We all hear the stereotypical complaints about retail jobs and how horrible the public can be, but I’m here to tell you a secret — it’s not so bad. Being in the confusing stage of becoming an adult, it’s likely that most of us will all end up in an entry-level job in the retail sector before we figure out what it is we want in life. In the United States, the retail industry bears 42 million jobs alone.
When I applied to work part-time at a clothing store I was told that retail is intimidating and daunting, so why did it end up being the best decision I’ve ever made?
- Improved Social Skills
I was the epitome of an introverted person. Approaching unknown people was legitimately one of my nightmares. Two months into working in retail, I cried a little every time I had to ask a customer if they were ~finding everything okay~ and they would ignore me. Now, I fight the urge to start conversations with strangers in the ice cream aisle at the grocery store. I learned how to ask the right questions and recognize people’s body language and mannerisms to better understand how to approach an individual.
- Develop Individual Fashion Sense
Before I started working in retail, I didn’t really have my own personal style. I would wear basic leggings and t-shirts on a daily basis. However, as I continued to work there, I started to see how the clothes that we sold changed every season, along with how we styled them on the forms. The visual examples helped me form opinions about clothing, and I was able to develop my own fashion sense. I was no longer afraid to deviate from what was trendy. Being able to express your individuality through clothing could be beneficial for you in the future. What you choose to wear to a job interview will help you stand out to employers because you won’t necessarily look like every other suit who walks in the door, and you will be comfortable with the way you present yourself.
- Huge Boost in Self-Confidence
Rejection is a huge part of retail. Some people just don’t want or need your help sometimes — it happens. But once you’ve accepted and understood that part of your job is talking to people you know nothing about and successfully selling them an outfit, you feel invincible. You start to realize that it isn’t too difficult to talk to anyone. All of a sudden, it isn’t so scary to talk to your professor during their office hours. Imagine going into an interview and being able to have a conversation beyond what the job may entail.
- Talk to Fascinating New People
If you work at a store that is in a touristy area, then you have the opportunity to talk to all kinds of fascinating people from all over the world. Plenty of people who come to clothing stores in the United States are from different countries and offer their past experiences and advice. They are so open to sharing their opinions that they allow me to look at things from different perspectives.
- Awesome Organizational Skills
You know your friend procrastination? We don’t know her anymore. Scheduling every nap, snack, homework assignment and shift is my new lifestyle. In retail, you may be assigned a task that needs to be finished before the end of your shift, but you still must make the customer your number one priority.
Having a job in general only helps you to become a better version of yourself. It gives you an outlet from other things that may be causing you stress. In retail specifically, they are many opportunities for promotion, and it enables you to help your future by increasing your self-esteem and advancing your interpersonal skills.