We have all had jobs that we didn’t like, some more than others. For me, it was the three-month span of working at T.J. Maxx. In order for you to not end up in the predicament I was in, here are ten signs that a retail job may not be for you.
1. You get small panic attacks before clocking in.
From the moment you see your schedule, you go into flight-or-fight mode. Your heart races, it gets hard to breathe, and you may even cry. In your mind, all you can think of is “I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do this” until finally “I quit.”
2. You can’t think straight while on the clock.
You may be the smartest person in your family or friend group or high school class, but when it comes to working, your mind goes blank. And you can’t remember which way is up or which way is down. How do I fold this again? What section does this go in? Either way, you still end up looking dumb and unable to do anything really useful.
3. Your stress is through the roof.
If you are anything like me, you have high-stress levels. When I worked in retail, I had bad cases of acne on my face and legs and eczema breakout on my arms, legs, and stomach. It was bad. The worse part about it is that it was all due to stress for the job. I wanted to do well but I wasn’t. And I didn’t want to be fired or written up. I wanted to be a perfectionist and be a dependable employee. I was so scared of failing that I failed. If you’re going through this as well or something similar, maybe you should rethink your career choice.
4. You dread helping customers.
Every time you clock in, you hope that no one is shopping today. If people shop, sometimes they ask questions that you would have to answer. Some of which you may not even know the answers for. I remember a customer came up to me and asked where the cologne was. We both looked in the men’s section where it had been a week previously and couldn’t find it. Turns out they had moved it to the scents section near the perfume and body lotions. Not only did that make me bad at customer service, it made me scared to help customers. I didn’t want to continue to fail and make the place look bad, which I was doing.
5. Your managers suck.
If your manager constantly lies, is “never” wrong, blames you for all his or her mistakes, and overpromises you and other employees things, you may be experiencing signs of having a sucky manager or a multitude of sucky managers. Managers are supposed to help you grow and to support you, kind of like teachers. Instead, sucky managers bring you down professionally and personally, along with the company and all the employees. While working at a movie theater, I had one manager who believed that she was above the law and violated OSHA regulations. To this day, she is still employed there. However, hardly any traffic goes through there, and there are only about a dozen employees left. Karma anyone?
6. You’re not getting enough buck for your bang.
Let’s say you are getting paid minimum wage for cleaning bathrooms, arranging clothes, stocking shelves, cashiering, dealing with rude customers, etc. for thirty hours a week. Don’t you think you deserve to be paid more money for the amount of work you do for the company?
7. Why is the store even open at 1 am?
Now T.J. Maxx was never open at this hour, but many retail stores are. Who actually goes shopping at 1 am? Why do you need to work THAT late when no customers will show? When I was at the movie theater (yes, I know it’s not retail but the same signs apply), there were nights that I would not get home until after 1 a.m., even though no one came to the late movies because- guess what? – it was late!
8. You try to schedule as few hours as you can so that you can actually relax.
When I worked at a movie theater, we had the option to fill out our availability each week. One of my coworkers would only schedule herself for the two weekend days we were required to so that she could keep the very little money coming but yet still enjoy her summer and relax.
9. There’s a negative environment.
If there are cliques galore, HR refusing to give anyone raises, favoritism, hypocritical policies, or bullying, your gut-feeling of leaving may be a good sign that you need to leave this negative environment. You deserve better, and your next employer (hopefully with a more positive work environment) will thank you!
10. Being replaceable in a snap is unsettling.
With retail, your job is constantly replaceable. You can’t do it anymore? Okay, here’s someone new who can. If you don’t do a good job and succeed, you can and will be replaced. My job may have only been seasonal, but I had one part-time manager who kept pushing me out of the way and doing my job for me. It made me realize that I necessarily was not needed and that if I left that I wouldn’t be missed. Not only did this make me feel bad, it made my anxiety and stress increase, leading to everything that has been mentioned before.
Even though retail may not have worked out or may not work out for you in the long run, there are plenty of other jobs out there that you can actually be comfortable in and grow. Happy job-searching!