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Working Retail is Like Blogging

Retail and BloggingLet me begin this post by saying, “I love growing older!” Being there’s not much I can do about growing older I might as well embrace it. My alternative is to die (I’m not quite ready for that yet).

This growing older revelation has done much to help me find joy at a minimum-wage, part-time job. This part-time job has me standing on my feet all day (I’m thankful that I can last many hours standing on my feet) and interacting with a plethora of people.

Full-Fledged Introvert

Working retail should be the job of last resort for an introvert. My idea of a perfect living arrangement is to spend my days at a cabin in the woods that has  indoor plumbing, plenty of books and wi-fi. I would prefer a waterfront view, but I’d settle for a large pond. Pretty much everything else is optional. I’ve learned quite a bit about growing my own food, and hopefully, my neighbor (who would live many miles away) is a hunter where I would trade organic produce for occasional meat products (you fellow writers grok my sentiments).

Imagine this Grisly Adams type woman (we’ll call her Grislea) working in a major retail store surrounded by people who seem to have an insatiable appetite for material possessions. People who know me laugh at the irony of my part-time job.

Similarities between Blogging and Working Retail

  1. I like talking to people. Maybe it’s because the people I talk to are strangers and we have limited preconceived notions about each other and don’t feel the need to impress, I truly enjoy spreading a little cheer to those whom I encounter. It’s sort of like writing except I’m speaking the words instead of writing them.
  2. People need/want someone to listen. Most of my incessant chatting is directed by my customers’ need. I try to understand what they want, put myself in their shoes and then chat from some bond we have in common. This is both good and bad. The good is it’s a pleasant experience. The bad…well, sometimes customers keep coming back (no, not just to the store, but to me).Chatty Cathy
  3. Most people (about 99.9% of them) are nice. In all of my servicing and chatting I’ve come across 2 people who were in need of help beyond my capabilities. They were unwilling to accept cheer, conversation or even a smile. I didn’t allow them to dampen my day. I serviced them quickly and got them on their not so merry way (rotten apples have a tendency to spread negativity…just like angry/negative blog commenters).
  4. People are forgiving. My second day on the job I worked alone in a busy department (one I was not familiar with). Fortunately, through chatting, humor and honesty, my customers were understanding and forgiving, just like the readers here at NJFM.
  5. It’s not about me. Working in a service industry the customer is the focus of my workday. Similar to writing an article. It’s not about me; it’s about the reader’s experience.
  6. I set my boundaries. With customers and employers, I have to set the boundaries. People have a tendency to push the limits if you let them. They mistake niceness for weakness. I’ve found that being personable, but firm works very well. Sort of like determining which blog comments to approve or disapprove.
  7. I’m not in it for the money. I make a hair above minimum wage at this part-time job. When the new minimum wage goes into effect in January, I’ll get a handsome raise (pitiful isn’t it). Blogging is the same way. If you start blogging because of the money, you’re barking up the wrong tree. You’ve got to enjoy it in order to continue.
  8. Back end benefits. On the back end of the part-time job I get employee discounts. This could be a good thing, but I’m not a shop-a-holic so I haven’t taken advantage of the discount. The back end benefit to blogging is you come across a few people that you remain in contact with whether or not you continue to blog. You may not sit and have a cup of coffee with these people, but you value their friendship nonetheless.

I started this post by saying I love growing older. If it were not for my advanced years, I might not have such a positive outlook on working a part-time job earning little to no money where I stand on my feet for my entire shift. Instead, I look at it as a positive experience where I get to interact with people.

Although I’m an introvert and highly value my alone time, there are times when I get extremely chatty (and I mean extremely chatty). Getting paid to talk for several hours isn’t really such a bad arrangement.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Joni December 30, 2013, 10:06 pm

    I understand what you mean. I have had short term jobs in the public which for an introvert like me is strange. But once I get started talking I have to take note mentally and slow it down or I will begin to babble. I know where you’re coming from. Being older things are just so different…i think you have to be older to understand.
    Take care,

    • Felicia December 31, 2013, 8:04 am

      Exactly! Score another one for growing older! 🙂

  • Loretta Parker-Brown December 31, 2013, 8:34 am

    Let me begin by saying I loved your post. And as one introvert to another I can relate to just about everything you said, except that I’ve never had a retail job, not even part time. God probably knows that I wouldn’t make it through the first hour. I am courteous and respectful to people and treat them like I want to be treated, but when it comes right down to it, I am not a people person. I like some people, I just don’t like all people, especially ones who tend to get on my nerve and I know there would be more of those in a retail setting than I could handle (and maintain my sanity).

    I never considered that working in retail might be like blogging, but I think you are on to something. Blogging has certainly introduced me to some new and valued friends – like you.

    And as far as growing older, I can relate to your statement about that, and I believe I am older than you, and have 6 grandkids to show for it. LOL. I am so grateful to be healthy, happy, and where I am at this point in my life.

    I am also very pleased to see that you are back to writing regularly on NJFM. That’s a sign – I can tell already that 2014 is going to be a blast.

    Wishing you a very happy New Year, Felicia. A toast to you!

    • Felicia December 31, 2013, 9:10 am

      You know Loretta, I too believed I didn’t like people. I come from a line of folks who claimed they didn’t like people, my grandfather and then his daughter (my mother). My mother would always quote the WC Fields line about not liking kids or animals (both my grandfather and mother were full of potatoes because I watched them with people and they were fine).

      I think what they meant was they were introverts. I too sang the battle cry, “I don’t like people,” but for a person that doesn’t like people, I’m having way too much fun talking to them at work.

      I think the truth is folks like us like people when we want to be around people. Otherwise stay away! I’m not so nice (actually, I’m down right ugly) when folks encroach on my alone time. As a matter of fact, I’ve had to apologize on more than one occasion to folks who had encroached upon my alone time. I’ve only recently learned this about myself (one of the lessons age taught me).

      Working retail is all about prepping oneself. When I’m fully prepped, there’s no one out there having more fun or doing a better job. But, if I fail to prep myself, I might as well call and tell them I’m not coming to work, because an unprepped Felicia in a retail job is a recipe for disaster. Sort of like blogging without a writing Mojo.

      Hope my Mojo stays. Well, not really. My dog’s name is Mojo and I’ve been trying to get rid of him for 10 years, but I’m out voted. Kind of ironic that the wrong Mojo stayed and the right Mojo took a vacation for several months. 🙂

      Wishing you the best for 2014!

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