So here I am working full time and pregnant. I have gallons of milk and Hawaiian Punch in the fridge at work along with a pound of animal crackers under my desk. As I grow in size so does my discomfort. I constantly switch to various chairs in the office so I can continue to do my job. Finally into my ninth month, I begin my maternity leave and welcome an 8 lb baby boy!
Fast forward a bit and my leave is exhausted; it’s time to return to work. I make it through one week and realize that the shift I’m on (4:30 p.m.-1:00 a.m.) is not conducive with a new baby. So I put in my two weeks’ notice and begin the transition from working mom to staying at home.
Let me be honest here, spending a couple of months with my angel was nothing shy of heaven. I enjoyed getting into a sweet pattern of feedings, cleanings and cuddle time on the couch while I watched my new favorite on television, syndicated episodes of “Rockford Files.” Soon enough though, finances beckoned me and staying at home was no longer an option. So I began working at a small mom and pop travel agency. It was a small staff, which included me and one other agent plus a husband/wife team who happened to be the owners. During my almost four year tenure, I grew to love working with various corporations in Nashville. And I loved planning weddings and honeymoons that included sunsets and magnificent beaches. I traveled when I could, utilizing my discounts. I feel blessed to have explored areas like St. Maarten, St. Thomas and the Cayman Islands. I even took courses to achieve my C.T.A. (Certified Travel Associate).
Then on September 11, 2001, time forever changed for the nation when airplanes collided into the twin towers of NYC, the Pentagon and a field in PA. I was alone at work that day and spent the majority of my time placing calls to clients who I knew were in the air, landing or getting ready to fly. I quickly rented cars for those who had to leave their locations as flights were grounded. All the while, my ears catching the emotional narration of the day’s events playing in the background on a small radio I had on my desk.
A few months later, the office had to close. Bookings were slow, and airlines facing bankruptcy cut their commissions to travel agencies. I needed to find work soon. I applied to numerous companies regardless of whether I had the required experience or not. I learned later this is not a great idea and you are generally not considered for those positions. After many attempts, I was finally hired at a local Fortune 500 company called Dollar General as a customer service representative in December 2001.
Stay tuned as I share how this 3 ½ year journey played out….