The Over-Qualified Grocery Cashier


On a recent trip to the grocery store, I encountered a particularly friendly cashier in the lane reserved for customers with 12 items or less. He was young, energetic, and chatty. We exchanged the usual small talk. He commented that he would soon graduate from a local university with a degree in International Business. He was looking forward to graduation, but didn’t know exactly what to do with his degree. He seemed frustrated that he wasn’t getting much direction from his college advisors.

Then he asked, “What do you do?”

I gave him my typical response—“I help adults figure out what they want to be when they grow up!”

“Oh, I REALLY need to talk to you!” he almost shouted.

With a line queuing up behind me, there wasn’t much time for conversation. But within a few moments I learned that he currently speaks four languages fluently and is learning a fifth for fun! Bingo!! I think we identified some marketable skills and talents! Yet he is still perplexed about what kind of job he should seek because he can’t seem to fit into the corporate grid that is being presented to him by the local community college. He feels stuck in his grocery cashier position, but I think his options are endless!

As I left the grocery store that day, I pictured the young man carrying a large backpack filled with valuable gifts and talents. All the while he is walking around saying, “I’m looking for a way to generate income, but I just can’t figure out where to start.” Reminds me of when I’m looking for my sunglasses and it turns out I’m holding them in one hand. Seems ridiculous, but I see it frequently when working with career coaching clients. The things we are most gifted to do seem very ordinary to us, and we often have a hard time recognizing them.

What unused gifts and talents are in your backpack?


photo credit: Incase. via photopin cc