Unicorn Trifecta: Happiness, Retail and Money
"I chose the wrong profession."
As I lay in bed the other day, a thought came to mind that usually comes whenever I'm exhausted, frustrated or otherwise burned out. "I chose the wrong profession." Or industry rather.
I came to this conclusion when I called out of work the other day. On average I work about 60 hours a week, between 2 jobs. I usually only have one day off from both. This does not include any other things I have to do or meetings I have to attend to help build my own dream life. So I'm probably awake or running around about 75% of the time. As you can imagine, I get burned out very often. So forgive me if every once in awhile, I have to take a chill pill for my physical and mental health and not go to work.
Now back to the story. It was to my disappointment when one of my managers calls & texts me and wanted me to explain why I was not coming in. This is AFTER I called to let them know I was not coming in. (Just an FYI I usually have to be at work around 6am or 7am). Because the reality is this, the manager was not calling to check up on me. The manager was calling me to see why I was not going to work for $10. Bingo.
Adding Insult to Injury
But that's not just me, it's also millions of other women. The retail industry employs 7.2 million women. Unfortunately, retail jobs are some of the lowest paid positions in the country, although the industry represents approximately $4.3 trillion in annual retail sales. For women, the average wage as a retail salesperson is $10.58/hour. And as someone who works two retail jobs, that's pretty accurate. To add insult to injury, I searched to see what is the average salary for someone who does what I essentially do (visual merchandising). According to this survey, I make less than Tree Trimmers & Pruners ($34.5K). The average salary for retail salespersons is $25k and for merchandise displayers & window trimmers is $29.9k (Business Insider).
You're probably saying to yourself, well you chose this lifestyle. No, what I chose is to live a life where I love doing whatever it is that I want to do. I enjoy doing visual merchandising. It brings me immediate satisfaction. I also enjoy visual content development and I'd like to make that my bread and butter one of these days. But what I am beginning to see is that doing what you love doesn't always necessarily equate to monetary success. And that sort of sucks. Because no one wants to work really hard at something, just to make ends meet.
Going further, I looked into the correlation of money & happiness. The numbers just didn't add up.
Researchers are still debating about the definitive answer between the two (they'll always be searching in my opinion). But there are some interesting insights when related to certain circumstances. For instance, we tend to enjoy spending money on experiences rather than buying things. According to a Forbes article, the anticipatory factor increases someone's disposition towards happiness, because you'll be celebrating said experience months from now vs putting tons of money on an object i.e. a Celine bag.
Another instance, people who have more money or the discretionary income show higher levels of happiness when they spend it on others (PBS.com). This includes charity or simply gifts for others. I can agree on both. I get a certain level of satisfaction and accomplishment whenever I volunteer for The Rose House, a safe house created through Safe Horizon. And I guess I did feel slightly happy when I bought my friend a hat box for his one expensive hat.
So how can one find happiness?
One wonders how he/she can find their "pursuit of happyness"? For starters, you have to find what makes you happy. Happiness, I've learned is relative to the individual. One can find happiness in hobbies or truly in giving back. Others can find happiness in traveling. You must have an honest conversation with yourself to determine what makes you happy.
Another way to try to find your happy is ignoring the bullshit. The bullshit includes IG envy, or any other social media envy. You never know what someone had to do to get that money shot from that hot tub.
What would make me happier? For starters, more money would certainly make me happier. Having more money would allow me to do more of what I want. That includes not going into a low paying retail job. And that's freedom. Freedom that money can partially buy.