Category Archives: simplicity

I may have spoken too soon

“If you will recall,” the reason I decided to look for a job outside our home is because I am just a LITTLE¬†too good at solitude, and I thought this particular job would meet several needs:

1. Sounded like fun. As my friend called it, “the zen of shelf stocking.”

2. Money could change hands. Me doing work in exchange for a few pennies every so often.

3. Gives me a reason to go somewhere and see people. Talk to them. Listen to them. Ask questions. Be seen by people outside my home, so they know I still exist.

Then came the bandaids, which are something I don’t want to have to pay a lot of attention to, because there’s NOT ENOUGH SAND.

But, please refer back to #3.

See, I realized a couple of things. At home, there are also mundane things that I do. Pick up the toys. A hundred times. Handle the extra packets that come with takeout food. (There’s an important job!) Figure out if we need more tissues. Flatten and roll the plastic grocery bags. You know what? Those are¬†mundane things, but I do them because they need to be done. And, not that I need to get paid for everything, but I don’t get paid for any of those things. That’s ok.

I didn’t take this job because of the money. And everything I said the other day was true! If I had to deal with those bandaids all day long, I would definitely run screaming the other way. But, that’s not all I do. While I am doing these mundane tasks, some of which are quite zen-like, I am also being in relationship with the people I work with and for, the customers who shop at our store, and my co-workers. None of those people and I will have a relationship if I am at home.

Many of these relationships may be just a small step more personal than online relationships I have with people, but they are a small step more personal. I need people. People need me. So, I’m staying for now. And I’ll bring my kindness and joy to my work and to the people I work with, and I will be the recipient of the grace and poetry that is people in all shapes and sizes.

My boss was happy when I called and asked her to tear up my resignation letter. And so was I.

What do you find satisfying in your work?

On my Further Adventures in Retail

I gave my notice yesterday.

As it turned out, I didn’t need to give my NOT ENOUGH SAND speech, which I think is a good thing, considering how the folks who are working there are also spending their sand, and might not have taken too kindly to my pithy phrase.

As it further turned out, I realized that all the nifty box opening and box breaking down and whatnot has been making my poor little hands hurt — inside and out. Inside, I think I have some arthritis lurking in there, and some tendon issues as well. Outside, the cardboard keeps on biting me, giving me paper cuts (cardboard cuts?), ripping my fingernails below the quick (and THAT is jolly good fun, let me tell you), and generally just drying out my skin, and leaving me filthy to boot. The filth washes off, but the pain from the tendons and joints doesn’t go away so easily. So, I had the perfect reason to give for why this job is not a good fit for me.

I DO remember there are many people in the world who would love to have this job, who would be glad to be in such a well-lit, well-stocked place, and who would find my pay to be simply fabulous. May they find their way to my store and apply for the job!

Yesterday, on my second-to-last day, I had to face down the bandaids again. They were ornery as ever.

Yesterday, on my second-to-last day, I had a big aha moment. My passion is about simplifying life. Retail is most definitively, definitely, confoundedly NOT about simplifying life. Advertisers want us to buy MORE, MORE, MORE! Merchandisers set things just so in order to capitalize on our impulse buying, our attention span, our desires for gratification. Those are all honest jobs; I do not fault the people who do these jobs.

Even in such a short time, I got a very interesting glimpse into a job and a business that I was only familiar with from the outside. I am grateful for the opportunity to have tried this. And I am keen to discover what is going to come next.