November 7, 2013

The Thankful Project: A Job

Today (and probably a few more times this month) I'm teaming up with Kenzie at Chasing Happy and joining in on her brainchild, The Thankful Project. At the end of October, Kenzie posted about this awesome idea, and being that Thanksgiving is one of my absolute favorite times of the year I've decided to contribute a little bit to the project. I hate that Thanksgiving is so often overlooked because of Christmas. Right after Halloween, and even before really, everyone seems to jump on the Christmas train and completely forget about what I feel is one of the most important holidays Americans celebrate.  I think it is so necessary to show your gratitude, and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to really stop and appreciate all that you have. It's a humbling reminder that the grass isn't greener on the other side; it's simply green where you water it.

Today's prompt for The Thankful Project is "A Job."
I haven't really worked much in my life if we're being totally honest. That's something I am thankful for. My parents have been supportive enough for me to not have to bring in my own income. It's rare for a college student to not have to worry with that kind of responsibility, and I assure you that it's something I am blessed to not have to stress about. I would not have anything if it weren't for my parents. I'm well aware of that. And I love them so much more for allowing me to be dependent on them through college - so I can focus on my classes that will better me in the long run. It's one of my biggest wishes that I can one day repay them for all that they've done for me.

But along with me being more than thankful that I haven't had to keep a job, I am thankful for one job in particular that I had - when I worked in retail for the holiday season a couple years ago. In short, I hated it. I dreaded going to my shift, and I would sit in the parking lot for as long as I possibly could before clocking in. It got to a point where I would cry before I had to work because I hated it so much. 

I felt like I was never good enough. Like I was always under pressure to be absolutely perfect. Like I had to know all the answers and, if I didn't, like I couldn't even ask for help. I felt like my every move was being watched and scrutinized. I mean, don't get me wrong, having a paycheck was great, and being able to buy my family Christmas presents without my mom indirectly paying for everything was awesome, but it was still terrible.

And don't take this as me bashing the job. It hindsight, it wasn't the job that was the problem. I'm not going to blame my managers or coworkers or customers for my misery. Honestly, I think it was just my insecurities. It was my first real job, and I think I got myself in way over my head to start out. Holiday season is one of the most stressful times to work; put that on someone who's never worked a day in her life, and you can imagine how pressured it must have felt.

But I learned a lot from that job. I learned how to be disciplined. I learned that the task wasn't finished until it was done right. I learned that it's better to just do things the right way the first time instead of take shortcuts. I also learned how to better deal with difficult people. I learned how to think on my feet. I also know now what kind of environment I don't thrive in, and I've realized that life is way too short to be miserable with what you're doing. And lastly, I learned just how much I really love PR. Customer service can make or break a brand, and I know that making the public happy and having a good image is a field I want to pursue.

Experiences don't always have to pleasant to be remembered and appreciated. Sometimes it's the negatives that can teach you the most, and the lessons you learn from those not-so-great moments can be invaluable. As much as I hated it and wish I could forget about it, I'm thankful for that job, and I'm thankful for what it taught me about myself.

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