Monday, June 1, 2009

Lessons on Life and Love in Wallcoverings

In the one-month plus that I have been gainfully employed by the Menards in Normal I have learned quite a bit. Some of these bits of knowledge is highly trivial, like what lite-rock songs were marginally popular in the late '80s and early '90s or where the toilet seats are located. However, some things I have learned have been very beneficial, and even beyond the wonderful realm of latex and oil paints.
Obviously I can tell you what would be best for your walls or decks and what would be the best way to apply that paint or stain would be. The things I have learned go well beyond work related and in to even more practical applications.
The first lesson I have learned has been a particularly hard one to learn, and I am still learning. That is that nothing is easy and if you want respect you have to earn it. Learning everything there is to know about the multitude of products in our department has not been easy, and I'm not anywhere near where most of my co-workers who have been around for a while are, but I have tried my hardest to absorb as much knowledge as I can and become an asset to the department.
One thing about me is that I dislike feeling like a burden upon anyone almost to a fault. A hard part about starting this job has been having to rely upon my superiors to learn things, which means asking many questions when it may not be the most convenient. About half of the staff has been extremely helpful and kind whenever I ask for assistance and even customers, for the most part, have been patient. Some co-workers, however, don't have that same compassion and understanding, and as a result leave me feeling as if I were in the way. It's been hard, but I have gotten through the hard feelings and perceived impatience and made myself a bit stronger as a person.
That's the first lesson I've learned, that it isn't easy, and I won't have anything handed to me like I may prefer. But if I want this job (which I do, or more correctly need to help pay for rent and food) I have to keep working hard to earn everyone's respect and become a valuable member of Menards, and maybe even get a raise here and there.
The other lesson I have learned in my short time at the store I have learned from the customers. This lesson has no bearing on paint, selling paint or painting anything but it has everything to do with being happy.
In my estimation (which is rough at best), about 75 percent of the couples and 25 percent of single gentlemen (excluding contractors and interior designers) aren't concerned with their purchase as much as they are with how their partner/wife/girlfriends opinion of that purchase.
That's it right there, the key to happiness: if your significant other is happy, you can be happy.
I hope that life, or life in a couple, is that easy. Gauging by the couples I've seen, which includes young couples, small and large families and couples that have been together 40 plus years, it seems to me that all it takes is making sure that the other person is happy. I guess we'll see, but who'd have thunk that I'd learn so much from selling paint.

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