Working throughout college has become a must. With rising tuition costs, it can be difficult to avoid the working life. However, even through hard times and crippling debt, there are positive qualities that can be learned from having a job.


Photo by Sierra Thompson


Being a cashier is probably just as bad as everyone says it is. Long days trying to please customers while also trying to remain happy, calm and unaffected by the problems of others can be emotionally and physically draining.

However, after cashiering for nearly two years, I have learned a few of the positive qualities the profession can instill in an individual.

1. Patience

Becoming a competitive candidate for future employers is one of the many goals we set while attending college.

I can assure you that working in retail will give you an almost otherworldly sense of patience.

You are trained from day one to be an extremely pleasant individual. You learn to act like an angel even when faced with ridiculous situations throughout the day.

You are constantly tested on your ability to remain calm and understanding, no matter how hard it may be.

On my very first day of work, a customer who had already come through my line stormed back into the store accusing me of stealing their cell phone and demanded that I give it back.

I definitely did not have their cell phone.

Being yelled at comes with the job. It is impossible to make everyone happy.

The best thing to do is to just remain calm and realize that when people are upset, it is not necessarily with you.

People have bad days, people often find themselves in the grocery store on those days.

Learning how to calmly help others who are frustrated is a skill that should not be overlooked.

For college students, having a job in retail can be a time to perfect your interpersonal skills. Gaining professional experience now is always better than later.

Perfecting your sense of composure before you enter the real world and become a full-fledged adult will surely give you an edge in your career choice.

2. Respect

As a very shy and introverted person, I can sometimes come off as rude, uninterested or anti-social.

While all of this is definitely not true, when I first started cashiering people would describe me as unfriendly, timid or unhelpful, when in all reality I was just really afraid to engage in conversation with customers.

Working in retail reveals what kind of person you are, making it easy to pick out your own flaws.

For me, I just needed to learn to be more outspoken and sensitive.

Treating the customer with respect and assuring that they are happy with their purchase can go a long way not only in the business world, but in life.

People tend to appreciate your help when you seem confident and happy, even if you cannot help them solely by yourself.

3. Endurance

When I am finally able to leave the world of retail, I will be able to tell all kinds of stories of how I was faced with crazy obstacles and how I was able to overcome them.

Do not get me wrong, I am extremely thankful to have a job and it helps me to get by.

However, everything is a process, and my job is only a stepping stone to something more professional down the line.

With that in mind, working a minimum wage job helps students to appreciate having a college degree.

Having a college degree promotes opportunities. Being able to explore more rewarding careers is truly a blessing that should not be overlooked.

You will have more to offer employers with the experience you gain working through college. Enduring the long days and conflict now only helps get you to a better place in the future.

In the end you just need to tough it out, keep smiling, make eye contact and learn from every mistake, crisis or mishap that can happen in the world of retail.

By Sierra Thompson

Sierra Thompson is an editor for MBU Timeline. She is majoring in communication studies and minoring in business administration. Thompson is a member of the softball team at MBU. In her free time she loves to travel, watch movies and spend time with her family and friends.