Today, I started my training over again after 3 weeks off on doctor's orders. I see my doctor tomorrow, and hopefully she'll give me the go-ahead to work out. Otherwise, I'm going to need to re-evaluate my training goals for the next two years. If I can't start working out this week, the Rev3 half-distance in September will move out of my reach, which means a full-distance race next July may be too big a stretch. I still have a hard lump in my armpit from an inflamed lymph node, and the elbow lumps are sticking around. They're small, though--I hope small enough that my doctor won't continue my no-exercise therapy.
I finished with Dick's Sporting Goods, as of Wednesday. I have never experienced such a negative working environment. Everyone (almost) that I talked to, at least all the other "associate" (retail monkeys) felt the same, but they didn't have better options. My over-arching feeling while working there was, "I can do better than this." The worst part was the walkie-talkies that we all wore. Managers would call down employees on the walkie-talkies on a daily basis. That's just terrible management. If you have an issue with an employee whom you supervise, that should be addressed in a private manner; public humiliation does not make for proper discipline in a professional environment. What's worse, when employees would explain their actions on the walkie-talkies, the management wouldn't take their concerns into account; they maintained their derogatory position, even if it didn't make sense, based on new information. Heaven forbid a manager should admit to making a mistake! Aside from publicly criticizing employees, they tried to delegate and direct employees without knowing the full landscape. One day, two managers told me to do completely contradictory things. When the first manager came back and asked why I was doing something other than what she'd instructed me to do, I told her I was directed otherwise; she was surprised, and put me back on the original task (which, honestly, was the one that made more sense). You'd think these managers would talk to each other and craft priorities as a group, but no. Each one of them knows best. Except that none of them knows best, because none is particularly intelligent.
So the management was the worst of it, but there were other things. I quickly became (in my own opinion, at least) the most competent person in the footwear department. The most competent. Within a month. It's more proof, first of all, that I'm too good for that job. But it's also an indication that no one really cares, or wants to work hard. That comes from the top down; part of the reason the managers rarely knew how to direct us properly was that they were never working with us. And I imagine that managers higher up the corporate chain set that unfortunate example for the managers of my store.
In short, I now think that Dick's is a terrible company. I don't know if I'll shop there ever again. There are plenty of other big-box sports retailers, and I prefer to give my money for biking and running to locally-owned merchants, anyway. I'm much, much happier, now that I'm done with Dick's. QuikTrip is a great company--one of the most positive work environments I've ever experienced. And the schedule will allow me more time for training, anyway. There are much better prospects for advancement. And I enjoy my job. Thanks to those of you who left encouraging comments for me. I know I seemed down after my last post. I'm in a much better place now.
My dad did his first marathon on Sunday in Abilene, Kansas. Maybe I can get him to do a race report for me! I'm super proud of him, although I'm jealous that he beat me to that distance!