Putting One Foot in Front of the Other

It’s been over a year since I’ve been employed. My first full week (part-time, 32 hours) was exhausting. I have a new appreciation for those working in retail – it’s hard work. In the last couple of days there were times I just had to put one foot in front of the other.

The last job I had before my lapse was a Certified Nursing Assistant. It, too, was a demanding job on my feet for eight hours a day. Walking from one of three long corridors to another constantly at resident’s whims. Over time I got use to the tedious nature.

As a stocker for WM, I do basically the same thing. Products are left on the floor on pallets or carts to be stocked on various isles. Usually I have a series of three isles, the pallets and carts are a mix matched of products from all three isles. Periodically I get products from another isle altogether.

Typically starting with the pallet, which at times can be seven or eight feet tall, I begin from the top and pull box by box. This continues throughout the shift until I’m done for the day. It’s the repetitive motions, stretching up to top shelves, being down on my knees to stock lower shelves and walking boxes to another isle I’m not currently stocking which makes it exhausting work.

However, over the last four days I beginning to develop a method to become more productive. First, I’m beginning to learn where products are generally located. Second, instead of pulling and stocking immediately, I take what I can on the current isles (if I am able to) lay it down in front of the appropriate section. Third, I start from the front of one isle, go down and around to the start of the other isle. Lastly, as I’m going along I do what’s called “zoning” or pulling product to the front of the shelf which is something typically done at the end. This method makes the night go a lot quicker too.

While its tedious work, I actually work on some of my character defects. For instance, I tend to be a perfectionist. If things are misplaced or not organized, I take the extra effort to find where they go or organize it “the right way”. Grocery isles, as we all know, are picked through so much they tend to be a chaotic mess. I just accept the things as they are doing my best to do my job quickly but with some organization. As my assistant manager pointed out, “It doesn’t have to be perfect.” Which I almost responded, “But you don’t understand, I’m an alcoholic!”

With the long walk there, then on my feet another eight hours and a long walk back home, there are some days I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. As long as I do everything to the best of my ability, I’m not going to beat myself up if things don’t get done. I’m still willing to try my best. But I’m not going to put myself down because I’ve put an expectation on myself, “It’s your job to get everything done.”

Most importantly, I still attend a meeting a day. This is essential to my sobriety. It’s kind of nice to attend a meeting first thing in my day then go to work.

One thought on “Putting One Foot in Front of the Other

  1. any type of retail work, especially stocking , is grueling. But you are correct, it can be something to focus on. Before i ever started drinking, and hence, became an alcoholic, i used to think very differently about it all. Now, i get it. Rather than look down on those who are doing this type of manual labor, i actually appreciate it more. And this is not because i do it myself, but directly because i am in recovery . Funny how something so bad for us can humble us in ways we might never have been other wise.

    Liked by 1 person

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