There are still a few people who remember my transition from part time smoothie shop employee to part time shoe store employee. For a couple months I worked at both jobs, and at the time I had no idea that both of these jobs would become defining experiences in my life at the time, and part of this is my way of thanking these people for believing in me, for encouraging me, and for asking questions instead of telling me what I should be doing. For those who don't know, a friend of mine managed the shoe store across the hall from the smoothie shop. She would stop by when she was stressed out, complain about her Assistant Manager who I knew slightly, and chat about how things were going with my employees. When she asked if I wanted a part time position she explained that she couldn't pay me much initially, but her intention was to groom me to be her Assistant, and my pay would increase substantially after that, especially as the holidays drew closer because the store was likely to bonus.

After watching the training videos I was let loose on the sales floor armed with not a whole lot of knowledge, and not much experience, but I worked hard, too hard at times, and I believed in what I sold which was a key factor in my future success. I was promoted during the first week in October, and my base pay didn't go up immediately, but I was assured that I would receive back pay to correct that omission. I had made several trips to help out our sister store, I was promised a check to cover my mileage and travel expenses which I dutifully tracked along with the miles I traveled when I drove two of my fellow employees to an all day training seminar down in Chicago. I didn't really like our District Manager, but I was eager to move away from the smoothie shop, and this seemed like a career that had the potential to go places so I worked harder than I had previously, and trusted that the company I worked for would pay me what I was owed, and recognize what I was worth. They did, but not in the way that I expected them to, and I wasn't fooled by the corporate smooth talkers who tried to tell us that we were voluntarily filing for bankruptcy in order to get out of paying rent on leases that were less than optimal.

My boss was diagnosed with breast cancer not long after I was promoted. It was an awful time for her and her family, and I felt bad for her, but it also meant that I had to do her job while she was in back talking to her husband, her insurance company, or other people that she knew. I told myself that the least I could do was be an amazing assistant so I kept doing what I had done which is work with the people who walked through the door in such a manner that they would want to buy things. My boss had taken the Certified Pedorthist test, passed it, and some days I would cry on the way home because my neck, back, and feet hurt so badly. I developed swollen reddened areas on the sides of my feet, and I argued with my sister who told me that she thought the pain and swelling might be attributed to the new shoes that I had purchased with my employee discount. There's a trick to selling shoes that I wish I would have learned long ago, and I'll share it with you now. You have to know what you're doing, or you can end up hurting people, and if the company you work for isn't willing to train you, you have to find a way to get the information elsewhere.

Eventually I was transferred to a different store, and then I found out how good I had had it at the store where people were lazy, and shirked their managerial responsibilities because my new manager had the meetings corporate said we needed to have, but I quickly learned that the girls there viewed me as a threat because they had doing the minimum down to an art, and I threatened them by coming in as an Assistant Manager, and selling the way that corporate has told us we needed to sell. Socks and orthotics were my specialty. There were endless reports that broke down what we sold and how we were doing as a store, a distric, a region, and an area. I learned to keep selling until people stopped buying, and during April I had five perfect sales to my name when the rest of the store had one collectively. I was smart, I was funny, I was kind to customers, I was warm, engaging, and I was miserable, lonely, depressed, exhausted, and ineligible for insurance because corporate had sat on my promotion paperwork for long enough for the requirements to change so I had to wait for six months after I was a full time employee to qualify.

When my manager announced that he was leaving I was secretly relieved. That relief lasted until the first week of working under our new manager, I had been told I was going to get the store manager position, and it was a blow to find out that wasn't true. Our new manager had never sold shoes, and as I said earlier, you have to know what you're doing, or people are going to eat you alive when they return shoes that didn't work out for them. Shoe fitting is part art, part science, requires a tremendous deal of creativity, an unending supply of patience, and to survive you can't take things personally, and you have to learn how to mentally distance yourself from people who are your best friend while buying and then venemous when they come back to return things that they claim you tricked them into purchasing. There were many people who were grateful for my help. I was curious, I read things at home, wrote about things I wanted to learn more about, and tried to learn as much as I could from the mistakes I had made.

I have a difficult foot to fit, but I had trusted in the people I worked with to help me select the right size for me which turned out to be a mistake since they either didn't know how to fit people, or they didn't care when they let me pay for a pair that was two sizes too large for my foot. One day I took a break, and walked down the hall to see if I could get a pedicure. Our air conditioner didn't work so it was either ice cold or practically a sauna in our store. We were expected to model the footwear we sold, I have very poor circulation, and my feet were blue with cold beneath my super cute sandals that hurt my feet. The pedicure helped, and I went back to work with a renewed sense of optimism. That continued until the Friday when I was asked to come in early for a meeting. My new manager sat me down, and presented me with a list of things that I was going to be written up for, including, but not limited to: not leaving the air conditioner running at all times, insubordination, not playing the radio loudly enough (we were told that customers liked an energetic store, but I couldn't hear people when it was blasting so when I was working by myself I turned it down), allowing my children into the back of the store (our bathroom was back there), asking my manager to let the store know if she was going to be late coming back from lunch, and a bunch of other really petty crap.

