When you first read the title of my blog post, you probably laughed, I know I would. Life lessons from working that boring, part-time retail job in high school, really? I did not enjoy my time while working in the retail industry during high school, but at the time it was the only job I could get unless I wanted to work in the food industry, which I thought was worse. But looking back at it now, I realize it taught me so many life lessons that I still use today, seriously!
Communication skills are great for any career! But I learned a lot of my communication skills from my retail job, it was also one of my first jobs. Working in retail made me develop into a people person. You have interactions with people every minute while working, whether it is with customers, co-workers or your boss, you are constantly talking and interacting. You also have to walk up to strangers to check in on them or help them find what they are looking for, this sometimes pushes you out of your comfort zone, but in the long run, it is great for your character.
How to be the bigger person
In retail, you often get angry or upset customers. At my retail job, the store had a lot of coupons, but along with those coupons came brand or clearance exclusions in the fine print on the back. Let me tell you, the customers did not like this, and they did not understand that as just a sales associate, I did not make the rules to the coupons. This was personally the worst part of my job because I had to constantly deal with angry, yelling customers, but I had to stay calm and patient. Overcoming these rude customers helped me learn techniques to be the bigger person. Which can translate to how to deal with anyone acting rude or in stressful situations.
A friendly smile and kindness can get you far
It is true what they say, kindness is contagious. Simply smiling, greeting or thanking someone can get you far not only in retail but anywhere else. It also helps to keep yourself positive at work, which is a great way to put yourself in the right frame of mind for dealing with anyone, especially those rude customers. Do not take this lesson with a grain of salt, because it can help you in any situation, not just work ones.
How to multitask
This is learned so easily because there is always so much to do in retail, especially on a weekend. You are usually assigned many tasks to do during your shift, but you also have to juggle tending to customers and keeping the store neat. You also learn to adapt and manage your time.
Respecting others is a must
Working in retail means you are working with many people at once, especially in a department store. This means you should work as a team and get along. If you don’t respect your coworkers or get along, it will make for a slow and dreadful shift. Respecting co-workers and team members in any work setting is a must.