Aspects to Celebrate:
1. Most small box stores do not open until about 9 or 10 a.m. meaning most mornings you will get to sleep in even if you hold the opening shift. The long operating hours also grants more flexibility to accommodate those with atypical availabilities, or those who find a strict schedule too stifling.
2. Everyday you have the opportunity for an individual goal achievement, giving you a sense of purpose, and self worth. Even better your take home earnings could be boundless in a commission based store, really making your efforts pay off.
3. You will meet so many amazing people in an entire sea of interesting customers. You can learn so much, laugh so much, and really feel connected with the world outside your inner-circle. Each day is different because each day brings a new set of faces along with your regulars.
4. Retail is a career that you do not necessarily need any sort of background education or experience to climb the ranks (About 40% of retail workers have a high school diploma or less). You are rewarded solely on your presence, dedication, and merit.
5. You will always be up to date on the latest developments in your store’s products before your consumers. What’s hot in fashion? What’s that new flashy device all the nerds are geeking out over? Windows hologram vision anyone?? And what about that employee discount?
6. Lax hours allows you time to work a second job, work on a craft or hobby you are passionate about, or develop a great monetary prospect you are attempting to launch.
Aspects to Consider:
1. Most of the American population are at their offices from 9-5 on weekdays, so the true demand for retail employees on the floor will be nights and weekends. Keep in mind that part timers don’t typically work every night, or every day of the weekend. Holidays outside of Christmas and Easter will probably be mandatory attendance but you will most likely be compensated time and half for those days.
Does this get better with time and higher ranks? Some companies’ allow their Managers and ASM’s to have a weekend off here and there, while others make it mandatory to be there every weekend all weekend. Definitely a job that is difficult to work with a family (one of the major reasons retail is such a young career with a median age of 38 when the nation’s median is 42).
2. Your sales goals are consistent with inconsistent traffic, and if you have proper corporate management they are going to take into account slower dates, and the surrounding economy for each region. But sadly this is not necessarily true for all companies. Do not let a bad day (or week, or month) throw you off, many times you can make up what you have lost on another day, the key is to keep up your drive for success.
3. You will not be able to avoid any difficult customer that approaches you. You must be able to manage difficult customers calmly and professionally without warning. Keep in mind that difficult customers are temporary, and they too will leave…eventually (for a while anyway). Communicate any altercations with your supervisor and request a 15 minute break for coffee or a smoke if you are too wound up afterwards.
4. You will be facing lower wages all across the board, unless you luck out and work for some amazing retailer such as The Container Store. Go in expecting minimum wage, hey it’s a job that corporate is under the opinion that “anyone could do”; that’s where they are mistaken though. The beatify of retail though is you have endless opportunities to work up to higher pays with outstanding performances and attitude, be content that you will never be in the top 2%. I could go on forever, deep into the causes of these low wages and the financial arithmetic behind the scenes; but we shall save that for another day.
5. Retail is known as the revolving door due to its incredibly high turnover. Job insecurity is something that is contagious and you cannot allow yourself to turn your back on it. The retail field is stuck in a vicious cycle as most management is disorganized, due to (and causing) poor training, due to inconsistency from high turnover which creates disorganized management. It’s a vicious cycle.
6. We will leave off revisiting the idea of disorganized management leading to poor training methods as that is a monster all of it’s own merit. Go into your retail career already with decent sales skills, people skills, and an understanding of the product. That doesn’t mean you have to have the skills this moment, feel free to grab a book on it at BAM!, or surf the web grabbing tips. Or if you’d like, I have almost completed my self published 30 day easy quick workbook that will take you through ALL the necessary entry level skills. 😉
From The Archives: May 10, 2015