Setting Off On My New Life Journey
Because my new position will be at a nonprofit, I had to go through several rounds of approval before I was hired. First, it was the finance committee. Then it was the executive committee, followed by full board approval. It was a painstakingly agonizing process, believe me. Every day I wondered what would happen to me. Would I get turned down? Did they hate me?
But in the end, my candidacy was approved. I begin in January.
At first, it didn’t seem real. Seemed like a dream. Almost like someone was playing a joke on me. But once I sat down with my new boss and went over my job description, health care plans and other details. it slowly sank in.
My future role at Phipps will be relegated to shopping there, not working.
In a way, it’s hard to imagine that now. I’m still in the throes of maniacal holiday shopping season with all its relentless activity. For every customer that strolls through the doors, there’s loads and loads of gifts to be sold. And stocked. It’s busier than ever. The day flashes past.
And my countdown begins.
I told both the store manager and my direct supervisor on Monday that I’d be leaving. They’re good guys and have treated me well. Of course they wished me well, but I know they’ll miss me. My direct supervisor took me aside and had a long chat with me. Told me how happy he was for me. Knew it’d been a rough road. Knew things were tough.
We sat down over a cup of coffee (“You’re getting paid to loaf right now,” he said with a smile) and we talked about what came next for the both of us. He hates it there, but he can’t leave because he has a family. He’s been trying very hard to find another position and has come close, but in the end he’s been turned down. In that respect, we have a lot in common. I told him about what I’d be doing. He agreed my talents are better served at the arts nonprofit where I’ve been hired.
HR had me fill out some paperwork, stating my reason for leaving (“To earn a salary at my choice career”) and was there anything Phipp’s could do to convince me to stay (“No.”).
Later, as I placed a never-ending supply of candy canes on a stand-alone fixture, it hit me. I’m going to walk out the door one cold day in January and leave behind my tenure as a salesperson for Phipp’s. I’ll no longer be required to wear a badge bearing my name, nor will I have to dress in color-specific outfits designed to designate me as a Phipp’s salesperson. I’ll no longer have crazy shifts or 14-hour weeks instead of 40. I’ll actually have Thanksgiving off. And July 4th. And Memorial Day, Labor Day and Black Friday too. I’ll actually have vacation time and the ability to take one.
It was a sobering thought. Liberating, too.
I’ll work just as hard at this new job as I have at Phipp’s. I have a strong work ethic that demands it. There’ll be a learning curve but I can handle it, just as I learned how to operate a WAVE machine to lift me up to the ceiling and drive it around the store.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that working retail isn’t a real job. It’s hard work for little pay. My hands are weathered and worn from opening too many boxes. My body aches from running all over the store, climbing ladders in the cavernous stockroom looking for product, and lifting far too much weight than my back would prefer. I feel a little beat up every day I work there.
I come home and I’ve little energy to work on the edits my agent’s given me to do for my book. Nothing happens in publishing in December anyway, so I’m taking a break. Once the New Year starts, I’ll have far more energy to sit and really concentrate on how I’d like to make those changes so my book sells.
And then, maybe then, I’ll be able to make my living in the one job I prefer the most: a science fiction writer.