Many of us begin our careers with a retail job in high school. We might work at the local mall, dreamily staring at the clock and hoping our shift will be over so we can meet our friends for a movie. Or we might take things a bit more seriously and work for a family friend’s clothing store in our neighbourhood. A retail job is typically something that we think of as part-time or seasonal – any easy job that we can pick up at any time when we’re between jobs or need some extra cash. But a retail career is actually a very good idea as it can teach us lots of skills. Here are nine reasons why you should pursue a career in the retail industry (and yeah, that employee discount is also a pretty awesome thing).
1. There are growth opportunities
If you want a managerial position in a fun environment, why not choose the retail industry? You can start off as a junior or associate manager of a store and work your way up to the top and finally be the manager. You will need to be a super organized person if you choose this career path as this job involves a ton of scheduling, hiring new people, and dealing with product orders. You’ll definitely never be bored and if you want something that’s a bit less traditional than your typical 9-to-5 office job, this is for you.
2. Your people skills will be necessary
Sure, a ton of jobs need you to be a people person, but how many jobs require you to actually speak to people for the entire duration of your shift or time at work? In a typical office environment, you might chat with your coworkers in the break room or ask your boss a question or even pitch something to a client, but you’ll also spend hours staring at your computer silently. In a retail job, you will talk to people 24/7, basically. Depending upon your job, you will definitely have to talk to your customers, and most likely also some suppliers and the employees who work below you. You simply can’t make it in retail without having amazing people skills because then customers and employees alike will absolutely hate you and you just will never succeed.
Another people-related benefit of working retail? You’ll learn to deal with all kinds of people, good and bad. You might have an employee who works under you who is super whiny and always flaking on her shifts, and you might have another employee who is an amazing team player and always goes above and beyond her actual job description – and that’s just the employees. You’ll also talk to tons of customers every day and we all know how angry and rude some people can be. By the end of your first month (or even first day!) in a retail environment, you will be an old pro at dealing with all kinds of different personalities.
3. You can become deeply invested
We all want the kind of job that we love so much that just makes us excited to get up in the morning. If you want that kind of career, then retail is definitely the right place for you, because you end up becoming involved in every aspect of the store, no matter what your job title or position. People who work in retail take pride in their work and always want the customer’s experience to be a positive one, no matter what.
4. You will never be bored
It’s a sad fact of the working world that employees often sit around, staring at Twitter or updating their Facebook feeds because they’re super bored and don’t have much to do. If you want an exciting career that involves standing instead of sitting for much of the day or running around like a crazy person, then why not try retail?
5. You will be flexible
Let’s say you’re a recent college graduate and just want to get some work experience while you’re figuring out what you want to do. A retail job is still a great career option for you because you can get a sales associate job or something similar and work different shifts. You can work evenings and weekends only and have time to pursue other career opportunities during the day – the possibilities are endless. Working retail is pretty awesome if you want to stay flexible and be a free-spirit as it’s definitely not a 9-to-5 lifestyle.
6. You will learn to sell
A retail store is about selling products of course, and you’ll be the one pushing these clothes or material objects on innocent people (also called customers). Basically, here’s the deal: if you suck at selling, you can kiss your retail dreams goodbye. Selling is an integral part of the whole business. Sometimes this means convincing unsuspecting customers to buy something super expensive that they don’t actually need. Sometimes this means convincing your fellow employee to stop complaining and be more of a team player. It depends. Either way, you need some sales experience.
7. You will learn the importance of showing up
Let’s be honest here: a lot of people don’t show up for their retail shifts. These people are usually teenagers. You can’t exactly blame them since standing around in a clothing store is a lot less interesting than hanging out with friends. But a retail job, no matter what level you’re at, will teach you how truly important it is to show up when and where you’re supposed to. As Woody Allen said, “80 percent of success is showing up.” If your goal is to climb the ranks of the retail world, then you definitely need to show up and be reliable or you’ll never get anywhere.
8. You will learn to solve problems
Problem solving is a pretty crucial skill in the modern working world. No one has ever had a perfect job where everything stayed completely perfect and nothing bad ever happened (or if they have then they’re totally lying). When you work retail, stuff is going to go wrong, often horribly wrong. Shipments won’t be delivered on time, a bunch of people will have crazy hangovers and won’t be able to come into work, customers will scream at you and embarrass you in front of other customers. If you want to become a better employee and work on your problem solving skills, and if you want to learn how to think on your feet, then retail is definitely for you.
9. You will grace under pressure
It’s difficult to think of a single career option that doesn’t involve some stress and chaos. Even a fun job like a writer or something creative is pretty stressful most of the time. So if you work in retail, you will definitely learn how to deal with pressure. You can’t exactly sob and scream when you’ve got customers around. Staying calm is an often overlooked career skill that will serve you well no matter where your career takes you next.
Still traumatized from your retail job from when you were sixteen? Wanting to make a career change but unsure what to do? A recent grad who needs to get a job ASAP? Whatever your situation, you definitely want to consider a job in retail, now that you know these nine reasons why it’s a great idea to pursue a career in the retail industry.