Friday, October 11, 2013

Beginnings of my Retail Career

I've mentioned that I started out in retail, but I didn't intend to stay there as long as I did.

My first retail job was probably similar to many people. I started working in the computer department for Circuit City as holiday help back in September 1998. It was a great job for a computer geek in his 20’s. Computers were just crossing the 1GHz mark and it was amazing to see that revolution in technology first hand. I was able to play with all of the newest computers right when they came out, get a discount on all the hardware I needed to overclock my desktop, and best of all, be around people like me.

Working at Circuit City was just my part-time job for the first few years. I had a full-time job working in the technology department of a small telemarketing company and I was taking college classes part-time. My plate was pretty full!

After my telemarketing company closed, I ended up making retail my full-time job, eventually earning a promotion to Merchandising Department Manager, later called Planogram Specialist. My first day promoted was Black Friday, so I was a “battlefield promotion!”

I became an Operations Manager two years later and retail was officially my career. I loved everything about that job. It was inventory, loss prevention, analysis, merchandising, human resources, customer service and sales all rolled into one neat little package!

Then, as you no doubt know, the wheels started coming off the economy and Circuit City went under. I stayed through liquidation until the bitter end, March 9th, 2009. After some time on unemployment, I took a part-time position at Target in their grocery department before getting back into management at Office Depot.

But the fun was gone. It was apparent pretty early in my time at Office Depot that my heart just wasn't in retail anymore. I wanted out. So I started looking at different careers.

The trouble I was having is that I had chosen to get promoted over finishing my college degree. All of my recent experience was in retail, so it was a tough sell to get employers to even look at my resume. It was very hard trying to find a good career after retail that still allowed for a good work / life balance.

Over the years, I've met literally hundreds of people in retail. Many of them have been amazing, intelligent, determined people. A lot of them are still in retail, feeling stuck. The truth is, thinking of them is one of the things that drives me to succeed. Without them, I might not be where I am today.