I started my job in March and my internship earlier this month. It’s been a wild ride since then, but I’ve finally settled down in both quirky communities. However, I realized that it had been while since I had been “new” at anything…and I felt a how-to was in order.
focus on what you’re naturally good at.
This can be either when you’ve already found a job or you’re attempting to get one: look for something you would enjoy doing for a four hour shift. if you’re aren’t into makeup, don’t work at a makeup boutique. if you aren’t a fashion person, don’t work in retail. if you hate coffee, bypass Starbucks. It’s lame but it’s true. If you already have a job, find a part of it that you really enjoy and press on with that. When I did my coffeehouse job, I really liked working with people, but was often caught behind the counter washing dishes. I took initiative of working register more often and found that I was a lot happier when I set the initial tone of someone walking into the store. At my current retail job, it’s the same way – they’ve taken to having me work front all the time, since I’m usually good at greeting and approachable enough to have someone ask me for sizes or fits.
don’t lie on your resume.
Okay, I’ve never actually done this, but it scares me. Just never do it. One of my worst fears (and reoccuring nightmares) is walking into a new job and them putting me to a task that I have no idea how to do. When I ask for help, they respond, “But you said you were an expert on your resume…” Cue screaming and waking up in a cold sweat. Just be honest when you’re trying to get the job and hopefully you’ll be a good fit from day one.
study at home.
I need this. When I started at the coffeehouse, I was miserable with remembering how to make drinks. Even the simple smoothies that required two ingredients: smoothie mix and ice. (SMOOTHIE MIX AND ICE. YOU CAN’T MESS IT UP.) But I always dragged out the drink book for everything and ended up getting frustrated when I didn’t retain any of it. I eventually asked if I was allowed to make copies of the book and study it when I had a chance. Everyone was sort of shocked (I’m kind of a nerd) and then let me do it. I just went over a few drink flashcards every night and was able to go to my shifts knowing the difference between a cappuccino and a latte.
accept and enjoy ‘being new’
I’m working on this. I am usually really embarrassed whenever someone asks, with a little bit of malice, “are you new?” Why yes, I’m sorry that you witnessed me not knowing how to open the fitting room door. I am, in fact, new. But, take a step back and realize that you are only new for so long. Eventually you will have the hardened and cold look of a long term employee, anticipating questions and problems before they happen. But during your new-ness you get to revel in being a bit of dope. My favorite answer for “Are you new?” has become: “I’m new at heart.” I do my best to always be open and inviting for customers, not snapping at them that, yes, we are out of the boho tee in purple, we ran out last week. I’ll take the extra five minutes to ring my manager, ask about said tee, and then take the time to say, uhm, I’m sorry, we’re out of it in purple…have you tried the blue?
One of my first days working my retail job, I was learning register. I have a long (well, two job) history with being terrible with registers. Usually people have to be taught something three times before they know it? For me, it’s something between 10-15. After a month, I’m still having issues with gift cards and exchanges. Anyway, one of my first days, I’m learning (on the fly, mind you) and there’s already a long line. A sweet mother and her teenage daughter were getting checked out and I was messing up every step. It was, in short, taking forever. I was so flustered and couldn’t even get through the transaction. Through my earpiece, I heard my manager sing, “Just smile, smile and the world will smile with you…or at least not ask for an additional discount.”