“Hey baby, whatchu havin’?”
It was St. Patrick’s Day weekend and I was in downtown Chicago for a conference. I decided to go to Macy’s for lunch.
When I reached the seventh floor, I couldn’t help but notice Sheila B. She was working the counter, juggling orders for tortas, tamales, and even green lemonade (a St. Patrick’s Day special and her idea). Her voice was warm and honey-like. And even though the lines were long at the food court that Saturday, no one was complaining. There was something about Sheila B. that softened people’s impatience.
When it was my turn to approach the register, I saw the pin on her sweater: “15 years of service.”
“Wow, you’ve been here 15 years?” I said.
“More than 15,” she told me. “And loving every minute of it.”
This made me curious. She seemed to love her work. What made her love it so much? Why had she stayed in the same place for so long?
I asked if I could interview her to learn more. It was too busy to talk during the lunchtime rush so I came back later that afternoon when she’d finished her shift.
Sheila B. reminded me that fulfilling work is made up of some pretty basic ingredients. It’s about being able to bring your best gifts to what you do and experiencing a sense of belonging.
But don’t take my word for it. Hear her tell it, in her own unmistakable voice.
johnny_ripper (artist), “opening credits” (track), soundtrack for a film that doesn’t exist (album) license: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 DE
Chris Zabriskie (artist), “The Temperature of the Air on the Bow of the Kaleetan” (track), Undercover Vampire Policeman (album), license: CC BY 4.0