What my first job taught me

The first job I had was a short run at a pet store. I always saw it as a stepping stone to my “first real job” which was at a bookstore. I worked there for about 4 years (I think) and I learned a lot. Like every first job, this experience came with a lot of firsts. My first time stocking shelves, my first time behind a cash register… There was so much to learn and nothing stayed the same for long. I had my first bad customer experience here too but I had many more that I loved. I picked up a lot of knowledge along the way that I still reflect on.

Family is more than blood
I made so many friends working at the bookstore. And while I don’t have consistent contract with all of them, I made everlasting memories with them all. I understand that life goes on and people change. It’s ok to make new friends and let some go. I consider my closest friends to be apart of my family. No matter the distance, I love these people so much and I wouldn’t trade their friendship for anything.

We are stronger as a pack
I’m one of those people who prefers to work alone. I enjoy having my own space and the ability to work at my own pace. However working in the bookstore taught me that it’s not always a bad thing to work with others. We worked as a team, the same way an ant hill functions. There was consistent support for any situation even if we didn’t always get along. And that’s fine. What’s important is to find a way to work through the tough times so that nothing falls apart.

Sacrifices must be made
I’ve never been a morning person. So it would always rip my soul into pieces when I saw I had a morning shift. That meant I had to be up at 5am to be able to be at work at 6am. The only good thing about it would be an early shift end. As much as I hated it, I made the best of the situation. I would take audiobooks with me to listen to as I shelved. Sometimes the hardest way to make something better is to challenge yourself to love it. In the end I would find those early morning hours to be the most peaceful ones. And I loved them.

Put your health first
In America, there’s the phrase “the customer is always right.” In some cases, it’s true while in others it’s not. Your personal health should be the most important above all else. When I began to realize that I was losing sleep over working at the bookstore, I knew something had to be done. I was working there and the going to work for my dad’s printing store after that. It was difficult working both jobs and keeping a healthy mind. In the end I quit the bookstore in favor of the calmer customers and better hours that my dad’s store provided me with. And of course working with my dad allowed me to spend time with him.

I knew that leaving the bookstore would be bitter sweet. I would be leaving all my good friends behind. But in the end I knew it was the better choice for me. Management had changed hands and it was a good time to move on to greener pastures. I do miss the good times we had but it was a wonderful stepping stone towards the future.

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