Posted by: tlnemethy | June 26, 2016

Layoffs to Lilies

First off, I recently had my last day as a technical writer. I got cut from the flock in a massive layoff. Second off, it was the best day ever. Here’s why:

For years I had alternated between excruciating boredom/lack of work and an up-to-your-eyeballs-in-hellfire work schedule. I’d say the split was roughly 70:30 but my elation for getting outta dodge might be skewing things a bit. Who really knows.

Anyways, for anyone who is currently worried about my work status don’t you fret. I have already started working a new and very different gig. Drumroll please, I’m now a… FLORIST. Which is weird purely because I am the John Snow of flowers (I know nothing).

I went in to my interview after having googled a bunch of the most commonly used flowers in florist shops. Thankfully I’d done that at the very least. I guess I was pretty collected in the interview because I knew nothing about the subject and was quite honest about it, well for the most part. There’s something really freeing in not needing to prove anything to yourself. See if I was maybe a botany major or something like that it might’ve been nerve-wracking to go into my own field requesting a job. There’s an expected knowledge base you know. If I got nervous and blanked on what a lily looked like that would be insurmountable with that degree. Because I knew nothing, I could own that and very casually admit that I might not be as well versed in flowers as some other people, but that I had other skills to bring to the table.

I thought I had a decent grasp on flora (at least vegetables). I remembered years spent half-listening to family members talk about geraniums and lilacs, orchids and peace lilies. Hopefully some of it sank in, even though I can’t remember ever being too interested in connecting those names to actual plants.

At the end of my interview, the manager shuffled my paperwork and then turned absent mindedly to look in the glass coolers lining the walls. That must’ve sparked something in her because she then started pointing out various flowers around the room and asking me what they were. In that moment, even though I recognized the flowers by sight, I could not for the life of me remember what they were called. I was bumbling.

She pointed at a big round ball of a flower, a puff ball flower made up of tiny little white blooms. I knew it. But what was it? I think it’s normally blue. I’ve seen it in blue. My mouth might’ve been slightly agape. I had to give up after the grace period for thought was over.

Hydrangea. It was a hydrangea. Yet we moved on.

One of my first arrangements.


Down and down the rows we went with me guessing correctly maybe 10% of the time and the rest mostly filled with my pathetic blank expression tinged with panic. My resume said no experience with flowers. WHY ARE YOU TESTING ME?! I’m failing really bad. We hit all the somewhat unusual of the normal florist flowers and then she turned to the flowers that about 97% of the earth’s population can identify. Like it’s almost expected. She gestured at them and said, “I’m sure you know daisies and mums…” I wholeheartedly nodded though my brain was so frazzled that I definitely wouldn’t have bet on it. “Oh of course, piece of cake.”

What a lie.

But let me tell you, I’m much better with flowers now. Constant dedication to not be embarrassed in front of a customer will sometimes get you just the motivation you needed.

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