It wasn't on my to-do list to work a double shift along our trip, my focus was just landing one job per state. However, this week in Sioux Falls, SD word got around and I ended up with multiple job opportunities coming my way. It seemed a shame to only work one job, so I decided I would load up on a double shift in order to get more hours and experience.
My day started at a bakery called Oh My Cupcakes. Most of the employees show up at 4:00 a.m. every morning in order to start baking everything from scratch. Their specialty is high-end cupcakes and they don't disappoint; they're delicious! When I showed up to work, they threw me in the back and I started scooping cookie dough. It wasn't all that hard, the most difficult part was not wanting to eat every bit of it.
After scooping dough, they asked me if I wanted to try icing some of the cupcakes. I took a look at the cupcake display case, the perfectly symmetrical icing across every one of their beautifully decorated cupcakes. I knew I didn't have the skills to do that dainty kind of work, but I gave it a shot anyway.
I thought I was doing a decent enough job, but according to one of my fellow co-workers, I wasn't.
"Wow, Heath…You are absolutely terrible at this."
Oh well, I'm not great at making cupcakes. At least I learned what job I don't see myself doing in the future.
At the end of my shift at the bakery I was interviewing some of the employees and one worker in particular was very interesting. Her name was Michelle, she's been working at the bakery for several months and is also a mother of three. Her previous occupation was a scheduling position at a doctor's office, where she was answering phones most of the day.
"A lot of people would look at me and tell me how successful I am, but I didn't feel that way. I wanted to do something creative, so I quit my job in order to come here and make cupcakes."
Michelle left a job where she wore nice clothes to work every day and was adored by others, to a position that many would think is ideal for a college or high school student. However, she loves what she is doing now. I noticed a spark when talking with her, she genuinely loves her work. Even though she is making less money now, it's what she would rather be doing.
This has been a reoccurring theme throughout our trip on Hourly America. People assume hourly-paid workers are in certain roles because "that's the best they can get." But more often than not, the workers we meet are in those positions because they genuinely enjoy what it is they are doing.
My second shift of the day was at Shop Dog Boutique where I was a cashier for a puppy retail store. The owner, Ellyn, is only 28 years old. After college she worked in retail for several years, and she learned enough about a retail business to start one of her own.
At such a young age, it blew me away to see someone so knowledgeable about the retail space. I asked her how she did it.
"I paid attention when I was working for other people. Even when I was an hourly worker I just watched how they did things and took notice. Now I can apply those principles to Shop Dog."
Ellyn's mentality is a great reminder to always pay close attention to the position you're in. Whether you love your hourly job or know it's not the job you want forever, pay attention. Your hourly job could end up being the launching point for bigger dreams that you didn't even imagine.
Maybe one day you'll be the one writing the checks.