What do you do at the Co-op, and how long have you been working here? I’ve always worked in the Front End department. I was a paid sub between 2009 until 2011, and then in 2013 I returned to Corvallis and became a Co-op staff member.
What were you doing between your stints here? I took what we call an “unofficial sabbatical,” that is, I made the decision to go to school in Ashland, at Southern Oregon University. It was there that I got some clarity on what I wanted to study.
What were you studying? Well, I started off in the Biological Sciences thinking I was going to eventually pursue a career in Natural Medicine. For a number of reasons, I changed my mind about this and ended up making a big switch to Psychology.
What prompted that? I wanted something more interpersonal. I was looking around me at the other Biology Majors and realizing that we had different goals and aspirations. While exploring an Interdisciplinary Major (a transition between Biology and Psychology) I took a course in Developmental Psychology and it just kind of clicked.
What do you like the best about working here at the Co-op? I like getting to interact with the diverse group of people and personalities we have here, especially my co-workers. We teach each other a lot. And the customers are great. I take a lot of pleasure in being able to brighten someone’s day.
You said you learn a lot from coworkers. What sort of stuff? I’ve learned to be more patient, and the importance of adapting my communication style to fit with different sorts of people. These experiences actually come from both co-workers and customers. From co-workers specifically, I’ve gotten lots of great music recommendations.
You’re a musician yourself, correct? Yes! I sing, play guitar, and write my own songs. I’m not in a band, but maybe someday. Right now it’s something I do on my own, a way of expressing myself. I have done a bit of recording in the past, and a bit of performing. I’ve even done a bit of busking, both in Corvallis and elsewhere. Overall, I find the creative musical process to be a very satisfying experience.
Who would you count as your influences? Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and Indigo Girls have all been big influences though I certainly listen to a wide range of music. Some of the musicians/bands that have really spoken to me in the past are Sublime, the Pixies, Annie Lennox, John Lennon, the Magnetic Fields, and Soundgarden. As far as local music goes, I’m into the Crescendo Show, and a group called yOya, who got their start in Corvallis, and still play here pretty regularly. They’re a folk duo, but with some modern, electronic influences.
Besides music, what do you like to occupy yourself with outside of work? Well I really love to get out and hike when I have the opportunity. Chip Ross Park, Oak Creek, and Mary’s Peak are all awesome spots. Contra dancing is also something I do on a regular basis. I do a fair amount of reading in my free time. Some of my favorites are Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse, and The Odyssey by Homer. I’m drawn to stuff about spiritual quests and the Hero’s Journey. I strive to be a well-rounded person.
Are you a native Oregonian? No, I grew up in Minnesota originally. Then my family and I spent a year in Canada before we moved out here. We moved here wanting to be part of a community, and found a great one. We’re all active in the community, there’s so much to take part in. Besides working at the Co-op, I’ve done some work for the Farmers’ Market in the past, and I also worked on a couple of different organic farms prior to moving here.
Where else besides Oregon would you like to spend time? I really hope to be able to return to England at some point, and hopefully visit some other European countries too. I went to the UK on a family trip a while back. We spent time in London, Glastonbury, and Cornwall. It was really incredible, the history, the old castles, all the connections—we have family ties, and I can really feel it. There’s some mystical energy going on there. Another place I would really like to visit is New England, especially the state of Maine.
And, finally, what do you see yourself doing 10 years from now? I can see myself staying around this community. Ultimately, I’d like to become an integrative counselor or community facilitator. Basically anything that involves working with people, communication work, and building community.