Archive for the ‘Work’ Category
Let’s see, I last ended with the end of August…
August is the official start of Back to School season, which almost runs seamlessly into Holiday season. Not too big of a deal, except I realized how much more different and crazier things are from the leadership side of things. This month brought along so many changes, but the most important one is my new general manager. She’s someone that I had heard about for a long time, worked a little bit for one day, and was definitely someone I wanted to work with more. She hit the ground running with our store-which is something the store desperately needed.
It wasn’t an easy thing to adjust to at first because I while I’d continued to challenge myself, I really wasn’t being pushed or acknowledged by my peers or by my immediate manager. It was a lot harder to stay motivated when you continuously see certain members of your team always taking shortcuts and knowing you’ll pick up the slack. The whole experience made me learn a lot more about myself though–how to stand up to “mean girls” and how to figure out who you can really trust.
The biggest thing my new boss taught me wasn’t about how to run a store via the day-to-day stuff. She really taught me what it meant to be a true leader; to lead by inspiring others. Aka, be aspirational (which apparently, is an AnF term and not a word that can be found in the dictionary, haha). One of the first things she’d noticed was that I wasn’t really connecting with the girls. I mean sure, I was nice to them and they were nice to me. However, I really didn’t have relationships with them–I never got to know them. I’m so grateful that’s one of the things she really pushed me on because a ton of these girls are my friends now that I’m no longer their manager. And a lot of times, I do see them as my younger sisters who I want to be there for if they need help. I’m completely floored when they do ask me for recommendations for internships/awards/study abroad since I know I am making a positive impact on their lives.
HOLIDAY SEASON 2010
Insane. I think that one word really does suffice. This was the first Thanksgiving I hadn’t gone home for, ever. Tour (CEO’s visit) was on Black Friday–a blessing and a curse. So much to prepare for ahead of time, but the dream team kept me sane (love you, Nic and Britt!). At the same time, if it hadn’t been for that visit, I’m not sure the store would’ve been as immaculate as it was. And if he didn’t know I wanted the Hong Kong Hollister store, he does now and I’m sure my DM was making sure everyone else that needs to know will know.
November 1, 2010. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS ARE WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS. I flew home for NLCS Game Four and it was worth every penny.
Had my first boyfriend and breakup. Terrible timing, I mean. Holiday season? Really? Life is hectic enough working mall hours of 7am-11pm without trying to get to know someone and spend quality time with them. Recipe for disaster. Thankfully, my friends and roommates were my rock and helped me understand that I shouldn’t have stayed in that relationship long enough to have gotten dumped. Haha. I didn’t want to just give up on my first relationship without trying! On the plus side, I know a lot more about my deal-breakers and what I want and don’t want in a relationship. I also learned a lot about balance of my time between work, relationship, and friendships.
I GOT MY OFFER TO OPEN THE FIRST HOLLISTER CO. (first of any Abercrombie & Fitch brand) in HONG KONG! It was amazing; dream come true. Not only that, but I also go promoted to Store Manager (SM), which is pretty amazing because you normally have to already be a SM before interviewing for an international spot. And I got both at the same time! I did get some flack for that. At the end of the day though, they interviewed their candidates and I was the one that they picked to go to HK. The move was incredibly sad. Saying goodbye to all my Chicago friends, knowing I’ll never live in Chicago again. I really wasn’t expecting if this early. I thought I had a couple more months. Nothing I could do about it though.
Hong Kong was simply amazing. I wasn’t there for very long, but starting to go through the process of opening a brand new store is one of the most exciting things there is. Being the first of our brand, I establish contacts and relationships with the local universities. It’s harder than you’d think since I had to use Chinese or I wouldn’t get the respect or attention at the universities. I’m very grateful now that my parents had made me learn and maintain my Chinese throughout the years. Recruiting was tough too since we had to learn the area–not just what I knew as a tourist, but where locals like to go to relax and have fun. I’m sad I wasn’t able to be there for the day the store opened, but everything happens for a reason.
My biggest takeaways from HK was knowing that I could succeed in and adapt to a new environment and my friendship with Carol. :) It’s crazy how HK brought us together and how she’s one of my closest friends now.
