Monday, March 26, 2012

Finding your passion

When I was 22 and landed my first job post college, I had no idea that I was going to fall in love. But, I did. I fell in love with a company that was so amazing. A company that's mission statement was "to make every little girl feel special." I spent years trying to do just that in every state that this company would send me to. That mission really ignited a fire in me, and I couldn't wrap my head around anybody not understanding it. 

 {2007, My store in Myrtle Beach, SC}

{2007, Downtown Disney store where I spent two weeks training for Myrtle Beach. Anaheim, CA}

One of my favorite things about the five years I spent with Club Libby Lu was running into girls that were regulars at the stores I worked at, or girls coming in to see me when I worked. They would run in, hug us and usual shriek about how we pierced their ears or danced with them on their birthdays or painted their nails and poured glitter over the wet polish. It never once got old. Never. Those kids are what kept the job lively, kept it fun, entertaining and simply, amazing. Each time I felt myself falling into a rut, I knew a 6 year old would probably be the one to pull me out of it, and you know what? They did. Each and every time.

After the holidays in 2009, and the company closed it's final door at the end of January 2010, I didn't start grad school like I planned. Instead, I was recruited by a different children's retailer, also for girls but this company was all about sales. Gone was the importance of providing an experience a child would never forget. The two years I spent with this company taught me a lot about business and managing people, but it didn't give me that same satisfaction and feeling of knowing that I made a child's day, week, month or even year! Rarely did I have kids come running into the store to see me like I did with CLL and during those two years I really missed that.

{2010, my last visit to my very first store. Overland Park, KS}

Now that I have been subbing for about a year and I'm regularly at certain schools, the kids know me. They remember me. They remember what we did the last time I was there. Maybe it's because I look young. Maybe it's because when they ask me if I like a certain rapper and when I know who it is they laugh hysterically (seriously, always rap). Maybe it's because I actually teach and I speak English and can understand their Spanish when they refuse to speak English. (yes, that has happened to me).

I don't know. All I know is that I think they like having me around, and you know what? I like them too. A lot.

Saturday night I was out with a friend at a really small restaurant in the Merle Hay area, which happens to be in the area that my favorite middle school to teach at is. As we were eating dinner the busboy was coming around and clearing dishes and filling waters. On his second trip to our table, he faces me and goes, "I know you!" I kind of choked a little, and was like, "really??" He goes, "Yeah, you're my teacher sometimes."

I could tell he was trying to be all tough and not smile or act at all excited or humored by seeing a teacher outside of school (middle schoolers. They're so big and bad, right?).

I didn't recognize him at first and I instantly felt terrible. Luckily, my instincts from CLL kicked in, and when little girls would come in super excited that I was the one that pierced her ears- OMG! I always knew to pretend, and just grin real big and check out her sparkly new earrings and pretend that I remembered every last detail of that extremely important rite of passage for a girl. You know, make her feel special.

Doing this always made me feel special too of course, how can you not?!

I had that feeling again when he recognized me and brought it up. It felt really good to have that feeling again. I always knew that being in the classroom was going to be special to me like working for a company as special as CLL was, but I was kind of waiting for something like that to happen. Nothing can ever replace CLL for me, but I know that teaching is going to come in as a close, close second.

I don't have any pictures of teaching. I wish I did. If there were students in the pictures I wouldn't be able to post them, so in the meantime, you can enjoy some of my faves from CLL. :) 

Out of all of the jobs you've held in your lifetime, which job has been your absolute favorite, and why? 

{My favorite picture from my years at CLL. That was my boss at the time. ;) }


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

My favorite job is my current one! I am challenged every day, have learned so much, and get to use a lot of different skills, from writing to speaking to analytical work. And I love my boss, which makes the biggest difference.

That is sweet that that kid recognized you! ;) You are going to make such a wonderful teacher!

Becky said...

I love this post Amber! I don't know that I've had a job that's been my favorite because I have yet to find something I'm passionate about for work. But I'm working on it!

Anonymous said... this post! Unfortunately, I have yet to find a job that will pay my mortgage AND be rewarding. I mean really, writing a complicated macro that actually works is rewarding for my nerd brain, but in the grand scheme of things, not so much! But, to counteract my job not being a passion or rewarding in any way, I try to get involved in things like Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

That's awesome that you've had jobs that you really love! I have had jobs that I liked, and bosses that I loved, but never a job that I see as totally fitting my personality.

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

What an awesome post. I'm so glad you've figured out that your passion is working with kids :)

I really love my new job. I like doing marketing and communications but I also like how my new job has me talking and meeting lots of new people on a regular basis, it's all about building relationships which I love doing!

Kara said...

Other than my current position at my current job, my favourite job was when I worked at a summer-time farm market.

I worked in its sweltering hot kitchen/sandwich making area and while the days were always long and busy, I loved my coworkers and our regular customers. My boss was amazing too! The place has since been passed onto new owners and isn't the same, and sometimes I do miss it!

Mandy said...

Your time with CLL sounds amazing. I think its great that you enjoyed seeing the kids and making them feel so special. I'm also glad you've found a bit of that in teaching. My favorite job was the job I had in high school and college. I worked at a local resort golf course. I got to know the regulars after I turned 18 I worked the bar and did the beer cart. It was by far my most favorite job to date. I heard all sorts of interesting stories and met some amazing characters.

pinkflipflops said...

When I taught Young 5's!

Stephany said...

It's so obvious how much passion you have for children. I think education was the perfect career choice for you!

I have not yet found a job to call my favorite. Hopefully one day!

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

I love that you love your new career now!!! That's so great and important.