RECORD STORE TALES Part 256: A Case of the Mondays
Towards the end of my record store years, 2005 to the start of 2006, the mere thought of waking up in the morning of a Monday was enough to make me feel physically ill. The feelings of dread usually began settling in on Sunday evening. By Monday morning I was not feeling well at all. I was used to being beaten down by unpleasant customers, unpredictable superiors, and long hours with not enough time off. I was sick and tired of being used, but I was also sick. I began to hate the mere sight of a CD, and certain songs played in store became so annoying that they haunted me at night. I stopped enjoying music.
I remember waking up one Monday morning and thinking to myself, “I wonder what would happen if I quit my job today.” I had a home and a mortgage, but finding a new job had proved difficult. My skill set was expansive, and my time at the record store had demonstrated my loyalty. Most jobs I was applying for were not interested in somebody with only retail experience. It didn’t matter that I was a manager, so I went from interview to interview without luck. The steady rejection impacted my emotional state in a negative way.
I called my dad, who I could always count on for good advice.
“Hey dad,” I began. “I have kind of a weird question for you. What would you say if I told you I wanted to go to work and quit my job today?”
“I would say that is not a very good idea,” he responded with seriousness. “You have a mortgage, and I’m sure you know it’s easier to find a new job when you’re already employed. Finding a good job while out of work is easier said than done. I would strongly advise that you don’t quit anything until you have something else to fall back on.”
Not the answer I wanted to hear, but I knew he was right. What I didn’t tell my dad (and what he didn’t know until he started reading these Record Store Tales) is just how miserable I was. I had become a complete basket case. He tells me now that he regrets the advice that he gave me that Monday morning. If he had known what I was going through he would have given me very different advice.
I thanked him for his words of wisdom and hung up the phone. I got dressed and ready for work. Breakfast was out of the question. My stomach was too wound up to handle eating. At the end of the record store days, I was generally only eating one or two meals a day. I didn’t really put together how that was affecting my mental and physical energy levels.
I used to listen to the same CD in the car on the way to work in the mornings: Dance of Death by Iron Maiden. I’d get in, put on the album, and then try to take as long as possible to get to work. Red lights meant more Maiden. Then as I’d pull into the store, I’d check out the parking lot and see if any of the bosses had arrived yet. You could never guess their temperament any day, so all I could do was pray they all had nice weekends. If they were in a good mood, they’d leave me more or less alone. If not, you could cut the tension with a knife.
I hated the tense Monday mornings.
Once I entered and hung up my coat, I’d do a walk around. I’d check to see how sales were on the weekend, what messes were left for me to clean up, and what problems had come up. I’d also rush to do a quick cleaning. Any glass surfaces with fingerprints had to be wiped clean before any bosses spotted them. They had a habit of bitching about anything they saw before I did. Other store managers didn’t have to deal with the stress of having “head office” in the back of their stores, but I did.
These taut Mondays were often long and enervating. I’d open the store at 10am and wait for the first customer. Usually they were people selling scratched up CDs for cigarette money. The day would drag on, and Mondays meant getting home later than usual, since Monday was also Stock Transfer Day! Even though I was “off” duty, none of us were ever really off duty. The phone, after all, could ring any time.
I suffered in silence. I didn’t want to stress out my parents, so that one phone call to my dad was all they knew. It was a dark time, but it is always darkest before the dawn. I survived. I am here with Record Store Tales to prove it.
Man, this one really speaks to me. It’s the tail end of the Holiday Season and this installment of RST gives perfect voice to how I’ve felt for the past two weeks. I’ve only had two days off in a row once in the last two months and every day feels like a Kobayashi Maru (no win scenerio). Every day for the past few weeks I’ve wanted to throw in the towel, and this is coming from someone who is upper-middle management. But I press on in the hopes that the pendulum will swing back. Thanks for this. I hope it gives me the strength and resolve to make it to the end of the week and my FIRST WEEKEND OFF since I can remember.
I really appreciate this comment. I’ll be honest — I debating posting this chapter at all. It’s dark and difficult for me to actually read and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be this negative. I also wasn’t sure I wanted to use words like “unpredictable” to describe my bosses who are still friends with some people I know.
But thanks for your comment, you’ve justified my leaving this chapter in. This is a hard time of year…you’re almost through! Enjoy that weekend for a good long Odinsleep.
Mike, I think you should mention that you DIDN’T follow your father’s advice and quit your job before you had another one to go to and you’ve never looked back. It all worked out and you’ve got a good job now where you’re appreciated.
That is all true but I’m saving that part for the end (whenever that is). I have the ending I just don’t know when I’ll post it because I have no shortage of material. I just found two great journal entries today. One you’ll see in January, but the other has to wait until December 2014 (for reasons that will be apparent in Dec 2014).
So one way or another I’ll get there. I’m going to do the ending in multiple parts, probably 5 parts, one a day for a week, or something like that. It’s a very detailed story and it’s definitely a happy ending (for me).
This was a very heartfelt RST, and it spoke to me. In my sordid job history (never retail, however…) I have experienced the gut renching anxiety of the “Sunday Night” syndrome. I still experience it in my current position – still not retail, higher education setting – especially with the new semester starting up. I also think about leaving even though the pay is too good to snub. I deal with an onion layered management all the time, which makes me wary of them. But, ultimately, I enjoy most of the people I work with and the students I serve. So there’s that.
Hope you’re in a better work situation now! :)
Much better thank you. I actually get paid for all the hours I put in now!
My sister works in higher education. Thankfully her experiences have been mostly positive.
You’re definitely not alone with that phase of life spent dreading monday mornings – nice Dark Knight reference about darkest before the dawn. I’m certainly glad you were able to get back to enjoying music.
Always good to see Office Space make an appearance!
Always! I should re-watch that movie soon and settle in for a good review!
Just watched The World’s End with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Yet another winner from them.
Another good choice – I wasn’t a huge fan of the end, but lots of great dialogue as per usual and I think the best soundtrack of the ‘cornetto trilogy’
If I had to rank them, at the moment it would be:
1. Hot Fuzz
2. Shaun of the Dead
3. World’s End
Have you seen the similarly titled This is the End? Some great moments in that one as well!
Yes I have, I like Franco’s crew as well. It was OK, I liked Danny McBride in it.
Hot Fuzz is one I’ll have to revisit. It’s been a while. Timothy Dalton was in that one, and Pierce Brosnan was in The World’s End. When will they work with Roger Moore?
That’s how I felt leaving the theatre – OK – but then the more I’ve been quoting and discussing it with people, the more I’ve enjoyed it. Sort of like Napoleon Dynamite in that way.
Sounds like Daniel Craig would be up next if the pattern continues!
Me, I love ’em all but I think I’d still slot Shaun Of The Dead at #1. I just have a soft spot for that entire film (and I am SO tired of zombies… and vampires and wizards, but anyway).
I got both SotD and HF in a 2-fer pack for $5. I took it to the counter and paid for it quickly, before they changed their minds or realized that the sticker was wrong. I totally got the better end of THAT deal!
Ooo, and don’t forget about the guy that everyone forgets about! What was his name, again?
‘2 for a Fiver’? That’s unheard of, nice work buying it before they could change it! And a quick search revealed that guy from that Bond movie was George Lazenby!
Man, I’m with you all the way on this one. I was totally gonna talk about Boomtown Rats, or the Mamas And The Papas, or even the Bangles. But I won’t. If LEBRAIN was at the point of not enjoying music anymore? GAME OVER.