Debating over a career in retail. Help!

  1. Hi ladies!
    I always get such brilliant advice on here that I thought I'd post my lastest dilema with hopes you'll have some advice for me.
    Here's my situation. I was a high school teacher for 6 years, but honestly, I never belonged in the classroom. I am burned out.
    I may have an opportunity to go into management in retail, but my friends have warned me that the hours are horrible, the money stinks, and I'll regret it. None of them, however, have ever worked in retail.
    Here's what I want to know: Do any of you have experiences you can share with me about a career in retail, or if the words "career" and "retail" are mutually exclusive?
    Is it a dead-end job in the long haul, or do you any of you have experience in a successful and rewarding career in retail.
    Thanks for sharing. I love this forum!
  2. It really depends on what store you work for. I loved the store I worked for and had a great time working there. I just think retail is fun...meeting new people all the time, making friends with repeat customers. If you love it, it would never be a dead end job. :heart:
  3. I agree that it depends where you work. I've worked in retail for awhile, especially while I was in college. (And I'm currently working full time again in retail, while I decide what my next move will be.) I've had some good and bad experiences. Are you looking to just be a sales associate or are you thinking about management? (I've done both).
    Some cons: You'll mostly have to work weekends, especially if you're just starting. Holidays are really busy, and you might also have to work on some of these days, ie, Christmas Eve, New Years Day, etc. Some customers can be a nightmare.
    Some pros: You get a discount. Some retail establishments have great programs for branching out into different departments. The commission can be a nice incentive, on top of your salary. You meet some really great people.
    Hope this helps, Pm if you have any more questions.
    Good luck!
  4. I've only personally worked as a sales associate and not done any management. Can't say I liked it as it was not something I was passionate about. The managers I saw working really put a lot of hard work into things like displays and customer service. I don't know how much they personally got out of it but they did spend quite a lot of hours doing what they did but I'm sure not getting compensated monetarily for it. I think you can only go so far with the job, again, depending on where exactly you are working. And as to how much you'll get out of it, it really depends on the setting or your personal feelings. I say do what makes you happy. And sometimes you honestly don't know until you try. We aren't fortune tellers. Sometimes you start something and love it and other times it's not the case. Good luck!
  5. Don't do it! I work in retail and I can personally tell you that it really really STINKS. When I worked part time, it was fine. I'm full time now and I feel that it's aging me. The hours are exhausting. I work 40 hours a week. When I get my days off, I'm so tired that I can't really do anything. It's bad for my social life.

    I'm not a manager but I do have a lot of responsibility. I'm a sales associate, trainer, and supervisor. I'm young so this is fine for now. However, I could never make a career out of this. I deal with the rudest customers ever. I never knew how awful some people could be over the tiniest things until I worked in retail. Just a few days ago, I got called a racist because I asked a customer for an ID because she was using a credit card. Another customer threw a pen at me that nearly hit me in the face because she was mad that we didn't have a debit pad and charged her card as credit. When those things happen, all you can do is smile because most of the time, the store will always side with the customer because they want the money.

    The managers at my workplace are so obsessed with their jobs. It's very stressful because they always have to worry about making the sales goals. When we close, they have to finish up on whatever we don't complete. There's a lot more but I'll stop my ranting.

