Today I felt like writing a funny, light and trivial story, and yet while I was laughing at myself and my misfortunes, I realized that, what started out as a simple story, was perhaps a fact that gave me a 180-degree turn in my life (I won’t say 360º because it sounds like going back to square one).
Before I started working in communication, before devoting myself to the world of fashion itself, I began my career in a large department store, working for a luxury fashion brand.
As in all stores, there was a chain of command, in which I had a lot of people above me, people whose names I don’t even remember. During my eight months dedicated to that store (the months I lasted), I learned a lot of things: teamwork, how a collection works, how to deal with customers of all kinds, how to manage my little money and not spend it on handbags and shoes as soon as I get paid and end the rest of the month eating boiled rice… in short, little things that serve me for my current day-to-day life.
I was still working there when I found my dream job at a magazine, as a press assistant and junior editor, at a fashion and travel magazine, in other words, exactly what I wanted to do. The salary was not even close to what I was getting at that store, but honestly, I was 21 years old and very capable of sacrificing designer bags for learning (I still believe the same)
So, without giving the 15 days of courtesy recommended by the Spanish law, (I wanted to get out of there running) I said goodbye to my job. I communicated it to my direct boss and I also wrote to my second direct boss, a precious mail where I thanked them for these months, for the lessons received and I affectionately attached my voluntary leave.
I never got an answer to that e-mail.
Months later, let’s say five months, I went to visit my old coworkers, who were like distant uncles that you love but you don’t see often anymore. So I went there. I greeted my friends from the other brands, and went over to what was once my work stand for almost a year.
And there he was, my second boss, the superior, to whom I had written a farewell e-mail and who never answered. Before I go into the details of what happened, I’ll take a little trip to the past to explain the context. It will be quick.
This guy, who we’ll call Charly so we do not discover his true identity, is the one who hired me, after a video call.
He did not live in the city where I worked so he did not come very regularly to visit us, even though he was the manager and responsible.
We would have met, before our magical encounter, three times, physically. However, we had spoken on the phone quite a few times, exchanged millions of emails, etc.
And there I was, heading for the booth and rehearsing what my greeting was going to be to him. Should It be warm? Cordial? Distant perhaps?
I greeted him kindly: Hi, Charly.
And he looked up from the computer and stared at me, studying who he had in front of him. No answer. And I was counting the seconds for him to reply to me… but nothing.
And I understood. He really couldn’t recognize me. He had no idea who I was.
“I’m Inès, I used to work here.”
After an “Ah! Hi Inès, how are you?” to which I cordially responded by remarking how great I was, we said goodbye.
And I walked away from that place, which was now very strange to me.
How could it be that, after so many months, after having given everything for that job, after my extra shifts, my cancelled holidays, my lack of personal life for that job…, My boss, the one who represented that company, could not recognize me?
It was a real metaphor of my life, I found it hard to understand, but here comes the conclusion I reached afterwards.
It is essential to understand that in order to give, one must not seek to receive, but, here comes the trick: Do not give away your time for anyone or anything that you know that what you are about to receive does not pay off in any way. Do not sacrifice time in a job where you won’t even be missed. A job, even if it’s not your dream job, is a means to achieve better goals, it should be pleasant, familiar and rewarding. If it is not: Bye.
I learned to recognize work environments I shouldn’t be in, I just had to look for patterns similar to those of that eight months. foolproof formula of not screwing up. Running away alarm.
I don’t need to add that I feel very comfortable where I am (I still work for that magazine but I do so much more, but that’s another story) and that I dedicate myself to what I really like. I make a living doing something I’m passionate about, and on top of that I get to buy from time to time some handbags and also buy brown rice, which is more expensive.