Should I quit my busy retail bank job?
May 13, 2019 7:38 PM   Subscribe

I was recently promoted to a full time member at a bank. I just got back from my job and I am mentally and physically exhausted. I am not sure how I will be able to handle any more of this. Does it get easier or should I look for a new job?

We were standing for the whole 9 hour shift and there were very few breaks between customers. I have done retail before but have never quite experienced a hectic environment as this. I am very introverted and highly sensitive to stimuli around me. Perhaps I am highly entitled as well to assume that I should have a better job. I am not sure why I can't handle these types of jobs.

I am wondering if I should move on to other jobs as this is not something I see myself doing in the future. I don't want to be stuck in the retail grind forever but lack direction on where I should go. Is this just part of paying my dues? I am in my mid twenties with a business degree and I am worried employers may see my lack of job experience in my field as a negative.
posted by sheepishchiffon to Work & Money (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You feel how you feel. I don't think entitlement has to enter into it at all. THe world doesn't owe you a job, of course, but you don't seem to be asking it for one.

If the environment is stressing you out, then you're within your rightsz to leave for your own mental well-being.
posted by Alensin at 7:56 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]

Give it a few weeks. You may find you adjust to it after a while. If you still really hate it, you can always look for a desk job.

As to entitlement...I don't think it's unreasonable to want and actively seek out a job that doesn't overly tax you physically or emotionally. Everyone has to start somewhere, and as a new college grad you'll be looking at entry level positions. But there's a lot of options in the world of business and finance for desk jobs.

What other skills do you bring to the table? What industries are you interested in? That can help narrow a job search down.
posted by ananci at 7:56 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]

If it continues to exhaust you, yes...look for another job. It's okay not to be satisfied with a job that's taking such a physical toll. You'll be able to find "equal" employment that's less punishing. Meanwhile -- when I had a standing-and-walking around job, the shoes I wore made a huge difference. And using shock-absorbing pads in the shoes helped even more.
posted by wryly at 8:13 PM on May 13 [8 favorites]

I always find the first few weeks of a new job really wearing - absorbing a lot of new information, getting to know new people, adjusting to new tasks ... it's absolutely exhausting and I often question my fitness for the role. So I suggest giving it a little time.

However. It's good to keep an open mind and give it a chance, but it's also okay to want a job that's a good fit for you. Most of us learn from every job in our career a little bit more about what works best for us and what doesn't.
posted by bunderful at 8:58 PM on May 13 [17 favorites]

If this is a new role with new duties to learn you'll probably find that after a while things will come second nature. You won't have to think in detail about every task you do. There's a ton to learn with most new jobs and it can definitely feel overwhelming. Starting a new job is one of the most challenging times in most people's lives. If this is not really a new job but the same job you've been doing but with full time hours, then yes, fast-paced people-facing retail work is not for everyone. I would still give it some time to see if things improve.

In regards to the physical exhaustion, most people need a few weeks for their feet to get used to 8/9 hours of standing. I agree that good shoes and time will probably help with the feet issue.
posted by mundo at 9:03 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]

Everyone I know (including myself) has said they were mentally exhausted when entering full time work for the first time, it probably lasted 2-3 weeks before they got used to it, after that it was a lot better. It's a bit like exercising for a marathon. You are probably feeling physically tired as well from all that standing - and you'd be surprised at how fast your muscles can get conditioned (and lose condition too). I used to walk about 80 minutes a day to get to and from work and I don't recall feeling tired or fatigued. Then I went for a period with less intense walking (mostly driving) and then when I starting walking again, wow my muscles were really sore. But after 1-2 weeks the soreness went away and I was back to walking 80 minutes a day with no issues like it was nothing.

So it's probably a combination of both, give yourself 2-3 weeks and see how you feel then.
posted by xdvesper at 9:10 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]

I’m an introverted person and I teach and stand/interact with a million kids all day- like, literally, probably sit for 20 min. at lunch and that’s it. After 2 months summer vacation I’m exhausted the first week or two- even though I spend all summer hiking and biking more than is reasonable- between the human interaction and the non-stop physicality of the job. It does get a lot better with time. If you need the job, I’d at least give it a month or so and see if you feel any better about it.
posted by charmedimsure at 9:25 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]

Perhaps I am highly entitled as well to assume that I should have a better job.

