My life as a Room & Board Design Associate began in February, 2010, with a 3-month training stint in our New York City store. In addition to getting to live in mid-town Manhattan and work in Soho (how thrilling is that??), I loved the look and vibe of the showroom, and the beauty and quality of the furniture. And everyone was just so–nice! At the same time, panicked at how much there was to learn: Upholstery, dining room, bedroom, outdoor, accessories, lighting, rugs–and custom almost everything! How to operate the computer system? Whom to turn to for what….? Seriously–learning curves? Not a fan! I much prefer being knowledgeable and in control. When I felt myself wilting (I will never know it all! There is just too much!) the seasoned Design Associates who trained me just smiled knowingly and said, “Don’t stress. You are not expected to know everything.”
If I had taken their reassurances to heart, I would have saved myself a lot of needless anxiety. Because it is true: You will learn all sorts of new things. Your head will swim. Customers require things you could never imagine, and your resourcefulness will be challenged to the nth degree. Yet, I sometimes think of us DAs as “furniture librarians.” Librarians–don’t you love them? They don’t know the location of every book in the library or all of the reference material, but they won’t stop until they’ve tracked it down for you. We do just that for our customers. We may not have every detail of every piece committed to memory, but we do have extensive resources at our fingertips: Our website; catalogue; our intranet site, “Worklife” contain an amazing wealth of information. And let us not forget our most valuable resource–each other! Can’t remember where a certain lamp is on the showroom floor? Chances are good that another Design Associate will have tagged that very lamp and can tell you. A customer wants to know if a cabinet can be customized a particular way? We can reach out to the Vendor Manager at Central, who quickly responds with the information. So don’t stress, I now smile knowingly. You are not expected to know everything. There’s always an answer: You are never alone.