Author Topic: Trying to Escape Retail Management  (Read 52713 times)

ChaseMcD

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Trying to Escape Retail Management
« on: February 04, 2015, 02:16:28 PM »
*Skip to the 20th reply for the happy conclusion to this post*

Hi there,

I'm a bit of a novice at this stuff and am hoping that some more experienced folks could give me some advice. If you want to skip everything I write below and get to the point, here it is: I work in retail, I want out.

I've worked in retail and specifically retail management for pretty much my entire adult life. It isn't a career I ever wanted but getting married and starting a family led me to accept promotions that were offered and go further down this path than I ever wanted to. Today I find myself in my mid-30s as a store manager managing a multimillion dollar business and making decent money but without much to show for it and commuting an hour each way every day. I end up being away from home 12 hours a day and without the energy to really put into my family that I want.

Anyway...seeking a job outside of retail is incredibly difficult, especially since I don't have a degree in anything. Sometimes I feel like HR people see retail management on a resume and automatically assume that it is a brainless job. So what skills do I have aside from the obvious business management skills that it takes to run a store? Well I am a decent writer and musician. I've dabbled in board game design. None of that has ever paid the bills of course. I've made small amounts of money from websites I've launched but without enough time put into to really launch something.

I've read the MMM articles on good paying jobs that you can get without having a college degree and there are some on there that do interest me. I guess what I am trying to figure out is a new job that can allow me a little more free time to be able to pursue something else that would really be my dream job. Want to be a successful writer or musician? Great, just find a way to do that while working 12 hrs a day then coming home and trying to be a decent husband and father and then still somehow summon the energy to work on your creative projects.

I'm not opposed to staying in business management for awhile, but transitioning to any type of business management outside of retail has proved difficult up until now.

That was all really long and rambling but I would appreciate any advice or just encouraging thoughts that anyone would care to offer.

Thanks,
Chase
« Last Edit: March 25, 2016, 04:35:03 PM by ChaseMcD »

davef

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2015, 03:30:58 PM »
Wow, I know just where you are coming from. I worked up the ranks at Sears and found myself a store manager in my mid 20s. Despite the reasonably good pay, (especially since I had no degree) I wanted out as well. The big difference was I did not have a family when I made the switch.

I decided to pursue a career doing what I always wanted to do flying a helicopter. After a few years, my company realized I was more valuable as a manager than a pilot, I transitioned to a company manger, now Director.
I'm still in a management role, but I work 45 hours a week in a rewarding job, for a nice small business (40 employees). (I did end up getting my degree online, and the company paid for it)

Most HR people have no clue what it takes to be a retail store manager. I suggest you remove the details from your resume. Use Generalities. All will come to light in the interview, but hopefully it will get you to the interview, which is the hard part.

Title,
General Manager
20XX- Present
Served as general manager of all facets of a workforce of XXX Employees.
Responsibilities included:
- Hand selecting and maintaining a team of competent professionals at all functional positions
- Empowering, training, mentoring and developing, a team of middle managers to excel in their respective positions
- Where necessary, disciplining or terminating employees that fail to follow policy or meet company objectives or timelines
- Either directly performed or administered payroll, scheduling, human resources, building maintenance and servicing, local marketing
- Managed all facets of Profit and loss for a XX million dollar enterprise.
-etc

Small Businesses will see far more value in a person with well rounded experience like yourself. Large businesses seek specialists for very narrow roles.

Good luck.

 


 

ChaseMcD

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2015, 04:31:45 PM »
Thanks for the reply. Good to know that escaping the corporate world is possible.

I feel like I could copy and paste what you wrote onto my resume and improve my chances of getting interviewed a good bit haha. The way you phrased things sounds a heck of a lot better than how I have it right now.

Thanks again,
Chase

Write Thyme

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2015, 04:49:24 PM »
I hear you on the "Great, just find a way to do that while working 12 hrs a day then coming home and trying to be a decent husband and father and then still somehow summon the energy to work on your creative projects." except I'm a wife. I'm still trying to figure this out myself, but I find if I define a goal and make lots of little goals then things are easier to achieve.

