Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Work Scoop

So, as promised, a few more details.

First I want to say that when rumors started spreading I panicked.  I got pretty worried pretty quickly because now that I have a family I have to be a reasonably responsible adult instead of not having a care in the world.

The reason for the panic was two fold:
1 - Rumors were around about changes happening but none of the higher ups were willing or (as I found out eventually) able to speak about it.
2 - Incomplete information.

To start out, somewhere around 1 - 1.5 years back my company started doing some pilot programs in certain markets to see how new staffing structures would work out.
The main one that they did was in Chicago where they ran a program that got rid of every person in my position (which is usually 11-15 people per store) and replaced them with 5 newly created positions.  So you have 15 people being condensed into 5 people and everyone else who did not get one of the new positions was fired on the spot with a severance package to help until they found something new.

So, when rumors started spreading that something was about to go down everyone immediately jumped to the company rolling out this test program nation wide.
If you all remember I just changed stores to a new location about 6 months ago which means that I am one of the newest people in my position and there are others who have been around a good long while who have already built up a great repor with the senior staff in the store.

Not knowing where I stand in the grand scheme of things is scary when you are looking at potentially not having a job and not being able to provide for your family within a matter of weeks.

So, I figuratively shit myself and started asking friends if there workplace was hiring.  I was making plans and trying to figure out how to not lose income so my family did not suffer in this time of transition.

So, secret Store Manager Meetings were held.  Emergency Conference Calls were held.  Rumors spread and then people started finding out the truth.
Through the companies Social Media and shared among forums on the net where you can post anonymously information began to leak out and all of that information was not only more positive but it slowly became verified through other annon sources.

Yesterday, in meetings across the company that were all coordinated to run at the exact same time no matter what time zone you were in, the information was officially released to us and it happened to be almost exactly what we all had been reading for the previous week down to the names of the new positions and what happens to those that don't get them.

So, here it is.  Much like what rolled out in the test market the position I am currently in will no longer exist come January 27th.
Starting today  everyone in my position has the option to be considered for one of the new positions or they have the option to step down.

If you want to be considered you get an interview and on the 27th our Store Manager will announce who got which of the new positions.

Everyone who does not want to be considered and everyone who did not get one of the new positions will be stepped down to another new position.  This position was created just for this situation and is temporary.

You have 12 months to find another, permanent, position within the company (or outside of the company if that is the route you choose to take).  If, after one year, you have not found something then you will be let go.

So, the gist is that I will either receive a new position with more responsibility and a slight boost in pay or I will be given a year (at my current pay rate) to find another job within the company.  While it is not ideal it is very fair and it has set my mind at ease as I have applied for (and received) many positions over the years.
So, while those positions might be lower than I currently exist and pay a little less it still allows me to continue the career that I have chosen and go back to working my way up the company ladder again.
I have been here a long time and I do not want that to change.

And there you have it.
A story about what is going down in my retail life.

Healthy 2017 - Week 2

This is coming a little later than I wanted, as my plan is to update my previous week every weekend.
However, it is that time of the season where it is Playoff Football and when my options are sit at a computer and type or watch some awesome football games, the computer will lose out every time.

As of the end of week 2 I am still getting in my minimum of 10k steps every single day and I have started a vlog to help keep me motivated.
My last one was walking around with my son and talking about the playoff games that just happened because: 1 - I am a huge Steelers fan and 2 - He is a huge Cowboys fan.

In fact, it was the Cowboys vs the Packers that finally solidified to me that he indeed does like football and the Cowboys because after the game he was crying with disappointment.  It hurt my heart to watch that because as die hard fans we have all been there at one point or another, especially when we were young and it was harder to keep our emotions in check.

So, because I have been walking and talking to help keep myself motivated he really wanted to join me because he dreams of becoming a famous Youtuber some day and he just thinks it is really awesome to take videos and put them on Youtube.
So, this is something he and I will continue doing in some capacity - most likely after the next set of playoff games and then after the SuperBowl.  Once football is done our conversations will become Video Game related because that is our common interest and it could be a lot of fun for the two of us.

Here is a link to my channel for anyone who wants to follow along and play the home game.
More specifically here is a link to the first video I made with my 11 year old and if he could get a comment or two (even if it is just about the game, especially from Cowboy fans - Looking at you Nick) he would be tickled pink (is that still a phrase?).

Ok, back to the task at hand.
I'd already reported week one results here, so on to week two.

Week two I finished with 97,656 steps which was less than the previous week but it also didn't have a 30k step day like the previous week did so I feel like this is a good solid win.
While my current goal is 10k every day and January 2016 was my lowest month of last year I do know that as this goes on I will have to step it up a notch if I want to beat each and every single month this year.

