By Meghan McKellick

Poland Regional

High School

“Here, fill out this form, sign here, and here. Ok now read this and sign on the back. Almost done, just read these three forms and sign on the dotted lines. Don’t forget to put down your social security number. And sign here and we’re done; with this part anyway. Now let’s see how you’ll do on register!”

Register? My first hour here and they’re already putting me on register? Are they insane? They must be. They read my application, they know that my only work experience has been with little kids and with dishes in a restaurant. I hope they realize that putting me in charge of a cash register and expecting me to handle their money isn’t the smartest thing in the world. Not that I would steal from them or anything. Oh my gosh, they are actually going to “train” me on the register! I am so freaking out right now. I didn’t even want this job. It was last on my list of places to work, and I only applied to humor my mother. Oh dear, snap out of it Meghan, you have a customer. Oh god, a customer! Here goes, “Hello, how are you today?”

In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, you have just gone back in time and entered my brain during the first ten minutes at my new job. I was a nervous wreck. I had never worked in retail before, I don’t even like to shop in retail. But I was desperate. I needed the job, I needed the money, and later on in life I’m sure the experience will have some kind of positive effect on me.

I really didn’t think that I’d be able to do this though. Working at OfficeMax was something that I never really saw in my future. I honestly believed that I was never going to have to leave my previous job where I was a busgirl. I had been at the Railstation for over a year and I was more than happy to stay there. I knew where everything was, I knew who everyone was, I was on top of things. I had a schedule, a set routine. Then my snow globe was turned upside down and severely shaken. The Railstation closed and I was the newest member of the unemployment list.

Three months had passed and I was hurting for money bad. I owed my parents money for my phone bill, presents to buy for my brother and sister’s birthdays and of course, everyone’s favorite season was right around the corner: Christmas. Now, don’t think that I just sat on my bum for three months, waiting for it to rain money on me. I had been looking for jobs since the end of August. The problem was, no one was hiring, and if they were, I either had to be eighteen or able to work full-time. I had applied to almost every single place possible in Lewiston/Auburn and it was two weeks before Christmas. In an attempt to save my sanity I finally gave in and applied to OfficeMax. Three days later I got a call telling me I had an interview, and the next day I officially became a part of the OfficeMax team.

I didn’t want to work in retail and have to actually talk to and deal with customers. I wanted a job maybe in a quiet office, taking calls and setting up appointments. Or better yet, a job where I worked out back, away from human life stocking shelves or unloading a truck. Now I know working in a restaurant isn’t exactly secluded but I never had to talk to anyone or actually think about my job. It was time for a new chapter in my life. Time to grow up. Time to step out of my little bubble and into the real world. I was so scared.

My first day of work, after filling out piles and piles of paperwork, everyone thought that it would be a good idea for me to jump right in and see how well I swam. Naturally they didn’t leave me alone on the register. In fact, I wasn’t by myself for the first full week that I worked there. Which was probably a good thing. Surprisingly, I didn’t do so bad. Every now and then I had to be reminded how to do a return or to offer MaxAssurance (that’s an insurance policy that offers extra years of protection at a very low price.) Pretty soon I caught on. I got my nametag and radio after the first few days, therefore becoming officially official. I still wasn’t so sure about the job though. I wasn’t comfortable yet. Then I got my first check. That changed everything. It felt so good to actually have money again. Of course, I couldn’t keep any of it but hey, I had the check stub.

I’ve been at OfficeMax for about three and a half weeks now and each day I get more and more comfortable with the job. Most of the people I work with are older than me with the exception of three high school kids, but they’re all really great people. I still mess up every now and then, nothing serious though. Just little things like closing the register drawer before I give back change or forgetting to put a person on hold before hanging up the phone. No big deal, if it was important, they’ll call back. They always do.

So, to say the least, my first retail experience has definitely been a learning one. As much as I miss my old job cleaning up after other people’s meals, it was more fun that it sounds, honest; being a “front-end-seller” (That’s a fancy word for cashier.) is quickly becoming a really cool job. Besides, when I’m bored I get to try out all of the new office chairs. Score!

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