Saturday, November 8, 2014

Plan Change

Yes. This is another post about the Co-op, I would stop writing about it, but it continues to amaze me with it's awesomeness:

Like many expecting and working first time moms, I had a plan:

While I was incubating my precious cargo, I was working a 45 hour a week job that I loved, at The People's Food Co-op of Kalamazoo, for those not in the loop, I was the Front End Manager/HR Coordinator during the co-op's expansion into a new, shiny and bigger space, while busy with making a person, I was 100% consumed with ushering the Front End staff, new and old alike into the new space as smoothly as possible. Suddenly, I found my voice as a manager and I was hella good at it, I loved what I was doing, it was important, it mattered, what I was doing made a difference to people, more so than all of the jobs I had worked slinging over-priced coffee drinks at people who barely noticed I existed. So, my plan was this: I was going to take a paltry five weeks off after Charlotte's birth and then jump right back into my 45 hour work week and Matt was going to be a stay at home dad. Yeeeaaaahhh......the Universe slapped that plan right out of my hands, big time. I loved my job so much, I was begging to be let out of the ICU for an All-Staff Meeting.So, when I learned I was FINALLY going to be released from rehab, I immediately began planning my triumphant return to work . Until my OT, Erica sat down and gave me the reality check I needed; No. I couldn't do that job anymore, absolutely not.

Well, in my muddled brain, nothing had changed, there was no reason I couldn't jump back in (I believe this was my denial stage of grieving), until Matt came through with his usual dose of much needed tough love:
"Liz, you can't even go to the bathroom by yourself, how are you supposed to do that job?" Shit.

Three years later, I can safely say there is NO. Way I could have done that job at that point but,  I was devastated. Later that day, my boss came to the hospital and I stepped down from my position, hoping that some day I'd return to the co-op, somehow. So Chris, my GM and I made a point of getting together a few months after my release to discuss a possible return, he essentially made up a new job for me, that wouldn't be too taxing on my feeble stamina and limited physical ability; I was essentially a greeter, I answered phones and rang up customers when needed. Going back to work was hard, it was physically taxing, exhausting and, at times, overwhelming. I had to relearn EVERYTHING from scratch and the hardest part of that was hat I was being retrained by people I had hired and trained, this rubbed my pride the wrong way, I was often embarrassed as the current Front End Manager,Simon,  helped me fix any mistakes I had made as I was relearning to count drawers, but, even though I was embarrassed, he NEVER treated me like I was stupid for having to learn all of this again and I was treated as a new trainee and a respected member of the Front End team. Once I finally came to terms with the fact that I had to learn how to be a cashier from the beginning, I began to get over myself, started seeing Simon as my boss, not that kid I hired all that time ago, my pride stopped being an issue and everything suddenly began falling into place

Currently, I cashier at least twice a week and as we approach the holiday season, I'm hoping I can work more.

I may not be a manager anymore, but I am grateful work at a place that embraces me for who I am now ,that did not toss me out with the trash when I wasn't able to perform at the same level as I had before stroke touched my life. And working as a cashier gives time to spend with my daughter who delights and amazes me everyday, plus cashiering fun! It is, I promise.

Working has not only increased my physical stamina and ability, but I believe working a register has improved my cognition greatly, every shift I work challenges my focus, improves my confidence and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, because as I work, I am amazed at the strides I have made since that life shattering discussion with Erica.

Thank you Universe.

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