Since moving back to Norwich at the end of last Summer, I've been very... let's say "relaxed" at finding a new job. I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do, what direction to work towards, but with this being the first time in over 5 years I hadn't had to pay rent I finally had the time to think. Two holidays, a Temp Job, Christmas and lots of Day Time TV later and I'm still not much closer to working it out. I know things I'd like to have a go at, but it's so hard with no experience in that certain area to even get your foot in the door.
So here I am, with the only "real experience" on my CV as working in retail. I see disappointment or pity on certain people's faces when I tell them what I do. And sometimes, I get it... Yes, my pay barely scrapes above minimum wage. Yes, I sometimes work on weekends. Yes, I'm not using my degree to it's full potential. But you know what, I'd pick a retail job any day over half the jobs people who look down their noses at retail workers have! And here's a few reasons why...
You don't need to pay for the gym! In retail you are on your feet all day, running up and downstairs to stockrooms, and if you work in the visual teams there's SO much lifting to do!... When I worked for John Lewis, I literally would get home from work exhausted... 9 hours of physical work means no need for expensive gym memberships! If I sat on my arse all day at a desk staring at a screen, it may be nice for about a week but I would definitely soon be bored and itching to get up and be more active!
Staff discount! I've worked in places with staff discount on clothes up to 50% off, and beauty and home products with 25% off... combine that with brand discount days, and you could be getting the likes of Whistles, Jigsaw, Miss Selfridge and Levis (just to name a few!) at up to 75% off on brand new lines! Also, lots of larger stores partner up with other companies meaning discounts at Restaurants, Hotels, on Insurance, and more!
First pick on sale items! Ever wondered why you can't find your size even on the first day of sale? More often than not it's because staff have got there first! This was especially the case in my last retail job where we could scan and check the products up to two weeks before sale and then check again for further reductions too... I got many a Warehouse or Whistles item down from £50 to less than £10 after storing them in the stockroom!
Days off during the week are better than you think! While I would still like to sometimes have two days off in a row, it's sometimes nice to break up the days off. Not having to work five days in a row definitely works for me - for one it means no Monday morning dread! And it also means I get at least one morning a week with Phil and Holly... Seriously, I love them guys...! Hours are generally pretty flexible too, so if you have other commitments such as I do, swapping your day off to fit around this is pretty easy. And having days off mid week also means that if you decide you want to do anything like shopping, going for brunch, trips to the seaside, theme parks, London etc. it's going to be much less busy and sometimes a little cheaper than at the weekend too!
You learn and put in to practice your manners! While working in retail doesn't generally require too many skills, it does teach you one thing a lot of people don't acquire - how to be polite! I consider myself as a friendly and patient person, and find it so easy to talk to and help customers... no matter how rude they are! A lot of customers seem to be under the impression that a retail worker knows every single thing about every last item the shop sells, and that if you don't you must be stupid and so can treat you as though you are. There may be times that you just want to cry a little bit - I've had items thrown at me, customers shouting in my face, eyes rolled at me - but by continuing to be kind and helpful, you end being the better person! And being a good person definitely outweighs being a high paid snob to me!
Let me know if you've had any experiences - good or bad! - of working in retail! Can you add anything to my list? Let me know in the comments!
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