I began my very first retail job at the end of September of this year. My role was that of a sales associate at a Halloween store which only opens its doors every fall. Believe me when I tell you that this is the PERFECT retail job to start with.. Why? Because this particular individual loves Halloween. Fortunately for me, my friend and fellow blogger was the store manager and she was awesome enough to hire me so I could get my feet wet with retail experience. There was a mix of emotions as I began this journey, but none of them had amounted to intense fear at first.
Setting up the store had it’s hurdles. A gesture in the general direction and the phrase “That goes over there.” were frequently used. There is no one else to blame but myself when frustrations hit. Admittedly, I had not told any of my fellow associates that I was legally blind up until the very last minute. I didn’t want to be treated differently and I refused to let my blindness define who I was or my work ethic. Although I am hesitant to talk about my condition upfront, no one seemed to notice it upon working with me. If they did notice, nothing was said. What was I holding back? Why did I have to hold it back? Why was it so different to talking about my needs as a student in college? The honest answer is “I don’t know.” I just need to be more confident in my abilities. I survived the season.
I often worked my shifts wondering when I would be fired. Negative as this may seem, I never knew if I was performing as well as the other associates. I had expressed my concerns and paranoia to my friend and she has assured me time and time again that I was doing just fine. Silently, I continued doubting. This in itself was unfair to my friend and to my fellow coworkers. Hopefully my concerns were safely hidden from the customers I assisted.
Patience had not been on my side as I assisted customers looking for their items. I refrained from talking about me and focused on searching for accessories and costumes, sometimes it would take a good chunk of time which was annoying because the item would often be right in front of my face. Furthermore, I had to find a way to contain my anxiety when I couldn’t find a particular costume or gave the incorrect information because the customer had seen that particular item and I had not. In these moments, I requested the help of my fellow associates and the managers. Best. Solution. Ever. Obviously, I’m going to try to solve the problem myself, but if I haven’t figured it out in a few minutes, it’s not going to ruin me if I ask for help.
Another huge concern were potential shoplifters. I was a dressing room attendant for the majority of my shifts and if people were stealing in front of me, I never know. Unless they make some sort of auditory indication that they are shoving an accessory into their pocket, how would I know? Paranoia shook me to my core pretty much all the time. Again, senseless paranoia did not do good things to me while working.
The season went surprisingly fast and before I knew it, the store was closed. We tore everything down and the unit was empty. Just. Like. That.
I am happy I had this experience and even happier that I didn’t quit. The what-if’s plagued me a lot, but I conquered them in the end. What did I learn? Grit your teeth and work with what you’ve been given. It all works out.