I wholeheartedly believe that working in food service or for a retail space is an experience everyone can benefit from. From making $9 an hour ( Ah, aren’t we the lucky ones?) to biting your tongue every time you KNOW the customer is wrong. I’ve learned so much about myself while working for both smaller and larger retailers over the years. Here are a few lessons that working retail has taught me:
I was not built to break
My work ethic before I having a job was less than inspired, I cared about getting good grades in school , but it came so easy I never considered it “work”. I realized that I wasn’t lazy, just looking for independence and fulfillment. Obviously waking up to work for someone else wasn't my passion, but earning my own money and pushing my work ethic filled me with pride. Working those 12 hour days were an opportunity for new experiences, but also tired me out for my own endeavors.
I love people, just not working for them
Although overwhelming at times, meeting new people each day was the highlight of my job! I loved customers that are full of energy and respected that I was knowledgeable about the company sold and had access to. Conversations about lifestyle and what I can realistically do to help them made each interaction much easier.
Working for Victoria’s Secret, I've helped women find their confidence again by finding them the bra that’s right for them. Guiding first time parents in getting uniforms for their kids at Schoolbelles was overwhelming at first, but hearing that sigh of relief when ringing them out was music to my ears. Picking up a second job working shipment shifts at Forever 21 was so such a negative experience because of the people I worked for ( I NEVER quit anything, but I stopped showing up after a month), it was shitty enough for my experience to be another post in itself :)
A little bit of personal is okay
Starting out as a seasonal worker for Victoria's Secret while going off to college was perfect for my schedule and wallet! I lived right up the street from my job and they knew I was only going to be with them for a short period of time so they were willing to give me ALOT of hours! Being that I was there all the time I eventually had coworkers that I preferred working with, but I never thought about hanging out with them outside of work. After graduating from Ohio University and ending up back home, I started to put more effort into getting to know my coworkers outside of work.
My coworkers and I don't have to be best friends, but getting to know them doesn't make me less of a professional. We still go out for drinks, talk about guys, and share aspirations for our careers. Talking to them made me feel less alone, less frustrated about being unsure of the future. Going back to retail was the last thing I wanted to do, but it gave me the flexibility and support I needed to work towards the career I've always envisioned for myself.
There is a method to all madness
When God created me, she tossed in time management and organizational skills sparingly. In the mess that is my life everything has a perfect place, confusion only comes when some else tries to figure out the method to my madness. Working at Victoria’s Secret was the first time I learned that any organizational process worth anything not only makes sense ,but can be transferred between workers and locations. From bras to security measures, there are best practices for all aspects of the job that help to give customers complementary shopping experiences. I didn't like having such a sporadic schedule, especially when working on the weekends. Working whenever I was told to made me realize that while I value being on my own time, I have to be productive and hold myself accountable during my time off. My productivity and creativity strikes at random, being on a formal schedule doesn’t always align with when i'm at my best.
Spending responsibly is trial and error
Using my associate discount every time something is offered is the quickest way I lost all my money when I first started working! I knew that I could only wear so many sweatpants and bras, but only working seasonally meant that I had to get everything while I could ( right??). Not only was spending for future needs impulsive, I never checked how much I was spending on my Angel Card ( that I also wasn't paying down monthly, no judgement pls).
Eventually, I learned to look at it this way, if a bra comes up $8 for gratis is it really worth a little more then half an hour of my labor? Most of the time the answer is no, especially when I started seriously saving for the future (purchasing a car, moving, apartment, etc.). Knowing when I deserve to treat myself has been challenging, but learning to go without having everything helps me focus on what’s important.
I'm so grateful for my time in retail, I probably would not have learned these lessons on my own. I hope to take everything that I picked up and apply it to my personal business practices. Additionally, working on what you're passionate about for at least an hour a day makes all the difference, my hours being cut back in the day did wonders for my mental health and ultimately motivated me to move forward with BWRY :) What some life lessons your job has taught you? Comment + Share this post, talk to you soon!