I work in a supermarket and it’s not the best job in the world for me. I do the same things every day in the same order and I don’t find it intellectually challenging. Sometimes it is mind-numbing. Sometimes I’m not even thinking about the thing I’m doing; I have nothing in my head at all. I’m not using my talents, I am using the practical skills that I have learned to enable me to do my job. However, someone once told me that whatever you do, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, you should always put your all into it. Do the best you can possibly do every time, all the time, and take as much as you can from whatever you’re doing, and I strive to do that every day. I try to be the best I can be, and that keeps me focused. Of course there are times when I get tired, and I get things wrong. There was a particular day when I hadn’t tried my best and it was the worst feeling. I sobbed my eyes out. I don’t ever want to feel like that again, and so I always make the effort.
My day starts at 6:00am. In the winter, it’s dark, cold and horrible, but in the summer, it’s beautiful. Bright, fresh, crisp. I wake with the sun and I get to see a part of the day that only a few others see. Most sleep through it. There is something very special about the early morning. Quiet and untouched by the troubles of the day ahead.
The one thing I treasure about my job is that I get to see life happen. I see people, I meet people, I talk to people. I overhear things. I see actions and consequences. I see children and old people. I see tears, laughter, anger. I see it all and I soak it all up.
Last weekend, something little and special happened that nobody else noticed but me. An older, but not old, lady came in and was reading the headlines of the papers by the door. I was refilling the drinks fridge so I was nearby. Then an older, but not old, man, who had just bought some things and was just about to leave, came over and said hello to her. He clearly knew her but hadn’t spoken to her for a while. I overheard her say that she’d lost her husband in March, and he said he was ever so sorry. She had tears in her eyes because she still couldn’t talk about him without getting teary, especially to someone new. I didn’t hear the whole conversation but I heard the man say that he knew that the lady’s husband was a lovely man, and you could tell what kind of a man he was when you spoke to him. The man asked if the lady was busy in the next hour, and would she like him to come over for a chat, and she said that would be alright. And he went on his way. I served her at the till and could tell she was a little distracted and teary, but she smiled to me and I smiled at her. Then about half an hour later, the man came back in, bought a bunch of flowers, and left again.
I don’t earn much money, but when I think of people who have office jobs, staring at a computer screen all day, I feel very lucky.