Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Working at Barnes and Noble

I remember a bad time a few years ago.

I had lost my beloved career as a dedicated teacher. I had left the subsequent job I'd fallen into in my shock, the lowest-paying job I'd ever had, because I was unable to make enough money to cover my childcare costs. I'd never before in my adult life been without paid work. It was Spring 2008 and my spirits had never been lower.

I had two young children, no job, a Masters Degree in English, and no prospects on the horizon. Finally, I got sick of the whole situation. One day, I just made a decision that something was going to have to change. Things were going to get better because they simply had to.

From that day on, I vowed to hunt until I found work that made my life better. I wrote up a variety of resumes, emphasizing different skills and aspects of my background. I got up each morning, determined to put pure positive energy into the day. I got dressed in a suit, did my hair and make-up, grabbed my work papers and set out.

Each day I drove around and approached any employer I could think of. I applied as a waitress, as a coffee clerk. I applied in Human Resources, at a daily newspaper, as a tutor, and as a college associate professor. I went to retail shops and diners, anywhere I thought I might make enough money per hour to have something left over after I paid a babysitter.

And I went to Barnes and Noble. I did really well there. My love for books and my teaching background wowed them. I sailed through a group interview, even when I had to commit the major sin of leaving early to pick up my girls. I aced two more interviews. They loved my references and they loved me. Even though it was only a clerk position, I was confident that I could get into a management track once they saw me work with the public.

But I didn't get that job. A minimum wage clerkship, and they passed me over. I was crushed.

I shrugged it off with a wry laugh and kept applying everywhere. My determination to change my life through pure effort and expectation didn't flag.

A few weeks later I got a call out of the blue. The nonprofit I had worked for wanted to know if I would write some grants for them on a freelance basis. From that one unexpected moment, my business was born.

Dumb luck? Fate? A result of what I projected for myself?

All I know is that I've gotten work that same way ever since, and I've never looked back. I love being a business owner and I love my daily work.

Today, I'm sitting at Barnes and Noble. Turns out I wound up working here after all. Just not in the way that I would have anticipated. No clocks, no schedules but my own. More money per hour than I made as a teacher. It's fabulous!!

I wish the same successes for you in your own life.

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