Today was my last day at work before I move back to Ohio.
For the past six months I have been working a menial job. Yes, it is with some shame that I admit I have been working in retail. Yes, it was that bad. I worked in a woman’s clothing store. I had to kiss ass, measure sweaty old ladies for bras, and sell credit cards. Some of the things I have had to do still make me shudder and long for my happy place.
While it’s not been my favorite job there have been some surprisingly redeeming aspects to it. I have learned a lot about myself that I don’t know I would have learned anywhere else. For instance, I am shocked to learn that in spite of it all I am a people person. I actually like people. Who knew? Not I! As a certified introvert being forced to put on a happy face everyday did threaten to send me into a straightjacket on occassion but overall I enjoyed a lot of our customers. We had regulars that I got to know and looked forward to their visits. My favorite was a mexican customer that started bringing me home cooked meals when she learned I grew up in Mexico and missed the food.
I especially enjoyed helping people and participating in the preparation for special moments of their lives. Some of those moments were fun – going on cruises/vacations, attending a wedding, girls weekend to Vegas, and first dates. I also got to help dress women who were battling illness, suffering a death of a loved one, going to court, overcoming cancer and who’d lost significant amounts of weight.
Amazing how customers would open up over a dress, pretty blouse or while shopping for bras. I became their best friend for a few hours as I trapsed all over the store to find them the perfect outfit or accessory. I heard their stories. Sometimes we cried and I got lots of hugs. I loved it.
It wasn’t always a kum-ba-yah fest. Some people are just asses, feel entitled, treat salespeople like dirt, bring children in that trash the store, steal, demand illegal deals and pee on the floor in the bathroom. Kid you not. It’s not all glamorous and full of warm fuzzies. LOL.
I also enjoyed the people I worked with. We laughed a lot. I’m not gonna lie, sometimes we laughed at people. It happens, can’t help it. Sometimes people forget they are in public and other people can see them. But mainly we laughed to make a tedious job fun. We had to do something, our district manager was breathing down our necks to sell more credit in not so nice terms. If you didn’t make your goal then you were officially labeled a “bottomfeeder” by the company, seriously. This is how they motivated you, by publishing quarterly rankings with fun titles.
Even as I wax on poetically about the experience I’m not sad that particular chapter of my life is over. I’m looking forward to what is next but am grateful for the perspective that it provided.