I needed a job. It was really as simple as that. Well, nothings really that simple. What I needed was some income--had someone offered to just give me some money on a regular basis, I would have NOT needed a job. That benefactor not being in attendance, I needed a job. It really was as simple as that. There's a limited number of things that I do well enough to get paid for. That's also a plain fact. One of the things I do well enough is catching criminals.
So I got a job as the shoplifter guy at K- Mart in Boardman, Ohio. The Big K. I knew it wouldn't last. Everyone's a member of a "Team", and every supervisor is a "Coach". The service desk person (who answers the phone), has to say "welcome to K-Mart, what can I help you discover today?" What a mouthful--especially when you've got three lines ringing with the problems of grand magnitude to be resolved without ever discovering a thing. What can you help me discover? A way to make a living utterly separate from the Big K, for starters. Second would be an end to corporate mandates for phone answerers.
I've been on real teams--Fire Teams, Assault Teams, Football, Baseball, Bowling, you name it. When you're a member of a real team, no one has to remind you of it each and every day. I never felt less a member of a team than when I worked for the Big K. Turns out that the Big K (and all the rest of the Ks of whatever dimensions, I suppose) are part of Sears. Who knew? Or maybe Sears is part of the K. Either way, they collectively spend way too much time giving lip service to valuable concepts without actually creating the underlying values and loyalty.
I was a coach, but had no team members. I was also part of a team with a coach who I never saw. The idea of a coach and a team is laudable, but I just wasn't feeling it under the auspices of the Big K.
Although I was hired to catch shoplifters, the actual job was to ensure that the Big K didn't get sued for anything. I pulled expired baby formula off of the shelves. I settled family squabbles that boiled over in the Big K. I checked the temperature of the hot dog cooker and the nacho cheese machine in the K Cafe. Like the Beach Boys would have sung, if only they'd known: "Every time I have a date there's only one place to go , that's to the K Cafe!!"