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Friday, 11 November 2016

Working in Retail | NEW JOB

Thats right folks, you read it correctly I have a NEW JOB which isn't in retail (finally!).

However today I thought I would focus this post on working in retail, the pros and cons and what it is  like. I have had the joy of working as an assistant and a manager, I'm not sure which one is better to be honest.

So what is retail like to work in? Well I'm going to be honest. It sucks. But seriously I think its probably one of the hardest jobs out there and you should never be rude to customer assistants because they aren't a punching bag. 

Lets start with the Cons so then we can end on a positive.

Hours. At Christmas, at weekends, late at night, early in the morning, you name an hour and you'll be working it. In retail you just work. You can forget the christmas parties that your best friend is hosting. You can hold with very bated breath when you ask for the weekend off to attend the music festival down the road. And you may as well take your holiday request form to the fire and burn it before you dare ask for Christmas off. Okay in fairness, I have had really good experiences with Christmas. I once worked at the Co-op whilst at university and the deal was that if I did over time before Christmas and worked Christmas eve I could have a week off to visit my family but be back for New years eve, and I did work at the airport for two Christmases and this wasn't too bad as Christmas isn't the peak trading time in the airport, but still time off was limited and not to expected. 

Customers. They can be so so rude it is unbelievable, you have to have a patience of a saint in retail sometimes, I have just left a beauty company and some of my worst experiences have been the customers here (apart from the time an old man who told me my degree was pointless when I worked at Co-op, oh and that time someone called me a C**t because I wouldn't serve them alcohol). I've had plenty of 50 year old women shout in my face for no real reason. I've had ladies shout at me about the quality of products and that I'm giving them cancer because the products have parabens in (to clarify the products I sold rarely contained parabens). There is also the awkward moment when customers assume that because you have a baby face you are therefore not the manager. It can be so awkward when telling people this, especially when you know they want to ask you for your age and whether you still live at home. 

Traffic Stopping. Something which I hated over everything was traffic stopping. I am naturally an observer, being made to go out and talk to complete strangers, quite obviously not shopping for skincare was the most terrifying thing of the job. I think for me it was because when I'm a customer I hate being approached, so when I had to this as part of my job it didn't feel like it was true or fair. (if you're wondering what traffic stopping is; it is basically asking every single customer who isn't shopping at your counter if they have heard of the brand you work for and whether you would like to try the brands products.)

There is the general assumption that working in retail means that you are stupid, this really isn't the case. I have met so many people who are worthy of so much more, and probably brighter than most of the customers they serve. The thing with retail is, once you are in your are in. I started working in retail when I was 16 and its taken me 8 years (1 college course and a degree) to leave, I tried 100s of times to leave but with the only experience of retail it was so so hard, but there are so many transferable skills to take to other roles! 

The Pros.

Days Off. I personally didn't find this a positive but I know lots of people that do love this; having days off in the week. I found this somewhat boring because all my friends and family would be working, but it is super handy if you need to make a doctors appointment, go food shopping or even book in a job interview with out questions being asked.

The Customers. So I know I bashed them earlier in the post, but on the flip side, sometimes the customers really do make your day, especially working in the beauty industry. I had multiple ladies come up to me and thank me for giving them amazing service and helping them find a solution to their skincare problem. When a customer comes and finds you to thank you that can really turn your day around. 

The People. You end up working with a whole host of different characters and that can be so much fun because you be-friend people who you wouldn't normally be-friend. You become a close knit unit. When people leave its like leaving school because you know you're not going to see them anymore, obviously I know this will be the same in many roles and jobs. 

Let me know if you have any experience in retail and what it was like for you by commenting below or tweeting me @ohhsorosie.


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