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  • Writer's pictureShari Rossow

First for me

Updated: Apr 28, 2022

A BLOG! At first when I went to the google machine to find out how to start a blog, it sent me to creating my own website, which I immediately started and 10min in backed out of (holy overwhelming). I will get there eventually, but need more time. I am interested in sharing my thoughts and feelings about stepping away from an incredible career and what I have learned along the way. Nearly 25 years with one organization, nearly half my life! My hope is that you read this and feel some kinda way about it. Maybe it helps you, maybe it makes you think about taking risks/chances if you feel a bit stuck! I want to help!

I am from a small town in Northern MN (3000 peeps). I didn't finish college and until I was 24, I had never lived more than 20min from home. My parents and my sister all went to trade schools, but it never occurred to me to go to one. I was going to register and attend a 4 year school to be a cosmetologist. I have always been into hair and makeup. I taught myself how to french braid on my Farrah Facet doll head. I wish I still had it, she was everything to me! I also always wanted the clothes that made me fit in with the popular girls. I would start working at 16 to start paying for those (or get them as gifts). It's always been important to me to fit in. I wish I didn't care so much, but such is life.

I realized early on in my retail career that I was good at selling, tasking, and good at leading people. My very first retail job, I sold coats at a local department store. I realized I really liked selling when I made a spiff. "Sure, sir, I can put this fur coat on so you can imagine your wife is gonna look like a 16 year old blonde in it". That usually got them to fork over the $5000, in which case I made $5. Oh, I know what you are thinking and that is a whole other kinda blog, but at the time, I wanted the $5 spiff.

I have always been outgoing. I am a little bit country and a little bit rock n roll. I am positive and honest, but a little edgy. If you don't want the truth, don't ask me. I have been called a bitch, a bull in a china shop, but also extremely helpful, caring, encouraging, but mostly "real, down to earth, authentic"....

Once I got a little power, I liked it, but it was also the responsibility and being chosen to lead others where I caught the bug to want to be in charge. Like all edgy young women, sometimes my edge made me come across snotty and short with people. I mean, hey, I had "keys" to the store! I had male peer refer to me as a KNOW IT ALL. I think he was trying to hurt my feelings. I took it as a compliment. It meant I knew what I was doing and he didn't.

Here is the truth! I have been fired. I was fired from my first store manager job when I was 19. I mean, the Chamber of Commerce even cut the ribbon with me when we grand opened that store. I ran it with a handful of cute employees with names like Hannah, Anna, and Reann. I was paid the equivalent of $7.50/hour. I had no business running that store. I was way too young. I got fired for not properly managing the store. I was living in an apartment with my friend at the time so I now had to move back home.

I then worked for another retailer, got promoted twice, and ended up transferring to a store with an old school store manager. I made the mistake of telling some people at a training that my store manager refuses to use a computer and requires all of his emails be printed out for him. That got back to him and told me I was "voluntarily" leaving..."sign here" immediately. I tried to fight it, but it didn't matter.

I started looking for another retail job immediately. I was shopping for a word processor to write my resume. I ended up buying one that had been returned because it was cheaper. I got home to start my resume workshop and noticed the AC Adapter wasn't in the box. I called the store (45min from where I lived) and told them I desperately needed it to write my resume. That evening 2 sales associates from that store drove it to me, in a snow storm. I am not sure if they were hoping to be invited in (I was a cute young blonde after all, but I thanked them, shut the door, and sent them back out into the blizzard). I plugged that sucker in, updated my resume and put in an application to work for that company. The rest is history!

I regret not going to a 4 year college. I was always jealous of my friends who did and who felt this connection to their alma mater. My college was growing up in retail. I had all the hands on real life experiences that could not be taught in school. I was already managing people and businesses by the time some of my friends were taking water aerobics for credits. I am NOT disparaging college (remember I said I regret not going). But, there is something to be said about working your way thru it all. And, I can honestly say, while some of those friends are more successful than me, some aren't. A lot of them have degrees that are as good as the paper they are on!

I learn by doing and by watching (always watching Wazowski).

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