After a few months of adjusting to our new lives and new jobs, there are still moments when I am in complete awe of how so many pieces of what felt like scattered, shattered dreams fell perfectly into place... and other moments that feel like one strong breeze could blow them away all over again. This is a surprisingly fragile time for both of us.
I walked into my dream job as manager of the art supply during one of the business' major growth spurts. Still in its adolescence in many ways, the store has been struggling through its "awkward stage": identity crisis, peer pressure, daydreams, mood swings, and growing pains for the past few months. As with all businesses, change was inevitable and evolution essential, but as the store manager I was not only tasked with learning and practicing the existing processes, but creating and implementing strategies and systems to improve upon them.
Creating comes easily and as a natural leader, taking control of a situation does not scare me. But balancing my desire to please my employers and gain the trust of fellow employees, specifically the staff I supervise, has challenged me in ways I had not expected.
In every business, especially retail, there is a natural and necessary hierarchy of authority and workflow and like an intricate plumbing network, disruptions to this flow can cause costly, and time consuming issues for those dependent upon the system. What we currently have at the shop is a series of small, leaks- the result of built-up pressure in our pipes and lack of timely maintenance- and the incessant dripping reminding us all that it's only a matter of time before something bursts.
The question now is how to relieve the pressure- tighten up our systems, ease staff tension, repair and replace broken connections, and minimize inefficiency- without accidentally flooding the place? With every turn of the tinniest wrench, I am holding my breath, hoping the waters will simply recede and re-route themselves, but knowing that its only a matter of time before they return to expose the weary joints, or worse, the weak repairs.