The new post-college prestige job is retail
It used to be that the best post-college jobs were the ones that gave you a sense of security (law, medicine) or financial windfall (banking). But the finance industry and grad-school route are both dead ends at this point.
The New York Times reports that we're experiencing a sea change in the career department because the former favorites are no longer prestigious, and new choices, like teaching and government service, are rising in popularity. But, as college grads contemplate their options for June, and twenty-somethings watch pink slips fly, here's something to consider: The prestige job of the new millennium is waiting tables and folding shirts. That's right. If you are in your 20s, you should try retail. Here's why.
Retail enables an honest approach to adulthood
Emerging adulthood makes life in one's 20s more difficult than ever before in history. Being lost is important in terms of navigating to adulthood. And the most dangerous thing you can do in your 20s is try to get around the discomfort of being lost by over-committing to a career. You will change careers five times in your life. You will depend solely on yourself to build your own skill set and forge your own path. So give yourself time to figure out what's best for you.
Going to grad school burdens you with an amount of debt that severely limits your career choices. And it's a way to prolong childhood by continuing to have someone tell you what to learn and reward you for doing it.
Posturing as someone who makes only perfect choices means you'll probably end up lying to yourself: Only 12% of people make a good career choice for themselves right out of college.
The best way to figure out what you should be doing with your life is to give yourself time to explore yourself and the world. Which means you need time to think. Retail is flexible, and it doesn't take a lot of brain power. This leaves a lot of time and energy to do what you really need to be doing: Trying a lot of things on for size.
So the people who are honest with themselves about where they are in life also are brave enough to admit they are lost and should take a retail job to give themselves space to figure things out.
Retail gets you the American dream
The American Dream is no longer about money and things. It's about self-knowledge. The ultimate achievement is not a huge house and an expensive car. It's a solid family life and self-knowledge to steer clear of a quarterlife crisis or financial meltdown.
Kurt Anderson captures this shift in his essay in Time magazine: “[Too many of us have been] operating, consciously or not, with a dreamy gold-rush vision of getting rich the day after tomorrow and then cruising along as members of an impossibly large leisure class. (That was always the yuppie dream: an aristocratic life achieved meritocratically.) Now that our age of self-enchantment has ended, however, each of us gobsmacked and reality-checked by the new circumstances, is recalibrating expectations of the timing and scale of our particular version of the Good Life.”
The best way to give yourself that knowledge is to give yourself time in your 20s. It's difficult to explore who you are after you have kids. And it's difficult to focus on yourself once your career is in full swing. So you need to establish a foundation for personal exploration by practicing in your 20s. Practicing a lot. Retail enables this.
The new dream job is a combination of jobs — retail is usually a part of this, at least to start.
It's clear that the age of job security is gone. And the best way to get security is to have multiple revenue streams, so that if one fails, you have a backup. In her book, Marci Alboher labels this the “slash” life — where you have more than one profession and a slash between them.
In a nod to this trend, PayScale created a list of a new type of dream job — one that affords a slasher life, and also enables the type of control and flexibility in life that accommodates the values of the new American Dream. The dream jobs Payscale cites are freelance, hourly, and generally creative on some level. They validate the idea that the American Dream is not about money but instead about personal growth and control over one's life.
It would be great to be able to support yourself in one of these jobs, but it's tough going. Especially if you need health insurance. So retail is a stepping stone to the dream jobs of the new millennium. Retail gives you a safety net, a financial cushion, and the flexibility to build a dream career.
Retail gives camaraderie — something you really need in your 20s
One of the most jarring aspects of emerging adulthood is that in college we are surrounded by friends, and after college, our friends disperse. This means that at the time in life where we are separating from our parents, learning to support ourselves, and trying to figure out where we fit in the world, we're doing it alone. This is why depression is such a huge risk for people in their twenties, and why a support system is so important.
For everyone in the workforce, having two friends in the office can save a worker and a job. But this is especially true for people in their 20s because while other people probably go home to a significant other and maybe even kids, many people in their twenties go home to no one. In an office full of people in their 20s — which is most retail and not most offices — the shift from college to adult life is not so drastic and lonely.
There is a place for that and actually a patience build up in some of the evolving work-force could have a positive impact long term. People want the immediate movement or promotion and typically leave due to a lack of patience in the job.
Oh Maus. Your comment made me tear up.
