Life took a distinct
Let's back up to Friday, April 22, when, on a whim, I decided to roll out of bed before the crack of dawn to stand in a line for four hours because my sister-at-heart Lori told me that her store was having a grand opening. (Her store meaning she was recently hired there.) Danny rode with me in the car at 5:45am downtown Naperville, since I understood that women started lining up as early as 6:00am, and Danny needed to catch the 7:30 train, and he was already up and ready to go, and he could walk to the station from the store where I waited in line.
When we pulled up to the store, one lone woman was sitting on the bench just outside the store, doing some needlework. I wondered, Is this the right day? Surely this can't be the beginning of the line... But it was. I was #2 in line--me, who never stood in a line for concert tickets, black Friday sales, or store openings. Especially not a women's clothing (fashion, beauty, furnishings) store. Me, who shops for clothing maybe three times a year. But there I was.
I got to know Jennae, the needlework lady and #1 in line--we talked for two hours before others started showing up! She took the picture of me above, so I had proof I did this crazy thing.
Closer to the grand opening time of 10:00, Lori G., the store's district manager, came along to chat with us and take our picture together. She mentioned to us that they were also opening a store in Orland Park in May, and we should apply for a job there. We chatted for a bit, then she left to slip inside the store to help get everything ready for the doors to open--there would be champagne and macaroons, and a goody bag with over $200 of products waiting for us.
Soon, the doors opened, I went in, and experienced the world that is Soft Surroundings. Beautiful store, friendly sales associates, yummy macaroons (flown in from New York!) and champagne... Their clothing was soft and flowing, comfortable, and I actually stood in line for 45 minutes to try on a few items, then stood in line another 45 minutes to purchase my favorites. Whoa--departure from my normal, that's for sure! I had a fun, fun time.
Forward a few days, to April 24 and a Sunday night. I was mulling over what that district manager said about Orland Park. It was a bit of a drive--35 to 45 minutes, I supposed, depending on traffic--and not a direction and town I was at all familiar with. I went over to the website and scrolled to find Careers at the bottom. Curious, I clicked through until I saw it--Part-Time Sales Associate, Orland Park. More on a whim than anything, I started filling out the application. I actually had a resume to upload (with a few quick updates) since I had looked (unsuccessfully) for a job a few years ago. Before submitting things, I talked to Fernando again about this possibility. (Rest assured, I didn't just do this then mention it to him!) He was so positive about it, and enthusiastically told me to go for it. A click later, I just prayed--Lord, You're going to have to either open doors wide that no one can shut, or slam them tight to make it clear to me.
The next morning, I got an email from my Lori (two Lori's in this story, how fun!). She had chatted with Deanna, the Orland store manager, during Lori's work shift, and told her all about me. She had also chatted with Lori G., and then assured me that the job was mine and I should apply. I emailed her right back with a simple reply--So, I submitted the application last night. Not an hour later, my phone rang and Deanna asked if I could come in for an interview, which I did the next day (Tuesday).
I was hired. The details, the flexibility, Deanna herself--everything was right. I still wasn't sure I could do it, but the door was pretty wide open.
I worked full-time for two weeks, from orientation, to Truck Day (everything from fixtures to furniture, clothing and beauty, books and fragrances, rugs and tables comes off the truck and into the store), store set-up, "soft" opening, then our grand opening last Friday (the 13th!!).
Soft Surroundings, Orland Park -- Grand Opening!
And this week, I worked part-time as promised, enough hours to learn how to ring customers, help them find outfits, answer questions (and the dreaded phone!), re-stock merchandise, close the store, and open it in the morning. It's exciting--sometimes scary, really--to learn all things retail. But women are women, and we have many things in common, so when customers come inside to browse or shop, it's easy to make them feel comfortable, to help them with whatever they need.
A month ago, I never envisioned this (I'm glad I don't know the future!). I still have my photography business, and it's going great! But, life took a turn, and here I am.
I have a job!
Back to life,
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