At my parent’s house there’s a picture of me from one of my first days of elementary school. It must be like fourth grade or something. I’m standing on the front stoop of our house with my older brother. I’m beaming; I always liked school. I’m wearing red Converse sneakers with purple socks ( I was a big fan of Donny Osmond…yes, I’m dating myself), bell bottoms (yup, again) and an orange wide-striped short sleeved shirt. Apparently I was trying to make an impression on my first day.
In the photograph both my brother and I have new three-ringed binders in our hands. The basic kind of binder that sort of looks like denim and wears like iron. I always remember being excited about that first day of school – and of having a brand new binder! The possibility of it all.
At our store, we’re in the midst of training three new associates. Currently, we’re in week two of a very organized four week period where they learn about so much stuff that it’s a wonder they don’t go home and slip into a coma from it all. Maybe they do and they’re just not telling us. But they continue to show up each day and each brings a different skill set with her. Each has life experiences that are varied and unique. Each is putting her best foot forward and is working to make a good impression.
Prior to their arrival, we spent a lot of time making sure that they would feel welcomed, supported and encouraged – particularly during their first few weeks. As a Mentor for training, I’ve led meetings where I get to watch them open up and start to really learn about this new place called Room & Board. I can already see that they’re figuring out how they can fit into all of this; what energy they can bring to the store.
All in all, life continues to be pretty much like elementary school. We show up and let ourselves be seen. We want to find our place and contribute. We hope that the intention is reciprocated by those who are teaching us. It doesn’t happen all the time everywhere – seventh grade could have been a much more pleasant memory were this the case. But when those pieces come together great things can happen. At Room & Board, through everyone’s commitment, we try our best to make sure that it’s not just a possibility, but a probability.