July 24th, 2012. 8:21 PM. The fatigue of honest effort drives the typing.
A funny thing happened to me today after I arose from bed and made myself presentable to the world.
I put in a full work day today. Actual job-type work. It was enlightening. Enjoyable, even.
I know, I am as surprised as you are, if not more so. To be sure, it isn't full-time. It isn't in architecture or construction. It isn't in a field for which I have any real experience and certainly no training. In fact, it is a line of work in which I ever pictured myself engaged. Those of you know me well enough would know why.
It is in retail. Specifically, a store* that sells herbs, spices and seasonings as their raison d'etre. I like to think of it as, for lack of a better description, an apprentice spice merchant. Did I mention it is retail?
Shocked? I'm still a little stunned myself.
I fell into it by happenstance. I was up to my neck in a job search related to my architecture credentials, and as my mind was wont to do, it flitted off on a tangent regarding a seasoning I was out of at home. My crow-mind couldn't resist going after that mental shiny thing, so I went the company website to look it up. I am fortunate that there is a local outlet of the company near to my house, so I knew it would be easy to get there and get what I needed.
So I'm looking over the page and I notice they have a "Careers" tab. I thought "What the heck?" and I clicked on it to scroll down the list. Lo and behold, the local store was in need of a part-time staffer. I stared at the ad for a few moments, for a split-second thinking I should do it, then clicked away. Me, retail? The thought boggled the mind.
But it kept nagging at me. The idea wouldn't let me go. I considered my position, the long search I've been on and still...nothing.** I thought about all the time I've spent staring out the window after my job hunt activities have burned out for the day. I considered that it would nice to have something constructive to do, earn a little money, while I am slowly stitching my professional life back together.
I considered that I like spices. I like using them. I like reading about them, smelling them, and especially eating them. Somehow that overrode all my anxieties and misgivings about selling things and interacting with the general public on a regular basis. Again, anyone who knows me knows that sort of thing gives me a case of the yammering fantods just thinking about it. It is so far outside my comfort zone as to be in another galaxy.
So what did I do? I dropped off an application. Then I hyperventilated into a paper bag.
I had two interviews, one with the corporate office, one with the store manager. The whole time I felt like I was standing a few feet away from myself, wondering "Who is this man?". I had a hard time believing I was going through with it. This is not something I've done before. There would be things to learn.
So, as it turns out, they really liked me, I liked them, so when they offered, I said yes. Then I hyperventilated into a paper bag.*** The result is that today was my first day on in the spice biz.
I have to say it ended up being much more enjoyable than I could have imagined. It was a slow day, according to the manager and the co-worker with me, so I know it won't always be so pleasant. Aside from the slight awkwardness I felt (and always feel in similar situations) when warming up to the customers and new tasks, I daresay I even enjoyed it. And for the third time, those who know me I have some issues when it comes to dealing with a stream of people all day long. But you know what? I exceeded my expectations. That felt pretty darn good.
So there you have it, dear readers. Another step on the path, where it is headed I don't have a clear idea. For now, though, I'll keep on walking and see what turns up. You never know until you try, right?
*It is a spice company with stores nationwide, about 70 or so, I think. I may have mentioned them in past posts, but in regards to naming names, I'm a little unsure what journalistic protocols might apply now that I am an employee.
**To be accurate, the job climate in architecture has started to pick up a little around my region. It is still a slow awakening, and things are not moving very fast. There have been nibbles. But that is a post for another time...
***Okay, so I didn't hyperventilate into a paper bag. But I did put my head down between my knees and take long, slow breaths for a minute or two.