i have had a job since i was 16 years old.
i started out babysitting, summer counsler-ing, face painting , and then entered the working world when i was 19. i was lucky to always have a job in the art field, except for the short time at the video store when my kids were little and my husband was back at school to become a teacher (i screwed up the register so bad that i was banned from taking money..but famous people came in all the time..my fave customer was andy warhol...really!), and the job at the american red cross, calling 125 people a day, begging them to give blood..sort of like a televampire.
eleven years ago, right after my husband pete passed away unexpectedly, i got a job at a retail baby store, handpainting gift items and furniture..i loved that job at first. it saved me at a time when i would have curled up into a fetal position to avoid the pain and loss. my kids were both leaving for college and i was alone for the first time in almost 18 years. it was important to belong somewhere and be good at something and i poured my heart into building up the business ..people would call up and ask for the "pig lady"..(because i painted piggy banks..come on , behave).and for many years, things were peaceful in my little kingdom.all of us there felt like we were part of a family, we shared each other's happiness and saddness. i made money for the company, the company was happy.
and then things changed...the company was purchased by a bigger company and satan's daughter became the manager. suddenly "corporate" became the important word.. satan's daughter and her evil henchman, "wonky" made it clear that saying "good morning" or asking how someone's weekend had been, was stealing time from the company..no more chit chat, no more celebrating birthday's no more caring about each other.
i don't know if you've ever worked in a retail store..it is the equivilant of hell ..cranky, irritable people that have no other outlet see the poor fools in their blue/black/red shirts/khaki/black pants (pick one combo) and take their anger and frustration out on them.."are you an idiot?" "are you deaf" "get me the manager". and my personal favorite "i'm calling corporate"..ring out at the cash registers across the world, as people try to hold on to jobs that they don't really want.
and so, a few weeks ago, satan's daughter and her boss "toupee". called me in and told me that they were closing the art service and letting me go....and my reaction amazed me...i was thrilled and excited and scared to death, but so ready to go.
wednesday was my last day of work at a nine to five job...and even tho i had promised my friends that when i left, i would burn that blue shirt in the parking lot..it was more fun to take it off and throw it in the garbage, along with the khaki pants and unhappiness they symbolized.
and now i work for myself and i like my boss a lot! she's really nice and i can have coffee whenever i want at my desk, and sing along to the radio, and even though the hours are longer and the financial situation is shaky, i wouldn't change this for the world. i can wear any color shirt i want.