One word: Sacrifice.
I’ve met the word, spent some time with it and even befriended it a few times but I didn’t know it would have so much of an effect on me now. I started working at my job, Abercrombie, and Fitch, as a brand representative (sales associate) about a year ago. I came in on time, did what was asked of me, and clocked out just like everyone else. I picked up any extra shifts when I could and came in even if it was the last minute. I was dedicated and I had a strong work ethic. When people asked me why I picked up so many shifts, my response was always: “I like money.” As superficial as that sounds, I do have to be honest. But of course, that wasn’t the only reason. People. I’m a people person, I love being around people who are unlike me, from different backgrounds, who have a lot to say and have different perspectives. So as much as I loved the money, I genuinely loved being around my coworkers. In formal settings, I called them coworkers but they truly became a family to me.
It’s a year later and not only am I still with the company but I’ve been promoted to be one of the Keyholders (manager). And dare I say it, yes I committed myself to the fearful words “full time.” Am I also a full-time student taking on my junior year? Yes. Am I by any means balancing it perfectly each day? Not a chance. Some would say that the pay raise is what makes it all worth it. But I have a different idea. Though I am grateful for the increased compensation from working scattered days to a committed five days a week, there’s more that I’ve learned about myself and through this change. I am a leader. I am able in all things with my team. I did this for myself. I didn’t do this for the bigger shopping sprees (currently looking forward to Black Friday), or even the title. I did this for stability. For the comfort of knowing that I worked hard enough to get this position and no one can take that away from me.
This is where sacrifice comes in again. As much as I would love to rave about the new family I have at this new A&F location and the confidence of being a point of reference, there have been some nights where I doubted myself. Why did I take all of this on? Don’t you have enough on your plate? I guess that’s why they say God (or whoever your higher power is) doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle. He gave me this great opportunity and I took it. No regrets. No fear (Still working on the fear part). There have been some girl night outs and last minute parties that I had to sacrifice. Football games. Homework (don’t tell my professor). But each day is a new day for me to get better at balancing and working on my time management.
So if you or anyone you know is considering going full time or already is, just remember: You have time.
You can still use some of those PTO days (please please use them) and take off certain days in advance. Look at what days you’re off and plan something with your friends or family. Do something. I know you’re tired and your feet hurt. Trust me, mine do too. But don’t ever let this gig rob you of what matters most to you. You deserve to take some time for yourself once in a while. You’ve already worked this hard.