Archive for May 2011

20th May 2011

Ready Ready Ready For The Takeoff*

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.

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.

EARLY 2011
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”

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