You've heard the bad things about the retail service industry. You've heard retailers say that they deserve to be respected (hi, me), and you've heard us talk about the types of customers that make our jobs difficult on a daily basis.
What you don't come across often are the positives; rather, the flip-side of all of the negative aspects of retail. It's not a tale often told, but it's out there.
Retail, while coming with a ton of struggles and stress, can also bring good qualities to someone to carry on into bigger and better things.
1. Retail teaches responsibility.
- Retail teaches responsibility.
Getting a job in the retail industry comes with a lot of responsibilities; not just as an associate to abide by company policies, but also to make sure customer's experiences are top-notch and that they leave satisfied, hopefully, to return. As a retail associate in the industry for 6 years, I can say that I've picked up a tremendous amount of discipline and learned right from wrong when it comes to servicing others. Anyone going into this industry has this to look forward no matter where they end up.
Retail can also teach an individual how to show up on time every day, be respectful, how to dress the part and always be within dress code, and to be a reliable team player. Though the roles aren't always satisfying, at least you look good doing it.
2. Retail provides skills used in all types of situations.
In everyday circumstances, we face new challenges and overcome these challenges with learned skills from our surrounding environment.
Over time, retail situations have provided me with intellect and problem-solving skills when I deal with customer complaints. When a customer comes to a retail associate with a concern, it has to be handled in a mature manner with lots of care. When a customer leaves a store angry or dissatisfied, it can look bad on the company or the location. With the right strategies and knowing what to say or do, these types of situations can be handled where everyone ends up happy (for the most part). It's usually a give and take, but when a customer is happy, the retail associates are relieved.
3. Retail helps in developing future career roles.
For anyone who doesn't see having a career in retail, any retail part or full-time job is a helpful assist in getting to that point. Working at least a year in a retail or customer service role can help students to develop and take along the skills needed for their career goals. Lots of companies appreciate the experience in customer service since lots of positions require it, and it helps to get a foot-in-the-door when you've already dealt with talking to people and assisting them when needed.
Job positions will ask for specific skills that a person has acquired and can use in the role at their company, so it's always a good idea to start small and build up to what you want.
Being in the field of psychology, customer service has helped me tremendously as I've taken it head-on, resolving issues as they come to me as well as interacting with people in collected ways while being able to be professional. Professionalism is always something that needs to be kept, no matter what position a person is in. The interaction with people in the public is already a huge skill needed for my field of study. It can help lots of different fields.
As often as I leave for the day not wanting to return because of the customers who make my jobs difficult, I know that the hard work will pay off someday. Having retail experience might not be at the top of everyone's list of things they want to do before getting a real job, but it's a good idea to incorporate retail because of what it can do for everyone.