It starts off with that beat that one can’t help but stop and perk their ears. It’s a weird feeling. Then the lyrics begin…”work work work work work…” and my mind is instantaneous about reminding me how my life has been in the past month. Now granted, I don’t like this song, I didn’t even know who the artist was until I googled it a mere 5 minutes ago. But that part of the song has been stuck in my head for a few days now
Let’s just say that the past 20 days I feel like I’ve basically done nothing but live at work, I think I’ve only been home a handful of days because I’d be so exhausted from work that I’d stay at a friends house just so I could sleep extra before going to my shift the next day. If I’m not working I’m probably sleeping and if I’m not sleeping I am working. But that’s adulthood, and I shouldn’t be complaining…so fast forward.
For those who don’t know, I work at a local resort/waterpark in the reservations department. The name doesn’t matter, but know that we are fairly competitive with other local resorts. I’m working at a job I could have easily gotten outside of highschool, but instead here I am with a college degree, far from working in my field of “expertise.” But God has truly been blessing me in this job. I make enough money to pay my bills and have some extra to save. I also have been very fortunate to make many new friends, one of which will soon be coming to church with me. But most of all, I’ve made some really neat connections with guests.
I’ve talked to guests who have told me, “Wow, you made this so easy. Thank you so much” and I’ve also been able to interact with guests when it comes to their child’s birthday.
“So who is the lucky birthday child?”
“My son[daughter], their name being ‘so-so'”
“Oh how neat! How old is ‘so-so’ turning?”
“Oh they are turning X years old.”
“Well happy X birthday to ‘so-so’ that is truly an exiting age to be!”
Very generic conversation, some are just that bland but typically it’s way more involvement. I’m so excited they are celebrating their birthday at our resort. Why?
Really, I have no valid reason other than because it means I get to make them a birthday card. I get to create a piece of my creativity, and give it to this child. And it’s a one-of-a-kind birthday card. The cool thing is, some of my coworkers have taken notice to my love of creativity in these cards. I have a few that will ask me to draw them an elephant for a kiddo’s birthday, or if it’s for a special occasion.
The other day, my coworker *Claire told me between tears of joy of this young boy, who will befriend other classmates that are loners, had befriended this other young boy who was bullied. As a result, that boys mom decided to bring him to our resort. Well Claire wanted to do something more, so she informed our manager who allowed us to give them a pizza and some passes to our theme park. But with tears in her eyes, Claire broke this story down and asked me to draw my ‘famous’ elephant and to personalize this awesome card to show how much this little boys actions make a difference, not just for his friend that was bullied but for people like us who get to hear about those cool little things.
Now, it’s not just for birthdays either. I will make a thank you card when I could make a really cool connection with a guest. Another example is I had a guest call and his name is *Nick. But instead, I kept calling him Mick the entire time because I misheard him in the beginning. When we got to the part of putting his name on the reservation he actually told me his full name *Nicholas and I was so embarrassed I called him the wrong name, but he just laughed at it. We had a good laugh for 30 seconds. We shared a moment. I joked and told him he could just call me April to make up for it (because I am commonly refereed to as April or Ashley instead of my real name…why, I don’t know). In the end, I made him a card and signed it and added April in quotes. Oh, I do hope it makes him smile when he sees it.
I could go on and on about how I get to do the coolest things for people, but I don’t like to brag. I’m not writing any of this to brag. Five months ago, I was crying on a regular basis because of how stressed and over-worked I’d get. Now, I can’t recall the last time I cried because I was overwhelmed.
It’s amazing how despite that fact that I’ve basically been living at my work place, I get to stop and appreciate those small little interactions. Though they are truly small, they are powerful. I spend so many hours staring at a computer screen, shaking my head, and wondering “why am I even here?” but yet at the same time, I feel that sort of connection with this job that I’ve only ever felt at my job as a tutor at an elementary school. There is a word I learned from my job, it’s Ubuntu and it is Swahili for “togetherness.” And that’s exactly what I feel at my job, or second home, I feel a sense of belonging and togetherness with each person I interact with, whether it’s a ten minute phone call with a person I’ll probably never talk to again, or whether it’s sitting next to a coworker I’ve sat by many a times before.
Ubuntu is exactly what it’s about. I’ve said it before, and I’ll never not say it, but this place that I work at, this resort, it’s about having that togetherness. It’s not about how one guest complains about how expensive we are. It’s not about how I may get screamed at 20 times tomorrow because of how our rates have changed overnight (yes sometimes literally). It most certainly isn’t about any of those negatives that can happen. It’s about what we can offer to people to draw them together
So how does Rihanna’s song go hand-in-hand with Ubuntu? Well, it doesn’t really. But despite the fact that all I’m doing is work work work work work, the thought that we’re all celebrating Ubuntu makes it all worth it. And as I get up at 6:30 tomorrow morning(or I should say today), and I feel that pain of tiredness behind my eyes, I’ll still smile. And I hope that wherever the road of my career takes me, I hope that I’ll always have that connection of Ubuntu.
*indicates name change