I’ve worked in retail and customer service since I was in high school — so about three years now.
I’m a full-time college student with my own bills to pay, so I can’t afford to focus only on school without having a job. Not to mention I live in San Francisco, one of the most expensive cities in the country.
When the world shut down in 2020 and I was furloughed from my retail job, I had no choice but to turn to unemployment. Luckily, due to the 2020 CARES Act, I was able to receive help. But it left me and many others in the same position with a lingering question — how am I making more money on unemployment than I was at my regular job?
Once I returned to work, I ended up only staying at that retail job for a little under two months until I quit and moved on to another customer service position at a spa. But now, I’ve finally left the customer service industry for good — I hope.
I was tired of dealing with unappreciative and entitled customers, working long tiring hours for mediocre pay, and coming home mentally drained from work that I had no passion for.
And I’m not the only one. Studies show that young people like me make up the biggest bracket of this mass exodus known as “The Great Resignation.”
I’m not sure if any amount of money would have kept me at any of the jobs where I worked. But I know that I was not compensated enough for the emotional and physical labor I put into them. The pandemic made me re-evaluate what my time is worth and my own value.
So I quit — something that may not be feasible for everyone working a retail or customer service job. And even though I’m still figuring out what my career will look like, I’m much happier.
A version of this story also aired on KCBS on September 20, 2021.