Author Topic: Having a difficult/low-level job  (Read 2612 times)

Having a difficult/low-level job
« on: June 03, 2021, 10:21:20 PM »
I've just turned 38 years old, I have diagnosed autism, I live alone in a flat (near family), and I have a job in an ice skating rink. It was basically offered to me while I was on the dole - the rink has a scheme of getting disabled/special needs employees from the job centre.

I'm very torn about the job as I love aspects of it, but there are other aspects that just break me down. I enjoy skating a lot, and I like helping customers out - I have some regular customers who totally love me and have given me tips, bought me gifts and stuff for all the free help I've given them (as it's not in my job description).

And of course the wages have helped me a lot, I've always had spending money for things like trips out with friends/family, new clothes, etc, which is great.

But the sheer anger of a lot of the weekend family customers is draining. The company pretty much rips them off a lot - there's a weird parking over charge thing I don't understand, and they're supposed to pay £6 (was £5 till last year) for these skating helpers which are basically plastic animal shaped frames to hold kids up on the ice.

Half the customers feel they shouldn't have to pay for helpers for their kids and just stand there screaming at us about the price - they just stand there yelling "I've paid all this money to get in this sodding place and you expect me to pay more just to get my child safe on the ice" until they give up on realising we can't give them out for free no matter how much they scream.

Also there isn't enough helpers most busy days anyway, so we sometimes get two different families waiting for the last one to be returned, and then trying to aggressively fight each other for it (or be aggressive to us about it). A lot of them are just scared and hostile as they come in the door, like they didn't want to come in but had to force their kids to come because Frozen is popular.

and there's a really horrible atmosphere between the figure skater pros, the hockey players and the regular customers - a lot of the middle aged male hockey coaches and younger players have contempt for the regular customers during public times and deliberately scare them, knock them over on the ice, etc. No one seems able to stand up to them.

Also big ice hockey games are just vile - they let the customers get drunk and skate on the ice after the game and a lot of them are just disgusting, falling over drunk, groping people, being violent, binge drinking, trying to come up close and stare while stinking of booze, take all their clothes off on the ice, etc. We're officially supposed to not let them skate if they drink but there doesn't seem any way to realistically police that. There are guards there but they don't do enough sometimes.

Plus at 38 I'm scared I'll never get anything better. I was unemployed for a long time and I spent a few years in a bad mental state while family was having various issues and problems. Even though it's such a crap job, I've more independent than I've ever been in my life for the past decade and I appreciate the pay.

But honestly my confidence is just non existent. I can't imagine being in an office with "professionals" my age. I've done too little for too long. And I have major anxiety and social issues. I'm the oldest person working at the rink (both in age and how long I worked there) who hasn't been promoted to some kind of manager/supervisor, and to be honest I don't think I could do that with my anxiety and social issues.

I've been thinking about just applying to work at the Wetherspoons up my road or something. I just don't know what else I can do. I mean, I think I'm intelligent enough to be doing something else, even slightly better. I just...I want to do something simple and familiar...even something humble, if it wasn't working with angry public. I wouldn't mind this job so much if it wasn't the angry customers.




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Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2021, 10:32:49 PM »
I live alone in a flat (near family), and I have a job in an ice skating rink.

Humblebrag.

But yeah I'm in the same boat where I'm at an age now where it feels like doing the shit temp work (to be honest thats all thats out there atm) makes me a loser. I just really don't care about a career and money is only really needed for shelter and food so I have literally no idea what one is meant to do. If it helps, I havent had paid work in over two years and moved back in with my mum and i'm relatively content for now. The world is utter shite and who cares about a job being 'low level'? We don't put the correct value on jobs anyway.

My only advice would be to use the transferable skills from the rink into a different job somewhere less offensive.

Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2021, 10:42:11 PM »
Have you thought about a career in IT? A few of the people I work with have autism and seem to take well to dealing with logic/machines rather than people.

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Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2021, 10:51:16 PM »
Night shift at your nearest supermarket. Few customers (or none if the store isn't a 24 hour place), decent sense of camaraderie among your coworkers, easy (albeit boring) work. You get to avoid working on the tills, which is easily the biggest load of bullshit in any shop-based job, and if angry customers are your concern, you'll avoid most of them at night in my experience (watch out for the odd lunatic though). Most places will pay you extra for working nights. At Tesco, you used to be able to get the SUNDAY NIGHT COMBO where you'd get paid extra for working Sunday and get paid extra for working at night, not sure if that's still a thing. We were also oddly overstaffed when I last worked there, which meant the workload was laughably light most nights.

