The Retail Stigma

Retail: long hours, little pay, terrible work environment… best job ever?

Retail has a stigma of being a less than stellar career field, a place to get your feet wet, a job to pay the bills until something better comes along. I ask you to think long and hard about your last visit to the mall, now picture yourself working a register, how does it make you feel?

I did ten hard years in the retail game and I will be the first to admit its no easy task, long hours, zero holidays off and less than stellar interactions with the public. Yet I regret nothing. Retail was great and taught me some very valuable lessons. I had some amazing teachers and coaches along the way that encouraged my passion with a sincereness I had never felt before.

I became a store manager early into my twenties and was no where near ready for the responsibility. As a store manager you are responsible for everything that happens in your four walls no matter whose shift it is. You run inventory, are held liable for staff development and training and on top of that you have to make sure your business is profitable. First and foremost you are not a manager but a small business owner.

A small business owner has to adapt and be quick to find solutions in time of crisis. Retail barely gives you a moment to breathe let alone solve an IT issue when you have a line full of angry impatient customers who are late for their movie or dinner plans. Which brings me to the point of this post, why does retail get such a bad rep?

Retail teaches you discipline, management skills, flexibility and humility. What I learned in retail couldn’t be taught in a school environment or an office. So the next time you think about yelling at the cashier because they didn't have your size in the back, think about why you are taking your anger out on a stranger and what that says about you.