Surviving A Messy Schedule

Several months ago, a friend of mine who manages a retail store in town mentioned that she needed gift wrappers around Christmas.  Having just left my job, and completely unaware what might lie ahead for me professionally, I excitedly agreed.  After all, wrapping presents is a favorite pastime of mine and if I could make a little bit of cash doing that, why not?

Cut to a few weeks ago, and I was filling out a several page long application and handing over my holiday season to the retail gods.

When I arrived for my second "interview" my job morphed quickly from gift wrapper into utility player.  I agreed to work in whatever way was most helpful to my friend.  If that meant learning to use the register, stock shelves, unpack and sticker stock or wrap gifts, I was at her service.  I figured that the variety would help the time pass more quickly.

I was wrong.  One week into my job and I'm pretty thankful that it's only lasting one month. Let me say before I complain that at I've grown to like my manager friend even more than I did before I started.  I can't wait to spend time with her OUTSIDE the store. But in this short time, I've learned that I'd much prefer to be in the stock room unpacking boxes and ticketing stock than out on the floor where all the crazy happens.  Because, seriously, one hour out front can feel like a lifetime.  Am I the only one who feels like time stands still while working on a retail floor?

Thankfully, my schedule is technically only part time.  Last week I worked just about 13 hours in 3 days.  This week it'll be more like 30 hours. But, the short daily shifts make my calendar a bit "messy."  I've been spoiled over the last six months with copious free time and a schedule that was all my own.  This part time job feels a bit more full time than I intended.  This week, it's led to me feeling stressed, cranky and overloaded.  How did I ever get everything done when I worked full time?

One month.  Once Christmas has passed so has my tenure as a retail worker.  I'm resting on the fact that I can do nearly ANYTHING for a month.  At that point I'll happily pass the position back to those who are much more patient and better suited for this difficult and taxing work.

Have you ever worked Holiday Retail Work? Any tips on how to survive?