Post # 1
After working as the manager of a small formalwear boutique for 8 years, I recently switched jobs and started working as the manager of… well, another small boutique. This one is a gift shop and has multiple locations. Trouble is, I am not liking this job much more and it is leading me to believe I may have to make my escape for retail once and for all. However, I worked my way up in the company I was with from a sales associate position and do not have an education or degree to fall back on (which I am currently shooting myself in the foot about).
Have any other bees made the switch from a retail career to a different type? How did you do it? What type of jobs would you suggest I look for? Any advice or wisdom you care to impart?
Please share your stories and inspire this hardworking girl to step away from the cash register ones and for all!
Post # 4
@MissTatas: What is your highest level of education? any other experience besides retail?
Post # 5
Unfortunately, I don’t know what to say since you don’t have education to fall back on :/ I know that sounds really really horrible and I don’t mean for it to; I got lucky and got a job doing what I went to school for, but I was in retail mgmt for 5 years.
What about moving up? Instead of being an SM or something, what about doing the DM position? I know they tend to have completely different type of job that those who work in the stores themselves. Or maybe try to get into a different branch of the company (merchandising, marketing, etc)? I’ve known store managers to do that, and they ended up loving their new jobs.
Otherwise… maybe consider going to school for that thing you’ve always wanted to do? What kind of job have you always wished you could have?
Post # 6
My situation is a bit different from yours but I thought I’ll give your thread some love! I started out in retail (since I was in HS) but the only thing that got me away from it was finishing college and starting internships in my field. Do you think it is the specific type of services/goods that you are currently selling that is bothering you? I think there are definitely different “types” of retail and some are more bearable than others. For example, working in the clothing department and having to constantly clean up fitting rooms and hanging clothes is a lot more physical work than doing giftwrap and customer service and maybe you just need a switch? I guess you can also work your way up into management at a larger retail store (e.g. Nordstrom) to the point where you become a department manager or higher. You spend a lot less time on the selling floor and you still get to use your experience and not start at ground zero. In my experience, a lot of these retail management positions are internal promotions, so that works to your advantage. In addition, if you work at a major retailer (e.g. Nordstrom), you can actually work specifically for a brand (e.g. Theory) and then move your way up in that clothing brand and that will get you out of the direct sales/retail floor position too.
Post # 7
If you have the cash or wouldn’t mind taking a loan, I would suggest taking some night school. Even a 2 year community college program can get you into some amazing careers. Hell, certain CC have programs that are only 1 year, and they have placements included at the end of them.
If you could risk spending a year at school it could get you into an entirely different field.
Post # 8
@bestbuddies: I was taking college courses but dropped out after a year. The only experience I currently have is retail but in my last position since I was working for absentee owner I wore a lot of hats. In addition to the typical management duties (scheduling, hiring, training, merchandising, markdowns, etc) I was the primary buyer and I planned events (one annual event about the size of a bridal fair plus 10-20 additional smaller event).
@StephieBee: I am actually currently talking to another company where there would be more room for advancement. When I accepted my current position at this new store, I was under the impression that there were roles above Store Manager. Since I have now been an active member of the team for a few months, I am finding this to not be case 🙁 I think that will probably be my next move I was just wondering if anyone else has managed to find an off-beat job with parallel skills that I’m just not thinking of. My fantasy career would be a Criminologist which I just don’t see working out in this stage in my life. I will have to comfort myself with a lot of episodes of Criminal Minds. Thanks for your advice!
@lilbluebird: I do miss working with apparel and the customer service aspect of my previous job. In my current store, there is barely any customer service to speak of until you get to the register and then we offer to gift wrap… I miss getting to know my customers and spending time with my employees so I can train them and show them the correct way to do things. Realistically, my current position is much more of an extension of the merchandiser’s role. My dream retail company is currently hiring so I have approached them about an Assistant Manager position despite the demotion and pay cut. I am expecting to have to start at a lower level (hopefully not the bottom level!) of any big retail store and have to work my way back up but at least that will give me a challenge.
