When we moved away from Sioux Falls, I knew that one of my biggest challenges once in Grand Rapids would be to find a job. I am a creative, impractical person who majored in Visual Art (printmaking and photography, to be specific), and I've worked as a barista ever since I graduated. I knew that when we moved, my new career path wouldn't involve coffee - along with dairy and gluten, caffeine also upsets my sensitive stomach. And how was I supposed to be a good barista if I couldn't know how what I was serving my customers tasted?
I literally had no idea what fields I should be looking in for a new job. I was a little bit heart broken over not being able to work in coffee anymore, and I didn't know what else would work well with my creative personality.
So I started applying for office jobs. Even if I didn't love the work I was doing, at least I would make a decent income and work regular hours. Those would both be big sources of comfort in our lives as we settled into our new city. I applied for so. many. jobs. While Aaron went off to do real work each day, I would spend hours poring over different websites, crafting cover letters, and sending my resume to company after company. And company after company didn't get back to me.
I researched other job options, thinking I could apply at a bakery or a cake decorating shop - at least I had some experience and interest in the area of desserts. And a new idea struck me; why not apply at a flower shop or two? Even though I had no experience whatsoever working with flowers, I was pretty confident that my artistic background would help me pick up the skills of floral design. Botanical and floral images are also the biggest inspiration for my artwork, and it would be wonderful to work around them so much!
I spent time looking at the websites of all the florists in Grand Rapids and ended up sending my resume to a place called Ludema's. Their arrangements looked beautiful, and there was a large greenhouse attached to the store, which piqued my interest. To my surprise, I heard back quickly from the store and was given an interview! I was so excited to finally have a job prospect!
I went to my interview and really enjoyed my time talking with the manager of the business. I left really hoping that everything would work out! I didn't hear back for longer than I expected and started to resign myself to the fact that I wasn't going to get the job. But! When I was sure it was too late, the manager contacted me and said I was hired.
My first week was pretty rough. I felt silly not knowing anything when I was around so many experienced and talented florists, and it seemed like I would never learn everything I needed to. I had completely forgotten how hard it is to start a new job, to not know anybody or anything and to always feel in the way or pest-like.
But since that first week, I have grown to love working at Ludema's! I still have sooo much to learn, but I've picked up most of the basics. I am getting to know my coworkers slowly but surely (if only I wasn't such a shy introvert!), and the hours are wonderfully flexible. I sometimes get to help make centerpieces for weddings or even deliver the flowers, and that is, without a doubt, my favorite part of my job. I have so much fun knowing that I am helping make each brides' day beautiful, and I adore seeing all the stunning venues and each unique womans' style. But even day to day, I find a lot of joy in my work. It makes my day to see an older man spend over $100 on an arrangement of roses for his 60th wedding anniversary, or to hear a young guy order a small arrangement to set in the cup holder when he drops his car off for his wife. It warms my heart when I take an order and hear the sweet sentiments behind each card message.
And beyond those things, I am so thankful to have a new purpose. I was purpose-less and lost when we moved here, and Ludema's has given me something to work towards and focus on. I don't know if being a florist is my "calling" or not, but when I enter the shop each morning, I have a wonderful feeling of familiarity and comfort. And I am so thankful for my coworkers, who have been so patient in teaching and accepting me as a completely unexperienced florist.
I am so thankful that I am not working behind a desk. Two months ago, I felt sure that was what I would be doing, but after applying to and not hearing back from so many offices, I know that is not where I am supposed to be. I'm so glad God knows better than I do and orchestrates my steps with my best interest at heart.
I love that my job requires me to learn new things, to be creative and to grow and improve each day. I love that I walk in to the sweet fragrance of flowers, and that I smell like them when I get home each night. I mean, how could I not love my job when I get to work with beauties like these?