I refused to sign it stating that I had never seen this list before. The manager who had left had written: Refused To Sign, next to my name, but I had never seen that list or I could have rebutted things on it such as not turning the air conditioner on after it stopped working. I was working late when a man came in with his supper. He sat down, started eating, and asked how the shoe business was going. He was in the business too, and his offer of a nine to five job with benefits seemed like an unreal dream that was finally coming true. I spent the weekend down in Chicago, it was a time I'll always treasure and I started my new job determined to put the past behind me and move forward with a new company. I had an allergic reaction my first week there. I was promoted to a new department that they had created to showcase the talent we had, and my boss wasn't around so we did the best that we could with what we had. I learned how to sell to DPM's, I made friends with pharmacists, I empathized with shoe fitters who worked in store that sold durable medical goods, and when I left, I still hadn't collected any of the commission or bonus money I had been promised, but I left a legacy behind that exists to this day, and I wouldn't trade that for ten times the amount I believe that I should have received.

I didn't see it at the time, but every job I took was preparing me for this moment; the time when I could go onto Twitter, proclaim that I was starting my own business, and have people take my announcement seriously. There are others who know more, others who have more experience, people who are smarter than I am, and I could be mistaken, but I don't think that there is anyone else in the world who watches baseball the way that I do, who writes about it in a way that people who are more than casual fans appreciate, and has the plan or the vision that I do. Long ago a friend of mine told me that baseball needed me. I didn't take that comment seriously at the time, but he was right because I've blended two fields that haven't been mixed previously, and whether my business is successful in terms of me making a lot of money off of it is immaterial because when I die, even if it's tonight, or right after I've posted this, I am a woman who has changed the way that others watch baseball, and if people take what I've taught them, and pass it along to the players they coach, it will be a safer game to play.

Pitcher wins as a statistic is a subject of debate, but I really don't care whether teams win or lose because that's not why I watch the game, or what makes it special to me. I love the game despite it's many imperfections. You've read my point of view, but I guarantee that others who are not named here would have a different version were they asked to reflect on me and my contributions to their lives. I want to change lives, and this is a way for me to do it. I don't expect it to be easy. I don't know this market, I have a lot of friends, but no real working knowledge of how baseball players and coaches are going to react to someone like me walking into a facility and sharing what I know. I'd like to think that they will be appreciative, and I know that some of them will be, but I'm going to make mistakes, there will be people who don't like me, others who say no, there will be unforeseen obstacles, and times when I'll want to give up, but I'm not going to. This has been a puzzling dream that is being assembled as my base of knowledge grows, and I learn more about myself and my ability to help others.

Today I am profoundly grateful for those who continue to love and believe in me. Life has a strange way of not making sense to me at times which is why I'm holding onto this moment of clarity, and to close I'd like to share a recurring dream that I have. In the dream I'm standing near the first base coach who is talking to me. The sky is impossibly blue, the grass impeccably maintained, the line near my foot is an unbroken streak of pure, clean, white, and it is a real dream that I have, but it's also a real life daydream, and a place I go to when I'm scared about the future, because it's a safe place where I'm warm. Sun beats down on my as I stand there, and I turn to ask the man near me a question, but he gives me a funny smile and tells me that I have what I need to succeed before he jogs back to the dugout. I'm an idealist with a realistic idea that won't cost much to implement, and whenever I think about this dream, and the people whose arms have held me as I've cried tears of pain and joy, I think that this world is wonderful for as long as we believe that it is.

E2 is a family, E2 is a community, and E2 saves lives (I've personally seen this happen at least once). Interestingly, E2 is like a hamburger joint also (it's true!).

Today it has been seven years and change since my best friend here joined E2. I remember the writeup that brought us together. It was probably the best piece of writing I have ever created. I enjoyed writing it and it meant a lot to me. It must have meant a lot to her too based on what she told me. We are both very fond of TheDeadGuy's Give everything you can to everyone you know (which is very good and by the way you should read). At one time I think we both (simultaneously) had it bookmarked. She gave me a nickname based on my user name that I am/was very fond of.

She has gotten 15 C!s for her writeups (an average of more than 1 per writeup) and she deserves all of them. Her writings are a good mixture of daylogs, poetry, and factual writeups. Her factuals were very informative, her poetry was enjoyable, and her stories and daylogs are very well written.

To her: I treasure our friendship. I care about you very much. I enjoy/enjoyed talking to you every time and reading your writeups. No matter what your user name (they are both great) you have always been a great woman and I love you. I hope you come back to Everything2 soon so we can talk again and continue our friendship. You make my life and E2 a better place and I hope to see you soon.

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