Yes. There are still lawyers out there making money. And yes, the field is considered more or less prestigious.
However… 1) Unemployment for lawyers is up 66% this year, and that is only in the offices that can be statistically tracked (ie solo practitioners may also be unemployed, but we won’t know about it). 2) The US population now averages one lawyer for every 16 non-lawyers, and about 50,000 new lawyers graduate each year. 3) Each of those new lawyers, unless they are very lucky, will be paying at least $1,000 a month in student loan debt. (Because of tuition costs that soared 100% in less than a decade, lawyers were particularly hard hit by the private student loan industry). 4) Biglaw, which provided six figure salaries – but only for 30% of all graduates, and even then only for the first 2-8 years out of school – is crashing. Salaries are falling, partners are leaving, firms are dissolving. 5) Contract work, the backup for lawyers who need to pay their loans, is moving to India at a rate of about 30% each year. If the trend continues, it will all be gone in less than five years.
New entrants to the field of law may count on prestige, but they cannot count on security. It amazes me that so few people seem aware of any of this. It’s been in the NYT, the ABA Journal, and others.
I’m late to the comment party and will probably go unread, but I just don’t understand who P is talking about half the time. I’m 30, I work and socialize with plenty of people age 21-35, and no one I’ve met is looking at retail/waitservice like it’s anything other than a miserable stop-gap and hopefully something they left behind with their freshman 15. Most would rather intern for free and live at home since it may actually give them some exposure to careers they want.
All my jobs taught me something, and I sometimes had fun in my various stints bussing tables, waitressing, running a snack shop and tossing pizzas, but they were hardly the ‘school of life’ or the social bonanza P suggests.
Anyway, if you don’t like retail, you can make a lot more money moving to a major city and working regular hours as a nanny! Learn leadership, the art of persuasion, management, PATIENCE, personal responsibility, and best of all explore your interests–even if it is with toddlers. Plus if your employers are good people they and their friends would probably provide excellent career advice and insider job tips.
I would suggest that someone graduating with a degree get a job as an assistant in an industry that piques their interest instead of going the retail route. Of course, I’m biased because we offer online and interactive assistant training as our service at ProAssisting but hear me out…
Consider this: Ivy league grads and lawyers trek Hollywood every year to get a job that pays $400 per week to work as an assistant. They are just trying to get their foot in the door. But what if you take that same idea and put it to use in a different industry that excites you? As an assistant you’ll get a “bird’s eye view” of the industry/company you work in and you’ll know pretty quickly if it’s right for you. You’ll also put valuable experience on your resume for a future position. Coming from retail into corporate is a tougher sell. Lastly, being an assistant offers the same “self evaluation” that this post talks about in terms of retail while still teaching you the ways of corporate America. Just my two cents…
I think this article makes some great points. I just wish more people saw the value in retail. I worked retail after college because I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. I moved around to many different departments (checkouts, merchandising, warehouse, office, human resources, bookkeeping, loss prevention, logistics, etc.) I moved up into management for the extra money. I ended up working about 70 to 80 hours a week and it completely destroyed my health. It was like I was working two full-time minimum wage jobs. While I had a little bit of socializing in the workplace, working random hours took away all my outside social life. I had no one to turn to outside of work. After retail, I tried out two sales jobs and found out I could not do sales. I hated it and was not good at it. I got fired from both of them. People still think that retail is the same thing as sales. They are actually very different. I have tried to find work in other areas such as office administration, human resources, or bookkeeping. I enjoyed doing those things in my job. I figured I could use my experience I gained working in retail stores to help me go in new directions. Boy was I wrong! Others saw me as nothing more than a register operator and shelf stocker. Temp agencies were just horrible to me. They said I was classified as unskilled and inexperienced. I finnally just decided to give up and go back to retail. Now I can’t even get hired at retailers now. So now I don’t know what to do when the industry you are very experienced in won’t hire you and no other industry will hire you. Retail gave me some great experiences and skills; but it also ruined my life.
The part about the new American Dream really struck me. I’m 25, and I feel like I still have a lot to learn about myself before I fully commit to anything (marriage, kids, career, etc). Right now flexibility is very important to me – I would see more money as a means to more flexibility.
On a side note, I finally subscribed to your blog. You’re interesting to read (your personal misadventures as well as your advice), for sure, but mostly I like that you’re economically literate. You understand the connections between personal life and work so well because you understand tradeoffs and how to read people’s choices. You’ve consistently made economic sense on this blog, and this economist thanks you.
