Thanksgiving always reminds me of my job at Macy's, the parade, NYC, and my Dad. So today I am sharing with you a personal story that showcases the importance of a silver lining when you find yourself in a tough situation. It’s a long one, but hopefully the ending makes you smile.
When I moved back to NY in 2005 the only place I wanted to work was Macy’s. The fact that it was another institution in retail was a bonus, but the real perk for a commuter like me was its location- right next to Penn Station. Fortunately for me, I ended up receiving an offer from Macy’s as an Assistant Buyer for Men’s Loungewear (PJ’s) and Underwear- which meant I was responsible for brands like Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. To say I was ecstatic when I got the job is probably an understatement. But here is the thing- not all of our expectations in life come to fruition. The tough part for me is that the moment I started working there, I was miserable. Which is hard to write, but it’s true. Don't get wrong- I had an incredibly talented team around me, great hours, a Starbucks on site, and the ability to go downstairs into our store each day- it wasn't a bad company to work for. The actual role itself just wasn't for me.
However, because I was much younger at the time, I unfortunately didn’t see any of the good around me. I only saw what was making me frustrated, and that is a huge regret of mine. I would have spent more time with the advertising department, my peers, the customers, and inside my boss’s office asking questions- but I didn’t. Instead I did my job to the best of my ability every day and went home. In my opinion, I wasted five months being part of a historic retailer when I could have learned so much more.
So what is the silver lining? What did I get out of this experience? First, it made me realize how much I loved specialty retailing vs. wholesale (at that time) from a career stand point. It provided clarity for what would make me happy in a future position. Turns out it was partnering with design and being involved in the product process. At that time I didn’t want to be in a showroom assorting a line that someone else had created. I wanted to be behind the scenes, deciding what was in the showroom to begin with.
Secondly, my boss Holly gave me one of the greatest moments I have ever had with my Dad- and that was being part of the Thanksgiving Day Parade. I have a terrible memory but I will never forget seeing him drive a clown car down Central Park West or walking with him behind Miss USA, waving to a crowd of millions. He would tell you that I was a total pain that day, and he would be right. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing as a first time parade manager. But looking back I am nothing but grateful that I had that moment with him. It is something both of us will never forget and my job at Macy’s made it all possible.
So today’s punch line is to try and find the good in those tough situations we sometimes find ourselves in. I have been there- I know it's hard. But I promise you there is something to learn or gain from it that will make you better and stronger moving forward.
And to my Dad- I couldn’t be more grateful for you and all those moments you were walking beside me.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.