Recently, I was thinking about my very first job. It’s so interesting when you look back over your life and the things that made so much sense at the time, stick out like a sore thumb now and force you to wonder “what was I thinking?”
The fact is, I was not thinking. As a matter of fact, my lack of thinking ended with my being fired and having to turn my vest and my hat in immediately.
The very first job was at an ice cream store “Mr. Nice Cream.” The truth is I raised my age to 16 and off to work I went. Trust me, I had no concept of anything. No interest in cost vs. demand, no interest in how many ounces of ice cream I was to place on each order; none of it! All I cared about, was looking as cute as possible with a silly straw ice cream parlor hat on, at a stupid red stripped vest. Beyond that, my total focus was on which of my friends, especially the cute guy’s, would be coming into the store to purchase ice cream.
The last straw for me, was when this handsome young man, all of 17 years old by the name of Skip came in and ordered a Belgium Waffle with vanilla ice cream topped with strawberries. I could hardly fix the order because I was so busy grinning and batting my eyes as I piled the ice cream, way beyond the allotted amount on to the waffle, and then put so much strawberry topping on, it was almost dripping out of the dish.
I’d say, the young man Skip cost me my job. That’s my story and I was sticking to it.
The truth, however, is I cost me my job. I was provided clear instructions during the training, I signed the document stating that I was clear on the information, and I had to make each of the items on the menu before being released to the production floor. Despite my foolery later in my employment, I passed training with flying colors.
We are living in a world where ownership is so critical to our survival, growth and development. It matters not that we make a mistake, we are human, however, we must look for the lessons within the mistake, and work to avoid the repeating of the same mistake. The lesson holds true regardless of where you are in your life’s journey.
As I continue to be front and center during all that is going on in our world, from the pandemic, to political platforms, to lives being lost through violence, or otherwise; ownership seems a lost art, replaced in so many instances with point the finger at the other person(s).
I remember my grandmother saying, “every time you point your finger at someone, 4 of them point back at you.”
It was tough when I lost my job at the ice cream parlor. Because I did not grow up in wealth, the dollars I earned on my part time job were very important, yet, I foolishly failed to focus on me, rather, everyone else that had nothing to do with my income stabilizer.
As a grown woman, I can still remember how embarrassed I was, and how many fibs I told to explain why I was no longer at the ice cream store. Pain yes, lessons too many to mention.
So here we are all together in a world where accountability seems to be optional, and the easy way out, is often the chosen approach. Not to mention, we are saying yes to things we don’t agree with and no, is often stuffed inside of us for fear of judgement. Where has this lackadaisical attitude of no accountability landed us?
Is it not time to develop the strength of our independent thought? Allow our yes to be yes and our no to be no? Is it not time for us to stand for something so that we don’t fall for anything else? Finally, is it not time to reflect on our lives, both successes and failures and commit to what the next level of our lives should look like.
This pandemic has sat every person down. It has forced us to follow the rules, or not in many cases. It has robbed us of those that we love and brought pain all around us.
It is not over, however, each day if we pay attention to our training, and follow the rules, we have the best opportunity of surviving all that this turmoil has dumped unexpectedly into our lives.
One month after my losing my job at Mr. Nice Cream, I got a salesclerk job at the cosmetic counter at one of the swankiest department stores in the mall. Imagine from ice cream, to an upscale store. I dried my tears, I owned my stuff, and I dusted off my knees and began again. The main thing that I did then, and continue to do today is to learn, to listen and to activate.
I pray that those that are reading my words today, have been finding your place in survival, learning the lessons, applying the knowledge, and challenging yourselves to your next.
Out of pain, purpose can be born. I believe I am convinced that through all the pain that I have suffered across my life, that that I caused, and that I inherited, it has contributed to my journey.
Each time, I dried my tears, and with a determination strengthened with each pain, I found my purpose. Staying in the center of my purpose is what is holding me down amid some of the most challenging times that any of us have witnessed first-hand.
I wish you love, peace, wisdom, accountability, invention and expansion of your purpose. Remember, if you can look up, you can get up.