What It's Truly Like Working In Retail

     When I got my first job at a thrift shop franchise in New York City, I was ecstatic. Gaining real-world experience in the fashion industry was one of my long-term goals and I was finally making progress ー or so, I thought. 

     My first day was July 5, 2017. I was scheduled to work from “11-7” and had no idea how brutal that would be. Keep in mind: I was sixteen years old, never stayed in a store for that long, and didn’t have any customer service skills. When I got there for my first shift, they gave me a tour and told me to organize the sales floor. I did that for about three hours before I went on my break. 

     During my break, I vividly remember feeling so out of it. Actually being an employee vs. a customer humbles you. So much goes into making a retail store run on a day-to-day basis. Fortunately for me, my break was an hour long. That gave me ample time to rest my feet and enjoy my lunch. 

     When I returned from my break, I worked on the sales floor for the remainder of my shift and I hated it! Working the sales floor was the absolute worst, especially when the store was slow. I felt so useless and it didn’t help how small the location was. 

     The second day of work, I had another hour-long break. It was during my mother’s break as well, so I called her and told her how I was feeling. I think the second day, it really hit me that I was someone’s employee. My summer felt like it was over although it had just begun.  

     However, I did learn most of my customer service skills from that job and it looked great on my resume as a high school senior. With that being said, here is what you really need to know if you're considering a job in retail: 

  • Let your co-workers remain your co-workers. 
  • Don’t exhaust yourself over a job. Your mental health comes first.
  • Never take anything personally. 
  • If you’re confused about a process or policy, speak up & ask questions.
  • Most importantly; if you just do what you were hired to do, the day will fly by.