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Our essay this week is an oldie but a cute one. I dug into the archives of my old blog and found this sweet story about my first job. It was a great way to kick writer’s block this week!
Then I chat with Elizabeth Knox, disability and inclusion consultant, speaker, and attorney in Dallas, TX. Elizabeth shares with us some of her experiences growing up deaf, including meeting her husband in deaf school. They have a hearing daughter together, which creates an interesting dynamic that is surprisingly not so different than you might expect. We chat about how simple it is to make things more accessible to all, including this podcast (which now features a transcript with every episode!). Elizabeth now works to help others advocate for themselves and their needs.
Learn more about Elizabeth’s work (or better yet, hire her!) at accessthedream.com. You can also find her on Facebook at facebook.com/accessthedream.
Transcript for today’s episode available here.
Listen to this episode using the player below, or find it on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, iHeartRadio, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts!
Learning on the Job
My first job was slinging ice cream at a little shop called Ritter’s Frozen Custard. It’s a chain, but their locations are sparse. If you live near one, consider yourself lucky. It’s the best damn ice cream outside of real Italian gelato.
The environment at Ritter’s was happy. Like, really really happy. Employees are known for their friendliness, and if you have Ritter’s on your resume, service industry managers in town especially know that your service is top-notch. Because how could you be depressed when there’s so much free ice cream around? And you get to listen to the radio? And you work with your friends? I’m telling you, it was a fantastic job. (Even though I was paid $5.50 an hour.)
Except, let’s be realistic, everyone has bad days, even Ritter’s employees. And one day, I had a bad day. I don’t remember what set me off, but I was irritable, short-tempered, and just ready to leave. Now that I think about it, my bad attitude may have been due to a caramel apple sundae selling contest. (My kingdom for a caramel apple sundae right now.) Before the end of the night, I had absolutely snapped at my assistant manager.
I felt awful.
My assistant manager was a nice dude. He was very positive and knew how to motivate a team. But I was over it that night.
The worst part was, I assumed this was going to go into my file. You see, every Ritter’s employee at that time had a file. When you did something spectacular (like win a sundae selling contest), it went in your file. When you did something questionable (like snap at your assistant manager), it also went in your file. When I saw my assistant manager go into the office, I thought for sure he was writing my little outburst into my file.
I knew I had to confront my general manager and apologize. At the time, it was one of the scariest things I’d ever done.
During my next shift, I told my general manager that I needed to talk. He sat me down and I explained everything–that I was frustrated, that I snapped, and that I felt terrible about it. I figured he needed an explanation as to why this black mark was on my file.
He told me that the assistant manager hadn’t written anything down from that shift. But he was proud of me for apologizing.
And you know, I was proud of me, too.