Last weekend, I got to do a shift of my second job – I run the market stall of a local tea company, The Art of Tea.
My relationship with the company started out as a customer-business one. I regularly bought teas from the lovely owner at the market, often buying more than I expected due to the high quality and real flavours in the brew. Then one day, while chatting and making a purchase, we decided I’d be a great addition to the team (and allow my boss the luxury of the occasional weekend off). So every few weeks (usually once every 6-8) I run the market stall on a Saturday. I don’t know how to describe the time I spend at the market other than it must be what people feel like when they find that thing they were born to do, the career that makes them feel alive, the work that doesn’t feel like work. Even though it involves a very early start, and the days can be too hot or too cold (the joys of being outside!), customers usually come all at once then not at all, I give my bladder capacity a good test out, and food planning can be a bit tricky, its the most fun I’ve ever had with a job. I get to talk about one of my great loves all day, and get people excited about having a cuppa, which can be one of the best things to do for your health, both physically and emotionally.
A lot of people have a second job for practicalities – money is tight, or they need more flexibility for their children, health or other reasons. For me, this is a love affair. Its fun. Its like in highschool, how I never had to make myself study for English or History or some of the Science modules, but maths was always a struggle – I just connect with the topic, love the product, and I generally love talking about tea! And in working for The Art of Tea, I get to sell something I genuinely think is great – I certainly wouldn’t have been a long time customer if I didn’t approve of all the brand stands for.
I’ve had other retail jobs in the past, at uni and in that fun global recession a few years ago, but they were ‘for money’ jobs. Because I needed to eat, or have clothes to dress in, I needed uni books. And I never really connected with any of them. But I love selling, talking about, or sniffing and playing with tea. I also have to say that doing it with the company I work for is a huge part of it – working for someone who is as enthusiastic as me about the product, who just has a love for tea and wants to make her business the best it can be is truly inspiring. And sometimes, I even get pay from it instead of pre-spending it all on a pretty new pot or a new flavour.