How Not to Hate Your Life When Working in a Job You Hate

Working in retail is renowned to be a job that’s easy to hate. I’ve had different retail jobs on and off since I was sixteen years old — fast food, working on a checkout, hanging clothes, dealing with returns, serving coffee and even processing photos behind a counter — you name it, I’ve probably done it.

The truth is, retail is easy to get into, and it pays the bills. It might be a far cry from the hot-shot career you’ve always dreamed of (it certainly is for me) but it puts food on the table, so you have to stick at it. Trust me when I say that I’m fully aware of how it feels to wake up in the morning and dread getting into your uniform to start yet another day of the same old thing, over and over again. It’s easy to hate your life when you hate your job, especially if you’re putting in the hours to get a half decent pay packet that doesn’t even seem worth it when it comes through.

Thankfully, I’ve managed to learn how to look on the bright side over the years. Just because your job might not be the best in the world doesn’t mean that there won’t be some great things about it — you just need to find them!

Make Friends for Life

Hating your job is better if you’ve got good friends to hate it with, right? To be honest, I don’t quite know how I’d manage to get by at work if I didn’t have my friends there with me. I’ve done a couple of shifts on my own before and I don’t like it — there’s nobody around to have a laugh with or catch up on the gossip with. Knowing that when you walk into work, your best mate’s going to be there as well makes it so, so much easier.

Let’s face it — work is the one place that you have to be all day, every day. The people there are pretty much like your family! There will be the ones you don’t get on with well and the others who become your best friends for life — hang on to them, as they’ll be the reason you learn to love your life! Take advantage of work parties, colleague nights out, even a couple of drinks on payday — being social can completely change your attitude towards your workplace for the better.

Don’t Take Things to Heart

Oh, customers. The customer is always right, and who are we humble retail workers to dare contest that?

Customers come in all shapes and sizes. There’s the normal ones, the complaining ones, the nice ones that you wish would stay longer. But it’s the ones who blame you for everything that really make working retail a pain.

When I first started working in customer service, I let things get to me a lot more than I should. Jeez, I’ve been in tears behind the staff room door before now over something stupid and thoughtless that a customer said! The truth is, some customers think that just because you wear a badge, they can talk to you in any way that they think fit. Well — let them! Who cares, it’s themselves that they’re showing up at the end of the day — it costs nothing to be polite, and they can’t even manage that. Don’t take things to heart. Customer being nasty? Let them ride it out, and laugh it off with your work friends when they’ve gone.

Remember the Good Times

When you work retail or customer service, it’s no secret that the crappy days can outweigh the good ones. But, the good days and happy moments are going to happen! If your manager thanks you for all your hard work, remember it. If a customer tells you your smile cheered them up, remember it! It can be so easy to get caught up with all the stress and mundanity of working retail, you forget about the little things that can seriously brighten up your day.

A few years back when I was working in photo processing, I’d helped a customer who was struggling get a photograph printed so she could take it to a bakery and have it put on a birthday cake for her little boy. She was lovely — and if that wasn’t enough, she came back later that day and gave me a bar of Galaxy chocolate to say thank you. It was only a small gesture but I’ve seriously never forgotten it. Its things like this that make working retail worthwhile, so when they happen hang onto them. 
Take it from me — there are positive sides to every job!