Some of you might remember my 21st birthday. No, I don’t mean the raging alcohol consumption liquid courage part, I mean the community part. The part where I somehow successfully raised $1000 for Cancer Support Community of Central Texas, an organization I adore that focuses on the idea of “paying it forward” every day. Ever since that moment, I had a personal goal to constantly pay it forward every day.
The act of paying it forward does not have to revolve around raising some grand amount of money for a local non-profit, it can be something small. It can simply be, being a good person. I’m a strong believer that one little act or one smile and “how are you?” can mean the world. It sounds insanely cheesy, but I’m a fan.
As I start off my fourth week of interning, I want to focus on paying it forward. I’ve always been the type of person that says, “I don’t do feelings.” I tend to put aside my emotions and focus on the goal and sometimes, that makes me come off as (excuse my French), a total bitch. But lately, working 10-12.5 hour days has taught me a new discipline and appreciation for the little things.
As I enter the fulfillment center each day, I can’t help but notice the varied expressions on the faces of the associates on my team. They know I’m an intern who could be their manager at the age of 21, but instead of treating me like dirt, they’re always helpful. More importantly, even with walking 15 miles a day during a 10-hour shift, they somehow manage to smile and make my sleep-deprived self feel somewhat better about how much of a noob I am at being an Area Manager.
I had one incident where an associate was concerned with her low picking rate; the associate received feedback that she needed to improve or she would receive an increase in coaching and then some. All I did was ask her, “how are you feeling?” as I saw the look of frustration on her face and what she responded with made me realize why I took this job to begin with: I really appreciate you asking me that. I didn’t think anyone cared enough to ask.
It was something so simple.
And then we have the process assistants, who have put up with how confused I am half the time. I might wear a vest that reads, “Manager. Ask me.,” but in reality, I’m secretly hoping no one asks me a question because I might know the answer. Actually, there is a really great chance I don’t know the answer. Today, after working 12.5 hours, after missing my brother’s graduation live stream because of work, a PA came up to me and handed me a box of pizza from a local pizza place. All he said was, “you’re cool and we don’t want our favorite intern to starve during her time here.” That. That in itself made me so happy.
Just when I think I can’t get through this summer, these people, these amazing people come out of nowhere and make me realize why I work the 12-hour days, why my feet hurt and why I care so much about them.