Good luck in your venture!

trailrated

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2015, 05:56:34 PM »
Thanks for the reply. Good to know that escaping the corporate world is possible.

I feel like I could copy and paste what you wrote onto my resume and improve my chances of getting interviewed a good bit haha. The way you phrased things sounds a heck of a lot better than how I have it right now.

Thanks again,
Chase

If you post your resume but exclude your personal details (name, e-mail, etc.) I along with many others here would help you make it stand out more. The other reply was excellent so far. 

ChaseMcD

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2015, 06:56:15 PM »
All of you have been quite helpful so far. Being a new person stepping into an existing online community can sometimes be like navigating a minefield. Once years ago I tried to join the forums of a popular radio personality only to have myself banned because my chosen username was similar to some other troublemaker that had been banned multiple times, and no amount of explaining myself could convince the admins otherwise...

If I edit my resume and post it on here would it be best to just keep it in this topic or start a new one?

Thanks again.

trailrated

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2015, 09:29:26 AM »
I would say just keep it in this thread so we can see the background and where you are coming from and where you want to go :)

purplepants

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2015, 09:49:43 AM »
I hear you on the "Great, just find a way to do that while working 12 hrs a day then coming home and trying to be a decent husband and father and then still somehow summon the energy to work on your creative projects."

Good luck in your venture!

This struck a chord with me too.  By the time I get home from work, I have nothing left to give.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2015, 11:02:09 AM »
As someone who's three shifts away from "retiring" (not FI yet, but going to full time SAH status) from retail, get out and do whatever else you can. From my career observing those with much longer experience, career retail workers are depressingly cynical, jaded folks.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2015, 11:53:58 AM »
I feel your pain, albeit not in nearly as long as you I was in retail management for 5 years. At first it wasn't bad but after a while it wears on your morale, and you realize that there is very little room for growth. I took the plunge this past fall and got my resume to a few companies. My favorite part of retail was sales, so I looked for jobs doing business to business sales. I got into a large company that sells enterprise management software. I love it so far, learning a whole new skill set, industry, and honing my business acumen. The initial pay hit was worth the upward potential and change of scenery.

The fact is, with retail management you can make yourself sound VERY desirable and well rounded. Especially if you have numbers to prove your value to an organization.

Allen

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2015, 01:36:58 PM »
Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards.  Once I got my degree, I left Pizza Delivery for a PAY CUT to work at a hospital.  However, a few years and promotions and job-hops later and now I make much, much, much more.

Maybe only two "much"'s.  Three makes it sound like I make more than I do.

danny9m

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2015, 10:17:06 PM »
The sales option




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ScroogeMcDutch

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2015, 12:33:49 AM »
In my opinion one thing is very important for your resume when you are looking for other jobs. Tailor it to the position you are applying for, just as you tailor a cover letter. "People" tend to make one resume and send that to any application that they send it to, which is a bit weird if you look at it from the recipients position. What in your career story do you want them to take away from your resume, what skills, experience, and hobbies are relevant. You could highlight some of them, using bold or italic instead of requiring the reader to distill it from there. They receive a lot of cover letters and resumes, and anything you can do to make yours more succesful at standing out will help. On top of that, make sure your internet presence is ok - no public drinking pictures on facebook, try to get recommendations on LinkedIn and apply some of the same ideas as above to your LinkedIn profile. You're trying to sell yourself, so what are you selling? What are they buying?

For example, I have played poker (and other card games) professionally for a while and that created an gaping hole in my resume when I was writing it. Instead I focussed on the skills that I had developed there and which where relevant for the positions I was looking for. In order to play poker professionally, you need an analytical mindset, ability to make tough decisions under time pressure, statistical analysis, emotional control, ability to reflect on and analyse one's own actions and have a continuous drive to improve. For some positions I would specify that the game was poker, on others I put poker and the other games in one category and just split out the skills.

On my LinkedIn profile however, you won't find any reference to the gaming, instead focussing on what I can do today and what skills I have developed and that I am looking to sell. I have some sales experience but it is not the direction I wanted to go in, so it is only minimally referenced on LinkedIn.