*2PM – “Take Off”
You might be a big fish in a little pond, Doesn’t mean you’ve won. ‘Cause along may come a bigger one & you’ll be LOST*
It’s been a couple months since I’ve even attempted to blog so here’s a catch up of life since graduation (aka, the last year or so):
I moved into the city shortly after graduation and I completely fell in love with Lincoln Park, Chicago, and my proximity to Lake Michigan and the chance to drive along Lake Shore Drive every day. This city just makes me smile whenever I think about it and I’m not entirely sure how I’ll be able to leave it, if I ever do. I can’t explain my love for the city, it just feels like home to me, almost as much as California does. And really, I think a large part of it is the friendships I have made here. I have an incredible group of friends and I can’t wait for all of us to finally be in the same city again.
July 2009 – Jan 2010
I worked at Apple (big surprise) during this time period. I finally got the chance for my first NSO; opened the Main Place (Naperville, IL) location on August 15, 2009. It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had in my Apple career thus far. As close as I am with some of my old managers, I’ve never felt like we got the chance to know our management team and our team as a whole as much as through NSO. I don’t think any of us can ever forget this-especially for me, as it is my first (and only) NSO. Main Place is like my baby and I’m so amazed that it’s already been a year since we opened!
Jan 2010 – Present
Late in 2009, I got recruited by Gilly Hicks (Abercrombie & Fitch) for their manager-in-training program. Up until that point, I had really never considered leaving Apple. And looking back, it was a huge leap of faith for me to take-kinda like moving to Illinois in the first place. Apple was all I ever I would work for, but I knew I couldn’t give this opportunity up.
And I really do love my job. A lot of people go into this company probably for the wrong reasons, but I love retail; always have. Choosing visuals as my first position was hard. Not in that I didn’t want it, it was my first choice, but I also knew how challenging it could be. In the end, it was a lot harder than I even imagined because you really do need to inspire and motivate your staff to do their best for you, and for the company.
I started off at a different store, but was able to transfer (mainly because the commute was really starting to drain me-that and school). But I feel like the move has helped me in so many more ways. When you first start out, you don’t know what your management style will be, and I think the associates do kinda take advantage of that, probably not even because they mean to, it just happens. But when I transferred, I knew right off the bat what tone I wanted to set with my pti and with my models. And I think that really shows in how much more smoothly updates are run now.
However, I’m feeling so incredibly lost in/at work right now though. I don’t really feel like visuals is my role anymore because I’ve had to teach someone else the role and that meant really giving it up. It makes me feel like I don’t have a purpose at this moment in time. It’s a weird feeling because you don’t feel like you’re really helping out the store, even if you are. I don’t think it’s uncommon as you transition to your next role to feel some anxiety about it, but I just kinda wish I knew what my next role will even be. I guess I’ll find out this week!
I just really needed to LEAVE this weekend. So I went up to Milwaukee to see Albert ’cause he just moved in and started med school at MCW (soo excited for him!) and so I got to hang out with him, and guess who else was actually in town? Kelvin, Matt, Kyla! Crazy, right? And then, they actually ended up staying at my place on Saturday and I haven’t had a late night in a while (doesn’t help that most of my closest Chicago friends have been out of city/state for the past couple of weeks now!) and it was amazing to hang out with people from home, or maybe to just hang out with friends in general. Whatever it was, they made their roadtrip seem like so much fun that I ended up hopping on a plane and meeting them in NYC. Crazy idea, but I think I really needed this time to get away from the City just for a day or two. I stayed at my sister’s place, hung out with her for most of the day before getting dinner with her, Carl, Kelvin, Matt, Kyla, Zach. And then we went out for a lil bit of a low key night before Carl and I met up with Viv in KTown for pho (don’t ask, haha). It felt great to catch up with a lot of old friends. So I’m also super excited for Mike to finally come home next week and work from home and hopefully I get to go to SF for at least the Giant’s game and see the parents and everyone still in the Bay.
I don’t regret leaving Apple, as much as I miss it every single day. (It doesn’t help that my new Gilly store is RIGHT across from Apple!). But what can you do?
*Coldplay – “Lost?”