While not directly related to environmental engineering, I had some prior work experience that taught me how to work one-on-one and in a team setting with people from all walks of life and age groups to accomplish goals in the workplace. I believe this experience applies to any job situation with engineering being a prime example.
During academic breaks between May 2014 and December 2015, I had the opportunity and pleasure of working at Winn-Dixie. Upon employment I was placed into the Meat & Seafood Department as a Seafood Associate. At first, I was a little nervous as I had no prior experience working in supermarkets let alone dealing with meat and seafood. To overcome this I relied on the basic skills that had gotten me to where I was at that point: effective communication, listening, teamwork, and positive attitude. While learning the duties and responsibilities associated with my position, I had amazing managers and co-workers who taught me what I needed to know and gave me tips to improve. In the beginning, my greatest weakness was my speed. I struggled to complete all the tasks assigned to me in my shift. Yet, in the following weeks as I learned more and more about my duties and gained experience in completing them I drastically improved my speed. I was even able to aid my co-workers and be an asset to them rather than a liability.
Over time, I gained proficiency in workplace duties of setting up and breaking down the seafood and meat displays, sanitizing the workplace and equipment, correctly packaging meats and seafood, operating the seafood steamer, and product stocking. In particular, I was able to effectively rotate our stock to maintain the freshest products while simultaneously minimizing losses, or shrink, and maximizing revenue. Meanwhile, I also further developed my teamwork and communication skills in order to quickly and efficiently complete the required tasks for a shift while serving customers. Most notably, from my employment at Winn-Dixie I acquired expertise in working with and serving people from all walks of life. Waiting on customers with different attitudes and expectations was a truly eye-opening experience. I was pushed to perform to the best of my abilities while maintaining a calm and pleasant deposition in sometimes very hectic and tense situations. Eventually, I was deemed proficient enough to train new hires how to excel in day-to-day duties within the department. Upon returning during Winter Break in December 2015, my co-workers and I worked to achieve record sales in the Meat & Seafood Department.
From the summer of 2010 until the spring of 2013, I had the honor of working with not only a fantastic boss but also a truly great friend. I was responsible for helping to manage a household, which involved essentially every task possible that needs to be done around a property. For instance, during a workday I could be mowing the yard in the morning while rewiring cables in the afternoon. The next workday I could be painting a door in the morning and editing memoirs in the afternoon. This position challenged me to learn and think on my feet quickly in order to solve household problems in a timely fashion. Not to mention, this job was instrumental in developing my verbal communication skills due to my employer’s blindness. I could no longer rely on visual cues to get a point across and had to concisely describe what I had done or what I was doing. Moreover, my listening skills greatly improved as this was the primary way for my boss to inform me as to what he wanted done around the house.