This is Life, Based on a True Story  

First heartbreak

My daughter recently experienced her first real heartbreak. But not of the love-affair kind.

She also learned one of the hardest lessons in life — a lesson most adults fear.

Losing her job.

She was a sales associate at a store that closed. To say she loved her job would be like saying there’s a lot of water going over Niagara Falls.

She didn’t just love her job. She portrayed it. She proudly bought all her clothing from that store and wore it with the pride of an Olympian with a gold medal.

She was that store’s biggest ambassador. She’d Instagram and Facebook their promotions, Snapchat her shifts and hand out store flyers to her fellow students when there was a big sale.

She truly treated that workplace as though it were her very own. She often asked me to drop her off early for her shift, before the store would open so she could clean and organize the store.

She always wanted the store to have its best foot forward for the customers it would greet that day.

At the age of 16 and a little over a year of employment, my daughter became the youngest keyholder of the store. Among other things, she was tasked with opening and closing the store, cashing out and training new employees.

Her manager noticed her dedication to her job and the company and rewarded her well for it. My daughter proved her worth by pulling in the second highest sales of 2016 — all on a part-time basis; working only weekends.

When the news came the store was closing forever, she cried like she’d lost her best friend. And to a degree, she did.

She had such a passion for the store and its offerings. She loved going to work. And now she truly feels lost — and still has yet to land another job; although not for lack of trying (this is Kelowna after all).

As her parent, it was heartbreaking to watch her go through the emotions of losing a job through no fault of her own. There was nothing I could do except hug her through it. What made it more difficult was knowing how young she is.

To experience job loss is a fear I have at times, just like many other adults. It’s our only means to paying our mortgages and everything in between. Thankfully, she doesn’t have that to worry about yet, but it has certainly made her saving up to buy her first car a bit of a challenge.

To me, some life lessons — like losing a job — aren’t supposed to happen until you’re an adult.

Other life lessons — like failing a course in school — are meant for the younger ages because it’s those types of failures that teach you how to solve problems you’re going to eventually face in the real world.

In fact, that is a life lesson my daughter is about to learn, possibly the hard way. She didn’t hand in five assignments this past semester and as a result, failed one of her core subjects. That means she doesn’t get credits for this course now.

Ultimately, this could affect her graduating on time. Does it concern me? Of course. But no amount of me nagging made her do those assignments and now she has to deal with those consequences. It might mean doubling up next semester to make up those credits.

I can’t do her work for her. And at her age, she shouldn’t need me to hover around to make sure she’s doing her school work.

I’ve checked out of this one with her. I’m leaving it up to my daughter to figure out her next step. She knows what she needs to do and the expectations and hopes her dad and I have of her graduating and taking post-secondary education.

I know I drastically swung from one side to the other in emotions through this column. Starting out with feelings of sympathy for my child over a job loss and then swinging over to a colder approach over her failing a subject at school.

But that’s also a part of life lessons — with the emphasis on life. At my age, I think I’ve experienced most of the toughness life can hand out — illness, death and financial and emotional strife.

I can see how the pendulum now swings for me to be able to teach and lead my own children through some of the adversities they too will face. It’s my own experiences that I’ll teach them from.

And for me, the lessons will continue as well. For I have to know when to stand back and let them figure things out themselves and when to step up and guide them through it.

Thanks for reading.


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About the Author

Tanya Gunderson has been writing for the heck of it for many years. Her inspiration comes from her kids, their friends and the craziness of life. She takes great pleasure in exposing life for what it really is and has an open-book approach to her writing.

Her formal education and background include a blink-and-you miss-it stint in the radio and television industry, but it gave her an opportunity to write professionally on a few different occasions.

Email: [email protected]



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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