Work Life or Live to Work?

I was 22 years old in college, and I was more than ready for a work life. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, is the best way to describe me and most of other college students at that time. My 22 self had it all figured out. I loved fashion, not designing, but just working around it. I thought I was original.  I would tell people that “whatever job I find, I want to be important!” I truly wanted to be a strong, successful , high power, and important working woman with authority and solutions. I wanted to be that person people had to call when they  had questions. I wanted to be that decision maker.
It was Mid-April and I received a call from my work. I knew exactly what the call was about too! My manager ( my most beloved boss of all time) offered me a management position, and for legal reasons, lets call this large retail fashion chain ‘Never 31’. I was set to graduate college in a few weeks and I was ecstatic that I landed a full time job. I was on top of the world, and clearly I wasn’t worried about the pay-rate, I just wanted a career . Oh, and by the way they paid me a whooping $9.60/hour!

So, 8 months went by, I learned a lot about running a store/business, yada yada. I decided that it was time for the next stage in my life. So I landed a new job in Columbus Ohio and planned to move out of Canton Ohio. Because my 23 year old self, wanted to move to Columbus because it is an usual fashion Hub- home to L Brands (Bath & Body Works, Express, Victoria Secret and more). I was driving back from Columbus to Canton on a gray and cloudy December day and not to mention a 2 hour drive of nothing but corn fields (gotta love Ohio). I just had my second interview at, for legal reason let’s call it, Amberlromy & Riche.  The manager had called and offered me a management position- paying 13 dollars and some odd cents. I was THRILLED! After the phone conversation ended,  I screamed with excitement in my car . I had 2 weeks to move all my belonging to Columbus and find a place to live.

6 months later, I had fully adjusted to living in Columbus.  Never 31 had a new opening in Columbus for a  Co Manager, and I thought ‘why not apply?’ My current position at Amberlomby & Riche was getting tiring.  I didn’t think I was going to hear back from Never 31 because the last position I held there was the lowest-level manager and the Co manager was 2 positions above that. FYI they have about 4-5 different levels of management in one store. Anyways, I’d only been gone from Never 31 for 6 months, there was no way I was qualified, but guess frickin’ what?! I got a call from Never 31 requesting an interview.

I had my second interviews and a couple days had gone by since I last heard from them .  One morning my phone started to ring so  I rolled over quickly,  glanced at my phone, and to my surprise, I recognized the number! It was Never 31, and they offered me the position paying $18.00/hr . After accepting the offer and thanking the manager, not for legal reasons, but to be polite, let’s call this Manager Susie (sorry no play on words here), I hung up the phone and screamed loudly once again.  This scream topped all others in the past because it included excitement for the job AND the pay!

So a year went by, and  my love and excitement for the position dwindled down to a serious distaste. I had very good reasons for my disdain for the position, as did all the other employees that worked there.  However I can’t be too mad because this position gave me  exactly what I asked for. I was the person everyone went to with any questions or concerns, mostly because I always had a solution and enough authority to make a decision and also partly because no one liked Susie.  Unlike Susie, I was (how do you put it nicely) not a total B word, so majority of managers and employee’s asked me for help and guidance. I had a lot of responsibility, heck when my boss was gone, I was running a large 4  million dollar store.

I felt successful in my role, no scratch that- I WAS successful in my role.

During the last couple months of my employment, Susie said my performance was going down hill, maybe it’s because she does an excellent job at making mountains out of mole hills . Regardless, everyone in the store knew she was the one with the performance issues and running the store to the ground. How do i know this? Because remember everyone came to me with questions or concerns! She was dead wrong about me and most frankly she was wrong about herself. She downplayed my abilities and successes and patted herself on the back though her store was failing- as you can tell this is a sensitive subject.

I left retail, best decision of my life. I am now 26, still young, but somewhat experienced. I worked crazy retail hours, having no life, hardly any holidays off, and working constant overtime because every retail establishment nowadays is under staffed. At one point, I truly thought retail was going to be my career for the rest of my life. I laugh now, because either I had a momentary lapse of sanity or I was just plain ignorant. For whatever reason, I wasn’t happily working, or even working towards a happy life. I was literally living for work . I’d given up so much of my time and energy for a job and getting nothing out of it, that my life felt like it was work. If I have to go to work for the rest of my life, in order to survive (house, food, clothes, etc.), like everybody else, it better be a work life that’s happily lived.

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