She could feel the sweat forming on her palms as her heart began to race. It was the same feeling she usually got when Ms. Brown asked her to read aloud in class.
“Sierra, did you hear me?” Ethan asked. “Our business needs a bookkeeper, and I heard you need a
job. Will you do it?”
For a moment, the shy sixth grader was frozen in fear. But after looking up and seeing her classmate Ethan’s eyes on her, she nodded slowly.
“Great!” Ethan said enthusiastically. “We’d love for you to start tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow?” There was the sweat again.
At dinner that evening, Sierra tried to hide her nervousness. She answered her mom’s usual
questions with ease.
“How was school?”
“Any homework tonight?”
“Just a science worksheet.”
“Did you find any jobs that interest you at Micro?”
“No . . .” her voice trailed off as she pushed a piece of broccoli around her plate. She wasn’t exactly lying – it’s not like she was actually interested in bookkeeping.
“Well, I know you’ll find something soon! Something you really like,” her mom patted her on the shoulder as she stood up to clear the dinner table.
That night, Sierra tossed and turned for several hours. All she could think about were the accounting tasks that awaited her the next afternoon. “Why did he pick me?” she thought. “I’m not good at reading or math. I’m just going to mess everything up.”
The next day, Ethan could sense his new employee’s lack of self-confidence as she struggled with her first assignment. It was a mess of scribbles and eraser marks.
“You’re probably wondering why I asked you to do this job,” Ethan said.
Sierra nodded; she was almost in tears. Was she going to be fired before her first day was even over? At least she wouldn’t have to work on this assignment anymore.
“I – I’m not good at math,” she stammered.
“Neither am I!” he laughed. “I hate numbers. But Ali loves them,” he pointed to a seventh grade girl across the room. She waved and smiled. “She’s our head accountant. And she’s going to show you everything you need to know.”
“Hi, you must be Sierra,” Ali said as they shook hands. She glanced down at the messy worksheet and back up at the sixth grader’s forlorn face. “Don’t worry,” she said reassuringly. “I felt the same way when I started here. But trust me, it’ll get easier.”
They spent the next hour going over the basics of bookkeeping: how to record sales, purchases, payments and other important transactions. Sierra was surprised to find she was actually interested in the process.
By the end of the second day, Sierra was feeling confident enough to ask questions. “So, this number goes in this column? Then you add these two here?”
Ali nodded. “You’re getting the hang of this – even faster than I did!”
Just a few days later, Sierra was processing bank statements and balancing the books at the end of every day, which allowed Ali to focus on other accounting duties.
At the dinner table with her family, she was actually looking forward to the usual questions.
“Any homework tonight?”
“How’s Micro going?”
“I have a job.”
Sierra’s mom jumped up to give her a hug. “You found a job!? Tell us more!”
“I’m a bookkeeper,” she said proudly.
“Doesn’t that involve math?” her older brother laughed. “You hate math.”
“Not anymore,” Sierra smiled. “I have the best books of any Micro business.”
She turned to her mom and dad and handed them a small piece of paper with her name and title on it. “Here’s my card. If you ever need any help balancing your checkbook, just let me know.”