Walking into a birthday party

I returned to work today, after a month and two days away from the Stitch Fix Bizzy Hizzy.

My blood pressure started normal– which has been unusual– so I almost didn’t have my morning coffee. But it wasn’t quite 5 a.m. and I thought that I should find out how much caffeine does impact my blood pressure.

I went for my blood test, and my phlebotomist asked questions about working for Stitch Fix, and when I answered them, she initiated a conversation about how striving for a career isn’t as beneficial as we all once believed. She pointed to the medical industry. “It’s not easy. Everyone’s burnt out.”

I’ve said for years that I’m tired of the stress and I’m tired of an employer benefiting from my creative energy. I told her about my little side business and she nodded knowingly.

When I arrived at work, I found my name on the morning head count and went to find my table. My usual table. My boss stopped me and said he thought they changed my table, which another supervisor confirmed, but then someone was at the new table, so I was sent to my regular table.

“Welcome back,” she said. “Some things never change.”

“Well,” I replied, “they did paint the bathroom.”

Much to my surprise, they raised my table to the height I requested so that was amazing. And Southern Candy was across the aisle from me!

My entire day was delightful. It turned out the Bizzy was celebrating its 7th anniversary with a birthday party, pizza and cupcakes. The team got new, vibrant tie-dyed t-shirts and wore them for photographs. A lead brought one to me and I put it on over my existing t-shirt to join the crew.

I made more than 100% on my numbers, which no one expected me to do, and I was pretty proud of that until one little five minute interaction with someone who was “dealing with the rejects.” Now, I’ve had interactions with this person before and it’s the one person in the whole warehouse who lacks diplomacy in her people skills.

And the funny part of what I’m about to type is that in my previous interaction with her, about six months ago, her complaints about my work were quite similar.

She tossed the box on my table. She might have dropped it, but it seemed like she was throwing it with emphasis.

“I’ve had to deal with six of your rejects today,” she said.

I was embarrassed, and running through everything I might have done six times. I’d completed 100 boxes at this point.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “Let me see.”

She moves aside and points dramatically at the fix. “Your sticker is off center.”

“I can redo it,” I said and reached for the package.

“I’ll rewrap it,” she snapped at me.

“I’ll be more careful,” I said. “But it’s my first day back today, so I must have turned it and not noticed that it was off center.”

“Well, you have to go slower.”

“If you see anything else I need to be aware of, please let me know,” I said.

And she left.

I don’t like the way she handled the interaction. As a figure in a position of authority, she did not have to wait until six of my boxes had such a rookie mistake to mention it to me. Maybe, if she’d mentioned it at box three, she wouldn’t have been so annoyed with me. I know why it happened– and why I didn’t notice– and I spent the rest of my day being ornery about my sticker placement.

I don’t mind feedback. I love being told how I’m doing. Here’s another way she could have approached it: “Hey, Angel, I’ve been fixing rejects today and several of yours have had off center stickers. Can you address that?”

Words matter.

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