Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, it's back to work I go

With no small amount of trepidation, I returned to work yesterday. More details when I go to plug the laptop in somewhere. Finally, someone left a table with the coveted plug. I'm back and ready to tell the tale.

The return worried me on several different fronts. Am I crazy for returning at the holiday time? Maybe. I'll be standing a lot and it's obvious that eight or ten hours on my feet cannot be the way for me to earn a living for much longer.

My District Manager has never been thrilled with me. I'm not fashion plate. Makeup is something that I have to put on, I don't have a drawer full of it. To expect me to come in with the trendiest clothes (in the dress code, mind you) and makeup that looks like Max Factor applied it, well, that's not me.

My fear was that because I'm just tolerated by the DM, perhaps I would be passed off to one of our divisions. The company only had to guarantee the same salary and hours, not the same position. For the last six months, I felt like I was working twice as hard as my peers to prove that I was an asset to the store, because it seemed like whatever I did, she didn't think I was valuable to the team.

I don't think what I wear makes me a better employee. I bring to work is a positive attitude, great selling skills and a very inclusive management style. The way I see it, the more I share with my staff, the more self reliant they will be. That is far more important than whether I plopped down 100 bucks for the best makeup at Sephora. My priority is making sure I establish a rapport with my team and ultimately, my customers.

It seems that in the seven weeks that I was gone, my absence made a huge impression. Morale has dipped and the other two people at my level have taken to trash talking our store manager to the staff. There's been a lot of negativity and work is being sloppily or not at all. The DM has taken note and said that she realizes I am golden compared to the other two. Whoa.

I had contemplated heading off to a different retailer because I just wasn't feeling that I was valued where I am. Retail is my passion and I happen to really like the department I lead. The company is great, but when you run your ass off and it seems like it's ignored, well, eventually you do burn out. Especially when my personal motivator is a quote from a wonderful boss. "When you walk out the door, ask yourself 'Did I make a difference today?'" I felt like I did, but it seemed that others didn't.

Yesterday almost felt like vindication. My impact on the day to day operation of the store was noticeable by my bosses. Last night, as my tired butt was running closing reports, I looked over the results in a controllable area. While I was gone, the numbers in this area were scary looking. My contribution almost doubled the results of Sunday.

Getting that big hug and hour long (scary) story from my store manager revitalized my passion for the job. Now, when I ask if I was crazy to come back now, I still think I'm crazy. Crazy with a love for working retail during the holiday season.

PS My boss showed her gratitude for me returning by giving me three days in a row off next week!


Grandy said…
RIGHT ON SUZANNE!! I am so glad it went well for you! I understand your nerves, and am glad it went well. Please keep me posted on your status. :)
Oh, good lord. I worked retail for year. I managed a Brookstone in Austin, TX. I'm curious what type of store you work?

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