I think, therefore I harm
Spring 2006. I had just been through two years of not having a steady job. I was accepting odd jobs at factories to survive in between government assistance checks, all of which were of short duration, ranging from a single day to a couple of months. I inspected car parts, fixed a print defect on playing cards, stuck stickers on matchboxes, unloaded trucks arriving from China, cooked electronic components. I was depressed, I was looking for something I could really live on, something to get back on track. I had just recently been an inventory clerk, a low-wage employee that counts stuff and punches numbers on a keypad. The job was kind of fun, but it was really occasional. I tried to prove I was good enough to make it on the permanent team, but I failed.
But then I saw an ad. A major North American chain of convenience stores was looking for full-time employees on an inventory team that was about to be set up. I applied, went to the interview and was picked. What I thought was a temporary job to pull myself off social assistance and get back to a financially comfortable life turned out to be a career. Over eight years later, I still work for that same company.
Spring 2007. After 18 months of counting stuff, I had learned enough about the company to decide to move forward. I applied for the position of assistant-manager, with the goal of eventually managing my own store. I passed my driving exam, a project that had been put aside for five years, and bought a car, which was a requirement for the position. I learned quickly and liked the job. But another 18 months later, a conflict with the store manager, which escalated to a conflict with the district manager, had me fired with no chance of being relocated. I went back to the former inventory team where I worked for another 18 months, with a wage that wasn’t enough to pay for the car.
Though fun at the beginning, it was obvious I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my days. I had to find a new challenge. Still thrilled about managing a store, I applied to all the managing jobs available in town. I went to several interviews, some I left in the middle after the interviewer described the position. Of all the interviews I went through, I only got called back once, for a position I later decided not to take. I was despaired.
Fall 2009. An opportunity was offered to me by a superior. After months of consideration, I accepted an interesting position. I would manage a team, rather than follow instructions. I would still count, but I would be the one giving out instructions. A car was provided, and available for my own needs. But I had to move 90 minutes away to the big dreaded metropolis. Though I was afraid to move there, I was aware of all the opportunities that would be available there. I didn’t intend to do that for very long, but I thought it would open my horizon. In January 2010, I got rid of most of my belongings and moved forward.
Years later, I was still there. I had been through all the challenges. A colleague that I had trained got her own team. I was bored. I needed to move forward. I owe a lot to the company I worked for for nearly nine years. I learned a lot about managing stores, about managing employees, and about myself. But it didn’t exactly fulfilled a passion.
For the last two years, I had been looking around, passively, for a new opportunity. A few months ago, I finally found one. After 3 resumes and two encounters, the owner of Québec’s most reputed live fish store finally noticed about my motivation. In October, he called me for an interview. Very interested in me, he decided to hire me, but unfortunately it took a while before there was an available slot for me to take. But a few days ago, after a long wait, he finally called again.
January 2015. After just over five years, I’m moving forward. Today was my last day as an inventory team leader. Pushed to follow my passion for aquariums, I will now put my hands in hundreds of them. Tomorrow, I will be a live fish salesperson. Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life.