Also usually part-time contracts, two or three nights a week. If you're in a situation where you can afford to get away with having no other jobs, then it's obviously great.

Depends how well you deal with only being awake at night though, I suppose. In the winter it can start to drag because you don't see sunlight at all some days, transforming your life into a dark cyberpunk thriller. In spring and summer, it's great because you're on the bus home just as its getting light and no fucker's about. Sometimes you see people heading into work as you're heading home to bed, which inspires the feeling that you're a winner who's ten steps ahead of the average shitmuncher, which provided an incredible mental health boost in my case.

Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2021, 10:59:16 PM »
thanks folks. I know I wrote a lot there but I'm really mentally breaking down over this job sometimes. There's just so many little shitty things, like it being hard to get a break when I'm supposed to have lunch sometimes... and I hate that it makes me a fascist. I hate roughly telling a family with frightened kids that they can't have helpers. And in fact, I break the rules as often as I can and sneak free helpers to people I feel sorry for - disabled people, people struggling, poorer looking people, minorities etc.

I don't mind a humble job as long as I'm happy, and as for IT - well I wouldn't know where to start. I did think of doing an accountancy course before lockdown/the virus, but there seems like loads of confusingly different ones, my confidence is knocked, etc.

honestly some evenings I just lie in bed shaking going over and over in my mind the most recent confrontation with an angry middle aged woman over the helpers, how I should have done it differently, how I could have stayed calm, how much of a jerk the situation forces me to be. I'm a shy autistic raised in a repressed family that dislikes confrontation so it's not exactly a natural fit for me.

(edit - thanks for the thought about Supermarkets, the thing that puts me off is I don't want to be on a big conveyer till all day. But night shifts and stocking shelves I'm totally fine with).

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Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2021, 10:59:42 PM »
Have you thought about a career in IT? A few of the people I work with have autism and seem to take well to dealing with logic/machines rather than people.

This has possibilities. Of course, it requires you to be good at some kind of IT. Not that it stopped me - I managed the best worst of fifteen years as an IT support/network administrator type with little discernible talent. Problem is - and I don’t mean to burst your bubble here willbo - that you get cunt customers in any industry. Just about every place I worked, IT were regarded as no better than the cleaning staff (nothing wrong with being a cleaner, I’m just describing the attitudes of these cunts). We cost them money. Many people at that time in those industries (legal for the most part) hailed from before IT was a thing, and they resented the loss of the old ways. This was before touchscreens and WiFi and 3G/4G/5G, IT wasn’t as seamless and “it just works” like it is now. And… sorry, I’m really not helping here, am I? … I really don’t know - what’s the IT industry like these days? What to do when nobody goes into offices anymore and they work from home on straight-out-the-box equipment? My brother’s an experienced Apple Mac support engineer, his job didn’t last past first lockdown.

Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2021, 11:08:59 PM »
I've never really had natural affinity with computers other than using them to browse the internet and play games. I'm sure I could learn it all, I've just never really been interested to. I tried to start online courses on networking and programming a decade or so ago, but just got bored.

Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2021, 11:10:38 PM »
Problem is - and I don’t mean to burst your bubble here willbo - that you get cunt customers in any industry. Just about every place I worked, IT were regarded as no better than the cleaning staff (nothing wrong with being a cleaner, I’m just describing the attitudes of these cunts).

This is absolutely true, but at least in a service desk type role there's normally a very structured process in which customers are allowed to be cunts to you (customer logs a ticket, ticket gets triaged, you don't necessarily have to deal with them straight away if it's not high priority, etc.). And depending on where you work, most of the time you won't have to see them face to face, if that's a source of stress.

Not to say that it can't at times be very stressful as well, and there's the pressure of meeting targets, and you (probably) won't get to skate... but a lot of the more visceral stuff which it sounds like is causing your current anguish wouldn't be part of the equation.

FWIW, I worked on a technology service desk for a few years and I had fuck all IT experience or qualifications at the time.

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Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2021, 11:15:09 PM »
We're officially supposed to not let them skate if they drink but there doesn't seem any way to realistically police that. There are guards there but they don't do enough sometimes.