Entitlement would only enter into it if you were fully expecting somebody else to go out of their way to hand you that better job on a plate and feeling aggrieved that so far nobody has.

There is nothing wrong with looking for a job that fits you better than the one you have; doing exactly that repeatedly is really the only way to end up in work you're really happy with. The only way this can really go badly wrong is when people dump their existing job before getting a solid commitment from a new employer or building enough resources to start their own business, or screw their reputations by failing to give the contracted number of days' notice to their old employer.

There is also no virtue in gritting your teeth and sticking with a job that's grinding you down to a nub just to prove that you can; auto-flagellation is no longer regarded as health-promoting in most circles.

That said, it usually takes longer than a few days to discern the difference between growth-promoting stress and grinding-down stress. Give it a couple more weeks before making a plan.
posted by flabdablet at 9:48 PM on May 13 [6 favorites]

I think you should do whatever you feel is right. Having said there, there are Reasons people are exhausted the first few weeks of any new job, and it's mostly to do with our brains working overtime forcing all sorts of information into short term memory and then processing what needs to be remembered into long term memory. Think about how much of life goes by automation--our brains know what we're doing and how we're doing it and they're not usually processing new information constantly. It knows what hand opens the cabinet and pours the coffee and where the doorhandles are, etc. It isn't thinking and remembering all the time. That changes with a new job.

From the physical layout of the new place to learning names to eyes knowing where to look and hands knowing what to do and of course, the actual learning curve of the job itself, the first few weeks of a new job put a massive load on brains.

Brains need time to process and organize and that means sleep. So in early days, brains will tell us we're really tired, so this is a normal, brain-growth feeling.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 2:44 AM on May 14 [4 favorites]

I agree with others that your stamina and tolerance will increase, and you need to give yourself more time for this transition.

Dumb question, but - can you ask for stools?
posted by Miko at 4:28 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]

Totally agree with the others that starting any new job is mentally exhausting. For the standing part, good shoes with proper arch support helps as does compression socks (or hose if that's your wardrobe.)
posted by advicepig at 6:45 AM on May 14

I'm an introvert too, and I'm going to go against the grain here and say that if you know in your gut that you hate it, you should trust your instincts and bail. For me, situations like this very rarely get better.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 7:29 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]

Can you transfer to another branch until you find another job? Just because one location is busy doesn't mean they all are. Can you get a doctor's note saying you need a stool for part or all of your shift?
posted by Armed Only With Hubris at 7:48 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]

Miko: "Dumb question, but - can you ask for stools?"

my wife works in a bank as a teller and, barring doctor's notes, they are forbidden to sit even if there are no customers because it "looks unprofessional".
posted by ArgentCorvid at 8:21 AM on May 14

Counterpoint, when I worked at as banker/teller at a bank branch in a grocery store we had tall office chairs but we had to stand when helping customers. They didn't get a lot of use on busy days but it was nice to be able to reconcile my cash drawer or whatever at the end of the day in a chair instead of having to wait to get to my car before I could get off my feet.

Later when I worked in two different stand-alone branches as a banker the tellers had the same tall chairs.

So, banks and chairs, land of contrasts.

Some of the routine stuff will get really routine and feel less taxing as a result. Some of the basic transactions-type stuff you'll be able to do in your sleep.

I'm an introvert but I've worked in a lot of different retail and customer facing bank jobs and I find that they're all pretty taxing for because of all the social interactions. It does can easier with practice and in banking there are definitely some analytical problem solving work that comes along with it that found challenging and rewarding. There are other jobs in the branch that are less customer facing and there are a lot of non-customer facing jobs in banking as well that might make it worth stick it out for a little while.

On the other hand people tend to care a LOT about their money so things can get really emotional if there are problems and dealing with that is always going to be draining even if you're good at reacting to and fixing the situation.
posted by VTX at 7:00 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]

I would also just say that it's wise to give yourself some time living with the new salary and benefits you are receiving, because there may be unexpected returns that put the draining aspects of this work into context. There is, after all, a reason people accept the work they do.
posted by Miko at 8:52 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]

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