Friday, August 31, 2012

Twelve Retail Customers I Miss Less Than Chicken Pox

I left my retail job. More on that next week, but I LEFT MY RETAIL JOB! It was a miserable, depressing, aggravating, irritable, moody, cranky ten months, but it's okay. Why? Because I LEFT MY GOD-AWFUL RETAIL JOB!!!

I joined the retail field last October. It was a conscious decision - one made entirely sober and in a coherent state of mind. My plan was simple: take a job that was close, easy, and flexible. A job that didn't require work to come home. A mind-numbing, effortless job to hold me over while I finished the manuscript. And it sort of worked out that way. But it also sort of didn't. And I'm extremely grateful it's over.

Like every life experience, I was able to learn and grow. I met incredible people - both co-workers and customers, who inadvertently impacted my life. Their mark has been made; their knowledge was shared and their inspiration absorbed. For that I am grateful. But retail is not for me. It was there while I needed it, but I don't need it anymore.

After finishing my manuscript, I got a bothersome itch - an itch first felt seven years ago, when I was graduating from college and preparing to enter the work force. My break was over. I'm not a retail associate. I'm an educator. A licensed educator with credentials and qualifications to educate. I have the opportunity to make a difference. If I didn't pursue my opportunities, I would deprive myself of the future I planned for. It was time to go back to work.

So, I'm excited to announce my return to public education. I took a middle school position and return to the classroom next week. A lot went into this decision, but I believe it was necessary. I'm returning with a new perspective. I'm returning as a new person. I worked hard for my career. And although it didn't go as planned, I'm not warming a bench. I needed to step back and take time to regroup. I needed to rediscover my professional goals. I needed to make decisions for my future. Now, I start over. A new position in a new district. A new community to serve and new students to meet. A new place to call home. 

These last three days were spent in professional development, and I have to say, it felt right being back. It felt right being in a professional setting again - to have a new opportunity to utilize my background and skills; to be tackling a new challenge. I'm excited. I'm nervous. And I'm ready. Because this is what I do, and this is where I'm supposed to do it.

For fun, I leave you with a photographic compilation of my time in retail. Have a great weekend, and a great holiday.

Twelve Retail Customers I'll Miss Less Than Chicken Pox

Excuse me, sir. May I try all these on in 7, 7 1/2, and 8? In black and brown? 
And bring wides if you have them.

I'm gonna pass. I'll leave them here for you.

Hi, I need to return these. They just aren't comfortable.

I know my credit card is in here somewhere.

Can you poke around and tell me if they'll stretch?

Sweetheart, would you be a dear and help me put some peds on?

Hello? Hi. You can ring me up as soon as I finish my phone call.

Would you please measure my little angel?

Do I get a discount since I broke it?

Ya got these in a size 12?

These are all about seven years old. Would you be a doll and honor them?

Can you ring these all separate? 


  1. LOL. Paul, this is hilarious. More so because I've done retail, and I know EXACTLY the type of people you're talking about.

    My favorites are the "I just spent $20, I better get a discount." Like the $0.40 commission I get already off that item needs to be any less. Or the "Give me exactly what I demand, while I curse you out, or I'll take my 'extremely valuable' business elsewhere." *sigh* I don't miss that one bit.

    Congrats on breaking free!

  2. Those all sound like total nightmares! Glad you're returning to your calling, Paul. And hope you accomplished a lot with your manuscript while enduring those crazy people.

  3. Hard as it was, I'm glad you realize all you've learned from that experience. Makes it all worth it! I think if more people stepped back, such as you did, they'd be happier in life. Barreling through and not taking time to realize what we want and what's best for us often leads us to the wrong place. Good for you! I was much older than you when I finally did the same thing, but at least I got there!Best of luck. There are some lucky middle schoolers about to meet one of their future favorite teachers.

  4. Omg! You photographically described my next shift! IM happy to see you back where you really belong. But I miss u!

  5. There are some truly awful consumers out there. Congrats on getting a teaching position.

  6. Good for you! I'm a fully certified educator with multiple degrees who has been trying for years to even get a full-time teaching job. The field is ridiculously competitive here and I'm about done trying to become a teacher (I always hear, "You don't have any experience." Yah, thanks. How am I supposed to get experience if no one will hire me?). I've been biding my time substitute teaching, which is just about the retail equivalent in Education. It sucks and I've stopped doing it because it was sucking the life out of me. I'm staying at home with my daughter for now, but I've got a few prospects that are education-related (but not teaching). I used to be a retail manager and I've dealt with those kinds of customers! Gouge my eyes out! I don't miss it. Your story is inspiring. I'm working on my first novel and it's hard to keep going sometimes. Congrats!

  7. I'm sad that I won't be able to run into you at the store, but I'm THRILLED that you are back to doing what you are best at. Wishing you all the best for a successful school year!

  8. Hahaa, enjoyed the pics and your post. SO glad you're off the retail job and back into education. :)


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