Friday, June 1, 2012

A Question to Answer

Each year Target does what they call The Great Team Survey, where every employee fills out an anonymous survey about their level of personal satisfaction with working at Target.

The idea is that then the store can then take that specific feed back and use it to change certain practices in the upcoming year.

You know, personal improvement on the corporate level or some such thing.

Most of the questions I gave "satisfied" marks to, as overall I do like my job, and I do think well of my boss, and I do think that Target does a lot of good things for me (like a matching 401k retirement plan and providing health insurance) that not a lot of people my age have these days.

But the one that threw me off was the one that asked how long I expected to work at Target for.

Obviously, as I have already been there for almost a year, the one of "less than 6 months" is out, and realistically the "more than 6 months but less than 1 year" isn't looking real plausible right now either as I'm fast approaching that hiring anniversary.

But then I couldn't decide between the 1-2 years and 2-5 years options. How long DO I plan to work at Target?

Most of the time I like the job, and even when I don't particularly like it I find it tolerable.

I'm frustrated being on the bottom much of the time, but I somewhat suspect that the corporate hierarchy exists in all professions and therefore dealing with bosses is just a part of life that won't dramatically change by working in an office instead of in retail.

(Although by all means, cubical workers of the world, feel free tell me Office Space was totally wrong. Bonus points if you are looking at your red stapler right now!!)

But then there's the part about the pay....

Remember my mathematically advanced calculations about how the increase in pay does not match the increase in living costs for this area?

Yeah, that didn't even cover how "competitive wages" for the industry as set by Target exclude places a block away from us like Bed Bath and Beyond, Best Buy, and Whole Foods as not being "like" retailers (and where the bottom feeder employees also make more than us Target minions). So pretty much the only thing compared is Walmart, but there's not even one of those in Boulder, so that part about paying better than other similar retailers is somewhat a joke at my particular store.

(But don't tell HR, they get really huffy when people diss the entry level sales floor wage, while somewhat ironically making substantially more themselves being at the Executive level and all.) 

And that's why the people who only care about their hourly wage leave in less than a year.

But some people stay....

I have continued to apply for other positions the entire time I've been at Target.  Granted not with as much consistency or veracity as when I was completely unemployed, but applications still go out on a regular basis.

Which means it's been a year and a half at this point that I've been seriously looking for a career, and have yet to feel like I've gotten anywhere at all.

And unlike some of my peers, I don't see much point in quitting to work an equally crappy job for a dollar more an hour, nor do I feel as though I'm in the position to just quit and not work at all until something else rolls around.

And lets be honest here, if I'm not working I lose my childcare state assistance AND a good chunk of personal income, which means I can't possibly afford childcare on my own, which means I'd be spending those 40+ hours a week sitting at home with my children.

Yeah, some days at Target kinda suck, but 95% of the time I'd rather be there than back doing the stay-at-home-mommy thing since that sucked waaaaay more for me.

(Go thank your mother/neighbor/friend/cousin/stranger on the street who manages to spend every waking second of their life with their offspring and don't have the overwhelming urge to go postal on the world, for they are truly remarkable individuals who are in NO WAY properly appreciated for all that they do and put up with by anyone in this society.) 

So I'm very personally motivated to keep my job at Target until such time I actually manage to end up with something notably better.

And at the rate of progress thus far, I'm estimating that to be some time between 5 years and never from now.

[Note to Self: go find some fucking optimism]

[Note to Note to Self: my pessimism is a direct result of having hope crushed over and over and OVER again, and therefore is totally reasonable at this point. But feel free to make life shoot me some amount of amazing awesomeness at any time to change my mind real quick.]

In the mean time, I couldn't decide which ones of these I liked more for a mostly-unrelated illustration of the last ending side note of this post. So please enjoy lots of them. 


  1. I completely understand you need not to be home with your children 24/7. That's why I work. Well, that and I really like nice things. I mean, a LOT.

    Are you satisfied enough with Target that you would consider moving up the management/leadership/cheerleader structure? It may not be *the* career you've hoped for, but it's certainly experience/management experience that could help sell you in another job a few years down the road.

    1. I really do think that it would look better on my resume to be able to be like, "I worked at Target for a year and a half, and then they made me management and I got to manage people for a year" than to just bounce between jobs some more (plus it might even give me EXPERIENCE). I was looking a little online, and to qualify to apply to be a store manager at Micheal's they want three years of retail management experience. Not that I'm super excited to be in retail forever, but that definitely gets me a LOT closer to the "career" level of job, you know?

  2. I completely understand not wanting to be in retail forever. And that it's better to stay at one place and work your way up the ladder than to bounce around.

    I have a friend who is a manager at a Target in VA. She has a fancy college degree in retail management (sidenote: why? For the love of God, why do you want to work in retail for the rest of your life?? But I digress...) and she's been pretty happy with it. It's not her first/only retail management job, so she can compare treatment, salary, benefits, flexibility. Overall, she says it's better than some other places.