The retail industry needs more managers, reports USA Today—people entering the workforce don’t usually consider retail a viable career path: “Students find banking, technology and other fields more promising because there’s more ‘growth potential, a better work/life balance and a clear career path.’” The average salary for a retail manager in the U.S. isn’t too shabby—almost $84,000—but that comes with strange hours, thankless tasks, and an odd mixture of job requirements that combines being responsible for a store’s success and mentoring youths, while at the same time not being able to decide what to stock or how the store’s brand is managed nationally, and having to deal with employees who often have little incentive to perform well.
For many, the career is more like what former retail manager Norm Feuti, who now pens a syndicated cartoon called Retail, remembers.
“You don’t really have any control over what goes on. You put the displays where they (corporate executives) want them. You carry the products they want. They set the prices. And the computer systems reorder your merchandise,” says Feuti, who worked in retail management until 2002. “But when it comes to sales, you get none of the credit and all of the blame.”
The article talks to a 35-year-old Toys R Us manager who’s been in the business since her early 20s and seems to really love her work. “‘The busier I am, the more I enjoy it,’ says Koteski. ‘Stress is different for each person.’” Koteski is unmarried and has no children, though, which only reinforces the idea that it’s not the most obvious career choice if you want to raise a traditional family, as a former manager makes clear:
Katey Morse was recruited to be an assistant manager for Ann Taylor Loft (ANN) in 2003 while she was working as a Coach (COH) store assistant manager in Grand Rapids, Mich. She now works as a personal banker for Chase. Morse, who is pregnant with her first child, says she knew the hours in retail management wouldn’t be conducive to raising a family. Besides, she says, “The compensation is pathetic when you figure out how many hours you were expected to work.”