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I Don’t Work Here: The Early Years

, , , , , , , | Learning | CREDIT: fmintar1 | December 22, 2021

It’s two years after I arrived in the USA, and I am fourteen or fifteen years old — a sophomore in high school — so I’m still trying to adapt myself to the new country. One of the issues that I’m facing is understanding places and locations. There’s no such thing as navigation apps yet, only maps you have to print and carry with you everywhere, and I have no cellphone yet.

My high school has a program called Career Development Day, which is for students to go to the location designated by the school and to shadow employees there so the students can write a report of what they’ve learned about specific careers.

I didn’t go to this school for my freshman grade, so I don’t know what Career Development is. However, I am a very shy kid, being new in the USA and all, so I don’t ask too many questions and just go along with it. When I receive my roster for the year, I receive the address for my Career Development location for the year, as well. I enter the address into MapQuest and print it out, and I don’t realize I’ve transposed two of the numbers.

On the first day of my Career Development Day of the year, as expected, I go to the wrong address, which is a USPS warehouse. When I go into the facility, I am so confused and so are the rest of the staff there. I don’t see any other students and my teacher isn’t there, either. I try to explain with my sort of broken English that I’m here for Career Development Day and show the logo of my school on my uniform, and I’m extremely nervous. I think they understand what I’m trying to say because the next minute, I am put to work. It’s super easy, just sorting mail, very mundane work.

Career Development Day is supposed to last half a day, from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm, and then we go home. I start at 8:00 am and sheepishly tell the staff that my school dismissal time is 2:30 pm. They are really nice, buy me lunch and drinks, and tell me that I am a good helper. Also, they write a letter talking about what I have done the entire time I’ve been there and give it to me so I can show it to my teacher.

The next day, I am called to see the Career Development teacher. Turns out, I was marked absent for the first day since I didn’t show up, and nobody called the school to find out where I was. The funny thing is, the school didn’t contact my parents to find out where I was, either. I show the teacher the letter I received from the USPS staff and, after reading it, my teacher laughs until tears come out of her eyes. I am very embarrassed, but at least the teacher understands, forgives me, and removes my absence. She also points out that I was at the wrong address and prints me the real directions.

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