My Love/Hate Relationship With Retail

I'm sure that I've previously mentioned on my blog that I have seasonally worked for Marks & Spencer for the past three years. When I first applied for the job, I was starting up my final year of sixth form and thought that because my friend managed to get a job in the same store, I might as well apply.

Applying for the job for the sole purpose of making money didn't really occur to me at the time, although it was obviously a massive bonus and I delighted in nothing more than spending my wages on new clothes and going out with my friends, until I started my first year of university and had to quit. I mainly wanted the job as it seemed like something fun and exciting to go for, even though it was totally out of my comfort zone and I was shocked when they told me I had the job at the end of the interview. If I had gone to university closer to home, I might have been able to keep my job and work part-time, but unfortunately I chose to move 300 miles away!

Since starting my first year of university, (I will be going into my third year in September) I've returned to my local Marks & Spencer store to work at Christmas and each summer. At Christmas I do a week or two of overnight shifts, which is really great money for such a short time working. This is great for a quick boost of money mid-way through the academic year and manages to keep me going until the next time I'm working. There are always downsides however, as this means the first couple of weeks I'm at home for the holidays are taken up by constantly working and sleeping during the day. 

Now that I have nearly completed my third summer in retail, I have been reflecting back on my time spent in the company and find myself thinking that it's actually a shame that I have to leave. Not only will I miss out on earning a good wage (for my current situation,) but I have realised that this summer I have made some good friends at work and have had my own section to fill and maintain which gives me a sense of worth and value in my store. Most of the young people who work seasonally don't seem to care about the job, but as I keep coming back I want to do well for the company and I want them to think highly of me as a worker.

Although I work tough hours, getting up at 5am near enough everyday, when I get home from work I feel like I've already achieved something and can relax until I have to prepare for tomorrow. I can't argue with the pay, although I did take on my contract with the expectation that there would be extra hours for me to do throughout the summer. This hasn't been the case, which has proved to be extremely stressful as I continue to worry about my money situation for third year. I get a very low loan which just covers my rent and most of my money then goes on train tickets to come home every few weeks, but without working over the summer I definitely wouldn't be able to afford these. 

Working in retail can be tough as customers don't seem to understand how hard your job can actually be, and I have had people getting angry at me countless times for situations beyond my control, such as there not being an item in stock. But you manage to form great friendships with like-minded people, earn a decent wage and usually there are loads of extra hours to suit your needs. 

I've basically just rambled on about my thoughts on working in retail, but can you blame me as I'm currently on day six of working 11 days in a row, and possibly suffering from mild exhaustion. But I only have two weeks left so I'm working hard to get as much out of it as I can!

Do you work in retail? What are your thoughts?

Dayna x

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