Ever since I was a little girl, I had always wanted a job. I used to have all of my friends line up and buy acorns from me using dried leaves as cash. It was a little hard for me to pursue my dreams as a preteen. Nobody could legally hire me, and I was not quite cute enough to make big bucks off of a lemonade stand. Thank goodness for summers.
Every couple of years, my family would take a trip down to Florida to visit my Mom’s side of the family. I loved my cousins. They were my only girl relatives even close to my age and we all shared a common interest: money. We didn’t quite understand exactly how it worked back then, but we knew that it was exchanged for things like Barbie’s, CD’s, and candy.
So, every time that we got together I outright exploited my cousin’s cuteness. We sold cookies, cupcakes, lemonade, and handmade jewelry. Granted the lemonade was too sweet, the cookies were lumpy, and the jewelry was 100% plastic; we didn’t make a lot of money, but at the end of a hot day, we often collected a totally of $40. Our next mission was to split the profits among the five of us, which often incurred a healthy amount of bickering. Despite all the labor and fighting, at the end of the day when we all went out and spent our share on candy and toys, I always had a happy, accomplished sort of feeling.
When I got my first job at TJ Maxx I was obviously thrilled. Sure, it’s tedious and I often hear myself saying “No, sorry. I have work today” but I thinks it has really improved my people skills and confidence.
At first of course, it was absolutely terrifying. I used to hide from the manager, stand perfectly straight for five consecutive hours, and I even trained myself on how to pee and wash my hands within thirty seconds. That’s how nervous I was. Now that I’ve been working there for about four months I’ve gotten much more used to it. I call the managers by their first names, take naps during my break, and occasionally take a minute to smell the Yankee Candles in aisle two. Sometimes when I’ve had a grueling day of school work and all I want to do is cry, going to work and listening to my fellow employees griping about the rude customers and making fun of the ridiculous products we are trying to sell is exactly what I need. Other days, work feels like it takes eons.
One of the days that seemed to be dragging on particularly long, I was on register checking out a woman with her four or five year old son. I handed the woman her bag and as they were about to leave the little boy put his hand on the counter and says, “I think you’re doing a really good job.” It felt wonderful. My parents can tell me a million times that they are impressed with my grades or a friend can tell me that I look pretty, but I had never felt that appreciated before.