From Cashier to Lawyer?

January 9, 2010

While killing time between “real jobs” and school, I’ve been enjoying employment at a famous and esteemed corporation — Target. No, I don’t work for corporate HQ; I’m not even a lowly assistant manager. I’m a cashier, and I make $8.12 an hour.

Personally, I think it’s kind of funny that a cashier from Target has law school as her next undertaking. Of course, I have held “real” jobs before. I worked for a number of years as a technical writer, and later as an editor. But lately, I’ve been a stay-at-home mom. It’s a position that I cherished and enjoyed, but now that my kids are bigger, I’m ready to move on to something else.

I took the job at Target initially because I just needed to make a little extra money a month, and I didn’t want something full-time. I also didn’t want to put any of my kids in daycare, so I was after something I could work in the evenings and on weekends. I decided retail fit the bill. Target’s not my first unskilled part-time job; I put myself through high school and college by working fast food and a variety of temp jobs. Strangely (or maybe not), I have really enjoyed my job at Target for the most part. It is definitely low-stress, and I get to leave my work behind me when I clock out. It’s a great place for people watching. It’s a great environment, too. It gets me out of the house and keeps me from becoming too bored.

The best part for me, though, is that it keeps me humble. I may have a college degree, and I may be smart enough to get into law school, but people are people, and I enjoy working with the wide variety of people at Target. Most of the adults are high school graduates, while the younger kids are students. But many of them are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. These are the people who are living paycheck to paycheck, and for many of the adults this is their second job. It’s a great reminder that this is how most of America lives. When they talk about how tough it is to pay their bills, it’s serious stuff. Yet so many of them have such great attitudes and live life full of humor and gratitude.

It’s been a great job, and I pray that when I’m a lawyer, I never become the type of person to think I’m better than they are. I hope I look back on my time at Target to ground me and humble me when I might need it. “Cashier at Target” might not be a great resume booster, but it’s one of my favorite jobs I’ve ever had, and it will stay with me forever.

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