For the A-Z challenge, I will be writing about MEMORIES. A is for Avenue- my first job.
All through high school, I babysat often during the school year and worked as a nanny during my summer vacations. When I came home from college after my freshmen year, I hit the pavement looking for jobs. Most of the kids I had babysat in the past were old enough to care for themselves now, and I wasn't having much look securing a nanny job. So I had to look elsewhere. I started filling out applications left and right. One day, I walked into Avenue, a women's clothing store. The woman who handed me the application seemed very enthusiastic. She let me fill it out right then and there, and asked me questions about my availability. Just a few hours later, I got a call to come in for an interview the next day. I was nervous. I had never really had a job interview before. The interview was quick. I wasn't feeling too confident. I was a shy girl, and I knew that came off in my interview. I figured they probably assumed I couldn't sell clothes.
I was wrong. They offered me the job that same day and I started within 48 hours. My first few weeks were terrifying. I had to force myself to talk to customers and was not comfortable around my coworkers. They were all older than me, and I couldn't relate to their conversations. I spent most of my time folding clothes and avoiding the cash register. I never wanted to make a mistake, so I figured I was safest out on the sales floor, folding clothes, steaming clothes, and putting shoes away.
There was one week where I only worked with one other girl, my manager, Charlene. Suddenly we grew very close and were laughing and joking around. I started speaking up more, and became a master at the cash register. Once Charlene and I became friends, everyone else seemed to embrace me a little bit more. They all protected me. They loved to make me feel uncomfortable, but would also rescue me if I was in a tough situation. I remember one specific incident where a customer was in my face about something that was totally out of my hands. One of my coworkers stepped in, pushed me aside, and told the woman to leave the store and to never talk to me like that again. I took a sigh of relief and thanked my coworker for saving me.
One of our responsibilities as employees was to get people to open up a store credit card. I hated that. We had to ask a customer in three different ways. It got annoying, fast. But we each had to reach a monthly goal. Again, my coworkers came to the rescue. They coached me through it, and a few times would put my name down because I was the one who helped the customer on the floor.
Despite my shyness, My absolute favorite part of the job was walking around on the sales floor and asking customers if they needed help. I heard so many stories that way. People looking for an outfit for different reasons- asking questions about sizes and colors, asking my opinion about outfits. It was so fun to interact with them, and it really broke me out of my shell.
I continued to work at Avenue on Christmas breaks and summer vacations until my senior year of college. The years blend together now. Customers came and went, but we always had our regulars. At one point there was an incident when one of our comanagers left. It was a tension filled environment for a while as people took sides, and shortly after that, I left for good. I had to say goodbye to that chapter in my life. But I will never forget it. Working at Avenue was good for me, and my self esteem. It helped me to work through fear. So I guess the lesson in this memory is this: even if you don't think you can do something, you probably can.