illustration by Izzy

First jobs are tough, especially when you have no idea what you’re doing. I showed up to my first day of work at my current job, a salesgirl for a retro clothing store, with horrible drawn on eyebrows and a Crybaby shirt, I hoped would impress my rockabilly coworkers (It didn’t). Within the first hour I was already dealing with crazy homeless men wondering into our shop and (equally as crazy) rockabilly housewives insisting we used to carry a certain dress and that we were lying when we said we never stocked it. I only wish someone had warned me what to do when thrust into the world of retail! Well, lucky for you, I’ve comprised this handy list.

10 Ways to Rock Your First Day of a New Job in Retail

1. Show up completely prepared! This means any documentation, forms of identification, water, cell phone charged, money in case of emergencies, etc. Your employers are expecting you to be ready!

2. Look your best. Even if it’s a scummy retail job working for a company that you hate, you’re now a public figure for that company, so you better be looking good! But that doesn’t mean showing up in a painted face and ball gown; just be clean and well-dressed.

3. Smile! Everyone’s watching you! Retail is all about customer service, and I know you’d hate it if you got a sour-faced worker at your favorite clothing store, so remember to always keep on a kind face. My boss has to remind me sometimes that she’s not paying me to mope around and scowl.

4. Listen! If this is your first time using certain tools or techniques, a coworker or employer will most likely instruct you on the proper way to do it, so make sure you are paying attention to what they are saying! This brings me to my next tip:

5. Watch and learn! What works well for your coworkers? How did they wrap that blouse up so nicely in tissue paper when yours looks like post-present opening? On your first few days, just watch people around you work and learn the mechanics of things. Oh the things you can learn! I now know how to get a three tiered petticoat into a small bag, a useful skill.

6. Don’t ask, don’t tell. This isn’t socializing time (that will come later when you become close to your fellow employees), so stop being a “chatty kathy” and pay attention to the customers. Also, no one wants to hear your whole life story after knowing you for three hours. Keep the chatter to a minimum, and make sure it’s non-invasive and non-personal. I wish I was still at that level with my boss because there are things about her sex-life I didn’t need to know.

7. Don’t get in the way! It always seems nice to help employees out with a customer or a box unloading, but if you don’t know what you’re doing or how the other person works, you could end up annoying them and/or the customer. Keep the interfering to a minimum.

8. Stay off your phone! I cannot stress the importance of this enough! Don’t even check the time, babes.

9. Stay positive!

10. Be yourself! They hired you for you! Show them that spark that made them remember your application in the first place!

Follow these tips and any other advice from fellow customer-service workers, and you’re on your way to being employee of the month!

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April 24, 2013