The last time I tried to go for a skate with a couple of friends at our (now closed) local rink, we got breathalised and turned away at the door by a big bouncer. TBF, we were fucking smashed.

Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2021, 11:18:38 PM »
thanks. Honestly it just helps me to type a lot of this stuff out. I appreciate you folks adding your thoughts.

Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2021, 11:20:37 PM »
The last time I tried to go for a skate with a couple of friends at our (now closed) local rink, we got breathalised and turned away at the door by a big bouncer. TBF, we were fucking smashed.

we only have any kind of security for busy nights or events (hockey games, figure skating shows, rock concerts etc). We never have security on regular days or evenings, even with problem people coming in.

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Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2021, 11:35:33 PM »
Between this and Exciting Leisure Centers there's a cracking C4 fly on the wall

Willbo you have my sympathy. The animal shaped stabilisers sounds like a shitshow

Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2021, 11:37:26 PM »
Much sympathy. I'm also autistic, and I fucking HATED jobs where I had to deal with the public because I cannot cope with people being angry at me, especially over things I can't control. I dealt with some real cunts when I was a shop assistant, complaining about me and all sorts, and it wasn't always justified. The worst was when I was a legal secretary for a criminal defence firm and I had clients shouting abuse at me because I couldn't give them the info they wanted about their cases (I worked for another office, but the main secretary expected me to cover the phones when she was on her lunch break) or because their solicitor wasn't available or whatever. It is mentally draining. I've had mental breakdowns from working in offices and been signed off work. Some autistic people can work in offices. I can't. And tbh it is kind of reassuring to know I'm not the only one.

Both I and another autistic friend do freelance work  - he's a proofreader, I'm a translator - and it suits us much better.

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Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2021, 11:38:28 PM »
dealing with the public is stressful, you can have nice people all week then one dickhead spoils it

how much do you need to earn, are you reasonably fit, could you work outdoors or would you prefer indoors?

Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2021, 11:49:52 PM »
I dunno really. I guess I'm fit but it's getting harder as I get older...

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Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2021, 12:12:43 AM »
If you want to avoid aggressive customers, I would advise against applying to work at Wetherspoons.

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Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2021, 12:37:30 AM »
If you want to avoid aggressive customers, I would advise against applying to work at Wetherspoons.

I called in to get a breakfast at a Wetherspoons' this morning. Admittedly this one is the epitome of the Wetherspoons' stereotype where every single index of deprivation is set to 11, but even by Spoons standards it was bleak. The first sign that all wasn't great was at front desk, where most Spoons have a member of staff who appears and asks you to do the track and trace app or fill in a form. The form goes into a slot in a box. There were about a half-dozen bits of paper that had been filled out and stuffed into various crevices, because there was no box. I sat down and scrolled the app but couldn't see any food. Spoke to a member of staff and they apologised and said they were operating a 'limited food menu' as they were 'waiting for a delivery'. After some more scrolling I found the available food and it was Beans on Toast. A second closer surveying of the place revealed nobody at all was eating and everyone was drinking. It was 9.15am

You don't need much of an imagination to work out what their job must be like after about midday

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Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2021, 12:49:32 AM »
You don't need much of an imagination to work out what their job must be like after about midday


Erm, absolutely fucking buzzing mate?!

Imagine being a horrible sociopath...everyday would be an open sandwich of schadenfreude...from a jilted smack head trying to whore his missus out so they can score before social services arrive to the local weed dealer trying to stop his benefit sanction on the phone to the job centre. Uts visceral. It stinks. Its all served on a blue plate of malady.

I reckon if you hate people as much as me, it's a Machiavellian paradise.

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Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2021, 12:54:36 AM »
I struggle to see going anywhere indoors as particularly safe, but also nowhere near worth the hassle of going outside for in the first place. The idea of convincing myself 'it'll be worth it' for ages then the crushing disappointment of only being offered beans on toast is bleakly hilarious. I'd probably not leave the house for weeks.

I'm still sulking, several days later, that the tesco express have stopped selling tuc biscuits and had also ran out of chocolate milk.

Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2021, 07:07:15 AM »
If you want to avoid aggressive customers, I would advise against applying to work at Wetherspoons.

I've thought about that - and I can imagine the busy evenings being an absolute nightmare - but I think, at least it won't be ambiguous. At least there won't be tons of confusion and difficult decisions about who I can charge and not charge for a helper. It'll just be, the drink costs this much, and you pay it if you want one.

