Retail: Will I Ever Learn

Do I have to go back?

3 min readNov 8, 2020


Photo by Lily Banse on Unsplash

Into my tenth month of unemployment from a retail job I experience the trauma of working in the sector. Someone’s first thought may be, 'You’re lazy for not having a job. Get a job and your trauma will vanish.’ I’m not lazy. I had interviews lined up straight after I ended my last role. They were unsuccessful but I had more lined up not long after and they were all cancelled (or I was ghosted) due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Recently I decided to apply for Mathematics graduate jobs. It will be strange to some (or sum; sorry I couldn’t help myself) but I’d never applied for any roles off my relevant degree. I just couldn’t see myself working in an office or as a class teacher. Also I didn’t do too well in my degree and unlike some others didn’t falsify my résumé.

Feeling that I could now work in an office and actually enjoy sitting beside a screen and a phone drinking copious amounts of black tea I gave it a shot. I have had varying degrees of failure. I closed an assessment after the first question, I got to the second stage of another and half way through found it impossible thus withdrew my application, I did well in another and from what I deduced wasn’t a perfect fit therefore rejected.

There is only one way for me at this moment and that is re-entering retail. This, approaching my thirtieth year, has further depressed me. For every positive move I made in my last role (losing weight, gaining confidence, favourable reviews, public speaking) there were equal negatives (rudeness, unreasonable reviews, verbal abuse, racial abuse, white privilege, sexism, misandry). I have inordinate accounts, in the year and a half I worked at a popular baby care store, that disable my mind from ever wanting to work in that kind of environment.

Hell is incoming, and it’s not like I will be renumerated well for it. It’s one thing grinding it out thinking of the sweet skrilla at the end of the day but when you earn minimum wage when you clearly know that less mental and physical resources earn other people a heck of a lot more than you you feel absolutely demoralised.

Simply my choices are: (1.) Don’t work and claim job seekers allowance and do largely whatever I want, (2.) work minimum wage or there abouts and earn merely double the benefit amount, or (3.) do something dodgy or frowned upon like rob someone or work in porn.

Option one: I may not have any such hardships but I’d have no sense of achievement.

Option two: I enter the depths of hell where I finally destroy any semblance of mental health remaining.

Option three: That’s not for me.

Basically I am f**ked.

Like many abusive relationships there is that desire to return. That desire to overcome the past — stronger and visibly unaffected. As this is what I did often. Hurt would persist but I kept going until there was a new negativity. Until one day I stopped and I had a catalogue of hurt to pick and choose from.

And have I changed to be the stronger person I want to be. I believe I have toughened up. I think that the time away has allowed me to reflect accurately and dissect my strengths and flaws without having to ready myself for the next shift. Also I hold the feeling of what I’ve been through more. That might be unhealthy but is necessary to give me the best chance to practise my moral code. After all is said, it can only be assessed in one way and that is to address it by taking the plunge.




Previous retail worker hiding from anonymity and pushing for racial equality. White privilege is a cancer to society.