As someone who chose to be ‘fun-employed’ I’ve only just realised that the frequent humiliations of my recent job, with its repeated reminders of the apparent ‘uselessness’ of the skills I’d acquired over the past 30-odd years, was not only painful but possibly beneficial. In short it was killing my ego.
Being a lowly trainee shop-assistant may well be the modern version of ‘the monk with the broom’. A philosophical practice.
Whilst working in Alicetronics was no picnic, it was the steady stream of customers that I enjoyed, like a stream of water, as they rippled and bubbled over the technology that both underpinned and occasionally undermined the smooth flow of their lives. Maybe my job at Alicetronics was actually a picnic on a river bank?
To customers I was no longer the invisible ‘old guy’ that I had become (transparently?) in corporate Australia. I was now the visibly old guy who might just be able to find the ‘doobry’ that they needed.
However, in order to be effective at that, I needed two things. I needed to acquire an encyclopaedic knowledge of the thousands of items on the shelves (and beyond – I could ‘order in’ the thing that was needed, once I knew what that thing was) and I needed to learn how to drive the fiendishly complex POS system that had evolved to run this equally complex business. Oh, and I also had to be friendly, non-threatening and approachable whilst at it. The eradication of my ego would, perhaps, help with that?
Maybe it’ll even put me on the pathway to enlightenment?