Work It.

"People, we were part of something really special," the guy said. He was talking to a group of public school teachers and coaches and administrators at someone’s birthday party. Maybe it was somebody’s retirement party. He was absolutely correct. We all had been part of a special time when we all worked together. I was a teacher at Sam Houston High School in San Antonio for about ten years. About half that time as a special ed. teacher, and about half as an English teacher. Most of the people with whom I worked genuinely cared about the kids. I learned from Principal Betty Williams to take an obstacle and look at it really hard and find the opportunity in it. Good times. Great people.

Before the Sam Houston years, I worked in the amazing world of retail. Seven years with Polo / Ralph Lauren in San Antonio. Three years with Structure / Limited, Inc. in San Antonio, Dallas / Ft. Worth, and Austin. My friends at one of those jobs taught me how to work through a hangover. At the other one I learned about the ugly world of corporate retail politics (Exactly whose ass do I need to kiss? And exactly how do they prefer to have it kissed?). Those were fun years. Good times. Great people.

My first job ever was as a bag boy / stock boy / delivery boy for a small grocery store & market in Hope, Arkansas. I lied a little bit about my age to get the job. I was fifteen. I said I was sixteen. Nobody cared. I learned a lot about work and about people and about life. The guys who worked in the meat market - Glen, Cat, and T-Bo - could have had their own sitcom just based on their antics. Good times. Great people.

I’ve had other jobs. I worked as an assistant to the dean of students at my alma mater, Hendrix College. I worked as a waiter at a couple of different places. I worked at a carpet warehouse, driving a forklift. I worked on a loading dock, loading and unloading trailers (without a forklift). I caught chickens in a chicken house. I pumped gas in Yellowstone National Park. I’ve had a few more jobs.

The constant in almost all of those experiences has been the people. The amazing people from whom I have learned so many things. I feel really lucky to have had some wonderful times with kind and caring and compassionate and really hard-working folks. It continues today. On any day of the week, I feel like I’m still "part of something really special," working with the talented staff at W. D. Deli, and getting to see our hungry customers come in for lunch. I jokingly tell some customers that it’s like throwing a party everyday - you never know who’s going to show up. Mr. Bobo never tires of good times or great people.


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