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The Benefits of Working Retail

Retail JobsWorking retail is widely considered to be one of the worst jobs you can endure; rude customers, whacky hours, problems getting pay for working through the holidays, insane children and of course, the terror of Black Fridays.

But for those who do end up working retail, there are some benefits to be had from pulling the shopping shifts, if you know where to look for them. Obviously working retail has many drawbacks as well-hence all of the jokes, groaning, complaints and sit-coms created around them-but if you go into the job with an eye towards improving yourself, you will find some scope for that no matter where you work.

Of course, we don’t endorse working in a job you hate for any longer than you have to, but if you aren’t getting $30.00 an hour, you can at least get some intangibles out of the experience.

The 5 Top Benefits You Get from Working Retail

1. Highly Transferable Skills

Working retail gives you some very good transferable skills which are invaluable in any other field you’d care to work. These include incredible communication and interpersonal skills (remember this whenever you have to deal with customers who are difficult, ornery or selfish; you’ll have to deal with other colleagues, clients and organizations that may act the same way!), time management skills and organizational skills. If you can maintain the tidiness of a store after a family of six whirlwinds inside, if you can keep up with a whacky schedule and you can do it all with a smile, you can just about handle anything any other workforce has to offer!

2. Handling Money

If you want to work in finance or with money, then you have to show that you’ve done it before and working retail will definitely do this. It works because you will spend all day working with cash, debit machines and credit cards and by showing that you can be trusted with these things, it becomes a little easier to break into other fields where money is even more important.

3. Problem Solving Skills

Whether you work on commission or not, a big box store or a small boutique or hundreds of other circumstances, you’ll need good problem solving skills which are also necessary in many other fields. If you have to work on commission, then you have to figure out how to convert an uncertain customer to a sale. No matter what you have to figure out how to keep the store tidy and keep on top of customer demands at the same time and dealing with the day to day demands of others means staying on your feet and always coming up with solutions.

4. People Skills

Obviously you’re getting some great people skills and not just the communication skills. Being exposed to a wide range of cultures, personalities, the needs of others and moods can really prepare you for life in a wide range of other work environments. While it may be frustrating at the time, the experience you can get from working with the worst and best humanity has to offer is invaluable later.

5. Discounts and other swag

Of course, working retail itself does offer some perks too; for example, discounts on goods purchased in your store, demo versions of things to use for free, new ‘toys’ to play with (especially if you work with technology), free snacks and the ability to try out new things just as they hit the market. Hey, these are little things, but sometimes the little things can count for quite a bit.

Working retail isn’t easy and it can be hugely stressful. But it also has some great benefits, particularly for job hunting in other fields. Even the worst job can help you get ahead after all! Good luck and keep your patience under control. Not all customers are straight from the worst parts of humanity after all. Good luck!