7 Skills I learned while working in retail
I had no idea I would get so much out of my retail job. Frankly, after my first one I didn’t think I would ever do it again. At that time, I only spent about two months working part time at a clothing store. I felt I had to meet high undeclared expectations yet had low responsibilities and as a result, frustrated and bored. I restarted my retail career years after only because I felt it was my only resource for income. Little did I know this gave me an opportunity for personal and professional growth.
Every person I encountered taught me a lesson, whether I liked it (or them) or not. Every person and situation gave me life skills so I wanted the same for my staff when I became their leader.
Here are 7 skills I surprisingly learned:
We all know teamwork makes the dream work. And like most times in life, it is when things don’t run smoothly it is where we find our lessons. How can I work with someone or a group I don’t like/feel uncomfortable when I am around them/that doesn’t support me? These were not questions I ever asked myself or knew how to answer. Each person and situation will have their own answers. You will know it when you lift your barriers.
Communication + Collaboration
I think it is pretty well known that good communication is important in all ways. The important skill to note is collaboration with customers. I believe customer service is like a conversational dance that you lead. One of the best lines I was told by a mentor to an angry customer was “I will do everything in my power to ensure that we create a solution that is mutually beneficial.” BAM, mic drop. I loved it. It ensured I wasn’t going to let the customer step all over me, easy the current situation and not throw the company under the bus. Win-Win-Win. This also applies to staff.
Being in Service + Rejection
This is a very giving job. A lot of the time, you have to swallow your pride and keep moving. Not taking things personally is typically what one is told. There is some truth to it but my reality, is that it isn’t easy. To me, being in service to others means I do give myself (attitude, energy and vibe) and if it is negative, I am then asked to not take things personally. It is choosing your battles and learning that hearing No, gives me a window to ask Why. And in the Why, you can get to an understanding. This was the only way I could get past feeling hurt – is to learn from it.
Organization + Leadership
Administration and organization is not exclusive to the office. If you are a manager, you will have other responsibilities that require ‘paper work’. Of course, organization is important to complete those tasks and the main operation that keeps a person organized is consistency. When you are consistent you are reliable. That can lead into self leadership. When you can be responsible and lead yourself, you become a leader that leads by example and eventually for others.
Going through these skills, you would think they are obvious. However, working every day can become a monotonous routine. Why not use this as a form of education? This experience can give you time to reflect; making a ‘simple’ job very intentional.
Original photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash