August 11, 2008 - Could you be doing more too?

Monday, August 11, 2008
Could you be doing more too? Category: Jobs, Work, Careers

I looked into her eyes and felt myself turning red, inside and out. Her eyes, in response, stared blankly through my soul, just as they always had. I don't know what they saw, but I do know what they should have seen. Four months of "Get to work an hour early so I can leave." or "By not doing my job, I'm actually teaching you how by making you do it instead" was there, gleaming. She spent four months making me feel bad about myself, intentionally or not I may never know. Think about it – four months working for a boss that always thought she was better than everyone, that she always knew best, made everyone around her uncomfortable, and never, ever apologized. For anything. She spent four months "being an example," although I'm fairly certain that the example I got wasn't what she had in mind. She thought I was disappointed because I didn't want her to leave. I could tell.

I was mostly upset with myself because I thought about quitting and here it was - my big break – and I nearly missed out. I sat there, basically bursting into tears, thinking "My god, its over." It was really the beginning. Two weeks later, she was gone and the show was all mine for the next two years. What a show it was. All I can do is reminisce now. I'm not sure when I decided that I was getting out of the black hole of retail. It could have been when I was with Talbots. It could have been sooner, perhaps the day I handed over my store keys to the landlord. I should consider myself fortunate – it sometimes takes people years, even a lifetime, to realize that they could be doing more. I could be doing more.I often have quite a few associates ask me for advice on an array of topics. It's been part of my job as long as I can remember. For most of the problems, I can only say "From a sad/upsetting/outrageous/terrible event can only come good." It always seemed to work and it worked for me years ago. When I said goodbye to my old manager, I realized that there was a whole world of amazing experiences waiting me in my new store.

I learned to be the exact opposite of everything she was – I had discovered how to be a trusting, respectful boss and how to be more considerate of others. I learned how to be held accountable for what I had done. I learned how make a business happen. Most of all, I learned how work with people, not just the job.I'm not sure if I'm sad to say that the retail fire has gone out. After nearly ten years, it's finished as quickly as it started. Two weeks from today, I will have already completed a brand new day as a brand new person with a brand new company. It's an amazing opportunity and I'm eager to see where it will go. Most of all – it's not retail, and I'm not the boss.Some of you who are reading this must think that all I do is worry, obsess, dream, eat, sleep, and drink work. I assure all of you – when I'm at work, home is at home. When I'm at home, work is at work… unless they are calling me fifty times a day when I'm not there.

That's what retail management does to people… you can't help but wonder and worry and obsess over it all the time. However, I take tremendous pride in my work, and I consider major work events to be milestones – like remembering how good it used to be or how relieved I am that something new is about to start. What will I miss? The customers. The mall environment. Building a business and a staff. Starbucks and The Coffee Beanery. Ice cream from Dairy Queen every other day. Being the best at what I do. Teaching. The exciting drama of professional thieves! The mall Christmas Decorations all season. Santa and the Easter Bunny. Our brand new floor.What will I love to never see again? Everything else.

So I ask – Could you be doing more? Are you going to spend the rest of your lifetime wondering if there is something better? If this opportunity hadn't come along for me, I'm a little scared that I might have spent a lot more time wondering and waiting. Suspended in time, drudging to work every day, watching the clock for quitting time. Who really wants to do all of that, anyway?

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