I was tired of working for pennies. "I have a whole degree, why am I here?" is what I kept thinking when I found myself standing on the sales floor after the 5 o'clock hour. I could have been home working on my business or at a networking event meeting potential clients. Working in retail, part-time seemed like such a good idea up until now.
Rewind back to February of this year, I had just left my seasonal position at Under Armour and was out of job once again. But this time for an entire month. It felt great having the free time to focus on my business and everything that I had going on but it wasn't bringing any money in. I was struggling and it didn't feel good. I had so many ideas and no money to fund any of them. My parents always offered to help but there was so much more that I needed and didn't want to ask them for too much. They were already helping me with some of my bills and I just didn't think it was right to ask for anything else.
During my time off, I was actively applying and stumbled across a couple of positions that were in my field and that I was qualified for. I ended up receiving interviews for two jobs and was excited to start working consistently again! The job that I really wanted was a full time stylist position at Rent the Runway; an online service that provides designer dress and accessory rentals. They had a store front in Georgetown that was super cute and what I thought would be the perfect job. I've worked in D.C before so I already knew the commute would have been at least an hour but I was up for it. I also got an interview for a part-time Sales Lead position at J.Jill. I didn't really know much about J.Jill at the time but I knew they were a store for older women. I wasn't as excited about that one as I was for the other one but it was for a management role that was ten times better than the typical retail associate position that I was used to.
After interviewing 3 different times for Rent the Runway, I just knew I had it in the bag. I prayed that God would lead me to the right position for what I was looking for. After interviewing for J.Jill, I got a call back a few days later with a job offer. I hadn't heard anything back from Rent the Runway so, I accepted. I couldn't afford to keep waiting on a job that was uncertain. And good thing I didn't because I ended up not getting the job at Rent the Runway, anyway.
My journey at J.Jill started off great. I had pretty good hours, was getting paid weekly and was doing what I loved to do; styling. Even though it wasn't the ideal clientele I wanted, it allowed me to express my skills and get more experience working with a different age group of women.
As the weeks went by, my patience started to grow thin. My hours began to fluctuate throughout the week and my paychecks weren't getting any bigger. I also started working the closing shift, a lot more which wasn't my favorite. We were stuck with mall hours and closed at 9pm but customers stopped coming into the store around 6pm. I found myself walking in circles, looking for things to do. After awhile, it just didn't seem worth my time or my sanity.
We recently just relocated from Towson mall to a smaller location called Kenilworth. (Which ironically, was right next to the spa I was working for prior to Under Armour). I figured the move would have been an exciting transition to experience and that I would get a lot more hours with the time difference, but boy was I wrong. My 4 hour shifts turned into 3 hour shifts and my paychecks got even worse. And there also wasn't much communicating going on which bothered me the most. As a sales lead in the management role, you would think I'd know everything happening in the store, but I didn't. I didn't even feel like a manager after a certain point in time and that wasn't okay. I felt deep down that my time was up. It had only been 4 months and I was eager for something new already.
There were a few things that kind of of led me to wanting to leave but this particular situation was the icing on the cake.
It was mid July and I was preparing for a busy month in August. I had a couple vacations, an event and a wedding to attend. I hadn't taken off much since starting so I was confident I'd get all of my requested days off. Before I could send in my requests though, I got a text from my manager asking which weekend in August I wanted off out of 2 options. Neither one of the were the options I wanted, but I picked a weekend and left it alone. A few days later, I submitted my requests and ended up getting denied for one of the weekends I needed off the most.
I typed up my resignation letter and on August 1st, I placed it on her desk. I thought twice about it but in the end, I decided it was time. Since then, I’ve been focusing more on my business. I’ve started my own tee shirt line, re-branded my website, started two other businesses and have made some amazing connections. I want God to use me and guide me to where he ultimately wants me to go. So I’m continuing to keep faith and watching My life shift right before my eyes.
Clothing and Accessories: Brightside Boutique
Photographer: Rachel Cooper @rachellcooperr