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April Jeppson: Lifelong friends are made at the workplace

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

A friend of mine, Jennie,  posted about how it has been 20 years since she became a stylist. She went through her education, the various jobs she’s had and how she got to where she is today. Currently, she co-owns a salon in Hawaii, flies to San Francisco once a month to do clients there and is on the lookout for a second location on the islands. Jennie is by all standards successful. She mentioned in her post about how she was a cosmetology instructor at the school where she was trained and basically didn’t want to get into it, because it was an awful experience. It was a bad place to work. I know, because I also worked there — that’s how I met Jennie.

April Jeppson

As I was scrolling the comments section of Jennie’s post, I began to notice comment after comment from former students. They were in unison telling her that although the job might not have been good for her, they were all glad to have met and worked with us. We were able to influence these young adults for the better, even though our work environment wasn’t stable. We were able to positively impact those around us, even though we daily thought about quitting.

I absolutely loved teaching. No. I absolutely love teaching. In the present tense, because I still love to teach. Getting to know the students, helping them discover their gifts and watching their eyes light up when they’ve finally mastered that skill. It might be one of my favorite feelings in the world. Helping others learn and become better versions of themselves —  how can that not feel amazing?

I loved my students and the educators I worked with. I met my best friend at that job. I had the opportunity to teach and get to know over 200 students while I was there. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. I remember calling my mom on the phone every morning during those last months I worked there. It took all my energy some days not to walk off the job. I wouldn’t dream of leaving my friends in the trenches though, that’s not the kind of person I am.

As I think of all the amazing friendships I made there, I’m reminded of all the awesome co-workers I’ve had. Odd jobs, full time work — as I think back on every job I’ve had since I was 15, there is at least one person that I’m still in contact with today. In fact, most of my lifelong friends are people I’ve worked with. There’s a bond that’s created through these shared experiences.

Those that worked shoulder to shoulder with me during this last year have created a special bond. I’m sure you’d agree that your COVID crew helped you hold on to your sanity this past year — mine sure have! I’m honored to work with some of the most caring, generous and kind people I’ve ever met — people willing to help out wherever needed. No need to beg or plead for help. These co-workers step up and take on whatever role is needed at the time.

My dearest Jennie, our boss was horrible. We were manipulated, underpaid and made to feel 100% replicable at all times. I would not want to work for that company ever again. With that said, I’m so glad I did. The memories made and the people I met made every frustration worth it. At the end of the day it’s the people you work with, and I’m happy I got to work with you.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.