I Couldn't Wait to Get a Job
From the moment I got my first cashier playset, I couldn’t wait to get a job. I was five. There was just something about scanning those plastic groceries and hearing that playful beep that was oddly satisfying. Best of all, I had no concept of money or time and it was all in good fun. Fast forward ten years and I got my first job as a cashier. I lasted three months before that beautiful beep became a chilling reality of adulthood. The childish glow of happy customers blissfully whisking their newly purchased goods off to their new destination, was marred by rushing to get to work on time, missing out on fun with my friends, coupon codes, items that refused to scan and calling for a manager to help on lane three. Not to mention the social torture of having your friends come through your lane just to see you at your “big job.”
Prior to my ninety-day stint of scanning and bagging, I remember thinking how cool it would be to be able to say, “Sorry, I can’t make it to your party, I have to work.” Now, that sounds totally ridiculous. Then, I thought that if I had my own car, I would definitely do any and every errand my parents asked of me. Now, I spend more time making elaborate Uber plans. Then, I thought about how much money I would have to buy nice gifts for people and treat my family to lunch here and there. I got excited about twenty- five cent raises and calculated the additional income over a pay period. Now, I keep my earnings and additional perks of the job private. I am a hoarder of my personal time.
What happened to the illusion of gratifying beeps with lights and shiny gold coins? Has it been replaced with sneaking quiet moments after work to have coffee and read an article? Buying yourself small gifts for adulting so well and hiding from your kids? It’s all perspective really. I’m fortunate enough to love my job and therefore it doesn’t feel like work. I may not be scanning plastic loaves of bread and charging my customers one hundred billion gold coins (which they always willfully paid). I am, however, spending time with people I actually like and with whom I share common goals.
In twenty years, I have worked in customer service, hospitality, education, mental health care and now sales and client relations. I’ve definitely been able to say “I can’t make it” and “I have to work” more often than I would have liked. But I’ve also gotten to say, “You’re welcome”, “Glad I could help” and yes, “Would you like ranch with that?” I still shop where I first worked, I still eat where I served, I still hear from the kids I taught and I’m still mindful of what it means to “adult” and the way it impacts people differently.
I have always given more weight to what I considered my “adult” jobs and made sure to highlight them on my resume and in interviews. My now boss and recruitment extraordinaire shared a little insight with me that changed my outlook on my past jobs. He shared that he would rather hire someone with customer service or restaurant experience than anyone else. Enlightened! As it turns out, my days of slingin' curly fries and cocktails were more valuable than I thought. Each job experience developed a set of skills that were preparing me for the next. I can honestly say that no experience was without value and no skill is wasted. Whether those skills are utilized in my personal or professional life, they are all purposeful. As I transitioned from mental health to sales and client relations people would ask me if I would miss being a therapist. Therapist was just a job title but helping people was my career.
Working is subjective and it’s just par for the course and you have the freedom to design your own future. If all else fails, Amazon will overnight you your very own cashier playset for twenty-five gold coins.