The Front Page: December 2014 Newsletter

A Seasonal Experiment

I meet a lot of people who would like to take a few months off and try something new. Maybe they’d move somewhere else and live there to get a better feel for what it’s like really being there, not just while on vacation. Or they might arrange an apprenticeship for themselves to learn and work with someone whose work they admire. They might even stay right where they are but switch their primary focus from one thing to another. That’s what I did late this fall.

I hadn’t planned to make any changes in my life, but I was feeling open to a new project. I hadn’t gotten as far as articulating what it might be; I was just feeling it—beginning to wonder if I needed to give up this or that in order to make room for something else.

Then one Sunday morning, sitting in the front porch reading the newspaper, something caught my attention. L.L.Bean was opening a new retail location at the Mall of America and hiring seasonal temporary employees. I knew immediately I wanted to be part of this store’s opening.

I applied and was hired, and since the beginning of November I’ve been working part-time for my favorite catalog company. We officially opened the store the weekend of November 14-16 to an enthusiastic crowd of loyal catalog shoppers. By mid-November the holiday shopping season was already underway, so the store has been busy-busy-busy since day one.

For me, providing outstanding customer service is a given; it’s what I’ve always aspired to in my profession. I have loved this part of the work. On the flip side, mastering the complexities of the computerized cash register, and seemingly infinite permutations of transactions, has definitely challenged me.

Now, after two months of working at the registers, I’m much more comfortable. My analytical brain feels as though its humming along effortlessly, similar to when I took five back-to-back quarters of calculus in college. My physical stamina has also increased, probably from all the walking, standing, and stretching I’ve added to my routine. I feel great.

One of the sweetest perks for me is going to work and being part of an exceptional team. For years now, my focus has been a solo private practice where I work one-on-one with individuals and small groups, which is my natural preference. That said, sharing the work with a team of interesting co-workers definitely appeals to and energizes me. The entire experience has helped me to remember why I do—what I do—the way I do it.

By the time you read this, the end-of-the-year holiday season will have transformed into the New Year, a perfect time to consider your own little, or not-so-little, experiments. Whether or not you are in a position to act on an idea this year, I encourage you to give it some thought. You want to recognize a great opportunity when it makes an appearance for you.

Blessings to you at the closing of the year 2014 as you cross the threshold into 2015. May you leave behind what no longer serves you and enter with open arms to receive what awaits you.

Laurie Mattila

 

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