Finding the Good in Any Job

After a 30-year career, she relishes a job she can leave whenever she wants.

by claudia stagg • Member { View Profile }
Photograph: iStock

I started a new part time job at a tea store the other day. You may have seen this tea shop in one of the malls you frequent — you know, the one that looks inviting with offers of tea samples to beckon you in.   

For a person who is passionate about tea, the art of serving it in fancy pots and ultimately drinking it, this seems like the perfect way to spend a few hours a week while I continue my reinvention. I feel like a kid in a candy store (well, almost) as I begin to check out the 100-plus varieties that are sold there by the pound.  

Just the other day I had a cup of white tea that costs more than $175 a pound — the rarest of white teas once served only to Chinese royalty. I also tried the Monkey Pick Oolong variety. So named because the Buddhist monks used to send monkeys up the very highest of branches to pick the tea leaves they couldn’t reach. And before my shift was up, I also had a chocolate blend with zero calories that was pretty good — 97 more to go if you don’t count mixing flavors.         

Admittedly, this is not a job that will make me rich by any means. In fact, my accumulated hours will probably not even cover the cost of the teas and accessories I intend to purchase in the near future with my employee discount.

Before accepting the job, it took me some time to get over the fact that there will be weeks when I won't  bring home enough money to pay to pay my kids’ allowance, or better yet, a good dinner out.  Just how much is my time worth, I found my ego asking.            

When I have my “positivity” bracelet on, however, I can see some benefits that will make this job worth being a part of my journey. For one thing, I know I’ll learn a lot while working at his boutique — not only about the wonderful history of tea but also the many health benefits.

I now know what to sip for a healthy complexion, to help boost my metabolism, increase my circulation, and suppress my appetite. I also know that if the water is too hot, you can actually burn your cup of tea. What could be better than a paid internship, I ask? 

After working on a career for 30-plus years, there is also something empowering to know that I don’t have to stay at a job longer than I want to. Just this past year, I’ve moved around in three different ones and learned something new with each change, no matter how much I earned. I know there will be others down the road, and I look forward to those adventures too.   

So you see my friends, I am finding it better to see my cup (of tea) as being half full than half empty. I know this is not a lifelong career, but it is for the here and now. And that is what I celebrate.  

Tea anyone?   

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