This post was originally published May 22, 2012, but we felt it was poignant enough to re-publish for all you new readers out there.
I love getting stories like this in my inbox. The woman who sent this to me felt like it was too cheesy for her style — so she asked me to keep it anonymous.
I can tell you, however, she means every word of it.
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I have been in the staffing and recruiting industry for over 11 years now. When I first started off, I was just out of college. It was my first real office position outside of my multiple internships while in school. When I first came out of college, I hit the ground running full steam. I took the world by storm. No one could stop me and no one could tell me I didn’t know what I was doing. I was so sure of myself.
I felt completely empowered by my college education.
I would like to say that I remember the first time I met AnnaLee but I don’t. I kind of just remember her always coming in last minute on Fridays to pick up her check. She always looked a fright mess and smelled a bit. She was missing one tooth on the left side of her mouth.
One pay day, I was closing up. I had got into my car and was about to drive away when I remembered I forgot my cd case inside. Just then, AnnaLee tapped on my window. I motioned hold on, grabbed my purse, keys and pepper spray and stepped outside of the car. She asked me if she could pick up her check.
I was annoyed and said she would have to come back on Monday. We were already closed. She walked over and started bawling. I went in, got my CDs and went to get in my car but she was still sitting there crying. I walked over thinking I would give her a dose of reality and tell her how real life was like.
I asked why she didn’t come sooner to get her check. She began to explain how she was a grandmother who was raising her five grandchildren by herself. Their mother had died and their fathers were not around. Her husband had died shortly after her daughter.
After her husband’s death, her home was repossessed by the bank. She was able to get a small three bedroom home but was still trying to save money for everyone to have a bed. She said she slept on the floor and let the kids have the bed, couches.
I was getting the reality check.
I, with my privileged upbringing and my breeded education, was seeing what real life struggles looked like. I went inside and got her check, then locked back up. I gave AnnaLee a ride to the daycare where her grandchildren stayed until 6:30pm. I would have offered to take them but I hadn’t the room in my vehicle. AnnaLee told me how much she appreciated my kindness, I felt so much internal shame.
I had assumed she was a drunk. I had assumed she was lazy, irresponsible. I didn’t see her nor did I see others for the genuine people they were and the struggles they have endured and are pushing to overcome. It wasn’t until after meeting AnnaLee in that parking lot that I began to be a wonderful recruiter. My reality and the way I saw life was turned on its head. My job was now a mission to help all of the AnnaLees in the world one more step towards stability and security for their family.
Simply put, I owe my staffing career to AnnaLee.
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