A couple of hours after I wrote my unemployment-related thoughts last Thursday, I got a call from one of the places I’d given my CV, inviting me in for an interview. Yesterday I got a call saying that interview was successful. What is this dream job that I’ve found? Well, it’s some part-time work at KFC.
I’m pretty excited, though. I finally get to have my experience working with customers. I’ve heard it said that everyone should have this kind of job at some point, just to keep them humble. And I’ve certainly heard my fair share of retail horror stories. It seems like a real opportunity to see the worst side of people. And heck, I love that.
Of course, being a missionary for two years means I’m already seen my fair share of abuse. Regardless of how missionaries might see themselves, there are people that see them as nothing more than a menace to society, to be treated as such. I still remember those first few weeks I spent in Ashford, desperately trying to compose some sense of confidence in talking to strangers. It was scary enough even with the nicer ones, but the moments that I remember most were when people were at their rudest. One guy told me that I was worse than drug dealers. One lady expressed her opinion of me through the eloquent medium of yelling and swearing. It felt crappy at the time, but those were growing experiences. A year later while serving in nearby Gravesend I got the chance to go back to Ashford Town Centre for the day. It was so strange; it almost seemed like the place had shrunk. I mean, before it had seemed physically imposing to me. The times I feared most were the times where I was more than a couple of feet from my missionary companions. I didn’t want to face anyone on my own. But then, going back with Elder Tuiali’i (had to say that name because I love it), we were split up for the entire time, no problem. “Go back to America!”, one guy yelled at me. I just chuckled and replied, “Wales, actually!”
That’s not to say that I was suddenly immune to any jeers or insults directed my way. Those occupational hazards seemed to become harsher in direct proportion to the metaphorical thickness of my skin. But thicker indeed my metaphorical skin got. And hey, I have some neat stories from those experiences. I wouldn’t change them if I could.
So I say to any potential problematic customers… hit me with your best shot! It been a while, and I could probably use being knocked down a couple more pegs. I’ve still got some growing up to do!