Job Title: Retail Buyer
Type of Company: I work in a winter sports specialty store at a ski resort.
Education: BS, Education, Bridgewater State College (Bridgewater, MA)(
Previous Experience: I worked in in retail as a store manager and ski boot fitting technician.
Job Tasks: From the outside looking in, I would seem to be a store manager and buyer, responsible for pricing, stocking and the daily operation of a retail store, but really I sell fun! I am charged with making sure you are equipped and informed about skiing and snowboarding. I know how much fun it can be to experience a smooth turn on a ski where the edges bite into the snow and the rider feels the ski become the tool, and you are controlling gravity, and it's my job to make sure the customers have all the right tools to experience the same thing. I am part negotiator, educator, mind reader, salesman and camp counselor.
On any given day I negotiate deals and prices with vendors, create events and programs to promote my store to my local customers, educate clients on staying warm, how best to spend the funds they have set aside for recreation and remind them by example that there is more to life than just 9 to 5.
I manage a staff of thirty employees, veterans who have worked for me for years and new hires who want to be part of the winter sports milieu. I try to teach them responsibility and loyalty to the job, how to be reliable as they learn to be educators and not just order takers.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is being able to work around people who enjoy the outdoors. The smiles I see as they come off the mountain and the pleasure I derive from seeing someone who is enjoying skiing or riding thanks in part to my staff are uplifting.
The worst parts are the long hours and customers who feel justified in treating retailers and service staff with disrespect: the "I pay your salary" attitude.
Job Tips: Take a step outside yourself and try to see your daily job performance as your employer would. Ask yourself "Did I give my employer a full eight hours of work for my eight hours of pay?"
Do what you like and like what you do. Make a conscious choice about a living or a career. Try on many hats, work a bunch of part-time jobs before settling on one.
Additional Thoughts: I think what got me to the success level I enjoy now is that I was lucky enough to find a career that I could talk about, be immersed in, and that was tied to something I was passionate about. I wasn't content to just be a weekend warrior, my job is just an extension of what I do in my free time. Find your passion and you'll find a way to make it your living.
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