Saturday, June 11, 2011

Minus the fart jokes

When I agreed to work the summer at the computer store, I wasn't entirely sure what I was getting myself into. Now at the end of my +40 hour work week, I'm realizing how hopelessly clueless I am. I still feel like a little girl when I answer the phone: "This is Hayley, how can I help you?" I'm in the back room every two seconds spouting my mantra: "I have a question!" Sometimes, "Yo tengo una pregunta!" They smile, or roll their eyes at me, "Not again! Okay, shoot, we have answers." For a while during the school year, they were free from my constant barrage of inquiries, but now that it's summer sales time, the questions are back in full force!

A lot of the summer work has just been fun. My own magnetic name badge, work uniforms, store meetings, update emails, back-room bonding, lunch breaks, shipping room adventures, logistical problem-solving: I'm learning so much about how a business works, and it's all new and exciting and fun! One of the techs has been working for the store just over a year, and he warned that it's about to get really old really quickly. "You think it's fun now, but after four years of this, it's not going to be fun anymore!" And in some ways, I already see what he means. After the third customer blow-up in one day, I was a little weary of smiling at angry people. I guess it's true what they say about working in retail making people callous? I'm learning all the more about people made in God's image, and being above reproach.

Still I have to confess, we are not a well-oiled machine. The manager does the very best he can, and really, he's amazing. But there's only so much you can do with a staff of college kids. Everyone is highly competent and contentious, and pretty good at communicating, too, but our margin of human error is still high. It's the little things that jam the gears. If Apple's not stiffing us on iPad shipping schedules, then we're running out of our Macbook stock, or an order was never marked open, or payment was never recorded, or an order has a typo. Or like yesterday, the internet dies and our server is slow to resurrect itself. (Benefit of working with computer nerds: a solution is rigged within the hour. Winners.) And so it's a constant tic in my head: what can I do to make my work in the store better?

I've started saying "Yessir" and "Yes ma'am". It's boosting my sales. (Not really. It's just polite.) We don't work on commission, but a little in-store competition is a good motivator.

I'm sorry, I talk about work too much, but it's all I'm consumed with these days! I don't know why it's all so interesting to me (probably because it's still all so new), but I have this continuous, weird impulse to cherish it all: every order rung through the register, every email sent, every trip to receiving, and every banter with the motley crew of student center employees. Is this the result of the rosy glasses of one's first real job? I feel so unworthy of such a good one.

As I spend more and more time at the store, I'm scared to discover that . . . I don't think I know how to live Jesus loudly there.

I'm also just going to say, the Dearborn Prep posts which are to come are non-organic. Which will probably be apparent, I just wanted to say that. So, yeah.

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