Come February I will still have a goal of 10k every day but I will also make a secondary goal of hitting 100k every single week.  This will force me to either walk a longer path on my days off from work to up my step count that way or to take a walk after work one or two days a week to hit my goals.  Either way this will up my activity level and that is a win for me.

Best day of the year so far is Friday, January 13th with 17,779 and worst day of the year is Saturday January 7th at 10,072 where I had to force myself just to get that number.

So, here is hoping I report 100k next week!

Hope you all are having a happy and healthy 2017

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Retro Rewind - Super Mario Bros 2

On my drives to and from work and while doing my walks I have been listening to a lot of gaming podcasts and one of the ones that I really enjoy is NintendoDads.

As the name dictates they pretty much only talk about Nintendo and their games and every month they do a "Retro Rewind" where they all play an Old School Game and then record a podcast about it after the month is over.   In December the Retro Rewind game was Super Mario Bros 2 and I decided to join them in this journey.

I will start by stating that when I was young I really didn't like Super Mario Bros. 2 very much, but I think it was more because of circumstance and not because of the actual game itself.

My first experience with SMB2 was a friend letting me borrow it over the weekend during the school year.  That weekend I was sick and couldn't get out and do much and so I spent the entire weekend doing nothing but playing the game.  As a result, in a 2 day period I beat the game and found it ridiculous that I could beat it in such a short period of time and thus formed a negative opinion about it.  I gave the game back and didn't return to it until a few years later.

So, when the NintendoDads declared this as the game of the month I jumped all over it and downloaded it on my 3ds.

Replaying games from my youth lead me to the realization that I am not the gamer I once was.  As such I ended up abusing the awesome save state feature that the Virtual Console offers me so that I could play through the entire game and beat it.

In total I spent 3 hours and 52 minutes playing through most of the levels and beating the final boss.
There were a few areas where I died a ton and there were some areas I went though without problem.  I was never able to get the hang of the end level mini game to earn extra lives as I remember getting tons of extra lives when I was young.  I don't know if it is just harder in it's emulated state or if I am just bad at the timing, either way it was not that big of a deal.

Overall I had a great time with the game and enjoyed getting back to some old school platforming.  Much like when I was young I only used Peach as my character because her floating ability makes her overpowered. I remembered where a bunch of the hidden things were including one of the warps.

I still feel that this was a good Mario game with a new take on the characters (I know I know, it originally wasn't a Mario game, Mario was just skinned on it) and I feel like it was a great transition to what would eventually be released in Super Mario Bros. 3 which took the series to amazing heights.

This is not a game that I will continue to put any type of time into, SMB3 still has my heart and I am determined one day to beat SMB: Lost Levels.   However, since I am a family man and a parent I generally don't go back to old games that I have beaten a lot of times and instead I focus on games that I have never played before for whatever reason.

For instance, I am currently running through Castlevania: Circle of the Moon on the GBA and am absolutely loving it.

January's Retro Rewind is Zelda: A Link to the Past which I will most likely download on my WiiU so that I can put a few hours into.  However, I have never been a big Zelda gamer and only have beat one of the games over the course of my life (and can't remember which one it was, but I think it was on SNES).

I hopefully plan on doing a monthly blog to follow along with the Retro Rewind to help keep me motivated to play (or replay) some old games and just keep gaming in general.

Until then, much thanks to the NintendoDads for having one of my favorite podcasts.

Healthy 2017 - Week 1

I know that millions every single year talk about how they are going to get healthier for the new year and most of them give up after a few weeks, that will not be me.

I have gone through this journey before and I am committed to doing it again.  So, for 2017 I have decided to get more exercise in through walking (I am dedicated to 10k steps every single day) and I will eat healthier.  I am also cutting out nearly all drinks that are not water (well, not cutting out beer, I love beer) in order to help with this.

Now that the first week is in the books I am proud to say it was successful.

My total steps for the week was 111,940, though this does count my 30k step count for New Years Eve since that was the first day of the week.

During this week I had two soda's and both of those were while I was at my parents and on the same day.  I have gone out to dinner with my wife and had just water and I am drinking a lot of water at work and at home in order to get more healthier.

I also started a vlog that I will use to keep me motivated to take walks and I've only recorded 2 but one was deleted before it ever made it to posting.

The first one can be found here.

And of course I plan on documenting it weekly here.

January 1st I weighed 264.6 and on the 6th (last day of the week) I weighed 263.2 - so while I only lost a little over a pound I'll take it for my first week.  As I get in better shape I expect that I should have no issue getting down to my initial goal of 220.