I hope this helps a bit. Know what you want to sell, and then sell that ;)

ChaseMcD

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2015, 05:37:14 PM »
I have at times tweaked my resume depending on what type of job I am applying for. I am quickly learning through this thread however how poorly written my resume is. Attached is a generic copy of my resume that is pretty much just limited to work experience. I welcome all input on fixing it even if I am slightly embarrassed about it at this point.

mozar

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2015, 09:00:33 PM »
Instead of starting sentences with "my responsibilities" start with the action words: managed day to day operations, ensured data integrity, etc. No need to repeat your title in the paragraph. And every thing in your past jobs should be past tense.

merula

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2015, 03:16:46 AM »
On the resume in particular, I think you need bullets (starting with action words, like mozar says) rather than blocks of text. It's just more difficult to read.

I work for the archetypal corporation. There are two managers that I work most closely with, neither of whom had any experience in what their subordinates do. One was a restaurant manager, the other was a tech support call center manager. But they're both great managers, and while I was confused at first with their hiring, I think it's absolutely true that it's easier to teach the details of a job than it is to teach management skills.

Bikesy

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2015, 06:49:40 AM »
I transitioned from a retail management into operations management, so I feel your pain.  Two pieces of advice I'll give. First, you need some hard data in your resume.  From what I can see everything in it right now is your opinion.  "Responsible for developing direct reports" means nothing.  "Actively developed direct reports leading to four next level promotions" is a much better representation of you as a leader.  If you increased operational efficiency make sure you include the percentage increase.

  My second piece of advice is to continuously hone your interview skills.  It sounds cliche, but your resume gets you the interview, your interview gets you the job.  Begin to think about your accomplishments as a leader and how to form those accomplishments into high quality interview "stories".  More and more big companies are moving to behavioral interviews.  Instead of asking "What would you do when X happens?"  You'll hear questions like "Tell me about a time X happened and how you responded."  Behavioral questions can be very difficult to answer unless you've thought about them and practiced prior.

I leaned a ton while working retail, but I'm thrilled I got out!

Best of luck!

trailrated

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2015, 08:33:42 AM »
I have at times tweaked my resume depending on what type of job I am applying for. I am quickly learning through this thread however how poorly written my resume is. Attached is a generic copy of my resume that is pretty much just limited to work experience. I welcome all input on fixing it even if I am slightly embarrassed about it at this point.

ChaseMcD, the first step in getting somewhere new is realizing you do not want to stay where you are. Although the resume could use quite a bit of work it is good that you are getting this process going. I spent about 15 minutes upgrading it. Feel free to change it as you (or others here) see fit but I have a few suggestions on how to present yourself.

First off, people love to see personal growth and longevity within a company. Correct me if I am wrong but it looks like you have been with Petco (or one of the other large pet retail stores) from 2008-2015 and you have been promoted twice within the company in that time frame. When you interview let the new company know I have been with the same company going on 8 years, if you hire me I am here to stay and you do not have to worry about me leaving within a year or two. This is a huge deal to a company that is looking to hire.

When it comes to the resume, I think bullet points makes it look more clean and uniform. You want to use the same format throughout and the same sort of language. I used the present tense in each description so it would be as if you are reading the job responsibilities if those companies were to post your job.

Finally I noticed a lot of language talking about the pets etc. in the first few descriptions. That is not important, especially if you are looking to get into a field that has nothing to do with pets. What is important is your management experience, your inventory tracking experience, ability to deal with conflict, etc. So when you are interviewing I would shy away from talking about the pets and focus more on the other aspects of the job... you ran an entire store and that is a big deal.

Hope this helps a little!

ChaseMcD

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2015, 02:58:47 PM »
Lots of useful suggestions and encouraging thoughts! Thank you everyone.

trailrated - that is much nicer looking version and with more clarity surrounding job responsibilities. Thank you.

I was just telling my wife this morning about this forum and how I felt like the help you folks were giving me with my resume was going to provide a good boost to potential interview opportunities.

davef

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2015, 03:25:11 PM »
I didn't list separate locations within the same company separately on my resume.
I just put the name, date range, multiple locations, and my starting position, and ending position, worked well.

