Wednesday, 27 January 2016

5 Things I've Learnt In My Career


I am currently building myself a career in Charity Retail. I may be on a secondment right now but I started from the bottom as a volunteer and I am now part of the Senior Retail Team. It's been a huge learning experience and I've developed some amazing skills. I thought I'd share today 5 things that I've learnt in my current retail career.

1. You can do anything you want
I started out as a volunteer, moved onto temporary paid work, then an E-Commerce role, followed by a role that was created just for me in Business Development and now finally I am an Area Manager. I started from the bottom of the business and made my way into the Senior Retail Team in a job I've always admired. I think that definitely goes to show that you can achieve what you want. It takes work, dedication and good skills, but you can do it.

2. Age is just a number
I manage people who are 20-30 years older than me daily. It was daunting and I was majorly judged on how well I could do the job on my age. After getting through the ageist comments and the self doubts, I now directly line manager 14 people and assist with the management of another 10. Doing this takes a lot of confidence (fake the confidence you haven't got it, that's what I did until I had it!) and show everyone how good you are at what you do. Then it'll be easy as pie... almost.

3. A career is never 9 till 5.
This was a definite shock to my system. When you're responsible for a lot and your do to list is longer than your arm, you'll always work more hours then you should. It's definitely important to balance out your life and give yourself regular breaks. Being over worked is the worst because it causes you to lose your love for what you do.

4. Always play by the book
In any business you should always play by the book. I was taught the importance of getting everything in writing, logging all possible information and how to handle situations. If you have procedures in your work, make sure you know them inside and out. It's so important to know what you're talking about, all the time. It's almost important to note down anything you feel is important and feed it back to your line manager whatever your career. Retail isn't an easy career, working with people and the public isn't always straight forward and simple.

5. Don't be afraid to admit when you need help
I am only just getting better at admitting when I need support in my role. I was concerned asking for help would taint how well I was doing and that maybe it would lead to me not getting a full time job (I am on a secondment for 1 year). Turns out, asking for help isn't scary. No one can know everything and we are all learning everyday. I now don't have the fear of admitting that I don't know how to do something or how to handle a situation because that is how I learn. I used to ask 100 questions a week to a close colleague but now I asked maybe 1 a week. That proves to me how much I am learning and progressing. If you don't ask, you don't know.
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