How Working in Retail and Fast Food Can Drain Your Soul

Fast food and retail jobs can be an unforgiving vortex.


Did you find everything okay?

Press the red for credit.

Don’t forget to do that survey.

Thank you SO much.

Smile, smile, and then smile some more. Oh you were not smiling for .5 seconds, that must mean you hate your job and me as a customer, and I think that I will summon a manager.

Working in customer service, you realize how your face and body language can set the tone for interactions with people. You come to realize that you are held responsible for people feeling comfortable or not in said place of business.

The thing with me is that I can go from a bubbly small talking worker to a brooding reluctant worker in seconds.

I am not ashamed of working in customer service, but I cannot work there my whole life for two reasons.

  1. I get tired of talking. I have a mental limit to the amount of human interactions I can sustain in a day. The amount of smiling, small talk, and gentle eye contact customer service requires is too much for me.
  2. I don’t want to help other people build their dream. – The whole idea of retail and fast food is that I am contributing my talent and time to help someone else build their brand, business, and make more money. I am not going to continually try to sell something that I actually think is trash, and I refuse to feel bad about not being your token cashier. 

I’m not out here chasing acceptance from this company or the people who work here.

I will be pleasant, but I won’t be pleading, humble but not self deprecating.

I’m not grateful that you’re paying me $11 an hour, and I’m not going to fall on my hands and knees to thank you for it. Fuck that.


How to Not Get Sucked Into the Vortex:

  1. Get ample sleep before and after your shift – if you do this not only will you feel rested enough to deal with people, but you will more likely have energy to do things at home post work.
  2. Budget time for your own self-care – moisturize, drinks lots of water on the clock, buy things you like, do things you like.
  3. Don’t budget your life around your work schedule, budget your work schedule around your life – I know that sounds stupid and unfeasible for some, but just have that concept in your mind. Work and money may be something you need at the moment to meet your basic life needs, but it’s not something that has to define your life and take up all your time.
  4. Set boundaries – don’t talk about your life story with everyone at work. It’s okay to be pleasant and friendly to people, but not everyone is deserving of you and not everyone needs to know everything about you at work. Some things are just better left unsaid. You don’t know who has ill intentions. I have heard people say some downright catty things about people when they are not in the room, so who knows what they say about me when I’m not there.


Co-Worker A: Hey I am having a birthday party get together…. you can come if you have time, I’m telling everyone.

Co-Worker A walks away.

Co-Worker B: I don’t know who she thinks is gonna come anyway.

Me:  Thinking Co-Worker B was a nice person….. *mentally sighs*

So I suppose in summary, don’t let other people try to drain you of your energy.










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