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I’ve been working for Clinique cosmetics inside of Macy’s for a while now and boy has it been quite a journey. Working in retail can be more than just a way to pay your bills. You actually learn alot about yourself, others, and the in’s and out of business.
So here’s some of the things I’ve learned…
1. Patience: Prior to working in retail I must say I would go from zero to 100, real quick (no pun intended). Patience is something you NEED to learn because you have to deal with so many different personalities on a daily basis and through it all you must remain professional. Even on the days where you’ve woken up on the wrong side of the bed you have to hide it behind a smile.
2. Perception is REALity: Associates inevitably are the face of the company and the closest to the customer. The customer WILL make a conscience decision to patronize a store based on the attitudes, behaviors and appearance of associates in addition to the store itself. You never want to work in cosmetics and be told by a customer “You can’t help me, you don’t even have on make-up”. Especially if your making commission! Same rule applies for other retail environments.
3. Common Sense (is not common): You’ll be asked or even told to do certain things that are out of your means (especially by your managers). Just nod, agree and do what you can, ethically. Also customers will most likely regularly ask you things that may make absolutely make no sense but your job is to answer it without making them feel completely stupid.
4. Time is money (literally and figuratively)- YOU DO THE MATH! I think that was self explanatory.
5. Feeding off negative energy is not the way to go. Never think of a retail job as just a stupid retail job because there are many skills one must possess to thrive in this environment (patience, good communication, flexibility etc.) Granted it may be something that you are doing temporarily until you a fully in a career that you have a passion for, but just try to see the silver lining.
6. Basic Business Functions: Studying business (marketing especially) while working helped me tremendously in my studies and at work. You really get to apply your knowledge. As a retail associate you’ll deal with sales goals, marketing incentives, accounting reports & much more. Take advantage of those skills. They may help you further down the road.
7. Keep your friends/coworkers close & management closer: Though in a retail job there is a good chance you’ll meet people who really enjoy what they do, you run into a few that will do anything to get ahead or take the heat off of themselves (many of those being the people above you and right next to you). Never just assume that everyone has your best interest at heart because at the end of they day they have goals and metrics to meet just like you, sometimes on a bigger scale AND are more likely to get cut if they aren’t met.
All in all, Make the best of your retail job !