I’ve worked in retail for the past 15 years. Some would say, it’s not a line of anyone initially seeks out to pursue but more something people fall into because it has a tendency of being the default place to gaining experience as we hit our stride in life. Regardless of that, one should always feel inclined to giving it all you got in what you do for a living even if you’ve decided that what you’re doing now is not right for you. Do that long enough and good things will come your way. Even though people may not remember everything you say, they’ll recall the consistency you put into your work.
For me, retails has taught me a lot. It’s taught me humility, self-respect and if you’ve ever been the type of person who’s felt superior to others, I welcome you to spend a day, a week, a year working in retail to straighten that side of you up. In a way, retail has been a lot like travel. The longer you’ve been involved with it the more you realize that you don’t know everything and that’s ok, as long as you’re receptive to that fact and opened to be enlightened through the endless interactions with others.
As a photographer, my biggest transferable lesson from retail into the creative side continues to be the strengthening of my communication skills. In a retail environment, our main focus is to sell and engage with clients. In a studio setting, to a certain extent, there’s only so much the camera can do for you because the connection between you and the talent is equally vital. One can’t expect people to give us all they have when you haven’t created the atmosphere in which they can open up to us to begin with. The dance ebbs both ways in which what we do with our camera is just about creativity, technical abilities as it is about quick relationship building.
In one way or another, don’t view what you do for a living now to cover your living expenses as a waste of time. What you ultimately envision yourself pursuing creatively in the end can only be strengthen by the accumulation of life experiences here and there. I can assure you that what you’re going through will make up the whole of who you are as an artist.