Nov 16, 2009

Did you hear it? Around 5pm this evening? That scream, crash, scream was not a 3 year old girl, it was me doing a pretty good impression of a 3 year old girl. Settle down, and backtrack with me...

Good For You Market has been closed on Mondays for this entire year. Why? Nothing to do with poor sales. Partly to do with the difficulty of finding motivated staff in a beach area, and partly to do with store renovations. We have spent Mondays, and quite a few late nights/all nights/early mornings renovating the store, upgrading lighting, improving refrigeration, shelving and display units, opening a juice/coffee bar, a sandwich bar, and reorganizing the entire store. All while keeping the store open, and doing all the usual stuff that goes along with running a small business with an inventory that is mainly food: products which have notoriously low margins. Oh yeah, the economy's kinda sucked too.

So, today, being a Monday (and my one day off!), I was at the store finishing up staging the supplements, personal care, and cleaning/laundry departments. I've filled a position that I've kept open for quite some time: Department Manager (DM) for said departments. I promised DM that I would shortly work my away around to that area of the store now that the food areas are completed. So, swallowing the motivational ideology about a Manager being a good, "Multi-tasker,' I was multi-tasking away with only a Cher CD for company. I figured I could cut wood and paint chalkboards for the produce department, paint shelving for the supplements department, plan out the sandwich bar, and analyze the gluten free grocery department whose sales are not so healthy as the food. The assumption was that while the paint was drying I could be working all of the other tasks in rotation.

So, I race downstairs from my workshop painting area onto the sales floor to finish up with the supplements department. I put my hand on the shelf next to the stairs, and something black catches my eye.

Scream #1: a customer, presumably the 3-year old girl whose scream I emulated, had left a black rubber scorpion on the candle/room freshener shelves for me to find when alone in the store multi-tasking. The wierd thing about getting spooked is that while I was irrationally screaming like said 3-year old girl, my mind was also rationally considering that there are no scorpions in Delaware, especially in November. If my mind can multi-task like this, you'd think I'd be able to complete the optimistic schedule I set myself today.

Crash. Scream #2. Fast forward to metal shelving collapsed on the floor, having initiated a domino affect and knocked over the darn gluten free grocery shelving, making a big red puddle mixed with broken glass, on the floor, with me in the middle of it. I now smell like a tailgate party: sun dried tomato dressing, mixed with coconut vinegar, rice chips, and crackers. I actually consider sobbing (girly man!), but the smell of coconut vinegar (which most definitely does NOT smell like Pina Coladas, more like a Fish and Chip shop), motivated me to suck it up, and suck it up (the spill that is).

While I'm motivating myself to clean up the mess, my mind wanders on to wider issues of motivation. It's been a tough week this week, requiring 'on your feet' kind of thinking, that only a Hotel Manager would appreciate! A business relationship that was chugging along smoothly, has taken a trip down under, I had to lay off one of my juice bar associates, and it's review time! All Managers reading this will empathize. Review time is a time of anticipation of you're getting the review, but if you're the Manager who has to write and give the reviews, all while keeping your regular work lights on, well it's a relief when they're done! So while cleaning, I'm musing, or amusing myself. How do you motivate yourself to keep a big picture in mind when the details are well, kinda crappy! How do you motivate others? Business partners? Staff? I concluded you can't motivate others, just like I concluded multi-tasking is not possible. You can incentivise other, but motivation has to come from self. You can't phsyically work on more than one thing at a time. You can however, juggle multiple priorities, ensuring that deadlines are not missed.

I'm fairly new to this writing gig too. I write copy for our store ads, marketing and press releases, article for our newsletter, this blog, and also a weekly column, "Organic Living" in Coastal Sussex e-magazine: I sometimes feel like Sally Field when I get rare feedback from my writing, "You like me, you really do!" Most of the time there is no feedback, and you really have no idea who, if anyone is reading. The writing can be hard to get motivated to do. Instead, I incentivize myself. I remind myself how much I enjoy doing it, how it disciplines me to commit to deadlines, and makes me better at my job with all the research the articles and columns necessitate.

I'm tired, it's been a busy day off. I'm covered in black paint, sundried tomato dressing, coconut vinegar, and the parsley spray I used to clean up. I'm happy though, and for that I'm thankful. Home to the family and face the music for the doghouse I left this morning!


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