Dear, guys – welcome back to Letters From Liz!
Y’all, it’s been one year since I started my job at the bookstore! It’s my job anniversary! I know many people will look at this and say, “uhm, okay, and?” but this is a really big deal for me! This is my first ever job and to have been at it for a whole year, the feeling is bittersweet. I still remember my first day really vividly; I walked into the college bookstore, literally it was like 95 degrees and humid, and I see two people behind the register and my manager. I just walked in and quietly said, “hi, i’m Liz and I’m here for the training?” and while I stood near the counter while my manager was taking care of one task, a guy comes in and stands next to me. I don’t know why I instantly was on this “make friends and talk to people” kick, but it just so happened that he was there for the training as well! As the day went on and we worked our official first day in the hot ass weather, I got to meet some other people who had started working there prior to me and the rest of the newcomers that day, but it was a good first day; tiring, but good!
As the months went on, I realize that the customer service position was testing my social anxiety and willingness to do my job well. I had to answer phone calls, I dealt with customers both nice and mean, and just dealing with any conflicts at hand I had to deal with them without allowing my anxiety shut me down. Of course, I had a good support system with my coworkers and my managers and if anything happened, we always had each other’s back. Working at the register for 7 hours a day with someone else downstairs with me, I got to know all of my coworkers as people rather than just coworkers. They instantly became my friends, and to even sit here and say “hi, yeah – a bitch has FRIENDS Y’ALL”, it’s definitely crazy that I did it.
My job also made me become more confident in talking to people, I mean I wouldn’t be able to do it well if I didn’t know how to talk to people. Over the course of a year, I’ve been able to comfortably to have conversations with customers that come in and out of the store to the point where I was able to make a friend from one of the regulars! It’s definitely been an experience from being terribly shy and anxious to talk to strangers to be confident enough to start a conversation of some sorts. In some way, it was the one thing that was missing in my life; having friends and confidence in myself to the point where I could be social with other people. In my sessions with my therapist, I realized that I actually like being social despite having SAD. I’m the happiest when I’m talking to other people, whether that be my coworkers or to customers in the store.
Lastly, my bookstore job helped me get through a lot of depressing shit I was going through this time last year. At the beginning, it was difficult balancing my work life and my personal life because they were on two polar opposites on the emotions spectrum. My work life I was meant to keep this happy and welcoming personality whereas when I came home, I was still grieving over my breakup. Being at work for most of the day created a great distraction, and in the process I made some really good friends that I say this all the time but truly saved my life during that difficult time. I couldn’t imagine going through the grieving process without them making me smile and laugh and without them knowing just being there for me.
Although the pandemic affected my normal routine of going into work and being productive, I still very much enjoy being at the bookstore. It’s a great first job to have, and I definitely lucked out. Although I don’t see myself being at the bookstore forever, I like being there for the time being & transitioning back into that life wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be.
So yeah, my first year at the bookstore treated me really well, and I’m glad to see what the next couple of months bring me! Happy workaversary to me!