Smile: Xavier School SM Immersion

by Jeremy Gemzontan (H4C)
SM service staff at SM Cubao (photo by Mr. Paolo Suapengco)

You don’t expect to see high school students earning their keep as a bagger at a supermarket, but this is the exact scene that greeted shoppers at various SM branches last month. Every year, Xavier School sends its seniors out on a four day immersion to work as baggers, meat vendors, and shelvers. This year, the seniors were employed at three different branches: SM Cubao, SM Megamall and SM Makati, and while most of the seniors you ask will relate their experiences cutting meat, boxing goods, or doing the patented “At your service, yes!”, I’m going to tell you about Ate Liit.

Over the four days I worked at SM Cubao, I often found myself bagging goods for one of my favorite cashiers, Ate Liit. She was always beaming with energy, keeping customers happy, and showering us Xaverians with jokes and brain teasers. If at first I felt that she did this out of courtesy to make us feel more at home, it eventually hit me that she actually did all of this because of her outlook on life. She exuded positivity, and you could easily argue that this is how she looked at her situation as well. Despite having a job that many might find “menial” or “basic,” she takes pride in knowing that she’s rendering a necessary service. And though she doesn’t plan to be a cashier for the rest of her life, she says that it’s a part of her life that she won’t forget.

The memories and experience that I’ve gained over the four days will always be dear to me, but it won’t be my biggest takeaway from the whole thing. Many Xaverians say that the SM immersion will give them the chance to see work from an employee’s perspective and give them insights on how to treat their future employees at their future companies.

What I learned is to actually see work from a human’s perspective.

I realized that work is something to be proud of. It doesn’t matter what kind of work you do—whether it’s something people scoff at, or the type that people wish they could do, too. As long as you’re rendering whole-hearted service to others, then it’s a line of work that you should hold your head up high doing. I’ve learned that being a cashier or a bagger isn’t anything to be ashamed of. I’ve learned that, sometimes, people working as cashiers or baggers may actually find more happiness and joy in their everyday lives versus those working in their coats and ties.

And, more than anything else, I’ve learned to approach everyday with a smile.

Ate Liit‘s the one who taught me that. 🙂

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