When all is said and done, what we choose to do for a living is a clear reflection of the person we are inside; a window to the soul, a looking glass into how we perceive our own place in the world. There are high achievers and the unemployed, the rich and the poor, those who attain and those who merely dream, together; in the melting pot of life.
It’s all binary – ones and zeroes; true and false.
Which are you? For many years, I was the latter. My life was meandering along and I felt lost in this path of nothingness; barely reaching the speed limit on my journey to nowhere. I was caught between unemployment and menial minimum wage drudgery. Often one was simply a rebelling of the other.
The feeling of dread became unbearable.
I remember it clearly.
Life was unfair, stagnant, devoid of aim and purpose.
The alarm clock was the Pavlov to my salivating dogged desire to remain. The thought of tearing myself away from the confines of my bed would reduce to me to tears. I would rise up like a zombie, shuffling around this metaphorical wasteland in the hope of being put out of my misery.
I strived for change, I really did, but it was too difficult. My existence was a perpetual cycle of indifference and poverty. On the outside everything seemed fine. To the world I was a young, single guy who had his own apartment in the centre of a large and vibrant multicultural town. On the inside I was the person who spent 35 hours a week hating himself because his lifestyle was the polar opposite of everything he desired.
The main culprit was my choice of employment. It was no different to many other jobs I had taken over the years but for some reason, this seemed worse. I didn’t realise at the time but I had hit rock bottom. From the age of 18 I had given up my integrity in the name of customer service – or more specifically; retail. I’m not ignorant. I fully understand that this is a first world problem and that there are countless people in the world who would love nothing more than to have a job, any job – but I can’t do anything about that.
My life is the only one in which I have direct experience.
I firmly believe that everyone hits rock bottom in some form or another and as such, I eventually managed to quit this chapter of my life. You can read about it here. It wasn’t easy, the most important things in life rarely are.
Retail had robbed me of my ambition and drive to succeed. It was my pimp; always offering to take care of me with its lure of protection and regular payment, but at the same time dulling my senses and stripping away my sense of true self.
When hindsight weaves its magical spell and we rewind the tape, the obvious grabs you by the throat. But what if you’re unable to see it?
My own personal hell was retail but maybe yours is different. It doesn’t matter. False imprisonment of the mind is ubiquitous in modern society. It’s everywhere. Whatever it is holding you back. Whatever is preventing you from quitting the life you hate and taking back control – the following points can help you clear the fog so that you can truly see what is in front of your eyes.
Regardless if you work in retail or any other industry – if you hate your job, then I hope this article will give you the push needed to do something about it.
1. The managers are idiots
A bit of a generalisation you may say, but if you’ve ever spent a significant amount of time in minimum wage employment then you will know exactly what I mean.
There are the odd exceptions, of course, but 95% of the managers I have dealt with are a bunch of brown nosing, incompetent fools. Former playground bullies who gleefully take out their pent up rage on those unfortunate enough to stack shelves for peanuts.
However, dealing with these unskilled idiots is a walk in the park compared to the apparent 3% of managers who are said to be psychopaths. These Machiavellian monstrosities are usually found in the higher up roles where they can sit in their office, embracing their inner Mr Burns whilst fantasising about releasing the hounds.
2. Customers are annoying
We’ve already established that most managers are the sort of people that our parents warned us about as kids – but what about everyone else? Yes, the screaming horde of hatred that manifests itself as the general public. They enter your world on a daily basis with for no other reason than to make your life a living hell.
Well, that’s how it seems.
“Can you have a look out the back for me please?”, because apparently you enjoy hiding stock, and thus increasing the likelihood of worker/customer interaction. Yes, I totally lived for that…
No word of a lie, if I could go through a working day without speaking to another human being, that to me felt like a victory.
I know you feel the same way.
3. You probably hate yourself
As far as job satisfaction goes, working in retail falls somewhere between being a car park attendant and shovelling shit. You can try to spin it however you want but at some point, probably before the end of your first shift, you came to the stark realisation that your life has gone down the crapper.
“Hey, at least it’s a job. You can’t be picky in this economy”, you sternly tell yourself whilst gently weeping inside.
You may have friends at work and genuinely enjoy the banter but that’s scant consolation when you look in the mirror every morning and all that stares back is an empty shell wearing a very pretty uniform.
Also, that name tag isn’t for the benefit of the customers – it’s so you can remember who you used to be.
4. Forget that, you’re just a number
You may as well take the name tag off because for 35 extremely long hours per week, you’re just a number in the system.
Do you think your company cares about you? I’m here to tell you that they don’t. You can put your heart and soul (what’s left of it) into your work and even give many years of service but at the end of the day, you’re as disposable as your dignity.
This is an industry that will happily give you a verbal warning for taking more than 3 sick days in a financial year. Your work is so meaningless that there are thousands of untrained monkeys that could replace you at any given moment – and they will, eventually.
5. Robots will force you out soon anyway – the future is not on your side
Did I say monkeys? I mean robots.
Skynet has already infiltrated our daily lives and it will only get worse (or better, depending how you look at it). Chip and pin cards have already been introduced in many countries and now we’re seeing an influx of self-service checkouts. It’s only a matter of time before human operators are phased out completely.
The prediction is that within the next 15 years we’ll simply be able to waltz into a store, grab anything we like and promptly walk out with it. Costs will be calculated by RFID chips in the items and automatically scanned as we leave. The bill will then be calculated and instantly charged to our bank accounts.
So there you have it. It’s not a safe job at all. It’s a dying industry. Think about all of those poor people who will be made redundant without the skills or experience to find something else – don’t be one of them.
6. The money is awful
I’ve always believed that time is more important than money, and for good reason. Time allows you to do all the things you want to do but money is a means to an end – unless you have time available.
So why would you sacrifice all of your free time for a job that pays you minimum wage? It’s not worth the trade. Think about it like this; the job you are performing each day is so pointless that your employer isn’t willing to give you any more money than they’re legally obliged to.
That’s how important you are. You’re working in the western equivalent of a sweat shop.
If you’re going to do a job you hate, at least find one that compensates you for this mind numbing tedium.
7. You’re better than that
Forget everything that has gone before – that’s in the past. What happens from this point forward is totally up to you. You have a decision to make. Are you going to wake up every morning and dread the day ahead or are you going to take back control of your life?
If you’re unsure of what to do, here’s a tip. That thing that you spend all day dreaming about…
Quit your job. Or at the very least, set the wheels in motion towards the career you feel you deserve. It won’t come and find you. The only way you’re going to change your world is if you grab life by the balls and take action.
Retail had its invisible shackles on me for over 10 years but eventually I managed to break free, and you can do it too. In fact, why wait as long as I did? You’ve got no excuses whatsoever. Perform a lifestyle upgrade immediately.
Do you think age is a barrier? Are you worried you don’t have enough time to search for a new job or embark on a new career? These excuses are all in your head. The only reality is the one you choose for yourself.
Stick or twist – the choice is yours.
Click here to grab your free 33 page eBook, ‘Breaking Free – the ultimate guide to quitting your job and pursuing your passion’.
Question – Have you worked in retail or experienced a soul crushing job?
Please let me know in the comments below.