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Industry Insight: Careers in Retail (Waitrose)

Every day is different, you can never plan
too much what you want to achieve day to day, but it’s fun, it’s nice that way. The customers are different every day, you’ve
got to find different products in the shop, you’ve got different queries. Probably the brand actually, I worked in finance
previously and for a large company, I like working for the brand, so Waitrose and John
Lewis for me was a real pull. Well I needed a part-time job while I was
doing my A Levels. I needed money for rent, for my car, and my mum was also nagging me
about “you need to get experience before you go out there in the real world”. No, probably just me. My school, they were saying that even if I
didn’t go to uni, I’d need experience- retailers want you to have experience. I’ve had quite a varied career because I studied
hospitality management at university, so I came to the island to work in hospitality
and ended up in finance. I’ve always wanted to get into art and photography,
but because it’s such a competitive industry it was hard coming straight out of school
with no degree or experience in that role. I’ve recently completed my Hygiene Certificate,
which I did in the UK with Waitrose, and recently completed a six module Management Development
Program in the UK. You do training all of the time. When we first
opened we had a month of paid training that we all had to undertake. Spanish, Childcare, Drama for GCSE, and for
my A Level I did English Literature, English Language and Theatre Studies. My GCSEs I did Art, PE, and History, and then
I carried on to do Art, Photography, and I started doing Sociology but it was too much
work. Yes, patience would be the best one. You’ve
got to be patient with what you do every day, and with the people that you work with, and
the customers to make sure that we get it right. People skills as well ,you need to know how
to talk to customers, how to say the right thing in the right situation. A positive attitude
as well. The diversity of it. There’s lots of different
things going on all of the time. I get to work, I think people think it’s just shop
floor, but I get to do a lot of things in the community. The partners and the customers. The partners
are the members of staff- we all have a share in Waitrose, so it’s not competitive and we’re
all working towards the same goal. It’s managing teams, it’s developing talent,
it’s developing your own career. It surprised me how varied it was and how much it offered
me. I think people think it’s just something that
you don’t need qualifications to go into and you’re just a shelf-stacker in a supermarket and
there’s no career out of it. But I think I’ve got a career. Tills and fills I think is what people’s perception
of it is, but it’s not. It’s very varied, a lot of development especially with Waitrose. Becoming a full time supervisor for definite.
I started as just an evening check-out girl and now I’m a full time supervisor, so it’s
good. And there’s a possible moving up towards manager maybe in the future. Probably just seeing us evolve since we opened,
and seeing people progress from one level to the next. Because I’m young and I don’t look my age
either so I do get a lot of comments from customers. If I go over to supervise someone
it’s kind of like ‘oh, you?’. I don’t think it’s a negative aspect, but
it is hard work, it is hard work. It’s not a 9-5 Monday to Friday, which probably suits
me better than a 9-5 Monday to Friday, but you do work every other weekend. It’s probably having to I.D. people. I’m only
19 myself, and at Waitrose it’s ‘Think 25’, so if you don’t look 25 I have to I.D. you,
and all your friends that you’re with as well. So there’s quite a bit of negativity about
that. My personal challenge was probably the
overcoming of new processes and procedures and way of doing things. Going from industry
to another industry was more challenging than I thought it would be. Love your job, if you don’t love your job
then you’re not going to want to wake up in the morning, you’re not going to come in with
a smile on your face. The best careers advice I’ve been given is
that you’ve got to love what you do, you’ve really got to love what you do, you’ve got
to get in the morning and what to be there and want to make a difference. It’s given me confidence with talking to other
people. When I first came here I couldn’t talk to strangers, and I couldn’t answer the
telephone or phone people, but now I can. My home lifestyle has improved; I’ve got more
time for myself to do hobbies and get out more. Hopefully if I move up to a manager role at
some point I will be able to go to different Waitroses and see how they work, and John
Lewis and such. I’ve spent a lot of time this year and the end of last year in the UK. Our head offices are in the UK and we’re aligned
to a group in the South, so I’ve met a lot of people over there who have been able to
give me a lot of insight into the business, and to Waitrose, and into the industry in
general. The partners, we’re all on the same team,
we’re all working towards the same goal, it’s a happy atmosphere, and everyone’s just lovely. Getting it right, I think. When we see the
outcome of Easter for example, or Christmas, when we know we’ve got it right and we’ve
given the customer exactly what they’ve wanted and our partners are happy. They go away feeling
that they’ve done a good job, we’ve done a good job.

5 Replies to “Industry Insight: Careers in Retail (Waitrose)”

  • Have you ever wanted to know what it would be like to work in the retail industry? YES, work like a dog, not enough staff to complete job then get crap for not working fast enough (irony?). looked and talked to like your the customers slave. get abusive language etc etc SOUNDS FUN

  • My god you guys down below just described my store exactly!!! And bullying is an understatement. No staff, expect you to work fingers to the bone, the pay is really unfair and revolves around favouritism. Managers!? Well… I've never known a nastier bunch of people in my life and I've work in other retail outlets previous.

  • Waitrose is awesome i have worked for them for 5 years. There's ups and downs everyday. We all stick together and be the waitrose family we just have to be good at your job.

  • Yep, work loads more hours than you are paid for, if you don't they persecute you. Management are horrible, this Partners shit is a load of nonsense. Best thing I ever did was resign after 14 years of service.

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