When you're a mailman, you shouldn't ask people if you could use their bathroom.
In hindsight, I probably didn't need to learn that lesson via personal experience. And yet, there I stood on the front steps with today's mail and an awkward request.
As a creative writer, I made for a pretty horrible mailman. I was disorganized, fumbling and prone to get pepper spray in my own eyes. One day I switched my morning route with my afternoon route, which meant people who usually got the mail late got it early. A happy homeowner told me I was way better than that other guy, unknowingly referring to me. I agreed, telling her, "He's the worst. Just a real jerk."
My career arc would continue through places like “Apple Country,” a convenience store that did not sell apples, and “Maurice the Pants Man,” no Maurice but plenty of pants.
I'd spend sixteen years traveling through corporate America, writing advertising for Home Depot, branding for Bose and marketing for Staples. I was laid off from one start up, fired from another, ran my own into the ground and then found and left my dream job. Along the way, I learned one lesson about work.