A Real Buzz To Work For and Confidence Building

When I went back to Ann Summers, I wasn’t sure what I was letting myself in for. But I am certainly glad I did go back. I started off in the warehouse as a picker and packer on the mail order department, but was soon learning all about team leading from Steph, who was in charge, and became her honorary right-hand-man. This was a massive confidence booster for me. It helped that I knew quite a few people already from when I previously worked there as well so I settled in straight away. I was enjoying what I was doing and going out to the movies with Jerome and Greg who worked there. All in all it led to confidence building. I got on very well with the Minchew boys inside work, but outside I was still very shy so sadly our movie dates didn’t lead to anything else other than friendship. I was also dating a guy named Simon I’d met over the Internet as well, but again, we never went further than a passion for the same taste in movies. All of them are good friends of mine now though. My confidence was really being boosted and I was excelling in my work and began producing reports and spread sheets showing the performance of the Mail Order department. I wasn’t asked to, and it wasn’t required, but I would take home the statistics at the end of the week of the amount of work done and produce a report over the weekend, outlining key performance indicators and areas for improvement. The logistics executive, Kevin, caught wind of this and called me in for a meeting in his office one day with two of the other managers. The best way I could describe Kevin Niblock is take Ricky Gervais as he is in The Office, shave his beard and double the size of him. Dave Pembroke I knew of from my previous days, we didn’t get on before and crossed paths a couple of times. I found him to be very stern, but my Mum thought differently and said he was fair. The other one was Dave Gardner, a total sleazebag who had an eye for the ladies but was also married with kids. I sat down in the big open plan office opposite these three, over-bearing individuals and feeling extremely intimidated. Kevin put some pieces of paper down in front of me; they were my spread sheets and reports. He asked if I did them. I told him I did and he then wanted me to explain my reasons for doing them and how I did them. So I said that I was watching how everyone was working one day and was curious as to who did the most work. I explained I wasn’t doing it to get anyone in trouble or to make out they were slacking off, I just wanted the ones that work harder to be rewarded for their efforts. When I told him that I wrote a formula that automatically calculated it for me, his response was why I didn’t work in the offices. I said that I had only ever worked in a warehouse environment so had no office experience and nobody was willing to give me that chance. He then suggested I applied for the warehouse administrator’s job that was on the board. So the next day, I gave him my CV, which obviously had no office experience on there. That evening I stayed behind and had an interview with him and Sarah who worked in the Transport department. The following day I had a meeting with the two Dave(s), and then by Monday I was settling into an office with Val Steward and Sharon Bradstock. Both wonderful ladies are quite a bit older than me but we clicked straight away. For the first week or so it was boring as hell. All I was doing was filing. But then the role really started to kick in and I was doing reports, spread sheets and investigating shortage claims. The things I found out led to the recovery of almost £1000 worth of goods that a party organiser was stealing out of their packages and claiming that they were missing from their parcels. I didn’t receive anything for my findings but got a personal thank you from the area manager and the thief was fired. Kevin also got me organising the Ann Summers’ Christmas Parties. That was a lot of fun. I had to design the posters, drinks vouchers, tickets, book the club and source the disco/karaoke while he arranged the other entertainment, i.e. the management dressing up as The Village People on one year, then The Jacksons, Elvis’ and Village People again the following year. If anyone had told me a few months ago I would be up on stage singing, I would have laughed in their faces but working with that lot and doing the things I was doing gave me a huge boost of confidence and the standing ovation Kevin and I got afterwards is an image I will never forget. I certainly had The Time of My Life, and I owe it all to you. After a while it was decided that the Returns and QC Departments would be moving back down to the old building near Kenley as they needed the space for more picking shelves. This also meant that they needed their manager and supervisors, meaning Dave P, Val and Ingrid would be going too. Hooky and Sharon did the Shipping and Imports therefore they would be going as well. That just leaves me; I was devastated I was being left behind. Dave tried his hardest to take me with them as well but Kevin stuck his heels in the ground and said no, I was needed there. So there I was, all alone in an office by myself for a few weeks feeling really depressed until he decided where to put me. There was no room for me in Transport, although both Jason and Trevor were happy for me to go in there, which left Stock Control. I wasn’t too keen on the idea as from what everyone kept telling me, the supervisor was very temperamental and not to get on the wrong side of her. Up until they appointed a manager, Jo was Stock Control for years by herself. I was slotted into the office and they gave her a team. As the weeks went by I was slowly pushed back into the warehouse doing stock counts, not the job I was meant to be doing, I wasn’t happy. I complained to Val, going above Tracy’s head, which pissed her off. I told her how much I wish I could come down and work with them. She told me that Dave was creating a job to get me down there and to apply for it as soon as it comes up. I did that, went for my interview with the knowledge the job was mine anyway. Dave had to do some more interviews just to be seen to be fair, including some knob in the post room who said I only got the job because he didn’t want it. I got to learn the ins and outs of the Shipping World which I found to be very interesting. After Hooky left, Sharon took it over with her Stores ordering but was finding it too much which is why I was bought in and we shared the load between us. I didn’t have an office, I had a desk on the landing to begin with until the Returns Department and Val moved back up to the Whyteleafe offices again. It took me a while before I took over Val’s office. I knew she wasn’t going to come back down and reclaim it, but I also didn’t want to jump in there straight away. After Kevin was spectacularly fired for being caught doing what he hired me to investigate, they drafted in a new guy by the name of Colin Burman. He did this whole presentation about changes that were going to take place and how things would improve, if anything, they went downhill when he got involved.


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