Green leaves of summer turn red in the fall
To brown and to yellow they fade
And then they have to die
Trapped within the circle time parade
Of changes

- Changes, Phil Ochs

I recently left my job at the hardware store.

It was a bittersweet ending. It felt like that store was part of who I was, the place I found my true self, the place where so many of my happiest memories of the past year and a half had orbited around. I knew it was never going to be a place I worked forever, but I wished it ended on a happier note.

About a month before I left, the resident jackass of the store, Chuck, blew up at Maria for not doing the closing chores, which she had completed. She won't let people walk all over her, a trait which I love about her, and she made sure to escalate the incident to the store manager, Mike. At first things were looking hopeful, this was far from the first time Chuck overstepped while power-tripping, and rumor around the store was that he was going to be demoted. Finally some justice was to be had, after one of his blow-ups being no small part in Roomie's departure from the store, and countless other times he had hurt my friends. Though, a week later when it was evident he was just getting another slap on the wrist and nothing would be done, my faith in the store died. Maria put in her resignation that day, and mine came in a couple weeks later once I had found another job. Those last few days were tortuous, my body ached with malice, the overwhelming urge to knock over every shelf was hard to hold back. I had sacrificed so many weekends, so many holidays, so many hours, because somewhere inside I though it would in some way pay off, that by putting in my all, it would pay off in some way. Sure, I'd see it in the customers' faces when I'd go above and beyond trying to find a solution to their problem, even getting pretty banged up a number of times making brackets for people. In the end it turned out not to really reward me, but in a way that lesson is it's own reward.

No longer working together has only positively impacted Maria and I's relationship. We were somewhat worried we would struggle to find the time to be together, no longer having a guaranteed sixteen and a half hours together every week with our shifts together, but it has not been an issue. The time we do spend together now is more rewarding, not having to put on a professional face, getting to enjoy our time with outings and little activities instead of unpacking the daily drama in the parking lot. I feel closer to her than ever before, and it grows every day. Her coming into my life is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. I met her mother for the first time this weekend and it felt good, being a part of her family, taking that next step.

The first job I got accepted for, which led to me quitting the store, was short lived. I was a sales representative for Intel, which I was initially excited about, being able to work somewhat in the computer industry. However after the first day, I realized it was not a good fit for me. I did not have any real direction, just to push Intel products and Norton anti-virus. Intel makes good processors, but when I was standing in the store and looking at the offerings by AMD, I realized I was going to have to push inferior products, which did not sit well with me. I sent in my letter of resignation, and decided to just do Doordash until I found something else.

Fortunately I never ended up having to Doordash, quickly finding an IT position at a local community college which was urgently hiring. Not only did it pay better than both the store and the sales rep position, it had better hours and was truly in the computing field. My first day was a couple weeks ago and it's starting to feel normal to me. I'm still getting the hang of all their systems, which are fairly disorganized between online and local students, but it's making more sense. Getting used to working with Windows again is frustrating, but a necessary evil, until Linux takes over the desktop.

I find myself with a lot of free time during my shift, and with it being in the evening, my days are pretty much completely open. With school being out until August, I have a lot of opportunities to get personal projects done. I don't find myself exhausted at the end of each day, I feel excited for the next one that awaits.

I've been blessed by change.

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