Launder and Press
Pam was quietly folding in the corner of the facility on Thompson Street; meanwhile, PHL 17 was interviewing Steve and Mildred near the entrance of the facility. Piles of colorful sleeping bags from Outward Bound looked like they could bury Pam if they start falling down. Again, Pam was just in the background, folding.
I decided to go ahead and introduce myself, thinking that it might take some effort to get Pam talking. “Oh hi, my name is Pam!” Pam was probably surprised that I noticed her, but it did not stop her from giving me a big smile. After couple exchanges, Pam figured out that I go to Haverford, “Oh no way! I got a brochure from Haverford back in who knows what year when I was looking at colleges,” she said. I could confidently say that Pam and I bonded at exactly that moment.
A mother of 10 children, Pam is excited to rejoin the workforce, starting at Wash Cycle Laundry in May, “I am interested in management, and working here I actually get to see how this business operates.” Pam’s new house is getting built, and she will be moving in with her children by this time next year. She aspires to start her own business one day, and according to Pam herself, she needs to sharpen her communication skills in a professional setting. “I am too passionate. You see what I am talking about,” Pam exaggerated her arm movements by waving them in the air to demonstrate her point. “And I am loud,” she continued. The conversation was effortless; I did not have to get Pam out of her shell at all. She is just as focused when she works.
I ended up sitting in a career development workshop with Pam. She was out of her Wash Cycle Laundry t-shirt, was in a yellow outfit sunflower prints on her top. She applauded every time I stood up and shared my idea with the group; she encouraged me to go on and share my ideas, “You go, girl!” She gave me the biggest smile after every time I spoke.
From my own selfish reasons, I hope Pam will stay exactly the way she is. She exhilarates great energy that made me feel lifted up by just being around her. Leadership styles at Wash Cycle Laundry vary. It could be quiet and concentrated, it could also be the uplifting and charismatic. Whatever it is, I really enjoyed every moment I had with Pam.
Yue Xiang is a rising junior at Haverford College, a liberal arts college located in suburban Philadelphia. She currently works as a Marketing Intern at Wash Cycle Laundry this summer, where she has been going on “field-trips” to laundry facilities to learn about the staff members and our operational process. She will be writing more about what she learns and people at Wash Cycle Laundry.