We recently connected with Gretchen Zelek and have shared our conversation below.
Gretchen, appreciate you joining us today. It’s always helpful to hear about times when someone’s had to take a risk – how did they think through the decision, why did they take the risk, and what ended up happening. We’d love to hear about a risk you’ve taken.
I have always wondered what it would be like to work at a popular “technical athletic apparel” company. I loved their purpose, their vision and their core values. I loved shopping in the store, but I realized I had never seen anyone my age represented there and I decided I could change that. The first 3 interviews were virtual and I watched on the Zoom screen the fresh faces of college students and those who had just graduated, all hoping for a part time job. I was 3x the age of most of the applicants.
After a final in person group interview, I was hired. It took forty hours of online and in-store training but I have to say it is one of the best and the most fun and rewarding things I have ever done.. My friends think I am crazy and it is challenging to organize my time efficiently to get my “real job” and other responsibilities completed, but it is worth it. .
Because I took that leap, when most people are looking to retire, I have been able to connect with people I ordinarily would never have had the opportunity to meet and I have even made friends with guests who frequent the store. I problem solve, actively engage with people all day long, support a great team and I am constantly learning. I did not know what to expect when I applied for that job, but it has far exceeded everything I hoped for.