ChaseMcD

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2016, 04:34:24 PM »
I just wanted to update this to say that the day has finally arrived. I received a job offer with a new company and I will no longer be working in retail management for the first time in 15 years! Next week is my last at my current job and then I start my new career.

My new career will be as a consultant for a major company that is in countries all over the world and even though I will be on the road some, overall I should have a lot more time to spend with family and pursue side work.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this a year ago and especially to those that helped clean up my resume!


undercover

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2016, 05:17:18 PM »
Congrats on the new job!

I've no idea how you lasted 15 years in retail management. I lasted maybe a year or two in "basic" retail management. As in - I was more of an assistant manager who didn't do much but could still tell how horrible it was so I got out as fast as I could. It's the most soul-sucking position anyone could ever take on. Depends on your clientele of course, but in general, it's just nasty. I did become very cynical and just generally more anxious/depressed - I'm quite sure due to the 5 yr tenure dealing heavily with customers. I also ran a side business that was a door-to-door computer repair deal so that also added an additional amount of stress.

ChaseMcD

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2016, 08:19:58 AM »
Thanks!

There were many others I worked with in that time period that didn't survive retail management. Especially years ago when I worked at Staples. Many of those folks suffered breakdowns and more recently a couple of them committed suicide.

The pet retailer I have worked for for the last several years really wasn't as bad to work for as most retailers until they got bought out a year ago. Then we turned from being treated like partners in growing the business to adversaries that are going to get a beat down.

VladTheImpaler

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2016, 06:23:15 PM »
Congratulations on the new job! Best of luck to you!
Now I need to do the same thing ;-)

Mongoose

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #24 on: March 27, 2016, 01:37:26 PM »
First, congratulations on your new position.

Um...second...would you mind elaborating on the problems with retail management? The reason why I ask is that DH just switched to retail at big box store and is training for management (mainly because they only pay $1200 per month take home for 45 hours per week). After reading this thread, I'm wondering how big of a mistake this might have been?!?! Ugh, he switched due to being burned out teaching (lots of difficult stuff with student suicide attempts and other emotionally draining things). This is supposed to be temporary while we finish getting our business solidified.

Any advice for surviving in retail management for awhile?

ChaseMcD

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #25 on: March 30, 2016, 06:56:43 PM »

Um...second...would you mind elaborating on the problems with retail management? The reason why I ask is that DH just switched to retail at big box store and is training for management (mainly because they only pay $1200 per month take home for 45 hours per week). After reading this thread, I'm wondering how big of a mistake this might have been?!?! Ugh, he switched due to being burned out teaching (lots of difficult stuff with student suicide attempts and other emotionally draining things). This is supposed to be temporary while we finish getting our business solidified.

Any advice for surviving in retail management for awhile?

The problems with retail management vary by which retailer you work for and some are obviously way better than others.
Have you ever seen anyone in grocery store management that looks like they are happy? Probably not too often.
Walmart expects 6 days a week from their managers.
Hobby Lobby does too and they are a "family" company.
When I worked for Staples years ago, getting ahead was all about politics and quite literally sleeping with the boss in some cases.

Expect long hours around the holidays. If you live in the north, expect district management to drag their feet about closing the store early even when there is a snow storm because selling stuff is more important than the safety of the employees.

I really don't want to paint things very bleakly for you, there are good things too. The past 8 years that I have worked in pet retail have been the best working years of my life (well maybe not this past year). The employees work there because they love pets and most of them view it as a perk of their job that they get to play with puppies. The customers are very happy to have you fawn over their pets so in general they are happier than most retail customers as well.

If it is temporary then he should do it and view it as a good way to make new relationships and learn about people from different walks of life because that is one of the best parts of the job. Interviewing people was my favorite thing to do. Long term though? Most retail segments are still trying to figure out what to do about the internet and until they get that nailed down, you'll still see mergers and store closings and corporate restructures, so that is something to be wary of. It can happen in any job but I have seen it happen twice without warning in retail.


Mongoose

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Re: Trying to Escape Retail Management
« Reply #26 on: March 30, 2016, 07:04:38 PM »
Thanks. It's supposed to be temporary. We did this last holiday season and didn't care too much. It is intended to be temporary so we'll be aware of the limitations. I appreciate the feedback from your experience.