Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Quotes and Garage Doors

"I was the worst hitter ever. I never broke a bat until last year when I was backing out of the garage." Lefty Gomez


Guess what day it is. Guess what day it is... Happy 1 year anniversary to me!

My first post-college job, my day job... isn't exactly what you'd expect a writer to have. I work in the office of a small garage door company. I'd have to say it's a typical pink collar job, except perhaps for the knowledge base I've gained in the last 12 months.

It's incredible, the things I never thought I'd know... like how to reprogram a garage door remote or keypad, or to reset signals from the opener. If a door refuses to close normally (but can close if you hold the wall button down), it may just mean the safety beam photo eyes are blocked or out of alignment. I've also been introduced to what certain things constitute as a 'door emergency' (i.e. a broken torsion spring = your door's not going anywhere, and if your car's inside then neither are you.). It's amazing how one necessary phone call like that can alter our entire busy schedule for a week.

mountain thunderstorm
Warehouse and Office of Rocky Mountain Doors
I'm learning a very different kind of quoting... and yet I still find a few similarities with this and journalism; it's all about asking the right questions and pulling all the information together to get satisfactory results. In this case, I'm consulting price sheets and vendor information to give customers price quotes. A specified quote depends on what the customer wants: commercial or residential doors, installed or uninstalled, windows or no windows, insulated (and to what degree) or non-insulated, sizing, (decorative) hardware, and compatible openers... You know, just scratching the surface here. The more opportunities I have to quote, the more it strikes me that I always have tons more to learn; and the responsibility keeps me sharp when we all communicate with with the manufacturers, customers, and within the company. And that's just on garage doors! I certainly don't know enough about the automatic gates or central vacuum systems to give quotes in those aspects of this business. Always, I still have lots to learn.

The quirks of a small community... certainly keep things interesting! Many people are friendly, but like any job there are plenty of others who are not. I've recently had notable extremes for both experiences, and I'm glad the good still outweighs the bad. It made my whole week, knowing I was able to help a gal over the phone in programming her garage door remote (hearing the door running in the background and her yelling a great "Woohoo!" makes me smile all over again). Since the business is situated in a rural county with a number of retirees, I work with many folks in the older generations. They have my highest respect, and through this year I've gained a new perspective that has further heightened my admiration. It must be a truly humbling experience for a man to ask assistance from much younger men about a garage door problem he likely could've fixed on his own, were he 10-20 years younger. It must be daunting for the woman to call us for door service when her late husband used to take care of 'all these repair things.' Yet dealing with certain people who 1) act like I'm incompetent because I'm a woman working in the construction field or b) are highly impatient and believe they should be the top priority no matter what... gets exhausting.

That's why it such a perk to have great employers... and if I've learned anything in this past year, it's that any job can make or break you based on where your connections are, who you work with, and who you work for. In all genuineness, I have the best bosses. They have reasonable expectations, they know I'm competent, and they welcome the collaboration from all their employees to make their business run with quality and efficiency. I'm glad I've found an environment for my first job where I know I'm very valued.

So as a writer and post-grad, the silver lining is simple... I have a steady income and steady routine that's helped me get on my post-college feet. The writer's bonus? Being a secretary provides such rich opportunity for character studies. After all, how can writers expect to create engaging characters if we write all the time with little face-to-face contact among others? I get to explore a rich field of ideas and personalities every day.

Much as I enjoy working where I am, I know there are so many things I want to do with my life, and my employers know this as well. So until I finish laying the foundation for what I'm doing next, I plan to keep learning all I can and gaining new experiences.

If nothing else, I have a feeling I may know a thing or two more about garage doors and openers that my future husband... or at least, I'll know exactly who to call if a 'door emergency' ever comes up.

"The doctor must have put my pacemaker in wrong. Every time my husband kisses me, the garage door goes up." Minnie Pearl