6 Things I've Learned from Working Retail

by Kai Sniffin 7 months ago in advice

And it sure ain't easy.

6 Things I've Learned from Working Retail

My past summer consisted of new friends, salsa dancing, and working two retail jobs. Because I am young and broke (#kahlid) and there is an overtly large outlet mall conveniently located near my house, I found myself working not one, but two, retail jobs. While my friends and mom listened daily to my complaints about the poor organization and in's and out's of retail, at the end of the day these jobs have taught me much about life, work ethic, and myself and when viewed from the right lens, it is these jobs that I couldn't stand that are allowing me to transform my dreams into a reality. So here are a few things that I have learned from working retail. Enjoy :-)

1.) There are a lot of crappy people in the world; you my friend, do NOT need to be one of them.

- There will always be 'grumpy' people in the world. And while it humorous that people will get upset at having to stand in line (it is their choice to buy the item, tbh), their bad attitude does not have to affect you. The moment you allow their negative energy to control your response, the situation escalates quickly and emotions begin to run high. There is a reason that people who can keep their cool in high pressure situations and rude conversations get promoted; they keep potential storms from exploding. Try to to find the humor in the situation and remember that there is always a bigger reason behind someone's unhappiness and rudeness. Try to be the one light they may encounter that day. Your co-workers and future self will thank you. :-)

2.) Relationships over money.

- While there is nothing wrong with picking up as many shifts as possible and working your ass off, keep a close eye on your friendships and family relationships. If they start to deteriorate then you may be out of balance. Your work should not be the biggest relationship in your life. Budget your money, set boundaries, be intentional with your time, and remember that there will always be more shifts to pick up and it is OKAY to say no sometimes. Make sure you are still taking care of yourself.

3.) You are never "Too good" to clean a toilet, mop a large store, or get up before the sun.

- Humbling is one of the best words I can use to describe my jobs this summer. Embarrassingly enough, I had gotten into a space where I considered myself above certain tasks. SO NOT TRUE. You are never to good to fill ranch cups or clean. While it is not what I want to do forever, it has taught me good work ethic and I appreciate the people that work in other retail and food environments so much more. BE NICE TO PEOPLE. IT IS HARD WORK.

4.) Just CHILL.

- Sometimes it is better to take a deep breath and chill when everything is frustrated and disorganized. Just trust me.

5.) Have a bigger goal and remember that THIS IS TEMPORARY.

- For me, the hardest part of working retail were the days when it was slow, boring, and my work felt purposeless. As my mom would remind me: this is temporary and all the work you are putting in will allow you to pursue other opportunities later. Keep you chin up. There is something to be said for working hard for yourself and future employers will like to see work experience on your resume. #dreamjobhereyoucome

6.) Hold yourself to a higher standard than the rude customers that come in, lazy co-workers, or those days when you're just 'not in the mood'.

- Similarly to point numero uno, focus on doing the best that you can do. You'll never believe how far just doing simple tasks with out being prompted will go. Be considerate of your co-workers and a finish your job with an end result that you are happy with.

To conclude, I think everyone should work retail for a short time in their life because it causes you to appreciate other opportunities in your life.

(shout out to @desi_california for capturing the Adidas shoes that carried me through the summer. Another perk of retail: FREE SHOES!!!)

Kai Sniffin
Kai Sniffin
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