It was the summer of 2010, and I like many other Millenials was at the mall job hunting. I've had a large variety of jobs in the past, so I could have gone into a clothing store or restaurant and probably had a good chance of landing a job, but I wanted a job at the most prestigious store in my local mall. The Apple Store.
I had some knowledge of technology but not a ton. So I was quite nervous to go through the interview process. After three interviews, I did it! I got a coveted job as a specialist (sales) at the Apple Store!
Now before I continue, let me preface the rest of the story with the fact that working at the Apple Store is a great job, and I value my past coworkers and my experience working there.
My first few months working were awesome, I was meeting great people and enjoying the work. As a self-described "life long learner" I was constantly eager to learn more on the job. I was always asking questions and researching the answers when I had the chance, and before long I got promoted to the Genius Bar.
Now, this is the part of the story that becomes a double-edged sword for me. My time at the Genius Bar was simultaneously soul-crushing but character building at the same time. The age of customers coming into the store excited and happy to get the latest and greatest Apple product had ended. It was now the era of customers that were coming to the Genius Bar upset and frustrated.
On a daily basis, I was getting berated and broken down. But, it was this battlefield that was the Genius Bar that I gained some of the strongest tools in my belt.
I learned how to communicate. I constantly had the opportunity to show sympathy and empathy, when someone came in with a device that wasn't working the way they wanted it to. I learned to listen to better understand what they felt was an issue. I learned to communicate clearly in ways that were easy for them to understand. I learned that problem-solving meant finding the best solution for them.
These are all skills that I gained from my three years at Apple, that continue to benefit me to this day. I continue to study languages and tech, but these are the skills I believe will help me strive in the long run.