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Ordinary People Taking Action
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That first paying job. It’s exciting and scary, and so often, it begins to shape our attitudes around work. As a sophomore in high school, I took my first job as a stockperson for Nordstrom. I remember it clearly. My job was to clean out the dressing rooms, hang or fold all the clothes, and restock the items on the sales floor. My department, referred to as “Brass Plum”, sold clothing for teenage girls. It placed no limits on the number of items brought into the dressing room, a policy our customers seemed acutely aware of. It was not uncommon for me to face twenty, thirty or more clothing items, crumpled on the dressing room floor. “Oh, just leave them, someone else will put them away,” I’d hear the girls giggle. They were right, someone else would. And that someone else was me.
I worked hard in this job. I quickly realized that stocking dressing rooms was not for me, so I wanted nothing more than to prove that I could be a cashier, and then a salesperson. I wanted to advance so badly for two reasons. One, it would provide more customer interaction. Two, it was a way to contribute more to a company I loved working for.
I felt that I truly mattered. As my new employee orientation made clear, people within Nordstrom cared deeply about the employees – at all levels. My onboarding taught me the following: