- Confidence. For the solid 18 years previous I should have perhaps taken some of my own (or more so my parents') advice here and exuded some of the stuff. This is no overnight transformation and confidence can take years to work on, but is a quality undoubtedly worth displaying in a retail workplace. The best remedy for naturally shy folk like myself is to fake it till you make it. Even if the thought of this in your usual school or social setting makes your toes curl, a Saturday job is the best way to practise this method. Chances are, nobody you're super close to is around, and a good 80% of the customers you encounter you will never have to see again (SO important to keep in mind). Start yourself off by remembering some good small talk icebreakers to use with customers, or by simply smiling or introducing yourself to a new colleague; every little helps here. You will likely slip up just as I did, and mince your words or suffer a few uncomfortable silences, but the experience gained all amasses until you find yourself quite easily breezing through sales and those co-worker chats.
- Posture. Following on, posture is so important not only for your spine (think of those poor elderly people who walk around completely crooked), but also to boost your confidence and self-esteem. Again something I used to (and still occasionally do) forget about, a 'walking tall' stance immediately radiates confident vibes to those around you. Particularly in a mobile retail position where you find yourself on your feet serving the public, a straight back does surprisingly positive things to you and even when you could be feeling crap about a part of your appearance or have messed up something you've said, this body-language helps reduce you displaying any vulnerability; something which brash customers can pick up on and will sometimes take advantage of. Even if you aren't 100% certain of a response to a query or complaint, the combination of a well-executed reply and good posture will make you seem confident and in control. Now all you have to do is smile politely, call over the manager and wait;)
- Maintain a façade for anyone acting rude or ignorant. For me personally, the best way to respond to somebody kicking off at an incorrectly ticketed product or begins criticising you for some policy out of your control, is to be completely transparent. Smile politely, and call a manager or colleague to come over and quell the situation. Simple as. The trick here is to keep this thought in the back of your mind: "I'm getting paid for this", and then the problem is all theirs. Always remember to retain a degree of politeness and keep composed so that the customer has nothing to accuse you of personally in the instance a supervisor or manager gets involved. Having this mindset significantly reduced any anxiousness I had over angry customers, and means I know how to respond in sticky situations. However, under no circumstance tolerate abuse or personal comments, and immediately gain a colleague's assistance until a manager is called; never be made to feel threatened or uncomfortable by anyone in the shop.
- Be flexible, not walked-over. Agreeing to assist a busy till-point or clean a set of shelves is perfectly reasonable and when you may be quiet, often helps pass the time and distract you from staring at the clock. This willingness and flexibility will most likely get you a good repertoire, making you all the more favourable for any new positions or promotions. However, similar to the posture/vulnerability advice; the occasional co-worker will perhaps target this willingness and can ask you to do much more than your fair share. If you feel strongly you are getting repeatedly exploited whilst others are chatting, do tell someone managerial or ask a less busy co-worker to split the job. It's all about fairness and balance here.
- Take what you can from it. Money, experience, a friendship, confidence; 9 times out of 10 you can take something positive from a retail position. Even being a christmas temp, you've pocketed some cash you didn't have at the start and can put that valuable experience on your CV ready for your next role. As much as sometimes I dread going into work, I can always count on either the days wages or a memorable chat to lighten my mood. Just remember to smile, relax on your breaks and look forward to that well earned pay-slip:)
Friday, 19 August 2016
Nailing Your Saturday Job
I've worked in retail for nearly two years now, and whilst I'm only a weekender, I feel informed enough to let you in on my personal tips for a shop job. If you're a fellow weekend worker like me, here are several ways to withstand your hectic Saturday without wanting to flee the shop/cry in the process: