“Work has allowed me to improve as an individual and become comfortable being uncomfortable.”

Marco, a senior who has worked at Pasquesi Home and Gardens and Grainger, will be attending Villanova next fall. This is the speech he delivered at our Evening of Gratitude to our Business Partners on May 9, 2018.

Good evening, my name is Marco and I am a senior at Cristo Rey. I am honored to be here with all of you today.

Over the course of my four years at Cristo Rey, I had the opportunity to work at two organizations. My freshman and sophomore year I worked at Pasquesi Home and Gardens with Fred Wells as my supervisor, and my junior and senior year, I worked at Grainger with Mark Haubrich as my supervisor. Both jobs taught me many things and helped shape me into the young man I’ve become today.

My freshman year, I was a very shy and nervous person. I started at Pasquesi and at the time, didn’t think it was the ideal job considering my shyness. I was a cashier, so I was constantly interacting with people and I did not like that. I didn’t talk to my coworkers, I was bland with customers, I was pretty much in the corner, in my own world when I was there. But after getting adjusted to the environment, and my coworkers and supervisor approaching me to spark conversation, I started to ease up and over time broke out of my shell of discomfort. I became a more confident person and did not hesitate to ask whenever I had questions.

Working at Pasquesi taught me great people skills. Simple things, like smiling. I remember when I was training and we were learning how to answer phones and one of my supervisors, Lisa, said, “Smile when you answer the phone” and in my mind I thought, why would I smile? They can’t see me, it’s pointless. But after doing it and seeing the way people reacted, I realized the impact it had. And it was small things like smiling that really stuck to me.

And of course, I learned other skills like customer service, and more importantly, emotional intelligence. There were times where I would get frustrated with customers but I couldn’t show that, so learning to overcome my emotions was a very important skill and one that I believe is vital.

Moving now to my junior and senior year, I work at Grainger. It was a complete shift in environment because as Pasquesi was a more casual and interactive face-to-face setting, Grainger was more corporate and a lot of my interactions were online. It was all a new experience for me and the main things I believe Grainger taught me were self-advocacy and work productivity.

Many times my supervisor was busy, so a big mode of communication for us was through Instant Messaging. I had to learn how to advocate for myself, since my supervisor was not always there asking if I was done with my work; I had to let him know when I finished my work and ask for more when I needed it. I think this is a very valuable skill because in the future and as an adult, I won’t have people asking me what I need, so being able to advocate for myself is huge.

Another valuable skill Grainger taught me was work productivity. I became very efficient in my work, being able to complete what was asked of me either in the time frame given or before. And it wasn’t just trying to speed through assignments, rather, finding new ways to do certain tasks is what made me more efficient.

Whenever I was given an assignment I’d think to myself, how could I get this done in a more quick and accurate way? So I’d try new things to see if they worked and they did, I became more and more productive which, again, is a skill I think is very important, finding new and more efficient ways to do things.

I could go on all day about what I learned at these jobs and the positive impact they’ve had in my life but the main thing I’d like to say is that they have allowed me to improve as an individual and become comfortable being uncomfortable.

Thank you all.