    Work schedule this week:
    Monday: 8-5
    Tuesday: 2-11
    Wednesday: 8-5
    Thursday: 6-3
    Friday: off
    Saturday: 3-12
    Sunday: off
  6. i know a few that work in retail and one is actually a director. the only sucky part about it is that you'll most likely work on the weekends and you will have long hours. most stores close around 8 or 9 and you'll probably be on your feet all day, unless you work in the corporate side of retail it might not be that bad but every company is different. And I don't think some retail companies have really good benefits and time off you'll have to check your options.
  7. it definatly takes a certain type of person to work retail full time. i would suggest that you start part time and see how you like it. you have to work with all sorts of people.... the good, bad and super super ugly. and if you decent to a manager then you have to deal with the REALLY ugly. just be prepared to stand on your feet for long hours, working weekends (and possibly nights) and some holidays, oh and possibly some days where you do absolutely nothing because the business is slow..(if you're working at a small shop or store). but retail isn't all bad. i have 2 part time retail jobs and i absolutely love the people i work with (more so than the people i work with full time). and most retail places don't pay the best (unless i suppose if you're on commission then it's all up to you)
  8. I think retail stinks unless you work with a wonderful group of people who like each other. High end smaller stores seem to be more like family (from my personal experiences). A lot of my friends work in retail and the back stabbing that goes on with stealing sales, making qupotas, working holidays and rude customers stink. I loved working in retail as a asst. to buyers, I did a lot of paper work but got to work with customers buying for their stores. Of course I had more opportunites when I lived in Miami. So if you live in a major city there are some really fun things to do. My one friend just got in to displays and is very creative and having fun. So there are other things to do.
  9. i wouldn't consider it, is there something else within the school district that would offer you more diversity
  10. I have a friend who my age who just graduated from college last year, with a degree in economics from one of the better University of Californias. She got into Target's corporate training program, which begins with managing a Target retail store... big responsibility, just in terms of square footage! I think there are only two managers, maybe three, in most stores.

    She was paid very well for a recent college graduate who didn't go into say, i-banking... in the $50,000's. But she worked long hours, often more than 12 a day. Her day started before the store opened, so she would have to arrive at 5:00 a.m., and leave after the store closed. She never got two consecutive days off.

    She ended up quitting not because the of the work load or hours, but she couldn't handle dealing with people who are... let's say, less ambitious than she is. I think she had a tough time delgating and commanding women who were 20 or 30 years her senior who made a career out of working as a cashier or stock person, etc.... and I think she felt a lot of resentment coming from them. If you feel like you're capable of dealing with a lot of different kinds of people and don't mind working long hours, it might be good for you.
  11. ^^^:yes:
    When I worked retail I felt the same way.
    Personally I hated the hours.
    It appeared that when the majority of people were enjoying their evenings, weekends, and Holidays, I was working!:wtf:
    The public can become VERY mean and nasty to retail workers.:sad:
    I'd stick to 9 to 5 or better yet, 7 to 3:30pm Mon thru Fri, if it's possible.

    Oh, side note:
    I actually loved what I did in retail. I worked for several different cosmetic companies, but my freedom and leisure and family time are much more important to me. I'm now very happy with my 7-3:30pm, Mon thru Friday gig.
  12. Retail does typically pay lower for the workload. What everyone said above is true - you have to work long hours on your feet, deal with people all day with a smile on your face, do repetitive tasks that often require little brainpower. Around Christmastime, the hours and job suck even worse - all stores become a zoo and you end up staying behind even longer hours to clean up. It definitely takes a certain type of person to enjoy retail - why don't you try taking a part time job in a boutique or store to start off? Some stores will allow a person only to work 4 hours a week so it's a good way to test the environment.

    I personally liked working in retail (I did it for about five years, with a couple of those in management), and probably would do it as a career if they paid about double what they usually pay. :smile:
  13. I have done retail for on & off for about 10 years, part time/full time etc & I find it very draining. It was sort of my hobby as I would do it for the discount or just some extra money for purses :p I find it can definetely be rewarding if you like working with people but I also find it could get boring & at times would drain me. I would definetely recommend working for a retailer you like & the people are key. I have worked with some great people that made the job so much better. Good luck
  14. I have a degree in Textiles and Apparel (fancy words for fashion merchandising). I was hired right out of college for the Hecht. Co.'s management program. (They've since been bought by the May Co.)

    I was a trainee, dept. manager (usually changing depts. every year or so) and an assistant buyer.

    If you work in a store than has a good "personality" fit with yours, it can be quite rewarding. You have the opportunity to use your management skills, make decisions, display merchandise within certain perimeters, get the thrill of achieving sales goals, and on and on.

    But the drawbacks are horrific. Retail hours are ruthless. Holiday season is long and the hours you're required to work are substantial. Plus, in my experience, you'll probably be required to work at least one weekend day a week all year. Add to this the constant stress and worry of problems -- making sales figures, grumpy customers, and employee problems.

    It's a great career choice for some and not for others. I always thought I would have enjoyed it more and stuck with it longer had I been single. It wasn't the right job for me to have and still be able to take care of my house and husband.