Jul 15

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The Retail Trap

Look­ing back over my life, I can recall some early traps that caught a few of my friends and prob­a­bly pre­vented them, or at least inhib­ited them from reach­ing finan­cial free­dom. The one that caught many is what I call the Retail Trap.

Back when I was in high school, jobs and money were hard to come by, but retail always seems to be hir­ing. Their trick is, if you are com­pe­tent, to quickly move you out of an hourly wage and into the higher pay­ing man­age­ment roles. How is this a trick if they are pay­ing more? The posi­tions are salaried, mean­ing you get paid the same amount REGARDLESS of hours, and no com­mis­sions. So, on the sur­face you are mak­ing great money, espe­cially com­pared to all your part time employ­ees you have to man­age, but who fills in when staff quits? Who works all the shifts doing inven­tory or whatever?

The other part of the trick though, is get­ting them in high school…it’s a vul­ner­a­ble time. If they can pay you the “big buck”, rel­a­tively speak­ing, with rou­tine increases, and keep you happy for just a few years, then they have you. You won’t gen­er­ally go into a post sec­ondary edu­ca­tion more than a few years out of high school, so there you’ll be, early 20’s with no real skills, a glass ceil­ing for advance­ment, and no edu­ca­tion. Trapped neatly into the retail indus­try for the rest of your life…

You can still escape, but it’s usu­ally bet­ter to never get caught in the first place. Retail jobs are not ter­ri­ble, just be aware of what you are step­ping into.

Les­son: some­times mak­ing less money, allows you to make more later on.

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