When I meet someone, whether online or in person, I often wonder what their story is. Here's mine. (I'd love to scan and insert a photo from this era but our scanner is broken. Bummer.)
I was born in south-central Nebraska, and my parents, older brother, and I lived on a farm just outside a small town until I was a year old. We then moved to a bigger small town of about 5,000 people in western Nebraska, where I graduated from high school. My parents still live in the same house where I grew up.
During high school, I loved being a big fish in a small pond! I was student manager for volleyball, boys basketball, and boys track, and I played softball. I sang in the choir, participated in drama, and qualified for state speech my senior year. I worked at the local putt-putt hut and baseball concession stands, waited tables, and learned the ins and outs of an office as an administrative assistant.
For college, I chose a small-ish liberal arts school that my brother also attended. It was a much bigger pond, although still pretty small compared to universities, and I struggled a bit. The summer after my junior year, I spent a month studying in Puebla, Mexico. Although my mother had to practically peel a crying me off at the airport (I was SO nervous!), I had a wonderful time, learned a ton, and met some delightful people.
I went on to graduate with a business administration major, a minor in Spanish, and emphasized in management and international business. Although I locked down a job early in my senior year as a manager-in-training for Sam's Club in Omaha, but I didn't really know what I wanted to do with my life.
After completing the three-month or so program, I was able to determine that I did not want to be a manager at a Sam's Club! The regional manager had indicated I would be sent to a location in Iowa that, in terms of sales, was the armpit of the region. It was farther away from my family than I wanted to be, and it just generally didn't feel right. I turned in my resignation.
My manager didn't seem particularly surprised, and he offered me a job as a check-out supervisor. I accepted it, and it actually turned out to be a very fun time! I was overqualified, but that made me really good at my job.
Overall, I learned things that you wouldn't imagine: the quickest way to write out a check as a customer; how lousy it is to have to put the store back together at the end of the day; how to push carts in from the lot (although I never learned how to use the rope and hook to steer them - and did I mention that it rained nearly every day that June?); how easy it is to provide friendly customer service; but how hard it is when customers take their frustrations out on you. During my management training, more than once I locked myself in the staff bathroom and cried until I couldn't catch my breath. Not my finest moments.
(Edit: Here's the fastest way to write a check. Start by filling in the store name (pay to the order of ---- line), date, memo line if you're into that sort of thing, and sign it - while you're waiting in line. You can also do it as the cashier is scanning your items, but it's not a bad thing to watch how the prices ring up. Then, once you have your total, write the numbers in the box as normal and on the line where you write the number out do it like this:
You need not put /100 on the cents, you need not write "dollars", you don't need any other information at all. The first time Hubs saw me write out a check, he said "will the bank cash it like that?" :>) Yes, they will.)
As the summer wore on, I found myself really homesick for anything familiar. I was staying with some wonderful friends of my parents and not only did my mom's friend treat me like her own daughter, she was also a valueable mentor as I jumped into the real world. At work, the personnel area where I spent a lot of time was next to the smoking break room (it was over ten years ago - people were still allowed to smoke back then). One of the custodians enjoyed smoking the same brand of pipe tobacco as my grandfather, and just one sniff as he puffed made me want to jump in the car and go home. It was an awkward, growing sort of time. You'd think I'd have done enough of that in my earlier teenage years, but apparently not enough.
By that fall, I had found another job. But that's another post for another time. :>)