I’m ready to open a new can of duties

Soon I’ll get a chance to deep-think the inner meaning of one of comic Steven Wright’s go-to jokes.

It’s a small world, but I wouldn’t want to have to paint it.

Find the gold in the everyday, coaxed the dry voice of the curly-haired dead-pan guy who made the late-night TV talk-show rounds so regularly back in The Day.

In a week I’ll be moving over at the store from my now-comfortable position as cashier to the bustling world of customer service associate in the paint department.

After three months of part-time work, I thought I’d put in enough time to click on the sparing full-time positions at the place I drive 15 miles to and fro. I interviewed. I hoped. I was awarded this one, knowing very well that full-time jobs are precious.

Now I’ve got a lot to learn about a whole new world of products and services. I’m ready to brush up. I’ve always been one to pitch in on color hues at the Little Bitty, after all, even though my dear wife Karen gets the final say.

(From lifehack.org)

(From lifehack.org)

The colleagues who’ll be hustling alongside me in paint have been enthusiastic about my pending move. Those I’ve been ringing up sales with the last four-plus months have been supportive as well. In many ways, every piece of the store works together.

But in many other ways, come mid-March starts another new adventure, 40 hours a week worth.

Here’s the source for the Steven Wright quote and photo.

When’s the last time you started a new job assignment, and how did it go? What has been your favorite job, and why? What’s your favorite Steven Wright quote, and why?


41 thoughts on “I’m ready to open a new can of duties

  1. Congratulations Mark! Well done sir. I have always marveled at the paint folks. They seem to work magic matching colors. I have a terrible eye for color so it would be very difficult for me to do that job. The last time I made a major job change I went back on the road in a gas tanker after a few years in the office. I chose my first run so i was hauling one of two loads of furnace oil for fueling trains ( a full day’s drive to the customer) – the other load was covered by an old timer I respected a great deal. So many details and habits and safety concerns, I was sure I’d forget something critical if I didn’t have guidance for that first load. I trusted Rej and he was fun to work with. So, I guess my first rule was pick a mentor and listen.

    After spending years in the office staring at a screen, when I got back out there in the truck, what blew me away was the immensity of everything – from the truck to the huge blue sky (it was a nice day). So, rule number two would be , stay situationally aware, does what you are doing make sense? (Easy to get fixated on one amazing thing and miss something else)

    When we unloaded only one truck could unload at a time so I asked Rej if I could unload his too for the practice while he checked and critiqued. Rule number three: Don’t be afraid of some extra work while you are you learning, you need the experience and Rule four would be listen carefully and encourage to any and all criticisms.

    We were unloading into a huge bulk station with above ground tanks and a maze of piping and valves and pumps. One valve turned the wrong way could easily contaminate 25,000 gallons of fuel and cause a $50,000 claim or worse, overflow a tank and the clean up could be $1 million if the ground got contaminated and had to be removed with the tanks. So, rule five is check, double check, triple check until you are 100% satisfied that what you are doing is right. Never try to rush or assume when you are new – it will git ya very time.

    Nothing makes the process go better on all fronts more than a smile and a cheery greeting. In your case, I’d just say – be yourself Mark. You’ll do fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your rules apply so thoroughly to so many aspects of life, my friend Paul. We need to put them on a T-shirt.

      I put three hours in the new department yesterday after my cashier shift yesterday, a pre-launch these last two weeks so I can hit the ground crawling instead of standing still. While stocking product, customers repeatedly stopped to asked me, “Where can I find …” Of course, I was uncomfortably unsure of myself. So I spent the final 15 minutes of my shift with the index card and pen I keep in my pocket walking the department aisles and writing down all inventory categories. I love the security of the pocketed cheat sheet.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cheat sheets, checklists, notes are all fine ways to familiarize yourself with inventory. We treat this negatively with kids in school,but in real life all true professionals do this to stay accurate and safe. Lawyers prepare their remarks and make notes to take to court; pilots and astronauts and even truckers, use safety checklists by law; CEO’s will write speech notes prior to speaking to groups; sales people will write notes before a presentation, etc. You are in great company Mark.

        Liked by 1 person

    • And a reminder to all: Paul’s weekly Sunday Cuppa is moving here in there days. If you recall his lively September guest post stay, you know you’re in for a world-view treat from our friend from Canada.

      I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank our U.K. friend Willow for hosting Paul so gracefully for so long! You’re the best, Willow. I wish you well as you move on to concentrate on to the good and important things in your life.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Congrats to you, Mark. Full time work is no longer to be taken for granted. I took on a few temporary/part time ventures that led to something better. Customer Service is lucky to have you. ☺

    I have so many Steven W. quotes…I laughed every time he opened his mouth. Haven’t seen him for a long time now.


  3. Great to hear of the new gig…Congrats! Yes, Steven Wright is hilarious and around 20 years ago I got to interview him and he was very nice, did a few of his lines and also just talked. He even chuckled a few times and I remember that part the most … actually hearing Steven Wright laugh!


  4. I have. It heard of Steven Wright – I know I know ….
    Anyhow. Congrats on the new position and all that! And not to sound corny – but I have a few special memories from paint people – so I think you will be doing the lord’s work there!
    But I have been to the paint departments many times since the 90s – like getting paint for work (from Sherman Williams ) and of courses lowes and Home Depot for home and as a former art teacher – oh my have I gotten some paint for sets and what not.


  5. Hi Mark. How exciting! To be mingling amongst the world of paint and all those wonderful colors. Does that mean you get to learn how to use that magical paint color mixing machine? Those things fascinate me. My favorite color is “water hyacinth” because depending on the light sometimes it looks blue and sometimes it looks lavender. Congrats on your full time gig! And now for something completely different!


  6. Congratulations, Mark! Hopefully, you also get some benefits with full-time? As another commenter said, full-time jobs are not easy to get these days. Most companies want to hire everyone part-time so they don’t have to provide benefits.

    I’m sure you’ll do a bang-up job explaining the 50 thousand or so variations of basic white and basic black. It was a real eye-opener when I was renovating my house and went looking for paint chips. I was amazed by how many different versions of each color there are.


  7. woo-hoo! congrats and i’m really excited for you. the paint customers are lucky to have you and are in for a treat) p.s. i love steven wright, too –


  8. Money, money, money, money (money)! Woot for you and your upgrade. I envy your money, but not the labor. My favorite job is staying home, although waiting tables did get me a great figure and half-price food. Your’e moving on up like The Jeffersons.


  9. How I missed this great news I’ll never know – well done. fantastic news. If I could I would be buying paint from your store and nowhere else.


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