Monday, May 15, 2017


There are people who think I'm really chilled, laid back and don't get flustered. If only they'd have seen me on Saturday.

I've accepted a (very) part time job with the Hospice as an emergency manager for the charity shop I volunteer at, meaning that I'll step up and run the shop on the odd occasions that neither the manager or the assistant are available. The expectation is this will happen a couple of times a year at most.

Saturday comes. I turn up at 8.30 for a bit of training and account set up. By 10am I have managerial permissions on the till and the computer, I've been shown the start of day procedure, what to switch on and off etc, then we settle down to a normal Saturday. We're two staff down due to a holiday and an operations, but as I'm in as an extra, it's not a huge problem as we have one member of stall on the till. In the afternoon it'll be three staff and the manager as usual. Plans are made for what needs to be checked, taken off the shelves and the other little things that keep the shop fully stocked and ready.

10.30 arrives. A phone call. Another shop has no manager.

My manager (who has recently been promoted to area manager) has to go and take over and I get an in depth, on the job, seat of the pants, in at the deep end, start to my 'emergency' managerial career. As this is was not what I was expecting, I was more than a little anxious. The other staff member, due to her age, is unable to do any lifting, so I couldn't get donations over to the shed and leave her alone in the shop. My mind was caught between doing what I knew how to do and being thrown into an unusual position that I was fully prepared for.

Depression, from which I suffer, is not a life without anxiety. If anything the anxiety increases. I was left in a position for which I had little training and not really knowing what leeway I had in decision making.I was in limbo and I was anxious as this is not what I was expecting to be doing.

To my credit I didn't panic, I tried to get on with what I knew I had to do, which was check the dates on the toys and remove those that were two months old, then stock up on other toys...but we had none that had been checked. Then look around for other things that needed doing, trying to get past my anxiety.

In the end, I could only check what little donation we had coming in and make the occasional foray over to the shed with small bags of donations.

Come 1pm there would be a staff switch over and I could get them to do some checking and take down while I went to get something to eat.

By 2pm, I'd eased into the role, worked out what I can and can't do, drawn on my 6 years of experience working in the shop and settled down.

By the time the shop closed at 4.30pm and after the volunteers had gone home I was calm enough to start creating gift-aid accounts from the paperwork produced throughout the day, waiting for the manager to return and take me through the end of day process. Phew. I was exhausted but pleased.

I'm not sure how I would've coped without the anti-depressants. Judging by past experience, not well. But I did cope, got on with things and settled into it.

Anxiety can hit anyone at anytime, but for a depressive it hits harder unless you can learn to chill and relax.  For the most part I have and those learned lessons, alongside the medication, saved me on Saturday.

1 comment:

Lexa Cain said...

Good for you for being promoted even if you got thrown in at the deep end so quickly. I lived in NYC 10 years before I moved to Egypt. I had 3 ulcers from stress. Egypt has an equatorial, snoozy atmosphere, and I learned that as long as no one going to die, it's not an emergency, so do the best you can and don't worry about it. (Almost no one gets fired over here, no matter how bad their job performance. That's really what made me decide to live here.) Sounds like you handled things perfectly in the shop to me.