Back in January, I quit a job I absolutely loved. Let me give you a little background.
I am a huge animal lover. My degree is in Wildlife Conservation. I’ve interned at a few wildlife rehabilitation facilities and I got a once in a lifetime internship on Maui to participate in their endangered bird breeding propagation program for 7 months. This was my passion for sure. I was even offered a job after the internship was over. However, I didn’t except it. The cost of living was just too high and I wasn’t ready to uproot my land life for island life. Paradise is overrated.
I came back and started working in pet retail, vet clinics, and doggy day cares. After a while, two jobs took it’s toll though so a friend offered me a chance to have a full time gig at an upcoming pet store that was slated to open. I jumped at the chance! I was working when I got the call to come interview. I had to go all the way home, change clothes and drive over an hour to interview. I went in with a great attitude even though I was late (damn traffic). I remember sitting in my interview and the woman didn’t ask the usual questions. She asked me things like, “Would you rather be a super hero or a role model?” I’ll never forget when she asked me what I wanted. I told her I’ve been struggling to prove to someone, anyone, to give me a chance. I didn’t know exactly what I was striving for but its all about opportunity and if someone could just give me even a small chance to show that I’m worthy, that’s all a girl can ask for.
I ended up getting that job. A month in, they saw that potential I described and I was promoted to assistant manager. Ironically enough, I loved that job but grew to hate that woman but that’s neither here nor there.
I worked this job for about a year and a half. I made a ton of great friends, like M, and gained a whole new knowledge of the world. Series of events and fraying threads of my sanity led me to the decision to leave this job.
My current work atmosphere is completely different than anything I’ve ever done. I work in an office and I’ve never worked in an office. But the real kicker is majority of the workers here are 25-50 years older than me. I’m not going to lie, my first impression of the place was this is not going to work. I’m one of the youngest and these people are experienced. I know nothing about this product so they probably think I’m stupid.
There’s this one guy in the plant, we’ll call him John, he’s just a grumpy man. When I first met him he was just plain grouchy about life. My first week, I didn’t explore much or talk to anyone except my boss because I knew her. You know that awkward stage of the job where no one talks to you and you don’t talk to them because we’re all strangers.
That didn’t last long. I am definitely a talker.
So John was my first project. Every day, a few times a day, I would go out to the plant, walk up to him and ask him how he’s doing. From there, I started asking him what he’s building. Each day, I pretty much had a new question and each day he would laugh at me for not knowing some things because I’m 30 years younger than he is. I found out that John is one big ole softie. We had a resident stray cat living in the business for a while. John named him Yo-Yo and we got to talking about how he’s rescued 3 cats, soon to be 4 from the place. He takes them to the vet, gets them all their shots and groomed and takes them home. These small stories led to bigger, revealing stories such as his battle with alcoholism among other things. Now, if I don’t make it out to the plant in the morning, John comes in my office each morning to talk about what he did the night before, or show me pictures on his ancient flip phone, or just to talk. This week he’s been feeling sick and each day, since last Thursday, I’ve been begging him to let me make him a cup of tea. This morning, when he came into my office to have our usual morning conversation, he told me to make him a cup of tea. I had the biggest smile on my face!
It’s the littlest things that can bring out a person’s personality. He’s not the only one I’ve impressed upon since I’ve been here. I’ve pretty much become known for my happy personality and office singing, sometimes dancing, skills. Sometimes all anyone wants is someone to listen to them. It could be something or it could be nothing. Sometimes people just want to smile if just for a minute. I think that’s what I ultimately strive to be. I want to be that person you call to cry to knowing that I’ll drop everything to drive over your house to sit and cry with you and then take you to a movie that I guarantee will make you laugh (true story).
I wasn’t always this way. I didn’t experience anything drastic or traumatic to change me but I like to think I hit that potential I’ve always reached for and everything can only get better from here right?
*Queue Whitney Houston: I found the greeeeeaaatesssst love of all insiiiiiide of meeeee”* and I have lots of it to share 🙂