Things I know about myself...
I am a hard worker. Of all the seasonal staff the Kohl's I work at hired, I was one of the few asked to stay on. Those who know me well are probably not surprised. I put everything I have into my job, no matter what it is. Plus, I'm an extrovert and I'm energized by being around people. I don't think I could do a stay-at-home job without feeling bored and lonely. So, I have the personality for a sales job. I genuinely love people (part of why I like to write about them) and I take great pleasure in making others happy and feel good about themselves. And I need to be moving. It's so difficult for me to sit still for a long time. As a writer, this has always been a challenge for me. But even more so if I'm doing "grunt" work.
We have a new store manager. She was impressed by how I made her feel welcome on her first day at work. She said she met a lot of people over the last few days, but I stood out to her. All the managers agreed I was in the top tier of new workers and it was unanimous that I should be asked to stay.
Part of that was because I started a "training manual" for them after only working there a couple weeks. I did it on my own time and outlined the problems the store had that needed to be looked into. I essentially "stirred the pot," in a good way, according to our new manager.
I bring this up because it was a risk I took.
I didn't know what implications it would have, me being a new, seasonal employee and pointing out the weaknesses in management. They could have become angry. Defensive. Fired me on the spot because how dare I stick my nose where it didn't belong? But honestly, I had nothing to lose. If they let me go, I'd jump into unemployment, and I'd had plenty of practice with that. It didn't scare me.
So, my question to myself is...why was I not scared to take a risk like that but I'm frightened to take a risk with my writing? Because that's why I haven't been successful. I don't promote or market. I don't want to "bother anyone." So, why did I have the guts to write up a training manual, but I'm not jumping to pursue or further my writing career?
The answer: I care too much.
If the store's managers had said, "Yeah, you're kinda big for your britches, you gotta go," I would have chalked it up to the store not wanting to make improvements. The blame would not lay squarely on my own shoulders. But writing books and movies and having them constantly turned down (despite my "close calls")? Well, that means I have no talent. Why am I trying? And so, I back down. Cower in the corner.
Truth be told, my experience returning to retail has been a mix of elation and frustration. Especially in the times of COVID. But I'm comfortable with the panic. Most of my work life has revolved around people treating me like an inanimate object or a low-paid servant. I'm quick to solve other people's problems while exhibiting empathy. I've been trained my entire life for this role.
I'd hoped I could turn these emotions into characterizations and escape them in my everyday life. We all have our escapes, don't we? Drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping, Netflix-binging...the list goes on. Mine has been my imagination. My entire life I could disappear into my mind and "wake up" not even knowing where I was. Daydreaming was as solid as night dreaming, I'd end up in a trance-like state.
We can't really escape our emotions, though, do we?
Nope. We just put them on mute for a while.
So today I am working on a book I started years ago. In the back of my head I hear, "You're probably wasting your time. You could be making money now versus hoping to make it later." But work has always been my mute button. I took a risk at Kohl's and it paid off. I need to take a risk on this.
I need to follow my own "training manual" advice.