And my local ones are relatively posh ones - they do a very good trade in meals through the day, with a lot of family customers, and even the old man winos are upper class well spoken ones. I have a coffee there most mornings if I want to use the wifi and I like the daytime atmosphere there, though I can imagine I'd hate the busy evenings.

Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2021, 07:25:12 AM »
Have you ever thought about getting one of the skates and cartwheeling into the customers and scything through their throats? That was my first thought at having to put up with them.

Standard first piece of advice is don't jack it in until you find something better. Spoons would be really hard. Bar work is a young person's game unless you own or manage the place. Unless you're very sociable and enjoy dealing with drunk people, it's exhausting.

Beyond that, and sorry to be boring, but what could you see yourself doing and hopefully enjoying for the next twenty years? Would you consider doing some training or qualification to open a few other doors?

If you could do this for another twelve months while taking steps towards something that would sustain you until retirement, I would personally think that's a good trade off. I am being a bit boring, but there are lots of opportunities for adult education and training if you contact your local community college.

Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2021, 07:31:56 AM »
Have you ever thought about getting one of the skates and cartwheeling into the customers and scything through their throats? That was my first thought at having to put up with them.

Standard first piece of advice is don't jack it in until you find something better. Spoons would be really hard. Bar work is a young person's game unless you own or manage the place. Unless you're very sociable and enjoy dealing with drunk people, it's exhausting.

Beyond that, and sorry to be boring, but what could you see yourself doing and hopefully enjoying for the next twenty years? Would you consider doing some training or qualification to open a few other doors?

If you could do this for another twelve months while taking steps towards something that would sustain you until retirement, I would personally think that's a good trade off. I am being a bit boring, but there are lots of opportunities for adult education and training if you contact your local community college.

I liked the thought of doing accounting. I live near Leighton Buzzard, which has a lot of accountants. And I like the thought of a solid, dependable skill/qualification that will always help me get a career. To be honest I've got VERY low confidence when it comes to the thought of wearing a suit, doing a real career, not doing a simple retail type job. I just feel like I'd be there scared and uncomfortable all the time feeling like I don't fit.

I just despise the whole idea of the family day out at the ice rink now...In what other context would you take your kids for a day out on a dangerous sport training ground with sharp blades whizzing everywhere, and make your kids stand there shaking and crying on a dangerous surface. I just look at most of them and think why the fuck did you come. A lot of them feel they have to do it because their kids like Frozen.


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Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2021, 07:38:26 AM »
Why don't the tightarses just buy a few more of those plasticky animal frame things? Or charge 6 quid per child at the door rather than enticing them in with a bullshit low price? It's stressing me out just reading about it, nevermind having to deal with people's justified anger at the situation. My condolences.

Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2021, 07:49:46 AM »
Why don't the tightarses just buy a few more of those plasticky animal frame things? Or charge 6 quid per child at the door rather than enticing them in with a bullshit low price? It's stressing me out just reading about it, nevermind having to deal with people's justified anger at the situation. My condolences.

They actually did - before 2016 or so we only had something like 20, and that Christmas there were parents shoving and grabbing at each other for them, now we have like 50 something. The whole place is weirdly overpriced though. The lockers, the food, parking, the extra debit card price. All we hear is people yelling about it.


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Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2021, 09:47:32 AM »
Sounds like the job has outlived its natural lifespan in terms of how long a regular human should be doing that for.

As for alternatives, take a look, ring an agency (don't actually use one if you can help it). Everything new is going to take time to get used to, but you don't necessarily need to be BRANE GENIOISE or unautistic.

Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #25 on: June 04, 2021, 09:59:54 AM »
Yeah, I was doing just a couple days a week for a few years on the job centre scheme, then started 25 hours a week for 2 years, then a year off for lockdown.

Some people though...they just walk into public places like shops, rinks, etc, looking for a confrontation. Like it's an emotional boxing gym for them to practise their "being rebellious and refusing rules" level on some staff member. Obviously covid has shown this up to everyone else, but these people have always been around. For some middle aged dads it's like the way they let off steam on the weekend.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2021, 11:06:16 AM by willbo »

Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #26 on: June 04, 2021, 01:55:08 PM »
Is there anything you would like to do or try doing?

