I went out to the Columbia Sportswear warehouse this morning. It sits near the mouth of the Columbia River on the border with Washington State, receiving freight there along with a hundred other warehouses. The whole area is a huge industrial hub.
I was there to see about a job, although I had my doubts about whether it was even a realistic possibility after my phone conversation with the recruiter the day before, who became testy with me after events had twice prevented me from getting out there previously. The man, Kyle, had asked me irritably if I was even interested in the job. I informed him with my own irritation that I had no control over the interruption of the light rail system as a result of bridge construction, which I could not have foreseen. We agreed to a third meeting the next morning, and here I was.
I presented myself to Kyle with regret for the misunderstanding, but not apologetic. I understood that displaying sheepishness might have conveyed that I was somehow remiss in failing to arrive on one of the previous days. Somehow standing up to his implications was more important than the job. Is this integrity? Yet I wasn’t rude or disrespectful. I conducted myself as a gentleman in an effort to clear the air and start over with him.
I don’t know if my approach had anything to do with it, but I left with a job, if his word is solid. I tend to believe it is. On reflection, I valued the straightforwardness in his clipped comments to me the day before. Although his tone had ruffled me, I was now able to appreciate his making truth more important than decorum—a priority I respect.
At any rate, this is more than a simple story. I wanted to say “thanks” to God for the job. It is an opportunity to raise my standard of living, not monetarily but in quality of life. The job isn’t permanent but promises to be much less stressful than my current job. It will offer me a steady schedule, unlike my current one, which changes each week. The warehouse has a fitness center in the building, available to all employees, saving me the expense of a membership in a health club, which I was anticipating acquiring at some point. The best part is that the job will wait for me while I obtain a vehicle with my earnings from Plaid Pantry. Kyle explained that they don’t want to shotgun people into warehouse positions before they are logistically prepared to commute back and forth. The warehouse is well north of Portland proper.
This job offer comes along at a time when I sorely need it. My current job has been very stressful, and I’m quickly tiring of the cynical treatment I have so far received from my bosses. I know they have to be suspicious of every store clerk. They must constantly be vigilant because of theft, on-the-job drinking, etc. The area manager told me a story about one store clerk who was discovered sloppy drunk and still drinking company beer one morning not long ago.
While I understand the need for the suspicion, I don’t want to be regarded this way. I would rather not deal with the handling of a company that has to leave their graveyard clerks alone all night with a cooler full of beer. I don’t much care for selling beer on a nightly basis either. Sometimes I feel as though I’m working for the devil.
So I’m grateful for the prospect of a new job. I hope the incremental improvements in my circumstances are an indication of an upward trend. Bad economy or no, I find myself pining for a stable situation in which I can relate to my employers on a footing of trust and professionalism. I want to make my living in a work atmosphere of mutual respect. Columbia Sportswear is a step in the right direction. Gratitude is the order of the day.