Thursday, April 29, 2010

The best things about my new job

In case you didn't hear, I decided on a whim to get a job at a teen/young adult clothing resale store called Plato's Closet because I wanted to spy on and copy the business model and then open my own similar store, then decided that simply opening one of their franchises would be the better way to go, however upon researching the start-up investment required I've determined that certain areas of our financial portfolio need strengthening before we can make that dream a reality, yet in the meantime I have been thoroughly enjoying this silly little minimum wage, part-time job.

Here's what I like about it:

1. I finally feel fashionable again. Originally I planned to write, "There was a time when I cared about what I wore..." but emphasizing the past tense would not be accurate. I have always cared about my clothing choices and embraced a desire to be fashionable. It was only recently that I really grasped the idea that fashion continued moving forward without me, while I thought I was hip enough (for a mom, I guess) wearing the same things that were cool five--or yes, even ten--years ago.  Multiply this phenomenon by the following facts:  A. For seven and a half years I have worked in a fitness center where I don naught but yoga pants and T-shirts each day.   B. Along with the "Mom" title came a continually morphing, foreign body shape and a stipulation that comfort and durability trump style.  C. When the branches of our money tree aren't heavy with fruit, emulating a page of Marie Claire's "Summer Style Secrets" falls pretty low on the list of financial priorities.  Working at Plato's Closet has provided me with precisely the three elements I needed to catch up to today's current trends: opportunity, education, and economy.

Opportunity~Logically, Plato's Closet associates are expected to reflect the styles we want to buy for the store.  I get excited each day I have the opportunity to concoct a cute outfit to wear.

Education~One of my primary roles at Plato's Closet is sorting and inspecting clothing and accessories that our customers bring in and ultimately select the few items we'll buy.  This part of the job is by far the most fascinating to me, and I have gained remarkable insight on what's hot and what's not, and learn more about current trends every day. I'm asked to make an instantaneous style judgment even on crumpled up garments, and I now know subtle differences in brand qualities as well as names of designers I'd never heard of.  I find this education very interesting.

Economy~The clothing at Plato's Closet is priced at about 30% of the original retail value, and we strive to purchase only items in excellent condition. It's the perfect place for a budget-minded consumer such as myself to update her wardrobe.

2. I get a discount and time to shop three days a week.  I just mentioned that the merchandise is priced cheap. But I get to pay even less! I must intentionally exercise restraint in the store, but it is thrilling to see new items every day I work and find those gems that can be mine for a small fraction of what they cost new.

3. I am not in charge. Don't get me wrong. There are benefits of being the boss. But I get to do that enough to know there are at least as many challenges that come with that territory.  I must admit it is very freeing to blithely punch my clock (so to speak), do as I'm told to the best of my ability, and go home with little more than a whisper of care for what occurs in that building when I am not inside it. The satisfaction of a job well done without strings attached is divine.

4. Learning new skills is fun.  Not much more to say about that. I just love the opportunity to learn something new and apply it. I have never worked in retail, and the Plato's concept is absolutely unique even in that category.

5. It's easier to eat healthfully at work.  This one might sound like an odd thing to love about my job, but it's true. While I sip my protein shake in the morning, I conscientiously put together a healthy lunch for work. It's easy to make better choices in advance, rather than when I feel starved at lunchtime. I record the meal in MyPlate before I leave so I'm confident that I've left sufficient calories to be enjoyed for snacks and dinner.  Since I can't eat lunch until my break, there's no inadvertent snacking when I feel hungry. At lunchtime I thoroughly enjoy my carefully planned and packed lunch, and can't be tempted by everything else in the various nooks and crannies of my well-stocked kitchen.

Sounds pretty sweet, eh? Okay, it's not all rainbows and butterflies. Soon I'll fill you in on the aspects of my silly little job that aren't so rosy.  Can you relate to any of this? What's the best part about your job?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Confused by the brown thing in the toilet

Pulling up behind this van at a stoplight, I couldn't help but fixate on the image.  I couldn't imagine what kind of business would promote itself with a photograph of a toilet full of poo. Even a plumber would have more decency than that, right?
Which means it couldn't possibly be a picture of poo. And since I was stopped directly behind this van and had to squint to decipher the image means it isn't very effective at conveying their message. Although my confusion led me to actually read about the business, but I still find it odd that a company specializing in leak detection would opt for a picture of a lumpy brown mouse climbing out of a toilet. It just looks like poo. 

