Last week's snow and ice craziness which put my sister out of school for a whole week put me into a predicament of confusion which had no defined hub of communication. Time was disrespected and wasted, animosity was born, and resentment festered. The hard part is, I know that the manager in question won't be changing many of his actions or thoughts, but at least his actions and thought won't be called forth like they were during the ice storm. He will stay the same, but the conditions are going to get better.
My awesome manager returned from vacation today.
And the angels sang.
My coworker, J, asked if I was okay. "Yeah, I'm fine, why?"
"You just look something something's bothering you."
"Oh. No, nothing's bothering me, but, you know what? Since of all that crap that happened last week, I know that I haven't enjoyed working here, like, at all. I don't smile like I used to. I don't care about the customers like I used to. And, I don't like it."
"Well, awesome manager's back, now."
"Yes. I'm smiling now."
I have had to goad myself into what used to be the normal customer service attitude lately. I did this today when I asked a grumpy old man if I could help him find anything. He'd been looking for monthly tabbed dividers for his binder. I came and showed him where they were and helped him get the right ones. He very matter-f-factly said thank you and told me, "You've been very helpful." Guys, that did it. That one comment reminded me of how I like being helpful. I love hearing those words. I love the feeling I get from making something work or finding something that's perfect for the customer. Who knows if this man really cared about his tabbed dividers or not, but I suddenly did, and, for a burst of 3 minutes, I cared about everyone in the store. It was a pretty remarkable shift in perspective. I liked it.
Shortly after this episode, a friend's father who frequently finds me in the store came in. I called to him, and we chatted for a good while. He began by telling me that I need to get promoted to a manager's position. Believe it or not, he doesn't think that my poor manager does a good job, either. He monologued for 4 minutes on the importance and the techniques of customer service. (He's knows what he's talking about.) When he finished, he asked about my family and such, and then, near the end, I reminded him that, you know Mr. Luis, I won't be in retail forever. In fact, I'm planning on getting a new job in August. I'm planning on moving to South Korea to teach English as a Second Language for a year in a private Korean school. Yes. Yes, I am.
This is the first time I've mentioned it to the "public." I've been keeping it a secret because a) I wasn't sure if it was plausible; b) I don't want to say I'm going to do something then not follow through; and c) it's so early in the game, how do you know, Lindsay, if this is really going to happen or not? Well, I'm telling you anyway! I'm going to go for this for as long as I can, as long as doors stay open, and hopefully I'll be in Korea by the end of it!
I've been interested in teaching ESL since my senior year of high school (2005-2006). In fact, I decided to major in communication studies at Bryan College because I thought it would be best in preparing me for my then-dream-job: ESL teacher and missionary and possibly a translator on the side. I'd originally wanted to go to Russia or Mexico because I've been there before, but, really, I'm excited to learn about and to explore any country and culture. I'd lost sight of this dream during college when life's changed told me I would be getting married and wouldn't be able to just leave the country and, later, that I had to get a real job. Well, take that, society, self-defeating thoughts, and ex-dreams! I'm leaving the country!
Besides my resolve, nothing's in stone yet. I plan to keep you updated, and I believe that doing so will help keep me accountable to this plan. If I tell you about my dream, I'll be much more prone to follow up on the dream. So there you have it! I'm going to South Korea! For a year! I hope!