Humility

hu·mil·i·ty [ hyoo míllətee ]

  1. modesty or respectfulness: the quality of being modest or respectful
I started a new job. It has consumed me, in a good way, I think, for the last several weeks. I really don’t know what day it is unless I look at a calendar. My life is in some ways a blur right now as me and my family adjust to new schedules, new routines, new lots of things. Starting a new job is always an overwhelming experience for me and this time the experience has been just that, overwhelming. Honestly, I had forgotten how much there is to learn when starting a new job. Not only did I start a new job, I switched industries. I haven’t strayed from Organizational Effectiveness, I have just taken a different approach. I am now back working inside a company instead of outside consulting with companies. And, I have made a jump from the high-tech industry to the retail industry – grocery to be exact. The learning curve on the grocery side is steep, overwhelming steep sometimes. I have never worked in a grocery store before. As part of my on-boarding, I have spent the last two days immersed in  grocery stores – working in the stores. Not observing people, but actually working in the stores. Over the last two days I have: stocked bulk foods, learned to bag groceries, sorted produce, served prepared foods, washed dishes and learned a ton about vitamins, minerials and other supplements. I have greeted customers even been hugged by customers (yes, a total stranger, who was a customer, hugged me, randomly – I won’t lie, it freaked me out a bit). I have had moments over the last two days when I really felt like I knew nothing – after loading my second bag of groceries, the bag broke. Before learning to bag, I thought “seriously, bagging couldn’t be that hard.” After the bag broke, I realized bagging groceries is tougher than it looks. I’ve been sprayed with water trying to learn how to run the dishwasher. I messed up the label maker. I put the stickers too high on the chips I was sorting. I say all this with the deepest appreciation for those who have been there with me, by my side, for the last two days. Never was I judged – never. I wasn’t laughed at or made fun of – instead, I was told:
  • “Mistakes happen, keep trying!”
  • “Everyone has a first try!”
  • “Keep going, you’ll get it right!”
  • “Next time, slip on the rubber boots, you’ll get the hang of it!”
  • “See, you’re getting the hang of things already!”

Seriously, I have received more positive praise and encouragement over the last two days than I honestly think I’ve gotten in the last several years of my career. This comment isn’t to slam anyone I’ve worked with over the last several years, this comment is to recognize the people I just spent the last two days with. I mean it, the people I’ve been with these last two days are amazing. So truly amazing.

I sit here tonight with my back hurting, my legs sore, my feet swollen and my eyes burning, I’m so very tired. I worked hard, so hard over these last two days that come break time, I couldn’t wait to get off my feet. I learned to appreciate the 10 minute break and to appreicate the 30 minute lunch break even more. Truthfully, there were moments over the last two days that I wished for my “desk job” just so I could sit down and stare at my computer for a few moments and do nothing. Although everytime I would show signs that I was tired, someone would come up with words of encouragement or a quick shoulder massage … small gestures to show me they cared and that I had support around me to keep going.

I’ve always believed that things happen for a reason. I believe this with my heart, with the core of my being, that things happen for a reason. Before I left my last employer, I would have never thought I would leave that job – I loved that job in so many ways. When I was interviewing for my current job there was something about the company that drew me in — caught my attention. Although, never in a million years would I have ever thought I would be working in the grocery store industry. Although, because I felt a huge pull towards this company, towards this job, I went with the feeling accepted the job when it was offered.

I’m three weeks into the job. In some ways it feels like I’ve been with this company forever, like I’ve found my place. In other ways, I feel so overwhelmed and aware of all that I don’t know. Yet, tonight, as I sit here so freaking tired that all I really want to do is go to bed, I have found the energy to type this entry. I have written this entry because the last two days have reminded me about humility and just how important it is to have humility.

I have seen and been reminded of what is important in life. It doesn’t matter what you do for your living, it matters how you live. Your character and integrity are more important than your job title or status in life. People are people, period. No matter what you look like, how much money you make, or where you live – we all have something in common. If you look past the surface, of anything, there are always amazing things deeper. If you’re open to it, people will support you when you need support, even when you don’t realize you need the support. I’ve also been reminded of how important, so important it is to have humility.

I hope that you all have the opportunity, like I have had this week, to step so far out of your comfort zone that it scares you – but so far out of your comfort zone that when you do it, you can say “Hell Yeah! I did it!” I hope you remember that when you step out of your comfort zone there are amazing things and people there waiting for you. I hope that you remember (or realize) that when you step out of your comfort zone that is truly where the magic happens.

To the people who have been around me this week, particularly these last two days, THANK YOU – Thank you from the bottom of my heart for showing me what kindness, hardwork and humility really means. What an experience.

2 comments

  1. Amber, great points. I have been in the grocery industry now for about 16 yrs. I’ve left 2x and came back….its in my blood. I love the people, the work, the community. I think for some people the thought of leaving a job and changing industries is too scary. Good for you for taking the leap. Welcome. You will get it all down, & it sounds like a great fit.

    Bianca

  2. Amber – love this one and love you!!

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