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Part-Time People Person

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I’m not yet sure if my new part-time job – which, actually, could end up being full-time, because Shady Brook Farm does a TON of business this time of year, and I can basically sign up for as many hours as I want, now that I’ve officially been hired – allows employees to wear hats that are…off-brand.

But I love that my new work shirt matches my new favorite hat – the Carharrt/47 Brand Bears hat. Ain’t she a beaut, Clark?

I do know that yoga pants aren’t allowed on employees, so I am going to have to run out and buy some professional pants tomorrow. Read: I need new jeans. Considering I have basically been eating and drinking everything I want for a few months now, and I have a 40-year-old metabolism, this is a concerning development.

But, anyway, yes, I have a job at Shady Brook, which is a local institution here in Bucks County. It’s a family-owned-and-operated working farm that has expanded – or, really, exploded – over the past 20 years or so, into a multi-faceted destination for locals and tourists alike. I went on a tour today with one of the managers, and while I knew about some of the farm’s offerings, I couldn’t believe all the ways that the very smart owners have found to expand their sources of revenue.

Aside from all the obvious seasonal features, like apple and pumpkin picking or the corn maze and haunted hayride, you also can take a school tour or hold a kid’s birthday party at Shady Brook. The Farm Market not only sells mostly homegrown produce or locally-produced culinary products, it houses a deli where you can get a coffee, a hoagie, or a bagel that’s Eagles green. The Garden Center sells everything you need for your yard, including seasonal decorations. Landscaping companies can come and buy supplies at a separate outpost.

You also can hang out and drink local craft beer/cider/wine, watch sports and listen to live musicĀ at The Stones Throw, a relatively new feature (and brilliant idea).

Am I trying to sell you on Shady Brook Farm? Hell yes, because I myself have been sold on it. I’m excited to do whatever they put me to work doing, because the people I have met so far in the application process have been energetic and engaging, and while they all admit they are extremely busy and put in a lot of hours, I sense that it’s because they care about the place they work and enjoy making a positive impact on customers. It is hectic and sometimes stressful, but they love it.

I was told today at my new job that I would fit in well and had the potential to move up in the company because I had people skills and could hold a conversation, making eye contact and smiling.

My old job made me more of a “people person,” which is something I NEVER would have considered myself before. I had to hold in-person conversations nearly every day, and I had to project energy and positivity, even if I didn’t feel it.

Honestly, after a couple weeks of going through the really impersonal “white-collar” online job-hunting-and-applying process, being told I had something valuable was music to my ears. I’m a little nervous about what lies ahead, because I haven’t worked retail since college, and there is so much to learn, and yes, I still have to try to find a full-time white-collar job so my husband doesn’t have to bear the massive brunt of our bills, but I’m excited to get out there and do something new. I’m excited to meet new people and work for a company that’s growing and expanding and open to new ideas – not to mention open to hiring people with no experience, just because they possess good qualities – and clearly values people. The manager I toured with today has been there for two decades, and she started as a cashier.

Money has never been the most important thing in the world to me. Feeling that someone believes in me, even if it’s just to welcome me in off the street to run a cash register, and feeling that I can make a positive impact on someone’s day, feels like a great opportunity.

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