For example, reading the post where you smash Mr. Dellifield, you note that he doesn’t stay home with his kids, which demonstrates that he prefers to go to work (despite his armchair judgment that you shouldn’t have gotten bored at home). It might seem like a basic point, but then again how many people argue against this line of thinking? (Think: “I’d stay home if ___…”) Anyway, for whatever it’s worth, I like the way you think. You seem closer to reality than some people are comfortable with.
so what if you’re in your 30s? i just read your post about grad school as form of avoiding the recession, but i myself am going to grad school for two reasons:
one: i am lacking experience in fields i want to work in, and they won’t give me the time of day. my resume is hidden in their huge stack of other applicants, who are most likely overqualified and get more attention than me- under qualified and hungry for experience and growth.
so this is a comment on two posts. your grad school/recession post and this one. i am 30 and i am ready to get my life started. unfortunately i am burdened by the haunting number 30, and haunted by your blog. the program i just accepted and paid a deposit for is a program in organizational behavior (psychology), and i am interested in it, but not passionate of course. if i go, it will be helped by family and loans. i am offended you say grad school is for rich kids hiding. i am not rich. i am trying to make myself more marketable, more hireable, and more educated in a field i like.
I wonder about this. I worked retail (including high end retail) from the age of 15 until I graduated college, and then was lucky enough to transition into a “real” job that had a lot of aspects of retail in it. After being let go, and trying to find a job again, all I see is that everywhere needs years of experience in your field in order to get in. Working retail is all fine and dandy, but there’s a point where we’re supposed to begin getting this illusive “experience,” and working retail isn’t going to do that. Putting that retail experience on your resume, when it has very little to do with the job you’re applying for, ends up looking like “oh well I just did anything for money and don’t care about what I’m doing.” I agree that in these times, working retail might be the only answer for some people, but it’s not doing as much good as you think it is – unless you never worked before graduating and needed to get out and learn how to work.
(that was the sound of me falling out of my chair while gasping for air in between spasms of gut laughter)
So your advice is this: forget grad school, work in retail?
nice post and good , pretty comments , I very like it :)
As a recent college grad, I’m experiencing a lot of what the Blogger has to say here.
I’ve read through a good portion of the comments left by others and agree and disagree with some aspects of what’s going on here.
For instance, yes, it is definitely good to work retail in order to get your priorities straight. However, a great many of us (including myself) have worked retail since 15 or 16 years old. Now that we are 22 and 23, the appeal of appeasing irrationally irate customers for a living is stale.
It can be demeaning at times to work retail. I graduated cum laude in both of my majors, yet I still have to take guff from ridiculous customers. However, one may still have to take guff from ridiculous coworkers in an office. The key is that the pay is better.
My points are starting to wander because I am hungry and can’t keep my thoughts straight. I guess I am saying that I’m torn between retail being good and bad. It’s good in that it gives valuable work experience, builds character and can be a nice stepping stone. However, it’s bad because many of us (including myself) have incurred a substantial amount of college debt that a meager 8.00/hr will not pay off in time. Also, many of us are seeking to do something at least partially related to what we study, and simply folding shirts and saying thanks will not cut it.
Funnily enough, I came across this blog when I googled “Is it ok to not live up to your potential” because I’m currently trying to decide whether to give up my “good job” at an accounting firm to go back to retail.
Basically, it’s a matter of weighing up happiness and practicality.
Reading this post makes feel a little better.
I was laid off from my first “real job” (that I got while I was still in college) spent months looking for work and just got hired at a chain clothing store. My unemployment pot is empty and I am just thrilled that I got even a part-time job. A big gaping hole in the timeline of my resume, now, will not happen.
I am thanking my lucky stars for retail employment right now.
Finally! I totally agree. I finished my M.S. degree in Ecology in May and am currently working at a bakery. It’s not exactly what I had in mind. But you know what? I now have over three years of retail experience and wouldn’t trade it for anything. The academics can frown upon retail jobs all they want but those of us who work in the real-world know this is priceless experience.
Ha ha, my mum is an academic, and is none to happy about my decision to go back to retail. Too bad.
Still waiting to hear whether I can get my old retail job back though….
