This month's challenge for August 2023 - Embracing Life's Challenges gave me pause when I read about it. Deciding which aspect of my history deserved written recognition was in itself challenging, let alone sharing. Having had a less than normal childhood, that was NOT something I wanted to put in print.
My mother was what I call, "a piece of work." She seemed to always irritate her husbands who didn't stick around long. Each marriage produced half brothers, a half sister, and also a step-brother. We all call each other brothers and sisters, which in itself is a success. With that background, I learned to rely on myself for life's lessons and how to become better at whatever I decided to do, in my personal and professional life.
Without a master plan, I decided in my senior year I would figure out a career and a quick exit to living at home. Having started work at the age of 15, I already had experienced two jobs before my senior year. Each lasted a year, learning some skills along the way.
During a chance meeting, while running an errand with a high school classmate at a local bank, I found my first career! I asked one of the men in the lobby wearing a suit if any jobs were available at the bank. Hey, I figured he looked like he worked there and could point me in the right direction. I applied and was hired within a week! This was toward the end of my senior year in high school.
Banking was something I found fascinating. How banks worked. How they made money. What each department focused on were all fascinating to me. My first position was in bookkeeping and I started at 9:30, after completing one class in high school. The lowly bookkeeping department was in the basement of the First National Bank in Wichita, Kansas. This was the second largest bank in the state.
Shortly after graduating high school and while working at the bank, I moved out of my childhood home. By that time, my 4 year old car was paid for; every household item I needed was boxed in my bedroom; and I ordered new furniture. My roommate was a fellow bank employee who worked opposite shifts from me! It was the best of both worlds at the age of 18 feeling independent and motivated.
While in the bookkeeping department I paid special attention to my supervisor. She trained me and had the most caring smile. Maybe it was karma, but this women could walk on water as far as I was concerned. She taught me more than the talent of filing checks or manually putting together bank statements. She was always available and I overheard her giving me a compliment loud enough for me to hear as she spoke with another executive at the bank. She called me her "star new employee." That was all I needed!
Being promoted to 4 more departments within a 5 year period was a GREAT asset of learning that has helped me throughout my life. And that supervisor, Linda, became a supportive guardian angel at a time when I didn't have one.
Without a college degree, the bank could no longer promote me so I started looking for work. I didn't have to go farther than the community clubhouse at the apartment complex where I lived. Thanks to my training at the bank, I quickly adapted to property management The skills I learned at the bank were a great help when I manually processed rent checks for approximately 100 apartments!
The name plate from 1978 sits in front of my wall of shame!
To this day, I still use the skills I've learned from my 5 positions at the bank. When I'm teaching or my former life of coaching adults and kids alike, I remember those soft skills that she used with me. I've used these lessons in my personal as well as my business life. Personally, I've learned how to better deal with clients, friends and acquaintances. Professionally, I've used these lessons to help clients and also share how I've used my financial sense to be able to retire with enough funds to live comfortably and to travel!
My positions were in bookkeeping, auditing commercial accounts for profit and loss, customer service, foreign currency teller, and calculating payments manually in the commercial loan department.
Thank you for this walk down memory lane to one the most memorable life lessons I could have experienced!