Saturday, October 18, 2008

Retail therapy? Or retail will land me in therapy

I'm kind of strapped for cash right now and it's totally my own fault. I had used my credit cards a lot in the past 3 months thinking I would be getting a Christmas bonus (haha). But since I just started a new job I'm not eligible for their bonus program this year. And though I am making a much higher salary now...well...I dug the hole much deeper than I should have. I was lucky enough to get several job offers, yet the stress of the search made me more of a shopaholic than usual.

So if I want to move I need an infusion of capital. With the holidays coming up I decided my best bet was to get a retail job after work and on the weekends. Anything to keep me from spending money. Back in high school I worked at J. Crew during the holidays and enjoyed it.

During our great dinner on Thursday night this was the only thing T was critical of. "Roxy, remember when you worked two full-time jobs right after you graduated from college? That was pretty miserable. And weren't you just working a lot of overtime at your last job?" he asked. "Well, yes. But at my last job I didn't get paid for the overtime. Now I will get paid for these hours."

T remained dubious. "You're like the villain in a Bond movie. You come up with these elaborate, dramatic plans but have you considered the reality?" He ticked off things I would miss TV shows (meh, I'm not really watching TV so much these days anymore anyway), meeting up with friends (hopefully we could coordinate social butterflies to days off) and our faux romantic dinners (temporary hiatus?). I was admittedly being stubborn. "An extra $200 or $300 a week could make a big difference," I said. Besides, I think it would be fun. I really enjoyed putting together outfits for people and helping people pick out clothing for themselves or as gifts. It gave me a sense of satisfaction.

It's been a really long time since I worked retail. I started going around to places a couple of weeks ago. After some consideration I decided working near day job would be easiest. So I went to the J. Crew in Soho first. I thought that having previously worked there would give me a leg up. But all they had me do was fill out an application and then they told me someone would be in touch. It was really disappointing. They didn't do an on-spot interview or anything. And I looked really sharp! BFF M worked there a couple of years back and told me that they were really stringent with their hiring in the city. I just sighed.

I spent most of a Saturday walking around and applying to a few other places -- Crate & Barrel, Bloomingdales, Steve Madden. All places where I knew the products. But again, all the places did was take my application and say someone would be in touch. It was pretty disheartening!

This week I went to Anthropologie and had a much better experience. I went during their open hire time on Thursday in their Soho store. After I filled out the application I met with a manager for a quick interview. It seemed to go well and I made it to part 2, which was filling out an online survey. The manager said it would be a couple of weeks before I hear back. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Yesterday an envelope came from J. Crew. I knew it was bad -- very thin. It was like college application time all over again! I opened it to find a form rejection letter. On the one hand, at least they took the time to tell me no. On the other hand, the letter said "we could not find a match for your skillset." Oh man. Talk about a slap in the face! They never even talked to me. And my day job is all about dealing with people! Yet for whatever reason I guess I am no longer J. Crew employee material. I guess they haven't looked in my closet lately.

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