Sticking your neck out
By Alexie Ekaterina Scanlon
Like so many others before me, I found my second chance at Goodwill.
A little over a year ago, I joined a temporary job placement program that brought me to a Goodwill pop-up store in San Francisco’s Castro district. The program is one of several offered by the for-profit social enterprise helping folks like me get paid work experience.
I was never afraid of hard work. I just needed someone to take a chance on me. The folks at Goodwill did that. The program allowed me to grow as a person and advance through the company.
Over the course of a year, I went from being an assistant store manager to a temporary general manager. I was recently transferred to the company’s growing eCommerce division as a product coordinator. The online retail side of the company is such an amazing “store” to work for.
Small accessories have become my area of expertise. Anything smaller than a purse — belts, scarves, hats, neckties — falls under my purview.
The position has already had one unexpected benefit. I’ve discovered a love of scarves!
I never had much use for them in the past, except for maybe one or two occasions when I needed to keep my neck warm. But now I can’t get enough of them.
That’s partly because of the wonderful selection of vintage and designer scarves we have cultivated here in our eCommerce wing. It’s not unusual to find designer names like Marc Jacobs, Salvatore Ferragamo, Coach, Picasso and Gucci attached to our collection of flowing neckwear. There are even a few brands I hadn’t heard of until taking this position. That’s how hip these scarves are. Even I haven’t heard of all of them! (Cue eyeroll.)
A recent favorite had to be a Diane Von Furstenburg scarf that came from a generous donor to be listed by us in our online stores – did you know you can find SF Goodwill merchandise on eBay and Amazon?
The texture and color are absolutely intoxicating to the senses. I know there’s a special long-necked someone out there who would give this immaculately designed scarf a proper home — and much-deserved neck hug. But if that person doesn’t make a bid soon, I just may have to!
Every item sold through our eCommerce division helps fund our wonderful and unique job assistance programs, including the one that got me started off as a temporary employee more than a year ago.
So many people have come to Goodwill because they needed to change their lives for the better and this was the place that gave them that fighting chance. More than 800 people currently work for Goodwill here in the tri-county region, and the company has helped even more people get jobs outside of the company.
Those of us who work at Goodwill come from very diverse backgrounds, cultures and countries, and everyone has a story to tell.
I can attest from personal experience that if you come through our doors with a positive attitude, you will get a fair shake. And those of you who shop with us get more than a fair deal.
All you have to do is stick your neck out a little.