Hey there! Welcome back to Focus on Your small business, the name is changing somewhat soon… more on that later. I’m Dachia.
I’ve recently told you that I took a job to help pay bills while I get this thing going. The membership site. And I also told you about a couple jobs that I would have really enjoyed but I didn’t get them.
While I could have done both of those jobs well and enjoyed them and I think there was a cultural fit with both companies, I was not quote ‘as qualified” end quote as likely several people that had applied for the one job. The other job, if you recall, was just so busy trying to stay afloat with the few people they had trying to cover all the shifts… that they couldn’t to take the time to hire the person they needed. They had said I was hired but I couldn’t sit down with them or even meet with them to get the details, let alone any training or direction so I could start.
So, when this guy called me, a guy I had known previously, and described the position and basically just offered it to me, I just took it. It seemed like a good fit.
And because I think many of you might be in the position now or in the future… trying to build a small business but still trying to pay bills and thinking of taking an outside job, I want t share with you some of the thinking I did and should have done… and what I’m thinking now.
I took a job for less than my minimum wage. The hourly wage I had decided I was worth and should be paid.
And here’s what happen when you start working for peanuts. Or maybe a mixed bag of nuts… You are working for a company that is used to working with a certain level of people. People who are tardy or don’t show up at all or honestly don’t have enough skill in anything to work elsewhere. Schedules are chaotic and they pretty much expect you too just accept it because face it… if you had a choice… you’d be working somewhere else. Right?
So, overall, the job itself is fine. Most of my co-workers are good people. But the upper management of the company is in another state. And the local manager is new and is doing all he can just to keep this little branch open.
When I came on, they had several positions to fill immediately. I took the part-time position as the full time position required some physical activity that I knew I could not do, namely getting in and out of a full-size truck without a running board.. several times per shift. I left a much better paying job because my small stature was aching from getting in and out of a truck.
Additionally, they run their full-time people 84 hours , 7 days in a row… and then they get 7 days off. I have no need or interest to get 7 days off in a row. Certainly not enough to work 7 days of 12 hours in a row.
So, we discussed the part time position and that I would be learning all the other positions so that I could fill in when needed I was game for that. I was asked what shift I wanted and I said ‘just not overnight.” I’m not good with overnight work.
The first shift I took after training was 4 overnights in a row. But I wanted to be amenable. To get along. I might go into more of this later, but just to say, it was a tough 4 days.
I again stated that I’m not really good at overnights. Maybe one every once in a while, but certainly not a few in a row.
The next schedule came out and I was scheduled to work a 10 hour shift in the day and then come back in 7 hours and work 8 hours overnight that same night. Now, for whatever reason, that I like will never understand, 3rd shift of one day is actually as the next day. So, it shows up as my working the next day and I thought perhaps my boss didn’t realize he already had me working that day.
So, I texted him to let him know. Cuz.. you know… I’m not working two shifts in one day… right?
No… he meant to do that. He explained that this was what I would need to do as the part time person and sometimes there would be shorter turnarounds.
And I said no. I’m not working 2 shifts in one day. I’m not working 17 of 24 hours.
He also had me coming in for 2 hours to rectify on firearms and the cnoming back 4 hours later for 2 hours.
I live 50 minutes away. I call that an hour. So, to keep the company from paying somebody already doing the shift 2 hours of overtime… basically that’s $14… total… they expect me to come in and do them on straight time.
Seriously… they had nothing else to keep me busy for those 4 hours… so, I’d just be going home because I cannot kill 4 hours in that town.. I guess I could have tried to just take a nap… but then return for 2 hours of work.
Again… no. I was nice… I think. But I was likely coming across as a bitch or just not so nice because I had tried to be amenable in the beginning.
And this is where I make my point. I know you were likely wondering if I even had one. I do… here it is.
You need to take care of you. You need to put YOUR needs before your employer’s. If you start off as subservient, it can be tough to come back from. It can be hard to start standing up for yourself after you’ve been peeing on yourself like a puppy.
Just go in to the position with your needs in the front of your mind, or you’ll likely only be meeting theirs. Because most small companies that pay low wages, are really not that concerned with you the individual… it’s one reason why they will always be small and barely making payroll.
If you are building a small business of your very own, but need to do something else to make your bills, take the time necessary to determine what you need. What you want. And what would be just about perfect.
