A year in review: When you realize a job can steal your life

Just recently I hit a milestone at my job by working there for a year. When I walked into work and saw “Happy Anniversary” on the board I was thankful and a bit surprised. It didn’t feel like a year had gone by. In my mind, yes a year had gone by, but it just didn’t feel like it had physically. Looking back I can honestly say that I’ve done a lot within the last year. When I started working at this company, I was nervous, because I chose to take on a position that I’ve never done before, in an area that I’m not comfortable with. First off, I stepped out of the nocturnal lifestyle into working days. For three years prior, I was working all night and sleeping all day. Now, I would be working mornings and evenings but never past ten p.m. Secondly I was entering a position in sales which meant I had to learn about the product I would be selling and after shadowing a coworker for a week, I was nervous that I would flop on the job. Which leads to the third point, my job requires me to speak to strangers, which being an introvert is nerve-wracking to think about.

Why would I apply for a position like this? Well right before I took the position, I had been working a big retail company and due to outside forces, I had to quit. I loved working for this company but looking back it was probably the right time. I was getting assigned an area that I had never done before so I needed some time to get a rhythm down. I got pulled aside and asked why I was moving slow after months of having a great speed. I used that opportunity to say that I didn’t want that assignment, I never even asked for it or showed any indication that I was interested. I wanted to set plan-o-grams and mods, not hanging clothes on a rack. Another reason why I didn’t want that assignment is, because I was working with a bunch of females who did nothing but nag and complain about their job. Their negativity started to make me not like my job. I was told I shouldn’t let that bother my performance and that I needed to improve. I started to notice that really, I wasn’t going anywhere. I stocked shelves for years at Wal-Mart, that’s what I was doing here. I was given false hope before Christmas that I would be given a position that I actually really wanted, but so far that didn’t appear to happen anymore. Basically I was just stagnant and had to deal with people around me having an attitude about everything. I started to feel this way two weeks before I had to quit.

When I applied to this new company, I actually applied for two positions: one in sales, the other in softlines (hanging clothes). Both were full-time positions but at that point I assumed it was part-time because businesses like to use full-time as a ploy to get people to apply. During my first interview I mentioned how I felt that I just wasn’t growing at my previous job, (to my surprise I actually was given full-time) and was given a basic rundown on what the positions would entail. I was leaning more towards the sales position because the softlines position was just sounding too familiar of the one thing that made me start to hate my last job. I was then scheduled for two more interviews, each with the managers of those particular areas. I went into my interview for the sales position and never made it to my interview for softlines. What made me decide on sales is that it was something I had never done before, I have to do things I’m not comfortable doing, and I literally just said I didn’t feel like I was growing at me last job; well now it is time to grow. Did I end up growing, yes. I was so nervous about living on commission but I’ve had some good checks come my way, not all have been great but I know that it is possible. I’m not as nervous about talking to strangers, in fact I’ve gotten into the habit of saying hello to people.

At this new job I have met some great people who I have become close with and has made the workplace a better place for me to be at, despite any tension from upper management. In fact management is probably annoyed by us. It’s funny to see a manager try to run his store like a dictator and not want his associates to communicate with each other. It is because of these people that this past year has been so eventful for me that it doesn’t feel like it has been a year. It is also because of these people that I realize just how much of my life was taken from me by Walmart. While working for Walmart I was working all night and sleeping all day, or going to school all day. I didn’t do anything on my off days because there wasn’t anything to do at night. All my friends I had in the area had moved away or were sleeping. So for over two years I was practically a hermit and the only life I had I got from work.

Looking back at this past year I can definitely say I had a life outside of work. I’ve tried new things. I’ve done somewhat a bit of traveling, not much but a little bit. I stopped waiting around for someone to do things with me and just started doing them. These new friends of mine actually want to go on adventures with me and it’s no longer a matter of “maybe we’ll do that”, no it’s “let’s do it and when.” My friends and I have had so many adventures and I want nothing more than to see that continue. I’m grateful to have met these people because they’ve been there for me when the person who matters wasn’t. I’m so excited for warmer weather, the fall and all the adventures that we are going to have.

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