I'm starting this blog at the last minute to join the Slice of Life March Challenge. The blog, like my life, is still under construction.
I got my first customer today.
I have started a new business and I have sold something.
I can’t help but think back about ten years ago when I was a young teacher. Early in summer vacation, I walked into the temp agency of my small rural town.
A middle-aged man was sitting behind a heavy wooden desk. A filing cabinet was behind him with one drawer open. He held a stack of papers in his hand and looked up at me when the bell on the door jingled as I opened it. I had never been inside a temp agency before. I barely understood what it was. But everyone knows teachers are well educated, hard workers and make excellent temporary employees. I took a deep breath, straightened my back and put on a smile.
“Hi. I’m Susan and I’m a teacher. I was wondering if you might have some part time work for me this summer?”
“Uh,” the muttered in a froggy smoker’s voice. “What can you do besides teach?”
I froze. Nothing, I thought. I can teach reading. I can teach math. I can explain complicated science things in a way that six year olds understand. I can read stories aloud with great expression and animation. I can teach manners and responsibility. I can write letters to parents. Yeah, I can teach.
“I can file,” I started. I vividly imagined all the time spent behind my desk at my filing cabinet. My files are excellently organized.
“I can type…”
“How many words/minute?” he asked.
“Um…” I tried to remember back to my high school typing class—the last time my words/minute was calculated. What is a good typing rate? Is 100 words per minute too much? Could I actually do that? “I think something like 75 words per minute, maybe 90…?”
“What else?” he quizzed. He still held the stack of papers in his hand. The filing drawer was still hanging open behind him.
“I can organize, clean, write…”
“How about sales? Can you work a cash register?”
“Drive a fork lift? Do landscaping?”
“Well, that’s the kind of work we have.”
“OK, well thank you.” I turned and got out of that office. It’s true: I had no other skill but teaching.
That man’s question has haunted me ever since. A few years ago, I realized that I should have said: “Because I teach, I can do anything.” I had realized that I have good time management, strong people skills, excellent communication and leadership skills, strong problem solving abilities, public speaking experience, and lots of creativity.
Today I can say that I’ve started a new business and I have successfully sold a product.