On my first day at anything new, I listen to an old voicemail from my spitfire of a grandmother. As today is my first day of my new job nannying for a new family, and because I am a compulsive creature of habit, I carried out my tried and true ritual.
Five years ago, my grandma had called on my first morning working as a retail clerk in the golf shop where she herself had been employed for nearly a decade to give me a five minute “how to be a good cashier” crash course. She didn’t mean for it to be hilarious, but most of it is. It’s so charmingly grandmaternal and wise, but also so specific to this tiny, stubborn, fiercely independent woman with whom I have the pleasure of sharing DNA.
I am nearly positive that she doesn’t even remember leaving the message, but I am positive that I will be listening to it until long after she’s gone.
Here’s the advice she gives:
-#1. Greet everyone who walks through the door. Don’t forget to mix it up. (She then gives examples of how to greet people because she’s heard my social anxiety at work when I’m placed face to face with strangers and she figures she’d better save us both the embarrassment).
-#2. Don’t stand around; always look busy. Clean the counters when you feel like you’ve run out of things to do. Also, it’s totally okay to not know something – be honest about that and be willing to ask for help when you don’t know. People will appreciate that from you.
-#3. “Greet everyone with that great smile of yours. Everyone loves a good smile.” So true, grandma, so true.
… and finally,
-#4. Maybe don’t call me “G-Ma” on the job. [See point #1 and my sense of congeniality. I’m pretty sure this one was just Gma looking out for Gma].
For the record, it took all of three shifts for everyone to know that I was the granddaughter of the bossy lady in the shoe department after I had something on the back of my skirt and she couldn’t restrain herself from reaching right over and dusting off my ass behind the counter. Thanks for that one, Gma. Also – my portion of the counters were so frickin shiny people could practically see my goofy grin reflecting off and projecting throughout the rest of the store. She couldn’t help but claim me.
Thank you, GMa. I love you more than you know.