I’m not talking shopping sprees. I’m far too broke to take part in any such thing! I’m talking working for a living in the fabulous world of retail.
I began working at the age of 15 in retail, specifically at one of the most well-known and beloved gift stores of all time:
I spent 8 years at a privately owned (nope, not one of those corporate stores) Hallmark and I adored almost every second of it. My coworkers turned into life-long friends and I am forever grateful to the owner, my boss, for what he taught me about work ethic, responsibility and respect. It was, by far, the best job experience I could have fallen into.
And while it was great to be surrounded by wonderful coworkers, it was even more satisfying to help meet a need. So my return to a retail environment this past July was a perfect fit. I have, once again, found a store where I enjoy the company of my coworkers and the owners/managers truly care about their employees as opposed to the bottom line. In this day and economic age, it seems that may be a trait that is hard to find.
On top of that, our customers often have very crucial needs. Many are diabetic and, from lack of proper care and treatment, have serious problems (I won’t go into detail, but it’s not pretty). Some suffer from plantar fascitis and are doing their best to suffer through their daily lives. When your feet hurt as soon as you put them on the ground in the morning, it’s a HUGE problem. My dad suffered through this – it was also not very pretty!
The look on some of our customer’s faces when they try out a new orthotic insert or pair of shoes brings me sheer joy!
So where’s the downside?
Well, I spent 4 years obtaining a degree in Biology while working in malaria research, another year studying medical research in Alzheimer’s Disease and cancer and another 2 years working toward a M.S. in Secondary Education with a Science focus. My student teaching experience was an epic fail and I never found a laboratory research job (blame the lack of government funding).
I’ve spent so much time working toward a career in science and whenever I focus on this, I am disappointed in where I currently am in life. At 28-years-old, I am in a job that will not allow me benefits or a retirement. I would not worry so much about this as my husband is in a stable job. And now, we are house-hunting with the intention of qualifying for a mortgage with a monthly payment less than our current rent price. Why waste money on a rental when we can afford a mortgage payment, right?
Nothing would make me happier than to provide as much as my husband does – to do more than clean the house, purchase the groceries and cook the meals. Since acquiring my new job, I have not spent as much time searching for a stable career, but I’d like to return to it. Unfortunately, that would mean saying goodbye to a job I love, coworkers I adore and a very flexible schedule.
Have you ever been in this predicament? Have you given up something you want to do for something you must do?
I am not sure I will ever find the perfect career, with the perfect benefits in the perfect environment, but I will continue to seek it out. Hopefully it is somewhere out there waiting for my application.