence and success in the first place, the most important thing is how you sell it and every job that you do, will serve you well, as long as you make an effort and do the best that you can.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Appreciation Sunday #15

Picture taken by yours truly
Yesterday, one of my dearest friends got married
Well, actually she got married the week before, but it was just the civil ceremony and well, sometimes it only becomes real, when you see the bride walking down the aisle with a with a veil right alongside her proud father. It was truly a wonderful day. The bride looked stunning - of course. 
There was plenty of food and we danced until the early morning. Naturally, there were some tears, but they were all due to complete and utter happiness
I take you to the candy shop~ wait, or just the lovely candy bar at the wedding??
 As I'd already told you, this was the first wedding in my close circle of friends and even though it scared me, this whole day made me once again realise how perfectly natural it was, for the two of them to get married. I guess, there are a few fortunate couples on this planet where you can really feel that they belong together. 

I went to bed at about 5 o'clock this morning, so I don't think I have to tell you how much fun we'd had. 
Five hours later I was up again. It's almost time for bed now, and I still don't feel any more lively than in the morning. That's when you notice you're not getting any younger. 

Later in the day, we went to the lake where my stepfather used to fish. Sadly, the lady who owns the lake wants to sell it. So, we won't be able to go there anymore. It was our very last afternoon there. We had come to this lake for many years now, though not as frequent as we wanted to during the past 2 years (well, German weather...). It was always a lovely, short escape from our daily life. 
Every time, my mother used to prepare some nice salads and meat for the grill, we would load our tents into the car, grab the dogs and after a 20 minute drive we'd found ourselves in perfect solitude
Apart from this lake, there are only trees, fields and a few birds (who are loud as hell in the morning). 
Greetings from the pugs!
Going there this one last time made me a bit melancholic. It is one of those pieces of my childhood that suddenly vanished. Again, it reminds me of the fact that I am actually an adult, believe it or not. 

I still believe it is just a very bad joke.  

Is it weird to be almost in your mid-20s and you can still not really understand what is happening around you? Anyway, I am glad that got the chance to come back to this place for one last time (ignoring the fact, that I actually dozed off quite a few times).

Friday, 21 August 2015

The tongue-tied Logophile

original picture taken from unsplash
As a child, I was always the artsy one. I used to craft, write and draw all day - when I was not playing with my Barbie's.
At the same time, I developed this really morbid style. I was always the weird kid whose stories were supposed to be dark and scary with mysterious necklaces, murderers and a bit of gore. 
When we were assigned to draw a picture of a girl with a jump rope for our art class, I got my major inspiration from the Japanese film "Battle Royale". Let's just say, that my picture stood out. My teacher loved it and it actually hung in one of the corridors of my school for quite a few months. 

Somehow, I always found something creative to occupy myself with and it didn't matter if the final product was actually amazing or some unidentifiable mess that ended up in the trash can. Just the process of trying to create something was worth it. 
I used to draw. Tons and tons of pictures and sketches. Well, mostly sketches, because I hated colouring. I used to embellish the blank spaces and backs of my notebooks with my drawings and spent a lot of time and money at the craft store to get drawing utensils. I was obsessed, but I was also not very happy with my style. Instead of working on it, I quit, envying others because of their great talent, which I suppose now, was and still is mostly the result of hard work and dedication

Without these two tools it almost impossible to improve. 

Then, there is writing. I was never really able to quit on writing, but at the same time, I got increasingly afraid of it.  

"What if my style not good enough?" 
"What if my stories are not interesting enough?" 
"What if they don't have enough wit or eloquence?" 
"What if they are just plain boring?" 

There's been this gigantic wall inside my head, I am not able to overcome ever since I started to consciously think about what I write down. 
No idea reaches my fingers to be actually written down. Killed before it's actual existence. 

Geez, even writing this down is hard, but I guess, one has to consider what the great Harper Lee once said in orer to get better:

"To be a serious writer requires discipline that is iron fisted. It's sitting down and doing it whether you have it in you or not. Everyday. Alone. Without interruption. Contrary to what most people think, there is no glamour to writing. In fact, it's heartbreak most of the time."

A logophile is a person with a deep love for words. 
I love words - as long as they are not my own. I could marvel at the words of other people for hours, wondering how they found the perfect words to describe what I feel. 
Why is it so hard to find the right words for what is going on in my mind? 

