11 August 2011

On Being Overwhelmed

When I was eighteen, I was employed as a store manager of an eBay drop-off store. Not only was I the manager, I was the only employee. The business wasn't doing too well and they couldn't afford to have anyone else there. So I spent the summer doing everything but the books for this store. 

I listed items on eBay, researching what it was that people brought me. I talked to the occasional customer who walked through the doors. I calculated shipping prices. I packed up the items for shipping and got them ready for pickup by DHL. I even had to talk to the police when someone found their stolen hockey gear listed on eBay. I also cleaned around the front.

But I also had to deal with angry customers, both those who came in and those who bought the items. The owners, who had once been friends, now hated each other because of this business. Things were not going well and I was caught in the middle. I also had to handle every tough situation by myself and answer every question that came my way.

It was very lonely and overwhelming. After all, I was only eighteen. My business experience was almost zero. I also hadn't learned that I didn't always have to have the answer. I remember having a knot in my stomach every minute I was in that store. I was worried someone would walk in the door. I was worried the owners would put more pressure on me. I was worried about everything.

Don't get me wrong. It wasn't a horrific experience. It just stressed me out. The owners were nice to me and I didn't often run into too many problems. It was just overwhelming. I was too young to have that kind of responsibility. It was too much.

I've mentioned before that my boss took a different job. So this week has been my first week without a supervisor. I mean technically I report to his supervisor, but he has so much to deal with, he doesn't really have the time or knowledge to give me the help I need.

Yesterday I got that knot in my stomach again and I remembered that job in McKinney that I had completely forgotten about. I thought momentarily of how overwhelmed I was that entire summer. I thought to myself, please don't let that happen again. But even though I had the same feeling in my stomach, I am a different person now. I've gained more experience and I have people surrounding me who can help. The stomach knot my come back occasionally as I feel understandably overwhelmed. But it will go away.

No need for history to repeat itself.

No comments:

Post a Comment