Ever since I started working, four years ago when I was 17, I have learned a lot while working in retail. Having a job means everything to me. Yes, the pay isn’t the most desirable, nor are the hours, but I discovered some reasons why working in retail has changed my outlook on life for the better!
When I started working at my first job, I was still in high school. During the week, after school, I would drive to work, work a five/six-hour shift, drive home, and do homework. On the weekends, I would work an eight-hour shift on Saturday or Sunday. I learned that my calendar on my phone was the most important tool I had. It helped me plan out my weeks and weekends in order to fill my spare time with friends or family. Also, just because the store “closes at 9:00 pm,” doesn’t mean all the customers are out of the store by closing time. I always have to keep in mind that I could be stuck in the store for about 20-30 minutes extra when customers are leisurely still strolling through the wine glass section.
Working has greatly increased my fiscal responsibility. My parents taught me about saving my money and how to spend it wisely. Making my own money showed me how important it is to save. I’ve become very aware of how many hours of work it would take me to pay for the $40 dress, or that a meal at Chipotle is worth almost an hour at work. Ever since I started making my own money, I’ve been able to appreciate my parents and how hard they’ve worked in order to raise me.
This might be the biggest lesson of all. Working in retail has pushed my patience to many limits. When there’s a line of customers waiting for the one person paying at the register to decide if she wants his/her gift wrapped in a box or bag, I might be smiling, but my blood pressure is already going through the roof. I have been taught that the customer is always right. One of my favorite things is knowing that I’ve helped someone pick out exactly what they needed and they’re leaving the store completely satisfied! Something that I have to keep in mind when I shop in other stores is that the person assisting you is only human and probably has many other things going on in that moment, so patience needs to be mutual.
I’ve learned to put my items back where I found them. Nothing is more frustrating when items are left at random places throughout the store, instead of being given to a sales associate to put back in the right place. It is my job to make sure everything is in its place, but finding a spoon tucked behind a row of drinking glasses can be a little much. I am constantly straightening and reorganizing items in order to fulfill a certain aesthetic the store represents. That trait follows me when I shop at other stores. Out of habit and respect, I pick up the shirt that fell off the hanger, or fold the sweater before placing it back on top of the pile.
Long days, Same pay
One day at work can be painfully slow, while then next is fast paced and exhausting. I go into each day at work reminding myself that this is what will help me when I move onto my next job. Even if I’m doing a million other things at work, taking the time to make sure the store is neat and clean is what’s important. Work allows me to be creative. Sometimes I need to think on the spot and it’s such a great burst of energy. Some days might be easy and others might be stressful, but that’s what builds character.
I started working at a new company about a year ago and it has been my favorite place to work. My co-workers make my day, every day. They care about how I’m feeling and what’s going on with life; they always know how to make one another feel good. I’m always happy when I walk in and see who’s working that day. I constantly say good things about my work and the people I work with. It might seem weird that I like my job that much, but isn’t that what it’s all about? The people you work with are the ones that are there to help you when the day is hectic or to help you with a project when the store isn’t too crazy.
Planning, money, patience, neatness, long days and same pay, and relationships – all great lessons to learn in retail!
Thanks for reading!