I like to say poo. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mini Movie Reviews take center stage

Providing insight and quick quips about the movies I watch is one of my favorite aspects of this blog.  But it's really tedious to maintain them on the sidebar, especially because I eventually copy each one to an archived post.   In addition, I realized that all that work and occasional cleverness goes unnoticed by anyone who views Beyond Mommy through Google Reader.  I figure that placing my Mini Movie Reviews front and center creates a default opportunity for a real post, allows me to write a tiny bit more when two or three sentences just aren't enough, and may even incite discussion about the films from readers, which is much more fun than just putting my own opinion out there unchallenged.

I'll divide the 13 movie reviews I have to write into multiple posts as time permits. By the way, each image is linked to the movie's profile on IMDb. Please share your comments!

I found the protagonist old man distractingly unattractive. The concept of the flying house obviously requires willing suspension of disbelief, but even within the realm of the fantasy, glaring inconsistencies were hard to ignore. However, the execution of the canine language translator concept was hilarious, and the wordless montage depicting the lifelong romance between the man and his late wife was possibly the sweetest of its kind.

Knowing that this tragic tale actually occurred makes it that much more fascinating.  The gripping story was rounded out by Angelina Jolie's perfectly understated performance (and I'm not usually too keen on her).

Awww, this was a nice little romantic comedy. No complaints really, but nothing to rave about either. 

Oh boy. We almost turned it off more than once. But sometimes you just need to see a conflict resolved, no matter how my beloved Napoleon Dynamite's acting skills suffer outside his legendary breakout role.

We actually DID turn this movie off, as no conflict ever emerged which was worth seeing through to resolution. Perhaps if I don't finish a movie I'm not entitled to write a review, but I figure that maybe I can caution others from wasting that half hour of their lives that I'll never get back. The rather pathetic central character grows so livid about car alarms going off in New York City that he starts bashing in windows and leaving a card identifying him as "The Rectifier." I bet New York has problems that need rectifying far more than errant car alarms. I'm disappointed in you, Tim Robbins. Very disappointed indeed. Even the tagline on that poster is dismal: "The story of a guy who had it up to HEAR." Really? Ugh. 

This one will probably make my "best of" list for this year. Tender, funny, clever, and hooo boy can that Irish accent melt my heart. 

I welcome recommendations for good movies to add to my Netflix queue--and ones to steer clear of too!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Where I've been

I despise this post. The one where I list all the excuses about why I haven't written anything on my blog for--ugh--over two months.  So I'm not going to do that.

I imagine that those individuals who have (or find or make) time to blog consistently are irritated by posts like this in the same way that I detest hearing people explain why they don't exercise regularly.  Exercise is a non-negotiable part of my (almost) daily life--and sometimes I have to sacrifice to make that so.  Waking up before the sun rises. Lacing up my runners to the sounds of rain berating my windowpanes. Squeezing in a few miles after dark. Postponing important work projects.  I bet some people make sacrifices like those in order to keep their blog entertaining and up to date.

The fact is, we all have the same number of hours in a day. While I don't think it can be argued that each person's workload and time commitments vary significantly, in the end, everyone has an opportunity to choose how we spend at least a portion of the minutes in our day.  I could easily list benefits of both regular blogging and regular exercise, but the exercise list would be far longer, so it is a higher priority, along with work and family time.

The hardest part of an extended blog absence for me is getting started again. Just like when someone stops exercising: the motivation and familiarity has diminished. Also, when I'm not writing, I'm also not reading--even my favorite blogs (don't take it personally). But I'm kind of compulsive about not missing anything, so be prepared for a slew of comments from me on your older posts one of these days

So while I don't intend to list all of my excuses for not blogging, I did want to share with you one reason that my already limited spare time has recently decreased further: I got a job.

But I already have a job, right? Yes, I run a business, which is definitely a lot of work. But what I'm talking about now is a real live jay oh bee JOB. I have to show up at a specific time to punch a clock, do what I'm told, and earn a meager hourly wage. Now why on earth would I go and do such a thing? Primarily, for research purposes. Basically, I'm spying on a business concept that interests me for the future. But please don't tell my boss.
That's where I've been working for the last three months. And I actually really love it.  After 7+ years of being the boss, it takes a little getting used to not being "in charge." But truly, that is part of the joy of this fun little venture.  If they'd let me, I would be happy to be paid in store credit, actually.

So now I have a part-time job, run a high-functioning business and a team of 8 employees, take care of a household, and be Mommy to a 3-year-old. Oh, and exercise almost every day. Thankfully my husband is very helpful and supportive. Between all that and family time and reading an awesome new book, I'll try to get back on here and form all the ideas I have for blog posts into something coherent.

Thanks for checking in!


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