Because I do not know how to put a proper end to this ongoing discussion inside my head, I will leave you with the words of another wise woman:

"Writers end up writing about their obsessions. Things that haunt them; things they can't forget; stories they carry in their bodies waiting to be released."
Natalie Goldberg

Thursday, 20 August 2015

History Intertwined

Picture taken by yours truly (Versailles, 2011)
When I was still a teeny, tiny student (and by that I mean middle and high school), we used to talk  about history in different blocks. We started with the ancient Egypt and Greece, slowly made our way through the Holy Roman Empire all the way to the Third Reich (which basically covered all of our high school history lessons).

We concentrated mainly on Europe, Germany in particular, because this was the closest to us. Other regions were only covered, when it affected happenings in our country as well. So, you could say that history lessons were neither complete nor did they actually convey that the entirety of history is connected.
Everything seemed to be isolated; places, people and events. It was all concentrated on "the most important" parts. Of course, too much has happened in the world, to cover everything, and yet I feel like something was missing.

We always try to cover the big picture, leaving out the most interesting details, but at the same time focuse on little pieces without really putting them into perspective. 

History is abundant and thus hard to grasp.
History is a never ending story, stretching further and further into what we call "the present", all the way towards "the future". 
And everything is connected. 

Great people lived among other great people
Mozart, Marie Antoinette, Catherine the Great and Giacomo Casanova lived in the same era - the first two actually born only one year apart from each other. And when peasants stormed the Bastille in 1789, igniting the French Revolution, George Washington became the first president of the United States.
Ludwig II. of Bavaria was the cousin of Elisabeth of Austria ("Sisi") and patron of Richard Wagner, who shamelessly exploited him. 
And while William Shakespeare was on his way to fame with this sonnets and plays, Elizabeth Báthory made history by torturing and killing young women. She allegedly bathed in the blood of her victims to sustain her youth.

While these connections are not what the great politics of the world were made of, it amazes me that these people actually lived at the same time; offering different fragments that shaped the era they had lived in.

There is so much more to history, than school usually teaches us.
So much more to learn and understand, and so much more to explore

That being said, I can not wait to read my book about the divorce of Henry VIII. from Catherine of Aragon and it's connection to an Italian diplomat, as well as a work about the maladies of great writers (the number of hints connecting Shakespeare to syphilis and other fun STDs is too damn high!). 

This is what history is made of as well and I can not wait to dive into it.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Finally growing up? (or: When people your age are getting married)

Original photo taken from unsplash
Last Saturday was the hen party of one of my best friends. She had recently turned 24 and she's been with her boyfriend (actually husband now) since middle school. They've been living together. They even have a dog. So, when they got engaged on New Year's Eve 2013, it was a s surprise, but it was something that just had to happen. Every time you seem them, you instantly think: "Those two just belong together." They are like peanut butter and jam or Sigfried and Roy (just with less sparkly outfits). 
That time, the wedding seemed so far away and then, last Saturday came. We went to an amusement park first and then dancing. It was the most amazing day, but seeing her with her floral headband and the veil just made me realize, that she was going to be a bride

Yesterday, she and her husband got married. It was a civil ceremony. So, it was just for close family members, but I was able to catch her afterwards, and she looked stunning. I could not stop staring at her. I started to cry almost immediately, when she came in, arm in arm with her husband - she was glowing. Next week they will have the ceremony at the church in the town where they were born. There will be tears, but it will be oh so wonderful. 

This is actually the first wedding among my close circle of friends, but during the past one and a half years, a lot of people I went to school with, got married. Being basically in my mid twenties, I guess, this is almost normal. It is an age I've always considered as mature, when I was still in school. After all, you are an adult now. And yet, here I am, amazed by the fact, that people my age, start making this kind of commitment towards another person. 

It feels as if everyone around me is really starting to grow up; starting their own lives and their own families and careers. For the past few years, I felt stuck in some kind of in-between-stage. I am not a teenager anymore, but I am definitely not yet a real adult (whatever this is supposed to mean, it doesn't feel like it) and most of my friends reported, that they felt the same. And now, one after the other, they seem to jump out of this in-between-mess and into adulthood. Leaving me behind?

In all honesty, I could not be happier for her. I am glad that she found someone to love and to trust, but it also scares the bejesus out of me, because if there is one thing, that I have always been afraid of, it's becoming an adult. But one can not stop the wheel of time. And in a way it is comforting to know, that life is not going to be a never ending repetition of middle school and high school - which sucked balls.