Sunday, June 28, 2009

Over Qualified.

Everyone either chooses their career or they have their career chosen for them. Either way it's what they do. Those of you that know me know that I am a General Manager of a "retail store". (I will explain the quotes later.) I was raised with both of my parents being "retail" managers. My first job, besides KFC, was selling suits in a "retail store". While working through high school I realized that "retail" was something that I enjoyed and it was something that I was good at. I spent time learning from those around me and always looked for ways to move up and to better impact the business. On a personal note I was fully able to understand what my dad went through every day when he went to work. It gave me a sense of respect for the hard work that both of my parents had done in order to take care of their family. My dad and I never run out of "retail" topics to talk about. A sort of bond. About 5 years ago I had the opportunity to get out of "retail" and get into wholesale. This was a wonderful opportunity. This allowed me to better understand "retail" and educated me on ways to make "retail" more than JUST "retail". I was able to learn the business, gain an appreciation for product and the process. About a 1 1/2 years ago it was time for me to find something new to do. I did not want to get back into "retail". Been there, done that. However, remembering what I had learned over the previous 4 years I knew that I could make an impact on a retailer. Here's the quote explanation. For those not in "retail", "retail" is when someone opens the doors, clothes are on shelves, pesky sales people are ready to sell (or do nothing) and then they fold clothes and go home. For those in "retail" they know that there is MUCH more to it. Not to say that some retailers don't operate this way or that certain employees don't view their job this way. It's to say that the true industry of RETAIL is much, much more complex. Some retailers higher people based on the "warm body" theory. I have never had the desire to be a part of that. I have always wanted to work retail in which each member of the company is able to make a contribution based on their efforts, brain power, and good 'ole fashion hard work. I give 100% every day I go to work in order to impact the business each day.

I say all of the above to preface an occurrence that happened to me today. One of the sales associates was ringing up a customer who had two friends with him. Kids, meaning they probably had just graduated college. I was doing something on one of the registers and overheard the following conversation.

Girl: "well I mean I could work "retail"'

Guy: "why would you want to do that?"

Girl: "well I mean, if I want to own one, I should probably work in one, right?"

Guy: "I guess."

Girl: "maybe your right, I am extremely over qualified for that"

I had to bite my tongue right there. Are you kidding me? So many things wrong with this conversation. 1) You are standing in a retail store around people who work in the retail store! 2) What makes you over qualified? The fact that you know nothing about retail? 3) I had an earlier interaction with the girl. Based on this interaction I would never hire her. College graduate or not. You see, working in the RETAIL BUSINESS is about more than just being smart. It's about having a personality, being able to be flexible, being strategic, hard working, motivated, etc.

Everybody that works with me in my store is hired based on how they can bring the store to the next level. Not just because they are a body who thinks they can work retail.

Did I take this incident a little personally? Maybe a little. But that is because I take everything I do personally.

2 lessons can be learned from this. 1) Don't think that you are better than someone while you are in their presence - it's rude. 2) Never say you are over qualified for something you know nothing about.

Thanks for reading.