As I went to clean the toilets in the discount outlet store I’d managed to get a job in, I wondered how it got to this point.  I mean, it wasn’t that I thought I was too good to clean toilets, but I had the enormous student debt to prove that I had at one time thought I could get an interesting job, maybe even one in my field.

Part of my husband’s and my strategies to downsize involved making a  big move.  We moved from a rather expensive condo in a large city to a smaller one-bedroom condo in a small-ish southwestern town.  We were able to start living for about 1/3 of what we had lived on.  It was great…until the job situation reared its ugly head.

I really thought it wouldn’t be that hard to find a job.  It was.  More than that, I had to find something that also gave me health benefits.  As quickly as possible.

After sending out resume after resume and never getting a response, I applied to this discount outlet (Yep, bottom of the bottom) store.  I got the job!  I couldn’t believe it. I have no retail experience and they were willing to take a chance on me.  My life in the fashion industry begins.  Furthermore, all I had to make it was 3 months to get my health insurance.  What more could I want?  Plus, it might be fun helping people pick out clothes, crappy as those clothes were.

I had my choice of being a “regular” worker or a “supervisor’.  The pay difference was huge.  I could make $6.00 an hour as a”regular” worker or $8.00 an hour as a “supervisor”.  Well, set me up with that supervisor job right away. I came to find out that the ‘supervisor’ role just gave me the opportunity to do even more jobs.

So, I started my first day with the ugliest red vest you could imagine  and was given my register ID.  But the register was many days from my first day of learning how to put the clothing out according to their unbelievably complicated grid of clothing placing.  Seriously…they had a map for the clothes. That first day , I worked about 8 hours and it was grueling.  I have a new respect for people working retail.  My feet felt like they were going to never be the same again. Everyone said that I would get used to it.

It was going on 10:00 p.m. when we closed that first day.

I was the lowest one on the totem pole and it was announced that toilet duty was now mine.  CRAP!  I have OCD and never even use a public toilet.  I really freaked out.  I went home and picked up rubber gloves and went back and held my nose and used their antiquated cleaning tools and I really thought I would vomit. (By the way, women are slobs.)  The men’s room was virtually spotless, the women’s room looked like an earthquake, tornado and tsunami hit it all at once. Also, not to be gross, but just WHAT are these women eating?  That bathroom was DISGUSTING!

I lasted on the job 3 weeks.  My feet were so swollen that by the time I gave my Notice to Leave, they were wrapped in ace bandages. By then, any money I made went to a podiatrist to find out why my feet were getting worse every night.  Something about the way my feet are formed would prevent me from ever having a job on my feet.

So, I crawled my way home with nothing having been accomplished except that I can really clean a toilet now.  With latex gloves, of course.


  1. Thank you for sharing your experience! I am in a similar situation and struggling to find work and debating what I am willing to do. Sadly, those of us with Master’s degrees are considered over qualified for many jobs and “scoring” a retail job can be very difficult! It sounds like you survived your stint in retail and came out wiser:)

    • Thank you again for stopping by.

      I really love your site and have gotten lots of good info froom it.

      I have tried, on many resumes, to leave out the master’s degree. I would try to leave out the bachelor’s also, but how to account for 6 years missing on my

      Yes, people in retail have my respect now.

  2. Pingback: CLEANING TOILETS 清潔廁所 « The1SMILE Blog『記憶人生』部落格

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