My name is Alison LeKander and I started at gap intelligence earlier this year.  I am working in Data Operations for Consumables, specifically for Laser Printer Supplies. The other gappers at the office are awesome and everyone has been friendly from day one. I got the opportunity to truly experience the good nature of my new coworkers shortly after I started. In February, I was in a car accident that resulted in me being confined to a neck brace at all times with two fractured vertebrae. The neck brace and I were inseparable. Together we had sleepovers and awkward dance parties, attempted to take showers, snapped selfies, and solicited rides from people for almost three months. The day after the accident was Friday and I apprehensively texted my manager from the hospital to let her know that I wouldn’t be coming to work that day due to my injury. I was so upset to be missing work in my first few weeks that I decided to really amaze everyone and take care of some work from my hospital bed. From my cell phone, I attempted to write an industry update and while it surprisingly did not work out, I believe I was successful at appearing crazy in this overzealous attempt.  

The following Monday, I showed up at the office in my neck brace and dressed to the nines hoping to detract attention from the neck area. I walked in the door nervously and our CEO saw me in the brace. Without hesitation, he starting assembling a new ergonomic chair for me which helped me stay more comfortable throughout the day. Now without transportation, my manager graciously gave me rides to and from work every day. Only having known me for about a week, gappers offered to cook for me, grocery shop and went out of their way to carry my heavier belongings. I was even excused from mail duty in case the letters were too heavy for me and my neck! I was nervous to be in a neck brace, to be in a more vulnerable state at a new job and around people I didn’t know well but little did I know that breaking the neck would break the ice! I welcomed the jokes. “Hey Alison, you’re looking kind of stiff today!” because laughter is the best medicine. Thankfully perhaps, I was also excused from picture day. Through all the interruptions with appointments and insurance phone calls, my coworkers were patient and understanding. I couldn’t have asked for a better work environment in which to recover from an injury and I discovered there is something truly healing about watching large Excel spreadsheets calculate. 

My neck is now free and I no longer have the brace as a conversation piece. Thanks to extremely helpful colleagues, friends, family and even strangers I stayed pretty positive throughout the experience. Over those months a few unforeseen perks emerged. Playing pool became my recreation of choice; specifically the “jump shot” and I now feel like an expert at managing medical and insurance issues. The fully functioning me also loves to do temperate yoga, have game nights with friends, dance, and sail on lakes in Montana where I’m from. My start at gap intelligence may not have gone as expected but it allowed me to quickly gain an appreciation for the people and the company and I look forward to much more growth and learning to come.