Retail and the world of work is a funny place. It’s a very British thing, or maybe just western thing, but you and I cannot help being defined by our jobs, or defining others. The very small, insignificant task processes that you do monotonously, without would end up being the only skills you are known for. Where once in the past ‘To farm’ made you a farmer, now you are ‘Retail assistant’, ‘researcher’, ‘writer’ etc. Perhaps this is the new Global trait now come to think of it. What with the advent of Neo-Globalism, and pervading capitalist structures. That identity if boiled down to a simple tagline.
I should explain, that I am fast approaching a decade of work. Having been an average British young woman from the deep North of England, I have been working since I was 16. I have recently found myself back in the retail sector, and whilst I enjoy it – because basically I have to or I am dirt poor – I can’t help wondered or critically analysing what is happening.
Some things I have realised is that things change. People change, so do your own identities. But the biggest thing that has not and indeed cannot change is the rapid judgement and stereotyping that can occur. These micro-judgements are so quick that you probably don’t even realise that you’re making them. So ingrained into our existence that any challenge or outlier deviance from the norm throws everyone off. Even the very person being judged.
As someone who wants to get to know other people. Who is probably around 87% – 89% sure of who she is or rather the make-up of my identity. I am still often dumb-founded of the lack of flexibility, acknowledgement and plain destructive to get to know me or allow me to get to know them. I have yet to meet anyone who sees themselves as something outside of their job role. Now I don’t just mean their ‘leisure activities’ and ‘general interest’, although it does form a small part. I mean the lack of conveyance about their identities.
I am a student working part/time, saving money for course fees, living etc. I am interested in many and all things, pretty much. I try to get to know Person A, Person B and Person C.
None of the 3 generic persons are students or reciprocate any interest in the field of enquiry or in general any mention of an external “career-path” or passions.
Unless said passions are regarding the same singer/band/artist and song that has been playing on loop all day!
Now this might sound like a ungrateful young person, who doesn’t know how to Thank G-d, faith and the cosmos for all that I am given. I want to categorically say that is not the case. I am very thankful and blessed with my position. I guess I am just wondering if the perception of “ungrateful attitudes” amongst workers contributes to workers like me and my peers from disconnecting from one another? Or the stereotype that you will lose your job for a multi-million little reasons? Are these the reasons so many of us are drained by this endeavor to not say no?
Just a thought I had. would love to expand at a later date.