Work it Out

From the workplace to the walls of a high school, drama has no boundaries.

Photo+by+Ashley+Ritter
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Work it Out

Photo by Ashley Ritter

Photo by Ashley Ritter

Photo by Ashley Ritter

Photo by Ashley Ritter

Alyah Craig

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I first got a job a few months after I turned 16. I stayed as Store Associate for a little over a year and not much changed there besides eight different managers and the continuously revolving door of employees. I suppose I had a previous misconception before starting to work that a store environment was the complete opposite of a high school one. But oh boy, was I wrong.

I became a witness to lying, overreacting, gossiping and dictating.

Between agitated managers to downright horrible coworkers, our store might as well have had an unappealing reality TV show. The atmosphere got bad enough that HR had to come in and speak to a few of us. It was like a teenager took over as the General Manager and decided that petty high school drama was a requirement. Cliques formed, rumors raged and soon it was only a matter of time before fists were thrown in the place of words. I was baffled. There were managers screaming to one another, employees walking out the door in the middle of a shift and some old school one-on one conflict to spice up the action.

By the time this column comes out, I will be free of the unprofessional setting I called a job.

The pros of having a terrible first job though can almost outweigh the cons. When my time was finally up and job hunting stress was falling down upon me, I compared the person I was a year ago to the one that I am now.

Social interaction is a skill that I certainly did not develop until the later years of my life. Becoming a cashier, forcing a happy smile and actually becoming interested in people’s lives are all aspects of the job I did not plan to take on. Being exposed to new people helped me to realize that people are truly unique in their own little ways. Customers ranged from an older woman, who chats vivaciously about her grandson’s excitement for his newest toy, to a young man, who smiles brightly as talks about his football banquet from the night before. All stories are interesting.

I came into the job thinking that I would stay isolated, keeping to myself in order to get my work done. I was wrong once again. I made plenty of friends in both staff and customers alike, became more talkative in general and popped my little bubble that I had previously been living in.

So, while it was rough being in such an unfriendly place, in the end it benefited my work ethic and relationships between people as a whole. I will certainly never forget the high school atmosphere that was contained within the store, which to my surprise, changed me for the better.

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