I am one of those bosses who is blessed with an amazing team of talented, hard-working, respectful, and dedicated employees who actually seem to like the work they do with me. Oh sure, every now and then they drive me crazy (as I’m sure I do them!), but my workforce is like a family in that way, with every member playing a significant role in the family tree. It’s a very special team, and I am grateful for all they bring to my company.
Case in point: the Molina girls.
Before I extol the virtues of these amazing sisters, let me give you some background.
Six years ago I was donating my time at Saint Anthony’s. Every year we help out with a Christmas party for the kids. I supply all the fun games and Saint Anthony’s supplies the labor, usually in the form of volunteers from Skyline College. That’s where I met Jennifer for the first time. A while later, I was doing a big luau party and we were short on staffing. I called my friend Doug at Saint Anthony’s, and asked if he had any recommendations from his fantastic volunteers list. He sent me Jen.
Jen, admiring Freda’s Baby Umi
Jen turned out to be awesome. She worked hard: climbing ladders, hauling boxes, setting up a fancy drinks bar... She was great. She took direction well and jumped right into the fray without holding back. She asked great questions and took initiative. We chatted about her being a sophomore and how people sometimes mistook her for Hillary Duff (who she did resemble at the time). I automatically moved her to the top of my first-call assistant list.
About a week later I was in Sunnyvale, doing a big craft table for a computer company’s picnic. Jen was on board, but she arrived late. I was concerned and worried, until about 10 minutes before the event when I looked up to see her smiling face. “Sorry! Traffic was horrible, and Sacred Heart Cathedral dismissed us late today,” she said. I looked at her sideways. “Sacred Heart?” I said, a bit mystified. “I thought you were a sophomore in college?” She started laughing. “No Sophie,” she said as she slipped into her red staff apron, “I’m a sophomore in high school.”
I nearly fell over.
Here was this amazingly poised, confident, mature, young woman. A young lady heads and tails above some of my assistants in their 20s and 30s even, and she barely had her driver’s license! I was floored.
Needless to say, Jen joined our ranks and became a recurring face on the Sophie’s Stress-Free Soirées team. She was quickly placed in rotation and garnered respect from every member of the team, even though she was less than half their age!
About two years into her employ, we once again found ourselves short handed for a large event, and Jen suggested her younger sister Annette. We were given the warning that Annette was a hard worker, but extremely shy. That didn’t really concern me at the time, because I really just needed a solid folks who could help set up a large party. And so, the second Molina came aboard. To say that she was yet another blessing from above is an understatement. She took to the job like a duck to water, and that “shy” personality that we had been warned about never actually showed her face. Within a month she was exchanging barbs with my husband Scott -- not an easy thing to do!
Annette also gets in on a little monkey business
Annette, or “Molinita,” as she is fondly called, is a powerhouse and can basically do anything. She’s saved me when I’ve had horrible technical failures on a job (as I recalled in a previous post), stayed up with me organizing a 16-foot truck at 1:00 a.m. in La Jolla, ran events for me when I was accidentally double-booked, and helped me carry over 20 boxes through a ¼ mile labyrinth... and that’s just the beginning.
The thing about J-Mo and Molinita is that they are more than just employees, they are family.
We’ve shared some amazing times together. There are laughs, like the time that Jen referred to herself as “small, but productive” There are tears, when their family was affected by the San Bruno gas explosion. There’s been pride, as they both excel and succeed in their own lives. And there are rivalries, too -- football season turns our sweet little J-Mo into a trash-talking Niners fan!
In some ways it’s gotta be tough to be a new employee. The bar has been set really high. Often Scott will be heard saying, “You know, the new gal (or guy) was good -- but she’s no Molina.”