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The Inclusive Intrusive Institution

The work world in which I  play in is a ever engulfing gauntlet of emotions and feelings .I have touched on the environment several times over the past year, but this will be the  official statement on the subject. This is the inclusive intrusive institution or as you may know it, retail.

To say its only jeans and t shirts undermines the very distinct work place that it actually is. Sure, the work it self is only a continuous repeat of the same social actions taken over and over but the insides of the rotation is what distinguishes. The pattern behaviors of who gets hired, who stays on for more and a month, and the intimate connectivity to each other. I have told you about the friendships that come from such a work place, and the relationships it builds. These people are connected to you in disgust and hatred for the public, a bond that can never be broken. Also inside is a roulette of emotion  that this particular work place places you under. The boiling point is exactly what you think it would be, a extinguishing amount of public emotion.

Most of the feedback that the average client never sees or hears  is the idea that it will never ever going to be good enough no matter how hard you work at it. While I have never worked outside of retail, I am assured there are deadlines, ends to projects and yearly recaps with periods and exclamation points. Retail is different. Last year is this year, and what you did last month matters little as this month... you suck. Sure, "9 -5" folks have less successful runs or missed results but its the constant continuing drum beat of "do better" with less that gives retail that special glow. The need to be improving on something that you actually have very very little control over makes for a "pure luck" mindset for those star managers who find a way. Now, there are better and best leaders in retail BUT one down-spiraling mall quickly overrides the most talented of talent. .( you can be great manager but still not overcome the obstacles) . The amount of footsteps, the amount of product, lack of support, lack of talent are all blockers in the lane, and it takes a world class gymnast to overcome.

With all that said, its the emotional toll it takes on you that stands loud. The duo of physical on top of mental delivers constantly a wind storm like none other. It is the reason I believe the day of people staying with one retailer for 10+ years are extinct. The jumping is an attempt to level set the emotional toll, hope for a different or simpler way to handle, only to find it to be somewhat similar. ( Yes, I have done the leg work on this method, and yes it has paid off , literally) . Its kind of like dating.  You meet one retailer for coffee on a Tuesday night, and quickly find yourself in love by month 2. You date, you get to know each other, and then you decide to marry. Year 1 of marriage is good, its still new enough to not be boring, but by year 2 , you are looking at younger more exciting retailers. Soon, divorce, and onto the next. Sometimes you get back with your ex, cause it was good then so why cant be it good again. You still hold love for them, but then quickly remember why you left in the first time. The emotional melodrama of loving your boss, and co workers all collides in anger, depression and rejection.

Retail is different than another because you do it all in front of a live audience. There is no cubical to hide or meeting room to dodge into and have a quick cry. The backroom is a minefield of interrupts and others dealing with their own shit. How can you gather your thought when someone needs change for a $20? How can you take a breath when someone just stole a stack of sweaters off the front table? How can you reset and realign when Susie never came back from her break cause she too " has had it"? Its a constant leap frog to one breakdown to the next.

Only in the last year I have picked up on what it has done to my skill set. I have super natural abilities to calm you off a ledge, talk you down from the jump , and protect you from the hottest of heat. The cost is my own sanity... you know.. no biggie. The leader of said building is the Rubbermaid of administrators. They bounce stuff off themselves to protect the other teammates. (side note, that manager you hate? they don't serve and protect... they drive the bus over your already life-less body) . The cost is in fact my mental state, and you are welcome.

Remember that dating metaphor from above? Well some of those marriages are of the worst kind. They are abusive and life destroying. Obviously I use that reference as a speaking point that in fact some retailers are toxic to your work like balance, or disrupt other parts of your life. Again they are those you go back to over and over again, when reality is, it's never going to work. There is also a small list of work places I would never even think to apply to. They are well known brands who demand 50 plus hours a week, speak to you in any old way they want , and even some who criticize your look, make-up and hair. These places don't even hide their lack of attempt to attract talent who will require any kind of love and tenderness. Ironically, one of them actually has the word " secret" in their name, but trust me, its not one.

I am again getting away from myself as this piece had intention  to speak on the journey and its ditches. It becomes too easy to start to spout off the anger, or frustrating cases that is this work. Most of the time, its never really about the customer herself ( himself ) but about the conference call and its bombs. Better yet, its about the aftermath of the bomb, as you sit in the crater.

Most of the Mall speaks in slogans. "People Work For People" is classic favorite still being tossed around like croutons on a lunch salad. Its all about who you work for, and their boss and their bosses boss. We also love propaganda that states how "different" we work. We think outside of the box, or allow all thoughts processes to enter. While some are better than others, its still not as advertised. The sluggish effect it makes on all of us is it becomes less and less believable.

I struggle to to end this on some quick whit or smart exit. The truth is , its a unique love that is like an acquired taste. You hate to love it, and love to hate it. It was truly modified me as a person, and toughen up my mental stability. I have survived many a scenarios. Guess that's a ending. Survival at its  fittest, or better, yet, survival at the fitting room.

This post first appeared on MinorPerspective, please read the originial post: here

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The Inclusive Intrusive Institution


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