Thanks so much to everyone for responding. I think my major gripe with my current job are the unpredictable hours. I don’t mind working long or hard hours, I would just prefer a job where I didn’t get notified at 8pm that I need to come in early, by 7am, the next day. We are quickly approaching the time where we would like to plan a family and I want to be prepared before that.
Anyone else with any advice please keep it coming!
Post # 9
I was stuck doing random jobs for awhile, probably more then I would have liked.
The food industry, city work, clerical, and retail….
Did not like any of them.
Got a waiver, went to school. Now I am where I want to be. So, school is definitely something to consider.
Post # 10
Can you attend a degree program part-time while working? Maybe in something related to the retail industry so you’ll have some relevant experience when you finish?
Post # 11
@bythebook: Our currently plan is for my husband to return to school first, hopefully this fall, since I currently make about twice what he does. Unfortunately we can’t afford for both of us to attend school at the same time but its looking like attending school may be the best option for me as well.
Post # 12
Yeah, maybe get a business degree to move up to corporate. Better hours, better pay. Plus you have the experience…
Post # 13
@MissTatas: oh honey I FEEL you, not because I was in retail but because my Fiance JUST got out of it! Ugh it was awful! Once you have that degree hundreds of doors will be opened up to you, in the meantime having a job as a manager will give you a ton of options once you get that degree!Any chance your man would switch places with you so you could get your degree first since you have a year of credits under your belt?
Post # 14
I did retail for a very short amount of time when I was younger. It just wasn’t for me. I honestly couldn’t ever do it again.
I went from retail into an entry level call center position doing collections, which was happy I had retail under my belt, even if it wasn’t a lot. I don’t mind collections at all, but I will stress it’s not for everyone. You sit at a desk, 8 hours a day, calling people who yell at you, hang up on you, or don’t answer. You repeat yourself A LOT, and hear a lot of sob stories that are hard to not get caught up in. You do grow a shell (especially after catching people in lies). But, the pay isn’t bad for what it is, and most collection agencies have a bonus structure, which is where the real money is. Once you get the hang of what you’re doing, its not bad at all, and if you’re a good collector, the money definitely reflects it. Plus, nowadays, collections has more of a customer service basis to it. From there you can get into management, growing with any collections agency and move on. If you’re done with the phones, you can transfer into quality assurance, or HR, or whatever else depending.
I took my collections training and got into the banking industry doing soft collections/customer service on home loans. I had experience with past due HELOCs from the collections agency. From there, I transferred departments in the company to mortgage modification/loss mitigation, and now I specialize in that. It was just taking past training and moving it to apply in other fields. I have a small amount of college under my belt, but not having a degree hasn’t stopped me from growing. It’s definitely possible.
A lot of financial industries my friends or I have encountered, like the bank I’m at now, offer tuition reimbursement as well! So you can get into a new field, and expand from that using their help.
Another friend of mine has grown in the banking industry because she started out as a teller. so maybe another option if call centers arent for you?
Post # 15
@ccantics: Thank you!! That is great advice.
Post # 16
@MissTatas: I’m in a similar spot. I do have a degree, but have up until recently been managing a large clothing store. I don’t want to be on the floor anymore but, as you know, when you’re a manager of a store you actually have so many different aspects to your job – which are all transferable skills.
If you think about the aspects of your job that you like best you can go from there. I personally love doing the reports and analyzing sales data. So I’m now looking to get into a planning role. It’s still in retail, but has a lot of potential for growth, and suits my analytical mind.
So, do you like the hiring and staff management aspect? You could do HR. Or do you love visual merchandising? You could seek out a job with a larger company where they have specific merchandising and mannequin people. Events management? Marketing?
You have so many skills from, as you say, wearing many hats. Depending on what you decide to do I really don’t see that you need a degree. Unless you decide to be a criminologist, lol. But short term you have plenty of options. You just need to own your skills and right that cv well! And then when your life opens up a bit in a few years time you can think again about studying.