I don't think being 38 should necessarily stop you from reaching new goals. If there is something you have liked the idea of, say accountancy as mentioned above, you could always ask local firms if they wanted a shot term intern just so you could get a feel for if it's something you might like to do.

Just one other thing to add, I think in every job there will be bits that are horrible or aspects to it you won't like or agree with.

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Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #27 on: June 04, 2021, 02:31:16 PM »
A bit of good news:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57349802

Should be more hospitality jobs out there soon.

Have you considered working in a cinema or theatre? Might be a bit more quiet and civilised, with some good perks. It sounds like you're actually good at customer service but could do with some nicer customers.

Just from reading your post I can tell you have a lot of transferrable skills- handling difficult people, going above and beyond, building up a rapport with customers, managing scarce resources etc. If you sat down and had a good think about this you could probably write a list and surprise yourself with how long it is (oo-er). Then read it back and see if it gives you some idea of what else you would like to do. And it'd give you a bit of a confidence boost too!

Blue Jam

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Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #28 on: June 04, 2021, 03:21:37 PM »
Some people though...they just walk into public places like shops, rinks, etc, looking for a confrontation. Like it's an emotional boxing gym for them to practise their "being rebellious and refusing rules" level on some staff member. Obviously covid has shown this up to everyone else, but these people have always been around. For some middle aged dads it's like the way they let off steam on the weekend.

I used to work at a council-owned leisure centre that was a magnet for this kind of behaviour, like it was a kind of community punching bag. We'd get weak swimmers who wanted to avoid the screaming kids in the leisure pool and who would instead try to swim widths or have a bit of a paddle in the lane pool, getting in the way of the more serious swimmers and pissing them off, then kicking off at the lifeguards when they were thrown out. We'd get people sneaking champagne into the sauna- sometimes they'd even bring a bit of a picnic in, it was incredible what the cleaners would find in there. We'd get people kicking off when they asked if we'd sell them a few extra sunbed tokens so they could use the sunbed for an hour instead of the maximum 15 minutes and we had to refuse. We even had a couple of women get angry when they brought their babies to the gym and had to be told that it wasn't safe to leave two babies in massive buggies near a load of fitness equipment with no qualified childcare professionals there to watch over them. All people breaking rules designed to keep them safe (and to stop us getting sued for hurting or killing them).

We had a few serial complainers. One was like the middle-aged dads you described, it was like his Saturday ritual to go for a swim and kick off at the staff afterwards, his arrival always got us steeling ourselves for the aggro that would inevitably follow. And despite the fact that this place was in London, near a load of rival gyms and pools and fitness clubs that were frankly much nicer and not much more expensive, these people would keep on coming back. Sometimes they'd threaten to cancel their membership, but of course they never did, as the aggro was what they were coming for.

After that I got a job with a chain of gyms, working at a gym in a slightly more central area, and the customers were a million times more pleasant. The gym wasn't hugely upmarket or expensive or exclusive, it was pretty small and the facilities were a bit limited, but there wasn't all that releasing of pent-up rage on the staff, people seemed to understand that we couldn't sell them extra sunbed tokens, we didn't find empty champagne bottles in the sauna etc.

I think there was something in the leisure centre being council-owned that made people think they had a right to abuse the staff- they were paying our wages with Their Bloody Taxes and kind of OWNED the place (except it didn't actually work that way, the building was being leased by a private company) and it was a crappy run-down place and the staff were all lazy failures and didn't deserve any respect. For a while I was a member of a not--very-posh and fairly basic Fitness First gym very nearby and never noticed customers abusing staff the same way, it was like being in the private sector commanded more respect. It could also be a class thing, the way some people feel they have the right, even a duty, to abuse McDonald's staff but would never kick off at a waiter in a Michelin starred place.

Yes, these people have always existed, Covid has just made them more visible.

Re: Having a difficult/low-level job
« Reply #29 on: June 04, 2021, 08:24:47 PM »
I work in a warehouse. It's so boring, I just daydream the day away. I sometimes actually get fatigue/ weakness/ almost fall asleep while walking. I thought it was diabetes, but bloodtests showed it wasn't. I've had to go home a few times because I can barely stay upright/ hold my eyes open, have a conversation. Once I closed my eyes, and imagined myself a knight in a castle, and next thing I knew I was standing at the top of a stairwell.
I have no idea if this is just boredom, or something else. But one day I am sure I will close my eyes and just fall.

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