This is the worst career advice I have ever seen in my life. I can’t believe someone would take you seriously. Retail and waiting tables is NOT a ticket to finding one’s adulthood; it is a ticket to a dead-end. As some have commented already, retail pays nothing…you get disrespected by customers; no benefits; you get horrible hours or none at all; and you get sore legs after standing all day. I worked as young person in a government office as a clerk (got better pay and benefits)and took part-time retail work at JC Penny’s to earn extra income…After 2 weeks, I ditched that job and never return to retail again. It wasn’t worth the effort.
The best post-college job is self-employment. Most college educated people could develop a blog similar to this one and monetize it while giving out their version of career advice which would be much better than what you are doing. Your advice doesn’t add value to the conversation; it just reiterates the tired stuff that is already on the web.
How exactly does a recent graduate become self-employed? I’d like to know how that works.
I have over 4 years of retail experience and wouldn’t trade it for the world. Surprisingly, I finished my Master’s degree in Ecology in May 2009 and have been unable to secure a decent job. So, I’m back to working in retail.
In addition, I have a job blog called Jobless Genevieve that was created especially for unemployed young people and recent graduates—this might fit your comment, “Most college educated people could develop a blog similar to this one and monetize it while giving out their version of career advice…”
See what you think.
I agree with the first comment. I worked retail for two years before college; 1 year part time, 1 year full time because I was forced to stay back a year due to immigration issues.
Whoever wrote this article has clearly never worked retail. It blows. When you are young (I’m 21) I’m not going to waste my time helping rude people day after day. I’m not going to work meaningless tasks just to keep the hours passing.
When I was full time and a department head in retail I was getting paid $7.50 an hour. I’m now in college and I am a web developer for the University Hospitals of Cleveland Dermatology department and I get paid $10 an hour just to sit on my ass and write some easy code.
If you have depression issues when your friends go their own paths after college you are one pathetic sheltered baby. And you call grad school a way to extend your childhood? Are you kidding me? RETAIL is a dead end job. What do you get after 10 years? A pay raise or two? What do you get after 10 more years of education? Well depending on what you learn, I’d say more education is more important than retail.
This is not to say education is the best path, but retail? Really? There is no comparison. If you don’t believe me try working full time at a shit retail job for a year.
Working retail part time while in college is a great idea for the reasons mentioned. However, after college it will do nothing more than trap someone. First off, the hours are so horrid that someone will have little opportunity to search for work outside of retail. Secondly, especially if you go into retail management, you’ll be so mentally (payroll, sales data, staffing, marketing, margins, inventory control, CRM) and physically exhausted that when you get home the only thing you’ll want to do is sleep. Your resume will quickly read “This person couldn’t get work anywhere else and why is that.” The best career advice I could give to someone out of college is network, network, network and avoid retail at all cost. Get a real career job even if it’s out of your field. You can always change jobs later, but Administrative Assistant looks far better on a resume than Dept. Manager at Old Navy. The negative stigma that follows retail will haunt you. Entire websites are dedicated to how much retail sucks and retail hell.
i think it all depends on the type of retail store you work in. I think a big chain store would be horrible, but a small store is fine. I have a masters degree and quit working as an accountant to work in my old retail job. It is a small gift store, but it is part of an international company. I really enjoy it and have learnt a lot from my boss about how to run a business. The main drawback is the low pay, and the only way i can see my husband and i being able to afford children is to take the plunge and start a shop of my own.
Hardly any of this is accurate.
As an ACTUAL 20-something that made the college-to-retail transition while pursuing a “career in my field”, I can tell you that retail is not as glamourous or beneficial as you make it out to be in this article. Retailers really care very little about the wage-a-day workers. Your schedule is not “flexible”, it’s all over the map. As other posters have said, one week you could be working all night shifts, 30 hours, then the next week you have alternating shifts, then the next week you get cut to 9 hours. All seemingly for no reason whatsoever, to a 25 year old college grad who is used to a scheduled, ordered classroom environment (or in my case, a scheduled, ordered military environment).
All these individuals writing books on “diversification” and “multiple income streams” and “the new prestige” are simply creating new terms for things that have always been true. Diversification has ALWAYS been a sure fire way to finanical independence. Calling yourself a “slasher” is no different than calling yourself a “multi-industry entrepreneur”. The concepts aren’t new. It’s just that the marketing has gotten better. Retail has ALWAYS had a low barrier to entry, and the potential for growth for people who have the luxury (yes, the luxury) of sticking out the low pay until the attrition rate works in their favour.
