The fight to keep from hitting the ‘reset’ button on my sobriety

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As of this writing, I have been sober for 883 days.

According to the “I Am Sober” app I use to hold myself accountable, I have saved almost $4000 from not buying alcohol during that time. That’s probably low; I know when I set up the app I was only counting the cost of a bottle of cheap whiskey a couple of times a week. Other liquor and beer, bought less often, would add a bit to the financial savings.

The app tracks time saved, too, but I know it’s woefully underestimating that number. I only allotted an hour per night as “time lost” to alcohol but of course, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Time spent buying booze, lost productivity the next morning due to my foggy brain, and even time spent thinking about when I was going to get my next drink would combine to paint a much darker picture of wasted moments. …


No, you don’t get paid enough. Yes, customers can suck sometimes. No, it (probably) won’t kill you.

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I can’t believe I made it over 20 years working retail. Two decades of changing and often conflicting directions coming down from corporate. Two decades of demanding customers who never seem to be satisfied. Two decades of not getting paid enough to check off tasks on a list that never ends.

It hasn’t gotten any easier since I started my retail career back in 1998. If anything, it’s much worse. Many companies have slashed payroll over the years, expecting more and more out of a shrinking store-level staff. And wages haven’t kept up with the increasing workload. Retaining customers, always among the top priorities for any service-based company, is even more important now in the age of Amazon. …


Do your best job, yes — but do it for yourself, not your boss

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I don’t know exactly when I came to the conclusion that companies don’t care about their employees. It happened quite a while before I found myself on the receiving end of an (entirely my opinion here, but what else do I have to go on?) Unjustified termination from a job in which I’d been somewhat successful for more than two decades.

In the United States, it’s incredibly easy (some might say beneficial) for companies to disregard the feelings and needs of their employees. …


My first experience really dealing with loss

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Describe your first experience dealing with death

I’m going to cheat a little bit with the above prompt. The first death I can remember experiencing was that of my maternal grandmother, but my memories of that event are pretty vague. I have one clear memory of standing in my grandparents’ living room (which was in the garage apartment behind my house) as my grandfather cried. MaMaw had died in the hospital and I think (although I’m not sure — maybe this memory isn’t as clear as I’d first thought) PaPaw had just gotten a phone call telling him she’d passed.

My grandmother’s death didn’t affect me nearly as much as my grandfather’s, which happened about 16 months later. I wouldn’t say that I really “dealt” with MaMaw’s death. I’m sure I felt sad and missed her, but I have no particular memories of my grief in her case. …


Staying sober can be tough — here are some tips to make it easier

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I’ve been sober for over two years now. As I wrote about last November, nearly every day is a struggle to maintain that accomplishment.

I’m happy to report I’ve noticed whole days going by now where I don’t think about drinking. They’re few and far between, but I’m definitely not thinking about backsliding nearly as often as I was when I wrote the above story.

Some days, though. Some days are harder than others. The other day, while doing my job as a Census Enumerator, which involves driving from residence to residence to interview people who didn’t respond to the mailed Census invitation, I found myself parked within viewing distance of my favorite liquor store. …


What I know now would have spared me decades of regret

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What career advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?

Imagining the things I would tell my 16-year-old self leads me down a rabbit hole of regret and missed opportunities. The things I would tell that naive teenager about taking care of his relationship with his girlfriend (who is now his — my — wife) alone would fill volumes.

Thankfully, the above question is focused on career advice so, while I could still write a book about that subject (and I am), I think I can narrow it down enough to fit the scope of this story.

There are three things I would tell my 16-year-old self about working and making money. …


Not every opinion is valid or worth consideration, even from your own family

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It finally happened. After a year or more of her anti-gun control Facebook posts, I finally decided I’d had enough of my sister. It wasn’t her “Thanks, I’ll go ahead and keep my guns” posts that did it, though.

It was her telling me she doesn’t care about what COVID-19 might do to the people I care about.

The people she cares about.

I don’t generally unfollow or unfriend people who have different opinions from my own. I think only listening to others who are saying the same things as you is unhealthy. I have many friends on Facebook, for example, who support Trump. Or who respond to “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter.” …


Leading your team from chaos to excellence

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In 2012, the Store Manager I had worked with since starting my job at Office Depot in 1999 left the company for another job. I was one of two Assistant Store Managers and I applied to be her replacement.

I didn’t get the job and the other ASM didn’t apply. He ended up leaving the company about a month later.

A Store Manager — let’s call him “Dennis” — from a store in another district transferred to my store to lead it. When his time at my store was over — after seven months of his tyrannical and hysterical “leadership” — I got my chance again. At one point during the discussions leading to my promotion, my District Manager actually apologized, in a way, for subjecting me and my store to that seven months of madness. …


Even in difficult circumstances

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A few days ago, I had one of the worst customer service experiences I’ve ever had. It reminded me of how important customer service has always been for me. I thought I’d relate the story here and offer some tips to managers and supervisors on how to ensure they can provide a great customer experience even in these trying times.

The curbside pickup that wasn’t

My wife had done an online pickup order for some spray paint from a major home improvement store and we went to pick it up. This store, like many others, is doing curbside pickup now thanks to the pandemic. When we arrived in the parking lot, there were clearly marked parking spaces for curbside pickup orders. …


America’s favorite racing league is back — with some serious modifications

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A comeback — of sorts

Like nearly every industry or aspect of our lives, the sports world has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The shutdown was really unavoidable. Not only are most athletes in constant close contact with their teammates and opponents, but the very nature of arenas, stadiums, and racetracks mean thousands of fans sitting side by side, touching shoulders, and breathing the same air.

The impact of most sports completely shutting down reached almost every home in America, as even fans who would have just watched events from the relative safety of their own homes found nothing new happening for the last couple of months. …

About

Cecil Adkins

Recovering retail manager with thoughts on leadership, family, and writing. Get updates and a FREE short story: https://mailchi.mp/a032a43afc5f/ceciladkins

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