When most people think about a seasonal job, jobs that are only available during the summer months or the holidays may come to mind. This is not what I am thinking about. On Friday, September 30, 2016 I received some news regarding my position with the company. Due to the review from the client I had been working with, I had to find another position within the company. This did not surprise me nor discourage me because it made me think about my past jobs. I will like to call this job as well as the ones before it “seasonal” because they have all served a purpose in their season.
For about a year and a half, I was a sales associate for a major retailer. My main duties included folding clothes, answering phones, and customer service. During this time I had the privilege with working with a very encouraging manager who actually planted the seed for my promotion within the company. I honestly don’t know why I had not thought about it. She told me that I need to be trying to get into Asset Protection since that’s what my degree is in so that I can get that experience. It surprised me the way that she said it because I thought she was going to snatch a knot on me. You know that look your mama gives you when you had better do what she just told you to do? That’s the look and tone she spoke to me in. I thought about what she said for a while and eventually applied to those positions when they became available. I ended up getting the promotion in the company and became exposed to much more than I thought I would.
During my time as Asset Protection with that company, I came in contact with a lot of interesting people. Most of the sheriff deputies who I regularly worked with became some of my favorite people. They seemed to treat the people that they work with like family. I got to experience what it was like to file charges against someone through depositions and subpoenas. You truly never know who pays attention to what you do because the magistrates commented on how well I worded  my narratives. I was just trying to explain what happened and why the charges were necessary. I was able to see how criminal trials work and other things. I also got to work with someone who made me remember what it’s like to naturally smile again. When I was little, I naturally smiled. Teachers would tell my mom that I smiled all day. As I got older I stopped doing it as much, but when I was around this person it came back out of me. I’ll let this person know one day what they did for me.
While I was a sales associate prior to that position, I interned with politicians during the week. Even though that internship was only during that legislative session, it taught me how politics really work. In undergrad I only took one political science class, but that class was nothing like the real world. The internship allowed me to meet someone who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He told us about how he lived during the discrimination at the University in Alabama. Later on he said he eventually received his Doctorates degree and mentioned how his kids were lawyers. Growing up I wasn’t exposed to much Black history outside of the usual Rosa Parks, George Washington Carver, and Harlem Renaiissance stories that most schools teach so this made me more aware of Black history while encouraging me to try harder. One day I was able to speak with one of the security guards and he realized that 30 years prior to that internship he was in Vietnam with my uncle. I gave him my uncle’s phone number, and they spoke for at least 30 minutes. When he came back into the area I was sitting while watching the Legislature session, I could see the tears in his eyes. At that moment I was proud that I could help two war buddies reconnect. I was a mess during that hour drive home though.
After I left my Asset Protection job, I started dispatching for law enforcement so that I could get my foot in the door. I really didn’t want to apply for the job, and it took me a year to do so. My foolish rationale at the time was that I’ll stick around long enough until I can transfer into a forensic position. I didn’t last long enough for that to happen. During this time one of my supervisors mentioned that it was free to go to the Department of Archives and research your genealogy. Not only did I take advantage of this, but I found out a lot. One day I went to the archives and looked around at the exhibits. Even though most of the history was based on Alabama history, it also revealed the nation in different time periods. When I was finally able to go to the research room I found out that I’m the descendant of slaves and slave owners. I found out that one of the slave owners that I am a descendant of used to pay for a teacher to educate his slaves. After his death, he left land and assets to his immediate family as well as the slaves who were his children. If I’m not mistaken his assets after the Civil War were about $500,000 worth. I tried to check an accurate online calculator and today what he left behind is equivalent to $12 million. His slave children used what he left behind to build a town, to build churches, and to start their own businesses. It made me realize that that’s probably why that side of my family are hustlers. I would have never known that information had I not taken that job as a dispatcher. The job didn’t work out, but it served its purpose. I was also able to see how much stress is involved when working in public service whether you are a first responder, dispatcher, or social worker. Dispatchers have a little bit of eveyone calling them. Literally.
We live in a culture where we are forced to find a career. Some people find one straight out of high school. Some people won’t find theirs until their 30s or 40s. Others may never find theirs, and that’s ok. I too have been in the position here I did not feel like going to work, but now I realize that those seasonal jobs served their purpose.