For many of us, working in retail was our first job out of high school. We were either sixteen year old trolley boys, newbies on the checkouts or folding assistants at clothing outlets. Getting your first job was the starting point of the rest of our lives. For some though, it became a staple that lasted longer than expected. For what seemed a side step to the dream industry job, it became a career of sorts. But the question is, does it have to be?
When the paper round and the chores seem small pickings for commercially driven teens, some of the retailers like Woolworths and Coles can seem like the leap into the adult working industry.
In some instances, retailers expect you to either choose to rise the career ladder to management, or move on to your dream job after your studies. The resistance to move on is also known as a “rut” or “in-limbo”.
Whether it is the fierce competitiveness of entry-level dream jobs, the difficulty of entering higher education, the international qualifications not accepted in the Australian business sector, or because there are not enough jobs that don’t require at least 5 plus years experience for entry level industry work (that Catch 22). Australians are choosing to stay with their first entry level jobs, considering it is easier than offering your soul or your left kidney just to get your foot in the door.
Don’t get us wrong, these retail businesses have been excellent providers for growing families and career employees, with rewards and in some cases lifetime discounts. They have provided many benefits for their employees to live and pay off the mortgage. However, there is significant resentment to the tediousness of the job, especially when the retail employee is ready to move on.
The Training and Personal Improvement company ‘Excellerate’ in New Zealand has documented the many retail employees who reportedly suffer the ‘limbo’ or ‘rut’ and have described their situation as somewhat hopeless… “If you take no action, and when your job doesn’t miraculously improve, the loss of your health, self respect, reputation and relationships will create a miserable downward spiral.”
A retail employee was quoted in the study as saying, “Each time I found myself asking that question, should I stay or should I go? It’s a question that triggers an often-painful process of confronting and working through all the fears and excuses that keep us stuck in jobs we’ve outgrown, in jobs we don’t like and in workplaces that limit our potential.”
So in the long and short of it…Why? Why stay in a job that you have outgrown, that’s making you feel so unfulfilled? Excellerate has found that in some workplaces the lack of motivation can be categorised into; fear, familiarity, family and finances. In times of uncertainty there are thought processes driven by the need for security. These leave us to decide that the best situation is just to stay put. Such as;
- It’s easier – After a few job rejections, you start to think that it is just not worth it emotionally and financially.
- The starting over dramas – Training, steep learning curves, rebuilding credibility, making new work friends and learning new tricks that just make you feel old and insignificant.
- Better the devil you know – A a new job is still a mystery. You have come to know everything about your current company, and there is no guarantee that the new job will be any better.
- The wait and see – When you keep waiting for things to improve, but as new faces and corporate ownership changes hand, the job role inevitably never does. It’s like the new year’s resolution that you just keep breaking year after year.
- Conflicted loyalty – You see your current workmates, bosses and location as a family, even though you squabble a bit and sometimes it feels like you need to move out, you still view leaving the company as a betrayal after all those years together.
- Financial lifestyle – You have a mortgage, rent, credit card and/or students loans and a family to support. The idea of moving to uncertain Job security is just a nightmare.
- Family togetherness – Sometimes the only available work in your dream industry requires relocation. You start to feel that it is a burden that your family doesn’t need and you need to put them first.
- Lack of direction – Sometimes you study for a certain dream job and don’t have the industry connections to make a real go of it.
There are many justifiable reasons to remain in your current job, the real question is how you see yourself working there for another 10-20 years, and will you be fulfilled and happy if you just wait it out.
However, a solution can simply be to shop around. Take the plunge and present yourself for opportunities. Although, the big corporate company job may be out of reach for some, you may want to do something for yourself, be your own boss. A franchise opportunity may be a good starting point as there is an intensive training and support available, so you are not entirely on your own.
Franchise opportunities may mean that you run your own coffee shop, that you look after someone’s pool, that you do the kerbing in gardens or your run your own real estate agency. In franchising there is an industry to satisfy your interests. And with a sales and retail background you have a fundamental skill set already.
There is no easy option to to get out of your current situation, you need to think it through, get into something you like and most importantly be positive and have the right attitude. Everything else will work itself out… So are you ready?
About Eden Exchange
Eden Exchange is a leader in the ‘business for sale’ and ‘franchise for sale’ vertical. Our aim is to be the most valuable provider of insights and information to those looking for a business or franchise opportunity. We have a number of franchise clients and engage with 1500 new franchise prospects per month