I had two interviews lined up for today and one tomorrow, plus there was a message on my answering machine from someone else who was trying to line up an interview with me, but after the first interview today I was hired! This was the place where the assistant manager had sounded so interested in me last week, and today I was interviewed by the manager.
The store is Williams-Sonoma, a high end kitchen and home store. The first store was started in the 1950’s by a man named Chuck Williams who lived in Sonoma, California. He had grown up in his grandmother’s kitchen, learning from her how to cook. As a young man, he and some friends went on a three month tour of Europe, and he saw kitchen utensils in use that he’d never seen in America. He decided to open a little kitchen store in what used to be a mechanic’s shop in Sonoma, but he soon realized that most of his customers were coming from San Francisco, so he opened a bigger store there. His kitchenware was so unique that his business kept growing and expanding. Eventually he also got into other household products, although as far as I saw today, the store in Washington Square focuses on kitchenware. Chuck Williams is now about one hundred years old and still somewhat involved with the business.
I learned all this last night while researching the company online. I also discovered that Williams-Sonoma supports No Kid Hungry and St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I had also researched some of the other stores that had invited me to apply, but none of them did anything charitable, so I liked Williams-Sonoma best.
Williams-Sonoma had two kinds of positions available: sales and stock. I chose to apply for stock because I like to move around and I’m a little scared of cash registers. The manager, Jessica, had my resume and application to refer to as she interviewed me, and the two things that seemed to impress her the most were my willingness to be available any time except Sunday morning and my varied experience. I told her that I had once worked for Amazon’s Christmas rush, and her eyes just about popped. She asked how that had been and I told her that the fulfillment center was the length of three football fields and three stories high, and that there were only stairs to the different floors. I think she realized if I could do that, I could probably handle her stock room.
She asked if I had any questions and I asked her when I could start. I think she kind of jokingly said, “Tomorrow?”, but I took her up on it. I won’t actually be starting to work tomorrow, but I’ll be going in for an orientation and to fill out the appropriate paperwork. Then I believe she said I might be able to start training this week. There is an art to stocking a store like Williams-Sonoma.
When I left that interview, I went to the other stores where I had interviews lined up and told them I had just accepted a job and would not need to interview with them. They thanked me for letting them know. I also stopped to sample some tea from a woman who looked like she was having a hard time getting sample takers. She told me that most of the stores in the mall have discounts for employees at other stores in the mall. That was cool to learn!
After I left the mall, I stopped at Goodwill to tell my job counselor that I had gotten a job. I told him he should send other job hunters there. He gave me a gift card for $20 at Goodwill to get work clothes. Then I drove over to my mother’s house and told her about my job. I tried to call Mark to tell him but he wasn’t home. I left a message. Mom was so excited that she came with me to Goodwill to look for some pants for my new job. I was told to wear dark jeans or black pants because I will be getting dirty. My manager will provide a polo shirt and a sweat shirt for me. So I got two pairs of pants and three pairs of socks and I still have over $7 left from my $20 gift card.
When we got back to Mom’s house, Mark showed up shortly after us. He had gotten the message I left at home and came to hear about my new job. He said he wanted to take me out somewhere nice to celebrate. I asked if we could go to a restaurant at Washington Square and I could show him where I’ll be working. He liked that idea.
I took him into the store and we were greeted by a sales associate. As I was talking with her, the assistant manager who had first spoken with me, Katie, saw me and came over to congratulate me. I introduced her to Mark and told her I had brought him to see where I’m going to be working. She told us how much they are looking forward to having me there.
Mark looked around the store a bit and when we walked out, he said, “Man, I looked at a knife in there and just for that knife they wanted over $200!” I said, “That’s one good thing about the job. I won’t be tempted to spend my earnings on everything in the store!”
We had dinner at the Nordstrom Cafe, overlooking the mall. We sat next to the window and watched as children, and sometimes adults, went from store to store in costume to trick-or-treat. The little children were so cute to watch. It had never occurred to me to take my son trick-or-treating at the mall, but it makes perfect sense. At least there it’s light and dry and warm and you can trust the treats. What a perfect way to celebrate my new job!
A big thank you goes out to Mark and to Mom for their support on my big day, and to my sister, Sherill, for her excitement when I called to tell her about the job. Thank you to all those of you who have sent me prayers and encouraging words as I’ve been hunting for work. Your prayers have been answered. Thank You, Jesus!