I am pretty appalled by some of these comments. I have worked in retail since high school and recently graduated from college in May and guess what I’m doing while job searching? yes, still working in retail. There is absolutely nothing prestigious about dealing with nasty customers or stocking shelves all day long. I can’t imagine why penelope would reccomend this path.
retail positions are reffered to as the typical “dead-end job” for a reason. if you’re in retail you’re sure as hell not going anywhere anytime soon. I have a bachelor’s degree with honors and some good internship and work experience under my belt but am stuck helping old ladies pick out frosting.
oh and for the rest of you, you want to see someone who’s entitled?? try some of the people who shop at these stores and think it’s perfectly acceptable to personally berate or attack you. the only reason I would suggest retail is for some people to learn some humility. Other than that, I’ve done my time and wouldn’t recommend it to my worst enemy, that’s for sure.
I’m going to echo what others have said just because it’s so true:
Everything P Trunk says about the value of retail would be true if only it were possible to live on the wage and the hours were indeed flexible.
With that said, if I could go back in time, I’d have spent about half a year or more working part-time in retail or food service while living at my parents’ house. Instead, long-story-short, I worked a more “adult” job that left me with no time and allowed me to avoid developing more social skills. I probably would have learned more and had a better time of it working in retail, so I understand where Penelope’s coming from.
So I guess I would advise new college grads to work retail part-time if they live with their families and don’t pay rent. If, however, they don’t want to live with their parents, I’d advise them to get a much higher-paying job… which, in many people’s cases, would require- you guessed it – the much-maligned GRAD SCHOOL.
I read a lot of “retail, WTF?!” comments at the top, and decided to scroll to the bottom and go ahead and add my two cents.
I’m 25, I have my 4 year degree…and I’m a retail manager. A little different from minimum wage and folding shirts all day, but I’m confident that the people-skills I’m learning now will help propel me into my next career when the economy picks up.
I’m learning how to run a business, work with the public, motivate people who ARE making minimum wage, and tailor my direction to gain commitment, not compliance. Its definitely not a dream job (nights, weekends, holidays, take out the trash, clean up puke), but the humility, hands-on experience, and management/leadership skills I’m learning in the meantime are priceless right now.
I myself wouldn’t wait tables, I don’t have the personality, I have had friends that have done well at it. The problem with waiting on tables is transfering that skill. I have been in retail for fifteen years, and I have worked with alot of twenty year olds, some very good, some very weak. As you learn to deal with custmoers you do become very polished, however I know that most successful sales assocaites have good relationships with there parents and family members, this is the mark you must look for, a child that lies to their parents will lie to a customer, and the customer feels this they have family members. a child that will steal from their mothers handbag will only rise to CEO. Here is where you will be wieghed and judged, will the people in power invite you into their circle. Wait to be asked, they see you coming, don’t invite yourself or they will see you going, many have come and gone before you. I have seen some assocaites make successful moves into higher paying sales jobs, I have, but I also know I could walk out the door at 2 o’clock and have another job paying as much or more by 3 o’clock and my employer knows that. That is suceess in the new world.
Loved this article. I have been telling people that the world is changing and people need to change along with it in terms of jobs and career. I have been thinking a lot about the traditional advice of go to school, get a degree, get a career, etc… and how it has to change with the new world. I put down some thought at http://temphunting.com/temp-work/go-to-school-get-a-degree-get-a-job-when-will-it-end/ and would love to hear your thoughts or any of your reader’s thoughts on this.
this is ridiculous
I could not agree more with Damien. He hit the nail directly, smack on the head! I have a business degree and I have been working in retail for 1 year now, and I have had enough! I work for a big company, but customers love to treat you like sh*t. I dont remember ever going into a retail store and belittling an associate from the get go. I would absolutely love to speak my mind to half of these losers that think you have one up on me or anyone else because we are working/stuck w/ retail positions for the time being. The artice said 20 somethings need time to figure life out, but I think your always going to be figuring life out. Im so embarased about working in retail, my friends and family dont even know exactly what I do, beacause Im so ashamed of looking like a failure with a college degree and lot of potential. I say, retail is an option if your desperate for a steady low income paycheck, but if you find yourself in retail for longer than a year, you need to wake up, stop f***ing around and go for the career your really interested in pursuing for the given time. This article has a huge underlining flaw, its telling you to wait around as life passes you by. I believe ‘Lifes not about waiting for the storm to pass, it about learning how to dance in the f***ing rain.’ So, take this retail job advice and stick it up your A**!
