Its been almost 4 years since I left the world of retail for the world for the third sector and then later, the public sector. After a few months, I did some reflection and wrote this article of what I felt I’d learned in the time the retail industry. The main list was as follows:
Things I learnt in retail:
- Your general aptitude drops.
- People are generally mental, you just have to wait to see in which way.
- There should be no shame in working in retail
- Fire alarm sounds, store is evacuating. “What about my shopping?” It’s not yours yet.
- However, you’re looked down on in retail, mainly by mothers who don’t want their children to be ‘thick’ or ‘failures’.
- You have to commit your life and first marriage to retail management.
- Some of the nicest people in the world are in retail.
- Some of the most frustrating people in the world are in retail.
- There are a lot of people in the world who don’t know how to communicate.
- Never have people with such great drive and those without any co-existed so closely.
Looking back on these observations, I can’t help but think that I pretty much nailed it. What felt like cynacism at the time, has actually really benefited me since. Honestly, when I left my job I was scared. Why? Because I quit during a recession, without a job to go to and with rent to pay. What felt like madness at the time steadily transformed into a really freeing experience.
The reason I left retail was that I was just unhappy and I was a person adapted to self-happiness coming in second, third… or last place – never first. Quitting your job can be really scary but you know the freedom that comes after it far outweighs the fear felt doing it. I know this not just because it was my experience, but because friends have done it since and guess what, they’re all saying the same thing.
Ultimately, I feel fortunate to have had the time I did in retail and even more fortunate to have the opportunity to go out on a limb and leave it. It gave me the freedom to ask myself what I wanted. It gave me the freedom to examine my life and the goals I wanted to achieve. It gave me the freedom to have adventures. I haven’t written this blog to encourage people not to work, that is very different. I’ve written it to encourage anyone who feels really unhappy in whatever they do now.
Work is part of a healthy lifestyle as are happiness and rest. There should be no shame in being happy.