There is some magical income you need. Actually there are a few. One is what you absolutely must make to cover your bills.There’s no savings.. no investment… no dinners out… just your bills. Know that number.
Anything above that is allowing you some security.
Now, something else to think about. I’m going to describe a meme to you, because it is so perfect for this discussion.
The meme is two pictures side by side. And it’s of two different welds. One is perfect and the next one not so much. And the story above it is that a company is hiring for a welder and the wage is between $17 and $21 an hour. And they ask applicants to take a picture of their weld and send it in.
And the person sends in 2 pictures. The one perfect weld is a $21 an hour weld and the ho hum weld is for the $17 an hour. Meaning, he is not going to be doing $21 an hour work for $17.
And that’s something that I had to come to terms with myself.
I live in an area with poor pay. As a general rule, you just don’t expect decent pay here unless you get in with a big company that covers several states. And I like to throw myself into my job. I like taking it home with me. At least I have in the past.
But I already have something to throw myself into, my business. And I need to remind myself of that.
Additionally, I need to remind myself that while I have skills and experience that would garner 3 times what is being offered, somewhere else… They are not paying me for those skills. While I want to live and work at 100%, I need to hold myself back and recognize that MY 100% is far more than theirs. For them, showing up for work on time is already 100%.
I’m not going to help them reorganize their files, or give them some tips on branding or marketing, or volunteer to take over their social media which is nonexistent… I’m not going to give them far more value than they can recognize or appreciate.
Because this job is just a job. It’s just a paycheck. I took it for my needs… not theirs.
And I need to take care of me first… not them.
After my phone conversation with the boss and telling him no, I’m not working 2 shifts in one day and I’m not coming back into town 4 hours later for 2 hours of work… just to save them $14… and his response was basically he could accommodate me ‘this time’ but there would be other times where I would just have to do that… I got back online and sent in a bunch more apps for simple jobs like this one. Companies who would be thrilled to have a warm body, smiling face just show up on time. But I also took a moment to get my head in the right place. I have an interview next week, as I record this episode, and it is another job where I COULD knock their socks off… but I’m not going to give them a $21 weld for $17. And I need to be up front about that.
Also, as I prepare this episode, I’m waiting to hear back from a position that I applied for that I would really enjoy. We are a good fit. And actually I could do both jobs as long as the first one doesn’t conflict with my personal scheduling requirements, which honestly… I don’t think are really outlandish. And if they seem high maintenance to them… they should let me go. But for the pay, I could somewhat easily replace them in a position with no background check, where I don’t have to wear a duty belt, I’m not wearing a uniform that makes me itchy, and there is likely a set schedule… of one shift a day… and no split shifts.
As one of my co-workers advised me of this weekend, you need to determine what your boundaries are… and then keep them. I was not clear in the beginning that I do have boundaries. I said I didn’t want to work overnights in a row, but when I was scheduled for them, I didn’t say no. I wanted to get along.
So, when I saw the new schedule that pushed me even further, I had to come back harder. No. I’m not doing that. And that may give my boss cause to look for someone else, and he should. And if that someone does the shifts I don’t want AND the shifts I was happy with… that’s fine.
I’m not too concerned with it because he has not fired a person that has several times been a no-call-no-show… because he can’t keep people in the job… so, I’m not worried. But I’m also fine if it happens… because I do have boundaries. And you likely do too.
People with the mind and chutzpa to start a personal small business are not often happy in menial labor. Jobs that are just paychecks. We aspire to more. We aspire to live and work at 100%. But we need to remember that that’s why we are building our own business.
And if we could expect to achieve the satisfaction we yearn for working for somebody else… we’d do THAT.
So, figure out what your needs are. Write them down. And figure out your boundaries. Write them down. And let your new temp boss know them. Cuz job seeking is time consuming. I’d much rather be spending that time on my business.
But I need to do it. For now. And maybe you do too. We’ll get through this. I’m here for you. If you need to vent or want to share a story for me or other listeners, I’ve got a voicemail button on all my websites. I look forward to hearing from you. The membership doors are open by invite only. The reason for that is I want to make sure we are a good fit. So, if you are struggling to get your online platform going, let me know. We can chat or text a bit so there are no surprises and I can also determine if you have a need that I don’t currently fill on the membership site but I think is a good idea… I’ll get it in there.
Take care of yourself. I’ll be back next week.