Completely disagree with this, other than the part about the popular careers changing. While you may feel a sense of camaraderie, the other benefits are crap. I am living this life and it is not fulfilling me in any way. I am in a management position in retail, have a bachelors of science, and can barely pay my rent. My goal is not to make friends at work or find myslef or figure out what I want to do. I went to school for what I want to do and I have plenty of friends. I want to make money so I can pay back my student loans and pay my bills. I do get health insurance through my job, so yay for that, but my state offers it. Working in retail does not create a cushion or give me an opportunity to build my dream career. With the hours that I am required to work, I have little time for much else. I feel very unsatisfied and very depressed. I want out. I went to shool to take a step in the direction of my dream job, yet it seems that it doesnt even exist. I live in a big city, which should provide opportunity, yet I cant manage to find it. I dont want to be a store manager with a heap of debt going into my thirties. What else do you suggest for someone that graduated 2 years ago, is having a hard time finding a job in their field, and is going crazy working retail? Like some of the others have posted, I feel trapped!
I’m totally with the post above me. I actually have a Masters degree, and I’m in a bit of a bind right now. I graduated with my Bachelor’s in December of 2007, got a fabulous paid internship, then got slammed because of the recession and had to be let go instead of promoted to an actual position in the company. My plans were completely torn apart. So, I took a job as a recruiter which paid about the same as my internship (sucked, because while the pay was good in terms of internships, it wasn’t good in terms of an actual job). I worked at my job for 9 months and then got laid off. I’ve been looking for a job ever since. In the meantime, I did go to grad school, which was part of my original plan anyway, I just did it sooner rather than later because I had the free time. Still can’t find a job. My friend is badgering me to work at Victoria’s Secret with her. 8 dollars an hour to stand on my feet all day, wait on people who I want to strangle and probably put out more in gas than I’d actual receive in my paycheck? No thanks. I deserve better.
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I hate to say that retail shouldn’t be the thing you end up in AFTER college. You will have a hard time getting out of it if you do. (I did this and regret it horribly.) During and before college is fine, but after is a step backwards. Everyone wants someone who can prove they’ve done something useful on their resumes, and unfortunately, retail does not give employees enough leeway (without risk of being fired on the spot) to take charge and make such gains and big activities.
I’ve worked in retail for several years and I will say that if you are on the sales floor the job is very fun and enjoyable. But being a cashier is a totally different story.
When you are a cashier, you are trapped at your station. You cannot go to the bathroom without asking for permission (I was actually denied on a few occasions) and you are also forbidden to have a water bottle or get a drink from the water fountain.
Stocking shelves on the other hand is actually quite fun. You get to do fun things like set up end caps, set plan-o-grams, learn about interesting products, plus you learn a lot about running a business.
I put my two cents in a few posts above here, but I have an update. My friend’s mother actually works at a high end store about 40 minutes away from me and he got me an interview. I decided to accept the job. Part time, but it pays about 10 bucks an hour, a tiny bit of commission and is good enough for me. I figure it’s better than working a 7 dollar an hour retail job. This is high end, the customers are (for the most part) pleasant, and the perks are great (highly discounted luxury items that retail for hundreds of dollars). Now, it IS 40 minutes away and I put out a lot in gas, but I’m still making a profit. It’ll do for now until I can get a full time job. And even then, I’m pretty sure I’m still going to work the part time job so I can keep making more money. Can’t believe I’m working in retail again, but I think it’s better than having a three year employment gap on my resume. My legs are sore, my feet are SCREAMING. Damn you economy!
I am a student and I am stuck working in retail. It is one of those industries that get a bad rep but that is because of the type of employees retail typically attracts. Although recruitment is becoming more “student-friendly” it is a very difficult industry to get out of. Retail employees probably have more verifiable experience than most other companies can afford to offer. Where else can someone learn sales, bookkeeping, management and clienteling in one setting? Probably no where else. But dealing with some of the crazies, the erratic hours and the lack of a concrete social life is a strong drawback. But… hey… you could make six-figures a lot faster than working for a crappy start-up. Oh… and retail is a hard sell on resumes. Most employers still have the idea of you just ringing up a register