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Serious Business

As a teenager with only the barest of introductions into how large companies and corporations work, some things about my part time job terrify me.

I work Saturdays and occasionally during the week at a newsagents (or “convenience store” I guess) about five minutes walk away from my house. Let me tell you, it’s very convenient. However, being part of a much larger chain of stores across the country, there are parts of my job that can be incredibly intimidating.

I mean there’s the nice easy stuff like being on the tills and chatting to regulars and having banter with my co-workers. All the stuff I’m happy to go to work for.

Then there’s the stuff that gets my heart going, my palms sweating and has me wishing I was still 12 and my only responsibility was staying awake in maths on a Tuesday. The lottery machine, stock checking and asking for ID are among these things. It’s the thought of, if I do one of these things wrong, I could get in serious trouble. With the company, with the law, or worse…. with my boss.

Don’t get me wrong, my boss is a great person. I think. I mean they’re really nice… I suppose. Let’s just say they get the job done. And “the job” apparently doesn’t include being friendly or amicable. Ever.

I respect this person a whole lot. Keeping a store on its feet, sorting out staff and stock and everything else under the sun and still being able to correct a 17 year old’s fuck-ups without breaking down on a daily basis. I really admire that. But would it kill you to smile? To not make me feel like I’m doing everything wrong? I know I probably am but hey, just tell me. Don’t dead pan me every time I try to lighten the mood with a joke.

This honestly just sounds like me being butt-hurt over little things but honestly my biggest pet peeve is bad manners and not being civil or polite. Just smile and say hello/goodbye/please/thank you and I will have no problem with you whatsoever.

But back to my original point. The severity of my mistakes in this place scares me a lot. You know, in school if you mess up something you just get yelled at. Your mistakes only affect you. But in the working world, this stuff can get you in real trouble. If I don’t ID someone who turns out to be younger than 18 for cigarettes, I could literally go to jail. JAIL. I’m 17, and one mistake at my first job could literally have an effect on my whole life. And if I get one number wrong on the till, I could cost the company any amount that I wouldn’t be able to pay back. I’m literally terrified of that.

But all in all, my Saturday job’s alright I guess.

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