Day 2 of our SM immersion was a lot more tiring but at the same time, lesson-filled. Since we already had our orientation and tour on Day 1, Day 2 was almost all work aside from the first part where we learned how to do the employee dance.
Starting the day by learning how to do the employee dance really energized a lot of us and got us pumped up and ready to get to work. Unfortunately (or luckily for some) there weren’t that much customers in the morning once again. This gave us a chance to get to know the employees we were working with better and here their life story.
On this second day, I got to know quite a number of employees and there were a few stories that really stayed with me. The first story was the story of Jerrica who is the 2nd oldest among 5 siblings. What makes her story unique is that at 19 years old, just one year out of high school, she chose to stop studying after one year in college in order to earn for her siblings while at the same time, experience the work life. However, she plans to go back to college and pursue her dreams of getting a major in computer science and hopefully be able to work in the corporate world.
A realization of Jerrica that really struck me during our conversation was when she talked about how she misses her high school days where all she needed to do was study. She talks about how tedious and tiring working is and how I should enjoy my high school days while I can.
The next person I got to talk to was Denise who was just 18 years old. She talked about how her parents stopped funding her college education when they saw that she was getting low grades and not working hard enough. She talked about how she regrets going on gimmicks too much and not taking her studies seriously. Now that she’s working, she has realized how hard it is and why she should have taken her studies seriously.
When she was talking about these regrets of hers, it was really heartwarming for even she was getting teary-eyed and it really inspired me to make the most out of my education and study hard even when I have doubts. Our conversation ended with her resolution that hopefully, through this job, she can show her parents that she’s hard working and be able to pursue a degree in tourism once her contract ends.
After my conversation with Denise, I headed to our lunch break where I got to talk to Rose-Ann who is part of a demo and sampling agency that is cosigned with SM. I really enjoyed our conversation since I got to learn more about the sampling agency and how they operate. She told me how its not every week that they have projects and clients so it’s very hard for them since their pay is not guaranteed since they only get paid when they have clients. Because of this, everyday is a new day for them and there is no guarantees.
I realized from my conversation with Rose-Ann that nothing in life is guaranteed. All we can do is making the most out of each day by working hard and doing our best.
After lunch, we headed back to the supermarket to finish up the afternoon work hours. The afternoon work hours were a lot busier compared to the morning shift and I really got to feel what it’s like to be a bagger. Contrary to what most people think, being a bagger isn’t that easy. There is honestly a certain art to bagging and tying up boxes. You need a certain amount of practice and also skill. It’s important to be careful especially when handling the items of the customer. Moreover, you also have to be respectful to the customer even if at times they can be in a hurry and anxiously starting and waiting for you to finish bagging or boxing.
Despite the influx of more customers, I got a chance to get to know one last employee better. It was funny how the conversation started since Mariel was the one who asked me shouldn’t I be asking her questions. It was quite cool how she was very open to my questions and she started off with her story and how she was previously working for an Information Technology company as a sales person but because she wasn’t able to reach her quota, she was fired and had to apply for a different job.
It was really sad how she ended up having to be a cashier when in fact she actually has a degree in Political Science and seemed like a really knowledgable person. This just goes to show how sometimes things won’t go our way but we still have to move on and work with what we have. I wanted to ask her about her future plans but unfortunately, customers started pilling up again and I had to go back to bagging.
Overall, the second day of the SM Immersion was filled with light and deep conversations, hours of bagging and a lot of realizations. After these first two days into the immersion, I really laud the employees of SM for being able to go through this challenging job of having either too little customers (leads to boredom) or too many customers (really tiring) to attend to every single day. I for one, only worked for 6 hours yet I was quite tired and ready to call it a day. Moreover, a lot of the employees are almost the same age as me yet they’re already working hard to earn a living sometimes not only for themselves but also for their family.
It truly has been an eye-opening experience so far and I’m really thankful for this experience. In the remaining days of our immersion, I’m looking forward to getting to know more of the employees, learning new skills and gaining new insights and realizations!