In light of the craziness that is Black Friday (or as we at Vera Bradley like to call it "Bright Friday"), I realized that despite everything I genuinely love my part-time job in retail.
My managers & leaders make it fun.
Even when the craziest of customers make us all want to pull our hair out, the managers and leaders at my job always have a smile. Honestly, that keeps my mood from falling. Even if it's a forced or sympathetic smile after dealing with an upset customer, it reminds me to save face and keep it cool. I also love the little moments when I catch one of my managers singing to themselves or to the stock room staff because it makes me smile.
My coworkers also make it fun.
Nothing bonds a store like rallying together on a busy day, especially on Black Friday. It's nice to know that one of the ladies next to you at the registers probably knows the answer and can help with a random question that doesn't need a manager. Personally, I find that nearly everyone I work with is so sweet and kind, and we all try to make working fun even when we're slammed. It's also fun to get to know some of your coworkers outside of work (whether you've become Facebook friends or hang out from time to time) because it gives you something to bond over at work when things are slow or when you are on your breaks.
It forces me to be happy.
As someone who's struggled with depression, having to be consistently happy and pleasant honestly improves my mood better than medicine. It seems ironic that forced happiness actually makes me happy, but after a 5 hours shift of being "happy," I somehow find myself realizing that I actually am. Even when I get problematic customers, the kind ones come along and make my day better.
Good customers that joke around with you.
I love the customers that joke around with the store's staff. On Black Friday, I was working the line outside of our store, when a group of middle-aged ladies came to the front of the line. They were so excited to get in and start shopping. They were so pleasant in asking me about the sales we were having, what products we still had, and when I let them in the store, their faces lit up even more and they scrambled to get inside. It reminded me that even as we get older, the holidays can still make our faces light up like we're kids again.
The difficult customers serve as examples of what not to do.
The problematic customers are great teaching points both in and out of the workplace. When I'm out shopping or at a restaurant, I'm hyper aware of how I'm acting toward the staff serving me or helping me. I always try to smile, thank them, and tell them to have a good day when I leave. If I'm out with friends or family and I hear them starting to get impatient with the staff at a store or restaurant, I step in and remind them that they're just trying to do their job. I sometimes even find myself having to think this. So even though difficult customers can make our jobs stressful, they've taught me to be a better customer myself.