I felt like I should write something, but I’m not sure of what, about Apple. I worked for 2 years as a Specialist at an Apple store. I was in the core training group before the first (and only) Apple store in Maine opened. It opened with a bunch of enthusiastic, energetic, creative and intelligent people of all ages and all walks of life. We went through a month long training together where we learned the Apple products and a lot about each other. We were a close knit group by the month’s end.
I never thought I'd enjoy retail sales, but this was a different brand of sales, a different level of retail. There was a calm, unpressured sales attitude at Apple, an expectation that you would work with a customer until they got what they needed, even if it was only their questions all answered and no sale.
For me it involved hours after school to closing and all day Saturdays, leaving me little free time. People asked how I could do it, how I could keep up the pace of teaching and work at the store. All I can say is that it was a different kind of work. After teaching students all day, I could come in to the store and work with adults, and talk about technology and find solutions to people’s needs. The pace was quick, the work environment was clean and bright, the people were glad to see you. I was re-energized just walking through the doors.
There was excitement as new products were introduced. There were challenges to see if you could learn the new products before you got to actually sell one! It was satisfying to be able to explain differences in models of devices and software and help determine what system was going to be the unit they needed.
Sometimes that store was so crowded you could not make it in a straight line from front to back. You couldn’t even make out the bright turquoise, royal blue, red or orange shirts signifying that you were an Apple employee. Teens crowded the devices on Saturdays, dancing to the music, making video clips and posting on FaceBook. Some people, more my age, came in looking overwhelmed and skeptical at times, but left feeling a bit more in the loop after talking with someone and getting their questions answered.
I have thought about going back to work there, now that I'm retired. But with gas prices the way they are, and the fact that I'd want to buy every new piece of technology, it would require all of my paycheck!
Would I like to sell another iPhone, iPad, iPod, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac or MacMini? Would I like to show someone the way to do a screen capture, to record and edit movies, to use GarageBand and make a podcast? Yes. I love that stuff.
I also liked teaching first grade. I liked putting some of those Apple products to use in the classroom, yes, even in first grade. My class wrote a wonderful story as a class and illustrated it. Then we used iPhoto and made a beautiful full color book that we were able to gift to the school's library for students to check out. We've written music in GarageBand and used it in our video podcasts.
I loved talking to teachers when they came in the Apple store, and I could talk to them about the neat stuff they could do. I loved using my teaching skills there to work at the Apple Camp in the summer, teaching kids how to make movies in iMovie.
I am saddened that Steve Jobs has passed away. As I heard someone say in a post somewhere, the average IQ of the world has just dropped with his passing. He was a smart guy. He was innovative. He was courageous. He certainly made a difference in my life over the past 15 years. My first Mac at school changed a chore into an exciting journey into technology in education that I have enjoyed immensely.