Lil O's First Job Offer

UPDATE:  Look at this shout-on on REI's tweet.  Love. This. Company.

UPDATE II:  This story was featured in REI's internal employee newsletter, January 2013.  
Thanks, REI and REI awesome employees for reading it and caring.


Lil O's first job offer came today.  REI.  Not bad, wouldn't you say?

She was way happy about it as you can see from her grin below.  And by the way, she is home sick today. Although, she doesn't look that sick in this photo.  Hmm......

The quick back story of her job offer goes something like this.  We are all - Mr. UpCyclist, Lil O and I - taking Stanford's free online creativity class.  It started about four weeks ago and we are now in the last few weeks of the class.  I think Mr. UpCyclist has lost interest, but Lil O and I are in it until the lovely end.  

For one of our homework assignments, we had to choose a store and answer three pages of questions about it.  Questions like:  Was the door open to the store or closed?  How did you feel about it?  What were the salespeople like?  Did they greet you?  Was their noise in the store?  If yes, where was it coming from?  And the questions went on......

After answering the questions, the second part of the assignment was to look for opportunities and insights.  Evidently, creative thinkers do this regularly; they observe and look for opportunities.

(Sick-at-home supplies) 

Lil O picked two stores - REI and Peak-a-Boo Toys in Breckenridge.  We had just been at REI that day, so her observations were fresh.  I scribed for her while she answered the three pages of questions.  Then, I asked what opportunities and insights she had for REI.  Her answer, "So many."

What?  I love REI and I don't have "so many" insights for them.  Could she?

Lil O went on to list about 15 things she liked about REI and opportunities for REI to improve.  I won't rehash her entire list, but some of my favorites include:

  • You can tell what REI sells by the look of the store and the salespeople 
  • REI needs a bigger toy section
  • REI doesn't offer that much merchandise for teens.  They need sporty shoes and more jewelry 
  • REI should allow dogs in the store.  It is an outdoor store, after all, and dogs love the outdoors.  (By the way, Puppy Jedi is "that" dog outside our local REI who is secured to the bicycle rack.  Thankfully, many REI customers pet him while he waits for us to shop.  Sweet puppy.)
Our family then submitted our creativity class homework and off we went.  Ironically, the next day, I received an email survey about our REI visit the day before.  Since I adore feedback myself and I adore REI, I took the time to answer the survey questions. Many of the questions were related to Lil O's observations, so I made certain to include her insights.  I even typed in the narrative box at the end of the survey that our family had just completed a homework assignment for a class and REI was part of that assignment. I also mentioned many of the responses I included in the survey were from a 7-year old's perspective.

This post is getting long....

Let me cut to the chase.....

1) I answer the REI survey via email and include Lil O's ideas
2) A week later I get an email from the assistant manager at our local REI; he had read the survey comments and wanted to know more.  He asked if Lil O would share her thoughts with him.
3) Lil O agrees; I then email her ideas to him.
4) He likes them and thanks her via email.
5) AND BECAUSE REI AND THIS LOVELY MANAGER ARE A CLASS ACT (how's that for emphasis), he sends Lil O a handwritten thank you note, a new REI water bottle (see above; Lil O loves it) and writes, "Keep doing A+ assignments and call us in 11 years if you're looking for a job."


Lil O gets her first job offer and a lesson that thinking creatively has its absolute merits in the real world.

Go get 'em, my-creative-smart-loving-wonderfully-fantastic Lil O.  I sure am proud of you.



PS - Big thank you to Mr. S from REI for valuing Lil O's feedback and for sending me an REI coupon.  Woot, woot!